ISRAEL - Technology Fights Drones at Airports

Arno Froese

Airports are slowly getting back to business amid the coronavirus crisis. While that’s a hopeful development for the travel industry, airports will need to plan for an ever-increasing threat of disruption from unauthorized drones overhead.

The last time an incident was widely reported was February 3, about a month before the pandemic started grounding planes. Madrid closed its international airport for two hours that day due to drones sighted in the airspace.

Over the past two years, unauthorized drone activity has shut down Gatwick and Heathrow airports in England, and international airports in Dubai, Dublin, Singapore, and Newark (New Jersey).

Drones also present a threat to terminal buildings, says Sarig Lev, business development manager for drones and anti-drone solutions at Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary ELTA Systems. And there’s a possibility they could be carrying explosives.

Therefore, airports must always be on the lookout for drones to avoid expensive, aggravating shutdowns and flight cancellations, or worse.

Here we look at Israeli solutions to a dangerous problem plaguing airports across the world.

Drone Guard has provided protection for events such as the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit. The system was tested successfully at a naval NATO exercise in Portugal and at international airports in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Lev says the most critical component in Drone Guard is 3D X-band radar that detects and tracks all types of drones without interfering with airport radar systems.

“It sees all movement in the sky and distinguishes drones from birds, for example.”

Drone Dome from Rafael Systems (maker of Israel’s anti-missile Iron Dome) is designed to operate in highly congested civilian or military airspaces.

The system employs electro-optics, radar and signal intelligence to identify the target, send alerts and take down the drone in a controlled way, either by jamming its radiofrequency signals or destroying it with a focused laser beam.

The growing threat from drones doesn’t only affect airports. In September 2019, Houthi rebels from Yemen used drones to strike two key oil installations inside Saudi Arabia, damaging facilities and cutting the country’s oil production by about half—some 5% of global oil production.

“It is critical for our customers across sensitive environments that our solution doesn’t disrupt communications, transportation, enterprise functions or everyday life, or cause collateral damage. And with authorized drones playing an important role in today’s cyber society, ‘friend or foe?’ differentiation between rogue and authorized drones is also important.”, 28 October 2020

Arno's commentary

While drones have been used as far back as 1946, there is virtually no comparison with today’s sophisticated ones.

At this point in time, the main advantage is security. Israel’s technology has proven to be very effective. When drones interfered with air traffic at Heathrow and Gatwick airports in England, they deployed Israeli technology.

Again, we mention these things to simply show that mankind will continue to develop, invent, and nearly perfect things which are literally out of this world, meaning the average person cannot grasp it intellectually. 

What comes to mind biblically is Judges 5, where Deborah’s victory song is listed: “They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera” (Judges 5:20).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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