Counter-small, unmanned aircraft system (C-sUAS) project managers often embark on an exhaustive effort to cover the largest possible number of drones. But not all drones pose an equal actual threat. The focus should be on the most prevalent, dangerous drones that can carry heavy payloads and travel long distances. It does not make sense to apply disproportional investment and attention on the mitigation of smaller, toy-type drones that cannot travel long distances, carry heavy payloads or even travel outside of their Wi-Fi range.
Drones can be segmented into three categories for risk assessment:
Smaller, short-range drones
Do It Yourself (DIY) drones
Long-range, higher payload capacity drones
Short-range drones are usually small and often controlled by smartphone apps. These drones are connected to smartphones via Wi-Fi communication, which limits their flight range to a few hundred yards/meters. Short-range drones are good for photography and hobbyists, but they are considered a low-level threat due to their limited range, small size and inability to carry a substantial payload.
Do it yourself (DIY) drones are purchased per individual component and then assembled by the consumer/operator. This enables the operator to obtain the best possible components and to tailor the drone to his or her specific needs. Some DIY drones can travel long distances and are classified as dangerous drones.
Long Range Drones
Long-range, high payload drones are mid-to-large-size drones that can fly several miles per trip, with the ability to carry up to ten pounds/4.5 kilometers, or more. These drones utilize long-distance radio communication protocols to fly large distances, while transmitting telemetry and high-resolution video back to their remote controller.
The long-range drone market is currently dominated by a single vendor, SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. (known as DJI), that possesses nearly 77% of the U.S. market share for consumer drones and approximately 70% globally, followed by several other manufacturers.
Relevant Drones With Range & Size
Consumers can purchase a long-range drone (off-the-shelf, or DIY) with a 4K camera, a range of more than four miles and decent payload capabilities, along with the ability to hover and automatically avoid obstacles, for approximately $1,000.
Attack: drones can transport explosives, or biological and chemical weapons that cause
serious harm and costly damage
Collision: a drone entering the flight path of an aircraft puts lives at risk. Also, individuals are vulnerable to plummeting or poorly piloted drones
Contraband: a drone smuggling drugs, weapons or other contraband can easily bypass
Espionage: with their powerful cameras, drones can spy on unsuspecting individuals and sensitive sites
Bad actors obviously are not going to rest and drone technology continues to evolve quickly. It is important to partner with a company that knows how to prioritize drone threats and concentrates on the sUASs most likely to cause significant harm.
The ideal C-sUAS partner will proactively build optimal solutions for next-generation drone threats. D-Fend Solutions’ effective counter-drone strategic approach employs drone risk analysis, assessment and prioritization that factor in drone prevalence, payload capacity and flight range