The AUDS system was developed by three British companies, Blighter, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems, which provided for an integrated system to combat drones respectively, a radar, an optical-electronic station and a set of electronic warfare
The threat posed by low-flying, low-speed, small-sized UAVs is becoming a reality in a combat situation and national security scenarios.
As this threat is becoming more serious, NATO has recently conducted several studies on this topic. In previous years, two studies were published under the ciphers SG-170 and SG-188, and in 2017, Industrial Advisory Group conducted the last study to date and published it under the name SG-200 “Study on Low, Slow and Small Threat Effectors” (Research of low-speed low-flying small-sized executive means of the enemy). In all these reports, researchers come to the main conclusion that no single type of sensor can offer sufficient tracking and identification capabilities in order to provide reliable and effective protection against the threat of low-flying, low-speed, small-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (HHM-UAV). It should be borne in mind that the swarm capabilities of unmanned vehicles are already very close, after which the struggle against them will become much more complicated.
New market on the horizon
The number of companies operating in the anti-drop systems market is constantly growing. MarketForecast.com recently published an analytical report “Global Counter UAV (C-UAV) Systems Market Forecast to 2026”, which predicts two scenarios, one without significant events and one with a successful UAV attack. In the first case, the commercial market should increase from 123 to 273 million dollars at a cumulative annual growth rate of 10,5%, while the military market should grow from 379 to 1223 million dollars at a cumulative annual growth rate of 15,8%. In the case of the UAV attack, the peak of purchases will be in the early years, and then there will be some decline. In any case, the data of both scenarios show a significant increase in the market.
As noted, one sensor is not able to cope with the threat of HHM-UAVs. Thus, it is necessary to use different types, as a rule, these are radar stations, radio wave receivers, acoustic and optical sensors. Threat neutralization can take different forms. The first is a functional defeat using jammers, disorienting jammers that give the wrong direction drone, operating on a GPS signal or intercepting its controls. The second is direct destruction using lasers, high-energy microwaves, physical barriers, or even solid submunitions of various types.
The company Rheinmetall, one of several European developers of high-energy laser systems, in various shows has repeatedly demonstrated the performance of its HEL laser on drones
For ready-made systems
Leaving aside systems designed to neutralize tactical and larger UAVs, which can already be considered as part of a very short-range air defense system, we will focus on systems designed to combat lower-level UAVs (often finished commercial systems) that will ensure their neutralization on small and medium distances. According to industry sources, the average detection range of HNM-BLA targets for modern radars is 8 km, tracking range is 5 km, while optical-electronic systems have a detection range of 8 km and tracking range 4 km.
As for the actuators, radio frequency systems can detect a drone at a distance of 8 km, disrupt its operation at 2,5 km, and effectively interfere at distances of approximately 2 km, while lasers and electromagnetic pulses can be used at a distance of 1,5 km. Simplifying and taking into account the fact that these systems can be used both in military operations and in security scenarios, we can divide anti-thrust systems into systems of medium and short range. The former, as a rule, are stationary or installed on vehicles and provide a “safe dome” at the aforementioned distances. Short-range systems usually come in the form of “radio frequency guns” that can be used for object defense, their effectiveness in preventing damage depends on the type of payload that the drone itself carries.
We will start with medium-range systems, although in some cases it is difficult to assign a particular system to a certain category, since the developer offers on its basis a variety of different options with different characteristics. French Thales definitely refers to such companies, offering many modular and scalable solutions and using all its integration capabilities.
The reusable Sentinel system developed and manufactured by the Swiss company Skysec intercepts approaching UAVs using a grid
Talk about AUDS
If we talk about current systems, then first of all you should start with the AUDS system (Anti-UAV Defense Solution - protection against drones), developed by three British companies, combining their experience in one comprehensive solution.
The Doppler radar with continuous radiation with frequency modulation operates in the electronic scanning mode and provides coverage in azimuth 180 ° and in elevation 10 ° or 20 °, depending on the configuration. It operates in the Ku range and has a maximum range of 8 km, it can determine the effective dispersion area (EPR) of a size up to 0,01 м2. At the same time, the system can capture several targets for tracking.
Survey-search system Hawkeye from Chess Dynamics is installed in one unit with a radio-frequency silencer and consists of a high-resolution optical-electronic camera and a cooled medium-wave thermal imager. The first one has a horizontal field of view from 0,22 ° to 58 °, and a thermal imager from 0,6 ° to 36 °. The system uses a digital tracking device Vision4ce, providing continuous tracking in azimuth. The system is able to continuously pan in azimuth and tilt from -20 ° to + 60 ° at a speed of 30 ° per second, accompanying targets at a distance of about 4 km.
