Counter-drone: The race is on

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.

We are not prepared for exploding drones

The recent attack on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was the first attack on an official by weaponised drones.

Terror and criminal use of drones are well documented, but this has mainly been isolated to the war-torn Middle East, prisons and a few none lethal examples in Mexico and the US.

It wasn’t widely documented, but a drone was used to land a ZMG-1 thermite grenade on a Ukrainian weapons dump, causing $1 billion in damage.

A similar attempt to blow up the Balakliya base took place in December 2015, when drones dropped 14 grenades. Fires were extinguished by Ukrainian servicemen, and one grenade, a ZMG-1, was recovered.

An attack on an ammunition depot at Svatovo destroyed 3,000 tons of explosives and damaged 1,700 nearby homes.

In 2016, two French Special Forces soldiers were injured and two Kurdish fighters were killed by an exploding ISIS drone. ISIS has conducted numerous drone attacks during the Mosul campaign and terrorism experts fear weaponized drones could spread outside conflict zones.

“I think we do know that terrorist organizations have an interest in using drones”

“We’ve seen that overseas already with growing frequency. I think the expectation is that it’s coming here imminently.” said the director of the FBI when addressing the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
“I think they are relatively easy to acquire, relatively easy to operate, and quite difficult to disrupt and monitor.”

The fact is, this threat is sophisticating faster than many organisations can counter it. Government and military sites, nuclear plants, sporting events, ports and ships, tourist hot spots… nothing is currently equipped to counter the threat of weaponised drones.

Did you know most locations purchase First Aid equipment, such as defibrillators, AFTER a person has died?

We are very much a reactive breed, reeling from the damages and hopefully preventing them from happening again.
But what if we were pre-emptive? What if we prepared so well that terrorist drone threat became redundant?

The technology is here – but we must start now.

Why you need regular services from approved technicians

Last week, we spoke about how ‘pirate’ parts are voiding type approval, but what about if you’ve made sure you buy legitimate parts?

What’s the next step in ensuring your equipment isn’t going to let you down?

Regular servicing.
Approved engineers.

Simple. You knew that, but not everybody actions it. Here’s why it’s important.

Continue reading “Why you need regular services from approved technicians”

Fake parts are voiding type approvals and not meeting legislation.

VOID: TYPE Approval

Buy cheap, buy twice. We’ve all heard it and it’s often lurking in the back of your mind when making a purchasing decision.

Sometimes, there’s that temptation.

You’ve got a tight budget.
You’ve been asked to streamline spending.
You’re eager to meet targets.

But, you don’t want an explosion on your vessel.

Continue reading “Fake parts are voiding type approvals and not meeting legislation.”

How real is the marine drone threat?

Mosul, Iraq.

In the blazing midday heat, the steady hum of the diesel engine fills there air.
The sound of this armoured vehicle, offering Iraqi Special Forces cover from ISIS sniper fire, is interrupted by an altogether different and deadlier hum.

Bodies scatter, denying an easy grouped target,
Rifles point skyward, as eye’s scan the sky for the small, fast-moving, and deadly threat. The high-pitched whine of the ISIS drone is soon drowned out by automatic rifle fire.

Continue reading “How real is the marine drone threat?”

Martek Calls for Urgent ISPS Review

Commercial shipping is waking up to the growing threat that drones pose to the safety & security of vessels. Terrorist use of drones deploying explosives is already well documented and the potential for a drone to deliver an explosive charge through the deck of an oil/gas tanker or on a passenger ship with potentially catastrophic results is a stark reality. Vessels in port, at anchor or on coastal transits are potential ‘sitting ducks’ and currently powerless to know if/when they’re going to be attacked, let alone be in a position to defend against the threat.

Continue reading “Martek Calls for Urgent ISPS Review”

Superyachts: Lifeboat – check, Lifejackets – check, Defibrillator – ??

Superyachts do almost everything to ensure the vessel and those on-board are prepared to react in an emergency, they provide extensive safety training and stock state of the art electronics, lifejackets, lifeboats, and much, much more! It seems like superyachts are prepared for anything but there is one piece of safety equipment which is overlooked by the majority of superyacht managers. The Defibrillator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at this daunting fact in detail you start to question why. Considering Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the world’s biggest killer and can occur at a moment’s notice affecting anybody of any fitness level and age, you would assume the only known treatment method would be on all vessels. Especially when you are so far from medical help.

Time is of the Essence –  and you NEED a defibrillator

It is common sense that the further out to sea you go, the greater the risk should you encounter some form of emergency. If this emergency is somebody suffering from an SCA, time is of the essence and you need to be able to react immediately by starting the chain of survival. Defibrillation is the only way to cure SCA and if defibrillation doesn’t occur within the first 3-5 minutes you can be looking at permanent brain damage. For every minute that goes by, the victim’s chances of survival drop by 10%.

 

The Chain of Survival for Sudden Cardiac Arrest Victims. 1. Early Call to Emergency Services, 2. Early CPR, 3. Early Defibrillator, 4. Early Advanced Care

 

So when SCA strikes on your yacht and you do not have a defibrillator what will you do? Will you call for a medevac? Emergency services will do their best but the chance of them reaching you within 10 minutes, even if you are docked, is highly unlikely. This puts your survival rates at almost 0%.

If there is a fatality due to SCA, what words could you possibly find to console the victim’s family, fellow crew members and friends, when you had no equipment to help – because you didn’t have the time, the budget or the knowledge?

Misconceptions

Here are some of the misconceptions which we regularly hear about why people choose not to stock AED’s onboard superyachts.

  1. AEDs won’t work onboard vessels due to the motion – This is not true with the Lifeforce AED as our AED is military tested for the marine environment.
  2. AED’s are too expensive – They’re relatively affordable compared to the other costs associated with running a boat, plus it takes the worry out of the health and safety procedures you have.
  3. You need training to use an AED – Training is recommended so people feel comfortable with the device but it isn’t essential. Our Lifeforce AED is the simplest on the market and provides verbal instruction for how to use so even somebody without training could use it.
  4. When should you use an AED and what if it’s used when it shouldn’t be? – In the case of somebody collapsing and you cannot find a pulse you should immediately initiate defibrillation, for added peace of mind the AED will automatically analyse the patient’s vital signs and it will ONLY deliver a shock if required.

With over 17.3 million deaths per year, SCA is the world’s biggest killer and this needs to change. The way we can prevent this amount of deaths is by ensuring that all of the places where we spend our time are all protected with the correct equipment to help victims survive.

If you are interested in finding out more about our GL Type Approved Marine Lifeforce AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) contact one of our knowledgeable staff who can help you find the best AED package for your yacht and answer any questions you may have.

 

How drone technology is improving safety in the maritime industry

 

UAS advancements are increasingly impacting our everyday lives, from agriculture & filmmaking to security and communications down to the products we have delivered. Its advances present major changes for the future of the maritime industry. As disruptive as the smartphone has been to the world, the use of drones will revolutionise the landscape of ship operations for years to come.

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Top 3 Innovations Improving Safety in the Marine Industry Part One: Portable Gas Detection

Compliance with the strict marine regulations and codes can be vastly time consuming and expensive for any operator. In an industry with such alarming historical safety statistics, it’s imperative that we embrace innovation to eradicate onboard risks.

Regulations are constantly being amended and introduced to make shipping safer so over the next 3 weeks we are going to look at the Top 3 Innovations Improving Marine Safety.

Continue reading “Top 3 Innovations Improving Safety in the Marine Industry Part One: Portable Gas Detection”