The world’s first droneport is fully funded and operational in Boulder City, Nevada, a 30-minute drive from Las Vegas. This leading edge, one-of-a-kind project by Aerodrome and Boulder City is supported by the Federal Aviation Administration.
According to Digital Trends, the FAA’s first unmanned air systems test site on a sprawling 50 acres serves as an all-inclusive droneport and training center where even recreational drone pilots and drone racers are accommodated. While journalists, real estate professionals, and first responders are expected to flock into the facility, its military use remains a harsh reality.
The National Interest reports that the United States leads the field in international drone technology. Given its penchant for field-testing, the U.S. military has accumulated a decade’s worth of experience in sharpening the design and application of U.A.V.s. The specific airpower requirements in combatting terrorism have caused an upsurge in innovation, expected to be in evidence at the droneport.
Meanwhile, China has been playing catch-up, capitalizing first on its own evolved technology. In 2010, more than a hundred U.A.V. makers honed their skills in China. 2014 saw a sharp increase to over two hundred thirty Chinese U.A.V. manufacturers. Some two thirds of them were private enterprises, and the rest government-owned enterprises, all capable of creating a droneport gridlock.
In its “salami slicing” of the East and South China Seas, China has found uses first for drones and secondly for a droneport. Drones are well-suited for low-key aggression that constantly probes the defenses of various opponents in an alliance or coalition. Drones allow China to fly over areas of contention, without the offensive presence of manned aircraft.
In the ongoing North and South Korean conflict, the two nations’ first drones have been deployed for various covert tasks. According to Voice of America, North Korea is capable of launching a fleet of military drones against South Korea. Not to be caught unprepared, South Korean scientists have unmanned aerial vehicles being tested for exactly such an eventuality, though not from any known droneport.
The South Korea unmanned craft’s first design for conflict-oriented maneuvers sets it above the ordinary drone common at the Boulder City droneport. The South Korean craft is built for detecting and engaging a hostile UAV in mid-air. Korea Research Institute for Strategy spokesman Moon Sung-muk laid out Seoul’s preferred course of action.
“We did not expect that North Korea could make such small drones and avoid our radar. South Korea must come up with a new security plan to detect these drones quicker and attack them.”
While Russia’s drone program was at first considered in a dormant state, evidence of a revitalization has come with the downing inside Turkey of an unmanned vehicle suspected of being Russian. Short of a full-sized droneport in Syria, Russia has been able to deploy from its Middle East position, the same mid-range drones it has been using in the Ukraine.
According to CNN, Russian military and security forces are beneficiaries of the first buildup of about 800 unarmed drones, which are mainly used for intelligence and reconnaissance. No droneport construction is mentioned.
On the humanitarian front, Japan Times reports for the first time that a South Korea-based organization is smuggling banned information via drones into North Korea. North Korean defector Jung Gwang Il made this revelation to reporters on Thursday, December 10, 2015, prior to attending a UN Security Council meeting on North Korea’s deplorable human rights situation. Jung indicated his organization No Chain has been making the unmanned flight deliveries without the benefit of a droneport to secret drop sites since April.
In other humanitarian news, British architect Norman Foster envisions his first “cargo drone routes capable of delivering urgent and precious supplies” without the advantage of a droneport to remote areas of Rwanda in East Africa. According to the Guardian, Rwanda has rapidly rebuilt from ruins of the 1994 genocide, and its government is pushing initiatives to boost technology, prompting Foster’s proposal.
“Specialist drones can carry blood and life-saving supplies over 100 kilometers at minimal cost, providing an affordable alternative that can complement road-based deliveries.”
While Boulder City’s Aerodrome is first-of-all to be used by military operatives, non-military uses are expected to thrive at the droneport.
[Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]