Rohde & Schwarz protects Europe air show from drones

February 1, 2017  - By

Rohde & Schwarz safeguarded Austria’s AirPower 2016 air show against the security risk of commercial drones encroaching on the show’s airspace. This was accomplished using the R&S Ardronis radiomonitoring solution that enables users to identify drone control signals early on, to locate and even stop the drone.


Photo: Rohde & Schwarz

Remote-control drones are constantly invading the privacy of individuals and violating the boundaries of protected areas. These flying objects pose a safety risk at airports where they interfere with air traffic flow and a security risk at major events.

At an air show, both of these are a factor, as any disruption of the closely timed take-offs and landings can represent a danger to event participants and spectators alike. To counteract such a risk, the Austrian Armed Forces relied on the R&S Ardronis radiomonitoring system. Working in cooperation with Rohde & Schwarz, AirPower 2016 was the first event to operate a test setup tailored to these special requirements.

R&S Ardronis enables users to locate the operator of a remote controlled drone and intervene in a timely manner. Remote controls for drones usually operate in the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz ISM band, but also in other frequency bands such as 433 MHz or 4.3 GHz.

AirPower 2016 was held in September 2017 in Zeltweg.

The R&S Ardronis solution monitors the signals in the relevant frequency bands. It maintains an extensive library of drone control signal profiles in order to detect and classify these types of signals. R&S Ardronis reliably and automatically detects the remote control of a commercial drone within a 1 km radius.

The R&S Ardronis system used at AirPower 2016 was additionally equipped with direction finding functionality. The direction information obtained can be used to find the person with the remote control. If the drone transmits a video downlink, this signal will also be located. The information is clearly shown on a map on the display.

Other options are available for R&S Ardronis. For example, it can disrupt specific drone control signals to prevent the drone from performing a maneuver that poses a safety threat. Only the signals for controlling the drones are disrupted. Other signals in the vicinity are not affected. In contrast to broadband interferers that affect the entire frequency band, the ISM band continues to be available for other services such as Bluetooth or WLAN, or to control private drones.

This is posted in Latest News, UAV/UGV

3 Comments on "Rohde & Schwarz protects Europe air show from drones"

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  1. William K. says:

    The R&S system, as described in the posting, is not hard to circumvent. The way to prevent any interference from the system is to transmit the control signals on two widely different frequencies, one being the anticipated drone control frequency, the other signal being in an are of the spectrum that has a large number of signals present. The R&S system would lock onto the signal that was not being utilized and never look for the second signal. So there you have the description of the mechanism to defeat a great system.

  2. Ian H.Thain says:

    Personally I’d use a shotgun, first on the drone and then on its user!

    • William K. says:

      A shotgun has a relatively limited range, and, in addition, is not suitable for use when the targets are above crowds of people. In addition they may not strike anything vital i a drone. Also, the user may be well beyond range.

      BUT a high powered laser, such as the US navy demonstrated over a year ago,could be quite effective if an adequate tracking and aiming system were available. The reason that this is not common is that the US military does not wish to disclose it’s capabilities to those who would be enemy agents.