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The Predator air vehicle and sensors are controlled from the ground station via a C-band line-of-sight data link or a Ku-band satellite data link for beyond-line-of-sight operations. During flight operations the crew in the ground control station is a pilot and two sensor operators. The aircraft is equipped with the AN/AAS-52 Multi-spectral Targeting System, a color nose camera (generally used by the pilot for flight control), a variable aperture day-TV camera, and a variable aperture infrared camera (for low light/night). Previously, Predators were equipped with a synthetic aperture radar for looking through smoke, clouds or haze, but lack of use validated its removal to reduce weight and conserve fuel. The cameras produce full motion video and the synthetic aperture radar produced still frame radar images. There is sufficient bandwidth on the datalink for two video sources to be used at one time, but only one video source from the sensor ball can be used at any time due to design limitations. Either the daylight variable aperture or the infrared electro-optical sensor may be operated simultaneously with the synthetic aperture radar, if equipped.[citation
The integration of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) needs to be expedited, the Senate Armed Services Committee said in its report on the FY2013 defense authorization bill last week.
“While progress has been made in the last 5 years, the pace of development must be accelerated; greater cross-agency collaboration and resource sharing will contribute to that objective,” the Committee said.
A provision of the bill would encourage greater collaboration on drone integration among the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and NASA.
“Large number of UASs now deployed overseas may be returned to the United States as the conflict in Afghanistan and operations elsewhere wind down in coming years, and new UASs are under development.”
“Without the ability to operate freely and routinely in the NAS, UAS development and training– and ultimately operational capabilities– will be severely impacted,” the Committee report said.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday approved an amendment to the 2013 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would prohibit DHS from acquiring or flying drones that have weapons onboard
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is supporting a bill to ban the use of domestic drones to monitor citizens in the U.S. He spoke with CNN's Carol Costello a day after a U.S. Navy drone crashed in Salisbury, Maryland.
Here is the transcript:
Costello: The smoldering wreckage is still there lying in a marsh in Salisbury, Maryland. It’s what's left of a military drone. No injuries. No property damage, but $176 million loss for the air force. The air force is still investigating why this thing crashed. The drone is used for military purposes, but smaller drones are being used by law enforcement agencies across the country. Police say these small drones can fly low and undetected and help them fight crime. The American Civil Liberties Union says it's a violation of personal rights. Republican Senator Rand Paul does too. He’s here now. Welcome, Senator.
Paul: Good to be with you.
Costello: Tell us about your anti-drone bill. I actually have it right here, and I’m amazed it's three pages long.
Paul: Well, you know, I got the idea from Representative Austin Scott. So I have to give him some credit from Georgia. He told me about the bill recently. We picked it up and are introducing it as the senate version. Yeah, I’m a big fan of the fourth amendment. Not only do I like the second amendment, I like the fourth amendment. I think you should have to have a warrant to invade people's privacy and to spy on them. And so I think it's very important. And this just basically restates the Constitution. But sometimes you have to restate the Constitution because many up here seem so ignore it. And Representative Scott when he told me about the bill he said, look, when I’m out hunting on my property, I don't want them spying on me. And I’m not a hunter. But when I’m separating out my recyclables, I don't want them having a drone to make sure I’m putting my newspaper in the proper bin.
Originally posted by ThePeaceMaker
So again just because you see a drone doesn't mean your being watched all the time or is it just the fact your privacy is being invaded that's the problem? Or have I missed something? If so please reply as I said these are just my views and I don't mean to be sounding as if everyone is wrong
Unmanned drone aircraft, previously thought of as a tool for military surveillance, are going to be flying over America’s skies. A new Monmouth University Poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the use of drones in some circumstances, even though they have at least some privacy concerns.
While 80 percent are in favor of using drones to help with search and rescue missions, 67 percent support their use to help track down runaway criminals and 64 percent believe it’s ok to use drones to help control illegal immigration at America’s borders, 67 percent are opposed to the idea that drones could be used to issue speeding tickets.
Japan's atomic energy authority and the country's space agency has announced a joint project to develop a drone to measure radioactivity in the environment after last year's nuclear disaster.
Japan has been forced to invent or improve systems for measuring radioactive contamination since a 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami in March 2011 sparked the world's worst nuclear crisis in a generation at the Fukushima atomic plant
Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued. Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics," Paul said in a statement.
The bill follows a similar proposal earlier this month on the House side from Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga. That bill is now before the House Judiciary Committee.
Originally posted by SUICIDEHK45
reply to post by ThePeaceMaker
I agree with what you are saying. I just think that it is an invasion of privacy, especially for those of us who choose to live where there aren't police helicopters flying around. Drones would make it easier for the police to invade the privacy of country folk. Helicopters are also relatively easily noticed, but drones can fly high in the sky, and still get the images like they were hovering 10 feet above your head.
I also think that domestic surveillance with drones is just a stepping stone to just more invasions of privacy.
Where will it stop?
Most Americans have gotten used to regular news reports about military and CIA drones attacking terrorist suspects – including US citizens – in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere abroad.
