US Army helicopter collision with a drone is a “catastrophe waiting to happen”

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO), a global provider of drone detection and mitigation products, notes a September 22, 2017 New York Post report on a collision between a US Army Black Hawk helicopter and a rogue drone over Staten Island in New York. The Army helicopter is understood to have conducted an emergency landing following the collision, and the authorities are investigating the incident.

The number of incidents involving drones and aircraft has been rapidly increasing. Recent incidents included Apache and Puma helicopters in the UK, multiple incidents in Melbourne, Australia, drone inference with firefighting planes in California, as well as incidents at Gatwick, Dubai and other airports.

The Australian Financial Review has recently quoted the Australian Senator O’Sullivan, an air crash investigator of 20 years, as saying “My personal view is that this is a catastrophe waiting to happen”. DroneShield agrees with that view. Sadly, given the proliferation of drones and their propensity for careless or even nefarious/rogue use, a loss of life in an aircraft and drone collision is just a matter of time.

To minimise drone risks, airports today adopt the strategy of halting traffic when a drone is identified in their airspace. This is typically initiated based on casual human observation of a drone at the airspace, without reliable automated detection procedures in place. Once a traffic halt is in place, the airport loses hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the duration of the halt.

DroneShield’s DroneSentinel drone detection system provides early warning of an incoming drone, including the location of the drone and the pilot. The system includes passive radiofrequency, as well as radar, acoustic, thermal and optical sensors. DroneSentinel can be optionally combined with a jammer (in the DroneSentry product) to neutralise the incoming drone threat, following the detection. Additionally, DroneShield’s DroneGun is capable of mobile deployment to intercept rogue drones, as a tactical gun-like jammer.

Because of the risk of loss of life and the costs associated with drone collisions, major airports are expected to adopt counter-drone systems. Several discussions are presently underway between DroneShield and airport authorities. DroneShield is proud to be leading the drone mitigation effort, in partnership with proactive rather than reactive infrastructure industry market leaders around the world.