Predators Can Aid Homeland Relief Operations

The FAA has cleared Predator MQ-1 and MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicles for use in domestic disaster relief operations. Air Combat Command has received a “certificate of authorization” from FAA to use the UAVs to provide video and infrared search and rescue capabilities. The Air Force has requested approval in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, but clearing national airspace restriction hurdles proved too slow. Now, ACC officials say they can gain clearance within hours instead of weeks.