Drones when first developed were considered a fantastic piece of technology to help mankind but like with every other technology it has its own pros and cons. While it is used for many operations useful and essential for the mankind, its use for malicious activities isn’t hidden from anyone.
This has caused an increased demand for improved surveillance and countermeasures particularly aimed at disabling drones. Now three British companies in partnership Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics, and Enterprise Control Systems have claimed to develop the world’s first fully integrated system designed to detect, track and disrupt small and large drones. Known as the Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS), the system uses radio beams to freeze drones in midair by interfering with their control channels.
Each unit of AUDS weighs around 25kg (55lb) and consists of a A400 Series Ku band electronic scanning air security radar, a stabilized x30 electro-optic director with infrared, thermal, and daylight cameras, and a directional radio frequency (RF) inhibitor. Using the radar and optical trackers connected to proprietary software, the system detects, tracks and identifies the drone at distances of up to 8 km. Once such suspect drone is identified and locked onto, a radio inhibitor/jammer fires a 4-watt directional beam at the craft, which is much more powerful at reception than the signal from the drone’s controller.
The AUDS can briefly inhibit the drone to make the operator think its malfunctioning or lock it until the drone’s batteries drain and it crashes. The latest version of AUDS is equipped with a quad-band radio frequency (RF) inhibitor/jammer that can disrupt all commercial drone licensed telemetry bands, and is effective against micro UAVs at up to 2 km (1.2 mi) and mini UAVs at longer ranges. In addition to this, AUDS also has an optical disruptor that can disrupt the auto focus on the drone’s camera, making it completely useless. The system made its first public appearance in May this year and it has also undergone testing in Europe and North America in different terrains.
Graham Bell, Managing Director of Chess Dynamics claims: “It’s expected that unmanned aircraft systems will be used increasingly for malicious purposes as they can carry cameras, weapons, toxic chemicals and explosives and are being used increasingly for terrorism, espionage, and smuggling purposes.””Our system has been developed to address this urgent operational requirement and has been successful in government sponsored counter-UAV trials, detecting, and disrupting a variety of fixed and rotary wing drones in under 15 seconds. The new capabilities further enhance the system’s suitability for countering rogue or malicious unmanned aircraft systems.”