Mysterious Airspace Violation That Triggered D.C. Lockdowns Highlights Air Defense Challenges

November 27, 2019

The Drive:

Something of a mystery has emerged after a brief lockdown of the White House and U.S. Capitol due to an alleged violation of the heavily restricted airspace over Washington, D.C. this morning. Reports now indicate that a flock of birds, a weather balloon, or something else besides a plane or helicopter, appears to have triggered the alert, which sent fighter jets and helicopters scrambling into the air. Whatever the case, the incident underscores the very real challenges involved in protecting the skies above the nation’s capital, and short-range air defense, in general, especially as novel threats, such as increasingly capable small unmanned aircraft, continue to emerge and evolve.

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