PARIS — Unmanned aerial systems have become increasingly complex, and the systems themselves are easier to buy off the shelf — leading to a surge in the market for unmanned aerial systems.
From the post-9/11 wars in the Middle East to the nowadays russo-Ukrainian war, UAS proliferated on the battlefield and proved to be a lethal capability.
At the Eurosatory international defense conference in Paris last week, several companies unveiled counter-drone technology capable of detecting and suppressing enemy drones.
Meni Deutsch, Regional Director Europe for Skylock Anti Drone Technologies, a subgroup of the Israeli technology company Avnon Group said that they are observing a growing demand for anti-drone systems and technologies.
The growth of demand for counter-UAS solutions he explains in the easy accessibility of the consumer-level drones.
“Even a 10-year-old can buy them on eBay,” – Deutsch said.
Counter-drone technology is being updated as fast as UAS. Current systems use jammers to block radio frequencies, or spoofers to send fake GPS signals that mimic the drone’s NFZ to force a drone landing or fly away.
Systems are available on a variety of platforms – including short-range handheld jammers, laser neutralizers, and systems that cover large areas for continuous protection.
One of the technologies Skylock has developed is VIP Dome, a miniature version of Israel’s Iron Dome, Deutsch said.
The system’s 360-degree RF detector and internal GPS can detect drones and send automated commands to their jammers, which then block the communication channel between the threat and its operator.
However, when troops move on foot the weight of equipment can be crucial, said DroneShield director Red McClintock.
DroneShield is an Australian company that develops AI systems for counter-drone defense missions.
At Eurosatory, DroneShield presented two of the company’s handheld counter-drone technologies:
- the lightweight, short-range DroneGun MKIII which weighs about 2.14kg and can be operated with one hand;
- and the larger, longer-range DroneGun Tactical which weighs about 7.25kg and is more suitable for short-term missions or fixed-position setups.
DroneShield systems are deployed in countries around the world, including the United States, McClintock said. Some of the company’s products are also used in Ukraine, he added.
As unmanned systems evolve, talking to other companies making drones and sharing the latest trends will help both industries keep pace, McClintock said.
During Eurosatory, the Finnish defense company Patria proposed an alternative method to counter UAS jammers and spoofers.
The prototype solution uses an effector that places a “string cloud” on small drones and loitering munitions to neutralize them at close range, hitting the running engines and sticking to the propellers.
The strings are made from a unique material the company has developed specifically for this ability. The system can deliver strings to a swarm of up to 10 drones from a distance of 100 meters.
Only one prototype is currently in production.
Patria plans to develop effectors that can be used by hand, vehicles, boats, and other fixed structures.
Source: National Defence Magazine