How Many Drones?

Government projections arrive at shocking number.

MQ-9 Reaper Drone
MQ-9 Reaper Drone
MQ-9 Reaper DroneFlying

The upcoming integration of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the National Airspace System within the next few years has local, county, state and federal agencies pining for drones, this according to a story in the Christian Science Monitor. The story points to the public's conflicted view of drone operations — they like them for hunting down criminals and illegal aliens but don't want them watching their driving habits or checking on environmental compliance by farmers, according to the report. Privacy concerns are at the fore, and a couple of legislators have sponsored bills to prevent the government from using drones without a warrant, at the risk of hefty lawsuit settlements for victims of non-sanctioned government surveillance.

While not specifying the source for their numbers, other than "some governmental estimates," the Monitor comes up with a shocking number of government operated drones in the NAS, as many as 30,000 within the next 10 years, a figure that while it seems high is in line with Flying's projections.