Strengthening Perimeter Security Systems at U.S. Airports

Strengthening Perimeter Security Systems at U.S. Airports

By John Kiehle, Director of Communications, Aeroscraft

Security professionals are acutely aware perimeter security breaches at airports significantly undermine costly passenger and cargo screening efforts, and also know it would be cost prohibitive to develop impenetrable security systems. However, the traveling public has new and legitimate safety concerns following the Associated Press’ recent investigative report into numerous airport perimeters breaches over the past decade.  The media report found more than 250 perimeter breaches at U.S. airports during that time, particularly disturbing in a post 9/11 era, and at least 44 times intruders made it to runways, taxiways or to the gate area. Although these breaches are undermining the hundreds of millions of dollars already spent on airport perimeter fencing, cameras and other detection technologies, luckily none of these incidents has involved a terrorism plot. However, this could become a new avenue of terrorist attack, especially if deemed easier than penetrating passenger checkpoints.

Though it isn’t financially feasible to fortify against all determined intruders, likely breach points can be anticipated, possible breaches should be detected and analyzed in real time, and perimeter incursions responded to immediately with appropriate personnel. So, what can be done to strengthen facility vulnerabilities in a rapid and cost-efficient manner, effectively strengthening detection and response across the miles of perimeter security typically found at U.S. airport facilities? 

Before exploring sensor and software upgrades to bolster exterior facility protection, for budgetary reasons, first determine if existing camera systems can be re-positioned and elevated for improved environmental monitoring and rapid breach confirmation.  One of the easiest compliments to existing perimeters security systems is adding persistent elevated perspective. Persistent elevated observation lends tremendous benefits like wider area monitoring, long-range threat detection, and other operational benefits.  This persistent elevated perspective can be easily achieved with the flexible Tactical Tower platform.

Scalable in design, Tactical Towers can be deployed in heights from 11-30 meters tall, extending line-of-sight (LOS) visibility range up to 13 miles/22 Km with ground installation.  Tactical towers can be deployed on flat ground, or installed above existing infrastructure for extended LOS benefits. Constructed of carbon fiber, towers are ultra-light and modular to facilitate mobility or rapid-redeployment capability as perimeter threats or perceptions change. Towers can flexibly support 24-hour monitoring with EO/IR cameras or other interchangeable payloads to enhance threat detection and informed rapid response.

The Tactical Tower is a persistent elevated reconnaissance system with data networking capability for enhanced situational awareness, featuring:

  • scalable and modular design for mission flexibility
  • easy ground assembly that precedes rapid vertical rotation
  • severe weather survivability with guy wire support

In conclusion, before exploring additional sensors and integration software that can be an expensive proposition, major airports should first consider exploring capability enhancement with platforms that better leverage acquired technologies and can flexibly integrate future ones.

For more information on Tactical Towers, please visit

Posted by John Kiehle on Jul 21, 2015

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