How to deal with the threat of (improvised) drones

How to deal with the threat of (improvised) drones

  • 02 May, 2017
  • Amsterdam Security
  • Expo Blog

TU Blog – Dick Bouwhuis, Security Concept Developer at

Understanding is the keyword. To my opinion there is an urgent need to understand more and as much as possible about the development of the small Commercial Of The Shelf (COTS) drones, the custom and homemade drones. Specifically for the homemade (improvised) ones it is important to see how they are made, what they are used for or what the intended use looks like. This means that there is a need for the development of holistic approach, a specific concept of operations. Creativity is needed in this approach, analyses of the current situation needs to feed into the ability to predict about what is going to happen next.

First we will have a short look at the latest, current situation within The Netherlands, both from a security and safety point of view. Next we will look at how the basis of Countering Drones Approach should look like.

Current situation


The National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) is concerned about the learning and innovative ability of ISIS. Members of this group in Syria and Iraq already use drones with explosives for offensive action on the battlefield. On ISIS media channels this mode is verified. Here's an inspirational effect on jihadists in the West. Relevant to this is the easy availability of drones in the West and the problem of detecting a possible jihadist drones soon (DTN 44, 18-04-2017,


Drones are increasingly seen. They share the sky with other aircraft and helicopters. The driver of a drone must adhere to rules. For example, the drone should not fly above human figures. He must also stay far away from other aircraft and airports. You can find all about laws and regulations for drones here.

Does the current approach cover the load? As far as I am concerned the current approach doesn’t cover the load from a security point of view. Within the security domain you have to deal with people who have bad intentions and want to use drones like ISIS does in the middle east.

The future, developing a Countering Drones Approach

Drones can be simple modified and can also be more sophisticated with the incorporation of modern electronic components and carry all kinds of payloads, which are inexpensive and widely available. Drones used to attack, enable the opponent to strike without being decisively engaged. The use of these drones will become a widespread, global and enduring threat.

Drones are like tactical weapons that can have strategic effects. These drones not only restrict freedom of maneuver, but even easier stationary operations and can be used to attack any kind and number of targets. The threat the opponent creates with drones can have profound psychological effects. Increasingly, drones will be incorporated into sophisticated complex attacks and there remains the risk that drones could be relatively easily have payloads with chemical, biological and radiological materials to create weapons of mass destruction.

Countering Drones Approach

This approach aims to stop an opponent’s ability to acquire, modify and successfully operate drones. It has to identify opponents capabilities, needs proper countermeasures and training of own personnel how to engage drones. Understanding about what is going on might be the most important activity within the Countering Drones Approach, we have to identify opponents capabilities. Intelligence led operations of all kind to find out what opponents capabilities are and how to stop them.

Training (security) personnel

This describes the necessary measures to ensure that personnel is prepared for operations and enabled to deliver the counter drones approach. Personnel requires thorough understanding of the operating environment and the counter drones approach.

Will a Countering Drones Approach cover the load? This is very likely, it has many similarities with the successful approach of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in the recent past. That (NATO) policy can be found through the website of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

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