Friday, March 11, 2022

ATF reviewing unmanned aircraft systems for the future

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is presently conducting a review of the agency's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and planning for future requirements. The review was announced in a Request For Information (RFI) contract document released Thursday.

The RFI was issued solely for market research, compiling information of available UAS sources and planning purposes. “It does not constitute an Invitation for Bids, Request for Proposal, or Request for Quotes,” the ATF said in the RFI.

The ATF is a law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice whose headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. The mission of ATF is to protect communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.

Information provided in response to the RFI must be submitted to ATF contract officers no later than March 28.

In 2015, the ATF spent “approximately $600,000” on drones it never flew operationally, according to an audit conducted by a Justice Department watchdog.

The Department of Justice’s five law enforcement operational components conducted 248 UAS deployments during fiscal year 2020. All totaled, the components recorded approximately 172 hours and 59 minutes of flight time.

The general types or categories of missions flown include the following: authorized investigations, fugitive apprehension, communications support, search and rescue, site survey, counter-UAS testing and training, crime scene examination, mapping, reconnaissance of remote geographical areas, force protection and officer safety during service of warrants, demonstration flights, UAS and Counter-UAS testing and training, and production of component training videos.

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