Drone Detection Systems & Technology

Drone detection system manufacturers and suppliers of UAV detection technologies including; acoustic, RF, radar and optical detection solutions for CUAS and anti-drone protection
Overview Drone Detection Systems & Technology
By Mike Ball Last updated: November 7th, 2023

Drone detection systems are used to track UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and to provide early warning of potential threats, providing an alert when a drone enters a restricted region.

Drone detection system

DroneWatcherRF – RF drone detection system by DeTect

Detection systems be standalone, or integrated into a comprehensive counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) setup that also provides identification and classification of targets, as well as methods of defeating drone-based threats.

Drone detection and tracking systems may be used to protect controlled airspace, as well as critical infrastructure and potential vulnerable targets such as airports, military and government facilities, power plants, prisons, stadiums and events. They may utilize a number of technologies to detect drones.

Technology used in UAV Detection & Counter Drone Systems

Radar Detection

radar drone detection and tracking

Echodyne’s EchoGuard radar for drone detection and tracking

Drone detection radar uses radio-frequency electromagnetic pulses, measuring the frequency shift of the returned reflections after collisions with objects. Radar has the advantages of being able to detect drones both during the day or at night, as well as in bad weather. However, many systems lack the resolution required to detect the smallest drone threats.

RF (radio frequency)

RF drone detection captures and analyzes the radio communications between the UAV and ground control station. Multiple drone RF analysers can be used in tandem to provide triangulation of the drone’s position. The downsides of this technology include the inability to detect fully autonomous drones and the lack of effectiveness in areas where the RF spectrum is crowded.

Acoustic Detection

Acoustic drone detection uses arrays of microphones to pick up the sounds made by the aircraft, and multiple arrays can be used for triangulation. Acoustic drone detectors are completely passive and thus hard to track, and also can detect autonomous drones. However, they only work over relatively short ranges and are less effective in noisy areas.

Optical Detection & Visual Tracking

optical detection for drones

Sightline Applications’ Video Processing Software for optical detection

Visual drone detection uses daylight and thermal imaging cameras in conjunction with video analysis software to pick up targets. These visual images can provide precise detail on the drone threats and their payloads, making them useful for criminal evidence.

Applications of Drone Detection Technology

UAS detection and tracking systems are essential for enhancing safety and security in both military and commercial sectors. The choice of technology depends on the specific requirements and challenges of each application, with a combination of technologies often being used in comprehensive CUAS solutions. UAV detection systems find utility in various scenarios, including:

Airport Security: UAS detection is crucial for safeguarding airports and related airspace from unauthorized drone activity. Detecting drones in controlled airspace is essential to preventing potential collisions with manned aircraft and maintaining aviation safety.

Military Bases: Used to protect military installations from drone threats, early warning UAV detection technology ensures the safety and security of military personnel, command posts and critical infrastructure.

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Detection can be vital in safeguarding critical infrastructure such as power plants, oil refineries, and nuclear facilities. Detecting and responding to drones helps prevent sabotage, espionage, and other malicious activities.

Public Events: Detection technology can be utilized to enhance security at public events, concerts, sporting events, and festivals. Detecting and mitigating drone threats ensures the safety of attendees and minimizes potential event disruptions.

Prison Security: C-UAS detection systems can help correctional facilities prevent the delivery of contraband by drones and even possible escape attempts by detecting and intercepting drones near prison grounds.

Border and Coastal Surveillance: Detection systems are used for monitoring borders and coastlines, assisting border security agencies to detect and respond to illegal border crossings and smuggling activities involving drones.

Urban Security: In urban environments, drone detection systems can be used to monitor and secure airspace against unauthorized drones, to protect resident’s privacy and enhance security.

Environmental Monitoring: Monitoring and detecting drones in sensitive environments such as wildlife reserves, can be beneficial in preventing disturbances and illegal activities.

Law Enforcement and Emergency Response: Police, public safety professionals, and emergency responders can utilize UAS detection technology to detect drones during search and rescue operations or when monitoring large gatherings.

Industrial Sites: Used to protect industrial facilities, including chemical plants and manufacturing centers, from potential drone threats that could disrupt operations or pose security risks.

Air Traffic Control & Unmanned Traffic Management: Accurate drone detection is essential for integrating unmanned aircraft into controlled airspace and ensuring the safe coexistence of drones and manned aircraft. The real-time tracking and identification of UAVs can be an effective tool when managing drone traffic.

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