A U.S. 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB) Soldier uses a Drone Defender to capture and control a drone as its flying March 6, 2018. The Drone Defender uses an electromagnetic pulse to disable its target and has a range of 600 meters. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army
Responding to a request to enhance unmanned aircraft flight restrictions over military bases, the FAA recently made the airspace over three new U.S. Defense Department facilities no-drone zones and extended the restricted boundary of a third.
Using existing “special security instructions” authority, the FAA has incrementally addressed the threat of “malicious drone operations” by establishing airspace over specific sites deemed critical to national security as off limits to unmanned aerial systems.
Airspace over Naval Support Activity Monterey, California.; Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas; and Naval Support Activity Orlando, Florida is now off limits to all unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flights. The already restricted airspace over Naval Support Activity South Potomac, Maryland, has been extended. The changes become effective June 1, according to the FAA.
Some exceptions to the rules exist, but they have to be worked out with each individual facility and/or the FAA. Drone operators who violate the airspace restrictions are subject to civil penalties and criminal charges and the confiscation or destruction of their aircraft.
Because privately owned UAS routinely violate military airspace, the FAA has given the Defense Department limited authority to disrupt or destroy drones, including hobbyist drones and remote-controlled aircraft, that stray into or intentionally enter those restricted areas.
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