All-in-One Drone Encounter
The use of unmanned aircraft or drones by criminals or terrorists represents huge risks. This has led to a plethora of high-tech drone detection and defence systems that are a matter of interest for homeland security, police, military, and even private security. Especially aligned for threats posed by mini- and micro-drones (<25kg), modular systems usually combine detection technologies and non-lethal effectors.
A sophisticated solution on offer in Frankfurt – named GUARDION – has been designed by ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH, which describes it as a “modular system solution utilising the most suitable state-of-the-art components available on the market, as well as a command, control, and situation awareness system of military background.”
With a number of sensors, GUARDION detects commercially available drones and makes it possible to counter them: Rohde & Schwarz‘ ARDRONIS radio sensor (detecting and identifying a drone and taking the bearings on the remote controller even before the drone takes off); a radar sensor (covering a full 360-degree view); an acoustic sensor (recognising a drone’s specific noise); and an optical sensor. The latter can optically verify the presence of a detected drone, thus allowing visual verification by operators. MONS learned that the acoustic sensor forming part of the GUARDION product is a development by Squarehead Technology AS based in Vestby, Norway. MONS was also told that the majority of commercially available drones utilise three communication types: ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) radio bands in the range below 10GHz, WiFi and L-bands used to internally sync way points with GPS.
Among the effectors is remote control link disruption. It can disrupt a drone’s remote control radio links without affecting other radio traffic. Subsystems of this kind receive much attention: when jammed, a drone is no longer controllable by its pilot. Christian Jaeger, ESG’s Programme Manager Counter UAV Systems, confirmed that GUARDION is ranked as a multi-effector solution, also comprising a High Power Electro- Magnetics (HPEM) effector. It is described as an interference pulse that disable or disrupt electronics components as used not only in UAVs, but also in IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), land and sea vehicle engine electronics, control systems, computers, and other intelligence subsystems. MONS was informed that this subsystem is Diehl Defence’s “HPEMcounterUAS” solution. This counter-drone effector operates without time delay, according to the manufacturer, providing the option of scalable ranges up to several hundred metres, and it is capable of intercepting entire swarms of mini-drones simultaneously. Diehl Defence notes in its latest fact sheet distributed at GEPEC that only HPEM is able to affect the drones’ control electronics, regardless of the control method.