Security authorities the world over are always concerned about malicious drone operations over certain, high-priority operations. At the request of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions” – to address these concerns.
According to the FAA restrictions drone operations in the vicinity of Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia are required to maintain a distance of at least 3,000 feet laterally and 1,000 feet vertically from these vessels.
These special security instructions, provided in an FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), are now fully effective. The full text of this NOTAM and additional information on these special security instructions, are available at visual depiction and geospatial definition of the relevant airspace.
Drone operators are warned by the FAA in this NOTAM that these USN and USCG vessels are authorized by law to take protective action against drones perceived to be safety or security threats such as those violating the cited FAA special security instructions. This action could result in interference, disruption, seizure, damage or destruction of these drones. Further, operators who do not comply with the FAA special security instructions also may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.
The UAS NOTAM FDC 8/2314 on the FAA site clearly states that: “PURSUANT TO 14 C.F.R. SECTION 99.7, SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS (SSI), THE AIRSPACE IN WHICH UAS OPERATIONS MUST COMPLY WITH THIS SSI IS DEFINED GENERALLY AS THE AIRSPACE, SFC – 2,000 FEET MSL, OVERLYING: 1) THE PORTION THE HOOD CANAL AND STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA EXTENDING FROM NAVAL BASE KITSAP NEAR BREMERTON, WA, TO THE PACIFIC; AND 2) THE PORTION OF THE CUMBERLAND SOUND EXTENDING FROM NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE KINGS BAY NEAR ST. MARYS, GA, TO THE ATLANTIC. THE AIRSPACE IN WHICH THIS SSI APPLIES IS VISUALLY DEPICTED AND GEOSPATIALLY DEFINED ON THE FOLLOWING FAA WEBSITE: HTTPS://UDDS-FAA.OPENDATA.ARCGIS.COM.” Any operator with an overriding reason of public interest or necessity (e.g., conducting a search and rescue mission) to operate their drone in close proximity to the cited USN and USCG vessels must first coordinate with the USN or USCG point of contact identified in this website.
In a separate Special Notice Advisory NOTAM, also effective today, the FAA strongly advises drone operators to remain clear of DOD and Department of Energy (DOE) facilities and mobile assets, as well as USCG vessels. Information can be found here on these two NOTAMs, and all of the locations currently covered by § 99.7 restrictions. This website also provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.
General questions regarding UAS operations can also be referred to at https://www.faa.gov/UAS/CONTACT/