Drones, DHS, S&T | Homeland Security Newswire

DronesCountering drones in urban environments

Published 14 May 2018

New technology can provide advances in the way we do things, expanding areas previously left unexplored and simplifying previously burdensome tasks. This is true with advancements in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones. Given their rapid technology advancement and proliferation, the public safety and homeland security communities must address the fact that drones can be used nefariously or maliciously to hurt people, disrupt activities and damage infrastructure.

New technology can provide advances in the way we do things, expanding areas previously left unexplored and simplifying previously burdensome tasks. This is true with advancements in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones. There are global efforts focusing on using drone technology to improve and support our everyday lives, and the commercial market is offering increasingly small, relatively inexpensive and capable drones. Given their rapid technology advancement and proliferation, the public safety and homeland security communities must address the fact that drones can be used nefariously or maliciously to hurt people, disrupt activities and damage infrastructure.

Testing in new environments
Since 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has focused on developing and delivering counter-UAS (C-UAS) capability technical upgrades for DHS operating components with high priority needs. S&T says that S&T helps guide, advise and provide technical expertise to all components and Homeland Security Enterprise partners on the steps they can take, and available technology they can legally use to counter unwanted or malicious UAS. Most CUAS systems are still legally prohibited from operating in the national airspace, however, DHS and the Department of Justice are seeking new legal authorities from Congress to use this evolving technology as part of certain missions. As part of this work, S&T established a test and evaluation series, the Technical Assessment of Counter UAS Technologies in Cities (TACTIC), to assess the performance and suitability of commercial counter-UAS solutions in homeland security settings.

“There is a huge market of commercial counter UAS solutions out there. But most – if not all of them – have not been subjected to testing in urban environments that are relevant to homeland security. So to date there is very little real data on the performance of these systems in urban settings,” explained S&T’s Program Executive for UAS, Anh Duong.