The multiband RF silencer is distinguished from ECS by three built-in directional antennas that form a beam 20 ° wide. The company has gained extensive experience in the development of technologies to combat improvised explosive devices. This was told by a company representative, noting that several of its systems were deployed by coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He added that the company ECS know the vulnerabilities of data transmission channels and how to use it.
The heart of the AUDS system is the operator control station, through which you can manage all the components of the system. It includes a tracking display, a main control screen and a display for viewing videos.
In order to expand the observation area, these systems can be networked, be it several full-fledged AUDS systems or a network of radars connected to one “surveillance and search system / jammer” unit. Also, the AUDS system could potentially be part of a larger air defense system, although companies do not intend to develop this direction yet.
AUDS is available in three configurations: a portable rooftop platform, a reinforced mast system for advanced operational bases or temporary camps, and a fixed system for border guard and critical infrastructure. AUDS can also be installed on vehicles, this option is optimized and strengthened for installation on military trucks or commercial vehicles. The system was deployed in units of the American Army in 2016, and in January 2017 reached the highest level of technological readiness.
The German company Rheinmetall approaches the problem of combating drones from a slightly different position, since it mainly takes into account more advanced threats, for example, advanced drones that can avoid detection by radio-frequency means, to combat which require some kind of ground-based air defense systems that guarantee their detection and neutralization. Thus, Rheinmetall uses a wide variety of systems from its large portfolio as solutions for dealing with individual objects. The company has already won two major contracts for the supply of the Radshield family system for the protection of prisons in Switzerland and Germany, which may include various modules that can be adapted to customer requirements.
Among them we will find the UIMIT (Universal Multispectral Information and Tracking) optoelectronic surveillance kit, which includes 12 cameras and 8 infrared sensors, covering a 360 ° sector and stabilized in three axes. The kit can be supplemented with an infrared cooled FAST search and tracking sensor with a 360 ° view and a refresh rate of 5 frames per second, as well as radars with AFAR Oerlikon MMR (Multi Mission Radar) with a field of view in azimuth of 90 ° and in elevation of 80 °. Decision making is carried out with the participation of the SC2PS (Sensor Command & Control Software) operational control software complex, which is available for various command levels, from personal to national.
Rheinmetall also offers executive systems ranging from revolving or twin 35-mm guns capable of firing AHEAD air strikes (the development of the AHEAD 30-mm single-shot cannon is being considered) the level of technological readiness 6 (technology demonstration). One level below (the technology development stage) is a reusable flying interceptor Sentinel, developed by the Swiss company Skysec. Sentinel has a length of 700 mm and a wingspan of 300 mm, weighs 1,8 kg. A homing head is installed in the nose, and an electric motor behind it, which causes the nose propeller to rotate, allowing it to reach speeds of 230 km / h; the range of the device is up to 4 km. The Sentinel device is launched with the approximate three-dimensional coordinates of the desired drone loaded, when it approaches it, it throws the net, seizing a hostile drone, after which the prisoner is lowered to the ground with the help of a parachute; as a result, consequential damage is reduced to zero.
The modular Xpeller system, developed by the German company Hensoldt, can be used by the military and the national security service; the photo system is deployed to protect the airport from invading drones
More German solutions
Rheinmetall also offers other executive systems. For example, the HPM system (High Power Microwave - high-power microwave radiation), also used to neutralize improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as an 9-mm multi-barreled gun with 1500 per-minute fire rate that can shoot a line of 30 projectiles; at the same time, each projectile generates a cloud of plastic damaging elements, when falling to the ground with a minimum residual energy of less than 0,1 J / mm2. In addition to military use, Rheinmetall together with the Austrian company Frequentis, specializing in communication and information systems, offers its systems for airport protection.
The German company Hensoldt, isolated in 2017 from the defense electronics business of the European giant Airbus, developed the Xpeller system, which consists of functional blocks of its own design. The system includes X-band Spexer 500 radar with 120 ° azimuth and 30 ° elevation sector and typical 4 km detection range, NightOwl ZM-ER module with color camera and 3-5 thermal imager, as well as equipped with omnidirectional or directional antennas Noise-setting device with rated power from 10 to 400 W, operating in the 20-6000 MHz band.
