Police Scotland have arrested a 52 year old man for flying a drone close to a Royal Navy submarine near Faslane.

Late last year, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that a drone had been sighted near HMNB Clyde at Faslane, stating:

“We can confirm that there was a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of HM Naval Base Clyde. The person operating the drone has not been identified and there is an investigation ongoing. At no time was there any risk to any vessel or any members of the public.”

It was earlier thought that the person the investigation was targeted at had been identified, however, it is understood that the arrest took place at Battery Park in Gourock casting doubt over whether or not this arrest is related to the investigation as most drones do not have the range to reach the No Fly Zone near the base from that location.

If this is in fact unrelated (I’m awaiting confirmation from Police Scotland) then this incident raises serious questions over the usage of drones and the vulnerability of submarines leaving or entering Faslane.

Below, is a view of the restricted airspace near the base, covering Faslane and Coulport.

Image via noflydrones.co.uk

It is understood that the drone was flying close to an Astute class nuclear submarine, within the restricted airspace.

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Highly likely to be an amateur photographer (though you can’t discount other possibilities), that said a highly foolish thing to do. Flying a drone near a naval base where our nuclear deterant is based aswell as some of the most advanced attack submarines in the world is asking for all kinds of trouble.


Shouldn’t the no fly zone be more centred over Faslane?

Daniele Mandelli

No. Equally sensitive, perhaps more so, is the Coulport armaments facility pretty much dead centre of that circle. Has more security than the Naval base itself because Trident Nuclear missiles and their MIRV are stored within the hill there. The loading facility ( Explosives Handling Jetty ) that enables subs to be loaded with Trident missiles under cover is on the western shore just left of centre of that circle. Faslane base itself is rather long and narrow down the shoreline rather than deep, as a public road runs on its eastern side. The naval base, Strone Army Camp, and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Although having said that it is indeed curious as the west shore of Loch Long is within it, and Coulport would still be comfortably within it if it was moved east? Hmmm.


Probably answered your own question, coulport is the most important area and being as far away from the perimeter of the restricted airspace would make sense


Thanks for that INTREP. Tube.

Stewart Gordon

That’s right Daniele, you’ve just informed the wider public of far more information than a man with a drone could. I would say your post poses a far bigger security risk.

Daniele Mandelli

Security risk? No more than anyone who can research stuff online or with Google Earth can discern within a few minutes. That is everyone here and billions worldwide. What I posted was basic stuff, no security risks there saying the place has triple fences and is festooned with cameras and has lots of MoD police. Security risks concern people, functions, where cameras or sensors are, how many, what times, what is the function of individual buildings? I have posted none of that, and no way would I know of stuff like that anyway. I’d argue the drone is a bigger… Read more »

Nick C

There is a standing NOTAM for that area that has been in place for years. Any one flying anything over there is going to get their collar felt by the Mod Police. If you tried it in a light plane you might have the added incentive of a Typhoon alongside you.
And let’s face it the location of Coulport and the main base have been well known for the last 50 years. And it’s all in the public domain.


The time it would take for a typhoon to get there from Lossiemouth the plane could have already crashed into coulport or faslane. But I supose the aircraft would be monitored well before it gets to the restricted bit.

Stewart Gordon

Fair point. Having worked at a RNAD for 33 years I just found you had mentioned quite a lot of detail that in my experience not a lot of people knew about. Indeed many never even knew of its existence


Right because terrorists or even nation states planning an attack on our naval base would use a paragraph from a random person on a free website as the basis of their attack plan, I’m sure Daniele’s paragraph is on a white board now with everyone rubbing their hands together saying this is the absolute key intel we have been waiting on.

Have a day off ffs

Daniele Mandelli

Fair enough.

So I’m a saddo who likes to learn about our military and its infrastructure.

There you go.

Which RNAD did you work in anyway?

Daniele Mandelli

Just re reading that reply of mine, which in text can look not the way it was intended.

My reply was matter of fact, yes I’m sad, and not moaning at you Stewart.

Stewart Gordon

No problem at all. Clearly a misunderstanding now sorted through polite dialogue not abusive text.


Yeah the place is probably one of the most secure places in the UK. And with the protestors settlement right next to the base the guards are always on there toes and have plenty of backup and equipment.

Daniele Mandelli

Have you been round there Cammy?

John Jarman

The Drone maybe the bigger risk as you say but that is being dealt with by the MoD Police. Your post whilst interesting was also unnecessary … come to think of it so was the whole article from a security point of view

Daniele Mandelli

My post was in reply to the question from the poster above me, and I gave my reasons as to why to him.

So nothing unnecessary at all.


People nowadays have zero common sense. Hope they give him more than a slap on the wrist.


If it turns out to be a photographer and nothing more, a slap on the wrist is more than enough. You have to set sensible levels on this. If however its something more, spying/espionage or worse then yes, the punishment should escalate and balance against the crime.


All you have to do for a close look is jump on the Waverley paddle steamer during the summer and it sails right past Coulport/Faslane.


Or use a photo lense like most people.