What is counter-drone technology?
Counter drone technology, also known as counter-UAS or C-UAS, refers to systems that are used to detect and/or intercept unmanned aircraft systems while in flight. Counter-UAS technology is rapidly emerging and evolving as the mass adoption of drones takes place. The growth of C-UAS technology can be linked to the increase in concerns about the threat that drones pose in civilian and military environments.
What types of C-UAS technologies are available?
Counter-UAS measures can be categorized into two types of methods. The first is drone detection and the second in drone mitigation or interception.
Drone detection technology works to detect unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones in the airspace. Drone detection methods include radar, RF sensors, and PTZ cameras. When a drone flies within the protected perimeter, drone detection will detect the intruding drone in the airspace. Systems such as Airsight's AirGuard drone detection platform not only detects the drone but also identifies the pilot location, flight path, and other useful telemetry data. (have a link to software features page)
Drone mitigation or interception works by electronically or physically disrupting drone flight. Drone mitigation technologies include drone jammers, spoofers, nets, and security drones.
The terminology describing drone countermeasures is often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between drone detection and other drone countermeasures methods. In this Counter-UAS Resource Hub, we will explore drone countermeasures and the different drone mitigation technologies used to disrupt and take down drones. To discover more about drone detection countermeasures, refer to our Drone Detection Technology Resource in our Knowledge Hub.
What are the most popular types of drone detection?
Radar and RF detection are the most popular technologies used to detect drones. Radar and RF detection can be used in many different types of environments, such as urban or high noise density, to enhance airspace security. RF and radar can be used in tandem to create a multi-layered solution that gives users increased coverage and protection.
One of the most popular drone detection systems is AeroScope by DJI. We use this system in our layered airspace security approach. It can be paired with other RF sensors and radars to maximize coverage and protection.
Drone detection technology gives users situational awareness to make informed decisions and take appropriate legal actions. Drone detection technology has the advantage of being legal as compared to interception methods, which might not be lawful.
Read more about drone detection hardware and software on our Knowledge hub.
What is the most popular drone interdiction technology?
The most popular drone interception method is drone jamming. Drone jamming works by disrupting the radio frequency link between the drone and its operator. Besides being illegal, this method can also be dangerous due to drones falling on the ground.
C-UAS technology presents a broad range of practical, legal, and policy challenges in all operating environments; what works in one setting might not be suitable for another environment.
What technologies are used for C-UAS mitigation?
UAS mitigation countermeasure technology falls into two broad categories:
- Non-Kinetic: Controlling the drone
- Kinetic: Destroying the drone with a physical attack
Taking control of the drone through communication links
Non-Kinetic drone countermeasures are also referred to as "soft kills." Soft kill technology includes jammers, spoofer, drone guns. This could be any technology that involves the interruption of signals between the drone and the controller or intercepting the signals to take over pilot responsibility while the drone is in flight.
Soft kill Anti-Drone Technology includes:
Destroying the drone with projectiles and kinetic weapons
Kinetic countermeasures are referred to as "hard kills." Hard kill technology encompasses projectile weapons that physically damage the drone or knock it to the ground. Kinetic methods could include nets, bullets, missiles, or another drone.
Hard kill Anti-Drone Technology include:
- Air to Air Drones
How is Counter-drone tech used?
Counter-drone technology is already being utilized in a vast range of military and private-sector applications. The US military is using C-UAS systems overseas for base protection. There is also growing interest in using portable and mobile systems to protect ground units and convoys.
In civilian environments, counter-drone technology is already used in a variety of ways. C-UAS has been used for airspace protection at airports, stadiums, prisons, corporations, and at major events such as the Super Bowl.
Are counter-drone measures legal?
Although drone countermeasures are available, not all methods are legal to use in most countries. In the United States, authorization to use drone countermeasures like signal jammers is limited to federal agencies such as the US Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice.
Drone detection countermeasures, which include RF and radar, are legal in the US. The legality of drone detection makes it a more viable and practical solution to enhance security. In the US, a wide variety of environments are already using drone detection to increase airspace security and minimize drone threats.
How many C-UAS companies are there?
As the drone and C-UAS industry expand, more manufacturers are popping up. Check out our comprehensive list of drone detection and C-UAS manufactures to find information about the most prominent drone detection and countermeasure companies.