In May, 2017, to further enhance the Xpeller's detection system, signed an agreement with Squarehead Technology in Norway to integrate the Discovair acoustic sensor. This system, based on an array of 128 acoustic microphones, also has a signal processor.
Another German solution, called Guardion, combines components from three different companies. ESG's Taranis control component integrates and analyzes all sensor data to visualize an approaching drone and monitor the situation. Rhode & Schwarz has provided the Ardronis RF detection system, which detects remote control radio channels of commercial drones. A radar signal receiver, optocoupler and acoustic sensors can be added to the system. Ardronis also works as an actuator, as it can disrupt the operation of radio channels, as well as the navigation satellite system, while the R&S Wi-Fi Disconnect subsystem allows detecting and disrupting the Wi-Fi signal used to control the drone.
Diehl Defense has provided a component of the direct destruction of the HREM. This scalable system is capable of burning down the electronics of drones thanks to an electromagnetic pulse from a distance of several hundred meters, and is also able to fight off swarm attacks. The only known use of the Guardion system is to deploy it in July 2017 at the G20 summit in Hamburg, since the ESG received the task of protecting the sites of this summit from the Federal Criminal Police Office.
The Italian company IDS conducted extensive tests of its Black Night anti-thrust system, and is currently participating with Leonardo and Elettronica in the development of a national solution.
Developers from Italy, Israel and Turkey
The Italian company Leonardo developed the Falcon Shield complex, which combines radar, for example, Lyra 10, an optoelectronic kit, for example, Nerio-ULR, and radio-electronic suppression modules to neutralize unwanted drones. For its part, IDS (Ingegneria Dei Sistemi) has developed an integrated Black Knight system based on Doppler radar, a medium-range optical-electronic system with television and infrared cameras and a multi-band jammer. The system can be expanded by adding other sensors, for example, three-band radio direction finders. Elettronica has developed the Adrian system, which is able to determine the outgoing and downstream signals of aircraft and ground operators, classify, identify and determine their coordinates thanks to an extensive library, which the user can constantly replenish, as well as disrupt the threats with the help of smart jamming algorithms. Both systems passed operational tests in 2017. Currently, IDS and Elettronica, together with Leonardo, are developing an integrated system in order to meet the needs of the Italian Air Force, information on which is still classified.
The Israeli company Rafael has developed the DroneDome, which includes the Controp optocoupler and the radio intelligence system from Netline.
The Turkish company Aselsan has developed two systems: Gergedan-UAV installed on machines and Ihtar stationary. The first one is a programmable jamming system with more than 100 different jamming patterns. The radio spectrum is determined by customer requirements, the standard antenna is omnidirectional, but directional antennas are optionally offered. With a mass of Gergedan-UAV 65 kg, the RF output power is less than 650 W, the battery life is one hour.
In the Ihtar stationary system, the Gergedan system is used as an actuator, to which is added the Ku-band Assag radar capable of detecting a mini-UAV in the sector over 360 ° at 5 km distance; Sector scanning is also available. In addition, an optoelectronic unit can be added, usually mounted on a stabilized HSY platform, onto which you can also install the Asag radar itself. Both systems were sold to several countries in the Middle East, and at the end of 2017, the Ihtar system was installed to guard the facility in Indonesia. As for the local market, the Gergedan-UAV system was installed on many VIP cars, while the Ihtar was on several military bases.
At the end of 2017, the Israeli government organized a national air force task force that will deal with security issues and drones. However, the national industry already offers numerous solutions in this area. Rafael has developed a tripod-mounted Drone Dome system that combines sensors from various companies with actuators and a Rafael control kit. Detection is provided by Rada's multitasking hemispherical RPS-42 radar, which is able to detect an 0,002 m2 EPR object at 3,5 km distance, in combination with NetSense COMINT radio intelligence from Netline operating in the 20 MHz to 6 GHz range, which detects signals even before the start drone, providing azimuth thanks to antennas with a sector review 60 degrees.
The identification is the responsibility of the Controp MEOS optoelectronic unit, which includes a daytime CCD camera with an x50 magnification and a third-generation thermal imaging camera. The Rafael automated control system integrates all the sensors, and its algorithms provide all the necessary information to the operator who can neutralize an approaching object using the Netline C-Guard jamming system, which operates on five channels in the range from 433 MHz to 5,6 GHz. In this configuration, system shipments are expected in the middle of the 2018 year.
Продолжение следует ...