As unmanned technologies continue to develop at a rapid rate, both nefarious actors and governments have become aware of the possibilities presented by these technological developments and the need to mitigate them. As a result the counter-drone industry is now firmly emerging as its own standalone security industry.
The pace of this industry is accelerating on an almost weekly basis. On 26th September, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Nicholas Rasmussen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, testified on drone threats before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC.
This testimony follows a barrage of videos released by ISIS and the press showing actual deployments of drones by ISIS and, quite telling from the testimony, Rasmussen commented: “Two years ago this wasn’t a problem, one year ago it was an emerging problem and now it’s a real problem.” A two minute video of this testimony can be seen below.
The use of anti-drone systems have been used by the military for quite some time and was pioneered by large military contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. However, while these solutions were developed to counter larger military style drones, insurgents, terrorists and criminals are increasingly flying smaller, consumer-sized drones, and in some cases, are building their own. Therefore, the commercialisation of such technologies has seen a number of companies introducing their own versions of commercial anti-drone technologies (see below).
UAVs are fast becoming more deadly, stealthier, faster, more agile and, crucially, cheaper. In addition, the pace of technological development has meant that legislation and regulations to govern the commercial use of drones has struggled to keep pace.
Drone Defence, an organisation that offers drone protection solutions, have argued that a viable anti-drone solution offers organisations and institutions an option to mitigate the drone threat and will help prevent knee-jerk legislative crackdowns that could harm the fledgling commercial drone industry.
Research by MarketsandMarkets has shown that the anti-drone market is expected to grow from $342.6m in 2016 to $1,571.3m by 2023, at a CAGR of 25.9% between 2017 and 2023. This will be driven by an increase in security breaches by unidentified drones, terrorism and illicit activities with the fastest growing sector expected to be detection and disruption.
Global anti-drone market, by type