Drones are becoming more and more popular, but with that popularity comes the risk of misuse. This has led to a need for drone defence systems to counter various types of drone threat, which can include anything from drone jamming to other forms of sophisticated anti-drone technology.
Why do we need drone defence?
As drone technology becomes more advanced and with an increasing number of people using them, the potential for misuse increases. Camera drones and drones with other sensors that can be used to invade privacy, spy on people, or gather sensitive information. They can also be weaponized, carrying explosives or other dangerous materials. In addition, drones can be used to interfere with air traffic or violate restricted airspace. As drones become more prevalent, it is important to be aware of the ways in which they could be misused in order to avoid potential accidents or abuse.
- Warfare. Small quadcopters and fixed-wing drones have been used as weapons of war in several recent wars. For some, a DJI Phantom can be a tool in the fight for freedom, but any protagonist can use them.
- Terrorism. The mere threat of a drone carrying an explosive device over a crowd at an outdoor event would be enough to warrant an evacuation. That actual use of a drone carrying explosives over an oil refinery or nuclear facility would need to be countered swiftly.
- Prisons. Drones have been used to fly over prisons to drop contraband behind the prison walls.
- Privacy. Drones have been used in ways that contravene privacy laws and for acts of voyeurism. While it may be legal to fly a drone in the airspace above a private or commercial property, few people would agree that a drone flying over someone’s home, garden, or boat with the express intention of spying on the occupants is an acceptable way to use a drone.
- Airspace Infringement. Who can forget the infringement of airspace at Gatwick Airport in December 2018?
- Rural Crime. Drones are used by burglars and other criminals to scout properties in rural areas before stealing from farms.
We’ve had criminal gangs flying drones over the farm to see where the machinery isThe Daily Telegraph, August 7 2022
While we may debate how much of the threat is real or imagined the perception among those responsible for the safety and security of such sites is such that drone defence has become a necessity.
Those responsible for air traffic control any airfield or airport, civilian or military, must know what aircraft are present within their airspace at all times. They need reliable information to build the complete picture of all activity within and in the vicinity of the airport, so they need technology that can enable drone detection.
If terrorists did succeed in attacking an airport, oil refinery, or another critical part of the infrastructure using a drone then people would be asking why no drone defences were in place to prevent such an attack in the first place.
The simple fact is that drone defence scanners need to be positioned at certain sites to act as both a deterrent and a viable neutralising defence system. The attention is now turning to proactive drone defence rather than relying on laws and self-policing alone.
Drone Defence & Countermeasures
Here then are some of the current suppliers of drone countermeasures available for commercial use.
- DroneDefence offers a selection of countermeasures like SkyFence, which activates a virtual wall around a perimeter and AeroSentry® which detects a drone’s RF signature up to 5km away. Learn more at DroneDefence.co.uk.
- Drone Dome – An anti-UAV system from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Used by the British Army and US Special Forces against ISIS in Syria and to defend the G7 summit in 2021. Learn more at rafael.co.il.
- Dedrone – DroneDefender®, a counter UAS (C-UAS) device that neutralises the operator’s control of the drone.. Learn more at Dedrone.com
- DroneShield – Another company offering a suite of several tools designed to be used in a variety of locations. Learn more at droneshield.com.
- Guard From Above – a low-tech way of intercepting hostile or intrusive drones using birds of prey. Learn more at guardfromabove.com.
- Liteye – Their Counter-UAS Defense System (CUAS) has been used by the US armed forces. Learn more at liteye.com.
- SKYNET™ Mi-5 drone defence rounds are 12 gauge short-range anti-drone rounds. Available from LessLethal.com.
- SkySafe – offers drone detection, defence, and airspace control solutions. Learn more at skysafe.io.
- SkyWall 100 is a mobile device that fires a net capable of capturing an intrusive drone. Learn more at OpenWorksEngineering.com.
- Sparrow Hawk is another C-UAV drone defence in the form of a drone that captures a drone using a net. Learn more at SearchSystems.eu.
- AeroScope is DJI’s product that identifies, tracks and monitors rogue drones. Details at dji.com/aeroscope.