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Due to their low price and availability, commercial drones and hobbyist drones are a regular part of irregular warfare now, and those skills are not strictly limited to entrenched positions or familiar battle lines. Assassination by modified commercial drone has yet to clear the hurdle from “botched attempt” to “successful attempt,” but with high-profile attacks, like the one against Venezuela’s President Maduro in August 2018 possibly inspiring copycats, having a reliable counter-drone system in place is preferable for countries than being caught off-guard.
Over the backdrop of the London Gatwick drone threat, Moscow announced the city was deploying its own counter-drone force with a drone that can jam the signals of other drones.
“There are a number of [counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS)] technologies that Russian law enforcement has at its disposal ― they have been ‘battle-tested’ during the 2018 World Cup held across the country” said Samuel Bendett, an adviser at the Center for Naval Analyses and a fellow in Russia studies at the American Foreign Policy Council. “Such technologies include [electronic warfare] and signal-interference stations usually housed inside a truck for greater mobility, as well as newer, lighter mobile platforms that affect a commercial drone’ satellite link, as well as scramble its comms, forcing it either to land or to return to its starting point. The use of signal-interference technology on an actual drone to combat the illegal use of commercial UAS technology is a new step.
“No doubt that Russian government’s C-UAS drive was influenced by what the nation’s military has experienced in Syria, where the armed forces and Russian allies were subjected to attack from adversary [commercial off the shelf] drones”, Bendett said, according to c4isrnet.com. “There is currently mandatory C-UAS training across the Russian military, based on the Syrian experience, and the country’s security agencies such as FSB and National Guard are also training in and acquiring C-UAS technology.”
Existing laws penalize unauthorized flights over Moscow and new laws would soon grant police the right to shoot down drones in restricted airspace.