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Counter-attack to drone tactics: safeguarding airspace

The nefarious exploitation of increasingly sophisticated drones is forcing solutions to address these threats.


The tallest, or strongest, walls cannot stop a US$1,500.00 drone from doing tremendous damage. Consequently, security teams around the world must expand their physical perimeter security protection measures. Especially vulnerable are “likely targets” such as pedestrian/spectator areas, airports and critical infrastructure sites.

While there are many productive uses for drones, if they are in the wrong hands, small drones can easily be used for terrorist activities. Integrating airspace security measures into existing security infrastructure is not difficult. It just needs to be done before it's too late.

Using innovative intelligent airspace security technology, integrators and their end-user customers can minimize and mitigate the security impact by securing their airspace. They can, for example, assess all airspace activities, identify drones of cooperative workers, and expose those that could be a malicious or terrorist threat.

This technology and resources can be used to mitigate the drone threat and protect public and private interests as the landscape of these threats evolves. There has been a huge increase in suspicious drone sightings around the world in stadiums and prisons, in addition to airports, power plants, and other critical infrastructure.

Drone sightings on airstrips in the US, for example, according to the US flight regulatory agency, have increased by 74% between 2020 and 2021. Once rare enough to generate headlines, interference involving these devices has become common, and security teams now must – literally – look to the sky to protect people, property or information.


Technologies to counter these threats have also emerged at a rapid pace. The following are seven predictions for drone technologies for the next 12 months.

1. Drones will win the next world war

Drones are already winning wars in clashes across the world, but it is highly likely that serious conflicts will be defined by unmanned bomb-dropping vehicles and their counterattack technologies. Just a month into the year, we witnessed the drone attack on the airport and oil facilities in Abu Dhabi, fueling civil war in the region. Several nations are aware of the threat and preparing anti-drone programs amid fears of the use of drones for terrorist actions.

Ukraine recently deployed the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone against Russian forces, causing catastrophic losses to the enemy. While Bayraktar TB2 has been deployed in minor conflicts, notably in Ethiopia and Azerbaijan, the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine promises to be its biggest involvement yet. With a relatively low cost (only US$ 2 million, compared to US$ 32 million estimated for the MQ-9 Reaper) and high capacity, the Bayraktar TB2 has the potential to play a decisive role in Europe's biggest conventional warfare since 1945.

It's not just military-grade drones that pose a threat. With their potential for hostile surveillance, weapons delivery and even detonation, small and medium-sized drones have become an easy tool for nefarious activities such as the recent assassination attempt on the Iraqi prime minister, which involved a UAV loaded with explosives.

2. More eyes in the sky

Drone sales continue to rise in this time of pandemic as new companies enter the picture, via numerous nimble startups backed with venture capital money.

3. Remote areas will embrace drone technology

Drones are also proving to fulfill essential roles in progressive cities and rural areas. Drones can help with logistics in sparsely populated areas, or in regions where transport networks are fighting nature, such as mountains, monitoring road damage or inspecting bridges. They will also be vital for moving heavy loads in areas with poor road connections.

4. Drone detection integrates with urban policing

As the number of drones in the skies increases, driven by enthusiasts and commercial users, law enforcement authorities will begin to integrate drone solutions into their security infrastructure.

With access to real-time data on drone activity, cities will gain valuable insights into potential cybersecurity and terrorism incidents during their early stages, giving them more time to act. There will also be more options for mobile airspace security, allowing law enforcement and government officials to provide drone protection for events, large gatherings, parades and more. This highly agile, adaptable and temporary level of monitoring will be a great solution for areas where airspace restrictions are fluid.

5. National governments will increase counter-drone funding

Faced with these new 21st century threats posed by the malicious use of drones, forward-thinking lawmakers are expected to advance new funding proposals aimed at bolstering anti-drone capabilities in countries, driven by national security and anti-terrorism concerns.


6. Drug Drones Will Work

Drones are dropping materials such as drugs, cigarettes and cell phones to inmates in prisons at an increasing rate. Only with the use of more sophisticated drone detection technologies can illegal drone launches decrease.

7. New standards for drone detection

The ability of authorities to declare flight restrictions at critical national events will enhance anti-drone programs.


It is fair to say that cities and businesses will be required to monitor all drones in their airspace. As a result, security teams will need to not only detect drones, but differentiate between friend and foe, through heavy investment in technology.

(Adapted from the article by Mary-Lou Smulders, published on the Security Sales & Integration website, available at

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