WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Drones are increasingly being used by criminals and terrorists to disrupt and destroy high value targets so security services around the world are now in an arms race to make sure they stay one step ahead of the threat.
A UK created “ray gun” that can knock drones out of the sky with radio signals is going to be tested at airports in the US starting next month. The Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS) was granted granted approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be tested in a bid to prevent drones hitting planes – or worse.
As the threat from drones grows – with incidents already reported that are as wide ranging as terrorists using them to drop IED’s onto crowds in Iraq, drones flying into aircraft at Heathrow and drones making incursions into the Whitehouses’ airspace it’s inevitable that these systems will increasingly become part and parcel of the landscape.
The deal to test the system, which was developed by Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics, and Enterprise Control Systems, is one of a number of options being considered by the aviation body and the AUDS system, which is described by its creators as a way to “disrupt or neutralise” drones that are “engaged in hostile airborne surveillance and potentially malicious activity” uses a combination of thermal sensors, smart sensors and effectors that are capable of remotely detecting small UAVs at up to ranges of 6 miles and then tracking and classifying them before providing the operators with the opportunity to press the button and bring them down.
The device works in a similar way to many of the military systems that are now flooding onto the market using a mix of electronic jamming systems to make the drones unresponsive to their operators commands, allowing them to be either bought down by the AUDs operator in a controlled manner or just simply neutralised.
The FAA’s trial will last for six months and at the end of it the aviation authority will decide whether or not to roll these systems out to more airports around the country.