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The Los Angeles Police Department announced that it has acquired two drones that it is considering deploying for a limited number of “narrow and prescribed uses.” The small Draganflyer X6 UAVs were a gift from the Seattle Police Department, which scrapped its drone program in response to public pressure. “We wanted to be really up-front with the public that we’re looking at using these down the road,” LAPD spokesman Andrew Smith said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
The Federal Aviation Administration is considering allowing filmmakers limited use of drones for aerial commercial cinematography. In a statement, the FAA said that it is considering allowing seven film and television companies to use drones. Currently, the FAA has banned the commercial use of drones until it develops national regulations. (AP)
A Russian-made reconnaissance drone was reportedly shot down in Ukraine. According to the Ukraine Defense Ministry, the aircraft was identified as a modified Orlan-10 drone, a catapult-launched UAV that carries an assortment of video and imaging equipment. (Vice News)
An American Global Hawk drone flew over British airspace three times last month as part of a NATO exercise. The unarmed surveillance and reconnaissance drone flew from a base in Italy at an altitude of 50,000 feet, far above the cruising altitude of commercial jetliners. “It is good to see existing airspace procedures enabling the seamless integration of remotely piloted air systems,” Vice Marshal Phil Osborn told the Guardian in an interview.
Commentary, Analysis and Art
In “Sensors and Journalism,” a new report by the Tow Center at the Columbia Journalism School, Matt Waite and Mickey Osterreicher take stock of the possibilities of drone journalism.
At Vocativ, Jan-Albert Hootsen examines the efforts by the Mexican government to fly drones along the border with the United States.
At Circle of Blue, Brett Walton writes about a team of researchers who are using drones to map the melting glaciers in the Himalayas.
At Defense One, Sam Brannen argues that President Obama is relying more and more on drones for reconnaissance and surveillance.
At The Hill, Laurie Blank argues that, when it comes to President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy, transparency is the the most significant issue.
In an ongoing series on war theory and practice at the Bridge blog, Rich Ganske examines the underpinnings of air power.
At War is Boring blog, Thomas Newdick takes a look at why Israel is replacing its fleet of Cobra helicopters with drones.
Know Your Drone
The U.S. Army has successfully tested an updated version of the Grey Eagle surveillance and strike drone. The new Grey Eagle is capable of staying aloft for up to 45 hours in surveillance configuration. (War is Boring)
Ohio prison officials attended a demonstration of a small surveillance drone that they are considering purchasing to monitor correctional facilities. The Super Bat drone can stay aloft for up to 10 hours. (Dayton Business Journal)
The U.S. Navy announced that in August it will begin testing its X-47B combat drone in aircraft carrier landing patterns alongside manned F-18 fighter jets. This is the first time that the drone, which was developed by Northrop Grumman, will be live-tested in an environment with manned aircraft. (Navy Times)
And in Las Vegas, party-goers who spend over $20,000 on drinks can have a bottle of champagne delivered to them by a drone. (Motherboard)
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