The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it has selected Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to test cutting-edge anti-drone technology designed to weed out unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from restricted airspace. The TSA tapped Miami International Airport (MIA) to participate in the same program in early May.

Detect, track, and identify drones

In its communique this week, the TSA said LAX will be receiving state-of-the-art technology to detect, track, and identify (DTI) drones entering its prohibited airspace. The problem of UAV flying into airport zones with heavy plane traffic has been spiking in recent years. Security officials are eager to find methods to neutralize the safety risks those intrusions create.

“The UAS threat to airports has increased exponentially over the last several years, (and) that is why it is vital we assess the effectiveness of UAS DTI technologies in live airport environments,” explained Jim Bamberger, TSA’s UAS capability manager. “We are thrilled to partner with LAX on such a mission critical project that will pave the way for future technology assessments and help protect airports nationwide against UAS threats.”

TSA said it had picked LAX for its wide array of aviation operations, dense air traffic, high passenger volume, and relatively elevated frequency of drones violating its airspace. In choosing MIA earlier this month, the TSA cited the platform’s “ongoing perimeter intrusion technology pilot as well as the strong existing partnerships with the airport.”

Team effort pushing UAV from restricted skies

The TSA’s Congressionally funded anti-drone testing interfaces with the Department of Homeland Security, airport and local law enforcement, and federal interagency partners. 

Operation and effectiveness of the DTI technology used at LAX will be tested and evaluated by TSA. Data collected in the trials will be shared with other agencies participating in the search for a solution to the rising rogue UAV problem.

Deployment of anti-drone measures at MIA and LAX comes in the wake of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) designation of five US airports to test UAV detection and mitigation programs. Creation of an effective UAV identification and prevention safety system is part of the FAA’s effort to devise a broader, transversal US air traffic management encompassing both piloted planes and drones. 

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