SteelRock Technologies’ NIGHTFIGHTER Counter-UAV System is succeeding where those of other competitors have failed to, in an increasingly challenging and competitive mission space.
Liam FitzGerald-Finch, Director of Operations at the London-based company, said NIGHTFIGHTER was designed from the ground-up, to be “safe to use.” As such, Mr FitzGerald-Finch describes it as a, “low power system, but has a great deal of range (in excess of 5km/3.1mi) and has very tight beam.”
The attributes permit the user to discriminate targets in a very congested environment. Indeed, NIGHTFIGHTER is in service at airports in the UK and with police forces in the nation, as it has been deemed safe to use in urban areas. “There is no risk of collateral injury – we’re not pumping out huge amounts of power,” the director emphasised, and further noted that potentially hostile drones operate in the all-important ISM (industrial, scientific and medical) bands.
So as opposed to electronic jammers used in other counter-UAV systems using large quantities of power, often over-saturating – from the perspective of the frequency spectrum – the target, “we use a very small amount of power and we produce a signal the target has an affinity toward. The target sees our signal, and we communicate with the drone, and it wants to communicate with us much more than it wants to communicate with the perpetrator’s/controller’s hand set.”
After the opposing force loses control of its drone, NIGHTFIGHTER takes control of the platform, and safely lands it, or returns it to its home base, not allowing it to drop uncontrolled out of the sky.
Mr FitzGerald-Finch called attention to another benefit of the counter-UAS system’s tight beam, as it was said to not interfere with near-by security cameras and other devices increasingly dependent on the same frequencies used by drones. “Think of it this way – a traditional electronic countermeasures system ‘pushes out a bubble’, influencing every other device using ISM bands – pacemakers, cameras and others. We can mitigate these issues with our low power beam, which has a very high directionality,” he pointed out and once again emphasised, “This is a very safe system to use.”
Beyond UK security force customers, NIGHTFIGHTER has been delivered to at least one major European military service.
The system’s baseline weight is 5kg (11lbs), and is further configured to size, shape and weight by end-user requirements. While the system can be fitted into a backpack and deployed therewith, it can be stored and used from other configurations.