In response to the recent, massive proliferation of drones in recent years, the US military has increasingly sought ways to defend its assets against this rising threat. To defend against the possibility of attack by relatively inexpensive, easily purchased technology, the navy has introduced the Drone Restricted Access Using Known Electromagnetic Warfare (DRAKE) anti-drone system aboard its surface ships.
According to a report by US Naval Institute News, the service “saw a very big need for having something to defend ourselves against something so simple that is so common these days.”
Gunner’s Mate Kyle Mendenhall explained to reporters aboard the USS Kansas City (LCS-22) early in August that the DRAKE anti-drone system works by repelling drones based on the frequency they use. If a certain frequency enters the system perimeter, the drone is rendered technically useless.
“So it projects basically like an umbrella. So when the drone flies in, this will just cut off the signal,” he added.
The DRAKE System
The DRAKE system is an anti-drone technology that has been used by the military since 2016 such as by HUMVEES during missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Developed by Northrop Grumman, the DRAKE System is described as “a radio-frequency negation system that delivers a non-kinetic, selective electronic attack of Group 1 drones.”
Unlike other anti-drone systems that eliminate enemy drones through projectile attacks, the DRAKE system works by cutting off the signal that connects the drone to its operator, placing a shield-like field around its perimeter. Thus, once an enemy drone flies above its area, the craft ceases to be under control and simply stops working.