TD&E takes time and space, and there are many builders as they explore the technology. . .from university students, Boy Scouts, to military testing. Those make up the majority of sites. I guess we could just built them and sell them to the military and never test them.
Armed UAV’s are not flying willy-nilly over US airspace. Those ops are the exclusive domain of military testing—period. More people need to understand these facts.
DHS, CBP Air and Marine has several locations and they fly a relatively small fleet along the border and over US seas.
FAA has a lock-down on UAV operations and restrictions require chase aircraft if they operate outside controlled airspace. . .therefore they are not just flying around everywhere. DHS CBP Air and Marine has an FAA waiver but they MUST remain in the cleared airpspace and not fly outside of that airspace, and if they do, it simple has to be darned important to justify it to the FAA. . .like a Border Patrol Agent in serious danger.
Heck, UAVs might lead to LE using helicopters and airplanes. . .gawd help us?
Oh. . .wait. . .never mind.
My local Sheriff’s Department is “authorized”. Lots of air activity in a place with many small regional airports...I can understand why it would be a good place to “test”, and one can’t deny the economic benefits of using drones instead of helicopters.