To Kill a Drone

Rantelon’s PJ-2458/2 UAV jamming gun comes in two flavours: One covers standard 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz UAV control frequencies. The other adds GNSS jamming.

Rantelon demonstrates the company’s drone jamming system at Tangent Link’s recent EW Live event in Tartu, southern Estonia.

As a prelude to Tangent Link’s EW Live exhibition on 29th and 30th September demonstrations were held of counter-Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (CUAV) technology. Several CUAV systems were put through their paces at an Estonian Army site outside Tartu. These included Rantelon’s CUAV detection and jamming system.

Unauthorised UAV flights are a growing problem. In June, police in the United Kingdom launched Operation Foreverwing. This allows them to confiscate UAVs being flown dangerously, and to issue on-the-spot fines for unauthorised UAV flights. In one well-publicised incident a UAV pilot was fined $6,742 for flying their aircraft close to the London headquarters of M15, the UK’s domestic security service.

Rantelon is one of several companies promoting their Counter-UAV competencies. However, EW Live was unique as a forum where these technologies could be tested in a real world environment. On the day before the exhibition, Rantelon had the chance to show their wares successfully engaging and downing UAVs.

Electronic Support Measure

The company’s CUAV system includes two separate components; its DTS-2458 drone detection system and PJ-2458/2 drone jamming guns. The DTS-2458 is an electronic support measure detecting a UAV’s Radio Frequency (RF) transmissions. UAVs typically use several RF links. These can include a link connecting the aircraft to its pilot on the ground. It will also have a link connecting the aircraft to a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). A separate datalink may also be included for the aircraft to transmit video or still images.

During the demonstration the DTS-2458 detected the UAV’s RF signals. The equipment can detect 2.4 gigahertz/GHz and 5.8GHz signals. These frequencies are commonly used for UAV control. According to Rantelon representatives, signals can be detected at ranges of up to 5.4 nautical miles/nm (ten kilometres). By using two or more DTS-2458s the position of the UAV can be accurately determined within five degrees’ accuracy. Highly portable, the tripod-mounted ESM has up to twelve hours’ operation and weighs eight kilograms (17.6 pounds).

Jamming Gun

Once the UAV has been detected by the DTS-2458 it is engaged with the PJ-2458/2 jamming guns. The ESM’s information on the location of the UAV can be viewed on a computer, tablet or smartphone. This will indicate the UAV’s position. The gun has a 0.5nm (one-kilometre) range. Once the UAV is within this range, the user points the gun in its direction. They fire a burst of RF energy on frequencies of either 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz. The ESM will detect the frequencies used by the UAV’s RF links. The gun produces a maximum 20 watts’ jamming power via batteries with one hour’s runtime. The principle difference between the PJ-2458 and PJ-2458/2 is that the latter can jam the UAV’s GNSS link. GNSS systems typically use frequencies of 1.1GHz to 1.6GHz.

Rantelon representatives told Armada they had developed their CUAV equipment using electronic attack systems developed for the Estonian armed forces. For example, the company provides counter-improvised explosive device jammers to protect Estonian Army units in Mali. These troops support the European Union’s Training Mission there.

by Dr. Thomas Withington