Germany’s FALKE project demonstrates counter drone measures at Hamburg Airport

Germany’s FALKE project, funded by the BMVI (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure), completed a successful demonstration of the interception of a non-cooperative drone in a field test at Hamburg Airport on 22 September 2021.


Using the example of Hamburg Airport, the consortium partners of the FALKE project are developing and demonstrating their overall technical and organisational concept for the defence against illegally operating drones. FALKE provides an automated and standardised solution that can also be used at other German airports, considering all areas of competence and responsibility. In addition to the Frequentis Group, the German Federal Police, DFS, Lufthansa, Hamburg Airport, the Hensoldt Group, and the Professorship for Electrical Measurement Technology at the Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) Hamburg are involved in the project.

The unauthorised intrusion of drones or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into control zones means an increasing threat to the operation of commercial airports. The responsible parties at the airport are faced with the challenge of quickly detecting and reacting to the illegal entry of these small and agile flying objects in order to minimise any impact to airport operations.

The aim of the Counter-UAS system FALKE is to develop and demonstrate a technical and organizational overall concept for the defence against illegally operating UAS at Hamburg Airport as an example. Taking into account all areas of competence and responsibility, this project should provide automated and standardized concepts from the detection of a UAS to the final automated use of an intercepting UAS, so that the solution can also be used as a blueprint for other airports.

According to Frequents, FALKE uses among the most modern detection technologies and links their data with those of the existing infrastructure. This creates an innovative airborne defence system, making it possible to react immediately to unauthorised drone intrusions and eliminate the cause of the disruption. The Frequentis cloud-based concept processes a depiction of the air situation from the available data and distributes it to all parties involved, which includes organisational units of the airport, ATC, airlines, and the police, in real time. Attention is paid to a consistent and up-to-date presentation, tailored to the diverse needs of all users. The applied system components are used in ATC and state-wide airspace security and trigger an alarm immediately in case of a drone incident. The ongoing and algorithmic merging of the available data avoids costly downtimes caused by false alarms.

The defense technology, supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI), ensures an immediate reaction and supports law enforcement officers in securing evidence. ATC receives feedback from all parties involved in real time and can therefore resume operations without unnecessary delays.

The BMVI is providing more than € 2 million of funding to the FALKE project as part of the call for ideas and funding for unmanned aviation applications from 2019.

(Image: Frequentis)

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