MyDefence has published a white paper focusing on protection of airports against unauthorized use of drones, as the use of drones is rising worldwide and has presented serious threats for airport security and operations.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts more than 2 million drones will be operated in the USA by 20201. Such an increase in usage raises questions about the unintentional risks of drones colliding with aircraft.
FAA concludes that airborne collisions between drones and airplanes could introduce “a significant economic burden” to aircraft operators, due to downtime and repairs2 – not to mention a potential loss of life, and additional legal liability to airlines and/or airport facilities.
It is recognized that defending airports against unwanted drone activity is a wide and deep problem set. Airports are large infrastructure with a lot of area to protect.
It is, however, possible to detect small drones. Technology exists and combining different sensors in a system is considered the ultimate drone detection solution. Therefore, utilizing a combination of radio frequency (RF) sensors with optical sensors (cameras) and/or radar would provide the most accurate overview, while also being a more expensive solution.
Mitigating the drone threat in an airport environment is a bigger challenge than drone detection. Because of the large airport area, net capturing a drone is not realistic and jamming is illegal. When it comes to mitigating the threat the only realistic thing at present is to develop a set of procedures that separate departing and landing air traffic from the rouge drones approaching or entering the protected area. But some kind of drone detection is imperative because without awareness of the drone no action can be taken.