Market Forecast reports rapid growth in C-UAV systems to detect low, slow and small drones

According to Market Forecast, the demand for Counter-UAV (C-UAV) systems has increased due to the challenges faced by existing radar detectors and missile systems in detecting Low, Slow, and Small (LSS) UAVs. Conventional radar systems struggle to detect these small UAVs and differentiating them from birds poses a challenge. Consequently, these UAVs can be exploited for reconnaissance, surveillance, and used as loitering munitions. Small UAVs are now being used by nations worldwide against enemies, drug traffickers, and for urban warfare.

As a result, there is a growing business in developing counter-UAV systems specifically designed to address LSS UAVs. This young business is developing fast, with customised solutions using Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) sensors and soft-kill technologies proving to be effective in detecting, tracking, and mitigating urban threats. C-UAV systems are in high demand at airports, important locations, and for securing air traffic near government offices and military bases.

For battlegrounds; solutions such as land-to-air defence using handguns, vehicle-mounted multi-layer C-UAV systems and air-to-air countermeasures are used. Many innovative ground-based fixed and mobile, vehicle-mounted and ship-mounted solutions can be seen developed in recent years.

The trend of launching the Centre of Excellence is seen prominently in C-UAV solution development. provide facilities for the simulation, testing, verification and validation of C-UAV programmes, and lab and field tests for sensors, directed-energy weapons and system assemblies.

Public-private partnerships are encouraged through competitions, and trial projects to avail expertise from companies knowing emerging software technologies, SwaP-enabled designs and using open architecture. Hence business scope is vast and commercial-enterprise solution providers are gaining benefits from this new trend.

For low-cost mitigation, there are ongoing experiments with directed-energy weapon systems. Laser beams and microwave-based weapon systems are in the front row. Such systems are banned to be used on humans under Protocol IV of the 1980 Convention. However, these seem allowed against Unmanned systems. These are more convenient and economical than using missiles and ammunition. Therefore, these days there is a surge in the developments, field trials and fielding of directed energy systems.

Software-defined radios and Command and Control software seem to play a crucial role in RF-based and cellular-based UAV detection and classification. Modern UAVs can fly and hop through a vast range of RF frequencies, making detection and classification a tough job. The use of SDRs and C2 software along with machine learning algorithms are becoming helpful in the classification and tracking of such UAVs.

The opportunities that we see in this business are for open-source-based, modular, small-sized solutions that can be portable. The cost of the system will be crucial and integrating these systems with remote-controlled weapon systems will be a need.

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