There are no clear solutions to detect and mitigate drone threats, according to experts speaking during a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council. Numerous challenges will have to be overcome to successfully defend against drone threats in commercial and military environments with counter-drone technology.
No clear solutions to detect and mitigate drone threats
Brian Garrett-Glaser writes for Avionics International that:
Counter-drone systems use a variety of different methodologies to detect nearby aircraft at low altitudes, including radar, radiofrequency (RF) sensors and electro-optical / infrared cameras (EO/IR). All of these systems have glaring weaknesses, explained Dr. Scott Crino, founder and CEO of Red Six Solutions, which has worked with the FAA, TSA and other organizations to red-team defensive systems and provide security advice.
“Nearly all counter-UAS systems are effective to some degree, but they're effective in the operational environment that it was meant to operate in,” Crino said. “So when selected counter-UAS systems, we have to look at a suite of technologies — not just an RF sensor, not just a radar, but all of them operating and integrated together. But even when being operated that way, the drone still has the upper hand.”
Crino sees promise in high-energy laser mitigation systems, such as one recently used aboard the USS Portland to shoot down a drone during a test.
“There's a lot of promise in high-energy systems, lasers and high-powered microwaves that cook the aircraft almost instantaneously as it approaches,” Crino said. “It's a little bit of a wider beam, and there is a real hesitancy to use them … we don't fully understand where the laser stops [and] what the impact could be on a commercial aircraft or even a satellite that's orbiting the planet.”
“Right now, all of our policy regulations are on the side of the pilot and not so much on the side of the user of a counter-drone system,” Crino said, listing sections of the U.S. code that guard against destruction of aircraft, unauthorized access of computer systems, interferences with government and satellite communications, and the interception of personal communications — all of which counter-UAS technologies violate as currently written.
If you are interested in learning more about drone threats and the various counter-drone technologies, I encourage you to read the entire article here.
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