June 2017 Counter-UAS Newsletter

C-UAS News

Homeland Security Today: SPECIAL ANALYSIS – Increasing Use of Drones to Conduct Terrorism Might Spread from Middle East to the West

“Drone technology has been at the forefront of the international battle against terrorism. Its use has been controversial. In targeting terrorists, it has developed a cult status, becoming the weapon of choice when it comes to killing terrorists in places like Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. As a weapon of war, it has almost gained its own mythology with its flexibility being prized by military commanders; like a genie that emerges from the magic lantern to do the bidding of its master.”

Engadget: Small island prison first to install anti-drone ‘forcefield’

“Prisons have a drone problem, in that they’re being used to fly drugs and other contraband over walls and into the hands of inmates. Dealing with these airborne mules is tricky because you either need to hope they crash or catch their operators in the act, but one prison is taking a more proactive approach to stopping undesirable deliveries. Alongside other security upgrades, the small, 139-capacity Les Nicolles Prison in Guernsey, Channel Islands, is said to be the first in the world to receive an anti-drone fence. It’s not a physical barrier, but an invisible wall that jams pilot signals and stops drones from passing beyond its threshold.”

UAS Vision: FAA Drone Registration Rule Struck Down by Appeals Court

“A U.S. Court of Appeals ruling sided with drone hobbyist John Taylor, who argued that the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t have jurisdiction over what the law classifies as model aircraft.

“Taylor does not think that the FAA had the statutory authority to issue the Registration Rule and require him to register,” Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the statement. “Taylor is right.”

The court argued that the drone registration database violates 2012’s FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which states that the body, “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

Sports Illustrated: Watch: Drone crashes into stands during Padres-Diamondbacks game

“Behold the perils of attending a sporting event in the 21st century: One moment, you’re in your seat enjoying a leisurely baseball game, and the next, a battery-powered piece of plastic with a bunch of rotors on it is slamming into you out of nowhere.”

The Augusta Chronicle: SRS drone update leaves questions unanswered

“Last June, a dozen unmanned aerial system, or drone, sightings over Savannah River Site set investigations into motion, including help from federal entities.”

NY Times: Proposed Rules Would Allow U.S. to Track and Destroy Drones

“The Trump administration is asking Congress to give the federal government sweeping powers to track, hack and destroy any type of drone over domestic soil with a new exception to laws governing surveillance, computer privacy and aircraft protection, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.”

CBS4: Growing Concern Over Brothers Arrested With Guns, Bomb-Making Materials [and drone]

“There are growing concerns about the arrest of two brothers with ties to the Middle East who authorities say had an arsenal with bomb-making materials, guns and ammunition in their car.”

LA Times: What’s that drone flying in over the horizon? It’s a scout from Islamic State

“The silence was shredded by the rat-tat-tat eruptions of a single gun. More soldiers fired, their volleys coalescing into the grim music of war — a sustained snare drum roll soon interrupted by the bass thumps of the 50-caliber machine gun. All the barrels pointed at a speck tracing a line in the sky over west Mosul.”

The Sun: UEFA Champions League final becomes first to be played under roof amid fears of terrorist drone attacking Cardiff stadium

“The retractable roof – usually only ever used during bad weather – will be shut for the match and two training sessions to protect against a deadly aerial attack.”

DroneLife: Updated: DJI to Tie Functionality to Drone Activation

“Late last week DJI announced an update to its process for activating new software and firmware releases and social media channels have lit up with confusion and annoyance. The change in process ties flight functionality to activation of the software. DJI in a notice issued this past Saturday states, “If this activation process is not performed, the aircraft will not have access to the correct geospatial information and flight functions for that region, and its operations will be restricted if you update the upcoming firmware: Live camera streaming will be disabled, and flight will be limited to a 50-meter (164-foot) radius up to 30 meters (98 feet) high.” That’s confusing.”

Grand Forks Herald: North Dakota creates task force to counter threats from rogue UAS activity

“An unmanned aircraft park near Grand Forks will anchor a North Dakota task force aimed at defending against threats from rogue UAS activity. The UAS Detection and Counter-UAS Task Force, which will be based at Grand Sky, will coordinate amenities and efforts needed to test countermeasures against threats posed by threatening drones, Gov. Doug Burgum announced Wednesday during the Drone Focus Conference in Fargo.”

iHLS: Successful Interception of UAVs by Stinger Missiles

“During a recent US Army test, a pair of Raytheon Stinger anti-air missiles equipped with new proximity fuzes intercepted two small unmanned airborne systems—an MQM-170C Outlaw and an unidentified smaller system—for the first time. Proximity fuzes allow missiles to destroy targets by making contact or by detonating in close range, according to Raytheon’s announcement on its website.”

Washington Post: U.S. aircraft shoots down pro-Syrian government drone, Pentagon says

“A U.S. aircraft shot down a pro-Syrian government drone after it fired upon a group of U.S.-led coalition forces in southeastern Syria on Thursday, the Pentagon said.

Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria, told reporters that no coalition forces were injured in the attack and that the drone’s munition struck “dirt.”

The incident marks a significant escalation around the Tanf border crossing, a vital link that connects Iraq and Syria. Iran considers the area — mostly made up of scrub and desert — part of an integral supply route that connects Tehran with Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. In the same area, U.S.-led Special Operations forces have been quietly training a small detachment of Syrian opposition fighters in anticipation of a broader campaign against the Islamic State in the Euphrates River Valley.”

SFGate: South Bay man crashes drone, causes power outage, evacuation

“A man triggered a power outage in Mountain View Thursday night when he crashed his drone into a high-voltage wire and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage, officials said. Police are now on the hunt for the man, who they say was flying the drone illegally. The power outage affected 1,600 people, according to the Mountain View Police Department.”

NDTV: China Launches Record-Breaking Drone Swarm

“China has launched a swarm of 119 fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles, breaking the previous record of a swarm of 67 drones, authorities said today. According to the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), “swarm intelligence” is regarded as the core of artificial intelligence of unmanned systems and the future of intelligent unmanned systems.”

Phys.org: Increased drone use creating safety concerns in Canadian airspace

“Canadian airspace is adapting to the rise of uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) or, drones, which now outnumber piloted aircraft in our skies, and a new study from the University of Calgary shows this has led to a growing number of incidents and safety concerns.”

Janes: South Korea finds suspected North Korean UAV near border

“South Korea has found what appears to be a small North Korean unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a camera near the eastern border between the two countries, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul said in a 12 June statement.”

FAS: DoD Seeks New Authority for Drone Countermeasures

“Unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or drones) could be used by malicious actors to conduct unauthorized surveillance or to deliver hazardous payloads within the United States. But defending against such threats may violate the law as currently written.”

Washington Post: ISIS drones are attacking U.S. troops and disrupting airstrikes in Raqqa, officials say

“Islamic State drones are attacking U.S. Special Operations forces located around the group’s de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, U.S. officials and Syrian fighters said, sometimes disrupting the ability of American troops to call in airstrikes.”

Charlotte Observer: FAA Investigating men flying uptown drone after CMPD report

“The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating two men flying a drone in uptown Charlotte late Wednesday, police tweeted Thursday. The police helicopter, Snoopy, had a near-miss with an illegally flown drone last week. The copter pilots took evasive action after the drone passed within 20 feet over crowded BB&T Ballpark.”

New York Times: A New Weapon in Russia’s Arsenal, and It’s Inflatable

 “The earlier [drone] crashes had desensitized the soldiers to danger. “This was a trick,” he said. “We thought they were of poor quality, but they were crashing them intentionally.”

Ed. Note: This is a dated article, but we felt it important considering the use of drones and deception in the Georgia/Russia conflict circa 2008. It’s also a good introduction to Russian maskirovka, or masking.

Shephard Media: Paris Air Show: Thales tests counter-UAS solution

“The demonstration took place in April 2017 at a test area in Brittany, previously an air defense base.

The French solution provider uses various sensors, radar technologies and goniometry to detect and remove UAS from the air.

‘The solution has been proven for micro and mini UAVs,’ said Michel Dechanet, product manager at Thales Air Systems, ‘UAVs that are less than 25kg is the main challenge we are dealing with [and] we are ready to deliver this solution.’”

Fox13 Memphis: Drone nearly collides with medical chopper with patient on board

“Dangerous drone operators are breaking the law in Memphis.

A recent incident almost caused an accident with a two medical helicopters with children patients on board trying to get to the hospital.”

Aviation Week: Hacked Drones Become The Ultimate Improvised Explosive Devices

“After four decades of the technological superiority of Western military forces, where the performance of drones has evolved and perfected military techniques, tactics and procedures (TTP), such capabilities are becoming common on both sides of the battlefield. Armed UAV and loitering weapons—once exclusive to the U.S. and the Israelis—are now available worldwide and utilized even by insurgents and terrorists who have mastered the use of commercially available drones for target acquisition and aerial attack.”

GMA News Online: Maute-ISIS bandits use drone in Marawi [Philippines] to evade pursuing soldiers

“While soldiers use drones to gather information to chase the terrorists in Marawi, members of the ISIS-inspired Maute group are also using drones to flee the military offensive in the beleaguered city.”

Defense World.net: Spanish MoD Selects AUDS System To Counter Drone Threats

“The Spanish Defense Ministry (Ministerio de Defensa) has selected the AUDS counter-UAV system to protect critical assets and personnel from the growing threat posed by malicious unmanned aircraft systems or drones.”

Aviation Week: UAS Countermeasures from Israel

“Two counter-UAS (C-UAS) systems developed in Israel are shown here at Le Bourget, designed to deal with different aspects of drone threats.”

Analysis & Commentary

For newsletter subscribers only: We discussed the latest DJI technical use controls.

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