uav detection

UAV Detection (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) – An Introduction

UAV Detection, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Detection, is becoming a focus for concern over these remote-controlled devices entering restricted airspace and possibly syping or collecting proprietary data. Detection in order to provide early warning of aerial intrusion is one piece of the puzzle, with mitigation being the other. This article will lay out the basics of UAV detection, with other articles to follow on mitigation procedures.

Mitch Price, Global Security Specialist Delivers Solutions

Working with Kimmons Investigative Services (KIS), Mitch Price brings global experience to the table. Whatever your needs in UAV detection and mitigation, we can offer consultation, planning, and services to meet your specific needs. As relates to UAV detection, we’ll introduce the following identification and classification of targets information and then in the next section the applications for UAV detection:

  • Radar detection
  • RF, radio frequency detection and analysis
  • Acoustic detection
  • Optical detection and visual tracking

Radar Detection

Using radio frequency electromagnetic pulses, radar drone detection determines the frequency shift of the reflections returned from collisions with the UAV. The main advantage of radar is that it is effective day or night, as well as in the rain or other bad weather. The size of the drone can make radar less effective as they become smaller.

RF, Radio Frequency Detection and Analysis

Drones are in constant radio communication with the ground control unit. RF (radio frequency) detection involves capture and analysis of the RF signals. Using multiple RF analyzer units, you can use triangulation to determine the position of the drone. There are drawbacks to RF detection however. In some areas there is too much RF spectrum traffic, making it difficult to capture the specific signal. There are also fully autonomous drones that are not in constant ground communication.

Acoustic Detection

Instead of RF or radar, acoustic detection uses arrays of microphones to capture the sounds made by drones. Using multiple arrays in different locations, the approximate location of the drone can be determined through triangulation. Because microphone arrays are passive, reverse detection of them is difficult. Acoustic detecion is effective for identifying and locating autonomous drones. The drawbacks are that acoustic detection only works over short ranges. This method is also less effective in noisy areas.

Optical Detection and Visual Tracking

Visual detection of UAVs works both in daylight and at night using thermal imaging. Visual detection with video and photo capture provides highly detailed information about the UAV, and it’s also very useful as evidence at trial.

Drone Detection Tech Applications

These detection and tracking systems are widely used in both commercial and military applications. The requirements of these applications will determine the choice of technology. Often a combination of technologies is necessary.

Incarceration Facilities Security

Drones have been used to attempt to deliver contraband and drugs to prison inmates. They have on occasion even been employed in escape attempts. Detection and monitoring of drones near prison facilities makes the area more secure for both employees and inmates.

Environmental Monitoring

UAVs can be utilized to monitor environmental conditions, but also to monitor activities that can be harmful to the environment or inhabitants, human and animal. This can include possibly illegal activities like damaging protests, damage to public lands, and poaching.

Air Traffic Control and Airport Security

As drone use grows exponentially, it becomes critical for UAV detection and monitoring in order to safely control the intrusion, authorized or not, into controlled airspace. Detection, location, and monitoring can assure the safe coexistence of manned and unmanned aircraft. Unauthorized UAV activity in airport airspace is a major threat to security and the lives of crews and passengers. Constant vigilance concerning UAV activity in controlled airspace is crucial.

Public Events

Rising public event disruptions and terrorist threats make UAV detection and monitoring absolutely necessary when it comes to public events such as festivals, sporting events, large gatherings, and concerts. UAV detection can help event organizers to protect their gatherings and attendees from unwanted drone attacks.

Military Bases

By their very nature, military bases are prime targets for espionage or attacks, and drones can be used for those activities in order to enter airspace over bases undetected. Constant UAV detection measures will protect military personnel, civilian employees, and infrastructure from attack and damage. 

Coastal and Border Surveillance

With illegal border crossings in the news, and the drug cartels smuggling huge amounts of multiple harmful drugs into the country, use of UAVs for patrolling the border and drone detection to catch intruder activities is critically important.

Industrial Facilities

Sites including refineries, manufacturing plants, chemical plants, and other large industrial facilities need the enhanced security afforded by UAV detection and monitoring.

Critical Infrastructure

With almost all of everyday activities dependent upon critical infrastructure, it is imperative to protect it. This includes pipelines, power plants, oil refineries and nuclear facilities.


Technology moves at an ever increasing rate, and as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology develops, the threats to information, technology, infrastructure, military and civilian activites grow as well. Mitch Price, working with Kimmons Investigative Services, makes decades of global security experience available to our clients.

If your business, facility, or activities could have a need for UAV detection and monitoring, we’re here to help at all levels. Whether it’s consulting and advising or providing/contracting services, you’ll get the results you want.

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Posted in Global Security, Technology.