The Czech Interior Ministry has announced a public tender for the development of an anti-drone (or drone-killer) system capable of taking out anonymous drones invading no-fly zones or other restricted areas. The deal, website Ekonomický deník reported, is worth 58 million crowns. To date, the Czech police reportedly do not have a comprehensive system capable of sending rogue drones to the ground.
The last few years have seen an increase in the number of privately-owned drones and with it the possibility of security threats. While drones can and are used for the broader public good – in everything from defense, emergency services, logistics, agriculture, communications and entertainment – like any tool they can be twisted to serve dubious or even nefarious purposes: from intrusion and spying over private property or restricted air space to the potential plotting of or use in a terrorist attack, a threat highlighted by former British prime minister David Cameron warned earlier this year.
The rapid spread of drones has strongly accented the need for a response in the Czech Republic - the development of a surveillance system capable of taking down drones representing a threat. Numerous such systems, of course, exist already, capable of detecting, identifying, tracking and neutralising potential threats. The last includes jamming systems and even also means of taking control of an invading drone, mini-copter, or other small remote-controlled aircraft. The system the Czech police would opt for would apparently be mobile, guarding perimeters at set areas. In time, the anti-drone system would also be used not only by the police but also the prison service and the military.
Jakub Karas is the director of the Czech Unmanned Aerial Alliance; he confirmed on Czech Radio that drones represent a number of threats. It underlines the point that the police and other security forces need effective countermeasures.
These include airports, military airports and other bases, and specifically in Prague, the seat of the president Prague Castle, which is a no-fly zone. Since the beginning of this year 15 drone pilots in the Czech Republic were fined for the improper use of drones, either operating the aircraft without registration or failing to heed existing regulations. The minimum fine for the misuse of drones is 50,000 crowns.