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Timothy Bennett: DHS Eyes Drone Testing Program Consolidation

droneTimothy Bennett, a program manager at the Department of Homeland Security’s science and technology directorate, has said DHS plans to merge two testing initiatives for unmanned aerial systems in an effort to improve border protection, Inside Unmanned Systems reported.

Dee Ann Divis writes Bennett said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies meeting held Dec. 16 that the department will combine the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety program with the Robotic Aircraft for Maritime Public Safety initiative.

DHS will perform the second phase of the RAPS program at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on Jan. 11 to test the functions of drones in border patrol missions.

Bennett noted that the agency will carry out the RAMPS 1B demonstration in June as well as work with NATO and other allied countries to research and develop other UAS applications through the RAMPS program’s third phase, Divis reports.

DHS’ S&T directorate will also work to facilitate UAS-based communications between the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Protection through the adoption of common control systems and data links, Bennett added.

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