Scotsman Reports: 'Everyone's waiting for the first drone disaster'

  • By Richard Gill
  • 24 Apr, 2016

GIVEN the collision at Heathrow and the potential for aerial terrorism, have regulators been caught napping on policing the skies, asks Dani Garavelli

GIVEN the collision at Heathrow and the potential for aerial terrorism, have regulators been caught napping on policing the skies, asks Dani Garavelli

As the British Airways airbus A320, carrying 132 passengers and five crew, came into land at Heathrow Airport last week, it collided with an unidentified object. Pilots are used to the risk of bird strikes, which can do a fair amount of damage, denting the nose of the plane or ripping a hole in the undercarriage. In 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger landed an A320 in the Hudson River after geese were ingested into the engines. But this time, the man at the helm was convinced the entity that had strayed into his path was a drone operated by an amateur with scant regard for safety.

Inquiries are ongoing; on Friday, transport minister Robert Goodwill played down the incident, claiming the plane might have been hit by nothing more sinister than a plastic bag. But whatever happened, experts believe the scare should serve as a wake-up call. As the market burgeons, near misses involving drones are becoming more common. According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) there were 40 in 2015, compared with nine the year before. Earlier this year, the UK Air Proximity Board said drones had been involved in serious near-misses at Heathrow, Stansted, London City and Manchester airports.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has been calling for action to prevent the “catastrophic” accident some see as a inevitability; but it is not only aviators who are worried. Fears that drones flown over football grounds and concerts might cause injury were realised when one crashed into spectators at a rodeo in Virginia in the US in 2013; and that’s just the potential damage from careless operators.

Of even greater concern is the risk of drones being used for nefarious purposes. Professor David Hastings Dunn, head of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at Birmingham University, believes it is only a matter of time before terrorists will be strapping explosives to drones, allowing them to by-pass security systems and carry out attacks on open-air events. (It was only the failure to get through security, after all, that prevented the three suicide terrorists killing far more people at the Stade de France in Paris). Hezbollah are said to have flown drones into Israel in the hopes of hitting the Dimona nuclear reactor and IS to have used them for propaganda purposes. Dunn claims drones are already being employed to carry out crimes such as dropping off drugs and casing houses for burglaries. He also believes they could be used to kill remotely without leaving a forensic trace. “They are the perfect tool for burglars, murderers and Peeping Toms,” he says.

Some countries are looking at ways to track and intercept drones: in Holland birds of prey have been trained to attack them; in Japan, “good” drones equipped with nets are sent in to catch “bad” ones. “Like aerial lacrosse,” says Dunn. But in the UK, little is being done to tackle the problem. “Everyone seems to be waiting for disaster to happen before they act.”

A decade ago, drones were known mostly for their involvement in foreign wars; they were often derided as a means for the US to carry out attacks without getting its hands dirty. But over the past two years – as the micro technology they rely on has advanced – there has been an explosion in their use, both commercially and recreationally. Though the kind of drone used for filming aerial shots in the movie London Has Fallen would set you back £40,000, a DJI Phantom 3, regarded as entry level for commercial use, costs around £400, a Parrot Bebop, between £250 and £400, and quad-copters can be picked up for less than £100. Some drones are so small they fit into a wallet, while others are four foot in diameter.

The upsurge in their use is being fuelled by their affordability and the fact electronic retailers have started stocking them, but also by a media obsession with gadgetry. The Dubai World Drone Prix, the first global drone-racing event, won by 15-year-old Luke Bannister, added a touch of glamour.

But the real beauty of drones lies in their potential for industry. Every day it seems new applications for the technology are emerging. Already they are being used to check for faults on oil and gas platforms and wind turbines. When a crack was discovered on the Forth Road Bridge, drones were sent up to carry out a structural survey. “Very quickly they were able to home in on where the problems were,” says John Gore, operations manager for UAV-Air which runs training courses for those who want to use drones commercially. “Without them, it would have taken 10 to 15 times longer to produce scaffolding and platform access for the operators. Instead, they were able to collect the data they needed within minutes.”

Drones are most impressive when – as in the above case – they are making life safer for human beings. Increasingly, they are being used to search for those missing in terrible conditions on mountains. “Not only does using drones mean people aren’t risking their lives on the mountainside, but a human walking over a large area can’t cover the ground as quickly or get the same situational awareness, and obviously the HM Coastguard and National Police Air Service are expensive resources, called out only in extreme circumstances.”

Drones are being deployed to fight poachers in Africa, make emergency aid drops and spread herbicides over fields. And Amazon and Google have been trying to develop technology that would allow them to deliver packages to people’s doors. However, while many of the potential applications of drones are positive , their capacity to carry out surveillance has raised concerns over privacy and civil liberties.

Those who want to use drones commercially have to obtain a nationally recognised qualification. UAV-Air is one of 16 British companies delivering training and the only one to do so in Scotland. Every second month it runs an intensive three-day course at Perth Racecourse which culminates in a flying assessment. Four out of six of its directors are airline pilots.

They are seeing a steady stream of people coming through their doors. “The market for drones is huge,” says Gore. “Just as one aspect becomes saturated, another opens up. I have heard it said that if you compared the history of drones with the history of aviation, we would only be at the stage of the biplane just now. There is so much more to come.”

