Detecting, Controlling Dangerous UAVs

By UAS Magazine Staff | November 16, 2015

Technology developers focused on the unmanned aircraft systems industry are turning their attention to the ground. A major UAS manufacturer and a national think tank––Lockheed Martin and Battelle Memorial Institute, respectively­­––have issued updates on work to mitigate out-of-boundary or dangerous unmanned aircraft vehicles through ground-based operations and equipment.

With its new system called ICARUS, Lockheed can detect and counter emerging UAV threats. The system can detect, locate and mitigate an approaching UAV. Lockheed displayed the system at a military event earlier this year. The system relies on data captured through imagery, acoustic and radio frequency sensors to effectively cancel out an approaching UAV’s cameras, disable flight or take control of the UAV to move it to a safe zone. The non-kinetic system is designed for group 1 UAS and sUAS platforms.

“The U.S. government is seeing an increase in the use of commercially available UAS platforms for surveillance and weaponization,” said Deon Viergutz, vice president of cyber solutions for Lockheed. Viergutz said ICARUS can offer “pinpoint accuracy” in detecting UAS with its software package.

Battelle has also come out with an anti-drone technology package. The institution has trademarked a system it calls the DroneDefender. Developed for use on a long-rifle platform, Battelle describes the system as a “portable, accurate, rapid-to-use” counter-weapon capable of stopping suspicious or hostile drones in flight.

Up to 400 meters, the point and shoot system can repel drones without doing damage to the systems. Any system operating with a GPS or ISM band frequency can be controlled by the DroneDefender. Battelle has already demonstrated the system in field trials. The system has also been showcased on a YouTube video featured on the Battelle homepage. In the video, an sUAV attempts to fly over a restricted and fenced area. A security agent steps out of a truck, grabs and deploys the system by pointing it directly at the drone in flight. The security agent then directs the drone to the ground by moving the tip of the system towards the ground.

The DroneDefender could be available to the public in 2016, Battelle said. The platform weighs less than 10 pounds and can be run in a fixed or portable scenario. In either scenario, the system can be operated for roughly 10 minutes.