The Anatomy of the Threat
Drone sales have exploded in the past few years, filling the skies with millions of new aircraft. Unfortunately, simple modifications to these drones by criminals and terrorists have created new security vulnerabilities. Drones weaponized with explosives or other harmful payloads require traditional security to adapt to protect airspace, infrastructure, and people.
These smaller aircraft, flying at lower altitudes and in complex environments, are challenging traditional systems.
Careless and Clueless
Drones with high-definition cameras are available for a few hundred dollars and can:
- Take high-resolution photography
- Be remotely controlled from miles away
- Fly autonomously without remote control
- Reach speeds up to 115 mph (51m/s+)
- Carry payloads ranging from a few ounces to over 35lbs (15.9kg)
Even innocent drone operators can be a source of significant risk.
Criminals and Terrorists
Criminals and terrorists use these powerful tools to:
- Interrupt air travel
- Disrupt law enforcement investigations and fire management efforts
- Carry contraband to prisons and across borders
- Sniff private networks
- Deliver chemical or explosive payloads
- Attack oil refineries and nuclear plants
- Perform reconnaissance on troops
- Assassinate high profile, political and military leaders
A new layer of airspace security is required to protect and safeguard against these threats.
RF-Silent Dark Drones
Certain drone manufacturers have developed proprietary security that prohibits their drones from flying into no-fly zones and that can locate the position of their drones and operators. Security companies have developed similar RF-based C-UAS solutions that locate drones and their operators, with technologies that intercept, interrupt, and jam the signals of problematic drones. Criminals and terrorists exploit weaknesses in these RF-based systems by flying drones that do not emit RF signals. The security industry calls these RF-silent dark drones.
Most drones can be quickly set to RF-silent mode using GPS waypoints, and can fly to multiple locations sequentially without an operator.
The Need for Constant Innovation
Most existing defense systems are designed to counter large or fast moving threats—not the multitude of smaller, slower and lower flying class 1 and 2 drones that are readily available today. Criminals and terrorists are able to breach existing airspace defense layers with high flying drones that avoid detection by large radars, or low flying drones that slip under the radar. These determined operators also take advantage of other radar coverage gaps to escape detection.
As entities work to implement counter drone capabilities, they are finding that most counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) are illegal or ineffective. Many C-UAS deployments fail due to multiple vendors with multiple components that lack a deep integration. Fortem owns the technology required to build the foundation of an integrated counter drone system. Flexible and portable, this system deploys as a permanent installation or as part of a mobile solution.
A complete C-UAS system must continually evolve to meet threats and should integrate with other systems to effectively detect, assess, and mitigate dangerous drones.
Implementing an Effective, End-to-End, CUAS System
The Fortem SkyDome System detects, monitors, assesses, and mitigates drone threats, even RF-silent dark drones. Effective day or night and in adverse weather conditions, the SkyDome System can be configured in many ways and scales to protect any zone, corridor, building, event, border, customer infrastructure or even an entire metro region. The SkyDome System is designed from the ground up to complement and integrate seamlessly with other command and control systems with its flexible API. Fortem radar is designed to be the foundation of a multi-layered sensor approach to C-UAS.
Integral to this system are three high-performance core products: