Public Intelligence produced an interactive map and table of known U.S. drone bases within the U.S. Hawai’i is listed as having two such bases: Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay has the Raven drone. Wheeler Army Airfield has the Shadow.
Wired magainze reported “Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil” (June 13, 2012)
We like to think of the drone war as something far away, fought in the deserts of Yemen or the mountains of Afghanistan. But we now know it’s closer than we thought. There are 64 drone bases on American soil. That includes 12 locations housing Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, which can be armed.
One concern raised is the use of drones on U.S. domestic populations:
The possibility of military drones (as well as those controlled by police departments and universities) flying over American skies have raised concerns among privacy activists. As the American Civil Liberties Union explained in its December 2011 report, the machines potentially could be used to spy on American citizens. The drones’ presence in our skies “threatens to eradicate existing practical limits on aerial monitoring and allow for pervasive surveillance, police fishing expeditions, and abusive use of these tools in a way that could eventually eliminate the privacy Americans have traditionally enjoyed in their movements and activities.”
As Danger Room reported last month, even military drones, which are prohibited from spying on Americans, may “accidentally” conduct such surveillance — and keep the data for months afterwards while they figure out what to do with it. The material they collect without a warrant, as scholar Steven Aftergood revealed, could then be used to open an investigation.
As with Osprey accidents that were discussed in a previous post, another danger of drones may be the number of accidents. Nick Turse has compiled interesting information about drone accidents here and here. Just this week, Wired reported, “Navy Loses Giant Drone in Maryland Crash” (June 11, 2012):
The Navy was all set to roll out its upgraded spy drone, a 44-foot behemoth. Then one of its Global Hawks crashed into an eastern Maryland marsh on Monday. It’s the latest setback for the Navy’s robotic aircraft.
An unarmed RQ-4A Global Hawk went down during a training exercise near the Naval aviation base at Patuxent River, Maryland on Monday, CNN reports. Local news has footage of the wreckage. No one was hurt except the Navy’s pride.
Thanks to Jon Letman for sharing some of these links.