MIAMI – Miami International Airport (MIA) today celebrated its selection by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as a testbed location for new drone detection technology with Airways in attendance.

The new technology, encompassing detect, track, and identify (DTI) equipment, will be able to identify unauthorized drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) entering MIA.

MIA was the first airport selected as a testbed for the DTI equipment in part, according to Captain Jim Bamberger, the TSA Counter-UAS Capability Manager, due to the “perimeter protection pilot” program already being tested at MIA.

Bamberger further stated that a “virtual barrier” to airport intrusion at MIA is “about 22%” underway with a system designed to protect the airport from both ground and aerial intrusion.

Detect, track, and identify (DTI) equipment to be deployed for testing at MIA. Photo: Brent Foster/Airways Magazine – @5starflight

A Developing System

The perimeter protection system includes “360-degree cameras, infrared illuminators, [and] thermal-sensors,” while the “cutting-edge” DTI equipment will provide information on the “height, altitude, direction, speed, type, [and] even identify the operator” of UAS equipment entering MIA, according to Bamberger.

The DTI equipment will, according to Bamberger, ensure a focus on the “non-compliant [UAS] operator, the criminal operator, or the careless operator” with an ultimate goal of preventing such operators from entering MIA, the DTI equipment will be updated “every 2-3 months.”

Information from the DTI equipment will be accessible to security officials via a tablet system, according to Bamberger, who further stated that the data gathered from the DTI tests at MIA will “[benefit] airports throughout the nation.”

Image from DTI equipment designed to capture UAS activity that could affect the national airspace, viewed from the perspective of a tablet display for security officials. Photo: Miami International Airport

Enhanced Security for MIA and Airports around the USA

Congressman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), a Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security and former Mayor of Miami-Dade County, was also at the event, where he described his joy at “being able to fund [the] 10 million dollar project [as] a member of Congress.”

Gimenez referred to a trip he took to Israel celebrating the inauguration of service between MIA and Tel Aviv (TLV), where he learned about similar systems protecting against UAS equipment at Israeli airports, before highlighting the “threats that the drones, in particular, will be posing in the future.”

The new DTI equipment at MIA, with testing ongoing, represents a push into the future of airport security, ensuring that everyone traveling through American airports has a safe travel experience.

Featured image: Congressman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Captain Jim Bamberger, TSA Counter-UAS Capability Manager, discussing the new drone detection technology at MIA. Photo: Brent Foster/Airways – @5starflight