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Counter-drone technology has already seen extensive use in certain applications. On the battlefield, C-UAS systems have so far most commonly been used for base protection, complementing existing weapons such as counter-mortar systems and surveillance platforms. There is also growing interest in portable and mobile systems that could be used to protect ground units and convoys. In civilian environments, counter-drone technology has so far primarily been used for airspace protection at airports, security during large events such as party conventions and sports games, VIP protection, and counter-smuggling operations at prisons. Common applications include airspace defense around sensitive facilities, port security, maritime security, and personal use over private property.


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Systems designed to be used from either stationary or mobile positions on the ground. This category includes systems installed on fixed sites, mobile systems, and systems mounted on ground vehicles.

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Systems that are designed to be operated by a single individual by hand. Many of these systems resemble rifles or other small arms.

Detection & Interdiction Systems

Detection & Tracking
  • Radar- Detects the presence of small unmanned aircraft by their radar signature, which is generated when the aircraft encounters RF pulses emitted by the detection element.19 These systems often employ algorithms to distinguish between drones and other small, low-flying objects, such as birds.
  • Radio-frequency (RF)- Identifies the presence of drones by scanning for the frequencies on which most drones are known to operate. Algorithms pick out and geo-locate RF-emitting devices in the area that are likely to be drones.
  • Electro-Optical (EO)- Detects drones based on their visual signature.
  • Infrared (IR)- Detects drones by recognizing the unique sounds produced by their motors. Acoustic systems rely on a library of sounds produced by known drones, which are then matched to sounds detected in the operating environment.
  • Combined Sensors- Many systems integrate a variety of different sensor types in order to provide a more robust detection capability. For example, a system might include an acoustic sensor that cues an optical camera when it detects a potential drone in the vicinity. The use of multiple detection elements may also be intended to increase the probability of a successful detection, given that no individual detection method is entirely failproof.
  • RF Jamming- Disrupts the radio frequency link between the drone and its operator by generating large volumes of RF output. Once the RF link, which can include WiFi links, is severed, a drone will either descend to the ground or initiate a “return to home” maneuver.
  • GNSS Jamming- Disrupts the drone’s satellite link, such as GPS or GLONASS, which is used for navigation. Drones that lose their satellite link will hover in place, land, or return to home.
  • Spoofing- Allows one to take control of the targeted drone by hijacking the drone’s communications link. (Also known as protocol manipulation.)
  • Laser- Destroys vital segments of the drone’s airframe using directed energy, causing it to crash to the ground.
  • Nets-Designed to entangle the targeted drone and/or its rotors.
  • Projectile-Employs regular or custom-designed ammunition to destroy incoming unmanned aircraft.
  • Combined Interdiction Elements-A number of C-UAS systems also employ a combination of interdiction elements—most commonly, RF and GNSS jamming systems that work in tandem.