August 2017 Counter-UAS Newsletter

Counter-UAS News

American Security Today: Unmanned Systems the New Weapon for Terrorist Attacks

“Long a tool of US allies trying to foil improvised explosive devices, unmanned systems now may be entering the fray against friendly forces.”

CNN: Exclusive: CNN witnesses US Navy’s drone-killing laser

“In the sometimes hostile waters of the Persian Gulf looms the US Navy’s first — in fact, the world’s first — active laser weapon.

The LaWS, an acronym for Laser Weapons System, is not science fiction. It is not experimental. It is deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship, ready to be fired at targets today and every day by Capt. Christopher Wells and his crew.

CNN was granted exclusive access to a live-fire test of the laser.”

BBC: Drone ‘threat’ to planes over Israel

“A man has been arrested on suspicion of flying a consumer drone close to planes as they prepared to land in Tel Aviv.

The 21-year-old was held after footage was posted to YouTube and shared on Facebook and Twitter.”

VIDEO from Israel Hayom

We Talk UAV: DJI Drones Are Getting Shot Down in the Battle of Marawi

“Various consumer DJI drones are being used in a war right now by both the Philippine Army and the radical Islamic terrorist group called the Maute. The Battle of Marawi is an ongoing war which started last May 23 when President Duterte of the Philippines declared martial law on the island of Mindanao due to a rise in terrorist activities. Consumer drones are easy to buy, and they can give an advantageous aerial perspective, so it wasn’t long before both the Maute and the Philippine Army starting utilizing them. While the government used DJI drones to track terrorist hideouts, the Maute were also spotted using unauthorized DJI drones to escape and monitor the Philippine Army. We Talk Uav got an exclusive interview with an authorized DJI retail store in the Philippines, and they shared insights into the drone surveillance war in Marawi.”

PetaPixel: Camera Drones Sound More Annoying Than Any Vehicle, NASA Finds

“Hate the high-pitched buzzing of camera drones? You’re not alone. A new study published by NASA has found that people find drone founds more annoying than any ground vehicle, even when the sounds are heard at the same volume.”

The Drive: Alarming Number of Drones Flew Over Georgia State Prisons in 2017

“Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are more than just remote-controlled hobby items—they’re tools, like anything else. These tools have previously been used to smuggle various contraband into and out of prisons across the country, and now, it seems that the number of times this has occurred in the state of Georgia has increased dramatically. According to Fox5Atlanta, from 2013 through 2016, prison staff caught three drones above their airspace. In the past six months, that number climbed to 35. Georgia state prison authorities are looking for answers, and more importantly, deterrents and defense mechanisms.”

The National Interest: Could DRS’s C-UAS be the U.S. Army’s Solution to Defeating Enemy Drones?

“The contract is considered under an urgent operational need as cheap but effective enemy drones have proliferated in across various combat zones around the globe. Indeed, even insurgent group such as the Islamic State have been using drones effectively in battlefields in Iraq and Syria.”

Techcrunch: Anti-drone radio wave startup SkySafe secures $11.5M from Andreessen

“Drones are a threat to both military and public safety, whether flown by a terrorist or just a reckless pilot. SkySafe’s radio wave technology can detect and stop rogue drones from entering unauthorized areas like military bases, stadiums, prisons and airports. SkySafe’s radio frequency signals are projected from a perimeter of nodes or even a Jeep, and force unapproved drones to leave or land while allowing permitted drones to fly.”

CNN: U.S. military turns to Silicon Valley to protect troops from drones

“Military historians have long pointed to the Korean War as the last time U.S. ground troops were killed by an enemy attack from the air. American air superiority has been such that ground troops haven’t had to worry about looking to the skies.

Now that’s changing. ISIS, for example, hasn’t developed billion-dollar fighter jets, but has used small drones that can cost under $1,000 and be bought at your neighborhood electronics store.”

Janes360: Marduk Technologies readies Shark C-UAS system for initial trials

“Marduk Technologies expects to demonstrate a prototype of its Shark counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) system in the August/September timeframe with the Estonian military.”

Tech Crunch: Drone registration coming to the UK

“The UK government has announced a plan to require drone owners to register their devices. It says the incoming rules are aimed at ensuring safer use of the technology.

