- This Drone Dome video, posted to YouTube, is an excellent example of how laser defense systems take down hostile drones.
- Drone Dome is a portable laser system designed to shoot down unmanned aerial systems, including swarms of drones.
- The entire system fits on the back of a Land Rover and is controlled by a single operator.
At first glance, this video is just a simple promotional video for Rafael’s Drone Dome, an anti-drone laser weapon. But at just two minutes long, it does a really excellent job at explaining what how a laser weapon actually takes down a drone.
The video, uploaded to YouTube, shows off a truck-mounted version of Drone Dome, a Counter-Unmanned Aerial System, or C-UAS, weapon. Technically Drone Dome is the name for an anti-drone package that includes a search radar, drone radio command detector, an electro-optical sensor, and command and control system. Once detected, Drone Dome can utilize two countermeasures to employ against drones: a radio frequency jammer or the laser weapon above.
The system is pretty straightforward, utilizing a combination radar/electro-optical tracker/laser weapon mounted in turret. According to the company, Drone Dome can detect objects as small as 0.002 square meters at 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles). Once detected, the system locks onto the drone, keeping it in its crosshairs. The operator can select “coarse view” (a more distant view of the drone that allows the operator to maintain a visual perspective) or “fine view” (for close up examination of the drone or aiming the laser at precise locations.)
Once the operator locks onto a drone, it’s practically over. The autotracker appears sophisticated enough to handle evasive maneuvering, keeping the drone in its sights even as the little quadcopter bounces around in all directions. The laser engages, causing structural failure as it melts away the plastic housing and causing the drone’s electronics to fail. Hot melted plastic and metal fly off in increasingly larger pieces and gravity takes care of the rest. Drone Dome can even take on swarms of drones, torching them one after another.
The video shows seven drones at the end, three of which appear to have had limbs burned off while the remaining four have burn marks in the center of the main body.
But more importantly, Rafael, the makers of Drone Dome, actually answer every basic, unclassified question about how it all works, showing where the sensor is and what the beam looks like from the perspective of the drone’s camera.
If you never quite understood the benefits of laser of lead when it comes to anti-drone defenses, maybe this video helps answer that question.
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