GPS jammers can cut the connection between flying objects and satellites

Berlin’s London airport is being modernized: Heathrow and Gatwick airports have had a huge impact on Gatwick’s operations shortly before Christmas. Millions of dollars were invested on it.

In order to rule out similar incidents in the future, airport managers also rely on technology also used by the British Armed Forces: jammers blocked communication between the drone and its ground pilots, thereby forcing flying objects to ask questions.

The operator did not open the system actually used at London Airport. One candidate is the defense system of Israeli manufacturer Rafael, which has, among other things, proven its ability to deploy British and American forces in Syria and Iraq. Its high-tech radar can detect the approach of drones at a distance of several kilometers.

If the flying object is classified as a threat, the jamming signal can overload the UAV’s communication system. The connection to the drone’s navigator is interrupted, and the flying object crashes or must make an emergency landing. If necessary, defensive weapons can also be equipped with laser systems for direct drone shooting.

Aviation group Airbus has also developed a system to keep drones away from restricted airspace. It will not only interfere with the electronic equipment of the drone, but also find its pilot. The Gatwick Airport example shows how difficult it can be to discover the cause of a drone accident when the police have been looking for the sender of the micro-aircraft.

Other defense systems will attack the drone’s GPS navigation. Using special jammers called GPS Jammers can cut off the connection between flying objects and GPS satellites. The so-called GPS spoofing is more complicated. In this case, the drone is claimed to have a bad GPS signal, which can distract the heading.

Laser cannon and safety net
Systems launched directly to drones are not suitable for protecting civilian facilities. Laser cannons, such as the compact laser weapon system developed by Boeing, are more suitable for military use. The laser weapon system was first installed on a US warship in 2014 and is also based on laser technology: high-energy beams can still destroy drones about 15 kilometers away.

The Skywall system of British Openworks Engineering company looks like a mixture of air gun and bazooka. The shoulder-supported defense system triggered a safety net that wrapped an approaching drone and caused it to crash. However, the range of cyber projectiles launched at atmospheric pressure is very short.

Hunting drones with drones seems more promising: For example, researchers at Michigan Technological University have developed a hunting drone that can shoot nets in the air and catch unwanted intruders. In order to avoid uncontrolled falls, the captured object is still connected to the receiver through the line, which can be used to remove it from the hazardous area.

The defense system tested in the Netherlands and other countries works completely without technology: there, a specially trained bird of prey landed on the drone and crashed it

In airports, the use of animals even has a beneficial side: their presence keeps the terrible flock of birds away from the pilots. At airports where falcons specialize in flying birds of prey, the number of feathered animals in groups has dropped by 90%.

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