The U.S. Air Force began conducting week drills on Friday to practice combatting drones that have the potential to carry out terrorist attacks. The Air Force began its effort at Point Mugu Naval Station in Ventura, California.
The small, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being targeted in a technology demonstration and drill named Black Dart 2015, in order to experiment with strategies to successfully shoot down drones that can be used to carry out terrorist acts.
Drones are quite hard to detect on radar partly because of their size, which is why such drills are important. There are over 50 types of drones that are being used by the U.S. Air Force in demos to develop new ways to detect them in the air.
David Zook, chief of the Capabilities Assessment Division with Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization (JIAMDO), said these demonstrations would bring over 1,000 people to the base, including participants from four military branches.
Zook stated that Black Dart 2015 brings “a unique and very valuable window for us to come together for two weeks here and practice in a littoral environment, a land-based environment and a deep-sea environment in many different scenarios.”
Though similar drills have been conducted for years, Black Dart 2015 has been accelerated by the increase in the public’s use of drones, including an incident where a quadcopter landed on the White House lawn.
As stated by the U.S. Department of Defense, drones can be easily purchased online or in hobby stores. Small drones are easily launched from nearly any location and are able to travel impressive distances.
Black Dart’s project officer, Air Force Maj. Scott Gregg, said it is important to stay ahead of threats.
“If there is anything that terrorists have shown, it’s that they’ll be innovative and use anything that they can at their disposal to do what they are trying to do,” Gregg said.
Black Dart began July 26 and will run until August 7. It will give the Department of Defense a chance to practice land and sea scenarios in both air and missile defense.
According to CBS News Los Angeles, any scenario from using lasers or hacking drones to send it them off course or shoot them down will be tested in the drills.
Zook points out that results from previous Black Dart demonstrations have enabled improvements in the military’s strategies and protocol. He hopes that this year’s effort will be just as productive.