Anti-drone 'death ray' can take out UAVs from a mile away

By midian182 · 13 replies
Oct 9, 2015
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  1. Three UK technology firms have developed an anti-drone ‘death ray’ that can knock an unmanned aerial vehicle out of the sky from up to a mile away. The Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) - which is sold by US company Liteye Systems - works by firing focused radio waves at a drone, using the same wavelengths that operators use to fly their vehicles. These covertly jam the signal that links the drone with its controller, making it unresponsive. The AUDS operator can choose to freeze the drone for a short while - in an effort to convince the owner it is malfunctioning - or hold it in the sky until its battery dies and it crashes.

    “If I can see it, I can kill it,” said Rick Sondag, executive vice-president of Liteye Systems, at the Commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Expo in Las Vegas this week.

    AUDS was designed by three British manufacturers - Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems - to combat the threat of malicious micro, mini and larger unmanned aerial vehicles flying in sensitive airspace. The AUDS radar can detect a drone from up to five miles away and visually target it using a camera with thermal imaging capabilities. Not only can it disable a drone, but an ‘optical disruptor’ can also affect the drone’s video feed. The whole process takes as little as 25 seconds.

    As the radio spectrum used by drones is fairly narrow, AUDS' brief, focused broadcast won't affect other aircraft or communication systems. Liteye believes the system could be used by airports, governments and law enforcement agencies who are experiencing an increasing amount of problems with drones as UAV numbers continue to rise due to plummeting costs.

    "Countering drones is now a global issue and an increasing concern for the military, government and homeland security forces across every continent," said Graham Beall, managing director of Chess Dynamics.

    AUDS has been tested in the UK, the US and France, and government organizations in all three countries had been involved in the tests. The US military has been working on its own anti-drone device that fires special tracking projectiles at UAVS, while both China and Boeing have been developing laser weapon systems to take down unmanned aerial vehicles.

    See more of the Anti-UAV Defense System in the video below.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    **sarcasm** I'm pleased to see governments are not spending much on weapons of mass destruction and their R&D anymore but rather investing it for the good of the planet and humankind.
    War is probably more profitable than Apple.
  3. Waxinator

    Waxinator TS Rookie

    ...and the DJI Phantom returns to home when signal is lost / unreadable. :)
    stewi0001 likes this.
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,671   +1,961

    A drone is too small to be detected by a radar, so this system can only spot them visually.

    The next step is invisible drones, within a reflective shell, should be easy enough to make, call it D-117 ;)

    In fact, invisible drones have been in development for some time.

    Good luck with your 1-mile cannon! :)
  5. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    What does it do to people and cars if snuck in to a place?
  6. IrwinBusk

    IrwinBusk TS Rookie

    Decent video tracking & target acquisition. However, I only see three circularly polarized antennas. Judging by the diameters, It appears that this thing will only jam in the 1575 mhz GPS band, the 2400 mhz and 5700 mhz bands ( Wifi, etc). It will only be useful for consumer-commercial UAVs, such as quadcopters, etc. Useless against military targets with advanced RF communications.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
    stewi0001 likes this.
  7. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    If they are making this with government and military use in mind I am sure they took that into account or are making it so it can be switched when needed. It's useless if it couldn't take down intended targets.
    agb81 likes this.
  8. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,685   +1,085

    but they also now have programmed areas that you can't fly in too
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,946   +765

    For those instances ;), they are developing this which was also detailed in this techspot article.
  10. Kendall Kaczka

    Kendall Kaczka TS Rookie

    It is a very expensive device intended to counter a very inexpensive device. If the UAV mission was truly hostile, the attacker would quickly learn to send two quadcopters at once. If two were not enough, then send three, etc. The only way an anti-UAV weapon can be effective is if it could quickly destroy the UAV.
  11. Rick Sondag

    Rick Sondag TS Rookie

    Unless the GPS is disabled? :)
  12. Rick Sondag

    Rick Sondag TS Rookie

    The system was designed specifically to detect small drones with radar.
  13. Rick Sondag

    Rick Sondag TS Rookie

    Not as expensive as you would think. Compared to LM or Boeings Laser, it’s lunch money. The AUDS system can be configured for ground and aerial targets. Not only can it detect small UAVs, it can pick up people and vehicles at even farther distances. Multiple targets? The Blighter radar can track hundreds of targets simultaneity.
  14. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,946   +765

    Lockheed's laser is a fiber laser using phase conjugation. The phase conjugation part of it is probably the most expensive part, however, the fibers themselves are relatively cheap. I've heard that on a per shot basis, LM's laser is in the pennies range. The device itself is likely much more expensive than this thing, but LM's laser is far more capable.

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