Ethiopian Airlines Group’s Bole International Airport has taken a major stride forward by acquiring its maiden counter-drone technology system from esteemed French IT service firm, CS Group.
The pilot anti-drone technology system, a state-of-the-art integrated solution and the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, went live on November 24, courtesy of a generous donation from the French Embassy in Ethiopia to the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.
CS Group approached Ethiopian Airlines two years ago to provide their cutting-edge counter-drone technology services to the airport’s bustling premises. Encouraged by the Group’s enthusiastic response, the technology firm secured funding from the French Ministry of Finance.
Emphasizing the paramount importance of airport safety, Ethiopian Airline Group CEO Mesfen Tassew expressed his concerns over the plethora of hazards faced by airports. “While avian interference has long been the main issue, leading to flight diversions and emergency landings, the recent surge in drone sightings has emerged as a bigger concern, necessitating the Airlines’ acceptance of CS Group’s offer.
The equipment has been strategically positioned on the west side of the airport, known as the busiest section. This advanced technology enables the detection and disruption of communications between a drone and its operator.
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Mengistu Nigussie, deputy director general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, stressed the urgency of staying at the forefront of technological advancements, highlighting the imperative of keeping pace rather than falling behind in counter-drone capabilities, while recognizing the importance of robust legislation in governing such technology.
CS Group CEO Eric Blanc revealed that the installed technology possesses the capability to either sever the connection between the drone and its operator, allowing the drone to return, or disrupt the GPS signal, resulting in a drone crash.
Equipped with cutting-edge cameras, the system empowers operators to quickly identify and neutralize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Notably, the system boasts an impressive 24-hour recording capacity, with a storage capability of up to one month.
Thus far, personnel from the Aviation Authority, National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and Information Network Security Administration (INSA) have undergone rigorous training to operate the system.
However, the question of which government entity will assume control over the system’s operation remains undecided.
Following a visual demonstration and a presentation by CS Group, Mesfin Tassew stated, “We will closely monitor the system’s performance before extending offers for the anti-drone technology service across our entire Group.”