Counter-drone: The race is on

Fort de Brégançon

Experts say models readily available on the market can easily be turned into a “poor man’s weapon”

Why counter-drone?

We’ve seen a huge increase in drone users in recent years. From toy style gyrocopters for kids to several hundred pounds worth of quadcopters capturing stunning scenery.

Drones were especially popular for history lovers in the UK and Ireland this summer.
The unusually dry weather revealed the scars of historical sites on the landscape – only visible from the air.

In Ireland, a WWII sign was revealed after dry weather, wildfires and a spot of rain, leading to calls for this historic sign to be reinstated.

The clear majority of drone users are hobbyists and professional photographers/videographers who are embracing the emerging technology. Business’s too are using drones as internal and external inspection tools.

But there are those out there who look for any advancement in technology to put to ill-use. As a result, counter-drone technology is on the rise.

Poor man’s weapon

Todd Humphreys specialises in drone research, as a professor at the University of Austin. He see’s drones as an opportunity to be used as a “poor man’s weapon”.

“This is going to be the weapon of choice for those who feel that they are technically outmatched in other areas,” said Todd.

You’ll have heard about the attempted assassination on President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month when two drones armed with explosives flew towards the president mid-speech. Luckily the drones were unsuccessful in claiming lives, although some were injured, and buildings were damaged. It’s not clear if this was due to counter-drone technology.

“We have a strategy of surveillance, inquiry and material testing,” said Colonel Jean-Francois Morel of France’s gendarme police force, who said 400,000 civilian drones were sold in the country last year.

Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République, or GSPR (French secret service if you will), took down a drone over Fort de Brégançon – a popular summer spot for French presidents.
Due to the earlier attack in Venezuela, the GSPR wasn’t in the mood for checking if this was an innocent hobby drone capturing footage.

It’s believed the drone was targeted with a counter-drone jamming device, which overpowers the drone’s receivers and removes control from the operator, forcing the drone to land or return to home.
In this case, the drone crashed into the sea.

It’s likely this French drone had no ill intent, but with the ease of arming an over the counter-drone, it’s now a case of better safe than sorry. Even without the fear of armed drones, many are capable of capturing private moments with high-resolution cameras.

“It is very difficult to hit a drone that is coming at high speed, at 100 km/h, and it’s not hard to build drones that do that,” Mr Humphreys said.

“Even if you could hit one drone that came in at high speed, what if five or 10 of them attacked you all at once?”

New tech

Counter drone technology, such as M.A.D.S, are becoming increasingly popular with security services and individuals who value their safety and privacy. These technologies are the silent, constant aerial guardians leaving their users with peace of mind, such as Harvey Sutton.

A Yacht Manager, Harvey needed a reliable product to invest in.

“We chose the M.A.D.S™ system from Martek for our clients because it was overwhelmingly the most proven and best value product on the market designed specifically to withstand the rigours off maritime application. Their ‘Platinum’ package offered unique value compared to everything else. With 18-years of maritime pedigree, a global service presence & exceptional financial strength, we know Martek will be there when we need them.”

Find out the cost to your safety now.