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Drones find use in several walks of life. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) can deliver pizzas, medicines, packages, gifts etc. Though they also pose threats of drone attacks as they can also deliver explosives, bombs and other dangerous payloads including those intended to interfere with operation-critical legitimate systems.

Weaponized Drones have been extensively used in the Ukraine-Russia conflict since 2022 as well as more recently in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Merchant ships in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea have been under drone attacks as well by armed drones.

Drone Attacks - Rising threat to Maritime - MitKat Advisory - datasurfr.ai
Image by vecstock on Freepik

Armed Drones and Drone Attacks

Armed Drones and their drone attacks can cause disproportionate impact to the maritime industry including ports, ships in channels, critical infrastructure in coastal areas, shipping routes, maritime chokepoints etc. ranging from deterrence to damage and destruction. Drone attacks are unconventional with a high degree of deniability. Control of drones from a vessel following commonly used maritime shipping routes cannot be discounted.

While regulation, policy, compliance requirements such as geofencing and no fly zones for drones may be effective and enforceable on land, there are currently limited options for the merchant marine due to the absence of a clear policy.

The viability of counter drone systems onboard #maritime shipping is being increasingly discussed. However, there are complications. For example, even if a drone is detected, self defense measures such as electronic counter measures, and wide band jamming could adversely impact ships’ systems – own as well as those in the vicinity.

There seem to be no clear answers as yet to the drone attack threats to ships at sea, but concerns are increasing.

Shipping companies and ship owners need to assess their vulnerability to the drone threat in order to safeguard their high-value assets, cargo, and crews.

MitKat and datasurfr can help protect companies having critical facilities on land and at sea with systematic assessment of drone threat, conceptualize a curated risk mitigation framework, and manage their counter drone implementation projects. Read the extended conversation on LinkedIn here.

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