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Thu, Nov 03, 2011

A Line Crossed? Armed Police UAVs In Texas

DHS-Funded Vanguard Shadowhawk Can Fire Grenades

We've become accustomed to hearing reports of unmanned aircraft carrying weapons in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, a drone with similar capabilities is being put in the hands of Texas law enforcement.

The aircraft is a Shadowhawk, built by Vanguard Defense, which The Blaze reports costs about $250,000. The Montgomery Sheriff's Office has obtained one with the help of a grant from the US Department of Homeland Security. It's much smaller than a Predator, at six feet long and 29 pounds.

The UAV is equipped with infrared imaging, and officially, the sheriff's office says the primary mission of the drone for now is for missing persons cases. But it's equipped with grenade launchers, expected to be used by police for tear gas cannisters, and on its website, Vanguard touts the potential for use in high risk warrant, hostage rescue, domestic violence situations.

Comments posted by readers on news websites suggest not everyone's comfortable arming local police agencies with airborne grenade launchers. Even in Texas.

FMI: www.vanguarddefense.com

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