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Critical infrastructure threats boost need for counter-drone technology

Critical infrastructure threats boost need for counter-drone technology
The popularization of drone technology is driving the need for counter-drone or anti-drone technology to protect critical infrastructure.
Drone technology has rapidly advanced in recent years with adoption coming from a range of users including individuals, industrial and military. Unfortunately, the use of drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), is not always responsible, even being used as weapons. As such, there is a strong growing need for counter-drone technology, also referred to as anti-drone or counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS).

“There is increasing concern about the intended or unintended misuse of drones, ranging from invasion of privacy over covert delivery of drugs and weapons, to the endangerment of public figures and terrorist attacks,” said Götz Mayser, Director of C-UAS at Rohde & Schwarz. “With the proliferation of small rotary-wing UAS that are easily available, the age of the UAS-threat has become a reality and defending against it will require considerable effort and resources from both industry and the military. C-UAS technologies are becoming the go-to technology for homeland security, law enforcement agencies, private security and other government entities.”

Furthermore, the adoption of drone technology is expected to continue growing especially as use cases and capabilities of drones are further developed.
Dave Preece, Chief Data Officer,
VP of Marketing,
Fortem Technologies

“Looking forward governments must focus on technology that can assist in regulation as opposed to simply counter- or anti-drone technology. It is important to first differentiate between the potential threats from the technology and the various types of drones that need to be monitored,” said Thorsten Chmielus, CEO of Aaronia. He added that it is also essential that end users consider the value of the drones that present threats when considering the value of the equipment used to monitor drones.

According to Mayser, governments are currently looking to develop new defensive capabilities that draw upon autonomous decision-making mechanisms as well as networked sensing systems that are capable of detecting, tracking, identifying and defeating hostile drones over complex and varied environments.

Homeland security, law enforcement agencies, private security and other government entities will put their trust into more multi-effector solutions and countermeasure that include control link jamming, GPS jamming, sensor blinding or disruption of electronics,” Mayser explained.

In terms of overall growth, the global anti-drone market is expected to reach nearly US$2.3 billion by 2024, up from $499 million in 2018, at a CAGR of 28.8 percent, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. Growth is mainly attributed to increasing terrorism and illicit activities across the world, as well as rising incidences of security breaches by unidentified drones.

Furthermore, the number of C-UAS technologies being developed is an indication of the increased threat UAVs are posing to various sectors and regions around the world.

Counter-drone technology demand by region

From a regional perspective, Dave Preece, Chief Data Officer and VP of Marketing at Fortem Technologies noted that his company has customers in the Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific that are all in desperate need of counter-drone technology. “Saudi Arabia, Japan and the U.K. are also good examples. There have been well-publicized drone events where billions of dollars have been lost due to inadequate C-UAS,” Preece added.

Research from Frost & Sullivan reported North America, led by the US Department of Defense, is expected to spend substantially more than any other region on C-UAS. It added that the Middle East has shown a lot of interest in C-UAS but due to uncertainty about the technologies, is hesitant to make purchases. On the other hand, Europe has the additional ability to use systems at airports as a result of private ownership and better funding, according to the report.

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