Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Why Did Obama Authorize Integration Of Military Drones Into U.S. Domestic Air Space?

covertactionmagazine |  April 1st was a good news/bad news kind of day for U.S. military drone-maker General Atomics. First, it was reported that the government of Australia had revealed that they were canceling the planned purchase of 12 MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones, made by General Atomics (GA). Since the deal would have been worth a cool one billion dollars to GA, this was definitely the bad news.

Luckily, GA had a good news story in the works. And as luck would have it, it would run on the same day as the bad news story.

[Source: ga.com]

Back in January, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handed GA $1.5 million to fly the 79-ft. 12,000 lbs SkyGuardian over North Dakota for 10 hours. (GA apparently didn’t feel the need for a press release and the resulting news article until the day before some bad news from down under was in the pipeline.)

SkyGuardian Surpasses 100 Test Flights | General Atomics
General Atomics Sky Guardian [Source: ga.com]

The stated purpose of the FAA grant to GA was “to research Detect and Avoid (DAA) capabilities.” (DAA, the ability for an unmanned aircraft to ‘detect’ another aircraft, and ‘avoid’ it, is the Holy Grail of drone integration. “Integration” is the process of removing restrictions against drones operating in domestic U.S. airspace.)

That’s right—the FAA was PAYING a U.S. arms manufacturer $1.5 million in public monies to demonstrate their newest military surveillance drone over domestic U.S. territory.

If this is all a surprise to you, you’re not alone. The program to integrate military drones into U.S. domestic airspace has been operating for 10 years. It involves various federal agencies—DoD, FAA, NASA, Commerce, Energy, DHS, etc. But it hasn’t been reported on in any major news venue since the day before the bill creating it was signed into law in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama.

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