INTERPOL carries out full-scale drone countermeasure exercise

INTERPOL and the Norwegian Police have carried out a three-day exercise to evaluate and test drone countermeasures in a secure airspace environment.

Held in Oslo from 28 to 30 September, the real-life exercise gathered law enforcement, academia and industry experts from Europe, Israel, and the United States to test and assess 17 drone countermeasures to ensure the safety of an airport environment through the detection, tracking, and identification of drones and their pilots. These systems are emerging as essential elements in ensuring the security of airports, airspaces and protecting no-fly zones above cities, prisons, and critical infrastructure.

Each countermeasure was assessed and graded against specified criteria. The results will be consolidated to create an INTERPOL Drone Countermeasure Framework which will be available to law enforcement across INTERPOL’s 194 member countries, creating a global focal point for collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

The exercise was held at the Oslo Gardermoen Airport while it was in active operation. Due to the complexity of the exercise, the event required close collaboration with airport owner Avinor, the Norwegian Communications Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority and UAS Norway to ensure that all systems and tests were held to a required standard and did not affect airport operations.

After months of collaborative preparation, the Norwegian Police was responsible for conducting the tests in partnership with INTERPOL, Avinor and The Norwegian Communications Authority.

In addition to the exercises, workshops and presentations to address drone incursions with a view to evidence retention were also held. These sessions saw participants share best practices and discuss possible future solutions for drone incursions.

Drone countermeasures are essential to protecting airspace and will become more prominent as member countries create regulation around drones and managed airspace.
Although countermeasures can be used to detect, identify, and locate a drone within an area, many countries do not have the legislation which allows authorities to interfere with a drone when it is in flight. This is a huge challenge for law enforcement, governments and air space owners, pointing to a clear need to improve understanding of drone threats, as well as guidance and reporting mechanisms.

The INTERPOL Innovation Centre is a partner in the European-funded Project Courageous, which focuses on creating a European wide framework for the selection, testing and assessment of drone countermeasures for law enforcement.

In May 2020, the Innovation Centre published the INTERPOL Framework for Responding to a Drone Incident for First Responders and Digital Forensics Specialists, and gathers key global players annually via the INTERPOL Drones Platform.