Drone Detection and Neutralisation Technologies – Part II

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Since 2015, CERBAIR developed its own radiofrequency spectrum analysis algorithm. In the first part of this post, we showed the pros and cons of every type of detection technologies. Among its perks, cost effectiveness is perhaps the main factor that led us to this choice. It is the backbone of our competitiveness. Radiofrequency is also the only available technology that allows the user to detect both the drone and its pilot, a key advantage for law enforcement. Using the same data, the drone model can be identified as well. Furthermore, detection using this method is passive, emitting no interferences of any kind. By applying our sorting algorithms, we have managed to push the ranges up to 4 km in optimal conditions. But it is one thing to detect an incoming threat from afar. Whether the motive is espionage, collision or attack, a sensitive site needs to have its resources protected by a jamming device, capable of preventing the threat from penetrating its valuable airspace and assets. Is radiofrequency-based jamming a proper solution to get rid of malevolent drones ?

 

A/ The three decisive factors of a realistic CUAV offer. 

Before we deep dive into “the art of neutralisation”, a dual detection-jamming solution should rely on three pillars:

  • The versatility of the offer
  • The cost-efficiency
  • The reliance and accuracy, through a multi-technology solution

1. The Versatility of our Offer

Based on our RF spectrum analysis technology, we offer three different dual detection-jamming solutions with different formats. The latter deeply impacts the efficiency and availability of the protection.

  • Stationary solution: the CERBAIR Stationary solution is permanently installed on the sensitive site. The number of HYDRA™ RF sensors and their configuration depend mainly on the specifications of the site. It is always possible to upgrade the solution after installation without having to replace the entire system, letting the user a perfect control of budget and evolving security needs. Thus, we fulfil our scalability promises. A GUI* can also be implemented into the existing security systems. This solution is especially dedicated to provide a reliable coverage to permanent sensitive sites: official buildings, nuclear power plants, military bases, etc…
  • Mobile solution: the CERBAIR mobile solution is especially designed to detect drones and protect sensitive sites or events over short periods of time. Due to its reduced size, it can easily fit into a SUV, heli or airplane, making transport hassle-free. Only requiring 2 operators, installation is rapid and easy. This system is 100% autonomous and powered by an external generator or can be plugged into a general power supply.
  • Portable solution: our portable anti-drone solution, called CHIMERA, provides power and ease-of-use in a small and cost-efficient package. The combination of our detection and neutralisation technologies make this solution unique on the market. It is ideal for use by Law Enforcement officers in urban environments.

2. The Cost-Efficiency

The answer comes from the asymmetrical nature of this fight.

  • Ease of installation and use, close to no maintenance, non-prohibitive price, accessibility on the civilian market and on-line stores, availability of unrestricted off-the-shelf components, etc… These factors explain why civilian drones are affordable to any potential attackers.
  • On the other hand, classic AA* defence can find themselves unsuited for such type of threats. More expensive by factors of thousands, regulatory constraints that only make it available for military and law enforcement, complexity and time of installation and use, etc…

This asymmetrical nature justifies the need for cost-effectiveness, increased availability, and accessibility to non-specialized operators. Thanks to its historical design-to-cost strategy, CERBAIR has targeted this very market, offering the most cost-effective solution to its clients worldwide.

3. A Multi-Technology Solution

As shown in our Incident Drone Reports, the threat is, in essence, ever-changing (for instance C4 and handmade grenades tapped to drones in Mexico and Middle-East). CERBAIR is developing additional detection technologies conceived to be plugged to the radiofrequency core. Our project is to create a final solution which would be able to combine radiofrequency, radar, acoustic and optronic able to combine every advantage of each technologies into a single hardware base.

The process works as follows:

  • The RF sensors detect when the drone is powered up. The sensors are able to track the drone on a 360° basis.
  • Once the RF device have detected a drone, an integrated radar and an acoustic sensor further enhances the UAV tracking.
  • The optronic module then allows the user to confirm the model of the civilian drone indicated by the detection algorithm, further removing doubt from the equation.

