Mr. Blue Sky? – The Drone Challenge.
On September 3, 2020 an illegal marketing stunt took place in the heart of Tel-Aviv.
A drone dropped hundreds of bags of cannabis on a crowd at Rabin square, one of Tel-Aviv’s central and busiest locations. The bags were dropped by the “green drone” Telegram group, which advocates for the legalization of cannabis in Israel, with “free love” as the group’s slogan. (JPost article). The perpetrators were apprehended, but for the security world, the incident was both a reminder and a wakeup call.
Imagine if the drone had dropped an IED instead of cannabis… the outcome could have been devastating.
Drones are not a new problem. Terrorist groups including Hamas and Hizbullah have been experimenting with drones and radio-controlled aircraft for surveillance and a means to deliver explosive payloads for decades. This new generation of drones is quiet, inexpensive, widely available, easy to operate, and in use everywhere.
There is a technological race to find an effective countermeasure to the drone threat, with some promising solutions. However, those solutions are out of reach for the most, unless you are a well-funded law enforcement agency, the military, or an enterprise with very deep pockets.
This situation drives most of us to conclude that until there is an affordable solution, there isn’t much we can do about this threat except bear it in mind.
But is that so? Aren’t we giving up too easy?
While we can’t eliminate the drone threat we can certainly disrupt the operation and buy ourselves some response time if and when this threat arrives –
- Identification: a few, well-placed cameras, aimed up and out, connected to an affordable, well-calibrated, AI VMS may give us the necessary warning for our security personnel to start proper emergency protocols.
- Obstruction: In a prior post I discussed the use of concealment – which can apply in this situation as well. Gazebos, top shading cloth or plastic sheets, tents, and overhead mesh can all conceal activities from “birds-eye” POV, trump intelligence-gathering attempts, and impede or thwart payload drops.
- Awareness: although this sounds basic this is sometimes the immediate and effective warning that we can get.
- the Z-axis – the drone threat is not where we generally look for one. It is very similar to the challenge of a soldier clearing a street. We generally perceive the threat on our XY plane where special training and attention are needed for us to keep in mind the Z-axis (hight).
- Sound- As stated before, today’s drones are very quiet. However, the sound that they DO make is very distinctive. Knowing the sound, being aware, and training to identify and isolate it from the normal ambient sounds around may well give us an early earning (maybe even before a visual one).
Drones are here to stay, they are a threat and a challenge but if you think outside of the box and remember that you know your facility better than anyone else – you will find a way to confront this challenge too.