CUAS, counter-drone, Counter UAS, UAV, counter UAV, drone threats

The Counter-UAS Playbook

Keeping Ahead of an Evolving Threat

Unmanned autonomous systems (UAS), or drone aircraft, are increasingly common in our skies and their proliferation presents numerous threats to our military, infrastructure, and commercial enterprises.

In response, Aerospace provides critical analysis and operational support of counter-UAS (C-UAS) solutions. This critical technical expertise includes system-level modeling and simulation, evaluation of alternative solutions and assessment of cost-effectiveness, and field operations support.

Drones create a dynamic threat environment, with potential threats running the gamut from benign to malicious, and from simple to sophisticated. Aerospace has identified the convergence of varying levels of intent and complexity to classify five major threat categories:

  • The Naive Hobbyist
  • The Snooper
  • The Thrillseeker
  • The Unsophisticated Bad Actor
  • The Sophisticated Bad Actor

 All of these possible threat levels can cause damage. The C-UAS playbook provides a series of steps to circumvent the increasing and evolving threats posed by illicit drones to assets, places, people, and events. The Aerospace Corporation provides end-to-end assistance with the design, installation, and operation of an affordable, effective C-UAS protection system that evolves with our customers’ threat level.

The Winning Play

Stay prepared with a customized threat-mitigation strategy

Step One: Understand the threat

Step Two: Analyze defensive options

Step Three: Deploy best-value solutions for your needs

Step Four: Acquire the appropriate system

Step Five: Stay aware of the threat and continually enhance defense


C-UAS, drone line of sight, Mod/SimStep One:
Understand the threat

Modeling the potential threat to your asset is the first step. The Aerospace Corporation can provide a comprehensive threat assessment by way of 3D-modeling, geospatial intelligence, and operational appraisals to fully analyze drone capabilities.

To provide this customized threat assessment, a variety of tools and processes are used, including:

  • Our proprietary catalog of drone threats
  • Terrain analyses
  • Assessment of potential drone launch sites
  • Analysis of potential threat vectors
  • Assessment of site vulnerability
  • UAS engagement scenarios
  • Analysis of potential countermeasures
  • Optimization of detection-sensor placement

uas threat, drone threatStep Two:
Analyze defensive options

C-UAS system accuracy varies with the operating environment. Densely populated cities with crowded radio-frequency bands will require more customized solutions than a freestanding structure in an uninhabited environment. Factors such as line-of-sight, radio-frequency propagation, visual clutter, ambient noise levels, and even weather can dramatically affect the performance of counter-UAS systems, so plans must be adjusted accordingly.

In this step, we focus on:

  • Sensor characterization
  • Sensor-placement optimization
  • Analysis of sensor coverage
  • Efficiency of signal collection
  • Detection and localizations
  • Re-engineering of communications
  • Test and analysis of options
  • Evaluation takedown tests
  • Signal detection and signature analysis
  • Surgical takedown of threats

Step Three:
Deploy the best-value solution for your needs

Aerospace helps customers limit unnecessary expenditures by assessing the cost-effectiveness of all proposed solutions. We strive for results that are achievable and repeatable over time within the operating environment, while maintaining concise definitions of mission success.

Operations Integration

To be successful in the long term, a counter-drone solution needs to be integrated into the operational workflow. As a result, this step focuses on:

  • Data collaboration
  • Data visualization
  • Policy compliance
  • Neutralization of threats
  • Integration of C-UAS operations with existing security systems

Step Four:
Acquire the appropriate system

Customers can either purchase an appropriate system off the shelf, or request a custom-built solution if necessary. This step includes:

  • Technology identification and evaluation
  • Analysis of available alternative systems
  • Developing the written requirements for a custom-built system
  • Creating a request to industry for proposals
  • Selecting a vendor and installing the system

drone, counter drone Step Five:
Stay aware of the threat and continually enhance defense

Drone  technology is always changing. The proliferation of new drones and evolving technology prompts the need for new countermeasures. Staying informed of emerging capabilities and countermeasures is an important part of an developing an effective C-UAS system. Threat assessment, simulation, countermeasures test, and system deployment are all parts of a robust C-UAS playbook.

Contact us to learn more about UAS threat assessment and C-UAS technologies, or to schedule a facility assessment.