Unmanned aircraft systems : a logical choice for homeland security support
Darnell, Bart W.
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Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have been part of aviation from the beginnings of manned aviation and have become a vital tool of our overseas military and national security operations. Public and private sector interest continues to grow for UAS to be used in a variety of domestic missions, such as border patrol, law enforcement, and search and rescue. With growing concerns over issues, such as border security and critical infrastructure protection, it would seem that UAS would be a logical choice for increased homeland security support, and yet they remain only in limited use. This thesis examined why UAS are not widely used domestically for homeland security support and found that their sluggish integration into the National Airspace System stems from a perceived flight safety risk. However, UAS operations have improved; systems, such as the Predator have flight safety trends equivalent to that of some manned aircraft. Nevertheless, government, private industry, academia, and other UAS stakeholders should continue to work together to further UAS safety. Specifically, they should collaborate to improve UAS component reliability, develop aviation regulations and standards to account for peculiar UAS characteristics, and improve public perception.
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