Kinetic counter-drone measures work by physically taking down a drone. These methods usually end with the drone falling to the ground at considerable speeds making it an undesirable countermeasure to use over crowds. While it may not be appropriate to use over crowds, it could be useful in other environments. Let’s look at some of the different kinetic c-uas methods.
Air to Air Counterdrones
Can a drone be used to take down another drone?
Yes, security or intercept drones can be used to track and take out unauthorized or nefarious drones. These drones are capable of flying at high speeds to quickly reach an authorized drone. Once they reach the target, they ram into the intruding drone to knock it to the ground. Some are equipped with machine vision allowing them to decipher between a drone or a bird. This allows them to attack the correct target.
How do intercept drones work?
Intercept drones usually work by physically flying at high speeds straight into the target drone. It is basically drone on drone combat. Some intercept drones work by tracking the drones and releasing a net much like the net guns.
Are intercept drones a complete drone countermeasure?
Intercept drones shouldn’t be your first line of defense. They do not offer a standalone countermeasure solution, you still need drone detection hardware to detect incoming drones and collect actionable data. Without knowing a drone has entered your airspace, you wouldn’t know when to release the combat drone. Drone detection coupled with an interception drone would offer a more complete airspace solution.
What are the drawbacks of using drones to take down other drones?
Drawbacks of using Intercept drones as UAS countermeasure:
- Intercept drones have short battery lives
- Dangerous to people on the ground since the intruding drone could fall
- Intercept drones can be damaged after repeated use, not a long-term countermeasure strategy
- Not useful as a standalone drone countermeasure solution
Nets Guns for Drones
Nets can be deployed to capture drones in flight and bring it down to the ground. Nets are designed to entangle the target drone and its rotors. Without being able to spin its propellers, the drone will not be able to continue to fly.
There are few different types of delivery methods for using nets, either a gun that shoots a net or drones can be equipped with a net projectile device. Net guns are not classified as firearms which makes them legal tools for practically anyone to use.
Most net guns available claim to be able to capture drones within 30 meter or 98.4 feet. Drone has to be in close proximity to the projectile net system. A drone pilot could easily fly out of range.
Drones equipped with net delivery systems can actively track an incoming drone. The drone then can release the net and capture the unauthorized drone by entangling it. The captured drone remains attached to the net gun by a cable, allowing the drone to be flown back to a safe landing spot or the cable could release the drone and let it fall to the ground.
What are the disadvantages to using net guns as C-UAS?
Drawbacks of using net guns as UAS countermeasure:
- Net guns do not always work
- Could be hazardous to people on the ground when drone falls
- Not useful as a standalone countermeasure solution