They have demonstrated their benefits in fighting forest fires, search and rescue missions after natural disasters, and other hazardous situations. This is just the beginning, as consumer drones deliver new capabilities yearly and companies like Google and Amazon are working toward drone-based delivery and even air taxis.
As the role of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) continues to grow in all sectors of society, the regulation efforts in relation to drone usage have also increased. All drones, even consumers types, have to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, and there are strict rules about where drones can be used, so they do not operate in commercial airspace or near secure facilities. Operating a drone for commercial purposes adds other requirements including training and insurance while lifting some restrictions on how they can be operated, with authorization.
“Unfortunately, government regulations aren’t keeping up with this rapidly-growing market, which isn’t surprising as people come up with new applications all the time, many of which are beyond what current regulations can accommodate. Consequently, states and municipalities are creating their own rules, some of which contradict the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) regulations, the result being a complex, confusing set of rules and regulations. This, in turn, has created an increasingly lucrative market for attorneys who study this situation for their commercial clients,” says Sam Benzacar, President of Anatech Electronics a company that focuses on the design and manufacturing of radio-frequency (RF) and microwave filters and related products.
As Benzacar points out, “One aspect of the drone world that doesn’t get much media attention is the potential threat posed by quadcopters and hexacopters, and for that matter any type of remotely-piloted aircraft. There is a long and growing list of incidents, from drone flights near or over Department of Defence facilities (and daily near Pentagon), near-misses with commercial aircraft, and hundreds more of varying types. However, other than in the fields of battle elsewhere, there have yet been any confirmed drone-based terrorist attacks in the United States. Media attention is generally limited to the coverage of specific events.”
Obviously, this has not escaped the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defence, the Secret Service, and other agencies, and has created an exponentially-growing industry for counter-drone systems. In a recent report from the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College, called “Counter-Drone Systems”, researchers compiled a list of 235 products from 155 manufacturers in 33 countries dedicated to this business.
Sam Benzacar says that “Depending on the product, these systems are designed to detect, track, identify and defeat drones. Some are portable and can be used during events, while others have the mission of monitoring facilities as well as airports and logging all drone activity.”
“The most widely used form of interdiction is jamming, which can be used alone or complemented by kinetic methods (i.e., shooting down the drone) or by capturing it in a net. Another approach is to break the wireless communication link between the drone and its controller, inserting another that allows the operator to take control. At that point, they can reroute the drone to their location or send it back to its owner while monitoring the video feed. As every company needs to differentiate its products, there are many variants on these terms. Also, it’s at least nice to know that there are ways to dispatch threats that don’t cost $50 million and are available to responsible people,” concludes Benzacar.
Anatech Electronics, Inc., is a privately-held, ISO 9001:2015-certified company founded in 1990 that specializes in the design and manufacture of radio-frequency (RF) and microwave filters that are used in a broad array of applications, such as: wireless communication systems, defense electronic systems (electronic warfare, electronic countermeasures, radar, and communications), industrial systems, medical systems, scientific instruments, GPS navigation systems and more.
The aerospace and defense industry is one of Anatech Electronics’s primary markets, and it has developed the capabilities, facilities, and quality control procedures required by defense customers. Anatech also follows standards such MIL-STD-45208A and MIL-F-18327 which are specific to the products it manufactures. The company has a department dedicated exclusively to servicing government entities and contracts.