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Does Ireland need a specific drone division of the armed forces after recent flight disruption?

  • 09-02-2023 11:09pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,305 ✭✭✭

    Seems to me like drone technology is becoming more and more widespread and the armed forces of Ireland don't seem to me to be very well equipped to deal with them. There have been a good number of flights now diverted from the biggest airport in the country, putting lives at risk and costing money and additional fuel consumption as a result of the travel disruption. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has highlighted how drones can play a dramatic role in the modern battlefield so why not invest now in getting the Irish army/air core/navy fitted out and some way competent in dealing with the new technology?

    I've seen pictures of the radio gun type equipment that could be used to take control of a drone that is not where the authorities would like it to be and some of these at Dublin airport could have already paid for themselves if the recent disruption was prevented. Ukrainian armed forces are using very basic drones to target the russian invaders in their country and drones are becoming big business. There is lots of media coverage of Ireland taking a leading role in new technology but I haven't seen much of this in relation to drones and maybe investment in them here now could form the basis of new industry and products for drone markets in the future. Just did a quick search of how much the department of defence has invested in drones here and besides sites that need to be paid for or accessed by subscription found this one that seems to show (in my opinion that) we are not investing a very large amount in this technology and its applications at the moment and wonder do people here think this should change?



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,600 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    All three branches of the Defence Forces already operate drones and no doubt that will only increase.

    But domestic security is not a matter for the Defence Forces, for the most part.

    And deliberate drone disruption of any Airport is a domestic law and order issue. So, it is primarily a responsibility for the respective Airport Authorities, the Irish Aviation Authority and the Gardaí to come up with a technical and a law enforcement response to the problem.

    So no, there is no case to be made for a new branch of the Defence Forces to operate drones, we already have the Air Corps, soon to become the Irish Air Force under the Defence Forces restructuring and they will lead on the operation of military drones, just like the military air arm of every other Country.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,281 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage

    It seems to me that it might be a useful exercise for the defence forces to spot these drones and perhaps fly a drone to investigate them. Even if the defence force drone did nothing more than identify the location of the operator and perhaps photograph him or her. The Gardai could then round up the miscreants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 60 ✭✭Qŵèrþÿ

    They’re banned within a 5 km radius of airports. This is what 5 km from Dublin looks like.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,305 ✭✭✭macraignil

    I'm not sure I agree that keeping the airports safe from drones should be left to the Gardai and the Airport Authorities (with a spokesman for the Dublin Airport Authority not accepting responsibility for action on the issue on the radio yesterday) when as you have mentioned there is already some experience with drones in the armed forces.

    I can't speak for the military air arm of every other country as confidently as you do, but it seems from footage of the drones being used in Ukraine that the groups developing and using drones particularly for close in support of ground forces look a lot more like students and infantry soldiers rather than members of an air force. It appears to me that the battlefield technology is rapidly changing and sticking with a more old fashioned administration system for drone development will see opportunities missed in develping technology in the area. There is potential in my opinion to make a new industry in the sector in Ireland which has the trade links internationally and educational resources to make some progress in this area if government was to provide significant support. I just think having a separate administration for drone development would allow it develop more quickly and more extensively in variety of applications but if you're confident that the current intended path of making it all the juristiction of the air core is the best option then thanks for contributing your opinion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,078 ✭✭✭Quantum Erasure

    If you're going by the outer perimeter of the airport you could probably add a kilometer or two to that in every direction

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The Defence Forces have a proud history of drone operations. 🙄

  • Registered Users Posts: 43,004 ✭✭✭✭SEPT 23 1989

  • Registered Users Posts: 728 ✭✭✭20Wheel

    Yeah that sounds like an Irish govt effort alright.

    Heres the air corps newest concept for national defense. 5 year procurement process, delivery by 2035.

    Putin is a dictator. Putin should face justice at the Hague. All good Russians should work to depose Putin. Russias war in Ukraine is illegal and morally wrong.

  • Registered Users Posts: 80,253 ✭✭✭✭Overheal

    Sounds like military overkill to me. Sounds more like a law enforcement issue not an invasion of national sovereignty. Have the police and airport security apparatus equipped for dealing with drones, sure, but a 'drone division of the armed forces' in response to this concern, sounds cracked.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,758 ✭✭✭✭BattleCorp

    The penalty for drone use in the airport exclusion zone is pretty draconian. Although you could also argue that the consequences of using it in the airport exclusion zone is also pretty severe.

    The offence carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment with no provision in the legislation for a suspended sentence or probation to be imposed.


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