Drones have been flying over restricted US military air space, located close to the While House, on a daily basis. On an average, unauthorised drones fly over Fort McNair in Washington D.C twice a day, raising concerns about the military base's security.
A new study conducted by the US Department of Defence and drone-detection firm Dedrone revealed that even the most high-profile US military base may be vulnerable to illegal entry from an unauthorised unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). All of the drones were reportedly manufactured by popular brands such as DJI and Parrot.
The study involved a drone-detecting sensor installed over the roof of the National Defense University's Marshall Hall at Fort Lesley J. McNair and Fort Myer Fitness Center for a period of 26 and 30 days respectively. Around 52 unauthorised drones were found entering restricted military infrastructure over 26 days at Fort McNair. Meanwhile, about 43 drones were detected flying over Fort Myer in 30 days.
According to Dedrone, most of the drone flights over Fort McNair lasted for short periods of time and occurred during daytime. However, at Fort Myer, 14 of the 43 drone flights detected, occurred between midnight and 5am.
"This is a concerning rate, especially in light of international incidents where drones have crashed into other aircraft, and been used by terrorists, and used in other illicit activities," Dedrone CEO Jorg Lamprecht told CNBC.
Drone technology has been rapidly advancing recently, to the extent that drone manufacturers are now working on creating UAVs that can change flight modes mid-flight. Some firms like Lockheed Martin are working on mounting missile-destroying lasers on drones for next-gen wars.
Weaponised drones have also reportedly been used by the Islamic State (IS or Isis) to drop bombs in Syria. Russia allegedly used spy drones to hack into Nato soldiers phones and social media accounts.
In April, the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) passed stringent restrictions on UAVs, forbidding flights from approaching up to 400 feet within military bases across US. However, unauthorised drone activity continues to pose potential threats.