Counter-drone technologies are evolving quickly to stay ahead of the threat, offering capabilities to detect, identify, track—and sometimes defeat—rogue drones using various technologies. Whether to include a defeat capability in a counter-drone installation—and if so, which type—poses a special challenge due to the diversity of defeat technologies and the complex regulatory and liability environment.
In many operational scenarios, drone defeat can be overkill, with optimal protection provided by a passive, undetectable solution that reliably detects, identifies and locates drones and their operators for immediate response by security personnel. Such solutions generally rely on passive Radio Frequency Direction Finding sensors, sometimes supplemented by day/night optical and thermal cameras.
When operationally required, drone defeat technologies fall into two broad categories. Hard-kill defeat, primarily in the domain of military applications, physically destroys or disables the drone but risks collateral injury or damage. Soft-kill defeat safely renders the drone harmless by disrupting its use of the Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum.
Most drones rely on RF to send and receive operator control signals, transmit their video feed and navigate via GPS and other satellite constellations. Two soft-kill RF-disruption techniques have emerged: RF cyber takeover and RF jamming. Each brings advantages and disadvantages, yet the two could be complementary for specific high-threat applications.