(Source : wired.com – Brian Barrett) – A Drone Tried to Disrupt the Power Grid. It Won’t Be the Last
An attack attempt in 2020 proves the UAS threat is real—and not enough is being done to stop it.
In July of last year, a DJI Mavic 2 drone approached a Pennsylvania power substation. Two 4-foot nylon ropes dangled from its rotors, a thick copper wire connected to the ends with electrical tape. The device had been stripped of any identifiable markings, as well as its onboard camera and memory card, in an apparent effort by its owner to avoid detection. Its likely goal, according to a joint security bulletin released by DHS, the FBI, and the National Counterterrorism Center, was to “disrupt operations by creating a short circuit.”
The drone crashed on the roof of an adjacent building before it reached its ostensible target, damaging a rotor in the process. Its operator still hasn’t been found. According to the bulletin, the incident, which was first reported by ABC, constitutes the first known instance of a modified, unmanned aircraft system being used to “specifically target” US energy infrastructure. It seems unlikely to be the last, however. (…)
Countermeasures like geofencing certain areas, which prevents compliant drones from flying there, are effective to a point, but the process for designating those spaces remains something of a patchwork, says Clarke. And more aggressive anti-drone technology, which can range from signal-jamming guns to megadrones to eagles, often face regulatory challenges of their own. Outfitting every single power substation in the US with drone countermeasures would also present significant financial and logistical hurdles. (…)
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Photo of an energy substation © Getty Images, as published in ibid