Drone defense: High-tech network planned to counter remote-controlled terrorist attacks on UK
Armed Forces minister Penny Mordaunt and military experts are drawing up plans for a new drone defense network to protect the UK from the threat of unmanned aerial vehicles being used to carry out terror attacks.
Mordaunt outlined plans in parliament on Monday to develop a network of countermeasures to prevent drones striking crowds and infrastructure.
She described the issue as an “emerging threat” and said plans were being laid in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) to purchase the technology to see off any such attacks.
“We recognize this as an emerging threat and there is a clear strand of work in the SDSR that is looking at counter measures to the situation,” she told MPs in the House of Commons.
A number of companies are vying to provide the required technology, which may include anti-drone missile systems and special jamming systems to hinder the signal required to pilot the vehicles remotely.
In theory, the measures would be used to defend against terrorist attacks on sporting events, military parades and important public buildings. Other targets could include nuclear power stations and even airliners in flight.
“If you want a bigger bang then you’ve got to have a bigger weapon ... someone could send a drone to attack the House of Commons,” Sir Michael Graydon, the former head of the Royal Air Force, told the Daily Mail.
While he conceded it was unlikely given the technology required, Graydon said such an attack could certainly happen and that institutions like the armed forces would be an obvious target.
“It is quite possible drones could be used against our forces, and if terrorists such as ISIL [Islamic State] could get their hands on them… they would be completely indiscriminate in their use of them,” he said.
The Daily Mail reported that the government is in contact with three arms companies, Chess Dynamics, Blighter Surveillance Systems and Enterprise Control Systems, in its efforts to identify the right counter-measures.