Drones damaged during testing of the laser system. Source: Rafael/YouTubeDrones damaged during testing of the laser system. Source: Rafael/YouTubeAn Israel-based defense and security company has developed a laser drone defense system capable of disabling suspicious drones and drone swarms.

The so-called Drone Dome from Rafael is a counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS), a portable laser system outfitted with a search radar, drone radio command detector, command and control system and an electro-optical sensor.

The anti-drone weaponry can detect suspicious drones — either individually or in swarm formation — and determine whether to jam the suspicious drone’s radio frequency or activate the laser weapon. If activated, the laser can melt the plastic housing off of the suspicious drone and destroy its internal electronics, thereby downing the device.

According to Rafael, the drone can detect suspicious objects as small as 0.002 square meters in size and as far as 2.1 miles away. Likewise, the Drone Dome can target erratic drones, keeping them in its crosshairs as the drone moves around to avoid detection.

Anti-drone tech is an area experiencing significant growth following several reports of drones intruding on airspace at airports all over the world, posing a potential threat to aircraft and passenger safety. Likewise, drone technology is fast becoming a tool in the military sector, used for conducting surveillance and other military-related tasks. As such, efforts to destroy the technology are also increasing.

Recently, the United States Air Force, along with defense contractor Lockheed Martin, completed testing on the laser-based anti-drone system Athena. Meanwhile, a Russian defense contractor has outfitted a drone with a Vepr-12 shotgun and a 10-round magazine to potentially shoot suspicious drones from the sky. Similarly, a researcher from Florida’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) has developed an autonomous system for “hijacking” rogue drones, dubbed the Dronejacker, which uses acoustic sensors that listen for approaching drones.

To see how the C-UAS laser system works, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of Rafael.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com