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Drones in no flight zones

Flying drones in these spaces are illegal yet Dublin Airport has no way of stopping this behaviour. Do drone defence systems work in these situations?

In recent years, the use of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has increased rapidly due to their efficiency, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. However, this trend has raised concerns about safety and security, especially near airports, where drones can pose a severe threat to aviation operations.

While the danger of drones flying near airports is not new, it has become more significant due to the increasing availability and capabilities of drones. Drones can threaten aviation safety by colliding with aircraft, interfering with communication and navigation systems, and distracting pilots.

To mitigate these risks, airports and aviation authorities worldwide have implemented various drone defence systems. These systems range from passive measures such as education and awareness campaigns to active measures such as jamming and counter-drone technology.

Some passive measures used by airports include educating the public about the dangers of flying drones near airports and enforcing regulations that prohibit such activities. Active measures involve using technology such as radar to detect and track drones, jamming technology to disrupt their communication and navigation systems, and counter-drone technology to detect and intercept drones.

However, these measures are not foolproof, and drone technology is becoming more sophisticated, with some drones able to evade detection and resist jamming technology. Therefore, airports and aviation authorities must remain vigilant and continuously assess and update their drone defence systems.

In addition to technology-based defences, other measures can also be taken, such as using trained bird handlers to fly birds of prey near airports or using drones to detect and track rogue drones.

Dublin Airport has faced drone issues in recent weeks, prompting the airport operator, DAA, to welcome the state's decision to grant them the authority to use drone effector technology. While this technology can take control of and bring down rogue drones, it is not foolproof. Therefore, people must report any drone sightings by calling 999, and flying drones within five kilometres of any airport remains illegal and prohibited.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Kenny Jacobs, the CEO of DAA, the airport operator, acknowledged that they have been facing drone issues for several weeks. Mr. Jacobs welcomed the state's decision to grant them the authority to use a drone effector technology that can take control of and bring down rogue drones.

He emphasised that this technology would help prevent airport closures due to drone activity. However, Mr. Jacobs also noted that this new system is not a foolproof solution. Although the drone effector technology is proven to work, it is not 100% effective. Therefore, people still need to report any drone sightings by calling 999. Mr. Jacobs reminded everyone that flying a drone within five kilometres of Dublin airport, or any airport, is illegal and prohibited.