The U.S. Military’s new anti-drone weapon doesn’t require blasting the flying intruders out the sky. Rather, Battelle’s DroneDefender fires electromagnetic waves that disrupt how drones communicate with their operators, forcing them to hover in place, drop to the ground, or even return home on their own.
With more than 100 of the DroneDefenders already in the hands of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the weapon may already be zapping drones out of the sky.
Civilian drones have already become a problem for the military, as the vehicles have been caught hovering behind installations, filming the classified schematics of bases like Area 51 and even Russian missile silos.
Currently only available for use by the military due to FCC restrictions, the ray gun may one day also help authorities defend the space around airports from civilian drones, which have had a series of close encounters with passenger jetliners.
“We’re disrupting the command and control link, basically the link between the pilot and the drone itself as well as doing GPS disruption,” Kimberly Stambler, Business Development and Sales Leader at Bastelle told The Navy Times.
“Successfully tested and demonstrated against drone targets, the DroneDefender system provided a consistent response in field demonstrations. The remote control and GPS disruption responses are both fast acting, resulting in instant threat mitigation,” reads Battelle’s description of the DroneDefender.
With a range of about 400 meters, the DroneDefender is fast becoming the go-to weapon for federal authorities trying to keep their installations secure without resorting to more drastic measures. The lack of complete obliteration has been one of the most appealing aspects of the gun. When fired, drones do “one of three things,” says Stambler. “It will return home, it will land safely or hover in place. The most common one being return home.”
The popularity of the weapon with the federal government certainly suggests there may be a market among the public. While regulations currently prohibit sale of the DroneDefender outside of the federal government, we are already seeing people take anti-drone measures into their own hands. And they certainly aren’t sending the drones back home.