A new form of drone warfare on the horizon?

The Japan Times reports that Yasuo Yamamoto, from Obama in Fukui Prefecture, Japan, walked into the Fukui Prefectural Police office on Friday evening and said that he had landed a drone on the rooftop of the prime minister’s office to protest against the government’s nuclear energy policy.

fukushimaFukui Prefecture hosts over a dozen nuclear reactors and last week its district court endorsed a citizens’ bid to halt Kansai Electric Power Co.’s effort to restart two idle reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant. The utility is appealing the injunction, granted on safety grounds.

radioactive symbolYamamoto was quoted as saying he had put sand from Fukushima Prefecture into a plastic bottle attached to the unmanned aircraft. The levels were too low to be harmful to human health. He had also decorated the drone with a symbol that warns of radioactive material, according to broadcaster NHK.

Officials in the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security and onlookers worldwide are worried: the drone could become a cheap and anonymous way to deliver explosives.

13Robert Beckhusen, a defence reporter and editor at Medium.com, reminds us that in 2013, German police arrested several far-right extremists who allegedly planned attacks with a drone, seizing a “functional” bomb and several model planes intended for use against political enemies. He comments:

“The good news is that drones are easily jammed. Almost all rely on a radio link to a ground controller, which makes them vulnerable to electronic interference. With an accurate enough sensor, anyone can search and pinpoint drones nearby, tune their jammer to the same frequency and overwhelm the vehicle with electronic noise”. There are rumours that the Belgian royal palace and Brussels airport are protected by such an electronic shield.

A few days ago the Boston Business Journal reported that the Boston marathon was covered by Drone Shield – a warning system in which sensors listen and alert police officers via email or text message about an incoming drone.

Reassuring? Hmmmm . . . food for thought.

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