Photo credit France24

In August 2018, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was attacked simultaneously by two drones. The first crashed into a building, the second could be deflected before causing real damage with its explosive load.

This mode of terrorist action was not a first, however, as it was previously regularly used byISIS fighters, especially in Syria, against Russianbases.

But the caracas attack gave this terrorist process a particular impact, and the physical elimination of a head of state through this means becomes a possibility present in the imagination of all those who plan this type of action.

drone attack
Photo credit BFMTV

Since then, examples of media-based drone attacks appear to be multiplying in a more conventional field of confrontation, but representa potential source of inspiration for terrorist movements: The 10 January 2019, 6 Yemeni soldiers were killed at their base during an attack by a pair of drones; the 14 May, operations are halted on a major oil pipeline in southern Saudi Arabia following a drone attack on two pumping stations near Ryad, the capital; the May 26,a drone sent by the Houthi militias is intercepted near theDjizanairport, 70 kilometres north of the border with Yemen; the 14 June, 5 new drones are intercepted by Saudi Arabia near Abha airport, the second attack in two days of this military platform located near Yemen; Finally, the June 23, the death toll from a similar attack stands at one killed and seven wounded, again on Abha airport.

Have airliners been attacked?

So far, no airliners have been hit during landing or take-off, but this airport is home to airline flights Saudia, Flynas and Flyadeal,as well asEgyptair, Nesma Airlines and Nile Air from Egypt and low cost Air Arabia and Flydubai from Sharjah and Dubai, such an eventuality cannot be ruled out.

An acceleration of attacks!

drone attacks
Crédit photo Humanité.fr

In the face of this acceleration of events, the hypothesis of a successful attack, carried out by one or more drones, becomes an inescapable element to be taken into account in security devices.

It is clearly so when it comes to protecting the highest authorities, but what about sensitive industrial sites, airport infrastructure, special events involving the public, and even military operations?

A bypass of the safety devices!

Bypassing security devices
Photo credit C-Drone Review

The question must be asked because the drone, by its use of the third dimension bypasses the devices of land, human and material security. He obviously freed himself from all the walls. Its video capability allows the precise observation and striking of a selected target at the appropriate time, within the technical capabilities of the aircraft, but with an elongation allowing in most cases to shelter the pilot.

Its modest size and riding mode give it stealth and speed giving it a real surprise effect.

In short, for a paltry price, it is a factor of levelling power between the security forces of states, and organizations that for different reasons decide to confront them.

How can we protect yourself from drone attacks?

drone attacks
MC2 Technologies anti-drone solution

Solutions are being developed and some are already operational. The fight against drones, like the fight against aircraft requires a capability of detection, identification and neutralization.

Current solutions covering the first two areas are relatively effective and will depend on the configuration of the terrain to be protected and the characteristics of the attacking drone (size, weight, speed and flight height).

On the other hand, directional or omni-directional interference solutions, dissociating the drone from its transmitting base or satellite link, exist and protect against 90 attacks.

It is therefore technically possible to protect ourselves from this type of threat with French technological solutions, whose design and manufacture we master.

The Lille-based MC2-Technology company is currently the best response to this threat through its targeted and controlled interference capability.

Is the use of drone jammers allowed?

The use of drone jammers,for legal reasons, is reserved in France for the regalforces. There is therefore a gap between the operational technical capability that exists to guard against the risk of drone attacks and the human resources available.

Indeed, the Ministry of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior cannot reasonably mobilize their capabilities over time to deploy the security measures that would be necessary to protect our fellow citizens in all areas that could be at risk.

From then on, two hypotheses open up to us. The firstis a legislative evolution to extend the use of this technology to private security companies.

The terrorist attacks of 2015 led to a legislative shift in the use of firearms by securitycompanies.

Highly supervised, carried out by prefectural decision and under the supervision of a judicial police officer, this practice still exists and contributes, under the control of the State to increase the security offer enjoyed by our fellow citizens.

Such a development could be envisaged in the area of protection against malicious drones, especially since jammers, unlike firearms, are not lethal.

The second solution is that of a status quo that limits the use of interference to the protection of very high personalities and some sensitive sites.

This solution will leave the field open to terrorists to take the initiative of the major attack in one of the unprotected areas, industrial, event gathering a large crowd and very media, or transport.

So in this case, a terrorist drone attack will be a strategic surprise, which will leave the country in a state of more or less astonishment depending on the scale and success of the operation. This will result in a ban on public outdoor events, except for a drone protection solution.

The state, unable to meet all the demands, will then be forced to change the legislation as happened with the armament of security companies after the attacks of 2015.

The prospect of the 2024 Olympic Games in France and the associated issues
will, no doubt, allow the legislator to anticipate by adopting the legal framework that allows the best configuration to protect itself from this emerging threat. It will thus spare our country the confrontation with strategic surprise.

Article created by Christophe YSEWYN, Colonel (ER).

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Anti-drones Would a terrorist attack carried out by drones in France be a strategic surprise?