Safeguarding Europe's vital ports from drones
Explore how ASD member Thales is helping address the rising drone threat to vital European ports, protecting global trade flow with innovative solutions
When it comes to protecting Europe's critical infrastructure, one area that demands special attention is the safeguarding of ports, where the impact of any incident can have far-reaching economic consequences.
The drone threat
The proliferation of commercial drones, particularly those falling into the micro category (up to 2 kg), poses a significant risk to infrastructure of high strategic and economic value. These drones are low-cost and easily manoeuvrable over long distances and capable of carrying harmful payloads, including high-resolution cameras or even explosives. The potential for both negligent and malicious use heightens the need for robust anti-drone systems around critical infrastructure.
Expanding the scope: ports protection
Traditionally, anti-drone systems have been associated with airports and cities. However, recognising the economic importance of ports, where approximately 80% of global commercial exchanges took place in 2019, it is evident that these crucial hubs must also be safeguarded. The interruption of port activities due to a drone incident could have severe economic repercussions.
Anti-drone measures for ports
Protecting ports using anti-drone systems follows a strategic framework similar to other critical infrastructures. The approach involves:
- Long-distance detection and location: employing radars and frequency detectors for early identification.
- Identification and monitoring: utilising optronic systems to visually differentiate drone types, detect alterations, and track trajectories.
- Neutralisation: activating frequency inhibitors automatically or manually to counteract the drone's mission.
The Thales HorusShield solution
One player in this field is the Thales HorusShield system, designed to address the challenges of protecting ports. Key features of the HorusShield solution include:
- Compact and portable: its design allows for rapid deployment in any location or permanent installation in a fixed position.
- Modular design: the system can scale up from a single sensor station to meet the specific needs of the port.
- Versatile detection: the combination of radar and frequency detector enables the identification of both autonomous and radio-controlled drones.
- Integration with Smart Port concepts: The Thales HorusShield can be integrated with port information systems. This aligns with the Smart Port concept, enabling the differentiation of potentially hostile drones from those used by the port infrastructure itself for data acquisition.
In conclusion, the aerospace, security, and defence industry is at the forefront of developing and implementing innovative solutions to protect Europe's critical infrastructure. The focus on anti-drone systems for ports exemplifies the industry's commitment to ensuring the uninterrupted flow of global commerce while maintaining the highest standards of security.