DRY RUN FOR SE­CU­RITY TECH AS NEW DRONE POL­ICY NEARS

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - - Front Page - Faizan Haidar faizan.haider@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEWDELHI: Se­cu­rity agen­cies will test anti-drone de­vices in Delhi from next month with the Union civil avi­a­tion min­istry work­ing on a pol­icy to legalise the use of un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles for var­i­ous recre­ational and com­mer­cial pur­poses, a govern­ment of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said on Tuesday.

The min­istry has iden­ti­fied sev­eral tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing de­vices that can cap­ture drones mid-flight and de­vices that can hack into drones and block their com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems, the of­fi­cial added.

Even af­ter the law to al­low drones is put in place, fly­ing them will be pro­hib­ited in sen­si­tive ar­eas such as Vi­jay Chowk -in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dent’s Es­tate, Par­lia­ment, the Prime Min­is­ter’s House, and North and South Blocks -- and within five kilo­me­tres of the Delhi air­port.

“The civil avi­a­tion min­istry has in­vited dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies to show­case tech­nolo­gies which can neu­tralise drones, if needed,” said an of­fi­cer from the Cen­tral In­dus­trial Se­cu­rity Force (CISF). “We have al­ready been briefed about a bul­let that has a net at­tached to it,” added the of­fi­cer, who asked not to be named.

“The pos­si­bil­ity of drones be­ing mis­used can­not be ruled out. We need to see if a drone is car­ry­ing any ex­plo­sive, then can se­cu­rity agen­cies con­trol it,” said an­other CISF of­fi­cer posted at Delhi air­port. Since drones are typ­i­cally han­dled by an op­er­a­tor through a re­mote-con­trolled de­vice, the min­istry wants equip­ment that will not only block the drone’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions but also trace the op­er­a­tor.

Apart from th­ese de­vices, the govern­ment plans to keep a standby he­li­copter that can be used by CISF and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Guard (NSG) com­man­dos to shoot down a drone that en­ters pro­hib­ited airspace or ap­pears to be a threat.

The civil avi­a­tion min­istry has come up with a draft reg­u­la­tion al­low­ing the use of drones, but with re­stric­tions. It has de­fined no-drone zones in cities and at in­ter­na­tional bor­ders, and has added a clause in which the com­mer­cial use of drones re­quires per­mis­sions from the avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor. The draft is open for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and sug­ges­tions at the mo­ment.

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