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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 29, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will soon begin using unmanned aircraft to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border to thwart illegal immigrants and drug smugglers from entering the country, a top official said. Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border and transportation security, said the aircraft would allow Border Patrol officers to "better monitor remote border locations in the day or at night."
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
December 30, 2013 | By Richard Simon and W.J. Hennigan
WASHINGTON -- After a fierce nationwide competition that offers potentially big economic benefits for the winners, six sites were selected Monday for testing of how drones can be more widely used in U.S. airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration announced the selection of sites in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. California, vying to become the Silicon Valley of robotic aircraft, was among the losers in the 24-state competition.  "These test sites will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation's skies,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.
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NATIONAL
February 2, 2010 | By Julian E. Barnes
U.S. Defense officials outlined plans to double production of unmanned aircraft, part of an expanded 2011 budget unveiled Monday that emphasizes the importance of international hot spots and natural disasters as well as large-scale warfare, as provided under a new strategy document. The budget, which will grow 7.1% to $708 billion in 2011, is in step with calls by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in recent years to focus on current U.S. wars, invest in needed technology and jettison expendable or costly equipment programs.
NATIONAL
June 9, 2013 | By Devin Kelly
Oklahoma may be at the nexus of violent tornadoes and scientific developments in unmanned aircraft , but the state faces stiff competition in its bid to become one of the first six federal sites allowed to test the technology.  Fifty applications have been submitted from 37 states.  The University of Colorado at Boulder is among those vying for one of the spots. Boulder's Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles was the first institution to focus on small aircraft systems for atmospheric and meteorological research, said Brian Argrow, a professor in the department of aerospace engineering sciences who co-founded the center.
BUSINESS
March 16, 2010 | By W.J. Hennigan
Thomas J. Cassidy Jr., considered the father of the remotely controlled Predator drone that has redefined warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, retired Monday from the San Diego-area aerospace firm that he helped found and grow. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. said Cassidy, 77, retired as president of its Aircraft Systems Group, which builds unmanned aircraft, including the Predator -- currently the most widely deployed unmanned aerial vehicle in the U.S. arsenal. The company, which disclosed the retirement after an inquiry from a Times reporter, said Cassidy was unavailable for comment.
BUSINESS
October 9, 2007 | From the Associated Press
providence, r.i. -- Textron Inc. said Monday that it would purchase United Industrial Corp. for about $1.1 billion in a deal that company officials said underscored the importance of unmanned aircraft to the U.S. military. The transaction would help Textron expand its aerospace and defense business. United Industrial's AAI Corp. unit, based in Hunt Valley, Md., makes aerospace and defense systems including unmanned aircraft and ground control stations and counter-sniper devices.
BUSINESS
October 13, 2004 | From Bloomberg News
Boeing Co. was awarded a $766.7-million contract Tuesday to develop three unmanned combat aircraft, pitting the company against Northrop Grumman Corp. in a competition to be the first maker of such aircraft. The program ultimately could be worth $12 billion. Boeing's contract to develop three of the X-45C planes through 2010 was awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the U.S. military's research arm. The agency awarded Northrop Grumman a $1.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2004 | Peter Pae, By Peter Pae
With its plank-like wings and a leisurely cruising speed of 84 mph, the propeller-driven Predator spy plane looked pokey compared with the fighter jets zooming across the desert sky. But when the Predator made a picture-perfect landing, 600 people encircled it. The crowd appeared eager to hoist the pilot to their shoulders -- except the plane doesn't have a pilot or a cockpit or any windows. The Predator was "piloted" by a computer operator working a joystick in a nearby trailer.
NATIONAL
December 10, 2011 | By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said. Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.
NATIONAL
March 20, 2013 | By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - As federal authorities accelerate plans to license thousands of surveillance drones over U.S. soil by late 2015, some legal experts and lawmakers are warning that unmanned aircraft could threaten privacy on an unparalleled scale. An opening shot in an expected battle to limit use of domestic drones came Wednesday when 24 civil liberties and privacy organizations submitted a formal petition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection demanding that the agency stop flying 10 unarmed Predator drones along the Mexican and Canadian borders until clear guidelines are established.
