JED - October 2015 - 28

the system cues the company's NERIO
surveillance sensors, which utilize the
Hawk thermal imaging camera (for long
range detection and tracking) and the
Horizon HD thermal imager (a mediumwave IR sensor for ultra-long-range detection). These sensors are housed atop
a 10-meter mast erected from the company's Observer 100, a trailer-mounted
situational awareness system. The company's Vantage command, control and
situational awareness (C2SA) software
enables the system to automatically
hand-off sensor inputs to the jammer
and allows the Falcon Shield operator to
take control of the target UAV and land

it safely on the ground away from people
or infrastructure.
At DSEI, Airbus Defense and Space
also announced a new, as-yet-unnamed
counter-UAV system that it plans to
make available by mid-2016. In a press
release, the company said its system
integrates the company's radars, IR
cameras and direction finders to detect UAVs at distances up to 5-10 km.
After detection, the system fuses the
sensor data and cues an electronic attack system featuring the company's
Smart Responsive Jamming Technology.
The jammer accesses a threat library, as
well as conducting "real-time analysis

A Drone by Any
Other Name...

The Journal of Electronic Defense | October 2015


In today's UAV market sophisticated military UAVs fly higher and further
than commercial mini-drones, and they can carry more payload weight. They
feature longer-range data links that use anti-jam technologies, carry a wider
range of sensor and weapons payloads, anti-jam navigation systems (usually
autonomous), etc. But these are still fundamentally UAVs, which means they
have the same basic dependency on access to the electromagnetic spectrum,
and they are still limited to some degree in terms of the size and weight of
their avionics systems and payloads. This weight constraint can sometimes
lead to less robust command links, telemetry and video links and navigation
systems than you might imagine. In other words, just because it's a military
drone doesn't mean its electronic systems have the same cyber protection and
anti-jam resiliency as those on an F-35 or a Zumwalt-Class Destroyer.
In fact, two incidents have shown how vulnerable UAVs can be. In 2009,
news reports indicated that the video links on many US Air Force Predator and
Reaper drones were not encrypted and recordings of some of their video feeds
were found on the laptops of Iraqi militants. This problem was eventually fixed
throughout the Predator and Reaper fleets.
Equally alarming was a 2011 incident in which an Iranian Army electronic
warfare unit allegedly spoofed a US-operated RQ-170 Sentinel UAV and fooled it
into making a soft landing in northeastern Iran. According to subsequent press
reports, Iranian military sources said the Sentinel's communications link was
jammed, which forced it into autopilot mode. The Iranian EW unit then jammed
the Sentinel's GPS receiver, transmitted a false GPS signal, and landed the UAV
near the city of Kashmar. (Some experts dispute Iran's ability to force the RQ170 to land, but it stands as the most likely account of the incident.) The point
is that for the EW expert, UAVs offer several electromagnetic weak points, from
C2 links to datalinks to GPS navigation systems.
It is important to remember that relative to most other types of weapons
systems, even relative to most other types of aircraft, UAV operations are still
a relatively young technology for most air forces. It takes many, many years of
operational experience to develop robust and resilient technologies and operational knowledge on any new type of weapons system. In the meantime, there
are still many hard EW lessons to learn in UAV operations. - J. Knowles

of control signals," and interrupts the
UAV's control link and/or its navigation
system. The DF system also enables the
UAV's operator to be located. The system
has been demonstrated to potential customers in Germany and France.
Another European company, Plath
GmbH, also offers an EW-based solution for defeating mini-drones. Earlier
this year, at the EW Europe conference
in Stockholm, the company presented
its approach to creating an "electromagnetic fence" surrounding a specific
location, such as a military base or a
public event. The company's counterdrone solution uses a high definition
camera to detect the UAV's engine heat,
as well as a radar that can detect and
track very small airborne targets. In addition, an ESM sensor detects signals at

2.4 and 5.8 GHz and characterizes the
UAV's remote control signals. Once the
UAV is detected and being tracked, a
multi-band jamming system neutralizes
the UAV's C2 link, video link and GPS
navigation system. A low-power barrage
jammer transmitting intermittently can
cause the drone's GPS navigation system
to lose one of its waypoints. For the C2
link, a 50-Watt jammer with a directional antenna can cover distances up to
1,500 meters, depending on the terrain.
Another recently introduced solution
is the Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS),
which is offered by consortium comprising Blighter Surveillance Systems,


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