Air traffic control tests drone defense

The German air traffic control is testing drone detection systems around the airports in Munich and Frankfurt until October. They should provide security against unauthorized drone flights that can paralyze air traffic.

A drone in the sky

Dhe DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung in Langen has been testing drone detection systems together with the Frankfurt airport operator Fraport and the Munich airport company since August. With the results of this test run at Frankfurt and Munich airports, the Langen-based company wants to promote the systematic early detection of drones at and in the immediate vicinity of commercial airports. The early and reliable identification of such objects in flight, which represent a great danger for aircraft, is the first step for a fast and targeted drone defense.

Although air traffic control has published detailed information for operators of private threats and a corresponding app is available, drone sightings still occur in the prohibited zones around airports. And this despite the fact that an illegal drone flight in such a prohibited zone can be viewed as a dangerous interference with air traffic and can be punished with a prison sentence of up to ten years.

In the spring of last year and this spring, flight operations at Frankfurt Airport had to be suspended for safety reasons after traffic pilots had seen and reported drones. In the summer of last year, the Federal Ministry of Transport commissioned air traffic control to develop a strategy for the early detection of drones at airports. The upcoming tests will investigate what technology is currently available for early drone detection and what exactly the available systems offer.

On the basis of these findings, a decision should then be made as to which system is most suitable for the large commercial airports. The test project has been coordinated with the responsible state aviation authorities, the Darmstadt regional council and the Southern Bavaria Aviation Office. The federal and state police accompany the tests.