Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1664076
Will/Do, RR, P&W and General Electric chuck dead drones as well as turkeys/chickens etc into their enginges at full chat to see how robust they are.?

Serious question for someone who fly's regularly out of LHR & LGK could one of these drones actually bring down say an A380 if ingested? Or kill one of the flight crew by penetrating the cockpit lookout.
#1664082
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:There is no doubt that military capability to deal with this sort of stuff is available.


All sorts of capabilities are available and none of them are exactly rocket science. This sort of vague 'military capabilities' terminology is the sort of dumbing-down that I don't like in the media, and also gives the impression that military = height of technology, which is not really the case.

You can divide up relevant capabilities as follows:

1. Communications jamming and/or pinpointing the source of the signal. This is not exactly new technology, indeed the principles were well-known prior to WW2 and the practicalities of it thrashed out during that conflict. Completely useless if the drone is flying a pre-programmed path and there are no comms to jam or pinpoint.

2. Geofencing. Will keep mainstream retail drones out but completely useless if the software in the drone is non-compliant. Non-compliance is and always will be totally trivial.

3. GPS jamming. Fairly impractical as a means of defence - what are you going to do, jam all the time?

4. Identify, track and follow using another drone. Quite evidently, any capabilities the police or the military have in this area are ineffective. Either that or no-one involved in the Gatwick response actually saw a drone.

5. Shoot it down or otherwise disable it. Birds of prey apparently proved ineffective, nets need another drone to get close, weapons come with the risk of collateral damage. Only a shotgun really ticks the boxes, and it seems the authorities can't even spot the rogue drone let alone get close enough to shoot it down.


All of these provide some capability, but none cover all the angles. Any of us on this forum, with a few thousand pounds and information available via the web, could copycat Gatwick tomorrow with almost zero risk of detection and there is absolutely nothing the authorities could do to prevent it. Your drone can be in and out in less than a minute, zooming over the runway and sitting there at a hundred feet before zooming away again on its pre-programmed flightpath, dropping down to treetop level where no radar can follow it and no-one can possibly keep tabs visually. Lands in the corner of a field, you know exactly when and where it will land, you scoop it up and shove it in your car.

As usual the response to someone doing something illegal is to make more things illegal, and extend restrictions and Police powers in that general area. Because you must be seen to be doing something. :?
T67M, kanga liked this
#1664083
FlarePath wrote:Will/Do, RR, P&W and General Electric chuck dead drones as well as turkeys/chickens etc into their enginges at full chat to see how robust they are.?

Serious question for someone who fly's regularly out of LHR & LGK could one of these drones actually bring down say an A380 if ingested? Or kill one of the flight crew by penetrating the cockpit lookout.


Exactly what I'd be doing - firing them through engines and ascertaining whether they are really a risk. If they are a risk, then perhaps they're just one we accept like Canada Geese.
By Barcli
#1664085
FlarePath wrote:Will/Do, RR, P&W and General Electric chuck dead drones as well as turkeys/chickens etc into their enginges at full chat to see how robust they are.?

Serious question for someone who fly's regularly out of LHR & LGK could one of these drones actually bring down say an A380 if ingested? Or kill one of the flight crew by penetrating the cockpit lookout.


Its all about battery size , I believe - we cannot generalise that these are all small drones with relatively small batteries. Its the batteries that will do the damage.
User avatar
By mmcp42
#1664090
first off, let me say I know nothing (about anything)
is it not possible to put a cage of some sort on the front of a jet engine intake to stop anything large getting through to the delicate parts?
#1664094
mmcp42 wrote:first off, let me say I know nothing (about anything)
is it not possible to put a cage of some sort on the front of a jet engine intake to stop anything large getting through to the delicate parts?


No.
User avatar
By T67M
#1664095
FlarePath wrote:Serious question for someone who fly's regularly out of LHR & LGK could one of these drones actually bring down say an A380 if ingested? Or kill one of the flight crew by penetrating the cockpit lookout.


Accidentally? Possibly, possibly not. There are just too many variables to give a definitive answer.

Deliberately as part of a planned attack? Definitely yes.
#1664100
Defcribd, I like your optimism. Let me speculate:

Take an artillery shell/mortar round tracking radar - that sort of system will easily see a drone.

