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The Military

Analyzing the US Air Force's New "Portable Hobby Drone Disruptors" Solicitation ( 61

Lauren Weinstein writes: The U.S. Air Force has just issued a solicitation for a radio-based 'Portable Anti Drone Defense' system — essentially a remote drone disruption device that can be easily used by someone familiar with — well — shooting guns. The Air Force wants three units to start with. Delivery required 30 days after awarding of the contract. It does indeed make for interesting reading, and I thought it might be instructive to dig into the technical details a bit ...
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Analyzing the US Air Force's New "Portable Hobby Drone Disruptors" Solicitation

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  • Hang on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by liqu1d ( 4349325 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @08:52PM (#51180593)
    Can't they just use a shotgun?
    • That would be a shotgun based 'Portable Anti Drone Defense' system

    • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      Come on, man. You can't funnel 10 million dollars to one of your preferred bidders if you just go buy three shotguns.

    • Can't they just use a shotgun?

      I absolutely agree with you, is a very sporting idea for both drone owner and shooter but because that would not go along with the obvious agenda of the attack on the 2nd Amendment courtesy of the banksters that have enslaved the Queen of England who since 1864 has held the US as a corporation. Panzi Jew/Brit banksters afraid of guns when it's themselves they should fear and at this stage of the game should hold the same fear of cement trucks, ISIS and pretty much everyone they have screwed. Pretty soon t

  • Delivery 30 days after awarding of contract...

    Good luck with that.

    • Well, considering that the design specs asks for a glorified, overpriced shotgun, I think the deadline is doable.

    • by pepty ( 1976012 )
      If they have already decided which contractor they wanted for the job, it's probably their way to make certain that contractor gets the job instead of having to compete for it.
      • Having worked in the firearms industry, that is exactly what this solicitation smells of. Someone already has the guns built, they've been demonstrated, and this is the way to purchase them without really allowing any other bids. Some smart enterprising individual should build something cool and snipe the contract.
  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @09:28PM (#51180685)

    So the military wants a device that violates the conditions and implied license associated with the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz ISM bands eh?

    Does the US military have the authority to defy other government agencies such as the FCC and the FAA?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not an expert on this, but the answer is probably not what you expect.

      Military use of radio is NOT regulated by the FCC, but by NTIA.

      So that just because FCC regs mean that civilian users could not lawfully jam 2.4 ISM band, that does not answer the question of whether the military can.

      • Imagine something like a parabolic microphone, except that at the focus of the parabola they put an EMP device, instead of a microphone. The frequencies produced only need to be whatever are able to fry the drone's electronics, and the parabola could cause the pulse to be beam-shaped, so as not to affect things you didn't aim the gun at.
    • So the military wants a device that violates the conditions and implied license associated with the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz ISM bands eh?

      The problem with drones is not the frequency that they transmit, but that they fly where they aren't supposed to be. My cellphone's WiFi also uses 2.4GHz. That doesn't mean I can legally rob a bank while carrying it.

      • That doesn't mean I can legally rob a bank while carrying it.

        But you can legally carry it while robbing a bank.

        • That doesn't mean I can legally rob a bank while carrying it.

          But you can legally carry it while robbing a bank.

          And you can carry a bank while robbing your phone.

          I think that covers all the possibilities.

      • I very much doubt USAF wants this for use on US soil against amateur drone operators, in any case. It's far more likely that they've noticed the heavy use of civilian drones for recon in many recent conflicts - e.g. both sides have used it that way in Ukraine, and there have also been reports from Syria along these lines.

    • Two year's jail for the USAF.

      Ha ha, I crack myself up!

  • Do they want the drone intact afterwards, and what kind of range are they looking at? Up to about 50-60 meters a 12-gauge shotgun with #9-10 shot should pretty thoroughly disrupt any imaginable control and return-to-launch functions a drone could have, along with doing a pretty good job disrupting it's structural integrity. For longer ranges I'd use a custom round based on a rifled slug, tapered to a point like a rifle round for aerodynamics and filled with the same #9-10 shot around a timed dispersal charg

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The main issue is the the emerging consumer drone range. The way the US mil combats that local issue is to buy up huge amounts of public or private land around a still in use mil site.
      No getting hi res consumer drone look down thats better than carrying a telescope like device up an open to the public hill or mountain range.
      Any still accessible tracks, paths end under a camera, have detection systems. Contractors and mercenaries are then used to patrol areas up to fence lines, point to trespass signs
      • That wouldn't slow down even the current generation of autonomous drones, which is what anyone serious about getting pictures inside a secured military base would be using. No sense in making yourself a target by broadcasting a nice traceable control signal after all. Drone's launched by the operator so no way to make it refuse to launch. Drone follows prescribed flight path using dead-reckoning off it's internal gyros, updated by GPS fixes (using commercially-available AGPS data to reduce reliance on the p

        • It sounds like you just need to wait until the military's new weapon comes out and then find some rich drone operators to carry on this cat and mousery.
        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          Infra red, sound like systems could track the set up of an autonomous drone. The real trick is if the "autonomous drone" part still needs landing and launch radio connections that can be detected.
          Sure the flight will be long range and autonomous but that consumer drone signal chatter to the owner might still be trackable at some point during the average flight.
          The only way around that would be a passive drone with zero communications as launched.
          The magic of the autonomous drones use is the police c
    • Until you crack the Li battery after which your disabled recon vehicle becomes an active bomb.

