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The Drone Center's Weekly Roundup: 2/20/17

Robohub

Telecommunications firm Verizon has acquired Skyward, a drone operations management company. Skyward develops software for drone operators to manage flight tracking and logging, maintenance scheduling, and contract management. The drone startup will join Verizon's Internet of Things portfolio. Kenya's government has implemented regulations for commercial drone use. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority will begin allowing businesses to import and use drones for a range of operations.


Army, industry intensify war on enemy drones with new lasers, missiles

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 21 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com When confronted with a swarming drone attack, defenders need to operate with the understanding that each mini-drone could itself be an incoming explosive, a surveillance "node" for a larger weapons system or even an electronic warfare weapon intended to disrupt vital command and control systems. Defenders under drone attack from medium and large drones need to recognize that the attacking platform can be poised to launch missiles or find targets for long-range ground based missiles, air assets or even approaching forces. Modern technology enables drones to use high-resolution sensors and targeting systems to both find and attack targets at very long ranges, thus compounding the threat.


Counterdrone Technologies Face Slow Ramp-Up at Airports Globally

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

Congress, however, has instructed the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a strategy to permit wide use of counterdrone technologies across airports. But like most airports, such entities generally refrain from publicly spelling out their plans. But the Southern California company soon switched gears to focus on sales to the Defense Department while it waited for commercial prospects to develop. "Unfortunately, innovation outpaced regulation," Mr. Williams said, and "it has put the market in a stalemate." To identify and deter drone intruders, companies are relying on a combination of mobile radars, video systems and acoustic devices, according to Pablo Estrada, vice president of marketing for San Francisco-based Dedrone Inc.


Risk of drone strikes is highlighted by apparent attack in Venezuela

The Japan Times

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused political foes of trying to kill him during an open-air speech Saturday using explosives-laden drones, prompting a host of questions about the alleged attack and who might have been behind it. Wherever the investigation leads, Maduro's allegations raised the specter of unmanned aerial vehicles being used by militant groups or others to launch bombing, chemical or biological attacks, a tactic that has long worried security experts. The market for commercial drones has flourished in recent years amid widespread availability and falling prices. So-called quadcopters -- drones with four rotors -- that can be operated from more than a mile away (1.6 km) and can fly for more than 20 minutes on one charge cost less than $1,000 to buy online, though they are generally capable of carrying only a limited payload. Militant groups such as Islamic State have used drones to carry out attacks by dropping grenades or crashing into infrastructure.


So, Bad News: Now Militants Are Using Drones as Projectiles

WIRED

The recent weaponization of drones has seen its share of inventiveness. But now, militants in Yemen are foregoing clever hacks and add-ons for a far more blunt approach: ramming drones into anti-missile systems, to keep them from knocking ballistic missiles out of the sky. It shows how militant groups and smaller military forces in the Middle East are exploiting gaps in the air defenses of better-equipped forces by using drones in new and unexpected ways, increasing demand for counter-drone technologies in the process. The United Arab Emirates, as part of a Saudi-led coalition, has been trying to oust the Houthi Ansar Allah movement in Yemen since Houthi militants seized control of the country from then-President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in 2015. Recently, according to a report from weapons-tracking research organization Conflict Arms Research, the UAE picked up seven drones, used by the Houthi militia to render the coalition's Patriot ballistic missile defense systems unable to intercept missiles fired from Yemen into Saudi territory.