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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)


The Air Force leads the way in adapting to challenges posed by new technology while harnessing their potential. There is currently research underway that will capture the potential for small unmanned aircraft systems, popularly known as “drones”, in an array of applications across many career fields ranging from public affairs to security forces.

The emerging use of these aircraft is abundant, and there are various public outreach programs that are designed to ensure that the untrained or unaware user does not inadvertently pose a threat to military operations.

As with any type of new technology, there are rules that govern its usage. Currently the user is responsible for knowing where they can and cannot fly their drones for recreational use. Base officials are gathering information to develop a comprehensive policy governing small UAS use on and over F.E. Warren AFB.  However, current policy states small UAS may not be flown on or over the installation without specific approval from the 90th Missile Wing Commander.

Although there are many different beneficial and legitimate uses of small UAS, there are also threats if these aircraft are used improperly by hostile forces. The Air Force is researching, developing and testing ways in which to counter this threat.

Since 2013, the Air Force has organized several different working groups consisting of experts empowered to address the evolving threat of commercially available drones and deliver capabilities to counter these threats.

“With any easy to acquire technology that is as asymmetric as drones have become, our adversaries are naturally looking for some way to use these for nefarious purposes,” said Lt. Col. Matt Pignataro, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron commander. “We are aware of and thinking about this, so we will not be in reactionary mode when and if something does happen.”    

While Airmen downrange innovate and act to defeat threats as they evolve, Airmen at home will build strategy and use the technology necessary to anticipate and defend against UAS today and in the future.

The Federal Aviation Administration sets guidelines for all small UAS operators within the United States and all operators should be familiar with these rules prior to operating any type of small UAS. 

Several regulations apply to off base usage of UAS.  For questions or concerns visit the Federal Aviation Administration website at the following location: