JED - October 2015 - 26

Going Small:
Jamming the Mini-

U
The Journal of Electronic Defense | October 2015

26

Until recently, the counter-UAV mission
was mostly framed in military terms,
primarily as an extension of the air defense mission. Fixed-wing UAVs, usually
flying at low and medium altitudes, were
viewed much the same as any manned
aircraft from an air defense perspective.
As smaller drones operating at very low
altitudes have become more common,
some military forces have adapted their
counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (CRAM) against these UAVs. However, the
drone market has continued to evolve
beyond military UAV applications, especially in recent years with the introduction of cheap, commercial drones, such
as quad-copter designs. As this UAV
trend has taken hold, the requirement
to counter small UAVs is no longer just
a military problem. The mini-drones
are here, and some of them are causing
trouble.
In September 2013, at a campaign
rally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
had a close encounter with a mini-drone
when a quad-copter approached the
podium where she was speaking. She
smiled as the mini-drone hovered in
front of her podium for a few moments
and then crashed. But many people later
observed that the drone had come within two meters of a world leader and it
could have carried a far more dangerous
payload than a camera. And, of course,

there is the incident earlier this year
in which a hobbyist famously crashed a
quad-copter on the lawn of the White
House. Because of this type of activity,
police forces, security details responsible for guarding political leaders, organizers of large events, private companies
and even private citizens, are well aware
of intrusive mini-drones as well as the
potential for weaponizing these drones
to wreak havoc among large crowds.

FIND, FIX, IDENTIFY, TRACK AND
DEFEAT
The first part of the counter-UAV
equation is detecting the UAV. Commercial mini-drones operate at very
low altitudes, which can make them
difficult to detect if the area around a
target allows them use trees or nearby
buildings to hide their approach. Although they are visually small, minidrones do present a radar signature, as
well as a thermal signature from their
engine and an acoustic signature from
their engine and rotor blades. Another
means of detection is via electronic
support measures (ESM) systems, which
can detect and geolocate the drone via
its C2 and video links. If the operator
is nearby, as is typically the case with
short-range mini-drones, the ground
operator's signal can be detected and
located, as well.

Once the UAV is detected and being
tracked, countermeasures can come into
play. This is perhaps where the counterUAV mission starts to diverge from the
standard air defense concept. In many
cases, the kinetic countermeasures
available to defeat these different types
of UAVs are the equivalent of swatting a
mosquito with a sledgehammer. On the
military side, the cost of an air defense
missile is usually greater than the cost
of the UAV it targeting. In homeland security, local law enforcement and civilian applications, kinetic responses are
operationally (and legally) risky because
shooting down a drone can injure people
on the ground below if the disabled UAV
crashes into a crowd.
Because of the cost and liability
risk of kinetic solutions, companies are
looking at defeating commercial minidrones with jamming. There is good
reason for this line of thinking when
we look at UAVs and some of their basic
vulnerabilities.
Compared to military UAVs, commercial mini-drones are essentially cheap
air vehicles that use cheap electronic
systems, Although there are some fixedwing commercial UAVs, we're typically
talking about a quad-copter with a video camera controlled via a short-range,
line-of-sight command link. This class of
UAV can cost anywhere from $50 (entry



JED - October 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - October 2015

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Going Small: Jamming the Mini-Drones
EW Simulation and Testing: Keeping Up With the Threat
Technology Survey: EW and SIGINT Antennas
EW 101
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - October 2015 - cover1
JED - October 2015 - cover2
JED - October 2015 - 3
JED - October 2015 - 4
JED - October 2015 - 5
JED - October 2015 - The View From Here
JED - October 2015 - 7
JED - October 2015 - Conferences Calendar
JED - October 2015 - 9
JED - October 2015 - Courses Calendar
JED - October 2015 - 11
JED - October 2015 - From the President
JED - October 2015 - 13
JED - October 2015 - 14
JED - October 2015 - The Monitor
JED - October 2015 - 16
JED - October 2015 - 17
JED - October 2015 - 18
JED - October 2015 - 19
JED - October 2015 - 20
JED - October 2015 - 21
JED - October 2015 - World Report
JED - October 2015 - 23
JED - October 2015 - 24
JED - October 2015 - 25
JED - October 2015 - Going Small: Jamming the Mini-Drones
JED - October 2015 - 27
JED - October 2015 - 28
JED - October 2015 - 29
JED - October 2015 - 30
JED - October 2015 - EW Simulation and Testing: Keeping Up With the Threat
JED - October 2015 - 32
JED - October 2015 - 33
JED - October 2015 - 34
JED - October 2015 - Technology Survey: EW and SIGINT Antennas
JED - October 2015 - 36
JED - October 2015 - 37
JED - October 2015 - 38
JED - October 2015 - 39
JED - October 2015 - 40
JED - October 2015 - 41
JED - October 2015 - 42
JED - October 2015 - 43
JED - October 2015 - EW 101
JED - October 2015 - 45
JED - October 2015 - 46
JED - October 2015 - 47
JED - October 2015 - 48
JED - October 2015 - Index of Advertisers
JED - October 2015 - JED Quick Look
JED - October 2015 - cover3
JED - October 2015 - cover4
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