US DroneHunter F700 C-UAS upgraded to fight fast Russian and Iranian drones

As reported by Breaking Defense on October 10, 2023, the DroneHunter F700 Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS), which is currently in use in Ukraine, has been recently upgraded. This system, developed by the American company Fortem Technologies, has been modified to counter the faster and larger drones used by the Russian military, including the Orlan-10 and the Iranian Shahed-136.
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The DroneHunter F700 utilizes a net-based system that enables the intact capture of the drones, potentially serving purposes like analysis or reverse engineering. (Picture source: Fortem Technologies)

The DroneHunter F700 is designed to neutralize a range of UAS and allows for the capture of drones intact, which could be valuable for analysis or reverse engineering. It operates autonomously, guided by radar, and employs a net-based capture system to intercept drones, including larger models like the Orlan-10 and Shahed-136.

One distinguishing feature of the DroneHunter F700 is its adaptability. It can handle threats of various sizes, from small Group-1 drones to larger Group-2 drones. This C-UAS utilizes modular payloads, including the NetGun system, to disable and capture target drones, and integrates a TrueView R20 radar system to enhance its spatial awareness and decision-making abilities. It has a notable success rate, with statistics indicating that around 15% of target drones manage to evade capture during the first attempt, including both quadcopters and fast, fixed-wing drones.

The F700 differs from other counter-UAS solutions in that many competitors are adaptations of commercially available airframes. In contrast, the F700 is designed from the ground up for counter-UAS missions, offering higher speed, agility, and range compared to drones that have been retrofitted for counter-drone operations.

When comparing the DroneHunter F700 to alternative counter-UAS methods, it is evident that each approach has its own strengths and limitations. Traditional techniques like jamming, GPS spoofing, directed energy, missiles, and high-powered lasers have specific use cases and may carry the potential for collateral damage. The net-based capture system used by the American system could be indicated if the operator aims to capture an enemy drone, potentially to repurpose it for strategic purposes.

The threat of drone swarms is a concern, and the F700, when deploying multiple units across various locations, can help counteract multiple attackers simultaneously. Additionally, the American drone can serve as a supplemental layer for anti-aircraft missile defense systems, particularly against fast, low-flying drones that act like missiles or loitering munitions, such as the Russian ZALA Lancet.