But picture thousands of drone aircraft buzzing around the United States – peering from the sky at breaches in border security, wildfires about to become major conflagrations, patches of marijuana grown illegally deep within national forests, or environmental scofflaws polluting the land, air, and water.
By some government estimates, as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years. Operated by agencies down to the local level, this would be in addition to the 110 current and planned drone activity sites run by the military services in 39 states, reported this week by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), a non-government research project.
WASHINGTON — The prospect of thousands of drones patrolling U.S. skies by the end of this decade is spawning anxiety across the political spectrum that Americans' privacy may be at risk.
The level of apprehension is especially high in the conservative blogosphere, where headlines blare "30,000 Armed Drones to be Used Against Americans" and "Government Drones Set to Spy on Farms in the United States."
The concern has spilled over into Congress, where there are bipartisan efforts by lawmakers to address the civil liberties issues raised by drones.
The backlash has drone makers worried. The drone market is expected to almost double over the next 10 years, from current worldwide expenditures of nearly $6 billion annually.
The issue is likely to come up at a Senate hearing this week.
Fighter jets thunder above the English countryside. Missiles stand ready. And Big Brother is watching like never before.
The London Olympics are no ordinary games. Not since World War II have Britain and the United States teamed up for such a massive security operation on British soil.
Hundreds of American intelligence, security and law enforcement officials are flying across the Atlantic for the games that begin July 27. Some will even be embedded with their British counterparts, sharing critical intelligence and troubleshooting potential risks. Dozens of Interpol officers will also be deployed.
The unique collaboration is rooted in common threats the partners have faced since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S. and Britain's own deadly suicide bombings in 2005.
Britain was America's closest ally in Afghanistan and Iraq, making it a prime target of Islamic terror groups. And dozens of recent terror plots, including the 2006 plot to blow up nearly a dozen trans-Atlantic airliners, have been hatched within Britain's sizeable Muslim population, more than 1 million of whom have ties to Pakistan.
Researchers at Austin's Radionavigation Lab. demonstrated the risk in the plan to open up US airspace to drone flights by using a "spoofer" to hack a drone and causing it to make a crash landing dive, showing how a drone could be turned into a weapon.
According to MSN Now, the US Department of Homeland Security "dared" the researchers at the Austin Radionavigation Laboratory of the University of Texas to take control of one of their drones. The researchers repeatedly hacked the navigation system of a US government drone with a device worth a paltry $1,000, much to the discomfiture of Homeland Security officials who might have thought that their drones were "hack proof."
"Today we form the world's largest law enforcement air force," he said.
Kostelnik’s fleet has grown to 270 aircraft, including 10 drones with bases at the U.S-Mexico border in Arizona and here in Corpus Christi, on the Texas Gulf Coast about 150 miles southeast of San Antonio.
There's another operations center in South Florida and the northern border base is in North Dakota.
The border drones are Predator B models. They've been modified from the standard military-issue types, which are armed with weapons and are being currently used in the war in Afghanistan and in certain strikes in Pakistan.
Instead of missiles, the civilian-styled border drones, which cost $18 million apiece, carry powerful radars. They look like high-tech gliders without cockpits.
An expected proliferation of unmanned aircraft in U.S. skies over the next few years is generating concern among civil libertarians and citizens about safety and privacy, and the nation's drone makers are taking heed.
The Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Arlington, Va., has published a code of conduct for manufacturers and operators of the thousands of drone aircraft that are expected to be flying in U.S. airspace by 2015.
"We want everybody to know that this technology will be handled safely and with the utmost respect to individuals' privacy," said Ben Gielow, the association's general counsel and government relations manager. "Ultimately, public confidence is needed in fielding these systems."
But critics are unimpressed. Unresolved, they say, are worries about how commercial planes and small, low-flying drones can safely share the same airspace. Also, there are privacy concerns about the drones' use of high-powered cameras as they fly above backyard pool parties and other private activities.
It "does not go far enough to recognize the very real threat to privacy posed by surveillance drones flying in the U.S. and makes no actual and enforceable commitments to protect individuals' civil liberties and privacy rights," she said.
The two-page code recommends when and by whom drones should be flown to minimize risk. It also calls on drone operators to comply with all federal, state and local laws and to cooperate with authorities at all levels. In addition, the guidelines commit to respecting other users of the airspace, the privacy of individuals and the concerns of the public and to improving public awareness.
In a 'lifestyles-of-video-game-war' piece by Mazzetti that appears in the New York Times Magazine this Sunday, Mazzetti writes:
When I visited the base [Holloman Air Force Base, NM] earlier this year with a small group of reporters, we were taken into a command post where a large flat-screen television was broadcasting a video feed from a drone flying overhead. It took a few seconds to figure out exactly what we were looking at. A white S.U.V. traveling along a highway adjacent to the base came into the cross hairs in the center of the screen and was tracked as it headed south along the desert road. When the S.U.V. drove out of the picture, the drone began following another car.
"Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?" a reporter asked. One Air Force officer responded that this was only a training mission, and then the group was quickly hustled out of the room.