ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland police have a new eye in the sky just in time for the G-8 summit of world leaders. A unit of surveillance drones will be used here for the first time to keep tabs on protest marches and scan the countryside for terrorist threats.
But the commander of the G-8 security operation, Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay, stressed that the unmanned surveillance units bear no resemblance to American missile-firing drones used in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"I'm probably being a bit offensive to the people who make and operate these, but they look like big model aircraft," Finlay told The AP.
He says the drones' batteries run out within hours, so their operator needs three just to ensure he always has one fully charged ready for takeoff.