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Drone Detectability: Modelling the Relevant Signature

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NATO Modelling and Simulation Group

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CounterUAS, Detection, Drone, Modelling, Signature


The capabilities of detection of small UAS are generally affiliated with one or more of their attributes, which leads to the following grouping: • Glider UAS made with radar transparent materials – Very small radar cross section, very low thermal signature, potentially camouflaged to visible cameras, low/no acoustic signature, very few metal components. • Quadcopter UAS – Small radar cross section, commercially prevalent, requires limited and easily acquired knowledge to pilot, mild acoustic signature, newest quadcopter UASs can be automated with limited to no human control. • Jet turbine based UAS – Small radar cross section, can reach extremely high speeds (compressed response timeline), components readily available for purchase online. The ability to detect these UASs is strongly related to multiple detection technologies to be integrated or fused into a single detection/classification architecture to ensure higher probability of detection.


The objectives of this specialist meeting will facilitate the information exchange on LSS signature characterisation and related modelling.


Several phenomenologies can be used to detect and identify a LSS UAS. These include: • Reflectance of UV/Visible/NIR/SWIR/MWIR/LWIR photons • Reflectance of a particular photon polarization state • Radar reflectance • Acoustic emission • Electromagnetic emission from on board radios, WiFi, altimeters, radar, or other communication links • Induced magnetic field which are associated to a wide range of technologies: • Passive visible imaging (UV, visible, NIR) • Passive thermal imaging (SWIR, MWIR, LWIR) • Active Time of Flight systems (LIDAR, range gate imaging, etc) • Acoustic based sensors • RF emission • Radar based systems • Magnetic detection systems • Human intelligence The Specialist Meeting is expected to address most of the above topics.

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