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Disruption, Drones, and Big Airports

December 21, 2018 - 05:13 -- Admin

Yesterday, on the 19th of December at 9 PM GMT, a drone overflight shut down Gatwick airport, the UK's second busiest, stranding tens of thousands of holiday travellers.

  • Six additional overflights between 9:15 PM and midnight kept it closed.
  • A planned 4:30 AM opening was cancelled by another overflight at 3:45. Regular overflights at 7, 9, noon, and 3PM has kept it closed all day, causing the cancellation 760 flights and stranding 110,000 travellers.
  • The police are now deploying snipers, jamming equipment, and a laser sniper system (2 mi range) to destroy the drone if it appears again.

This is a good example of what is possible with low cost and low risk systems disruption. Some additional thinking:

  • Cost of drones: ~ $100. Disruption value: ~$40-60 million (110,000 x $400 per ticket). ROI = $500,000 for every dollar invested in the attack.
  • Method of attack: simple runway/terminal overflights. Easiest to plan/accomplish.
  • Timing of overflights maximized impact.  Initial flurry of overflights demonstrated it was a serious threat.  Infrequent but constant overflights showed the threat was still present.  No rapid return to business as usual possible.

Here's some thinking on the countermeasures being deployed the authorities and how they may run into problems.

Read the rest, for free, at my Global Guerrillas Report website.   

Sincerely,

John Robb