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Since 2015, CERBAIR (BOOTH 07-A05) has based all its detection solutions on the analysis of the radiofrequency spectrum. Called HYDRA, it is a direction finding system with sensors that scan the electromagnetic spectrum for frequencies used by the communication protocols of commercial drones.

As soon as a signal is intercepted, HYDRA characterises it through comparison with a signature database and gives operators an azimuth of origin symbolised on the interface of a Command and Control (C2) centre. The device is coupled with MEDUSA, a specially designed jammer, actionable when the threat is clearly confirmed. This radio jamming cuts the communication link between the drone and its operator, thereby forcing the machine to land.

Finally, CHIMERA is the combination of these two systems for special forces (police, gendarmerie, army). Composed with three connected hardware items:

  • an antenna, located in the dedicated backpack
  • a digital C2 tablet attached to the front of the tactical vest
  • an effector

CHIMERA allows a single operator on a mission to detect and neutralise nefarious drones.

Reliability of Detection

“Our customers, such as French SWAT Unit (RAID) or the soccer team l’Olympique Lyonnais, reported an increasing number of false alarms in environments saturated with electromagnetic radiations” underlines Céline Craye, PhD – Lead Developer, recalling the origin of this unique feature on the market.

“The core of our detection is based on a mapping of the frequency / time space,” explains Pierre Dufour, RF Engineer, who carried out extensive research on deep packet inspection.

Craye added, “by performing a first detection, we identify the overall characteristics of the packets sent between the drone and the remote control (packet duration, bandwidth), then we apply a first filter on the entire spectrum to precisely isolate the potential packets emitted by a given model of drone. After this crucial step, ULTRA (Ultimate Recognition Algorithm) analyses the content of the packet to detect patterns of each communication protocol. If these indicators are present in the package, we can confirm with absolute certainty the nature of the drone.”

In short, ULTRA scrutinises both the interpulse data (the relative positions between the different transmitted packets) and the intrapulse data (data relating to a packet).

Unique Feature

“While developing this unique feature, we found out that the biggest challenge was to get the clearest signal possible. For several months, we analysed multiple recordings and carried out thousands of tests, both in our lab of Montrouge, and on the field in the outskirts of Paris” concluded Craye and Dufour.

Symbolised by a green pulse on the detection software, ULTRA is available on HYDRA 100/200 and the future HYDRA 300 (fixed or mobile).

ULTRA is already included in the latest release of the CHIMERA software. Unlike its competitors seeking ever more detection range, CERBAIR innovates by investing in more reliable detection, eliminating as much as possible false alarms which can generate costly and unnecessary actions for the user.

Jack Richardson