Aviation security regulator BCAS will issue regulations within a week to counter any rogue drones in the country, a senior official said on Tuesday. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) Deputy Director General Maheshwar Dayal said the "anti-drone" specifications will be released in "less than a week's time".
"It is in the final stages. I think it will be a quantum leap towards secure skies in a very literal sense," he said at an event "Smart Safe Secure Skies". The event was organised by FICCI and French electronics conglomerate Thales.
On August 1, BCAS Director General Rakesh Asthana had said the Civil Aviation Ministry constituted a committee to find out the best available counter-drone solutions to safeguard civil aviation against possible drone attacks in India. The number of illegal drones in India is likely to be between 50,000 and 60,000, co-chair of a FICCI committee on drones Ankit Mehta said. He is also the co-founder and CEO of IdeaForge Technology Private Limited.
"The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) which manufactures those drones right now has no interest in complying with a country-specific law. So, that is not going to change," he said in an apparent reference to Chinese drone company DJI. The Indian government has approached them to make themselves compliant with Indian standards but the company isn't willing to do so, Mehta said.
As per the rules in India, companies have to obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) from aviation regulator DGCA to operate drones. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also mandated that the companies to make sure that their drones are "NPNT (No Permission No Takeoff)" compliant, which makes it mandatory that before each drone operation, an online permission is taken from the regulator by the company.
Mehta said anti-drone technology is still an emerging field and there is no full solution. "One has to be very conscious of what is the nature of the threat and the intensity of the threat that you want to solve, because the costs of deploying this (anti-drone systems) could also be extremely prohibitive," he said.
Anti-drone technology currently consists of RF (radio frequency) monitoring, as almost 99 per cent of drones emit some type of RF. If the drone is autonomous, which means it is pre-programmed to target a location and has absolutely no RF emissions, then certain radars are used in anti-drone systems to give a visual confirmation if it is actually a bird or drone or anything else.
Such radars allow long-range detection that is extremely important in anti-drone technology. Once detected in a civilian area, such a drone can be neutralised using jamming systems or bazookas that can throw net over the drone. However, Mehta said both methods of their own drawbacks which companies are trying to resolve.
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