 

B/ RF-based UAV neutralization: drawbacks VS perks

1. Neutralization technologies and its challenges

  • Jamming solutions rely on technologies unrestricted to civilian infrastructures. 
  • An anti-drone offer should rely on non-kinetic means of defence, as it should be proper to use in urban areas.
  • Optimal cost-efficiency should be one of the main priorities. This could be achieved by using a common hardware base for both detection and jamming.
  • Finally, as civilian drones can potentially pose as a mobile and ever-changing threat, scalability and updatability are factors worth mentioning.

2. MEDUSA, CERBAIR’s answer to the growing civilian drone threat

Before we compare an RF-based UAV jamming solution to the aforementioned factors, we must first further elaborate its functioning.

MEDUSA™ is a compact neutralization solution, able to fit in the trunk of any SUV. It comes in addition to the HYDRA™ detection module, receiving live data from our RF spectrum analyzer.

  • Based on the information provided by our detection module HYDRA™, MEDUSA™ then takes control and sends pulses on the same RF band. Unable to receive orders from its operator, the drone finds itself isolated.
  • At this stage, three reactions can be initiated, according to the manufacturer’s or the operator’s settings:
    • RTH*: The Return Home function can be triggered. Unable to communicate with its pilot, the civilian UAV returns to a predetermined location set up in advance. Useful against ill-trained civilians, who only crossed boundaries by inadvertence or loss of control. The drone automatically comes back to the user.
    • The second jamming option will force the drone to hover at the same location until it runs out of battery.
    • By breaking the link between the UAV and its operator, the only possible option for the drone is to activate the soft landing procedure.

NB : user doesn’t have a hand over which reaction will be triggered. This factor strictly depends on the security protocols the drones use.

3/ Pros and cons

The drawbacks of an RF-based jamming solution:

  • Up to now, autonomous drones remain undetected due to the lack of ascending and descending signals.
  • Ambient RF pollution, which can be found in urban environment, is also an issue which our team of engineers are currently working on.

The perks of our solution:

  • The detection and jamming module work in tandem, further facilitating the security procedures on the client’s sites.
  • According to the sensitive location specifications, the end-user can choose the format and the number of required solutions, thanks to the scalability of our offer.
  • The RF database is regularly updated, upgrading the coverage.
  • Using this technological core, our client neutralize the drone. Operations meant to prevent drug smugglings are greatly facilitated. A situation well known by CBP agents (U.S. Customs and Border Protection), who face regular drug smuggling along the Mexican border.

 

CERBAIR aims to provide the most cost-effective solution on the market and appropriately respond to the asymmetrical nature of the threat. Our solutions are designed to be used for sensitive site protection, whether permanently or temporarily. Scalability and adaptability for safer skies.

Want to Learn More?

The anti-drone market is is crowded (more than 220 providers worldwide) and choosing the right system might seem impossibly intimidating. CERBAIR has produced a white paper on the subject, complete with descriptions of drone detection and neutralization systems and a convenient checklist to help security administrators determine the best choice for their airspace. Download your copy ofThe Beginner’s Guide to Securing Sensitive Airspace with Anti-Drone Technology to learn more.

Additionally, contact us for more info on our solutions our sales team is fully ready to answer.

 


CUAV: Counter-Unmanned-Aerial Vehicule

AA: Anti-Aerial (Defence)

GUI: General User Interface

RTH: For instance, in 2015, a civilian flew an unrestricted drone under alcohol influence over the White House garden, crashing onto a tree. Although his intents weren’t harmful, an C-UAV solution able to trigger an RTH function would have been useful in this situation.

A Round-the-World Look at Drone Regulations

When did “COTS” (Commercial Off The Shelf) or hobby drones first enter your consciousness? Can you even remember? Perhaps it was a holiday gift for a young family member or video filmed from spectacular heights and uploaded to YouTube. Though Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or “drones” have been around for decades, it’s only within the past 10 years or so that they’ve become widely available to the public. And with that increase availability came a number of unexpected security headaches.

The Threat Emerges

Before the democratization of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) technology in the early teens, there was almost no drone-specific legislation anywhere. Drones and their actions were mostly covered by rules governing civil aviation and lumped in with model airplanes and kites. A noticeable shift in the attitude of authorities towards consumer drones began around 2014 following a number of high-profile incidents involving drones:

  • October/November 2014Unidentified drones are spotted hovering over 13 separate nuclear power plants in France in what the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security describes as an “organized provocation”
  • January 2015 – A drone ends up on the White House lawn in Washington, DC after the drunken pilot loses control of the device. The incident provokes a Secret Service investigation and raises concerns that the US capital could come under threat from consumer drones
  • April 2015 – A drone carrying a small amount of radioactive material is discovered on the roof of the offices of the Prime Minister of Japan. The pilot, who was protesting the use of nuclear energy in the country, received a suspended two-year sentence

Authorities Take Action

As complaints and reported incidents began piling up, taking many civil aviation authorities by surprise, a serious movement to bring drones and their operators under some sort of government control began taking shape. Although uneven, some common elements appear:

  • Limiting maximum flight altitude, often to around 120m (400ft)
  • Restricting drone operation to within line-of-sight and daytime hours
  • Banning unauthorized drone activity near airfields
  • Banning or restricting drone flights over populated areas
  • Prohibition of drone operation in disaster areas or near emergency operations

Still, drone regulations remain a subject of confusion for many including drone pilots themselves.

CerbAir’s Newest Anti-Drone Resource

That potential for confusion among pilots and security administrators alike was a major motivating factor when it came to determining the subject matter of our new White Paper. We wanted to give readers a global look at the current state of drone-related legislation: perhaps to inspire them to push for new ideas or reform in their own regions or simply to inform them of their rights and responsibilities under existing laws.

We’re excited to present our newest White Paper and anti-drone resource: A Survey of Drone Regulations Around the World. Within you’ll find an overview of drone-related legislation in five countries around the world as well as helpful links and resources to learn more.

Click here to get your copy.

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Partner Profile: Protec

When technology meets security expertise…

 

Founded in 2003 by Gil Ancelin, Groupe Protec is one of the French leaders in the human security and surveillance industry. It is represented in France through 6 subsidiaries dedicated to security services:

  • Protec Security

Assure security of large and small areas, crowded places, administrations, and industrial sites by providing highly skilled security agents, that are trained to intervene quickly and effectively in even the most sensitive contexts.

  • Protec Bodyguard

Personal security escorts with a choice of being accompanied by a man or a woman as a bodyguard.

  • Protec Telesurveillance

24/7 tele and video surveillance, intrusion and fire detection, alarm management, technical installation and access-point control

  •  Protec Service

Reception hosts, multi-domain mystery shoppers, reception service, barmaids

  • Horus Formation

Certified training center specialized in security professions.

Protect Security

Last year, the Groupe Protec made a great step ahead by creating a subsidiary dedicated to new technologies in the security and safety sector, Security Systems by Protec

 

In 2019, The Groupe Prote and CerbAir signed an agreement to join forces to offer our clients the ultimate in security technology and expertise. Security Systems by Protec provides a certified and comprehensive security offer that combines the strengths of a highly-trained staff with technology. CerbAir brings to the table its advanced radio-frequency based drone detection.

It is with great pride and pleasure that CerbAir announces its newest partnership with the Groupe Protec.

Sofins 2019

The Crossroads of Technology and Defense

CerbAir will be present at the 4th annual Sofins expo from 02-04 April 2019, held at Camp de Souge military base near Bordeaux, France. We’ll be conducting demonstrations of our anti-drone solution (more details below) and a conference on UAS terrorism.

We look forward to seeing you at our stand D54. Click here to get visitor access. Be sure to register before the cut-off date: 26 March 2019!

What Is Sofins?

Sofins began as the culmination of years of effort by members of the Cercle de l’Arbalète to improve the ties between the French technology and defense sectors. Observers on both sides are increasingly alarmed by the growing role of new technology in emerging security threats.

