British counter-UAV technology selected by FAA for US airport trials

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has selected detect-track-disrupt-defeat anti-UAV defence system AUDS, British counter UAV technology to be tested as part of the agency´s Pathfinder programme to detect and identify unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying too close to US airports, the administration said.

The fully integrated AUDS was developed by a trio of British companies including Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems, and integrated/supported in North America by Liteye Systems Inc.

This FAA research programme is designed to evaluate technologies that can be used to detect and identify unauthorised unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drone flights near airports. To this end, the FAA has signed a co-operative research and development agreement (CRDA) with Liteye Systems, the AUDS team´s manufacturing and integration partner in North America, to test AUDS at US airports selected by the FAA.

According to the FAA, each month it receives more than 100 reports from pilots and others who spot what appear to be unmanned aircraft flying too close to an airport or manned airplane. It has become a serious safety concern for the agency and a potential security issue for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The AUDS counter-UAV system can detect a drone six miles (10km) away using electronic scanning radar, track it using precision infrared and daylight cameras and specialist video tracking software before disrupting the flight using an inhibitor to block the radio signals that control it. This detect, track, disrupt, defeat process is very quick and typically takes 8-15 seconds. The AUDS team has now carried out over 400 hours of live testing in government-related trials against more than 400 flown sorties of group 1 UAVs.

The AUDS system is designed for countering drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in remote border areas, at key infrastructure sites such as airports, air fields, nuclear power stations, oil refineries or for protecting political or sporting events in urban areas. It can be operated from fixed locations and from mobile platforms.