Proposed exemption to facilitate Australian Federal Police (AFP) use of drone jamming devices
Consultation closes: 12 April 2019
On 18 April 2019, the ACMA made the Radiocommunications (Unmanned Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Exemption Determination 2019. The exemption determination will be repealed on the second anniversary of the day the exemption determination commences.
Stakeholders acknowledged the public safety and national security risks posed by malicious drones, and acknowledged the public interest and the operational needs of the AFP in respect of using jamming devices to respond to safety and security threats.
Stakeholders generally supported the proposal for the instrument to expire after a two-year period.
Some stakeholders noted that spurious emissions from the drone jamming devices could potentially cause interference to services in frequency bands adjacent to those that are authorised under the instrument.
The ACMA noted that, during operational deployments, testing, training and maintenance activities, the AFP and other relevant persons to whom the determination applies can undertake mitigation measures and adopt practical site management tactics to manage any adverse effects the devices may have on devices in the relevant frequency bands, and devices in adjacent frequency bands.
Review of prohibition and exemption framework 2019–20
Some stakeholders also submitted that the ACMA should review the broader role of exemptions within the radiocommunications regulatory framework.
A review of prohibition declarations and exemption determinations forms part of the ACMA work program 2019–20, as detailed in the Draft five-year spectrum outlook 2019–23.
The ACMA received eight submissions to this public consultation. These can be accessed from the index box on the right, under 'other submissions received'.
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Radiocommunications exemption arrangements for drone jamming devices
| Draft Radiocommunications (Unmanned Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Exemption Determination 2019
As drones become increasingly widespread, there are growing concerns about malicious drone use and the risks to public safety and national security.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is seeking to have access to drone jamming devices over a two-year period. The ACMA has worked closely with the AFP on its operational requirements, and we are proposing to make the Radiocommunications (Unmanned Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Exemption Determination 2019.
Drone jamming devices are a type of counter-drone technology that operate on frequencies used to communicate between a drone and its operator. A break of those communications commonly results in a drone returning to its point of origin, or landing.
The proposed determination would principally be used by the AFP to deploy drone jamming devices at major events and other AFP operations, including where counter-drone capability is required at short notice.