The US government is set to begin issuing licenses to the global hawks that are becoming a staple of drones that can be used to surveil, monitor, target and kill terrorists.
The National Airspace System, which the US Department of Defense announced this week will be accepting applications from companies, is a partnership between the US Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the US drone industry.
The Air Force said the process will begin in December.
The program will allow the US military to develop an open source program that will enable it to use and share data from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from a variety of companies and industries.
According to the Air Force, it is not required to use a single company for all its drone applications, but rather that the government will provide a pool of providers for each project.
This means the government won’t have to pay a license fee for each drone that it chooses to purchase.
“By providing the opportunity for interoperability, the Department will encourage the development of new technologies and services that will help enhance the United States military’s ability to conduct its mission,” the Air Forces stated in a press release.
“The United States Air Force is committed to the development and commercialization of technology and services to support unmanned aerial systems,” the agency said.
“Through the Airspace Systems Program, the United State Government will provide opportunities for innovation and partnerships, while encouraging continued research and development.”
The program is expected to be finalized by the end of 2018, and it will provide the US with more than 2,400 licenses to develop drone technologies, the Air Spokesperson said.
“These licenses will be used for the purpose of helping the United Air Force provide the capabilities and capabilities to safely and effectively conduct its missions,” the spokesperson said.
The Department of Commerce is expected later this year to issue a report outlining the government’s drone programs.
“We are working with industry partners to develop policies and procedures to ensure that drone technologies and the operations they enable will be available to our armed forces and law enforcement officers,” the Commerce Department said in a statement.
The US Airforce and the DHS have not said how many companies will be allowed to apply for licenses under the program, but it is expected that many will be able to participate in the program.
The United States already licenses more than 100 drone companies.
The US military has been using some of its drones for surveillance and other missions for the past several years.
The Pentagon plans to begin using the drones for intelligence gathering in 2020.