NATIONAL
June 8, 2013 | By Devin Kelly, Los Angeles Times
With tornadoes, advance warning comes down to minutes. In Moore, Okla., on May 20, it was 16 minutes. In Newcastle, to the southwest, near the spot where the deadly mile-wide tornado that killed 24 people first formed, it was five minutes. Tornadoes used to strike without any warning. Since the 1970s, meteorologists have worked to bring the average warning time up to 13 minutes. A combination of weather balloons, radar and on-the-ground observations form the core of today's forecasting technology.
NATIONAL
March 20, 2013 | By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - As federal authorities accelerate plans to license thousands of surveillance drones over U.S. soil by late 2015, some legal experts and lawmakers are warning that unmanned aircraft could threaten privacy on an unparalleled scale. An opening shot in an expected battle to limit use of domestic drones came Wednesday when 24 civil liberties and privacy organizations submitted a formal petition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection demanding that the agency stop flying 10 unarmed Predator drones along the Mexican and Canadian borders until clear guidelines are established.
BUSINESS
November 28, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. Navy's new bat-winged experimental drone has been delivered to an aircraft carrier to undergo handling tests aboard the ship. The Navy said that sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman took delivery of the drone Monday from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, where it had been undergoing tests. Truman is the first aircraft carrier to conduct test operations for an unmanned aircraft. The drone, named the X-47B, is designed to perform one of aviation's most difficult maneuvers: landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
BUSINESS
August 13, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
Since test pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947, engineers and scientists have dreamed of ever-faster aircraft. Now, they face one of their toughest challenges yet: sustaining hypersonic flight - going five times the speed of sound or more - for more than a few minutes. In a nondescript hangar at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, a team of aerospace engineers has been putting the finishing touches on a lightning-quick experimental aircraft designed to fly above the Pacific Ocean at 3,600 mph. A passenger aircraft traveling at that speed could fly from Los Angeles to New York in 46 minutes.
BUSINESS
August 8, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
LAS VEGAS - With the prospect of thousands of unmanned aircraft flying around U.S. airspace beginning in 2015, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration pledged that new regulations are in the works to keep skies safe and protect people's privacy. Speaking before hundreds of drone makers, potential buyers and government officials at a drone expo Tuesday, acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the integration of unmanned aircraft in U.S. skies is a daunting challenge. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done to move [drone]
NATIONAL
August 5, 2012 | By Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - On a chaparral-covered hillside 40 miles north of Los Angeles in June 2010, researchers from the Department of Homeland Security hid a device the size of a pack of cigarettes that emitted a safe pulse of low-grade radiation. It was a stand-in for a dirty bomb, or fallout from a nuclear meltdown. Nearby, a pilot toggled a joystick, and a gray drone with the wingspan of a California condor banked through the sky. As the plane's sensor sniffed for radioactive isotopes, law enforcement officers and firefighters watched a portable controller that looked like an oversized Game Boy. In minutes, a warning signal glowed on the screen.
NEWS
May 17, 1990 | R. DANIEL FOSTER, Foster is a Los Angeles free-lance writer
For Roy Shaham, weekend breaks from university life once meant flying a radio-controlled Cessna aircraft he had assembled from balsa wood. But now, Shaham spends his weekends designing a flying wing that might one day soar across Mars. Shaham, 23, is one of 19 Cal State Northridge engineering students who received a $105,000 grant to design a lightweight, unmanned aircraft to scout Mars. The grant for the three-year project was awarded last year by the Universities Space Research Assn.
NATIONAL
June 8, 2013 | By Devin Kelly, Los Angeles Times
With tornadoes, advance warning comes down to minutes. In Moore, Okla., on May 20, it was 16 minutes. In Newcastle, to the southwest, near the spot where the deadly mile-wide tornado that killed 24 people first formed, it was five minutes. Tornadoes used to strike without any warning. Since the 1970s, meteorologists have worked to bring the average warning time up to 13 minutes. A combination of weather balloons, radar and on-the-ground observations form the core of today's forecasting technology.
NATIONAL
July 29, 2012 | By Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Strapped into the cockpit of an F-16 jet fighter, Air Force Col. Scott Brenton has dropped bombs over Bosnia, screamed over the desert in Iraq and strafed Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. But on a recent morning, Brenton flew his combat mission from a leather easy chair in a low-slung cinder block building on the edge of Syracuse. Brenton's unit, the 174th Fighter Wing of the New York Air National Guard, traded in its fleet of F-16s for unmanned Reaper drones two years ago. Since then, the reserve pilots have been flying nearly around-the-clock combat operations over Afghanistan from a base about five miles from this city's nearest Wal-Mart.
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