Just as commercial use is burgeoning, so too is recreational use; but those flying for fun do not need to gain a qualification. All they have to do is take their new toy out of the box, quite possibly discarding the safety advice in their haste to get it airborne. Recreational drone operators do have to abide by a number of regulations – a kind of aerial Highway Code. For example, they are not allowed to fly above 120 metres or further than 500 metres horizontally; they are not allowed to fly within 50 metres of a person, structure or vessel or within 150 metres of a built-up area or an open-air gathering of more than 1,000 people. The problem is many of those who are flying drones are either unaware of these regulations or fail to abide by them; and catching those who breach them is difficult. So far there have been just a handful of prosecutions in the UK. Robert Knowles was fined £800 and told to pay £3,500 in costs after his delta wing plane crashed in a no-fly zone near a BAE Systems shipyard that builds nuclear submarines. He was only caught because the camera had recorded his car registration.

Nigel Wilson from Nottinghamshire was fined £1,800 after flying a drone over football matches and tourist attractions. He was only caught because he put the footage online. In most circumstances, it would be almost impossible to track an offending drone back to its owner.

In the US, where there have been 700 near misses involving drones, the Federal Aviation Authority has made it obligatory for those weighing more than a quarter of a kilogram to be registered and given a serial number (only drones over 20kg have to be registered in the UK). But the system has struggled to cope with the numbers. In the first few months alone, 380,000 people registered, 17,000 more than the total number of people currently registered to fly planes and helicopters in the US.

The CAA and the UK government, however, seem to prefer a light touch; cynics suggest this is because of pressure from powerful lobbyists and an awareness of how much drones are worth to the economy, but pilots are worried, because no research has been undertaken to find out what damage a drone colliding with an airliner could do (though the A320 seems to have escaped unscathed). “We know planes are hit by birds, that birds are ingested into engines, but birds are made of organic matter. The impact of a drone could be very different,” says Gore.

He wants to see more public education campaigns highlighting the potential risks to recreational users and says UAV-Air is close to finalising a deal which would allow it to provide subsidised or even free training to hobbyists.

Dunn has his own frustrations; the academic has been talking about the terrorist threat posed by drones since 2012, but very little has been done to counter it, partly because there is no consensus on the degree of risk and the legal situation is quite complex.

Last week, Goodwill insisted current rules governing drone use were strong enough, telling peers on a House of Lords committee that the UK had “one of the highest regulatory safety standards for commercial aviation in the world”; and yet drones were banned from London for the duration of Barack Obama’s visit.

“I went to the Home Office technology centre briefing on this at the end of last year,” says Dunn. “The room was full of science and technology people. The whole day was spent on: how do we address this issue?” They talked about how technology could be used to reduce the threat from drones, but also about what was proportionate and legal when it came to intercepting them.

To illustrate the dilemma, Dunn talks about a drone that landed in the grounds of the White House last year. The Secret Service could have shot it down, but this would have endangered the lives of passing tourists.

“During the Olympics, we spent a lot of money putting in air defence systems on top of car blocks all round London. The helicopter carrier HMS Ocean was parked in the Thames and there were helicopters flying off of there,” Dunn says. “There were Royal Marines with shotguns and an air exclusion zone round the capital; so they took aerial threats including drones seriously during that period. Then, they took all of that apart because it was expensive.”

Goodwill believes the UK continues to be under greater threat from suicide bombers than UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), but Dunn is less sure. He says it would be easy to marry a drone with an IED (improvised explosive device) similar to those which killed British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he points out they wouldn’t even need to use explosives: if a drone was to drop flour over a large crowd it would cause a mass panic within a confined space. The Oxford Research Group’s Remote Control project has suggested drones with explosives might be used to target embassies or the Prime Minister’s car.

So what technology could be used to prevent either an accident or an attack? Some manufacturers are looking at “geo-fencing”: software that programmes a drone’s GPS not to fly near sites such as airports and nuclear power stations. Others are looking at virtual tethers which would prevent them from flying more than 500 metres from the person operating them.

But such technology is still at an early stage and – judging by Goodwill’s lukewarm response to geo-fencing – there isn’t much pressure to push ahead. “We are experiencing a revolution of access to the air. But the technology is way ahead of the legislation and way ahead of the risk assessment,” says Dunn.

Read more:
Follow us: @TheScotsman on Twitter | TheScotsmanNewspaper on Facebook

Drone Defence Blog

By Richard Gill 28 Aug, 2017

Large crowds and drones don’t mix, indeed operating a drone within 150m of open-airgatherings of more than 1000 people is illegal in the UK. As the summer festival season is drawing to a close the illegal use of drones at open air events should be considered by event organisers in the future. Drones could be used to capture imagery and potentially breach broadcast rights, they could cause injuries to festival goers or they could be used to transport illegal substances into the event. All of these issues pose a liability problem to event organisers who are responsible for the safe conduct of the event.

Drone Defence in partnership with Eclipse Digital Solutions and Crowded Space Dronescarried out a technical demonstration at a festival to measure if drones were an issue for the event. In the past this festival had been linked to drugs so now the event organisers go to considerable lengths to search the 70,000+ festival goers and all of the staff. A drone could be used to bypass all this security and deliver contraband directly into the event.

