Airspace security is an extremely complex topic where a great number of factors need to be taken into consideration to provide the best possible solution for a given site. Given the depth of the topic and the enormous amount of competing anti-drone systems (also known as “CUAS” or “CUAV”) on the market, how can you choose a system that provides optimal airspace security at the best cost/efficiency ratio and over the longest possible period?
Qualities to Look For
Strangely enough, the same qualities that make a good friend are the same ones you should be looking for in a provider:
- Are they someone you can trust? Ask for references. Any serious counter UAV (“counter drone”) provider will be willing to provide client and partner references and most likely specific use cases to prove they know what they’re talking about. Also, be careful about maximum coverage ranges. Ask the provider if the drone detection ranges they’re giving you are under average or ideal conditions. The difference may be surprising.
- Are they committed? Does the provider make the sale and that’s the end of the relationship? Just like a “friend” who disappears once they’ve got what they wanted, a provider who cuts all contact post-sale is someone to watch out for. Look for an anti drone security company that watches over you. Post-sale service, software updates, and troubleshooting are essential.
- Are they knowledgeable? We’ve all seen that annoying guy who claims to know it all but can’t back it up. Test a potential provider’s knowledge and background. Does their representative and/or team have experience in the defense and security fields? What about their materials – do they straddle the fine line between in-depth and easy-to-understand, or do they go too far one way or the other? Can they explain how their technology works in a simple and thorough way?
- Are they passionate? Trustworthiness, commitment, and knowledge are all extremely important qualities, but without a passionate outlook, a friendship risks falling flat. Is the provider you’re considering constantly learning and updating their knowledge on the CUAS field and all its innovations? Are they already doing their own research and development, or planning too soon, or do they purchase all their technology from third parties? A motivated airspace security provider will always be on the lookout for the newest threats and the latest solutions.
Anti-Drone Solutions Tailored to Your Needs
So, you’ve found an airspace security provider that seems to have all the qualities you’re looking for. Now it’s time to take a closer look at their equipment. While it’s extremely important to have a passionate and knowledgeable security team, without the right tools your airspace is still at high risk. Ask yourself the following questions when examining counter UAS technology:
Think Long Term
- Can you scale it to your site needs? Is the technology offered modular? That is – can you easily add or subtract elements without having to replace the entire system?
- Is it upgradable? Is the CUAS solution on offer a good investment over the long-term? Can the software and hardware be easily and regularly updated to keep up with new threats?
- How durable is it? Is it going to last? And is it resistant to rain, snow, and extreme temperatures? This is especially important if the technology will be permanently installed outdoors.
Ease of Use
- Is the technology intuitive and simple to use with minimal training? Does it feature a logical and easy interface?
- Can the anti-drone solution be integrated into your existing security system? How about on-site installation and/or set-up? Drones are quick, your airspace security solution needs to be up and running fast.
- What is the solution’s base technology? Radar, Radiofrequency, Optic (Camera) or Sonic? How well do any of those particular technologies match the risk profile, topography and ambient pollution of your site? What are their advantages and weaknesses? Don’t hesitate to ask a potential provider to answer these questions.
- Is the anti-drone solution reactive? How quickly can it detect a drone within its operating range? And what are its detection and false alarm rates – again, under average rather than ideal circumstances?
- Does the CUAS technology give you the ability to detect the location of both the drone and pilot? Given restrictions on kinetic and non-kinetic drone neutralization in many jurisdictions, locating and arresting the UAV pilot is often the best way to quickly and permanently stop a drone threat.
- Can the provider’s solution handle a multiple drone intrusion? Drone swarms are the next big security challenge in airspace security. Can the provider’s technology deal with multiple UAS without becoming saturated?
- Is the technology low interference or passive? Local authorities can be extremely sensitive about “frequency pollution”. Is the provider’s technology low interference or even passive (only emitting a signal when in use)?
- What about operating costs? How much does it cost to run the technology? Does it consume large amounts of electricity? Does it require a dedicated staff member to operate?
- Does the CUAS solution hit the high quality/fair price sweet spot? While airspace security is an investment, it need not be excessively expensive. Does the provider offer a fair cost to quality ratio?
Many factors go into choosing the right airspace security provider. But with a little research and by asking the right questions, you’re sure to find the best provider and technologies to protect your sensitive site or event from rogue drone intrusions.
In the next installment, we’ll take a closer look at different anti-drone technologies.