Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) unit ELTA Systems has unveiled an enhanced version of its Drone Guard system, which detects, identifies and disrupts the operation of small drones. With hundreds of units already operational across the world, the new modular configuration has added a Communication Intelligence (COMINT) system for more precise detection, classification and identification based on broadcast frequency and unique communication protocol analysis and verification for neutralizing threats. The Drone Guard’s 3D Radars, Electro-Optical (EO), and Jammer systems have all been upgraded with bolstered capabilities. The COMINT system can effectively jam or disrupt the drone’s control channel and navigation by supporting an array of communication protocols that can fend off a single drone or even a swarm of drones from the guarded premises
The use of commercially available small drones has increased dramatically over the past few years as these platforms have become a potential threat to sensitive facilities, crowds, high profile individuals and other aircraft, due to their small size, slow velocity, and low altitude flight. Small drones can be used for hostile applications such as unwanted intelligence gathering, smuggling and even as weapon carriers. ELTA has responded to these challenges with new and enhanced Drone Guard capabilities. In addition to the current radar, EO and jamming capabilities – a hostile threat can now also be detected, classified, identified by means of the enhanced COMINT system. The system can effectively jam or disrupt the drone’s control channel and navigation, by supporting an array of communication protocols that can ‘fend off’ a single drone or even a swarm of drones from the guarded premises.
The system uses one of these three radar systems: the ELTA ELM-2180M man-portable radar to detect targets with a very low radar cross-section (RCS) out to a range of 3 km; the ELM-2026B radar for the detection of similar-sized objects out to about 4.5 km; or the ELM-2026 to do the same out to 6 km. For countering small UAVs, each of the radar systems is upgraded with special detection and tracking algorithms, as well as being adapted with an EO sensor for visual identification. All three solutions utilise 3D (azimuth, elevation, and range) X-Band radars (for ground-clutter removal and separation between ground and air targets) to detect low-flying and low-speed airborne targets with a small radar cross-section (RCS). When an unauthorised UAV is detected and tracked, the ELTA system then sets about jamming it to cause the aircraft to either return to its point-of-origin (the ‘Go Home’ function) or to shut down and land.