The Air Force Wants to Shoot Down Trespassing Drones

Unmanned commercial and recreational aircraft pose a threat to $250 million fighter jets.

F22 Raptor
An incident involving an F-22 Raptor and a commercial drone has left the U.S. Air Force wanting permission to act immediately against perceived threats.Military.com

It's already illegal to fly your drone over air bases in the United States, but currently, only federal civilian agencies can jam and disable drones. Taking action against drones is a federal matter being addressed, along with drone regulation in general.

But the United States Air Force wants permission to act more quickly. Largely due to two recent events, one involving an F-22 Raptor barely avoiding a small commercial UAS on landing. The USAF did not have the authority to act on either potential threat.

"Imagine a world where somebody flies a couple hundred of those, and flies one down the intake of one of my F-22s with just a small weapon," General James Holmes, head of Air Combat Command, said at an Air Force Association breakfast last week. "I need the authority to deal with that."

Holmes did not elaborate on how the USAF would prefer to deal with invader drones, but there are certainly viable options being tested, including the Drone Defender by Battelle.

“We will likely receive authority to defend nuclear installations first, and then we will try to work the other ones,” Holmes said. “We need to extend those authorities beyond the nuclear sites to protect our sophisticated assets that we rely on.”