Electric eye on America: US set to deploy drones for home use
July 7, 2012
RT News The US Army has completed a two-week demonstration of a new ground-based sensor system for its drones. It now hopes to get the drones certified for domestic flights, but critics are concerned that their use could breach privacy rights.
The demonstrations took place at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, and involved testing the Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) system for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The drone has been on duty in Afghanistan, but the Army now hopes to deploy it at home.
The Pentagon hopes to send the Gray Eagles to five bases throughout the country: Fort Hood (TX), Fort Riley (KS), Fort Stewart (GA), Fort Campbell (KY) and Fort Bragg (NC). However, it first needs to get the drones certified with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In February, Congress tasked the FAA with coming up with a plan to integrate rules for drones into domestic aircraft regulations. Under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, the aviation authority was to produce rules for the certification of the first UAVs to be used by law enforcement and emergency response agencies in May. Licenses for these drones are to be issued in August.
While UAVs are actively deployed by the US military for operations in hot spots like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, it appears that the government and private companies are now eying their potential uses in the civilian sector.