Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pentagon Orders $521 Million Worth of New Drones

They're coming.

From Business Insider Military & Defense
General Atomics, the people behind the wildly successful Predator and Reaper drones, just scored two huge contracts this week.

One contract is $411 million for Gray Eagle systems, a derivative of the Predator drone. The second contract is for $120.6 million and will buy MQ-9 Reaper spares for the Air Force. They’ll also get ground support systems and spares.

Presently, approximately 200 unmanned aerial vehicles owned by 100 non-government entities like law enforcement agencies and academic institutions, have already been authorized to fly in the U.S., Congressman Michael McCaul said in his opening statement last week at the Homeland Security committee's subcommittee on oversight investigations, and management.

In May, "the FAA began a three-year process of integrating drones into U.S. airspace by allowing police, firefighters and other civilian first-responders to fly UAVs that are no heavier than 11 kilograms," CBC News reported Friday. The next step in the integration is to select six test sites where the FAA will test how safe it is for civilian drones to share airspace with other aircraft.

Also in May, a young Pakistani filmmaker of the award-winning movie about drones, The Other Side, was denied entry into the United States to receive his prestigious award at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle. His film follows a child whose entire family was killed by a drone.