“The Army’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) represent emerging technology that requires access to the National Airspace System,” Army Secretary John McHugh wrote. “The Army intends to use UAS for warfighter training and directed mission support.”
The Army’s memo also outlines processes to determine what areas are authorized, landing and takeoff clearance criteria and air traffic control procedures. According to AOL Defense, the Army believes it needs FAA approval to fly UAS in civilian airspace because the Army frequently sends crews with unmanned aircraft.
The FAA frequently requires a chase plane and observers on the ground to watch for other aircraft when a UAS enters civilian airspace. During an exercise at El Mirage, Calif., the Army was required to fly UAS at an altitude less than 10,000 feet and land when civilian aircraft were close buy, according to AOL Defense.