Counter drone systems are not without their challenges at the level of performance, practicality, legality and policy. A lack of common international standards in the counter drone (C-UAS) industry has resulted in a wide variance in the effectiveness and reliability of systems. The counter drone industry is still maturing as are many of the products currently on offer. Many manufacturers, their agents and re-sellers will tell you their product is the solution to the threat posed by drones and that the stated specifications of their products are accurate and achievable. Not all counter drone systems are as effective as advertised and statements like these require rigorous examination.
The technology is still evolving and many of the systems on the market only address part of the problem. As an example, some systems will only detect and counter drones that operate on the 2.4GHz frequency but there are now many drones that operate on either 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz. Some companies offer a solution that uses protocol manipulation, which is like cracking a code, to interrupt the signal between the drone and drone pilot and take control of it, but not all of the codes have been cracked. Systems developed by drone manufacturers may only detect drones manufactured by them, leaving a gap in what is detected. The message is clear for a potential buyer, the manufacturers specifications need to be tested to confirm the accuracy and reliability of the information they provide.
There are also many legal challenges with the operation of drone detection and counter drone solutions and these need to be considered before making any purchase. By way of example, a drone is legally an ‘aircraft’ by definition, drone detection could be considered a ‘tracking device’, radio frequency jamming requires permission from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and protocol manipulation could be considered computer hacking. Legal analysis and advice is essential before any system is purchased.
The information on this website is designed to highlight the risks, solutions and challenges faced in this evolving industry and why expert advice is required before making any decisions on drone threat mitigation.