Home Office and MOD plan to burden UK drone community with costs of battlefield tech

There have been rumours of the Home Office having a keen interest in the UK Remote ID system to be delivered by the CAA.

It comes across on examining documents from the Home Office (via NPCC) and the MOD’s Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) that the agencies are trying to pull a fast one on the UK drone community. Given the CAA can’t say who they expect to foot the bill for RID it’s likely the MOD are going to see civilians foot the bill for the rollout of tech that was developed for the battlefield, called SAPIENT. The Home Office (via NPCC) have applied pressure to the CAA consultation with the regurgitated bringing up of Gatwick 2018 along with some drama queen police call statistics.

SAPIENT is a MOD-developed control protocol, it’s become a standard for C-UAS in the UK, it’s meant to integrate AI & sensors, and it can control CCTV, sensors such as radar & effectors such as jammers.

The protocol itself can be used to identify & classify not only drones but people, male from female & a weapon from a camera or microphone.

Egos being as they are the Policy & Legislation Lead for the NPCC has put his work with RID & the CAA on LinkedIn. DSSI news has reported that the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has been working with the NPCC to deliver a SAPIENT-based system “that benefits the MoD’s procurement activities.”

Likely in part due to a lot of hysteria about drones in the Ukraine (which ignores the fact you can’t just buy a grenade in the UK), there’s a desire for a system to track drones & pilots, though it seems clear no one wants to be transparent about that nor to foot the bill.

So what better way than to pressure the CAA to get the drone community to believe it’s been consulted and then dump the cost of the system at their feet?

Frankly, if the MOD & Home Office want to throw away the privacy of UK drone operators & use them as Guinea pigs the least they could do is be upfront and foot the bill.