[LINK] The Gatwick Drones

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Fri Dec 21 15:21:11 AEDT 2018

> On 21/12/2018 8:58 AM, Roger Clarke wrote:
>> [I'm embarrassed to discover that my section on hostile uses of drones 
>> included only "an individual drone could be deployed against an 
>> aircraft during takeoff or landing, perhaps through a jet-engine 
>> air-intake".
>> [It failed to discuss simple 'nuisance', e.g. close to airports:
>> http://rogerclarke.com/SOS/Drones-E.html#AHLD

On 21/12/18 13:19, JLWhitaker wrote:
> I just read the update story that they still aren't open and are 
> bringing in the military. My thought was can't they trace the radio 
> signals? Or is that not possible?

I summarised 'defensive' measures here:

The first challenge is detection of the signal, and differentiation of 
it from the massive amount of electromagnetic radiation in a near-urban 
setting, and especially in the vicinity of a major airport.

There are large numbers of manufacturers of models of small drones 
(although they may use only a limited number of control frequencies). 
There are fewer numbers of the kinds of manufacturers and models of the 
larger drones that the story reported as creating the problem.  (There 
could be small ones too;  but visual sightings are harder, and the 
airport radar may not pick them up).

This hasn't been a problem to date, so the UK's large number of 
semi-independent law enforcement agencies may not have built a database 
of that kind - and the regulator (CAA) may be as slack as CASA.

The second challenge is to get a fix on the source.  That's probably 
possible from a single-point detector, but it may be pushing the state 
of the art - and it would appear that there's no such facility installed 
at the airport in any case.  So two detectors would need to be acquired 
from somewhere, positioned at complementary locations, and maybe 
re-calibrated, and the two sets of data used to compute the plot.

The third challenge is to plan and implement enough road-blocks fast 
enough, and to then send in the pursuit vehicles to flush them out.

The eastern end is too congested, so there would be too many eyes for 
the culprit(s) to escape detection for very long.  The western end is 
favourite, and there aren't many access roads, nor many places to hide:

A pro would have stolen the kit, would hide it in the area, and would 
have a ready-made alibi if stopped at a road-block.  An amateur would be 
loath to lose the drone and equipment, and wouldn't have taken steps to 
prevent tracking of its ownership, so they'd be more readily caught.

After this, I reckon there may be a small market in selling pre-packaged 
detection and location solutions to a lot of airports around the world; 
so get cracking  (:-)}

Roger, get back to work.

Roger Clarke                            mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
T: +61 2 6288 6916   http://www.xamax.com.au  http://www.rogerclarke.com

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA 

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

More information about the Link mailing list