Countering the threat of unauthorised unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)/unmanned aerial systems (UAS) involves detection, tracking and interdiction processes that are key to neutralising hostile drones and ensuring safety.

Verdict has conducted a poll to determine which among the counter-UAS (C-UAS) interdiction methods is likely to receive the most investment.

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Directed energy weapons likely to receive the highest investment among C-UAS interdiction methods

Analysis of the poll results indicates that directed energy weapons (DEW) are expected to receive the highest investment, as voted by a majority 52% of the poll respondents.

Jamming method was voted to receive the highest investment by 18% of the respondents, while unconventional projections method was voted by 15% of the respondents.

Another 9% of the respondents opined that conventional projectiles have the potential to receive the highest investment, while the remaining 6% of the poll respondents voted for spoofing.

The analysis is based on 577 responses received from the readers of Verdict’s defence sites, Airforce Technology, Army Technology, and Naval Technology, for a poll conducted between 11 February and 01 March 2021.

Investment in Directed Energy Weapons

C-UAS technologies use a number of detection and interception techniques such as radio-link jamming, GPS jamming, spoofing, and electromagnetic pulses. The continuous evolution of drone technologies, however, presents several challenges to C-UAS technologies as no single method is capable of detecting and countering all types of drones.

C-UAS detection systems can often return false positives while detecting a drone or identifying a legitimate drone. Kinetic C-UAS techniques may turn out to be interdiction hazards as drones may fall to the ground at speed.

DEWs are the most promising among C-UAS interdiction methods, with the US military increasing its investment in the weapons from $535m in 2017 to $1.1bn in 2019. China and Russia are also investing in DEWs due to their significant advantages including speed-of-light delivery, rapid engagement, low cost per shot, and low detectability.