Preface to 2nd Edition


It has been less than a year since the first edition of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the Cyber Domain: Protecting USA’s Advanced Air Assets was published. Three different factors have spurred the authors into updating their textbook. First, unmanned aircraft technology has seen an economic explosion in production, sales, testing, specialized designs and friendly / hostile usages of deployed UAS / UAVs / Drones. There is a huge global growing market and entrepreneurs know it. Small UAS companies have been reproducing like rabbits. Only the FAA has been stumbling block trying to balance UAS safe integration into the National Airspace against hundreds of thousands new recreational and commercial operators testing their meddle in the skies. FAA’s best efforts surround its decision to register UAS and provide a process for Part 107 Certification. Certification brings sanity and education into a chaotic public market in the US.

Second, hostile use of UAS is on the forefront of DoD defense and offensive planners. They are especially concerned with SWARM behavior. The author presented at several international C-UAS conferences which were attended by commercial, educational and military organizations for the purpose of hardening USA air assets against hostile drone activities.  These were serious conversations and workshops – many of them  behind closed doors and interacting with military brass.

Third, UAS technology was outpacing our first edition. Everyday our group read / discussed new UAS developments in navigation, weapons, surveillance, data transfer, fuel cells, stealth,  weight distribution, tactics, GPS / GNSS elements, SCADA protections, privacy invasions, terrorist uses, specialized software and security protocols and more. As authors we felt compelled to address at least the edge of some of the new UAS developments. It was clear that we would be lucky if we could cover some of the more interesting and priority technology updates. The 2nd Edition adds six more chapters (see below) to harvest information on important advances in the UAS theater. We were privileged to bring on Captain John P Hood (US Army)  as our military advisor and co-author.

Here is an outline of topics in the new chapters in our 2nd Edition:

Section 7: Technology Updates

Chapter 17: High – Altitude Platforms (HAPS) – A Promise not Reached

Student Learning Objectives
Earth Observation
UAV-Aided Wireless Communications
UAV-aided ubiquitous coverage
UAV – aided relaying
UAV – aided information dissemination and data collection
Simple HAPS UAV Network Architecture
Control and Non-Payload Communications Link (CNPC)
CNPC links operate in protected spectrum
Backhaul Links
Data Links
Channel Characteristics, Propagation and Channel Modelling
UAV-Ground Channel
HAPS UAV – UAV Channel
From the Designers Shoes
Stratosphere Segment
Aerodynamic Platforms (UAVs)
Platform Choice – Key Designer Issues
Telecommunications Payload
Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT & C)
Table 17-5 Functions of TT & C Subsystem
Electrical Power Subsystem
Ground Segment
Spectrum Allocation for HAPS
HAPS Link Budget
One-Way Link Budget Analysis
Uplink equation
Downlink equation
Discussion Questions

Chapter 18: C-UAS and Large-scale Threats

Student Learning Objectives
Countering Emerging Unmanned Air System Threats
Current Civil Restrictions / Policy, Directed Reviews from HR 302
Steps to Easing Restrictions
HR 302: FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018
C-UAS and the Department of Homeland Security
C-UAS and the Department of Defense
AI and Machine Learning
C-UAS and the General Public
Emerging Threat of Large Civil UAS
Current Restrictions / Policy, Directed Reviews from HR 302
C-UAS and the Department of Homeland Security
C-UAS and the Department of Defense
C-UAS and the General Public
Further Readings

Chapter 19: Audiology, Acoustic Countermeasures against Swarms and Building IFF Libraries

Student Learning Objectives
Problem Solution
Review of key points from Chapter 8 Stealth
Detection Signatures
Essentials of Audiology
For the Birds
Audiology Fundamentals
Intensity and Inverse Square Law
The Nature of Sound
Other Parameters of Sound waves
Complex waves
Patient D v-105
Standing Waves and Resonance
UAS / Acoustic Counter Measures FAQ
In terms of UAS Countermeasures, why are Acoustics so important?
Acoustic Signature Reductions
Can the UAS signatures be reduced?
What are the Acoustic Detection Issues?
Is Acoustic Quieting possible?
Compromising the Sound Source
Drone on Drone Attack
GPS Denied Navigation
Resonance Effects on MEMS
What is Resonance Tuning?
What is the “so what” for Acoustics? Here are the author’s thoughts:
Are there Countermeasures for Acoustic attack on Gyroscope?
South Korean experiment
UAS Collaboration – SWARM
Discussion Questions

Chapter 20: Legal and Regulatory – Where it Was, where it is and what’s Ahead?

