Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Maryland Drone Experience A Harbinger for U.S.A.?

Just this past June, people around the country and around the world were startled to hear that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, had crashed in Maryland. "The RQ-4A Global Hawk drone crashed during a routine training flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent River," reported CNN.

People shouldn't have been surprised. According to the Department of Defense Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability (April 2012), Maryland has two locations that have been designated as potential basing locations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) [i.e. drones] (p. 8 ff.).

And it is becoming more and more clear that drones pose an even greater crash hazard than other forms of military aircraft. (See "FAA Documents Raise Questions About Safety of Drones in U.S. Airspace" in WIRED magazine online.)

The table below gives information on the types of drones that are proposed for basing at each location.

BASE Predator/Reaper type Shadow/Raven type Other
Webster Outlying Field MQ8 RQ-7B

The DoD report on drone basing in the United States lists one hundred different bases that are set to fly drones, including locations in nearly every U.S. state. How long will it be before U.S. skies are full of drones, and reports of drone crashes are a regular occurrence?

And the threat of drones in domestic airspace is just the beginning: killer drones have become the principal tool of U.S. foreign policy, and the military industrial complex is never far away. In Maryland, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has a contract to do drone research. Read about how the Baltimore Nonviolence Center and the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] are working to get Johns Hopkins to stop participating in killer drone research.

To get involved in the resistance movement to stop drones -- in Maryland and everywhere -- contact Max Obuszewski: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net.

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