Pentagon gives military bases approval to shoot down wayward camera drones
Federal UAV regulations prohibit drone operators from flying drones near or over airports or military bases, but that hasn’t stopped some individuals from doing it anyway. But if you’ve been bold (read: stupid) enough to break those rules, be warned: military bases are now authorized to shoot down or seize your drone.
The directive comes straight from the Pentagon, who gave military bases the authority to shoot down any drones, whether commercial or private, that fly into their airspace and are believed to be a threat starting last month.
Confirmation of the new policy was announced yesterday by Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, according to Military Times. “The new guidance does afford of the ability to take action to stop these [drone] threats,” said Davis, “and that includes disabling, destroying and tracking.” As part of the authorization, a military base could seize a drone.
Overall, the new policy covers 135 military installations, though there are some questions remaining about whether drones will be deemed threats if operated on lands used by both the military and private citizens. One example is the land around Minot Air Force Base, which is leased to both private and commercial farmers; under the land are silos containing ballistic missiles, making it unclear whether those farmers are free to survey their crops and livestock using drones.
The FAA had a role in the formation of this new policy, which leaves some room for military bases to make determinations about how to handle any given drone that operates in its space. However, the criteria that a military base might use to determine whether or not it will seize, disable and/or destroy a wayward drone wasn’t revealed.