Drones need to operate ‘freely and routinely’ in U.S.: Senate

June 11, 2012

MQ-9 Reaper, used by the U.S Border Patrol (credit: Gerald L Nino/Wikimedia Commons)

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, FAS Secrecy News reports.

“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, and Rep. Scott Austin (R-GA) introduced a bill (HR 5925) “to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones.”

Also see: Groups concerned over arming of domestic drones