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CBS news says the FAA expects 10,000 drones to be in the air stateside within the next 5 years. (link 2/15/13). You can thank Congress for this. From the CBS news article:
The FAA is required by a law enacted a year ago to develop sites where civilian and military drones can be tested in preparation for integration into U.S. airspace that's currently limited to manned aircraft.
The law also requires that the FAA allow drones wide access to U.S. airspace by 2015, but the agency is behind schedule on that.
Naturally the delivery system for this mini-Skynet will be corporate welfare in the form of "grants" from the Ministry of Homeland Security to every Barney Fife in the country, all in the same of keeping us safe from, uh, ... everything, I guess. But don't believe me, let's hear from Vanguard Industries itself:
On October 28th, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Texas, will receive a MK-II ShadowHawk Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) from Vanguard Defense Industries. The UAS is intended to assist the County in a number of critical operations to include emergency management, search & rescue, and S.W.A.T. operations. In addition to representing a significant cost savings effort over a full sized aircraft, the department can deploy the system quickly via a police Sport Utility Vehicle. The ShadowHawk was purchased utilizing Department of Homeland Security Grant funding and included training of several deputies already on staff with the MCSO.
But wait ... there's more. The military version of this high tech constitution shredder comes with some options (sadly not yet available on the domestic versions):
including single or multiple shot 40mm grenade launcher, 25mm Grenade Launcher, 12g shotgun