Following the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John II, images of the pope waving from inside the Popemobile's bulletproof cube dominated his international visits. But while the Popemobile might be useful against guns and popejackings, it still leaves him vulnerable to aerial attacks. So, during Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to Lourdes, the French defense ministry decided to remedy that by providing the Holy Father with a little extra robotic robotic protection.The French government provided the pope with an autonomous aerial detail that detects threats on the ground and can call on countermeasures:
Aviation Week reports that Eagle-1 SIDM autonomous surveillance platforms orbited on high above Lourdes, providing what is often profanely referred to in military circles as the "god's eye view" of the surrounding terrain - and the ability to call down terrifying hammerblows of destruction from the skies using laser target-designation systems. Batteries of Crotale air-defence missiles were also on standby in the event of any impious intrusion being mounted into the Supreme Pontiff's heavenly exclusion zone.
For land-based protection, sadly, Pope Benedict will still have to rely on his human bodyguards and bulletproof cell. Pope watched over by flying robots during Lourdes visit [The Register]