Student Learning Objective
Current Regulatory Overview
Future Regulatory Framework
Conflict of Laws
Putting It Together – Where Law Meets Reality
Scenario 1 Interference with Fire Fighting
Scenario 2 Military, Legal, Public Safety
Decisions and Dilemmas for Student Consideration

Chapter 21: Chinese UAS Proliferation along New Silk Road Sea/ Land routes

Student Learning Objectives
Chinese Government Building the “The Belt & Road”
The Belt
Central Role in Road: Kazakhstan
The Belt Achievements to Date
Maritime Silk Road (MSR)
Chinese Military Build Up to Support the New Silk Road
Digital Silk Road
Drones are a critical part of China’s New Silk Road
In Plain Sight: China Drones Manufacturers
US involvement in the New Silk Road
Digital Belt and Road
Discussion Questions
Secondary Web Sources

Chapter 22: Ethics in the New Age of Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Student Learning Objective
Can ethics and morals be logically extended to AI and autonomous systems?
Balance V. Bias in AI and autonomous fields
If an AI system becomes self-aware, does it deserve human rights? Citizenship?
Lethal and none-lethal decisions; do we allow Skynet to be built?
Can we build autonomous systems that will obey the “rules of the road?
Ethics in new technology manufacturing
Discussion Questions

Chapter 17 looks at the promise of UAS High Altitude Platforms (HAPS). It follows a similar investment path as that of UAM (Urban Air Mobility) systems for transportation. Lots of money, lots of new technology, lots of players, and failure to complete the mission.

Chapter 18 is an interesting look at Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS), large scale UAS, and restrictions that the DoD and government has to suffer to extinguish UAS threats.

Chapter 19 presents the research formulations / Intellectual Property of Professor Nichols which were presented at two 2018 conferences. [1]  It discusses the technology behind use of loud ultrasonic sound at specific frequencies to disrupt the MEMS components driving the rotors of a Hostile UAS, forcing the aircraft into a destructive path. It works best with SWARMS because the number and organization can be matched by the LRAD weapons. Chapter 19 also presents the novel idea that the same frequencies that can be used to down a UAS can also be used to identify friend or foe (IFF) by creating a searchable library of sound frequency signatures. Currently IFF units are too expensive and require too many SCADA and power communications to be included in SUAS / mid-level UAS. Prof. Nichols and his team are seeking grant / funding for testing at a national anechoic chamber.

Chapter 20 addresses the legal and regulatory conditions in the US that UAS operators / owners and defense planners face. Globally, restrictions are much lighter than in the US.  It is a mess that FAA and others need to solve for the industry to grow in a challenging multi-issue environment.

Chapter 21 brilliantly addresses the Chinese Land / Sea New Silk Road Strategy and how UASs are being deployed for ISR operations and people control as well as interference with other nations assets. It presents a disturbing picture and one that should be taken to heart. The reader should also engage in self – learning by reading two seminal texts on the subject: 1) Brenner, J. (2011) America the Vulnerable: Inside the Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime and Warfare. New York: Penguin Books; and 2) Corr, A., Editor. (2018) Great Powers, Grand Strategies: The New Game in the South China Sea. Annapolis: The Naval Institute Press.

Chapter 22 presents a subject rarely discussed in public or regulatory offices – ethics. It looks at UAS and AI interfaces and how they present a real problem for society and act as a market barrier for an expanding UAS market. Several tough ethical cases are presented for evaluation.

We trust our 2nd edition will enrich our students and readers understanding of the purview of this wonderful technology we call UAS.


Randall K Nichols, DTM
Professor of Practice
Director, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) -Cybersecurity Certificate Program
Managing Editor / Author
Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus &
Professor Emeritus – Cybersecurity, Utica College

LinkedIn Profile:
Illi nunquam cedunt.
“We Never Yield”


  1. Prof Nichols was the Invited Keynote Speaker and Panel Moderator, (29-30 March 2019) 1st UAS CON for Law Enforcement and First Responders, speaking on Drone Wars: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Hostile Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Small UAS (sUAS), and Acoustic Defensive Countermeasures against SWARMS, Hazard Community & Technical College, Hazard, KY.He also was an Invited Speaker and Panelist (13-14 March 2019) 7th Annual DoD Summit, speaking on: Hardening USA Unmanned Systems Against Enemy Countermeasures, Alexandria, VA.


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Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the Cyber Domain Copyright © 2019 by R.K. Nichols, J.J.C.H. Ryan, H.C. Mumm, W.D. Lonstein, C. Carter, J.P. Hood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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