Counter UAV methods to deter drones
Drone defence and Counter UAV has become a reality for governments, corporations, individuals and event organisers to name but a few. The colourful variety of law and legislation globally means that the approach to defending against drones has now become incredibly diverse.
In different places the approach is different and of course these diverse approaches must meet with local regulations. New devices for managing drone defence have popped up all over and having a look at how others manage drone related problems will influence how we can move forward specifically in the UK, but also in the EU.
Do Not Shoot them down
There are two shoot them down Counter UAV methods. One is literal, and another is little less aggressive. Shooting them down is either a legal grey area or completely illegal. It depends on where you live or run your business. There is no jurisdiction globally where it is completely legal for a civilian to shoot down a drone using a firearm.
Despite this companies such as Drone Munition have developed shells that are equally lethal for ducks and geese. The problems these shells present is that they can seriously injure or even kill a human. While this is a Counter UAV method that probably appeals to those that detest drones, the legal grey area is enormous. Handguns are illegal in the UK anyway, and using a shotgun to down a drone could well land the user with a charge of reckless endangerment. Even worse, this is not a counter UAV consideration that will ever likely become an option in the UK and Europe.
The second method is to fire a missile that will release a net on contact with the drone and cripple it, thus bringing it down. SKYNET is probably the most well known developer of this concept. It is an interesting and ingenious way of dealing with the problem. Simple and straightforward, Skynet is packaged as a 12-gauge shotgun round. The projectile is designed to open after a specific time once the gun has been fired. The net opens out and is wrapped around the drone, crippling the rotors and bringing it down for identification. This is far safer than simply blowing it out of the sky, because of the consequent danger to the public of flying drone shrapnel.
This approach still presents some problems. The shell fired from a shotgun at close distance can still kill someone on the ground. Accidents may happen, but the shells could still pose a threat by those that understand how lethal this product can be. It could be argued that this method needs some ironing out to make it a viable option. There must be checks and balances and potential risk assessments. However, check this space for a future advancement in this area of counter UAV technology.
Counter UAV and drone jamming
Drone jamming is essentially a frequency jammer. The frequency will cripple any drone from entering the zone in which the frequency range operates. Drones communicate with their pilot remotely through a radio wave frequency. If this frequency is interfered with or disrupted the drone cannot take instructions from the remote base and will stop functioning.
Drone jamming is particularly effective. Because it neutralises the drone and also enables the security team involved to identify the offending drone . Capturing the drone will also identify the reason it was operated within their no-go area. It also offers an opportunity to identify the operator. In turn it will become clear whether the operator was in in fact behaving out of ignorance or out of malice. Appropriate action can then be taken.
Fences and domes to keep them out
Drone jamming as a counter UAV method does not only create fences upward of 500m into the sky. SkyFence™ is a typical product for this purpose and is both legal and safe to use. Modern drone fence technology creates a dome like structure around the target. Thus making it impossible for high flying drones to get in over the top. The frequencies licenced for use by drones are sufficiently different to those used by aircraft. This is so as not to endanger other public services and to do what they do best. Capture rogue UAVs.
Although drone defence technology has advanced significantly there is till much to be done. There are new technologies that enable the identity of a pilot to be established remotely. This reduces the detective work required in counter UAV measures. Furthermore it will in the future form a core part of drone defence.
Drone defence has become important to everyone that is affected by them. Even those that use drones as part of their industry understand the need for drone defence. This includes farmers, law enforcement, conservation and real estate businesses. The dividing line between ethical methods of Counter UAV and those that pose serious safety questions have now been established. These are questions that everyone should be asking, not just those that provide the counter UAV solutions.