For the demonstration Drone Defence established its ‘Bronze’ level service in the festival’s Control Centre. We deployed a passive drone detection system which informed the event organisers of a drone operating near the festival. They could then pass this information to the physical security guards who could respond appropriately. In the three hours of the demonstration we recorded 27 separate drone events from a minimum of four different drones. Even as we arrived at the event we saw a DJI Mavic hovering 20m above the Control Centre.

Drone Defence and its partners can provide equipment and personnel to help protect events like this from drones. Seamlessly integrating into the control infrastructure, we can deliver increased situational awareness and effective responses to illegally flown drones.

To find out more about how we can help increase safety at your event please get in touch on +44 (0) 843 289 2805, or email or visit


By Richard Gill 13 Aug, 2017

It has been reported that a hobby drone was used to take many minutes of drone footage of the UK’s £3bn Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, before landing on the deck of the ship. I am as amazed as the ‘drone enthusiast’ was of the total lack of security which allowed this to happen unchallenged.

Although the ship is conducting its sea trials and has not been formally handed over to the Royal Navy the ships builders, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, should be considering how they can prevent future drone flights around this highly sensitive ship. There are no aircraft currently on-board but the ship has some of the most advanced electronic systems available which, I would imagine, the Royal Navy would want to keep under-wraps. With most hobby drones being able to capture high resolution 4k video there is potential for secret radar and electronic systems to be exposed to external interested parties.

I am certain there is a significant security detail protecting HMS Queen Elizabeth but they seem to have been caught off guard by a simple £300 toy drone which is available from any high street across the nation. Thankfully, this time, drone’s operator was only trying to get some footage of the vessel but in the future the apparent vulnerability could be exploited by someone with more sinister intentions.

The second significant story came from the USA where the US Department of the Army banned the use of drones made by the world’s most popular manufacturer over data security fears.   The Department names Chinese drone manufacturer, DJI, over security fears in the memo issued at the beginning of August. It has been well known in the commercial drone community that DJI drones take images and transmit them back to DJI servers, now this has been highlighted as an unacceptable security breach for the US Army.

The US, like many other nations, have been experimenting with low cost ‘commercial off the shelf’ drones like the ones made by DJI. With the revelation that the drones themselves are taking unauthorised pictures and sending them back to DJI there are some significant concerns about data security especially when the drones are being used on sensitive or secure sites.

Both these stories highlight the need of economical and effective Drone Defence . Low cost, commercial drones are being used by individuals for fun and those drones now, it has emerged, are sending images to back to unknown servers overseas. The total lack of drone countermeasures on HMS Queen Elizabeth will have been noted by our nation’s adversaries. We now have a situation where a drone could be used innocently to capture some video of a sensitive site and those images are being sent overseas for anyone to examine at their leisure, potentially exposing secrets and technology we would wish to remain our own.

Drone Defence can help organisations of all sizes understand and mitigate the risks posed by the nefarious use of commercial drones. We have the skills to deploy and manage effective detection and countermeasures systems to ensure sites stay secure.

By Richard Gill 24 Jul, 2017

In 1865 Britain introduced the 'Locomotives on Highways Act'. Better known as the 'Red Flag Act'.

The act stipulated that all mechanically powered road vehicles (cars) must:

·    Have three drivers.

·    Not exceed 4 mph (6.4 kph) on the open road and 2 mph (3.2 kph) in towns.

·    Be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag to warn the public.

It took nearly 30 years for this law to be repealed but with the talk of mandatory registration for drones in the UK are we resorting to another similar knee-jerk reaction to a new technology?

Recently the Department for Transport said:

‘The UK is at the forefront of an exciting and fast growing drones market. We are seeing drones being used across many of our sectors, improving services, creating high tech jobs and boosting our economy. Drones and their applications are a key opportunity to cement the UK as the place for exciting technology companies to build their business, scientists and engineers to drive innovation, and tech investors to invest – in line with our Industrial Strategy aims and objectives.’

In a little over four years the fledgling drone industry in the UK has grown to over 4,000 commercial drone operators yet the same report calls for mandatory registration of drones over 250g. I wonder how many would have begun their journey into this innovate sector if there were barriers to entry at the beginning? It is well known that any type of barrier prevents the adoption of a new technology, it only serves to slow down progress and it may prevent the UK from having its share of the predicted multibillion pound industry in the future. Companies who are at the forefront of innovation in the drone industry, like Amazon, have based themselves in the UK specifically for the reason that we have some of the best regulations for drone use anywhere in the world.  

The somewhat pessimistic and alarmist reporting from the established air users’ organisations is not helping the new drone industry and is arguably not reflective of the actual risks posed to manned aircraft by drones.   By lobbying these organisations force the Authorities to react in the only way they can, by increasing legislation. The trend to also put pressure on drone manufacturers is counter-productive and may damage their business model. There is already a growing drone-hacker community and companies are now selling hardware to overcome the hard-wired geofencing restrictions in some drones.