Under the planned regulations, owners of drones weighing more than 250 grams will, in future, be required to register their devices — with the stated aim being to “improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly”.”

GTRI: Swarms of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Test New Dogfighting Skills

“Aerial dogfighting began more than a century ago in the skies over Europe with propeller-driven fighter aircraft carried aloft on wings of fabric and wood. An event held recently in southern California could mark the beginning of a new chapter in this form of aerial combat.”

Defense One: Trump’s Special Ops Pick Says Terror Drones Might Soon Reach the US from Africa. How Worried Should We Be?

“On a dusty beach in far western Africa, a group of men hop out of a pickup truck. They quickly assemble a small commercial drone and send it winging northwest across the Atlantic Ocean. A bit more than a day later, it will make landfall over the southeastern U.S. coast — its explosive payload still intact.”

Scout Warrior: Russian Drones Attack With Grenade Weapons

“Small consumer drones rigged to drop grenades have proved an effective weapon in Iraq and Syria. The volume of attacks by ISIS drones threatened to stall the assault on Mosul, and the Iraqi Federal Police soon now deploy their own grenade-dropping drones against ISIS.  However, such drones are not limited to the tactical battlefield. In spite of their diminutive size, such drones may become weapons of mass destruction in their own right.  A precision attack does not need to deliver a massive warhead: it just has to ‘bring the detonator’ to a vulnerable target.”

Cnet: Kentucky governor says news station drone invaded privacy

“I think of Kentucky as the home of drone warfare.

It’s where renowned (in his part of Kentucky) anti-drone warrior William Merideth shot down a drone that he said was spying on him and his family. A judge sided with him.

Now the state’s governor is angry at what he says was a drone invading the airspace over his house.

Gov. Matt Bevin took to Twitter — so you know this serious — to complain: “The drone that was just flying over my home & filming my children was personally flown by @WDRBNews Director.””

Triangle Business Journal: Gov. Cooper signs drone bills: Here’s what changes

“House Bill 337 revises existing state drone laws, changing the language so that the regulations apply to model aircraft.

House Bill 128 prohibits drone use near prisons, defining “near” as a horizontal distance of 500 feet or a vertical distance of 250 feet.”

Fortune: DJI Has Responded to Reports of Its Drones Randomly Falling Out of the Sky

“DJI, a premier drone-maker, is facing reports that its most consumer-friendly aircraft is randomly plunging from the sky, a cause for concern over safety issues.

The Spark, the smallest and most affordable option DJI offers, has suddenly switched off and crashed into various areas ranging from open fields to lakes or forests, according to at least 14 users, first reported by Quartz. While none reported any injuries as a result of the crashes, such instances would be possible if the drones had been operated in more crowded areas.”

Daily Mail: Ocean-spanning terror drones that can fly for thousands of miles without a break could attack the US from Africa with deadly explosives

“Drones capable of carrying explosives to countries thousands of miles away could be available in just five years, according to an expert.

These terror drones could fly from Africa to the US in just over a day, a top US defence adviser told the Pentagon.”

Military Times: Syrian fighters in Raqqa uncover ISIS drone factory

“Syrian fighters with the Syriac Military Council, a Christian militia closely allied with Syrian Kurd fighters, have uncovered what appears to be an ISIS drone factory in Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

Macer Gifford, the nom de guerre of a British fighter with the council, posted images to his Facebook and Twitter accounts of what appear to be downed U.S.-manufactured drones late Tuesday night. Scattered around the floor of the complex are fiberglass and plastic reproductions of the bodies of the drones, replicated by ISIS fighters.”

DroneLife: Concern Over UK Drone Collision Study is Justified

“The Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones) Mid-Air Collision Study was carried out by QinetiQ and Natural Impacts on behalf of The Department for Transport, the Military Aviation Authority and British Airline Pilots’ Association.”

Defense Blog: SZMID portable UAVs-defender system

“Beijing SZMID High Technology Co., established in 2006, is a China leading supplier for security systems with strong R&D capability, professional sales & engineering team to provide wide-range high quality security devices & solutions to customers around the world. SZMID has been specialized in the R&D of portable UAVs-defender system, Bomb jamming system, Entrance cell phone detector, Audio recorder jammers & Video recorder jammers, Wireless bug detectors & Spy camera hunters and so on. Especially MDS (The human presence, Movement and heartbeat Detection System) for prison has a big lead among the competitors.”

