The FAA has authorized the use of remote-controlled Predator drones in the airspace above nearly 10,000 acres in North Dakota. As of this fall, unmanned military aircraft will use lasers to aim at ground targets from nearly 2 miles above the earth.
Grand Forks, North Dakota — the third largest city in the state — will host a domestic training facility for the military’s unmanned aerial vehicles starting in October. Several times a week pilots will remotely guide robotic drones through the sky at altitudes as high of 9,999 feet above sea level and zone in on ground targets with the use of dangerous lasers.
“People may hear airplanes flying above, but there will be no lights visible and no explosions,” Col. Rick Gibney, commander of the 119th Wing of the North Dakota Air National Guard, tells the Grand Forks Herald. The lasers the drones will be equipped with are reported by the Herald to help pilots practice on designating targets for bombing and missile launching missions overseas.