By Lieutenant General

By Lt Gen



, GE


Executive Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre (2018-2021)

 January 2021

Dear Reader,

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have become an integral part of NATO operations and have advanced into an invaluable asset for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, as well as for combat missions.

This has not gone unnoticed by both state and non-state actors, which has led to an enormous effort by these players to catch up with or at least mimic the Western level of technology. Over the last decade, China, Russia, and to a certain extent Iran, have considerably advanced the development of UAS, and their latest models seem to have the same performance characteristics as Western models. Russian and Chinese inventories comprise the full range from small and tactical UAS, through Medium- and High-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE/HALE) systems, to replicas of US and European stealth prototypes.

At the same time, the consumer drone market is one of the world’s fastest-growing businesses, making drone technology literally available for everyone. The market for commercial drones with a significantly higher performance than consumer models is also steadily growing. Due to their increased proliferation, the number of incidents with drones in the vicinity of airports, public events and military installations has raised the attention and concern of the respective civil authorities responsible for public safety and law enforcement.

Countering UAS and drones is a challenging task, both in the military and civil domain. Therefore, it is important to incorporate all available means and to exploit any vulnerabilities to achieve this task. However, most UAS and drone defence applications are focused solely on the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) itself, rather than exploiting the weaknesses of the entire system, which typically also comprise mobile or stationary remote control equipment, radio communication links, and human personnel.

It is also important to note that countering UAS and drones is already a task in peacetime whereas most military defence applications are intrinsically designed for a conflict scenario. Not to mention that the legal frameworks for operating in peace, crisis, or conflict differ significantly. Hence, adopting civil approaches to this challenge and incorporating the civil authorities is required when the employment of military force is restricted or prohibited.

To stimulate thought on a more comprehensive approach when having to counter UAS and drones, this book provides the reader with a broad assortment of the different military, civil, and legal perspectives on the subject matter.

I invite you and your staff to read through this book and to critically assess the conclusions and recommendations presented. We welcome any observations you may have with regard to this book or future issues it identifies. Please feel free to contact my JAPCC staff for any inquiries and comments.


Klaus Habersetzer
Lieutenant General, GE AF
Executive Director, JAPCC

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Lieutenant General
Executive Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre (2018-2021)

Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer joined the Air Force in 1977. After obtaining his officer’s certificate and his diploma in aerospace engineering he was trained as a Ground Based Defender on the HAWK weapon system. He went through various assignments with Air Defence units before participating in the General Command Staff Course in 1990.

He served as Deputy DCOS Stability and Director, Civil-Military Synchronization at the ISAF Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afterwards he was appointed Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, Response Forces Operations Command in Ulm, Germany, before he took over the duties of Chief of Staff, Multinationales Kommando Operative Führung/Multinational Joint Headquarters Ulm.

He took over command of German Air Operations Command in Kalkar and the Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem in September 2018. At the same time he also took over the duties of the Executive Director of the NATO Joint Air Power Competence Centre.

Information provided is current as of August 2021

Other Chapters in this Book


There is no 'Silver Bullet'

Part I - Overview


The Differences Between Unmanned Aircraft, Drones, Cruise Missiles and Hypersonic Vehicles

Unmanned Aircraft System Threat Vectors

The Vulnerabilities of Unmanned Aircraft System Components

A Methodology for Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Part II - Military Perspectives


Space Operations

Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

Defensive Counter-Air Operations

Offensive Counter-Air Operations

Electromagnetic Operations

Cyberspace Operations

Strategic Communications

Force Protection Considerations

Command and Control

Education and Training

Part III - Civil Perspectives

Protection of Critical Infrastructure

Cloud-based Command and Control for Security and Drone Defence Applications

Drone Forensics

Law Enforcement

Part IV - Legal Perspectives

Arms Control of Unmanned Weapons Systems

Facing the Challenges

Regulatory Frameworks in Support of Counter-UAS

The Juridical Landscape of Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Part V - Future Perspectives

Future Threats: Military UAS, Terrorist Drones, and the Dangers of the Second Drone Age

Research, Development, and Acquisition of Counter-UAS Technologies

Employing Friendly UAS for Counter-UAS Operations

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