Most Soldiers, Police, and security professionals have thought through how to use aerial drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), to support their operations by providing surveillance, reconnaissance, and command and control support.
However, the low cost of commercial drones now makes it possible for the enemy to field drones, and in many places these enemies are already using drones against us. It’s only a matter of time before such tactics are employed domestically by criminal networks against law enforcement and will require expeditious training in defense strategy and tactics to get ahead of the threat.
Quality drones with high definition cameras can start in price as low as a few hundred dollars. For a few thousand dollars, you could field a drone with thermal imaging and acquire significantly improved time of flight and range of control. Small UAVs can operate at ranges from 1-5 miles from the point of launch, and larger, relatively inexpensive UAVs can operate much further out and at higher altitudes with varying payloads.
As noted in a recent article, the threat of attack by drone has now made mainstream news, and has shown the limited range of counter-UAV systems available to the military and law enforcement.
“It’s only a matter of time before such drone tactics are employed domestically by criminal networks”
The UAVs we use at Threat Tec are fitted with both high definition and thermal cameras giving both day and nighttime capability, and our skilled teams have the knowledge and certifications to fly drones commercially, both in restricted government airspace and in civilian airspace.
Our observations from supporting both military and law enforcement exercises show a low awareness of threat UAVs. Furthermore, when the friendly forces realized they are being observed, they lacked the tools and techniques to counter the enemy UAVs.
These findings highlight the importance of integrating more threat UAV activity in training, as well as having honest discussions during the After Action Reviews on the impact of the UAVs and developing potential solutions to mitigate the threat systems.
Low cost, easy to fly, commercially available drones are evolving as fast as the private computer evolved in the 1990’s and are becoming cheaper and better each year.
Threat Tec continues to upgrade their fleet incorporating improved capability. This allows us to support our customers at a relatively low cost, yet still field a relevant threat capability to improve the realism of the training. Our SMEs can help the training unit understand how the threat can use the drones against them and guide our customers towards realistic and achievable solutions to counter or mitigate the threat use of drones.
Written By John McCarthy
John McCarthy is the Director of Operations for Threat Tec and UAV Development Lead. He is responsible for driving profitable growth and enabling operational excellence. Known for his strong track record of operational excellence, innovative problem solving and talent development, John ensures the continued production and quality of the results that are delivered to the customer. As a retired Infantry Colonel with 28 years of active duty experience in the Continental U.S., Europe, Panama, Iraq, and Turkey, John brings his unparalleled organization and command ability to every project he oversees. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army Command and Staff College, the Infantry Officer’s Basic and Advance Courses, as well as Airborne, Jumpmaster, and Ranger School. John holds two advanced degrees; a Master’s of Science – Training Simulations from the University of Central Florida, and a Master’s of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.