Last month, the U.S. Airforce requested to have the authority to take down drones. Now, The U.S. Army has gained the right to disable, track, and shoot down unauthorized UAVs. Flying drones in airports, military bases, and sports stadiums is already illegal, but having the right to physically disable drones by force is something new. The FAA worked with the U.S. Government to create the new restrictions, and the classified policy was approved last July. This new policy affects 133 U.S. military bases.
How Close Can You Fly Your Drone Before It Gets Shot Down?
The U.S. Army hasn’t specifically stated how close a drone has to be before it gets shot down. According to Navy Times, Navy Captain Jeff Davis said, “[it] will depend upon the specific circumstances.” This puts the new policy in a grey area because the U.S. Army hasn’t elaborated if they can shoot incoming drones that are only in the vicinity of the restricted air space. If they deem a UAV a “threat,” then they’ll most likely shoot it down even if it’s just on the outskirts of their restricted base.
What Caused the U.S. Army to Create This New Policy?
Geofencing on most consumer drones already prevents flight access to unauthorized air space, but hacks like what Coptersafe offers help bypass software restrictions. DJI has taken steps to update their consumer drones with firmware updates which prevent modifications, but hackers are still changing flight parameters by sticking to older firmware versions. The rise of hacked quadcopters have been a concern for not only the military but airports worldwide. Since there are almost daily reports of close-encounter incidences with planes and drones, it was only a matter of time before U.S. Military responded with a new policy.
How Will the U.S. Army Take down Drones?
Anti-UAV technology is already available, but the U.S. Army hasn’t shared the methods in which they will disable or destroy drones. If they wish to fully prosecute trespassing drone operators, then they will have to disable a drone without fully destroying it and trace back the drone pilot. It is more difficult to track a rogue drone operator than a unauthorized airplane, so the U.S. Army will have to invest in something like a drone gun which can jam and land a UAV.
The right to shoot down drones is now an official policy, so be warned if you attempt to fly on U.S. military bases!