Airbus Counter-UAV System detects illicit drones and shuts them down

Airbus Counter-UAV System dete...
A diagram of the Counter-UAV System
A diagram of the Counter-UAV System
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A diagram of the Counter-UAV System
A diagram of the Counter-UAV System

With a projected one million drones sold during the holidays, the potential security risks to everything from military installations to energy plants to airports increased as well. Bearing that in mind, Airbus Defence and Space recently introduced its Counter-UAV System as a way to detect potential UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) threats from a distance of between 5 and 10 km (3 and 6 miles) and bring them down with electronic countermeasures.

The system uses a combination of radars, infrared cameras and direction finders to identify drones and determine their threat potential. A human operator compares the data from the system to a threat library and realtime analysis of control signals, to determine whether or not to jam the signal and interrupt the link between the drone and its pilot and/or its navigation system. A direction finder within the system can then be used to detect the location of the pilot for apprehension.

The company's Smart Responsive Jamming Technology ensures that only the signals used to operate the drone are jammed while other nearby frequencies remain unaffected and operational. The jamming technology is also designed to allow the user to both identify the UAV and initiate a controlled takeover if necessary.

Depending on the required configuration, the company said an operational system could be available by the middle of this year.

The Airbus Defence and Space Counter-UAV System joins a growing number of anti-drone systems that includes Battelle's DroneDefender and the Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS) from Blighter Surveillance Systems.

Source: Airbus Defence and Space

Theo Viljoen
I think all airliners should start to consider mesh-cones for their engines... for all our safety!
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This reduces fear of causing an accident for the drone user.
What if it's on an autonomous function? I'm curious I genuinely am not sure
"I think all airliners should start to consider mesh-cones for their engines... for all our safety!" The media hyped "problem" of UAV near-misses by airliners is nowhere near big enough worldwide to justify the fuel-cost and engine-modification expense this would entail. The risk just isn't very large, compared with the other risk factors affecting commercial aviation. Bird-strikes have been around since the dawn of aviation, and certainly during the jet-age. If mesh-cones haven't been adopted to stop birds getting ingested into airliner turbofans, they're not likely to add them for UAV strikes.
"A direction finder within the system can then be used to detect the location of the pilot for apprehension." So, turning on such a system in Brooklyn or Queens on any given Saturday Morning would reveal at least dozens of RC aircraft transmitters, if it even worked at all and didn't simply detect WiFi nodes. Which would be the "correct" perpetrator of the "illicit" drone flight assuming a 6 mile detection radius? How does one determine if a drone is "illicit" in the first place, especially one several miles away? Sounds like, at its best, this system would merely indicate the nearby presence of "off-the-shelf" camera-drones straight from the high-end camera shop. Would it detect and disable the ones whose control is implemented via 3G or 4G, or even a leased satellite link, augmented by line-of-sight IR laser? Doubtful. What about the ones that are running autonomously entirely on INS data and aerial map location correlation functions, without using GPS or "RC style" ground control at all? And assuming it undertakes to jam all GPS reception in a 10km radius, all to disable a single 2kg UAV, how would the FCC react to this? If a drone was seriously meant harm to a location or person, designed to do that mission on purpose, it's doubtful this system could stop it. It will work very well detecting park-flying hipsters with their brand-new DJI Phantoms videoing their friends doing skate-tricks. Here's a rhetorical question; why is the US so worried about privately owned UAVs when places like China, Russia, and Singapore don't seem to have any problem with them?