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A counter-UAS system can be used to detect, track, mitigate or classify a small UAS (SUAS). The use of SUASs for both legitimate and unauthorized purposes is on the rise, leading to a flurry of campaigns and new regulations from the FAA in recent years. There are already quite a few counter-UAS systems in the market, now the question is which one best suits the needs of emergency responders. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a guide identifying 13 counter-unmanned aerial systems.

NUSTL’s (National Urban Security Technology Laboratory) SAVER program has conducted the market survey of counter-unmanned aerial systems to assist emergency responders in identifying useful products. The SAVER program was devised to help emergency responders making procurement decisions.

The guide states that most of the SUAS-related incidents reported to law enforcement involve the unintentional misuse of SUAS, and pose safety rather than security risks. The products described in the market survey offer responders the ability to track and/or mitigate SUAS that could pose a threat to public safety and critical infrastructure, according to hstoday.us.

The 13 systems vary hugely in price, ranging from $7,500 to $1.9 million. At the top end of the scale is an anti-UAV defense system from Liteye Systems, which consists of a radar sensor, EO suite and a directional RF inhibitor. It can detect, track, classify and mitigate SUAS by selectively interfering with its C2 channels. It can be attached to a vehicle, or the stationary variant can be set-up on a mast, and it includes a thermal camera and a video tracker.

Closely behind the Liteye C-UAS, in price terms, is the Sky Tracker from CACI international, a fixed system that can cover large areas by networking several systems together. The Sky Tracker, which costs $1.5 million, uses proprietary algorithms to track and classify SUAS. The system’s RF jammer can emulate SUAS signals to hijack the command and control system, preventing it communicating with the pilot on the ground.

For first responders who are looking for C-UAS that detect and classify, but don’t mitigate SUAS, the study outlines the features of the Elvira from Robin Radar Systems and the UAVX from Spotter RF.

The least expensive product surveyed is the Excipio Net Gun, from Theiss UAV Solutions and Carolina Unmanned Vehicles, at just $7.5 k. It is used solely for mitigating SUAS, which it does by launching a net to either ensnare the SUAS or launch it to another location.

The report concludes by pointing out that responders need to be aware of laws that might prohibit the use of certain C-UAS features in their jurisdictions when making procurement decisions.