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Building A Counter-UAS Market That Does Not Exist

04/02/2019

Six months ago, few outside the defense community in the UK and U.S. understood what the words “counter-unmanned aircraft systems” meant. But a succession of reported drone incursions at London’s Gatwick and Heathrowairports and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which also serves New York City, changed that. Nowthe need to protect airports and other infrastructure from rogue unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) seems obvious. So,too, does a market for commercial counter-UAS (CUAS).

As of yet, however, there is no such market. In the U.S. and many other countries, shooting down, disabling or takingcontrol of drones is illegal. There is no liability framework for such operations, no broadly reliable way to detect andidentify drones and drone users, and the U.S. has yet to figure out exactly who will have authority to execute CUASoperations.The FAA plans further evaluations of counter-UAS systems at airportsPotential CUAS buyers face a lack of information and viable solutionsPotential CUAS buyers lack information and viable solutions.

There is no CUAS certification regime and thus nostandard against which to measure the relative performance of the systems now offered. Despite a crowd ofcompanies promoting potential products, there are few providers globally with systems ready to field. And outsidesporadic battlefield experience, CUAS systems have no real-world track record. From jamming and cybermanipulation to kinetics and even drone-capturing nets, the handful of activecountermeasures now marketed all present potential negative side effects. Ironically, the mitigation portion of theCUAS puzzle requires its own mitigation.

“What this really is,” says Mark McKinnon, an attorney with Washington-based law firm LeClairRyan, “is a chicken-and-egg situation. But you need the chicken and the egg at the same time."

Read the full article in Aviation Week Intelligence Network here.

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