Counter drone, Drone news, Drone security, Marine Drone Defence

Superyacht Security – The Drone Dimension

Drones aren’t a new threat to superyacht security – we’ve been talking about this for quite some time, so what’s changed?

There are several motives for someone with malicious intent to be flying drones near superyachts.

Putting any nuisance ‘paparazzi’ or privacy invader issues aside, there are two critical components that we believe are converging right now that are already significantly increasing the threat profile of these drone pilots.

The first of these components is a rapid improvement in the technology itself. The second is an increasing understanding of drones, and the adoption of drones by criminal gangs.

Like any legitimate business, are also always looking at current technological capabilities to identify how they can exploit it, and how it improves their success.

Incidents of drone misuse around superyachts are increasing

Following a recent upturn in reported incidents, we know that not only are unwanted drone incursions on superyachts on the rise, but also that the tactics of deploying these drones are evolving too.

Multiple drones, overwatch, extensive surveillance periods and other tactics are all being deployed to identify when and how to gain access to a yacht, whilst also collecting valuable personal data.

Drone technology continues to advance at a significant pace. If we were to relate the development of drones to that of mobile phones, then we’re currently talking Nokia 3210  territory. If drone technology follows the same trajectory as mobile phones – and we’ve no reason to believe it won’t –  then we’ll be witnessing significantly enhanced drone capabilities beyond what is already a highly capable piece of equipment in a matter of years.

Incidents of drone incursions on superyachts are on the increase

Incidents of drone incursions on superyachts are on the increase

What does this mean for superyacht security?

Existing security measures require additional support to mitigate the threat the superyacht faces from drones. This additional support comes in four parts – Detect, Track, Identify and Defeat.

Detection gives you an early warning system, and the ability to respond within a timeframe to implement standard operating procedures. Tracking and Identifying a drone following this warning means the level of threat can be analysed and then action – evasive or direct – an then be taken.

Detection systems will generally be fixed, with installation possible during refit or a new build. Technology used for detection falls into two camps, radar and radio frequency (RF) detection.

Countermeasures for superyachts fall into two camps – physical capture and electronic.

Physical capture can sound appealing – you’ve instantly stopped the drone from being able to carry out its mission and the information recorded used by the criminal. If captured you can also provide the drone to law enforcement agencies. However this comes with major drawbacks.

Physical capture systems, dominated by net firing devices, is a limited range to a max of around 80m. Any drone operator can easily operate outside of these parameters and carry out what they need to. They can be directly above the yacht at 100m and be completely unaffected by any physical capture system.

These systems also carry significant risk of a drone falling onto the yacht itself, causing potential damage to the yacht and to the people on board.

The second – and much more effective – countermeasure, is electronic jamming. This has the capability to affect the drone at distance, denying the ability to get to within a suitable distance to carry out any meaningful activity without any collateral damage.

Drones pose a significant risk to superyachts

Drones pose a significant risk to superyachts

The advantage of electronic jamming systems

One key advantage of electronic jamming systems, is that they can be integrated with detection systems in order to automate the entire process, detecting and then immediately activating the countermeasure, providing rapid response and mitigation.

Fixed and mobile solutions are available, with portable solutions having an advantage for those wanting protection without a desire for refit.

Jammers work by blocking the command and video signals that drones use, rendering any drone affected as ‘dumb’ – unable to receive input, unable to supply video. As a result, the drone’s inbuilt failsafe systems cause the drone to ‘return to home, and away from the yacht.

We are here to help

If you’re looking for ways in which to deal with a drone security threat we can help. From an assessment of risk to identifying the most appropriate solutions.

Contact us to discuss your requirements – 0843 289 2805 or complete our contact form.

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