Countering Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Military Operations


air defense
air drones
counter-drone defense

How to Cite

Dobija, K. (2023). Countering Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Military Operations. Safety & Defense, 9(1), 74-82.


Although contemporary unmanned systems are used in every environment, they overwhelmingly dominate the airspace. They are commonly called aerial drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), while the systems supporting and controlling UAVs are called unmanned aerial systems (UASs). The widespread adoption of aerial drone technology has led to their increasing use on the battlefield. Therefore, finding an effective counter-drone (counter - UAS) weapon has become a serious challenge. This task is particularly difficult because we are dealing with a huge variety of unmanned aerial systems while their numbers are increasing at a record-breaking pace. At this point, there are also no fully proven counter-drone solutions, with most existing systems still in the research phase or newly introduced prototypes. The emerging problems and the set of uncertainties associated with them have become the fundamental basis for addressing and presenting this issue in this publication. This article discusses the crucial subject of defense against unmanned aerial systems from the perspective of modern warfare. The author addresses the question of how to plan and implement counter-drone defense in military operations, as well as what technical solutions could be useful for this purpose. Throughout this study, the author employed various methods, including analysis, synthesis, comparison, and case studies, primarily by examining available open-source information on recent armed conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. These methods enabled the author to validate his main hypothesis: there are currently no effective drone countermeasures systems, particularly against drones that can operate autonomously, utilize artificial intelligence algorithms for guidance and decision-making, or engage in large-scale attacks, known as swarms. Simultaneously, the author points out what new technical solutions should be developed to enable effective countermeasures and what tactics should be incorporated into military training to address this threat. Additionally, the article discusses to what extent existing air defense systems can be adapted for counter-drone defense and whether there are effective methods of force protection against such threats.


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