Counter-UAS Services Fill Important Industry Gaps
This is article three of four articles exploring the Counter-UAS industry. If you haven’t read the first or second article, they can be found here- The Emergence of the Counter-UAS Industry and Skimming the Surface: Counter-UAS Products.
While the terms “product” and “service” are incredibly vague across many industries, including the Counter-Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) landscape, key differentiators start to emerge when comparisons are made to contemporary technology markets. Products are generally physical in nature, are possessed directly by the buyer, are much easier to transfer to another owner, and the particular branding of a product is typically what differentiates it from competitors (1).
As compared to products, services are generally far less tangible than a product and consist of particular activities, technology, and/or actions performed by a service provider on behalf of a customer. Where a product is directly owned and allows full transference to the buyer following a completed transaction, a service provider retains full control and must continually deliver its services to customers for value to be realized. Services are highly perishable, have high customer contact, and are highly difficult to patent versus a product (1).
This article will explore the various services available to enterprises seeking to bolster their C-UAS portfolio and showcase prime examples of services offered by market leaders in the C-UAS industry.
The wide variety of services available to support C-UAS operations are highly similar in many respects to enterprises with existing business or Information Technology (IT) functions. Enterprises must continuously assess the lawful use of services in their C-UAS portfolio, which typically involves leveraging experts to guide the enterprise on the most optimal use of these services. Sometimes, services fill a gap where a product does not currently exist or provide a more cost-effective solution. Some of the general services available to C-UAS missions are highlighted in the infographic below.
A more thorough definition describing each of the above services has been outlined in the table below. Like C-UAS products outlined in a previous article, due diligence should be exercised before committing to any C-UAS services. Now that a more thorough understanding of the various service types has been obtained, the article will shift to exploring more specific services available to enterprises that assist in reducing their aerial risk profile.
Airspace Monitoring Service
Beginning with Hidden Level’s scalable Air Monitoring Service (AMS), this cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides a highly flexible Detection, Tracking & Identification (DTI) capability for enterprises. AMS is backboned on an expanding advanced sensor network, made available via sensor installations on existing infrastructure such as water towers, building rooftops, light poles, or cellphone towers, feeding real-time drone and operator positions to existing enterprise security systems via their GeoJSON Application Programming Interface (API) (2).
Hidden Level VP of Strategic Initiatives, James Licata, was interviewed late last year to gain further insight into the AMS service. When asked to describe their flagship solution further, Licata noted, “AMS is the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of customer feedback and improvement efforts across federal markets to provide a leading C-UAS solution for any commercial security or Air Traffic Management (ATM) scenario occurring in urban, low altitude air space.” Licata went on to state that Hidden Level’s AMS service and its embedded analytic capabilities ensure actionable intelligence is provided to its customers in real-time, whether drone activity occurs across a large, dispersed metropolitan cityscape or down to individual facilities operated by a customer.
Counter-UAS Consulting, Counter-UAS as a Service, and Training
C-UAS provider Shield Counter-UAS offers enterprises an agnostic, layered portfolio of solutions supporting every part of an organization. Shield’s core consultancy arm delivers a Threat and Risk Assessment (TRA) service in 2 separate packages (3). The initial package provides a UAS-centric vulnerability assessment report, helping the enterprise visualize its aerial risk exposure should a malicious drone platform impact its’ facilities and business operations. The assessment is tailored to help customers identify and reduce their attack surface, developing mitigating controls focusing on applicable drone platforms, relevant flight activity, and potential launch points used by would-be attackers.
Shield’s second TRA package is a continuous subscription paired with the guided installation of a C-UAS system, allowing enterprises to perform similar but ongoing risk analysis comparable to the initial service offering outlined above.
Shield’s C-UAS training packages have been developed to support leaders, C-UAS operators, and those seeking to gain an awareness of C-UAS. Shield understands that C-UAS systems are only 50% of the solution. An organization’s people will make or break a C-UAS strategy. Lastly, Shield offers Field Service Representatives. Their FSRs are drawn from the military and have served in some of the most challenging and complex environments.
In a Fall 2022 interview with Mr. Graeme Ritchie, further insight was obtained on the Shield service portfolio and expertise their personnel delivers. “Having served in highly dynamic aerial environments, our operators and instructors are providing customers an unmatched operational experience that’s difficult to find elsewhere right now.” Ritchie went on to note, “While our personnel instill a necessary element of trust in our customers, our risk management and end-user training services also provide our customers with a strong sense of comfort, knowing that they are in highly capable hands.”
Other unique services have emerged and grown with the Counter-UAS industry. Red Six Solutions offers its clients ongoing adversary UAS intelligence threat reports that they develop from analysis of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) on the Internet (4). DroneSec provides a similar service, but users can interact with drone incidents directly through their data monitoring platform, “Notify,” or receive weekly or monthly reports (5).
Red Team Services
For training, testing, validation, and demonstrations of Counter-UAS technology, often times the needed drones, drone types, drone pilots, and expertise are unavailable within the Counter-UAS companies. To solve this problem, many turn to companies with “red team” capabilities.
Red Six Solutions provides UAS and pilots for “red team” services to support technology assessments and military/law enforcement training exercises (4). This service is often in high demand with trained pilots and informed use of UAS platforms.
Training and Testing Locations
Northern Virginia-based Xelevate offers two campus environments conveniently located on the East Coast and an expert team to partner in your success in varied operating environments. They offer commercial proving grounds/maker spaces for entities to push forward their capabilities that is cost-effective, including a 66-acre campus in Leesburg VA, near policy makers and government clients, and a 600+ acre airport in Washington, NC, that allows for multi-domain operations (Air, Land, and Sea; manned and unmanned operations), as well as Groups 1-5 drones (6).
Marcy Eisenberg, President and Co-Founder of Xelevate, provided further insight, “We created Xelevate to propel the safe integration of US-based drone/UAS related capabilities into the national airspace and waterways, as well as mainstream American culture- to bring the PowerPoint to life and create a ‘show don’t tell’ environment. From the earliest stages of cultural awareness and acceptance through cutting-edge transformation, Xelevate provides secure space and agnostic resources for engagement, innovation, education, and collaboration among our partners in industry, government and academia in the communities we serve.”
Having overviewed the various service offerings and highlighted some of the critical services offered by industry leaders, some of the key advantages services offer to enhance airspace and awareness efforts should be more apparent.
While humans are creatures of habit, they also enjoy convenience, and specific services have been successfully developed for the C-UAS industry to fulfill this need. In the following article, the human element of C-UAS will be explored further to help readers understand C-UAS job roles, desired skill sets employers seek, and Counter-UAS events.
See article #1 in this series- The Emergence of the Counter-UAS Industry
See article #2 in this series- Skimming the Surface: Counter-UAS Products
See article #4 in this series- Exploring C-UAS Job Opportunities and Events
1. Key Differences between products and services – https://techclient.com/difference-between-product-and-service/#google_vignette
2. Hidden Level Airspace Monitoring Service Overview – https://hiddenlevel.com/about/services/airspace-monitoring-service/
3. Shield’ Threat & Risk Assessment (TRA) service overview – https://shieldcuassolutions.com/our-service.html
4. Red Six Solutions service overview- https://red-6.com/
5. DroneSec service overview- https://dronesec.com/
6. Xelevate overview- https://xelevateus.com/