Airbus teams up to develop anti-drone tech

Dedrone will work with Airbus to track and jam small drones. Image courtesy of Dedrone.
Dedrone will work with Airbus to track and jam small drones. Image courtesy of Dedrone.

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is teaming up with electronics startup Dedrone to develop new anti-drone technologies.

Dedrone announced last week that it will partner with the Electronics and Border Security (EBS) division of Airbus Defense and Space (Airbus DS) in order to work on technologies which protect lower airspace from small drones.

Together the two companies are looking to build systems which can reliably detect and defend against drones in specific regions of airspace.

This collaboration has been made necessary by the explosion in use of small drone aircraft by private citizens over the last few years. Alongside this, there has also emerged a trend for these aircraft to be used dangerously, or indeed for more nefarious causes.

“All over the world, incidents with universally available small drones have revealed a security gap with regards to major events or critical installations such as airports,” said Thomas Müller, Managing Director of Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security.

Dedrone currently offers a system which it calls DroneTracker, which makes uses cameras, radars, microphones, and directional scanners to remotely detect drones moving into secure airspace from up to 10km away.

Airbus DS believes that this tech can be combined with its own advanced jamming technologies to create a system which can remotely identity and disable drones that encroach beyond a certain point in a restricted area.

Specifically, they hope to use their Smart Responsive Jamming Technology to selectively block the frequencies used to operate a drone while other frequencies in the vicinity remain operational.

Such a system would be very useful around airports, but also could see use defending military installations and important government buildings.

“We offer an effective solution for this new threat that secures lower airspace once again. Airbus’ and our systems complement each other perfectly, and combine early detection of drones in near and far fields with the ability to initiate effective countermeasures automatically,” said Dedrone CEO Jörg Lamprecht

According to Dedrone, an operational system could be ready by as early as the end of 2016.

Indeed, this partnership comes at a time of growing interest in anti-drone technologies, with some companies even marketing man-portable jamming systems which have appeared on battlefields in Iraq.

Nonetheless, despite the fears of many in the security industry, there has yet to be any serious accident or attack involving small drones.