The world’s first fully integrated detect-track-disrupt-defeat Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) – is being tested by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for evaluation at US airports as part of its Pathfinder Program. The equipment was developed by a trio of British companies – Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems – and is integrated and supported in North America by Liteye Systems. The FAA research is designed to evaluate technologies that can be used to detect and identify unauthorized, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drone flights near airports.
According to the FAA, each month it receives more than 100 reports from pilots and others who spot what appear to be unmanned aircraft flying too close to an airport or manned aircraft. It has become a serious safety concern for the agency and a potential security issue for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The AUDS on a tower system can detect a drone six miles (10km) away using electronic scanning radar and track it using precision infrared and daylight cameras and specialist video tracking software, before disrupting the flight using an inhibitor to block the radio signals that control it. This detect, track, disrupt, defeat process is very quick and typically takes eight to 15 seconds. The AUDS team has now carried out over 400 hours of ‘live’ testing in government related trials against more than 400 sorties flown with Group 1 UAVs.
“AUDS is able to operate effectively in complex airport environments night and day whatever the weather and without disrupting other airport equipment,” added Mark Radford, spokesman for the AUDS team. “Using AUDS, the operator can effectively take control of a drone and force a safe landing inside or outside the airport perimeter.
“The system can also assist airport authorities to track down the UAV pilots for prosecution by providing evidence (video footage or radar tracks) to the relevant authorities. We can also integrate ‘friendly assets’ into the AUDS platform – for example a ‘friendly’ drone – to extend the threat detection and situational awareness capabilities of the system and to help capture rogue drone pilots.”
The Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) integrates Blighter Surveillance Systems’ A400 Series Ku band electronic scanning air security radar; Chess Dynamics’ stabilized electro-optic director, infrared and daylight cameras and target tracking software; and a directional radio frequency (RF) inhibitor from Enterprise Control Systems to detect, track, classify, disrupt and defeat UAVs at ranges of up to 10km. The AUDS system is effective against so-called Group 1 micro UAVs at ranges of up to 2km and Group 1 mini UAVs at ranges of several kilometers.