Counter UAS Solutions: Evolving Threats, Advanced Countermeasures

counter-uas solutionsThe Evolving Global UAS Threat Demands an Advanced Counter-UAS Solution 

In an era where uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) continue to technologically advance, the potential threats they pose have become a significant global concern. D-Fend Solutions, a leading counter-UAS technology company, remains at the forefront of addressing these challenges.

In a recent Dawn of Autonomy podcast, the company’s VP International, Amit Haimovich, a former pilot in the Israeli Air Force with 30 years of experience in air defense and aviation, discussed recent international UAS threats to illustrate how the UAS threat landscape keeps changing. He also discussed the innovative products his company offers to meet the worldwide demand to safely detect, identify, track, and mitigate these threats – and how his team intends to stay one step ahead of them, as they continue to evolve.

The proliferation of UAS has introduced a new dimension to security threats globally. These threats range from airport disruptions, smuggling contraband, and surveillance to more severe incidents involving espionage, terror attacks and casualties. Several recent international incidents along these lines highlight the growing need for robust counter-UAS measures.

According to Haimovich, UAS sightings have become a major concern at international airports. European airports, for example, have faced a significant uptick in UAS-related disruptions.

In the fall of 2023, UAS incursions caused Frankfurt International to temporarily shut down. This disruption caused significant chaos and delays. Twenty flights were canceled and numerous other flights experienced delays, some through the following day. This was not an isolated event. In total, through last year, illegal UAS activity restricted or shut down operations at the German airport across 10 different days – almost half of all such incidents (26 total) since December 2017, when authorities began documenting them. Some of these interferences caused 6 complete airport closures, which ranged from 25 minutes to more than an hour.

 Similarly, customers of Spain’s Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport experienced significant travel disruptions when officials were forced to close for two hours after UAS sightings in August 2022. Authorities had to divert 7 flights to other airports and halt all operations temporarily. This caused a ripple effect of delays and cancellations.

 The incident at Madrid-Barajas Airport highlights a broader trend of increasing drone-related disruptions in Spain. The Spanish State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) reported a staggering 1,728 incidents involving drones and laser pointers over the past four years, with eight significant disruptions necessitating the temporary closure of air traffic at major airports.

 The economic impact of such disruptions can be severe. The immediate financial impact includes the costs associated with diverting flights, which involves additional fuel, crew time and potential compensation for affected passengers. These costs can quickly add up, especially for major international airports like Madrid-Barajas. While Frankfurt did not quantify the costs of the 2023 incidents, leaders there highlighted that drone disruptions can lead to significant loss of revenue from landing and passenger fees, induce a drop in passenger traffic as people choose other airports, and incur increased operating expenses for airlines. These disruptions also ripple out to impact local communities through reduced economic activity, job losses, and decreased demand for supporting businesses and services.

 As drone incidents become more common, airports and authorities actively seek effective counter-UAS solutions to detect and mitigate rogue UAS while preserving operational continuity.

Spain has seen its share of other UAS-related issues, including their use in smuggling operations. Spanish police seized a large drone used by a criminal gang to transport drugs from Morocco. The criminal organization behind this sophisticated smuggling operation involved French drug traffickers who were attempting to establish their operations on the Costa del Sol. During the police operation, authorities not only seized the large UAS used in the operation, but they also uncovered 30 kilograms of marijuana and 55 kilograms of hashish.

In France, UAS have also been used for smuggling contraband, including drops into prisons. This has become a significant issue, with numerous incidents reported where UAS have been used to deliver drugs, weapons, and other contraband to inmates.

 These events provide a stark reminder of the evolving UAS tactics used by drug traffickers. As technology advances, so do the methods employed by criminals, necessitating a proactive and adaptive response from law enforcement agencies worldwide. These incidents further underscore the need for safe counter-drone solutions to disrupt illicit activities.

counter-uas solutionscounter-uas solutionsSurveillance & Espionage

 In Asia, UAS threats have been particularly prominent in Japan and Taiwan. Just a few months ago, in a series of incidents, UAS of unknown origin flew over and captured detailed footage of the USS Ronald Reagan, a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier, and other naval assets at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Aerial photos and videos showcasing detailed views of the USS Ronald Reagan, the amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge and comprehensive views of various parts of the naval base were posted on X (formerly Twitter).

 Taiwan has also reportedly faced significant UAS activity, although specific details have not been disclosed, likely due to security concerns.

 These events have raised alarms about the ability of UAS to over fly sensitive military facilities for espionage or other nefarious purposes. The Japan footage, for example, could be used to plan attacks, gather intelligence, or conduct other malicious activities. They also raise broader implications relating to UAS threats not only to the security of military installations, but also to other critical infrastructure in the homeland. Finally, they also illustrate the practical difficulties in protecting sensitive sites from small high speed UAS, which radar cannot always detect.