Admittedly there are some irresponsible, ignorant or illegal drone users out there but they are very much the minority.  I would argue that education not regulation and the effective enforcement of extant regulation is the best middle ground. As the drone services sector grows a myriad of supporting industry will emerge. This can be seen with the growth in the number of drone training providers, insurers and retailers. Also there are a few business like mine which are drone security providers.

As a business we are helping a number of organisations in the UK and overseas understand the impact that nefarious drone use might have on the. And where legislation allows we can offer more practical means to prevent unwanted drone flights.

If you have concerns about the potential negative impact drones may have on your organisation then we can help you better understand the risks. Contact us on or visit our website at


By Richard Gill 28 Apr, 2017
The world’s leading commercial drone manufacturer, DJI, appear to have stepped into the conflict in Syria and Iraq by designating large areas of both countries as ‘no fly zones’ for its drones.

After many recent reports of ISIS using commercial drones to drop various munitions onto Iraqi forces (which are supported by the West) could these new flight restrictions indicate that DJI does not want its technology to be used in any conflict zone by either side?

Iraqi forces are also using DJI drones to gather information before launching attacks. Unless DJI have given some sort of special ‘pass code’ to the Coalition Forces then the introduction of the No Fly Zones would restrict legitimate use of the technology and may put more lives at risk.

It is interesting that DJI, as a commercial entity, have decided to act in this way. For instance, ISIS use Toyota pick-up trucks as means of transport, would it be expected that the car manufacturer somehow limit the use of its products?

Overcoming DJI's restrictions is fairly straight forward, a quick search on the internet will give details of how you can shield the GPS antenna or use different versions of control software can be used to still fly the drones in restricted areas.  Given the restrictions are easy to overcome active Drone Defence is still required.

The manufacturer's challenge of how to respond to nefarious drone user is set to continue, it is going to be interesting to keep watch.
By Richard Gill 09 Mar, 2017
January 7, 2017

There have been some new efforts in employing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to inspect and protect critical intelligent infrastructure of organizations (power grids, railways, and communication networks). UAVs have their primary roots embedded in military applications which have also been growing in size, payload, and capabilities. In this article we identify nearly two dozen of the leading players in the anti-space and we analyze the reasoning for the seeming frenzy of anti-drone market innovation. We interviewed several of the executives of these companies, spoke with those who have worked within or with the FAA and we have performed research to understand the market dynamics behind the seeming frenzy of anti-drone innovation. A UAV is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the drone itself. A UAS is an Unmanned Aircraft System which includes the drone, controller and any supporting systems and software. These two acronyms get tossed around without a clarification on the distinction. Its important to define the difference in any informed discussion about remote vehicle technology. Drone systems, control systems, and procedures labeled as “Best Practices” today, may be obsolete as soon as next year or even as early as next month. That is how fast things are evolving. New features and capabilities are constantly integrated into drone platforms where “Best In Class” has become a moving target. With any type of technology, the first phase is “Creation”.

Sometimes, early entrants are in an emerging technology, but not all of them make it to the next plateau. Lagging behind the creation of technology is acceptance and adoption, despite not all the technology created is accepted and adopted. Phase three is the development of regulation protect innovation owners and the market itself. Lagging behind that is the enforcement of that explained in the Diffusion Of Innovation. Mark Dombroff, Partner at Dentons Law Firm, in McLean, Virginia, had an interesting take on the current regulatory framework for drones. In discussing this article with Mark, an attorney with over thirty years experience in aviation law as well as experience with the FAA, he agreed that the framework for effective governance is lagging behind the development and adoption of the technology by consumers and enterprises. He made a noteworthy point about the anti-drone industry will become larger than the industry for commercial UAVs, UAS and services itself because there are so many areas where owners want to protect their assets. These range from private and mission critical infrastructure to government agencies, to NFL stadiums, large business campuses, hospitals, farms and so many other commercial and specialized buildings and facilities.

Mark talked about the importance of 2017 and said that it is a critical year because it should be a shakeout year in the global drones industry. There are regulatory hurdles to overcome and some companies just do not have the financial capital to overcome regulations set by the FAA, the FCC and other government agencies that might affect both drone and anti-drone technologies. Once enforcement kicks in, not if, the upheaval will uproot the uninformed-unprepared companies leaving the adaptive-smart companies to claim market share years into the future. His firm offered a webinar on anti-drones in which our second installment of this series will reflect some of the views and perspectives of those who are buyers and potential buyers of anti-drones. DRONE INDUSTRY: GROWING BY LEAPS & BOUNDS Drones are rapidly becoming “tools of the trade” in many industries, and have been categorized into segments of the market: Government (including Military), Enterprise (Corporations / Businesses), Prosumers (the Enterprise – Consumer hybrid user) and Consumers (Personal / Hobbyist). Since low-altitude drones fly only hundreds of feet above ground, most operate off traditional radar used to track commercial aircraft. New tracking measures are being tested and introduced to solve this dilemma, but radar used to track aircraft does not detect drone flights, at the moment.