Share the data with active or passive systems. This could be something that throws out kinetic energy or more likely a nice burst of RF to either disrupt the control signal or the onboard GPS (an existing capability). You could also feed to information to ATC such that they could tactically manage the scenario.

Of course, you’re never going to cover all eventualities and spotty teenagers, bored of hacking the CIA, will always find a way round. However, it’s all about mitigating and not necessarily removing risk.
#1664109
Dave Phillips wrote:Share the data with active or passive systems. This could be something that throws out kinetic energy or more likely a nice burst of RF to either disrupt the control signal or the onboard GPS (an existing capability). You could also feed to information to ATC such that they could tactically manage the scenario.



Weather causes far more issues and cumulative delays to Airfield and Terminal ATC than drones ever have, or will do for years to come, yet for thirty plus years we never had decent weather radar available operationally for tactical management at my old ANSP. Still don’t...
#1664113
Dave Phillips wrote:Take an artillery shell/mortar round tracking radar - that sort of system will easily see a drone.


Even after it drops behind a row of massive conifers and races away over the fields at 20 feet above the ground?

Are they going to put one of these radars at every major airport and keep it on all the time? By the time you deploy or even switch on, it's happened and it's gone.

Dave Phillips wrote:Share the data with active or passive systems. This could be something that throws out kinetic energy or more likely a nice burst of RF to either disrupt the control signal or the onboard GPS (an existing capability). You could also feed to information to ATC such that they could tactically manage the scenario.


Probably no control signal, probably following a pre-programmed path. GPS, ok fine that might work - but what does the drone when it loses GPS? A builder can program in any mitigation he likes. There are probably some out there with psuedo-INS capability, are there not? Feed it to ATC.... how do you tactically manage something hanging around over the runway apart from stopping your departures and arrivals? The unpredictability is surely the problem - it's there, but it could be there in a matter of seconds and you don't know what's planned.

Dave Phillips wrote: Of course, you’re never going to cover all eventualities and spotty teenagers, bored of hacking the CIA, will always find a way round. However, it’s all about mitigating and not necessarily removing risk.


Fully agree. But this isn't something only spotty teenagers could do. Anyone could do it, and we've known anyone could do it for ages. The media has gone mad about drones, but frankly they're just radio-controlled model aircraft upgraded for the 21st century.

I don't believe my optimism (as you put it) is misplaced. I don't believe the Gatwick incursion ceased because the authorities stopped it. I believe it stopped because the perpetrator chose to stop it. Equally likely is that the sightings were overblown and apart from the first one it never really happened.
Barcli liked this
#1664128
FlarePath wrote:Will/Do, RR, P&W and General Electric chuck dead drones as well as turkeys/chickens etc into their enginges at full chat to see how robust they are.?

Serious question for someone who fly's regularly out of LHR & LGK could one of these drones actually bring down say an A380 if ingested? Or kill one of the flight crew by penetrating the cockpit lookout.


Impact trials were conducted a year or so ago by DfT. I seem to remember that they deemed drones to have less density and impact potential than frozen turkeys so felt that, for now, that method remains appropriate.

Regarding Counter Drone Systems. The situation is simple, on the 19th December there wasn't a single Counter Drone System with anything approaching an approval (be it from OFCOM or the CAA) to operate at a UK airport. The Airport Operators Association ran a trial of a single system at Southend last year, it was ok but nothing better. Jamming remains illegal across the majority of the UK, is very closely managed and cannot be unleashed without understanding the knock on impacts (e.g. what other systems operate around the same frequency). This is quite simply not a problem that can be solved overnight, but it will no doubt be solved in considerably quicker time than might have been the case on the 18th December. This will always be the case, we can't plan effectively for snow, why do people think we should have planned for drones.
T67M, Flyin'Dutch' liked this
#1664137
defcribed wrote:
Crash one wrote:I’m convinced that if the target was identified and close enough it doesn’t need a military weapon with 50cal armour piercing rounds at 6000 rounds a minute being sprayed over London to knock a drone out of the sky.


Quite. If you can get close enough, then the weapon of choice is quite obviously a shotgun. It solves the collateral damage and aiming problems nicely. Range remains the issue, but longer barrels, bigger charge, etc. It can't be beyond the wit of man to produce a shotgun with twice the effective range of the common or garden variety.


So, just put wings on one of these, really:

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