The Navy has confirmed that it’s investigating the illegal flight of an unidentified drone over Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, the home base for Trident submarines that carry nuclear weapons.
In an email, Navy spokeswoman Silvia Klatman said the drone was sighted in prohibited airspace by a civilian employee on Feb. 8.
“Any operation over the base without prior permission and coordination with appropriate authorities is both illegal and hazardous,” she said. “It’s our intent to support the investigation and prosecution of this reported act, and any others that may occur, in coordination with civilian law enforcement.”
The Seattle Times and the Kitsap Sun quoted a nearby resident, Al Starcevich, as saying that he and his neighbors were interviewed by investigators last week, and that he was told there were repeated drone flights at night.
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial systems or UAS, are prohibited under federal law from flying within 5 miles of military installations and civilian airports. The Navy has said rogue drones are becoming more of a problem as more of the recreational drones are sold.
Military planners have conducted counter-drone operations for years during an exercise known as Black Dart. During last year’s session at Naval Base Ventura County in California, test drones were shot down from helicopters. In one case, a Marine sniper riding in a UH-1 Huey helicopter used a rifle to take down a 7-foot-wide flying-wing drone.