SEGMENT APPLICATIONS Government Agencies Military (all Branches), Homeland Security, Weather (NOAA), Search & Rescue (First Responder), Air, Sea, Land applications (Weaponized, Surveillance, Patrolling). Businesses / Enterprise Agriculture, Photography, Video Production (Films, TV, documentary) Building Inspections, Infrastructure Inspections (Pipelines, Cell Towers, Railroads, Waterways (Docks, Locks). Personal / Hobby Racing, Personal Photography, Blogging, Podcasts, Video-blogging, Experimental Purposes, Sports Affiliated, Videoing Events including Live Streaming, Competitions, etc.). According the report, Drones Operating In Syria And Iraq, published December 2016 by The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and written by Dan Gettinger, UAVs are being employed by terror groups in these hotspots at the frontline of the war on terror: “Based on analysis of visual media, we have found that at least 32 different identifiable drone models made in six countries have been reported to be operating in the conflict.

Of the 32 types of systems, 10 were made in the United States, nine in China, six in Iran, four in Russia,, two in Israel, and one in Turkey. The majority of the drones are light hand or rail-launched small tactical surveillance drones. Of these, eight recreational hobby drones have been identified from the reports. A handful of other unidentified and homemade drone types have also been spotted.” Dan Gettinger, Bard College With the use of drones on various battlefields, the need for anti-drone technology is intensifying as terror occurs in places beyond the reach of political conflict.

THE ANTI-DRONE INDUSTRY IS ALSO GROWING “You cannot shoot down a drone as it is considered an aircraft.” This statement was made at a recent drones conference, the International Drone Expo in Los Angeles, California by Mark Dombroff. He may be right, but it hasn’t stopped some individuals from killing the invasive drones of their neighbors. People are confused and they’re only going to feel more uncertain as time and technology press forward. Let’s blame the media for publishing rampant mixed signals and dubious false flags about drones and anti-drones like this grammatical and ambiguous gem. Yah, go ahead drone, make my day! Mark Dombroff may be right, but who has time to follow drone law except the lawyers? Even those who may have a very special interest to protect and defend find the law, its interpretation and lack of enforcement bewildering. So far, the law has not been enforced. Is it even possible to enforce given the sci-fi-ish mutations in the works. Drone Munition is made by Snake River Ammunition and takes specially made shotgun shells to resolve some of the cryptic trespassing issues with existing regulations.

On every box of Snake River Ammunition, there is the following disclaimer: “Federal, State, and Local laws dictate when, where, and in what situations a firearm can be legally discharged. We are in no way condoning the use of this product for illegal activity! Be sure to follow ALL firearm laws at all times!” Good advice. “Drone law” isn’t a real thing, yet. In the US, we have regulation, but it resembles vehicle traffic law, minus the DMV and traffic cops. If I am going 90 miles an hour in a 55 mile an hour zone, if I don’t get caught, who cares? The same applies to the adherence to current FAA policy and other regulations. No one is getting caught, no one is writing tickets. Where is the enforcement? Another long-standing FAA legal veteran, Sandy Murdock, reiterates the confusion anti-drone technology will inevitably cause on the market. Currently, Sandy is an editor for a popular aviation industry publication, the JDA Journal. Sandy says its a yin and yang proposition. “The ability to interdict malevolent users is a useful tool in the hands of the appropriate law enforcement authorities. In the arena of private use of the anti-drone capabilities, the definition of what airspace may be protected, for what reasons and when is a complex legal question.”

As of the publishing of this article, there are nearly two dozen anti-drone companies and technologies with more functionality and capabilities on the way. Is there is a growing market and demand for anti-drone systems? The answer to that question may be in the sheer number of companies preempting the need. This sub-set of the global commercial drones industry seems to be exploding and many analysts expect anti-drones to become more diverse and economically viable than the sales of commercial UAVs and UAS services themselves. Anti-drone innovation is a new endeavor in many countries, not just the United States. The list below includes a cross-section of companies big and small, known and relatively new.

SENSOFUSION, (Finland, New York, United States)

AIRFENCE System comprising of RF, GPS and other technologies.

DCAA (Dubai Civil Aviation Authority) & Sanad Academy, , (Dubai, UAE) Drone Rifle Hand-held rifle using electronic radio-wave jamming technology.

ANTIDRONE, (Denmark) SystemsGrok Mini-range system components include infrared and Video surveillance and a Visual Command Center (VCC).

Battelle, (United States) Drone Defender Integrator of anti-drone technology including radars, cameras, jammers and interceptors.

Systems Blighter Surveillance Systems, (United Kingdom) AUDS Counter-UAV Defense System Integrator of anti-drone technology including radars, cameras, jammers and interceptors.

Systems DroneShield, (Sydney, Australia) Drone Shield / Drone Gun Detection system using acoustic monitoring and signature database.

Dedrone, (United States, Germany) DroneTracker Multi-sensor platform — RF sensors, IP cameras, PTZ cameras, software, radar and jammers.

CTS Technology, (China) Drone Jammer Rifle Detection system using acoustic monitoring and signature database.

Theiss UAV Solutions, (United States) Excipio Anti-Drone System Drone interception with nets.

MCTech, (Israel) MC-Horizon System Can intercept drones up to 2.5 kilometers away.

MALOU Tech, (France) MPI 200 Drone interceptor with net. Net range is 1×2 meters. Altitude up to 3 kilometers. Battery life is 45 minutes. Speed 110 km at over 60 MPH.

