Learning from the unprecedented October 7 terror attacks to avoid future drone security threats and define counter-drone technology operational needs.

The events of October 7, 2023, marked a significant turning point in the landscape of security threats, underscoring the pressing need of many countries for a comprehensive approach regarding their counter-drone technology and strategy. In this blog post, we will dive into the lessons learned from the October 7 Hamas attacks, offering insights into what could have been done differently beforehand, the operational requirements accentuated by the attacks, and the subsequent developments in counter-drone measures.

Understanding Rogue Drone Usage

The prelude to the October 7 attacks could have benefited greatly from a deeper analysis of the types of drones in use by Hamas. Predominantly composed of commercially available drones, these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) posed a distinctive challenge due to their accessibility and widespread availability. Knowing ahead of time the drone types present in the Gaza Strip airspace could have given a technological head start, especially when it comes to library-based solutions that could have tested their systems specifically against these drones.

We all know the number of drones being used in warfare is on the rise, but quantitative data is not enough. Library-based counter-drone vendors need to research the communication protocols of each commercial drone on the market to develop accurate and reliable protection. While the intelligence around Hamas’s equipment remains classified, it is being made available to Sentrycs and a few other Israeli C-UAS (Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems) companies that use it to ensure their solutions are quickly adapting and always relevant.

GeoConfirmed UAV-Originated Ukraine Geolocations in 2023

Source: Defense Express

Building a Heat Map of Rogue Drone Activities

Proactive monitoring measures, such as creating a heat map of drone activity, could have served as a crucial preemptive strategy. Identifying the locations where these drones were being flown and determining their points of origin would have enabled targeted surveillance and security deployment in high-risk areas. Failure to do so only reinforces the current need for armies, homeland security, and law enforcement agencies to constantly scrutinize the skies above high-risk zones where potential conflicts are likely to emerge or critical assets could be targeted.

Source: DroneUA

Intelligence Gathering and Asset Targeting

Understanding the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the drones used by terror organizations and the specific assets they target is paramount. A preemptive strategy could have been devised to take over some of Hamas’ drones and extract the footage they captured to secure sensitive locations and critical infrastructure based on identified reconnaissance patterns.

Automated and Autonomous Counter-drone Technology

The October 7 attacks underscored the imperative need for advanced Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) technology, supporting the entire drone security lifecycle: from detection, through tracking, identification, and finally mitigation of drone threats. Such systems operating in an automated and autonomous fashion can swiftly detect and neutralize drone threats, minimizing reliance on human response time. Both conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip have proven 24/7 autonomy is a must-have capability that enables soldiers on the ground to focus on other tasks, rather than having to spot and shoot drones above their heads.

Counter-drone Solutions Operating in Noisy RF (Radio Frequency) Environments

A significant insight since the attacks was the importance of counter-drone systems capable of functioning in noisy Radio Frequency (RF) environments. It is no secret that modern warfare involves a lot of technologies of all sorts. Adaptable counter-drone technology capable of navigating through interference ensures a more resilient defense against evolving drone threats.

Differentiating Between Friends and Foes

Crucially, the October 7 attacks and the subsequent conflict in the Gaza Strip – where the IDF has been extensively using drones themselves for surveillance, identifying armed terrorist cells, or strikes – emphasized the need for systems that can accurately differentiate between friendly and hostile drones. To prevent accidental targeting of authorized UAVs, including those operated by security forces or civilians, the counter-drone systems must possess accurate identification capabilities.

Locating Attacking Drones’ Operators

Closing the loop by identifying and locating the operators behind the attacking drones is imperative for counter-drone technology providers. This capability not only ensures a swift response to the immediate threat but also facilitates legal action against those responsible.

3. Post-October 7: Adapting and Protecting

Protecting Populated Areas

The attacks served as a stark reminder of the urgent need to enhance security measures around populated areas. Given that some of these locations are likely targets for drone attacks, prioritizing protective measures for civilians and critical infrastructure becomes essential. Legislation must evolve as well and grant more security agencies and private institutions the authority to take real-time action against rogue drones threatening their people, premises, and assets.

Constant Adaptation to New Threats

The evolving nature of drone technology necessitates a commitment to constant adaptation. Security forces must stay ahead of emerging threats by investing in research and development, fostering innovation, and enhancing counter-drone technology and capabilities. Investments in C-UAS must increase faster than investments in the drone market if we want the entire drone economy to safely thrive. As stated in the Joint Air Power Competence Center e-book “A Comprehensive Approach to Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems”, there is no silver bullet to C-UAS. That is why, “to tame the C-UAS problem, the only possibility is to have a profound understanding, to anticipate trends, to imagine the desired end state and work towards it. I would argue that the famous ‘silver bullet’ is exactly this: awareness, experimentation, preparedness, cooperation, coordination, and capability to adapt.

The October 7 Hamas attacks triggered a paradigm shift, compelling governments, and security agencies to reassess their counter-drone strategies. By scrutinizing what could have been done differently, acknowledging the operational requirements underscored by the attacks, and adapting to the evolving landscape post-October 7, we can construct a more resilient framework to counter future drone threats. The journey toward a robust and adaptive counter-drone strategy is an ongoing process that requires collaboration, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to safeguarding our communities from evolving security challenges. Sentrycs is ideally positioned to lead the charge in the market with its highly adaptive, integrated, and autonomous technology, based on communication protocol analytics. It provides the reliability and accuracy needed to perform in both military and civilian scenarios while differentiating between authorized and rogue commercial drones.