Cheap and commercially available hobby drones appeared in the Middle East around 2014 as part of the Islamic State’s asymmetric push to dominate the region. The tactic was soon picked up by other non-state actors from Latin America to Eastern Europe and even by some cash-poor professional militaries.

Meanwhile, the falling prices of nano-drones and software allowing multiple UAVs to be controlled by a single operator means the threat of weaponized drone swarms capable of overwhelming traditional defenses is now looming over the military world. Add to this advances in cyber-warfare, 3D printer-based arms production and other menaces and the need to bring the tech and defense sectors together becomes obvious.

Sofins is a forum that allows new ideas and relationships to flourish, sparking innovation.  As Sofins’ website makes clear, the mission promoted by its organizers is to:

“Raise the profile of special operations by celebrating and nurturing the innovative spirit of micro-enterprises, SMEs and large industrial groups working in this area.”

At Sofins technology developers have a chance to promote and educate visitors on the newest innovations while defense sector players can test those innovations out, attend demonstrations and conferences and expand their network in the tech sector. The security “challenges of tomorrow” thus become more manageable. As a provider of innovative and reliable CUAS solutions, CerbAir is eager to share its technology and security expertise in the effort to produce a safer world for all.

Anti-Drone Solution Demonstrations & Informative Conference

In the vein of sharing our expertise and spreading knowledge about advances in anti-drone technology, CerbAir has scheduled two live demonstrations of our CUAS solution. Come discover for yourself on the following dates:

Tuesday, 02 April 2019 at 10AM

Thursday, 04 April 2019 at 10AM

We’re also excited to announce an informative talk by our Director of Business Development and Security Export Thomas Guedet on the topic of Civilian UAS-based Terrorism: An Asymmetrical War – a concise, but detailed look at the rise of the use of civilian drones in terrorism and war:

Civilian UAS-based Terrorism: An Asymmetrical War
Salle de Conférence du Sofins
Wednesday 03 April
11AM

Perhaps you’ve been looking for innovative answers to your security challenges, you like to keep abreast of the latest advances in defense technology or you’re trying to expand your network. Sofins, the crossroads of technology and defense may be just what you’re looking for.

After Gatwick Could Sports Venues Be the Next Great Drone Debacle?

Stadiums Are At Risk From Rogue Drones

After a rather unfortunate end to 2018, Gatwick Airport administrators have learned that a little prevention goes a long way. Europe’s 8th busiest airport is busy installing anti-drone solutions to keep the UAVs away and airport authorities around the globe are following their example and investigating ways of protecting their own runways. Continue reading “After Gatwick Could Sports Venues Be the Next Great Drone Debacle?”

Yemen Drone Attack: A Worrisome Trend

Is the Yemen Attack a Sign of Things to Come?

On January 10th a clutch of high-ranking officers in Yemen’s Hadi-led government army gathered at Al Anand military base. Seated on a raised dais, they surveyed the soldiers arranged in orderly rows before them while cordial speeches praising the bravery and fighting prowess of the armed forces blasted from tinny loudspeakers.

Continue reading “Yemen Drone Attack: A Worrisome Trend”

CerbAir will be at Shield Africa 2019

Shield Africa (22 – 24 Jan 2019) is Africa’s leading security exposition.

Sponsored by the Ivory Coast Ministries of State and Defense and partnered with French defense giants GICAT and GICAN, Shield Africa offers responses to security challenges confronting the continent in 2019 including:

  • Securing urban areas,
  • Reestablishing peace in conflict zones,
  • Battling against transborder terrorism
  • Promoting economic activity

2019’s theme will be “Protection and Control of Borders” and CerbAir, with its airspace security expertise, will be on hand to share its anti-drone solutions.

Given the growing incidents of cross-border smuggling and terrorism involving UAVs, it’s more important than ever for countries to secure their national borders against drone intrusions.

We look forward to meeting you at the Ecole Nationale de Police in Abidjan, Ivory Coast at Stand A35 from Tuesday 22, January 2019 to Thursday 24 January 2019.

