Next Phase of the Surveillance State: Nuclear Powered Drones
April 2, 2012
The next generation of surveillance drones will be nuclear powered. Instead of flying for hours, the new drones will be able to stay in the air for months. The development represents a bonanza for the national security state and its military-industrial complex ministries like the Department of Homeland Security.
The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency – and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time “from days to months” while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia.
Using nuclear power would enable the Reaper [a Northrop Grumman drone] not only to remain airborne for far longer, but to carry more missiles or surveillance equipment, and to dispense with the need for ground crews based in remote and dangerous areas.
In February, the project was fast-tracked and the FAA gave the go-ahead to allow the unmanned surveillance aircraft to fly in U.S. air space.
“The FAA Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also orders the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015,” washingtontimes.com reported.
“We don’t want to wonder, every time we step out our front door, whether some eye in the sky is watching our every move,” the ACLU wrote in a statement.
“The bottom line is: domestic drones are potentially extremely powerful surveillance tools, and that power — like all government power — needs to be subject to checks and balances We hope that Congress will carefully consider the privacy implications that this technology can lead to.”