Prison Planet.com » Government, Military To Fly Predator Drones Over North Dakota
Local pilots protest use of blinding lasers in their airspace
Government, Military To Fly Predator Drones Over North Dakota 0302 Drones full 600
In conjunction with The Federal Aviation Administration, the Air National Guard plans to fly unmanned Predator aircraft over North Dakota and have them aim lasers at ground targets in the latest development in the ongoing mass expansion of the use of drones in US skies.
North Dakota news website INFORUM reports that the Air National Guard’s 119th Wing, based at Fargo’s Hector International Airport, will begin operating the drones by early October.
According to the report, the FAA has officially established eight blocks of restricted airspace over National Guard base Camp Grafton South near New Rockford. The airspace will be from 500 to 9,999 feet above sea level and commercial aircraft will be prohibited from using it.
The training will focus around target practice for laser-guided bombs and missiles. Targets will be located on small buildings or on the ground.
“People may hear airplanes flying above, but there will be no lights visible and no explosions,” Col. Rick Gibney commented.
“The laser itself is not used much during the flight,” he said, “less than a minute per simulated engagement.”
Gibney added that North Dakota was chosen owing to its sparsely-populated skies and that the area could become the nation’s centre for all military drone training activity.
However, local pilots with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have objected to the move, noting that the use of lasers in their flight paths could be hazardous.
The Department of Defense has been less than forthcoming with information on its use of drones over the US.
Indeed, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), part of the DoD, recently denied operating surveillance drones in two different states, issuing statements that have since been proven to be completely false.
Headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, USSOCOM is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
As reported by the open information advocacy group Public Intelligence:
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