Checking an aircraft for damage can be arduous and meticulous work, but last week’s issue of The Economist highlights an experimental commercial approach. In simple terms, the Remote Intelligent Survey Equipment for Radiation ( RISER ) drone is a quadcopter with LIDAR and forms the basis for a system to use lasers to automatically detect damage to airliners. The obvious naval application for inspector drones would be for ground-, carrier, and surface vessel-based fixed-wing and helicopter units, although the configurations for each aircraft type and location might make some more practical than others. For example it probably makes more sense to consolidate expertise in inspector drones at regional maintenance and readiness centers than to try to outfit a unit in the small helicopter hangar of every destroyer. But there’s always something to be said for an operational capability. While The Economist notes that the drones are allowed at Luton airport, UK, to “operate only
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By Heiko Borchert On 15 December 2016, China seized an Ocean Glider , an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), used by the U.S. Navy to conduct oceanographic tasks in international waters about 50-100 nautical miles northwest of the Subic Bay port on the Philippines. Available information suggests that the glider had been deployed from USNS Bowditch and was captured by Chinese sailors that came alongside the glider and grabbed it “despite the radioed protest from the Bowditch that it was U.S. property in international waters,” as the Guardian reported. The U.S. has “ called upon China to return the UUV immediately.” On 17 December 2016 a spokesman of the Chinese Defense Ministry said China would return the UUV to the “United States in an appropriate manner.” Initial legal assessments by U.S. scholars like James Kraska and Paul Pedrozo suggest the capture is violating the law of the sea, as the unmanned glider can be defined as a vessel in international maritime law tha