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sUAS on F.E. Warren Air Force Base

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Munoz
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Small unmanned aircraft systems – otherwise known as drones – are never allowed to be flown over F.E. Warren Air Force Base without specific approval from the 90th Missile Wing commander.

Although there are many different beneficial and legitimate uses of sUAS, there are also threats if these aircraft are used improperly by hostile forces.

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

“The Federal Aviation Administration website is a great starting place for drone enthusiasts to learn about the common items needed or guidelines to be followed,” said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Testa, NCOIC of 90 MSOS sUAS. “They can also learn more about getting their FAA Part 107 Certification, also known as a drone license.”

The 90th Missile Security Operations Squadron provides sUAS Force Protection and sUAS training capabilities to address the evolving threat of commercially available drones and deliver capabilities to counter these threats. 

“These capabilities exist to protect the 90th Missile Wing’s Protection Level 1 systems and base populace against what has been called ‘The IED of the 21st Century’,” said Testa. “In order to stay ahead of the threat, we partner with DoD and outside agencies along with small businesses via the AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research Program.”

The sUAS unit has a variety of drones with different capabilities and mission sets. Blue sUAS are National Defense Authorization Act compliant and are designed for military use.

“Our fleet of Blue sUAS consists of the PSI Instant Eye Gen3, PSI Instant Eye Gen4, Vayu Aerospace US-1, FLIR Black Hornet micro drone, and other aircraft that have either been built in-house or in conjunction with the USAF Academy’s Warfighter’s Edge,” said Testa. “These aircraft complete our mission sets in line with our FP requirements.”

The sUAS unit also has a “Red Cell sUAS” fleet that consists of drones intended for civilian use.

“These drones could be purchased either online or at a local retail store and are the most likely aircraft that our Striker Airmen would encounter,” said Testa. “These sUAS are also used to conduct training with base personnel and test equipment for effective countering of these aircraft.”

Under no circumstances are drones and other UAS to be operated on base. Operators found violating this law will not only lose possession of their drones, but may face criminal charges.

For any questions regarding prohibited UAS on or around F. E. Warren AFB, contact the 90th Missile Wing Flight Safety office at (307) 773-1842.