The Counter Drone Stack - Part 2: Counter-UAS systems 🚀 | Robotics Event in Munich 🤖

Welcome 🇪🇺

In the last issue we introduced you to the topic of drone detection towers. This time we will deep dive into with real world applications and case studies for counter-UAS solutions.

Our guest author Gunin Singh who was a 1st Lieutenant in the Singaporean Army working hands on with tactical drones, has all the details for you in this second of a three part series on the counter drone stack.

Last week, we hosted our first robotics event in Munich in collaboration with our friends at Qualcomm Ventures. Read on who was there and find out what it takes to found a robotics company!

The Counter Drone Stack - Real World Applications of Counter-UAS systems  🚀🌐

In response to Russia's drone use, numerous support packages to Ukraine have incorporated advanced counter-drone solutions. The United States, according to the U.S Security Cooperation with Ukraine Fact Sheet, includes a list of supplies sent to Ukraine, has supplied Ukraine with an array of equipment, notably counter-drone gun trucks, laser-guided rocket systems, and diverse counter-UAS tools, alongside electronic warfare devices potentially featuring non-kinetic drone countermeasures. [9] Additionally, Ukraine has acquired CORTEX Typhon systems from Norway's Kongsberg, designed for drone detection via radar and neutralisation through missile engagement. [10] Photographs from the front lines also reveal Ukrainian troops equipped with "anti-drone rifles," utilising directed radio pulses to disable drones. The rifle seen in figure 2, is the Dronedefender manufactured by Dedrone. [11]

The DroneDefender anti-drone gun of the military of Ukraine. Photo credits: OSINTtechnical

Israel is a key player in the counter-drone sector, notably with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' Drone Dome and Elbit Systems' ReDrone. These systems, employing non-kinetic technologies like 3D radar, signal detection, and cameras for drone identification, disrupt drones with jamming signals. The Drone Dome, distinctively an off-the-shelf solution, boasts open architecture enabling integration with various sensors and effectors, enhancing its versatility. Its advanced models also utilise laser technology for drone neutralisation, making these systems highly effective in protecting critical infrastructure globally. [12] [13]

The conflict in Ukraine and Israel have proven to be a hot-bed for testing and deploying drone and counter-UAS systems. With drone capabilities advancing at a much faster rate than counter-UAS systems, and most counter-systems limited by their range and their limitations in urban environments, the advantage often remains on the side that is going on an offensive. For example, during the October 7th attacks, Hamas had appeared to have mapped the location of key surveillance systems and deployed modified commercial drones laden with explosives specifically to take them out at the opening stages of the assault, effectively blinding Israeli intelligence. These drones were flown as low to the ground as possible, thereby preventing detection from radar and had likely shifted to frequencies that were not detected or jammed by counter-drone systems. [14]

In the civilian world, the need for counter-UAS systems has become increasingly important. From 2021 to 2022, there was an uptick of 60% in overall drone incidents with approximately 2,554 incidents in 2022. [15] These incidents range from drone activities related to government & critical infrastructure (airports, power-plants, communication hubs, etc) to incidents involving border infringement, where smuggling of drugs using modified drones has become more prevalent. [16]

The incident at Gatwick Airport in December 2018, where flight operations were halted for over 36 hours, affecting approximately 65,000 travellers, and resulting in approximately $60 million in airline losses, highlighted the disruptive potential of drone technology. The anonymity and ease with which drone operators caused this chaos, compounded by the fact that they remain at large, underscore the serious security threats drones pose. Furthermore, the situation could have escalated if the drones were equipped to execute attacks, emphasising the urgent need for effective countermeasures. [17] [8]

Criminal organisations have adopted drones for smuggling illegal items into prisons and over secure borders. These unmanned aerial vehicles are also utilised for counter-surveillance activities, identifying targets for thefts, and have even interfered with significant law enforcement efforts in the United States, showcasing their multifaceted utility for illicit purposes. [8] [16]

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of alterations of drones in the civilian world. It signifies an increase in number of drone operators, threat actors and malicious groups utilising drones for illicit functions and makes it imperative for government agencies to find solutions using various counter-UAS solutions to mitigate these infringements.

Final Part 3 coming soon!

Robotics Event in Munich with Qualcomm 🤖

Last week we partnered with Qualcomm Ventures to host our first robotics event in Munich that brought together founders, investors, industry experts, researchers and students to showcase the latest advances in frontier technology and share entrepreneurial lessons learned.

Dev Singh, Head of Robotics and Embedded IoT at Qualcomm delivered an insightful keynote speech. Péter Fankhauser also brought out their Anybotics robot dogs which was a treat! On our founder panel Markus Hehn (Verity), Marc A. Wietfeld (ARX Robotics) and Ronnie Vuine (Micropsi Industries) talked about their technologies and the intricacies of founding robotics companies.

Live demos by ARX and ANYbotics

Boaz Peer (Qualcomm Ventures), Uwe Horstmann (Project A) and Benedikt von Schoeler (Vsquared Ventures) discussed the most exciting things happening right now in robotics and that investors need to have a long breath when investing in robotics.

Robotics Founders Panel

News That Caught Our Attention 👀

  • Watch a recap of the London Defence Hackathon that Project A co-sponsored - Youtube

  • Northrop’s Manta Ray Undersea Drone Completes In-Water Test - DefensePost

  • Israel is shooting down a lot of its own drones - twz

  • Drones changed the civil war in Myanmar - NY Times

  • US Air Force adds two EW squadrons - DefenseOne

  • Finland boosts war readiness in face of Russian aggression - Financial Times

  • UK eyes Chinese drone parts for Ukraine - DefenseOne

Every week we feature a list interesting roles in European DefenceTech start-ups and scale-ups for readers seeking their next challenge in their careers.

If you are a founder and would like to promote your open roles, please get in touch with us!

Passionate and want to contribute? 👩🏻‍💻

The European Resilience Tech Newsletter is always looking for regular and guest authors, writers, reporters, content creators etc. If you like what you read, you are passionate about improving European resilience regardless of your background and want to contribute, just reach out to us!

European Resilience Tech Newsletter Team

Uwe Horstmann co-founded Project A Ventures in 2012 as General Partner and has built Project A to be a leading European early stage investor with over $1bn USD under management and having backed 100+ founders. In addition to Project A, Uwe serves as Reserve Officer in the German armed forces and advises the German Ministry of Defence in digital transformation issues.

Jack Wang is a software engineer turned product driven tech investor and joined Project A in 2021 to lead the firm’s deep tech investing, which have grown to include DefenceTech. Prior to joining Project A, Jack worked in a variety of organisations such as Amazon and Macquarie Group across Australia, US and UK / Europe. Jack holds a MBA from London Business School and Bachelors of Engineering (Bioinformatics, 1st) from UNSW, Australia.

Jannic Meyer joined Project A initially contributing to what is now known as the Project A Studio, partnering with founders at the pre-idea stage, where he covered a variety of topics ranging from energy infrastructure to dual-use robotics and led our investment in ARX Robotics. He is now part of the investment team at Project A covering all things resilience.

Project A Ventures is one of the leading early-stage tech investors in Europe with offices in Berlin and London. In addition to 1 billion USD assets under management, Project A supports its 100+ portfolio companies with a platform team over 140 functional experts in key areas such as software and product development, business intelligence, brand, design, marketing, sales and recruiting. Project A have backed founders of Trade Republic, WorldRemit, Sennder, KRY, Spryker, Catawiki, Unmind and Voi as well as founders building in European Resilience: