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Drone Blimp

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, will launch a giant drone-hunting blimp over Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds just east of Washington D.C. The system includes a 242-foot tethered aerostat that can stay up for a month at a time and a radar to detect – among other potential threats – drones.

Drones near airports are a growing problem.

A recently-released report from the United Kingdom Airport Proximity Board details an incident this summer where a small drone flew within 20 feet of an Airbus A320 passenger aircraft landing at Heathrow International Airport.

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A simple $40 drone, easily obtainable via mail-order or even 3D printing can bring down a passenger jet, military craft or a helicopter.

According to Defense One, drones have the same potential to crash planes over the U.S. and the Pentagon as they do in the U.K., as many as 30,000 drones will crowd America’s skies by 2020, according to University of Texas at Austin engineering professor Todd Humphreys. His numbers are so trusted that they’re what the FAA uses in approximating the future drone population over the United States.