An unidentified flying object hovers around a soccer stadium filled with spectators at the European championships and it might just be carrying a camera or something even more sinister, toxic chemicals perhaps. Imagine this in your head. Either way, the unauthorized flying machine is violating a no fly region in a place where the biggest sports event is set to hold since the fatal attacks in Paris last November.
Leaving no stone unturned and taking no chances, Euro 2016 organizers have announced that the new technology will be deployed at the Euro tournament from June 10 to July 10 in 10 French cities to avoid any unwanted catastrophes.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Euro 2016 security Chief Ziad Khoury announced that no fly zones will be declared across all 10 stadiums and other training grounds for all the teams.
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“We’ve noted the general proliferation of drone-usage in society,” Khoury said in his Paris office. “So no-fly zones will be defined over every training ground and every stadium, and in most stadiums and for most matches anti-drone measures ” which are quite innovative ” will be deployed, working with the state, which will interfere with drones and take control of them if they are spotted.”
French authorities have been in constant alert of dozens of mystery drone over flights of sensitive sites especially nuclear sites and military installations. The government is also putting a lot of money into research for a technology that can interfere or jam signals that control drones remotely or even destroy them in extreme cases.
The General Secretariat for Defense and national security in the country has also confirmed to the AP that anti-drone machinery will be put in place for Euro 2016. The details of the exact type of these technologies, however, has not yet been revealed.
The French already have powerful but not very sophisticated portable equipment that could assist in steering drones away from stadiums by jamming their signals. The only drawback here is that it might also interfere with GPS signals for civil use which includes aircraft.
Microwave technology that can disrupt drone signals and bring them down is also being evaluated as are other various ground-based technologies to cut or jam signals to the unmanned aerial vehicles.
The authorities in France have prepared for the eventuality of a drone being used to disperse chemicals over spectators. A training exercise in April somewhere in Saint-Etienne in southwest France simulated a drone carrying a dose of chemical toxins that had plunged into the crowds in the stadium.
“When you prepare an event of this size, you must imagine all scenarios, even the most unlikely,” Khoury said.
He mentioned that they have no specific intelligence that points to this as a possibility but anti drones measures put in place by the government and police “aren’t necessarily infallible” since the technology is new and the drone phenomenon has been around for a long time. This will just be a deterrent to as many people as possible.