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Counter Drone Systems

The growth of the civil drone market has resulted in criminal entities increasingly utilising low cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), known as drones, to threaten Critical National Infrastructure, prisons, airports and other sensitive sites where traditional security measures are easily defeated. These small and extremely agile platforms can be used to deliver contraband, capture intelligence and potentially deploy explosives without detection.

The use of drone technology has in turn resulted in an increasing demand for reliable counter drone systems to detect, identify and defeat them.

We believe that low-cost 3D radar is the only long-term solution. Radio Frequency (RF) techniques are already being overcome by pre-programmed flight plans; acoustic sensors may not provide sufficient range or may experience audio interference, and cameras need to be cued on to a target. The single most reliable signatures that a small UAV possesses are its physical presence and the rotors which are used for flight, which are exploitable by radar systems.

Our OBSIDIAN radar has been designed specifically for counter drone operations, providing a 180 Degree Azimuth by 90 Degree Elevation staring antenna array. This overcomes the limitations of competing systems, which typically have less than half this coverage and use mechanical or electrical scanning; which may result in missed targets and lost tracks. OBSIDIAN also uses novel techniques to recognise drone features to avoid mis-classification of birds and other wildlife.

OBSIDIAN has been developed from the highly capable Military ALARM radar, used by the British Army to provide warning of short range aerial target attacks.

Intuitive Threat Warning Interface

Our Palisade® Surveillance Management System is a fielded multi-sensor software system providing an intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI) which requires little training. Palisade provides a cost-effective control-room solution requiring minimal manning due to its automated threat alarm and supporting integration with existing security systems to provide seamless and coherent operation.

Palisade® assesses threat tracks from the OBSIDIAN radar in real-time, classifies drones when detected, and automatically cross-cues the camera in 3D to accurately zoom onto the target of interest. Video clips are automatically tagged to tracks on the Palisade GUI and alerts are automatically generated. This functionality is designed to be easily integrated into an existing security system.

Palisade® employs advanced, patented tracking and fusion algorithms which turn raw sensor outputs into robust tracks and alerts. Intuitive, uncluttered displays enable operators to react to alerts with minimal effort.

A multi sensor system

In addition to its purpose-built counter-drone radar, QinetiQ’s OBSIDIAN system is also provided with one or more high-definition dual camera, with both colour and low-light camera sensors. These cameras are automatically cued to identified drones by the Palisade system, for additional human verification or decision. Any tracked contact can also be selected on the Palisade GUI, to auto-cue the camera onto it.

Fielded military protection

OBSIDIAN is specifically designed to detect, identify and track small/micro UAVs. It provides rapid, high-confidence alerting of drone activity with minimal false alarms. OBSIDIAN is purpose built to provide high performance against drones and avoid mis-classification of birds, wildlife, and vehicles as shown above. OBSIDIAN’s high performance is delivered from its staring antenna array, which provides instantaneous 180° Azimuth and 90° Elevation coverage per radar (a back to back pair providing full 360° coverage). Detections and track formation are made near-instantaneously without the delay caused by antenna scanning. Hovering and slow-moving targets are classified due to detection of rotor blades. These features also provide high-confidence recognition of drones and effective contiguous tracking of agile targets, which avoids mis-classification of birds and other flying objects.

Key benefits

  • Automation
    Our counter-drone system is a fully automated alerting system. Operators can respond directly to alerts or they can set the system to automatically cue an effector. It provides minimal false alarms.
  • Cost
    OBSIDIAN is an exceptionally low cost radar solution due to its PCB-based design.
  • Portability
    OBSIDIAN is a small and lightweight solution that can be mounted on a tripod, a vehicle, a mast or directly onto the side of a building.
  • Speed & accuracy
    OBSIDIAN is a staring radar which means that it can detect drones as soon as they enter the monitored area. It can distinguish drones from other flying objects and track slow moving and stationary drones.
  • Extensible
    Palisadeā„¢ uses the UK Government preferred SAPIENT architecture and SAPIENT interfaces. Virtually any sensor and effector can be controlled by Palisadeā„¢ and provided as a total counter drone solution.

For sales inquiries please contact Dave Anstey

For general enquiries regarding our counter drone technology please contact Phil Cork.

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