Qatar World Cup ‘drone v drone’ security

July 25, 2022


The World Cup in Qatar later this year will see the use of drones to bring down rogue unmanned craft.

Security experts have been drafted in to provide ‘drone v drone’ technology to protect venues.

The aircraft will “shoot” nets to disable interlopers.

England and Wales are representing the UK at the finals and are both in group C.

Fortem Technologies will provide the ‘interceptor’ craft having signed a deal with the Qatari interior ministry.

The company says the agreement reflects fears about drove attacks but also not wanting to counter security breaches using weapons which might cause public injury.

Autonomous, radar-guided interceptor drones tackle small consumer drones by firing nets to snare the target drone which can be carried off to another location, according to the BBC.

Larger drones would be intercepted, netted and brought to earth by a parachute.

So-called Dronehunters are identified using a “series of very small radars that are distributed throughout the venue, creating a complete picture of the airspace straight up into the air”, according to Fortem Chief Executive and Co-founder Timothy Bean.

Fortem claims its drones have had success at security sites all over the world.

The technology is such that the aerial action will not happen within a mile of the venues.

It is another illustation about how the security industry is employing the use of drones for their versatility and affordability.

Other systems rely on foiling a drone attack by scrambling the craft’s control signals but Fortem argues terrorists may launch drones on pre-programmed flights.

Bean told the BBC: “The reason our business is skyrocketing is because terrorists don’t use joysticks. Terrorists don’t show up in your parking lot with a joystick. These drones are programmed … so they can’t be jammed.”

Fortem claims it has deployed anti-drone systems at other sporting events and at the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos.

It has donated portable versions of its system to Ukraine, and said it was also working on anti-drone measures for UK airports.

Backed by Toshiba and Boeing the Utah company will work for the Qatari Ministry of Interior and Safety and Security Operations Committee at the World Cup in November and December.

Prof David Dunn, of University of Birmingham, says that the threat from terrorist use of drones has increased, because the technology has become more accessible.

He cites the unsuccessful attempt by suicide bombers, during the terrorist attacks on Paris in 2015, to gain access to the Stade de France, where France were playing Germany in a football friendly.

A drone might have been able to enter the stadium, he suggests, where ground-based terrorists could not.

For more, go to FIFA World Cup 2022™ | Qatar 2022™

Dr Steve Wright, from University of the West of England, says concerns have been heightened partially because commercial drones have been modified into weapons in conflicts in Yemen and Ukraine.

He believes that systems like Fortem’s can be effective against a threat from smaller drones.

Dr Wright, working on a similar system for a European company, believes that they expand the line of defence outwards from a venue, giving defenders more time to respond.

But he warns these are one step in an arms race and says that as attacking drones increase in speed, they will be harder to stop.

The choice of Qatar as a venue was as controversial as it was surprising.

The Arab country, with a population of under three million, has little or no status in world football but its pitch saw off bids from established footballing countries.

The tournament will take place in eight stadiums created for the World Cup.

Read Next

Security Journal UK

Subscribe Now

£99.99 for each year
No payment items has been selected yet