hostile black drone

Hostile drones neutralised with falcon attack strategies and 5G disruption

Image credit: Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

Eighteen projects designed to thwart nefarious drone attacks including a plan to use swarms with “peregrine falcon attack strategies” have been given a combined £2m by the UK government.

Following the severe disruption caused by drones at Gatwick Airport in December 2018, the UK government has been increasingly focused on how to prevent future attacks. Last month, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee called for a white paper by summer 2020 which will set out how drones can be usefully integrated into society while mitigating their risks.

Amongst the other projects that will receive approximately £100,000 each, investigations into radar, electro magnets and artificial intelligence (AI) are also being tested to find ways to “detect, disrupt and defeat” hostile, malicious and illegal uses of drones.

Oxford-based company Animal Dynamics will continue developing its idea for a “swarm system” which would “employ peregrine falcon attack strategies” to “detect and neutralise” drones and test it to see if it works.

Proposals being tested by other companies include technology to disable 4G and 5G connections on drones, as well as AI for sensors which will automatically identify drones in the sky.

David Lugton, competition technical lead, said: “The introduction of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones, has been one of the most significant technological advances of recent years and represents a shift in capability of potential adversaries.

“The threat from UAS has evolved rapidly and we are seeing the use of hostile improvised UAS threats in overseas theatres of operation. There is a similar problem in the UK with the malicious or accidental use of drones becoming a security challenge at events, affecting critical infrastructure and public establishments; including prisons and major UK airports.”

With the number of near misses between drones and aircraft on the rise, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced a mandatory registration for drone users in May 2019. They recently clarified that users would face fines of up to £1,000 if they fly their device without passing an online theory test or registering as an operator. The UK Airprox Board said there were 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft reported in 2018, up by more than a third on the total of 93 during the previous year.

The unmanned aircraft industry is expected to contribute an extra £42bn to the UK economy by 2030, with more than 76,000 drones expected to be in use by this date, according to the Home Office.

Latest figures showed there were 168 police-recorded drone incidents in England and Wales in 2018 and 165 drones were found in prisons in 2016 and 2017, according to the department.

No-fly zones around airports were extended from 1km to 5km in March in an effort to prevent disruption.

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