 The need for robust counter-drone measures seems more pressing than ever, as traditional security measures may not be sufficient to detect and mitigate these threats. D-Fend Solutions recognizes the multifaceted nature of these global UAS threats and has tailored its solutions to address them comprehensively.

 D-Fend Solutions’ entire mission is to ensure the safety and security of critical infrastructure, public events and other sensitive areas by providing effective and reliable solutions to address unauthorized UAS activities. It offers a range of cutting-edge non-kinetic, cyber-takeover solutions to ensure minimal disruption and collateral damage.

 RF-Cyber Takeover Technology

EnforceAir, the company’s battle and field proven flagship product, provides comprehensive protection against unauthorized UAS using advanced radio frequency (RF) technology to detect, identify, and mitigate rogue UAS by taking control of them and safely landing them in a designated area.

One of the standout features of EnforceAir, its autonomous operation, allows the system to continuously scan the environment to detect and respond to unauthorized UAS, without requiring constant human oversight. This type of autonomy provides users with a critical capability to maintain security in dynamic and high-risk environments.

EnforceAir also offers wide-area coverage so that no part of a given protected zone remains vulnerable to UAS incursions. This broad coverage makes it ideal to protect large venues and critical infrastructures, such as airports, stadiums, and military bases.

Unlike traditional counter-UAS measures that may rely on jamming or kinetic solutions, D-Fend purpose-built EnforceAir to be non-disruptive in the surrounding environment. Its RF-cyber takeover technology does not interfere with legitimate communications or operations. This approach enables operational continuity and avoids potential collateral damage.

To stay one step ahead of the great diversity of UAS threats, users can deploy EnforceAir in various configurations (stationary, mobile, tactical setups, and backpack portable) to suit different operational needs. Users can quickly and easily adapt it to provide optimal protection. This flexibility allows effective responses to dynamic threats and operational requirements.

D-Fend Solutions operates globally. Its technology has been deployed in various high-stakes environments, including in Europe, Asia, and other regions. From securing large public events to protecting sensitive facilities such as power plants, airports and government buildings and supporting military operations in conflict zones, D-Fend Solutions has successfully addressed security needs across various countries.

Haimovich explained that most of the company’s clients prefer not to be highlighted for security reasons. However, he said, D-Fend has been involved in securing high-profile events such as the G7 and G20 summits, climate change summits, and major sporting events.

In Asia, D-Fend Solutions’ RF cyber technology is being utilized for VIP protection in a discreet yet highly effective manner. Whether the VIP is working in their office, traveling to meetings, or boarding and disembarking from helicopters or jets, the need for continuous protection remains paramount.

Haimovich noted, “The goal is to provide robust security without drawing undue attention or creating a complex, multi-system setup that could be cumbersome for both the VIP and the public.” He continued, “After thorough evaluations and trials, we demonstrated the efficacy of our technology through a professionally conducted proof of concept of our system’s ability to offer seamless and unobtrusive protection while maintaining high effectiveness.” Since the VIP’s security team adopted EnforceAir, both the team and the VIP have expressed high satisfaction with the decision. “They appreciate the balance of simplicity and security that D-Fend Solutions’ technology provides,” Haimovich said.

As the drone threat continues to evolve, especially with the integration of AI, the landscape of aerial security will become even more complex, per Haimovich. AI-enabled UAS will possess advanced capabilities such as jamming evasion, intelligent frequency hopping and autonomous decision-making. All of this will challenge traditional counter-UAS measures. D-Fend Solutions remains committed to staying one step ahead of these threats by leveraging innovative technology and a dedicated team of experts.

The company is laying the groundwork now, both technologically and organizationally, to ensure they can quickly respond to and neutralize these emerging threats. Its more than 150 employees across the U.S., Canada, UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, and Israel have set their sights on further integrating AI in their counter-UAS solutions to continue providing real-time, effective mitigation strategies that can adapt to the dynamic nature of UAS threats. 

As the future unfolds, D-Fend Solutions will continue to innovate and protect our skies, ensuring safety and security in an ever-changing world. In the meantime, it will keep protecting so many of us at airports, at major global events and on the battlefield.

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Dawn M.K. Zoldi (Colonel, USAF, Retired) is a licensed attorney with 28 years of combined active duty military and federal civil service to the U.S. Air Force. She is the CEO & Founder of P3 Tech Consulting and an internationally recognized expert on uncrewed  aircraft system law and policy. Zoldi contributes to several magazines and hosts popular tech podcasts. Zoldi is also an Adjunct Professor for two universities, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2022, she received the Airwards People’s Choice Industry Impactor Award, was recognized as one of the Top Women to Follow on LinkedIn and listed in the eVTOL Insights 2022 PowerBook. For more information, follow her on social media and visit her website at:

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