Components of Counter UAS Systems

December 17 2023 – JT VonLunen

Counter UAS Systems are used to detect drones.   Soon, nearly all drones in US airspace will require Remote ID, so they can be easily tracked.   It's likely that those up to suspicious activity will not use drones with Remote ID.  There are a number of different types and manufacturers of Counter UAS Systems.  Listed below are the main components of these systems for those who are looking to learn more about Counter UAS Systems.  Please keep in mind this is a general overview, for obvious reasons.

1.  Detection Device - Generally a spectrum analyzer or radar device is used.  The spectrum analyzer "listens" for radio frequencies between the drone's receiver and the operators remote control.  A radar unit operates the opposite way.  It's emitting radio signs and can detect a change in frequency when the radio waves reflect off an object.

2. Antenna - Regardless of detection device, an antenna is needed to either receive or broadcast a signal.  Range of the system will depend on the size of the antenna and the number of antenna connected.

3. Computer Processing and Networking - A computer is required to process the radio signals from the detection devices.  Generally there's a lot of processing power required to handle rapid scanning of the radio frequency spectrum.  Also multiple detection devices and antenna can be networked together to provide a wider range of coverage.  

4. Mitigation -  There are certain ways to counter rouge drones when detected.  The most common mitigation is radio or gps signal jamming.  This is not legal in the US unless handle by certain US federal government agencies.   When the signal is jammed, the drones will resort to their failsafe settings for a lost signal, and either land or return to the operator.

Tagged: Counter Drone, Counter UAS Explanation, What is Counter Drone Technology