Contact us for more information or to make an appointment at contact@cerbair.com

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Gatwick Airport Hobbled by Hobby Drone Intrusion

From 9 pm to 3 am on Wednesday evening Gatwick Airport, Europe’s 8th busiest was shut down due to the presence of two rogue drones flying over its runway.

The drones reappeared on Thursday morning, affecting the flight plans of over 120.000 passengers according to Gatwick’s chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe and forcing flights to divert to airports as far away as Paris and Amsterdam.

Flights finally resumed on Friday morning under heavy police and military guard.

Theories that the drone intrusion was a deliberate act to disrupt air traffic at a particularly stressful time – the end of year travel season – have already begun making their rounds, with British authorities launching an official investigation.

But, whatever the motives of the pilots may have been, the incident illustrated just how easy it is to bring a major air hub to its knees with a cheap, easy to purchase hobby drone.

Extremely Dangerous to Aircraft

But how can such a small device cause such big trouble?

Hobby drones are tiny but pose an enormous collision risk to aircraft which could catastrophically weaken the structural integrity of the impacted aircraft. And unlike bird strikes, drones are not composed of organic material, but of plastic, metal and potentially explosive lithium batteries – significantly raising the risks.

Thus the message of Gatwick’s CEO Stewart Wingate to stranded passengers:

“We hope passengers appreciate that we must and will always prioritise their safety over everything else…until we are confident that the issue has been resolved it would clearly not be in the interests of passengers to do so [restart operations] as we could be jeopardising their safety.”

Indeed, allowing flights to continue with the presence of rogue drones in flight paths is a risk no sensible airport authority is willing to take.

Adding to the pain of airport administrators – shutdowns are incredibly expensive – a similar incident in Dubai in 2017 ended up costing as much as $1 million US per minute.

Taxpayers Impacted

On Thursday about 20 police units were busy searching the perimeter of the airfield of the drone pilots, which to date have still not been located. All that mobilization spells big bills for taxpayers who are obliged to fund attempts – often futile – to track down drown pilots after the fact.

Even mid-priced drones, such as Parrot’s ANAFI, have maximum ranges of up to 4km or 2.5 miles – allowing a pilot to wreak havoc from a safe distance and make his getaway long before police can determine his location by sight alone.

Why not just shoot the drone out of the sky?

“Why not just break out the rifles, blow the drone out of the sky and be done with it?” you may ask. In Gatwick’s case, police were reluctant to do so out of fear that stray bullets could possibly damage aircraft or injure passengers and crew.

Drones are also incredibly fast (some going up to 225kph or 140mph) and difficult to target, even for the best sharpshooters.

Pilot Localization is Key

Lucas Le Bell, founder of CerbAir anti-drone solutions knows how dangerous a drone in a no-fly zone can be. CerbAir has extensive experience in anti-drone protection over international airports such as Paris’ Charles de Gaulle – Roissy International Airport.

“This is proof that stricter legislation is not enough to eliminate the threat hobby drones pose to aviation, even at major airports like Gatwick. If you want to stop this sort of incident, you need to find the people responsible and bring them to justice to discourage others from doing the same thing, which is why it’s so important to be able to locate the pilot.”

Radio-frequency based anti-drone detection systems like CerbAir’s are able to locate not only the drone but its remote control from the moment the remote is activated. This allows airport authorities to find and apprehend rogue drone pilots and neutralize the threat straight away without using ammunition or jamming which can be dangerous in a crowded urban environment.

Major airports around the world such take the Gatwick debacle as a warning.

Deployment of anti-drone detection, pilot localization, and drone neutralization should no longer be considered optional.

Indeed, Stewart Wingate recognized the need for action in his official statement, writing:

“These events obviously highlight a wider strategic challenge for aviation in this country which we need to address together with speed – the aviation industry, Government and all the other relevant authorities.”

In a world where one tiny drone is all it takes to ground dozens of jumbo jets, finding and making an example of irresponsible pilots is the only way forward.

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Drone Sightings Skyrocket in the US

Surprising Findings

The FAA released figures showing recorded drone sightings in restricted US airspace between 2014 and 2018 and the results are astounding! Continue reading “Drone Sightings Skyrocket in the US”