US Military Takes Hardliner Stance on Commercial Drones

If you think that commercialized drones are the way of the future, at least for delivery services, you might not want to live by a military base. The Pentagon recently revealed that they have given military bases the order to shoot down drones, commercial and private, if they fly above or near their facilities. This guidance was issued on August 4th, 2017 and revealed by a spokesman for the United States military. The terms of the actual policy were not revealed and find it unlikely that they ever will be revealed. The core take home point of this policy is simple: drones near a military base are a no-go.

Flying drones has become more than just a hobby for millions of Americans around the country. Drone flight has also become a sport and a way to commercially deliver packages. Just look at how Amazon is ramping up their efforts to cultivate a drone fleet to deliver packages, on demand, to customers who are located near their distributing warehouses. While drone fervor is gaining steam, it hasn’t even begun to hover near the ceiling. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, conservative estimates put nearly 3.5 million drones up in the air by 2021. We are suddenly looking at a real issue and drone operators better take notice.

The current policy that was issued regarding drones being shot down states is simple and aggressive. Any drone that flies within 400 feet of a military facility will be shot down. On top of losing their drone, pilots of drones that are shot down also face financial penalties as well as potential criminal charges. Navy Captain Jeff Davis released a statement saying, “We retain the right of self defense.” While no drones have been used to attack or otherwise inhibit military bases in the U.S., the sentiment is clear and the technology is far enough along that it is a credible threat.

The U.S. Army is also taking several steps to disassociate themselves with drones completely. A memo released on August 2nd showed that the Army is preparing to cut ties with any and all Shenzen-created drones. The memo told officials to ‘cease all use’ of the drones while also removing any storage devices from the machines. The team behind DJI, one of the most prominent drones in America, was reportedly taken by surprise by the military’s swift condemnation and removal of all drone technology.

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Dil Bole Oberoi