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Lack of drone regulations threatening national security – UPDF

FILE PHOTO: Drone

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The lack of regulations for the use of the Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems commonly known as drones is threatening national security. This was revealed by the Director Cyber Intelligence at the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF.

Ssemakula who was speaking to different drone operators at Mestil hotel in Kampala on Thursday said the emergence of such technology has interferes with signals of major installations including the airport and the Military installations.

A Drone is an unmanned aircraft. They are mostly used in Uganda for photo and videography, surveillance and intelligence gathering. In some areas, drones are used to deliver goods and services to different people.

However, despite the availability of international laws by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the use of drones and regulations in individual countries is left for the different state organs to handle. Uganda has not yet drafted any policy regulating the use of drones.

Major David Rusoke, an IT officer at the Uganda Peoples Defense Air Force says that many drones are still held at the Customs department for scrutiny because they are deemed to be a threat to National Security.

Ssemakula says, well as drones are important and part of the innovations the country must have, there is need to have regulations their use.

Currently, the Civil Aviation Authority-CAA has earmarked areas acting as no-fly zones for drones in the country. They include State House – Entebbe, State house – Kampala, Entebbe International Airport, and the Presidential Ranch in Gomba.

Other places include dams and water bodies where the Remote Piloted Aircraft systems are expected to only fly at the lowest and Highest Altitudes. Other places include Packwach, Jinja and Karuma bridges.

The Commissioner in charge of Customs at Uganda Revenue Authority-URA Turyakira Armstrong says, there are 442 drones that were brought into the country and 191 of which are registered. He says that the rest are at the URA customs office in Entebbe pending clearance.

CAA together with the Air Navigation Services, the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency and UCC are drafting a set of regulations that will be used to govern the operations of drones in the country.

Among the regulations is that an operator must have a Remote Pilot License from the CAA, a URA certificate and must have paid value added tax, among other requirements before a drone is operated.

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