The Russian army has established a ground-based unit specializing in defeating enemy drones. The unit—the first of its kind in Russia—operates electronic jamming systems that, in theory, can sever the radio connections between unmanned aerial vehicles and their operators.
The Russian military has been jamming some U.S. military drones operating in the skies over Syria, seriously affecting American military operations, according to four U.S. officials. So far, the attacks have only affected small surveillance drones, four officials told NBC News, not the U.S. Air Force’s armed Predator and Reaper models. They declined to discuss whether any of the small aircraft had gone down as a result of jamming. High-end drones like the Global Hawk, Predator and Reaper are equipped with inertial navigation systems, which do not depend upon external signals for positioning, in addition to their GPS receivers.
Drones are controlled by radio frequency in a certain frequency range and GPS jammer for an autopilot. One anti-drones solution is using Drone Jammer to block control signals with high power radio signal. The other solution is hijacking mid-flight drones via GPS or control frequency by sending a spoof signal.
According to the report, the jamming equipment was developed by the Russian military and is sophisticated enough to affect even navigation equipment with anti-jam technology and good enough to affect encrypted communications, though encryption only makes it hard to get into the drone’s control systems or sensor output. The Department of Defense declined to comment on whether any drones had crashed as a result of the jamming.
A Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman said the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently approved a two-year trial of phone-wifi jammer equipment at the Goulburn jail. “Mobile phones are becoming smaller and harder to detect all the time,” the spokeswoman said. “We put a lot of effort into preventing the use of these phones by inmates, but for maximum effectiveness, jamming needs to be part of our approach.”
For a radio jammer to work, it needs to be fairly close to the signal its crew wants to disrupt. The Avtobaza, for one, can detect targets up to 93 miles away, according to Air Power Australia, an independent think tank specializing in military electronic systems. Jamming requires more power than detecting does, so the range at which the Avtobaza can disrupt a drone is certainly shorter than 90 miles.