 Guard from Above, (the Netherlands) Predatory Birds. Predatory birds trained to take down rougue drones..

SAAB, (Sweden) SAAB Seaeye Underwater ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) for underwater security.

SAAB & UMS Aero Group AG (SKELDAR), (Sweden, Switzerland) SKELDAR One Unmanned aircraft with reconnaissance capability.

OpenWorks Engineering, (United Kingdom) SkyWall 100 22 pound ”Net cannon” shoots net up to 100 yards.

Advanced Ballistic Concepts, (United States) SKYNET Ground-to-Air Rounds 12 gauge and 40MM shells with nets inside.

Snake River Shooting Products, (United States) Dronemunition 12 gauge shotgun shells with steel balls, but no net. Ferromagnetic rounds to disable electronics, steel, not lead.

Boeing, (United States) The Death Ray Portable laser system.

Department 13, (United States) MESMER Counter Drone Software platform for detection and mitigation of radio controlled devices.

DeTect, (United States, United Kingdom) DroneWatcher Detection and mitigation platform through apps, radar and other methods.

Drone Defence, (United Kingdom) Dynopis Electronic Countermeasures, Net Gun X1 and others. Several potential solutions as described on the Drone Defence website.

Liteye Systems, (United States) AUDS Counter UAV System Fixed Thermal Cameras, anti-drone systems, et al. 22 companies is a lot, and these are the ones we’ve identified.

There may be more innovations and ideas in the works which we are unaware of. The debate is on whether anti-drone technology is needed now and will be in the future. Mistaken identity may be one of the most expensive liabilities in this debate when an anti-drone takes down a precision agriculture, inspection or survey device just doing its jobs. Let’s dive into the points of interest beginning with the centerpiece. Fear is the greatest motivation of them all.

Last year, DronesX featured Dedrone which originally got its start in Germany before moving to Silicon Valley. Dedrone’s innovations create a perimeter around precious infrastructure like government buildings, bridges, sporting arenas and even prisons, many of which already are vulnerable targets to the malicious and disreputable armed with drones. At the rapid pace of anti-drone innovations landing in the market, Dedrone strangely appears to be one of the pioneers. All of them companies on our list face intense competition with the market initiated by the need to product precious infrastructure, government buildings and other valuable assets. There are many videos describing anti-drone technologies. In the video below we see Boeing’s laser system technology ominously branded, The Death Ray. DIY ANTI-DRONES Everyday citizens in the US and around the world are experimenting with anti-drone technology as well. As we touched on it above, some are taking the law into their own hands while other DIYers and universities are engaged in anti-drone research concepts. The following two videos depict such efforts with netted prototypes:

ANTICIPATING CURRENT & FUTURE THREATS We spoke with Oleg Vornik, CFO of DroneShield (one of 22 companies mentioned above), about the growth of anti-drone technology. Oleg says: “The threat is current and very real –- from prisons getting contraband drops daily, to ISIS conducting terrorism in the Middle East, to drones coming onto sets of Games Of Thrones and Star Wars, to VIP protection. We recently announced deployment of a DroneShield system for the Prime Minister of Turkey. Drones already today deployed infringe on safety, security and privacy of our customers, and we provide an effective solution to these threats. In addition to greater number and wider spread of incidents, we are yet to see the truly horrible possibilities such as a drone carrying a bomb/dirty bomb into a public gathering such as a stadium or a concert, or an airliner crash. This will unfortunately be a matter of time and protection is critical. For example, we have been working with Boston Police over last 2 years in helping to secure Boston Marathon from the drone threat, after the earlier tragedy there.” Oleg Vornik, CFO, DroneShield Oleg went on to say that DroneShield has matured in such a short amount of time giving evidence to the demand and need for anti-drone solutions. “We have shipped over 200 units of the detection system since inception, and now commenced shipping DroneGuns as well. Customers include Prime Minister of Turkey, Boston Police, high profile Asian government security department, G7 Head of State, Mid-Atlantic Homeland Security department, an ultra-luxury marine asset, etc. We are working on a number of very exciting additional customer opportunities at the moment.” Although Amazon recently procured a patent on jamming frequencies, that is only part of the defenses needed in order to stop drones from intercepting other drones or going past certain restricted areas.

The list of companies and technologies employed for anti-drone capabilities will grow creating a whole sub-market to commercial industry. These solutions are far from perfect in their deterrence of rogue drones. There never is a perfect death star weapon, and now, anti-weapon. Be that as it may, the abundance of solutions begs the questions: are there more solutions than actual threat problems? What are the threats that will require the implementation of solutions in the future? These questions are answered in a thought-provoking research report called Remotely Piloted Innovation: Terrorism, Drones and Supportive Technology by Don Rassler, Director of Strategic Initiatives of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, published October 2016. Given the seemingly inexplicable attacks on everyday citizens throughout the world, Mr. Rassler reaffirms terrorism as the single, most relevant threat. Although their abilities to modify existing technologies may be embryonic, the report identifies four terroristic groups with active UAS programs.

Mr. Rassler’s research determines: “While many terror groups or individuals have shown an interest in UAS technology, few have successfully deployed it in any meaningful way. Terrorists’ use of drones has certainly complicated some conflicts, but the use of this technology by terrorists has yet to change or significantly alter the direction of any conflict, and so the broader impact of this tool thus far has been quite limited. Single drones have been used by terror entities primarily for surveillance and strategic communications, and it is in this area where terrorists have made the most gains.” Don Rassler, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Most surprising of the argument for the use of anti-drone technology is understanding that terrorists have at their disposal off-the-shelf drone technology which is available with a few e-commerce clicks. Don Rassler says, “Three factors explain the inability of terrorist entities to successfully weaponize a drone to inflict significant harm: First, the limitations associated with the range, endurance and payload of commercially available drones. Second, the specific choices made by terrorists. And third, the countermeasures that states have developed to defeat hostile drones. These limiting factors do not mean that there is no room for surprises, or that these challenges and obstacles cannot be overcome.” In the US, buyers of drone technology must register their drones with the US Federal government to obtain a license to fly legally. The drone, itself, is nothing more than a cargo vehicle that can carry technology and even weapons. Governments cannot be responsible for the actions of the disturbed. UAV, UAS and unmanned component technology makers must preempt terror before it happens by working together to avoid a rush to market with game-changing technology that, if delivered to the wrong hands, can inflict terror on innocent people around the world. Jim Carlini is the author of Location, Location, Connectivity. This article is, in part, an excerpt of his forthcoming book, Nanokrieg: Beyond Blitzkrieg.

Thanks for Visiting! Follow us on Twitter @DronesXmag & Read More at:
By Richard Gill 02 Jan, 2017
For a little bit of fun and to act as a training aid Drone Defence is about to introduce a ‘Top Trumps’ style card game for some of the most popular commercial drones.

Following the example of the Cold Ward US Army Graphic Training Aids, the cards are designed to be used as aircraft recognition cards for security operatives and contain each drone’s vital statistics to help gain a better understanding of the threat.

The fun side is that these statistics can also be used to combat one drone against another in a ‘Play & Learn’ game. We are hoping the game element appeals more to the children of our security operatives and clients but you never know……..

The game is called WarDrones and will be released for general purchase through Amazon. We will let you know when they go live.
By Richard Gill 27 Dec, 2016
A quick search on Google will bring up plenty of videos of illegal drones being flown around UK national landmarks and tourist attractions.

Attractions like Stonehenge have a huge draw for would-be drone videographers but little do they know they could be risking injuries or worse to other air users and visitors on the ground.

Once source, a member of the UK’s leading drone association ARPAS, said that English Heritage, who are responsible for Stonehenge, had more than one drone incident per day and were now spending a significant amount of time and resource trying to prevent drone flights.

Responsible drone operators will know that there are plenty of resources online to help them understand if it is safe to fly but without the ability to effectively enforce a 'No Drone Zone' people will continue to ignore the rules.

Using Stonehenge as an example, the site is on the edge of Salisbury Plain, a UK military training ground, which often has low flying aircraft, the area around the site has many areas of special scientific interest which are protected and more than 1.3 million people visit the monument each year. The use of unauthorised drones,without the correct safety measures, is extremely dangerous.

At Drone Defence we have innovative technology to help sites prevent unwanted or illegal drone flights. We do this harmlessly by disrupting the drone's control channel so we can prevent it from ever entering the controlled airspace. Our systems activate the drone's ‘fail safe’ system meaning it will simply return to its take-off location and land. The on-site security can then follow the drone back to its operator and give them the necessary education on safe drone flying.

If we can be of assistance then please get in touch.
By Richard Gill 26 Oct, 2016
This week the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden has decreed that licenses will be required by people wishing to use a drone with a camera. This move, it is argued, will damage the commercial development of the UAV industry in Sweden. I believe the licensing requirement is borne out of a lack of effective countermeasures in the drone security industry.

No doubt the UK’s CAA will have noted Sweden’s move but I hope they do not consider something similar the UK. The emerging drone industry has huge commercial potential and the UK is currently a world leader in terms of capabilities, applications and permissive legislation. In a post Brexit Britain the explosion in commercially licensed operators is a testament to the fact that entrepreneurs across the country are seeking new ways to exploit drone technology to further their businesses. From taking pictures of weddings to conducting complex industrial inspections the potential is real and growing.

It should be recognised, however, that some people will use drone technology for criminal and harmful purposes. Drones smuggling drugs into prisons is almost a daily occurrence now and fears are growing over terrorist use of the technology.

This is where drone security businesses like Drone Defence come in. By delivering an effective and commercially viable counter drone solutions organisations who wish to protect themselves now can. Instead of turning to the CAA and the Government to firm up legislation on drone use they can now employ cutting edge technology and trained anti drone specialists like our Drone Defenders to protect their events and infrastructure.

D rone Defence have a full suite of drone countermeasures making us a world leader in countering the emerging threat. From our simple to use Net Gun X1 to our Drone Defenders service we can offer complete protection from drones. Our Dynopis E1000MP is available in the UK for the Police, Prisons and Security Services. In more permissive overseas environments our clients can use our drone jamming solutions today.

If you want to find out more about how we can help then please get in touch on or visit
By Richard Gill 02 Oct, 2016

Jane’s Defence Said:

UK company Drone Defence has launched a new concept for protecting infrastructure and events from illicit unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), dubbed Drone Defenders.

