SHARE
A Surface-to-Air (SAM) missile. Overkill, yes – but the US military wants to ensure drones stay clear of its facilities

If you follow airspace rules in the US, you’ll already know that the flying a drone near military installations without a very good reason (and specific permission), is just asking for trouble.

Earlier this week, the US military explained what that trouble might entail. In fact, a Pentagon spokesperson told reporters that the Defense Department has legitimate concerns over such potential incursions, and has issued a “Guidance” about how to deal with such situations, should they occur.

“Protecting our force remains a top priority, and that’s why DoD issued the specific, but classified policy developed with the Federal Aviation Administration and our interagency partners that details how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.

He pointed out that all unmanned aerial system (UAS) activity within the US must follow FAA rules and regulations. Anything that breaches those rules, he said, is considered “unauthorized activity.” He also pointed out that the FAA website spells out specific guidelines for drone operations.

FEW SPECIFICS, BUT CLEAR MESSAGE

So what might happen to a consumer drone that wanders too close to such a facility? Capt. Davis wouldn’t discuss specific measures, but did say actions such as tracking, disabling and destroying drones would all be options – depending on both the circumstances and the type of facility.

“We support civilian law enforcement investigations in the prosecution of unauthorized UAS operations over military installations,” he said.

“And though we do not discuss specific force-protection measures, we of course retain the right of self-defense. And when it comes to UAS or drones operating over military installations, this new guidance does afford us the ability to take action to stop those threats.”

In other words, don’t get too close to sensitive facilities. Ensure you know your local regulations and locations of sensitive facilities. If your drone comes equipped with a geofence that warns you against certain locations – heed those warnings.

DRONE SALES IN CHINA TO GROW

Will it ever end?

We’re referring here to the explosive growth in UAV sales. Every year since DJI’s original Phantom hit the market in 2013, sales have grown steadily in the consumer sector. Many of those purchasing are first-time buyers, while others are upgrading for the latest technology. Like smartphones, consumer drones is a field where the pace of technological growth is exponential, which virtually guarantees continued market growth.

The original Phantom. Creative Commons image © Nevit Dilmen

Now a new report quoted in The Street suggests sales in China will soar in coming years – and across multiple sectors.

“According to the report, from 2017 to 2021, both global and Chinese military, civil and commercial UAV markets will keep growing fast,” says the report.

“It is estimated that by 2021, domestic sales of civil UAV in China will have exceeded 6 million and the market size will be over USD 3 billion.”

Three billion USD in sales by 2021 in China alone. And that’s just the consumer market.

DRONES TO THE RESCUE

You may have seen this one earlier this week – but it bears repeating. A French program that uses drones to patrol beaches says it has saved about 50 lives.

The drones can carry a life-preserver to a person in distress at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph). That’s faster than a rescuer can reach the person by personal watercraft.

DJI’s Brendan Schulman was Tweeting about it earlier, so we’ll let you get to story here:

Enter your comments below: