Countering Drone Threats at Airports

A Transport Security International Roundtable

Airports are a rich target for unauthorized drone activity - be it careless or criminal - and so require a robust layer of sensors to maintain secure airspace. This is tricky since airports are noisy and complex signal environments and as the old expression goes, “when you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen one airport.”

In a recent roundtable discussion, TSI (Transport Security International) moderated a conversation between D-Fend Solutions’ Jeffrey Starr and Echodyne’s Leo McCloskey. The conversation acknowledges the challenges airports face and forecasts credible solutions, including layered sensors for robust situational awareness, better decision making and safer skies.

Key highlights include why drones are a problem, and critical features of meaningful solutions:

  • Drone presence near airports is on the rise.
  • Drones disrupt flight schedules and ground operations.
  • Drones cause safety hazards, damaging aircrafts that can result in emergency landings due to penetration and inhalation hazards and lost optics.
  • Airports are uniquely sensitive environments and require bespoke, layered-sensor anti-drone solutions.
As McCloskey offers, “It’s also about how drones are integrated into the NAS (national air space). Without knowing what good drone behavior looks like, determining bad intent is practically impossible. This state of alertness without actual information about drones causes anxiety, which only elevates the risk to the NAS.”


According to the article, it is becoming increasingly clear there is work to be done identifying appropriate technology that will evolve alongside regulations to protect against this growing threat. Now, the minimum requirement for detecting and tracking rogue drones is at least two sensors that combine to provide detection through identification, typically radar and optical.

Discover more about the state of protection from drones at airports in the full article:
The Drone Threat to Airports, and Ways to Counter It: A TSI Roundtable | Transport Security International Magazine (tsi-mag.com)

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