What is CUAS (Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System)?

Glossary Definition

CUAS or Counter-UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) is a military term for solutions that are designed to detect, track, and ultimately disrupt and destroy unmanned airborne vehicles. In commercial and industrial applications, the term anti-drone is often used. Drones were once a product limited to the military domain, but in recent years this technology has exploded in popularity thanks to companies like DJI and is now widely available in commercial, industrial and consumer markets.

While drones offer a huge number of benefits due to small size and weight and their ability to be controlled up to 5km away, they can also pose significant risk. Small drones can easily bypass most existing physical security measures, making it very hard to ensure these drones are not used to spy or trespass, or even to intentionally or accidentally endanger the public by flying in unauthorized airspace such as hospitals, helipads or airports. Infiniti offers a variety of anti-drone and CUAS solutions to detect, track and eliminate airborne threats for both commercial and military applications.

The most common types of CUAS systems rely on RF triangulation or passive RF detection to detect a UAV by its radio frequency. Higher-end solutions pair RF detection with 3D radar in order to track a target even if it has no RF signal. Once a solution is detected, it is tracked using a PTZ surveillance camera. If considered a threat, a countermeasure is employed. in most system these countermeasures are limited to an RF jammer which disrupts or takes over the control and GPS of the drone, usually forcing it to land. Infiniti’s ADDS (Airborne Drone Defense System) utilizes jammers but can also integrate UAVs with net guns and/or HEW (High Energy Weapons) depending on the type of threat and distance needed for intervention.

There are so many types of drones and different ways they can be used. Any CUAV or drone mitigation system should be designed around the customer’s needs and requirements as well as the type of threat they are likely to encounter. Protecting against a hobby drone, commercial drone, a modified drone (immune to jamming or RF detection) or a military drone all require very different technologies that come at different price points. Many off-the-shelf solutions rely solely on RF for detection and mitigation making them useless against modified drones that emit no RF signal.

It is important to buy an anti-drone system from a company who is able to offer different technologies and scale a solution to your needs. Ideally that anti-drone system should work in tandem with your ground-based perimeter security in order to maximize the value and provide complete air and ground protection, and if deployed correctly the two systems can even share the same operators and some of the same sub-components (like the EO/IR PTZ camera).