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ANTI-DRONE TECHNOLOGIES

With drones gaining more popularity, anti-drone technologies may become a necessary countermeasure in years to come to neutralise drone threats in the defence, commercial, and homeland security sectors by detecting and intercepting drones. Anti-drone technology is also known as counter-UAS, C-UAS, or counter-UAC technology. As in any market segment, anti-drone manufacturers consist of the larger corporates like Thales, Lockheed Martin, and SAAB, however start-ups are becoming fierce competitors with their own in-house innovations, low-cost manufacturing capabilities, and the ability to build anti-drone systems to customer requirements.

Anti-drone technologies can be ground-based (fixed or mobile on buildings or vehicles), hand-held (operated by hand), and UAV-based (mounted on drones). They can have a detection and tracking capability with radar, radio frequency (RF), electro-optical (EO), infrared (IR), acoustic, or combined sensors, and/or an interception capability with RF jamming, GNSS jamming, spoofing (takes control of the drone by accessing the drone’s communication link), laser, nets, and projectiles. Further, anti-drone technologies can initiate controlled landings or instruct the drone to return to the operator. But technologies are not the only option. A company from the Netherlands called Guard From Above, trains birds of prey to intercept drones. The most commonly used drone detection methods are radar, RF detection, EO, and IR – with jammers being the most popular for interception.

Apart from the obvious military and law enforcement applications, the anti-drone market varies greatly to include government installations (such as prisons), commercial venues, critical infrastructure, and airports. Drones are readily available and cheap, a hassle-free option for non-state actors to utilize them for a number of operations. Non-state actors like ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthi rebels, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and Colombian and Mexican drug cartels have all used drones. Drones can be armed with explosive payloads or used as a delivery system for biological or chemical weapons, where the controlled landing of a drone is absolutely critical. However, drones do not necessarily need to be weaponised to cause disruption and can be used as surveillance, recording devices, and delivery vehicles.

The anti-drone market will inevitably grow with a variety of systems available to counter drones’ many applications. The future will see an increase in partnerships between companies wanting to collaborate on anti-drone technologies such as Belgian software company Unifly who recently announced that they have joined forces with Integra Aviation Academy to set up an Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system, which alerts pilots on emerging drone threats. To date, the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in the U.S. has identified over 230 anti-drone products manufactured by 155 manufacturers in 33 countries.

 

Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

RUSSIA’S ABM SYSTEM’S MODERNIZATION PROGRAMME IS ON TRACK

Aerospace defence is a priority for Russia and since 1995 the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system has been primed to counter enemy missiles targeting Moscow. In February 2018, Russia successfully carried out an air defence missile test at Sary-Shagan in Kazakhstan. The new air defence missile can precisely intercept single and multiple strikes, including new-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and will be added to the upgraded version of the A-135 (reportedly named the A-235). Deputy commander of the Air and Space Defense Alliance, Colonel Andrei Prikhodko, stated that the modernized anti-ballistic missile defence system successfully accomplished the task and struck the conventional target with the specified accuracy.

The Don-2N radar station, located in Sofrino near Moscow, is part of the A-135 and can detect warheads in flight and at a distance of up to 3 700 km. The information received is transmitted to the 5K80 command point and is then further processed and transmitted to missile launching sites with 53T6 interceptors. The A-135 includes 68 short-range 53T6 (Gazelle) interceptors (endo-atmospheric). The 32 long-range 51T6 (Gorgon) interceptors have been removed from the system. The A-135’s upgrade includes high-tech detection and tracking components.

REPORTED SHORT-RANGE INTERCEPTOR SITES IN MOSCOW OBLAST

EARLY-WARNING SYSTEM

Ballistic missiles can be launched from land and at sea (from submarines beneath the surface) and are classified as intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) with a range of approximately 1000 km to 5 500 km and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with ranges exceeding 5000 km. ICBMs are usually launched from silos – reinforced canisters set into the ground. With regards to an effective early-warning system, Russia has it covered.

NEW-GENERATION RADARS

Other early warning radar systems include the Daryal radar in Pechora, the Dnepr radar in Murmansk and Kazakhstan, and the Volga radar in Belarus. The Daryal and Dnepr radars are aging with new-generation radars being built in the Komi and Murmansk regions.

SATELLITES AND SPACE SURVEILLANCE

The Russian Aerospace Defence Forces monitors space objects and identifies potential threats in space and from space. EKS is the Integrated Space System or Tundra, which replaced the OKO early-warning system. The COSMOS 2510 is the first of a new fleet of satellites capable of detecting missile launches heading for Russia.

The space surveillance network uses the early-warning radar network to monitor objects on low Earth orbits. Over the next few years, Russia plans to install more than ten laser-optical and passive radiofrequency surveillance complexes with the task of permanently monitoring the near-Earth space at all inclinations and at a maximum altitude range.

SPACE SURVEILLANCE NETWORK

Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

AIRBUS AND BOEING – WHO WILL DOMINATE COMMERCIAL SKIES?

The battle between Airbus and Boeing to reign over the commercial aerospace market is far from over. As analysts predicted this past October, Boeing (the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer and an American company) is indeed pushing to strengthen its partnership with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. In December 2017, the two companies discussed a potential combination and many are speculating as to what this combination shall entail.

However, the potential combination is not as simple as it seems. Any transaction of this nature has political implications and would be subject to approval firstly by the Brazilian government and regulators, the two companies’ boards, and Embraer’s shareholders. The Brazilian government’s golden share in Embraer means that it has veto powers over the creation of and/or changes in military programmes involving Brazil or otherwise and change in a controlling interest in the corporation, amongst others.

Boeing has a long-standing relationship with Brazil spanning 80 years beginning with the first delivery of F4B-4 fighters in 1932. Since the 60’s, Boeing has been selling commercial aircraft to Brazilian airlines and it was a natural progression for Boeing to establish an office in São Paulo in October 2011. Boeing and Embraer’s collaboration is nothing new and in June 2012 the companies signed an agreement to work on the KC-390 aircraft programme by sharing technical knowledge and evaluating markets for medium-lift military transport opportunities. More recently in 2016, the companies collaborated in the Boeing ecoDemonstrator programme by conducting tests on an Embraer E170 aircraft to reduce environmental impact and increase aircraft efficiency and performance.

Embraer is a proudly Brazilian company and an important player in Brazil’s defence industry therefore Brazil is treading cautiously as it would be ceding significant control to a foreign company. The partnership will focus on the commercial sector only as the Brazilian defence ministry wishes for its defence programme to remain independent. In January, Brazilian Minister of Defence, Raul Jungmann, held a meeting at his office in Brasília with representatives of Boeing to discuss the company’s partnership with Embraer. Jungmann was in favour of a partnership between Boeing and Embraer, but maintained that the Brazilian company’s shareholding control is a matter of national sovereignty and will not be transferred or negotiated.

A commercial aerospace partnership with Embraer would give Boeing a broader portfolio of aircraft and a leading share of the 70 to 130+ segment, creating stiff competition for Bombardier’s C Series programme, which since last October is now backed by Boeing’s European rival Airbus. Colin Bole, Senior Vice president for commercial aircraft at Bombardier, is of the opinion that talks between Boeing and Embraer on joining forces are an acknowledgement that Boeing does not have an answer to the C Series and that there is nothing in the 737 family that properly addresses the 100 to 150-seat category. It will be interesting to see how the competition plays out in the coming months.

 

 

Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

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