As the popularity of commercial drones continues to grow in the United States, military officials say any attempt to enter military airspace with these devices will be met with countermeasures.
Detailed and situational plans for these countermeasures remain classified, but the intent to thwart what Defense Department officials call small unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS, is public knowledge.
“The Department [of Defense] must protect and defend personnel, facilities, and assets in an environment where increasing numbers of sUAS will share the skies with DoD aircraft, operate in the airspace above DoD facilities, and be employed by adversaries of our nation,” according to an online DoD white paper titled Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Strategy.
In it, DoD officials explain that the then-Secretary of Defense in 2019 appointed the Department of the Army as the executive agent for counter-small unmanned aircraft systems, with the mission of establish the joint C-sUAS office and direct, synchronize and direct all activities “to facilitate unity of effort across the Department”.
One concern is that drones can potentially be armed and sent to key locations on duty to target facilities or personnel. They can also be used to monitor installations. As a result, army chiefs have been given the authority to do what is necessary to protect military assets.
“Army facilities are the foundation of Army readiness,” according to U.S. Army Materiel Command Public Affairs. “To protect our people, our mission and our assets, commanders have been authorized to damage, destroy, seize or disable unauthorized unmanned aircraft.”
Officials warn that the consequences of drones flying over facilities are not limited to the aircraft itself.
“Unmanned aircraft operators who violate Federal Aviation Administration flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including possible civil and criminal penalties.”
Fort Knox officials say there have been rare occasions when attempts have been made to fly drones over the facility. As a result, army leaders are asking for help from those working on duty to report any sightings.
“If you see something, say something,” army officials said. “Unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems have the ability to monitor, disrupt, or potentially strike military assets.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to report all sightings of unmanned aircraft systems.”
As of 2016, most U.S.-made drones have been modified to revert to a pilot if they fly too close to military installations.
Commercial drones of 0.55 pounds or more must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.
But admin officials say on their website how to register your drone | Federal Aviation Administration at faa.gov that all drone manufacturers have until September 16 to ensure that their drones are equipped with a “standard built-in remote ID”.
The reason given is that the FAA considers drones to be new members of the National Airspace System.
Additionally, all drone pilots who register their drones will be required to upgrade their drones to fly under Remote ID rules by September 16, 2023. The FAA website explains that “Remote ID is the ability of a drone in flight to provide identification and location information that can be received by other parties. »
In other words, “Remote ID helps the FAA, law enforcement and other federal agencies find the control station when a drone appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or when it is not authorized to fly,” according to the FAA. “Remote ID also lays the foundation for the safety and security foundation needed for more complex drone operations.”
While much of these new regulations and laws are geared toward day-to-day use in non-military settings, Fort Knox Garrison Counter-Terrorism Officer Mike Morrison said military installations have a much simpler answer. .
“The facility is a drone-free zone,” Morrison said. “All unlicensed unmanned drones are prohibited here.”