The Drone Defenders concept sees the company provide trained ex-military and ex-law enforcement personnel using the Dedrone DroneTracker to detect and identify unauthorised UAVs, before employing either the Dynopis E1000MP and/or the Net Gun X1 counter-UAV (C-UAV) systems to defeat them.

 DroneTracker uses acoustic, optical, and infrared sensors to detect and identify incoming UAVs in real time. The system can either be mounted in a fixed location or is used as a mobile unit, depending on the requirements. Once detected and identified, the unauthorised UAV can then be defeated.

 Developed in-house by Drone Defence, the Dynopis E1000MP is a man-portable jammer that uses directional electronic countermeasures and GPS disruption to either steer the UAV away from the protected area, or to cause it to automatically land. As noted on the company's website, the Dynopis E1000MP has a total output of more than 100W and five channels that cover the most popular commercially available UAVs, such as the DJI and 3DR multicopters. By contrast, the Net Gun X1 fires a net to physically capture the UAV out to a range of between 10 m and 15 m depending on the configuration of the net.

 In its press release, Drone Defence identified football matches, horse-racing events, air shows, and open air concerts as being key events to be defended by the Drone Defenders, as well as protecting VIPs and privacy. The number of personnel deployed to a location would depend on the threat profile, with a 'Gold' deployment seeing a command post set up with a jamming system capable of creating a 3 km safety bubble, with three to four Drone Defender teams on the ground patrolling the perimeter.

Northants Herald and Post Said:

 A University of Northampton graduate has launched what he says it the UK's first complete anti-drone security service - which includes firing nets to catch rogue drones and technology which jams the remote controlled devices' frequency.

 Richard Gill, a former army officer turned entrepreneur, completed the University of Northampton's MBA (Master of Business Administration) earlier this year via distance learning.

His new venture, Drone Defence, now aims to protect people and events from the misuse of drones.

Members of the public are able to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones to make use of their powerful cameras, often capturing stunning photography and video footage.

Drone sales have dramatically increased over the last two years, as the technology has become more affordable, but with this increase in sales there has been a three-fold increase in drone related incidents being reported to the police.

The drones have very fast spinning blades which, if they come into contact with people, can cause significant harm. The machines have also previously been used for criminal purposes, to transport drugs and weapons into prisons, invade peoples' privacy and disrupt events. In conflict zones, insurgents have adapted drones to deliver rudimentary explosive devices on targets.

Richard explained the inspiration behind his business: "After seeing reports of drones being used irresponsibly near airports and flying drugs into prisons I thought that I should do something about it. After working in the commercial UAV sector for the last two years I thought I would bring that knowledge together with my previous experience and launch a business to help organisations protect themselves from unwanted drones."

"We help people by offering them comprehensive drone related security advice. We offer the latest anti-drone technology including a drone jammer and a net firing device. With our 'Drone Defenders' we also offer a drone guarding service which can be used to protect sporting events and concerts."

Dr Mils Hills – Associate Professor of Risk, Resilience and Corporate Security and Programme Leader for the MBA – stated: "It's inspiring to see our graduates progress into commercial success – leveraging their subject matter-expertise with the additional skills and confidence our programme transfers. It's especially heartening that Rick and his team are providing a cutting-edge portfolio of security solutions for a challenge that is only going to become more prevalent and where operators like Drone Defence will set the benchmark for quality and effectiveness".

Drone Defence offers products called the Net Gun X1, a CO2 powered net firing device that is designed to capture drones at short range. They also have a device called the Dynopis E1000MP which jams the drone's control frequency meaning it returns to its operator. They can also offer an anti-drone service for events where they deploy security specialists with the anti-drone technology.

By Richard Gill 03 Aug, 2016

Imagine you are on holiday in the Mediterranean with your family, relaxing on board your yacht when a member of the paparazzi uses their €1000 drone to capture pictures of you trying to relax. No only is this a nuisance but it could be a serious security breach.

At Drone Defence , we can stop this from happening. We have introduced the Dynopis E1000MP , a man portable directional electronic counter measure (ECM) device that jams most commercial drones currently available. Once the drone is detected the E1000MP can be activated to block its control, GPS and video signals meaning that the drone drifts harmlessly away leaving you to relax in privacy.

With an operational range up to 1000 meters, if you can see the drone then you can stop it. The E1000MP uses a directional antenna meaning that only the offending drone will be affected. The operator can control the channels they wish to jam meaning that they could even activate the ‘return to home’ function in the drone and then find out where the operator is.

The system is safe, easy to use and economical. Jamming the drone is the only safe way to ensure that you protect you privacy and not pose a risk to others. In many circumstances shooting the drone down is simply not an option and more novel concepts of using a drone to capture the offending drone are simply not practical or reliable enough to be used in the field. The Dynopis E1000MP is an elegant solution to the problem.

We can also provide teams of ‘Drone Defenders™’ who can deploy for a short period of time to protect your assets. If you only needed cover for a few days or weeks then our teams can provide your complete anti-drone solution. To find out more about our services visit , call us on 0044 (0) 843 289 2805 or email

More Posts
Share by: