The FAA will evaluate technology to detect unmanned aircraft near airports under a Pathfinder program with developer CACI International. Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Aviation on Oct. 7, FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker says the technology will detect radio signals between the UAV and its operator within 5 mi. of an airport. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) says the CACI technology has been used by the military and can pinpoint the UAV operator. “It can force the drone to land, and track it back to the operator.” The system will be tested at airports in Virginia, he says. So far, the FAA has not released details of the technology. “This is an existing technology. We have not announced the location and time frame, but will shortly,” Whitaker says. “We will assess it in an operational environment without compromising safety.” Locating the operators of UAVs flying without permission in airspace around airports “is the biggest challenge we face,” Whitaker says. The FAA is receiving more than 100 pilot reports of UAV sightings a month, a five-fold increase over 2014. While the agency acknowledges the majority of reports may not involve potentially hazardous near collisions, “the trend in the data is pretty obvious,” he says. The CACI system “is one of several technologies we are looking at to detect drones,” Whitaker says.