Downing drones

Against the backdrop of an announcement last month by Daesh that it had created an “Unmanned Aircraft of the Mujahideen” unit – a fleet of modified drones equipped with explosives – and its claims that the drones had killed or wounded 39 Iraqi soldiers in one week, Australian company DroneShield has sold its DroneGun tactical jammer to the ministry of defence of an undisclosed Middle Eastern country “closely allied with the Western countries.” (sic)

The DroneGun

It claims that “this is the first reported sale of a tactical drone jammer product to a Middle Eastern government by any supplier.

The unit was purchased at a full rate price. The company says it “is an affordable product whose cost is in the tens of thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, per unit.” There is potential for a follow up order “on a large scale”.

The 5kg or so DroneGun is apparently effective against a wide range of drones up to 2km away. It functions by blocking the video transmission to the operator using the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz frequencies and leaves the drone intact and available for forensic investigation. It can also jam GPS and GLONASS.

Last month, the gun was used by Swiss police at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The DroneShield product is one of many counter-RPAS (remotely piloted air system) technologies that are on offer by about 20 companies. You can read our 21 November 2016 article about emerging anti-RPAS technologies here. At the top end, Airbus Defence and Space offers a complete counter-UAV solution that includes a Spexer 500AC radar, NightOwl Z thermal imaging camera and laser rangefinder, Skylark 7050C direction finder, UAV database and VPJ-R6 jammer.

A three-company UK consortium offers an Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS – selected by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for evaluation at U.S. airports as part of its Pathfinder Programme), Selex ES with its Falcon Shield, and Israel Aerospace Industries offering its Drone Guard RPAS disruption system using X-band radars to detect targets.

The AUDS (photo credit: Blighter Surveillance)