DroneLife: DJI Issues Firmware Update to Prevent Hackers Evading Geo

“It’s no revelation that the Chinese manufacturer has been targeted by hackers in recent weeks. Many are looking to bypass the Geo system that grounds pilots in predetermined no-fly zones and places an altitude limit on flights. Equally, many are reveling in the challenge of taking on the industry leader, actively protesting against the perceived injustice of Geo and highlighting the company’s security flaws in the most public way possible.”

UAS Vision: DroneWatcher APP Turns Smartphones into Personal Drone Detectors

“DeTect has announced the release of the Pro version of the popular DroneWatcher APP – the app that makes Android smartphones and tablets into personal drone detectors for security and privacy protection.”

Homeland Preparedness News: Port of Galveston collaborating with TelaForce on drone detection project

“The Port of Galveston, Texas, announced earlier this month that it would soon be working with TelaForce to implement a system to detect, identify, track and protect against drone incursions around maritime infrastructure.”

UAS Vision: Singapore Acquires Gamekeeper Anti-Drone Radar

“The Republic of Singapore has acquired an advanced radar system which is able to detect and track even small consumer drones within a radius of 5km. The Gamekeeper radar, a counter-drone detection system, has been installed near the Singapore Flyer.”

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Drone carrying cell phone, marijuana crashes in prison yard

“Corrections spokeswoman Joan Heath said the drone crashed to the ground at the prison near Davisboro in east Georgia around 10:45 p.m. Monday. She said it was carrying four Samsung Galaxy J1 cellphones, 7.8 ounces of tobacco spilt between two baggies, a USB charger cable, a pound of marijuana divided into 16 individual bags and 31 C-230 oxycodone pills along with some broken piece of pills.”

Pentagram: Drone-detection pilot program launched at Fort McNair

“Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall took a step forward in modernizing its security capabilities as a drone-detection system was installed at Fort Lesley J. McNair July 19, marking the implementation of a pilot program designed to assess the nature and extent of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) threats in the post’s vicinity.”

Air & Space Magazine: Anti-Drone Technology Could Become a Billion-Dollar Business

“In early July, a security officer guarding a gate at a U.S. military base (the location was not disclosed) watched helplessly as a small civilian drone flew past his post. That same week, a different drone almost collided with a landing F-22. Following those incidents, General Mike Holmes, who heads the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, announced that he needed the authority and equipment to bring down any drone that invades his airspace. Currently, even though flight over military bases is forbidden, there isn’t much the military can legally do to stop a robotic intruder. But if he were given that authority, Holmes would have a rapidly growing range of options for drone hunting. The anti-drone industry is—pardon the pun—exploding”

Air Force Technology: Battelle demonstrates DroneDefender’s capability to counter UAS

“Battelle has demonstrated DroneDefender’s capability to counter unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at Black Dart annual event conducted at the US Air Force’s (USAF) Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US.”

Popular Mechanics: Kaboom! Russian Drone With Thermite Grenade Blows Up a Billion Dollars of Ukrainian Ammo

“A drone carrying a grenade infiltrated an ammunition dump in Ukraine, setting off an explosion that caused an astounding billion dollars worth of damage. The incident points to the growing use of drones in wartime, particularly off the shelf civilian products harnessed to conduct sabotage and other attacks.”

BBC: How police catch drone-flying criminals

“After spray painting his drone black, and taping over its lights, south Londoner Daniel Kelly probably thought he had a good chance of getting away with flying his now-stealthy drone into a prison yard.

So in the early hours of 25 April last year, he flew the cheap, Chinese-made quadcopter, with what police believe was a package of contraband – tobacco and possibly legal highs – attached to a hook beneath it, over the wall of Swaleside jail on the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent.

Unfortunately, he overestimated his chances: he ended up jailed for 14 months, becoming the first person in Britain to be locked up under legislation that punishes such behaviour.”

sUAS News: US Army calls for units to discontinue use of DJI equipment

“According to a U.S. Army memo obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy have concluded that there are operational risks associated with DJI equipment, a move that was run up the flag pole last month but kept under wraps.”

Israel National News: Gaza drone crashes in Israel

“IDF forces on Saturday identified a drone which took off from Gaza and landed in Israeli territory.

The drone, from southern Gaza, was taken for analysis and inspection, and the IDF is investigating the incident.

Israeli security forces suspect Hamas is attempting to penetrate Israel with drones loaded with explosives or weapons. These drones would then explode in a populated Israeli civilian or military area.”

Jerusalem Post: IDF to Continue Using Drones that US Army deemed Unsafe

“The Israeli army will continue to use Chinese-made DJI consumer drones despite the US Army ordering all troops to immediately stop using them, citing operational risks associated with the popular drone, that is also scheduled to be delivered to the IDF this month.

Hundreds of the Mavic and Matrice drones are set to be used by the army’s infantry brigades stationed in the West Bank and in the mixed-gender combat battalions in the Border Defense Corps as part of a multi-million shekel project to give fighters better capabilities against the enemy.”

Bloomberg: Police Push Tracking for Civilian Drones

“At a recent apartment blaze in Oakland, California, a sheriff deputy directing firefighters with a drone-mounted video camera encountered a new hazard: a civilian quad copter that buzzed onto the scene.”

UAS Vision: DARPA Picks 3 Teams to Develop Counter-sUAS Methods

“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded contracts to three industry teams to develop methods to counter small unmanned aircraft systems.

DARPA announced that teams led by Dynetics, Saab‘s Defense and Security business unit and SRC will develop counter-sUAS approaches under the first phase of the Mobile Force Protection program.”

Reuters: Military can destroy drones over domestic U.S. bases: Pentagon

“While the specific actions that the U.S. military can take against drones are classified, they include destroying or seizing private and commercial drones that pose a threat, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters on Monday.”

The Sun: DRONE TERROR PLOT Russian ‘ISIS fanatic’ who ‘plotted to crash a US plane by flying a DRONE into it’ is arrested in Turkey

“Turkish cops swooped to detain the Russian national who they say was planning the terror attack against US forces operating out of the Incirlik air base, which is used by Nato forces.”

UAS Expert News: Yuneec Commercial UAV Data Integrity

“Yuneec’s customers recognize the importance of keeping data and images secure. The Yuneec data ecosystem empowers users and organizations to control their data at all times. Yuneec commercial UAV do not share telemetry or visual data to internal or external parties.”

Dronelife: Why the US Army DJI Ban is Probably Justified

“After news broke last week that the US Army wanted to halt the use of DJI drones, plenty were jumping to the conclusion that something serious was up with DJI’s software from a data security point of view. There is no smoke without a fire, as the saying goes. But we still don’t know the motivations behind that Army memo. And it’s unlikely that they will come to light anytime soon.”

BBC: US firm reveals gun-toting drone that can fire in mid-air

“The Tikad drone, developed by Duke Robotics, is armed with a machine-gun and a grenade launcher. The gun can be fired only by remote control, and is designed to reduce military casualties by cutting the number of ground troops required.”

Business Insider:  An amateur drone pilot managed to land on the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier completely unnoticed

“An amateur drone pilot landed on Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier without anybody noticing. The pilot, who has not been publicly identified, recorded video of the huge warship while it was docked in Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands last month. He then landed his vehicle — a DJI Phantom — on the deck and took numerous photographs of the apparently abandoned aircraft.”

UAV Expert News:  DJI Amps Up Security, Releases Local Data Mode

“With the recent DJI ban from the U.S. Army and reports of data security issues, DJI has announced a new feature for pilots concerned. The feature, Local Data Mode, allows users to enable flight without any internet data transfer, ensuring that enterprise customers and sensitive government operations remain secure.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Drone near-miss at SFO points to emerging danger for airports

“The passenger jet began descending below the 500-foot level toward San Francisco International Airport’s runway 28R when the pilot saw an alarming sight: An apparent drone passing just 20 feet directly below the plane’s nose.”

UAS Vision: RADA Gets $8M US Military Counter-UAS Contract

“The radars will be used by a key US military force, providing it with air surveillance with an emphasis on counter-UAS with the most advanced on-the-move capabilities. The radars are expected to be fielded for operational use soon after delivery.”

Analysis & Commentary

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