Germany’s national Drone Detection System (DDS) program to develop an integrated drone detection system at the country’s largest airports expects first prototype tests in August 2020. The Ministry of Transport (MoT) launched the initiative in July 2019 in collaboration with Germany’s air navigation service provider DFS and the regulatory authority BAF. Originally planned to begin in April 2020, COVID-19 caused a four-month delay.
Germany is unusual in adopting a national strategy; many European states rely on individual airports to implement drone detection and counter drone measures. DFS contributes to the counter drone task force established by the European Aviation Safety Agency and standards agency activities by EUROCAE.
The MoT directive aims to provide systematic drone detection at 15 airports in the vicinity of the aerodrome. DFS Head of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Angela Kies said: “The detection area is under definition and may depend upon local conditions,” during a presentation at a webinar hosted by DFS on June 16 2020. It is likely to extend up to 10 nautical miles (18 km) from the runway and up to 4000 ft (1,300 m) altitude. Analysis of prototype solutions will begin in August this year at “different airports” before sharing the findings with the MoT. Subsequently, “a large tender process will be launched at the start of 2021,” as set out in the DDS roadmap drawn up in August 2019. With more than 30 airport incidents reported already this year, Kies said there is “growing demand for a solution”.