On a recent trip to DSEI, the major defence and security event, I came across a variety of new innovations designed to tackle attacks and security breaches in ways that would have been considered science fiction until only a few years ago.
The three areas of military technology that really stood out for me were: quadcopter anti-drone weapon systems, intelligent radar, and actuators capable of operating in the most extreme environments with absolute precision.
The popularity of quadcopter drones in recent years has led to a significant rise in the number of incidents involving drones reported to UK Police. Complaints of snooping, burglary, near-misses over airports and smuggling contraband into prisons increased twelvefold from 2014 to 2016.
Authorities are now enlisting the help of net-capture anti-drone devices. The system tracks the flight of a drone and fires a projectile, which deploys a net before impact. It then releases a parachute, which safely brings down the drone to avoid collateral damage to the surrounding infrastructure and allows authorities to forensically analyse it.
This threat also extends to more sophisticated drone attacks, which has prompted the advancement of Anti-UAV Defence Systems (AUDS). This typically takes the form of a counter drone system, which eliminates the threat from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as remotely operated ones, tracking and classifying the UAV before disrupting or disabling it.