  • All these consumer-grade drones are going to use one or a short list of control signal types, should be easy to jam, and only a little more difficult to override with a stronger signal and flat-out take control of the drone in question, and just slam it straight into the ground. With any luck someone will publish an article on how to construct such a device, 'for educational purposes', of course. Then the whole question of invasive drone use will become moot.
    • All these consumer-grade drones are going to use one or a short list of control signal types, should be easy to jam, and only a little more difficult to override with a stronger signal and flat-out take control of the drone in question

      That's not how these work. That not how any of this works. Not any more.

      That's like saying you could take over someone's Amazon account by using a stronger WiFi signal.

      • Here's a suggestion for you: Instead of just saying 'hey man you're totally wrong', how about you post a link to the relevant information about the RC protocol being used?

        Now, for what it's worth: I used to work for a defense contractor that did quite a bit of ECM (electronic countermeasures) work, so I know that pretty much any radio signal can be jammed, and one of the ways to do that is to spoof the actual signal itself with an off-kilter copy of the actual signal. It's not far-fetched at all that a dev
        • Consumer level drones doesn't really mean just off the shelf ready to fly. Hobby drones can have thier entire flight plan loaded before taking off, fly the route, and return without even transmitting or receiving radio signals in flight. The control computer can also encrypt its communication and take updates in flight encrypted so jamming a signal or broadcasting a stronger one will not be enough in all cases.

          You will basically need to jam a signal so powerful that it floods the circuitry and interrupts th

        • The new RC transmitters are specifically designed to resist interference in a dense EM environment. They use Spread Spectrum technology to prevent inadvertent interference between multiple RC transmitters. (They have tested up to 100 simultaneous users without conflicts.) Each air vehicle is also "bound" to a single transmitter and will ignore any control signal that doesn't have the bound transmitter's unique serial number. The transmitters will randomly switch channels within the frequency so it is ha
          • OK, all the above, completely understood -- but there's a big difference between unintentional interference, and intentional interference. I worked for a defense contractor for about 7 years, 10 years ago, that had a lot of ECM contracts with the Army and the Marines. I wish I could go into detail about the technology we were using even back then (honestly, if I did, I'd be in a lot of trouble if it was traced back to me, no joke) but I know that even then, a purpose-built device could have definitely been
      • Yes indeed, it's not like that with Cell Phones either, that's why those stingrays don't work. You might not be able to take over someone's account with a stronger WiFi, but you can keep them out of it.
        The MP's used to sit at the bottom of the hill at one of our HAWK missile Tac sites with their 100mW DC input Xband traffic radar giving out tickets for going 5 over. When the lads had enough of that they said "hello" with their 1KW DC input Xband target illuminating radar, the MP's put out the fire and never

  • Do they mean to shoot down lots of drones at once? One threat to expensive military technology is being overwhelmed by a lot of cheap attacks.

  • This is a GSA sources sought so there's no money on the table. And yes, they have a vendor with a product in mind. The synopsis is describing that product. FAR mandates they seek other sources over a certain dollar amount. There's really nothing untoward going on here ... well, other than the GSA in general. And interesting tidbit from the FBO text: []

    Must be able to disrupt communications on 2.4 and 5.8 GHz ISM bands, Stop autonomous waypoint flights

    Why are these two clauses ganged in one line item? Why does the second clause start with a capital. This indicates they

  • "Don't shoot it, you'll only piss it off"

    Unless it's physical system (and the RFP makes it pretty clear that's not what they are asking for here), all you have to do is optically couple EMP shielded brains with an external radio system, and you can pretty much have it go after the source, lock on coordinates, and even if it's a momentary attack, the firing position goes "boom!".

    I guess the military spends so much on their drones that they really can't conceive of using them in a Kamikaze attack; but if you

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Friday December 25, 2015 @09:31AM (#51181765)

    Which is here: []

    Used to be that folks had the courtesy to do that, even though of course we understand that you want to drive traffic to your blog.

    Re: other comments on shotgunning the things, (sounds like fun, but might do more harm than good if they fall in the wrong place), what they actually want is to disable the active control of the buggers:

    "The Air Force Global Strike Command is requesting three (3) systems to counter unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also commonly known as personal drones. There are three main areas in counter UAS (cUAS): detect, identify and defeat. This system should address the defeat portion. This portion needs to disrupt the control link between a commercial UAS and the pilot causing the UAS to fall into its preprogrammed "lost link" protocol. The system should provide the additional ability to disrupt the UAS's ability to receive and use satellite navigation signals (GPS and GLONASS) for navigation purposes."

    Urm, maybe the latter might cause some hilarity if you're using it around an (air)port...

    Also, loved this part:

    "The system must have the below attributes:
          Low complexity: no software, no firmware"

    So they want this hard-wired from transistors, or better-still valves?
    HAM radio boys everywhere, fire up your breadboards!

    A happy and peaceful Christmas to all...

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.