White House Wants Drone Shoot-Down Authority

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The White House plans to request that law enforcement and security agencies be permitted to track and shoot down civilian drones, according to Endgadget, a technology site. The proposal thus far lacks specifics, but would reportedly apply to multiple U.S. government agencies charged with security responsibilities.

The report surfaced at the FAA’s third annual Unmanned Aircraft Symposium held in Baltimore this week, even as the FAA itself pushes to expand the airspace to which unmanned aircraft have access. While it’s possible to track and defeat drones by hacking or jamming their radio control links, federal wiretapping and aviation regulations prohibit law enforcement from doing this, according to a Bloomberg report.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the FAA is considering regulations to require some small consumer drones to broadcast an identity tag and real-time location for law enforcement purposes. It’s unclear when such a regulation would be put into effect.

Comments (13)

Law enforcement and hired security agencies do NOT control airspace and the freely operated vehicles within it. If they want to keep out drones then they can file for a TFR. Otherwise it's NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. Sensible gun control should start by taking away guns from law enforcement who express a desire to shoot legally operated aircraft!

Posted by: Mark Fraser | March 8, 2018 8:37 AM    Report this comment

Authority to shoot down drones is a half a step away from authority to shoot down Skyhawks. Seriously.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | March 8, 2018 9:30 AM    Report this comment

Actually the Feds already have the authority or at least the rules of engagement to take on Skyhawks. So far it has not been used but is in place. Just violate a TFR and ignore the armed escort while continuing toward the target and see what my happen.

I always was curious about the Blackhawks with heavy machine guns. How would that work over a city?

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | March 8, 2018 2:58 PM    Report this comment

Unless I read it wrong, the story is about allowing "multiple U.S. government agencies" to blast drones. Perhaps Paul can clarify that.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | March 8, 2018 3:24 PM    Report this comment

Currently thee are multiple agencies that have the authority. Does this mean more?

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | March 8, 2018 10:37 PM    Report this comment

All you have to do at SnF or Airventure is go find the uAvionix booth and look at some of their tiny offerings for ADS-B. Or, their wingtip light mounted ADS-B 'out' scheme. Putting a low powered ADS-B chip on each and every drone would easily solve most of the problem for honest people. That said, I'm sure the 'bad boys' with nefarious goals would figure a way to defeat that pretty quick. Same thing with any scheme for law enforcement to command the things to land with a big red button device.

As for shooting one of 'em down with real bullets ... I don't think so. Just think of how many gunfights there are -- at close range -- where dozens of bullets fly and no one is hit. Fuhgetaboutit. That idea would make a great Keystone Kops movie, though.

All this "talk" is gonna change fast after the first drone takes out an airplane or drops something bad in a stadium filled with people.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 9, 2018 1:50 AM    Report this comment

"Common-sense drone-control." I can hardly wait.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | March 9, 2018 4:25 AM    Report this comment

Good one, YARS.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | March 9, 2018 9:54 AM    Report this comment

We don't want to ban all drones, just assault drones. Also limit battery size. Can't have multiple cell batteries.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | March 9, 2018 11:49 AM    Report this comment

GOOD one, Leo !! You win the prize. I think Chicago has an anti-drone ordinance?

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 9, 2018 1:54 PM    Report this comment

Chicago's mayor WANTED a no-GA zone after 9-11. "Common sense," indeed.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | March 9, 2018 2:56 PM    Report this comment

Go back and re-read Leo and my comments ... me thinks you missed the analogy,Yars?

He sorta 'got' it when he killed Meigs Field ... a place I fondly remember as a tiny child in the early 50's

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 9, 2018 5:11 PM    Report this comment

Actually, I was postulating additional connectable dots...
For a minute, consider re-tooling the gun analogy, such that drone payload - rather than batteries - is the object of "sensible" regulation. After all, batteries represent range/endurance; payload comprises deliverable ordinance.
Now, if six or twelve pounds of drone-delivered C4 comprises a threat that's worthy of prohibition and prophylactic destruction, then whither a Skyhawk that can deliver ten times that amount of C4? That mindset gives new life to mayor Daley's previously-rejected demands.
The widespread sentiment that "I don't need a gun, so neither do you" is even easier to assert when the item being banned (from "MY" airspace) is a GA aircraft ("fat-cat toy"), rather than an item that is the subject of a constitutional amendment.
Gun rights; drone rights; airplane rights; Ryder truck rights. All are fragile when considered in the context of a populist threat. Danger, Will Robinson!

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | March 9, 2018 11:04 PM    Report this comment

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