Battelle demos a handheld anti-drone 'gun'
- By George Leopold
- May 19, 2016
Battelle, the applied science and technology laboratory, showed off a drone jammer and a long-range mini-sub for manned and autonomous missions during this week's Sea-Air-Space exhibition.
Batelle's "DroneDefender" is billed as the first man-portable "directed energy UAS countermeasure" system capable of disabling small, unmanned air vehicles using "radio control frequency disruption." The "point-and-shoot" system has a range of 400 meters and is designed to disable small drones flying in a 30-degree cone before they can attack civilian or military targets.
While the technology is restricted under stringent Federal Communications Commission rules covering the use of electromagnetic spectrum, Battelle said it has already sold nearly 100 DroneDefenders to the Defense and Homeland Security departments. (Anti-drone technology is something the military has shown a keen interest in for the past several years.) Under current regulations, only federal employees are permitted to use the DroneDefender.
According to a demonstration video, the drone jammer operates at GPS and ISM (industry, scientific, medical) band frequencies. It allows a user to essentially take control of small drones and guide them to the ground. Hence, the system is touted as defending airspace against small drones without risking collateral damage.
Beyond operating frequency bands and range, Battelle provided few details about how its drone wrangler works. However, RF links that connect remote controllers to unmanned air vehicles are known to be vulnerable to hacking.
Battelle engineers also showcased Proteus, a dual-mode undersea vehicle capable of either of autonomous operation or of carrying a small crew. Recent endurance testing demonstrated the ability to perform long-duration missions for the U.S. Navy. A simulated underwater mission in a testing tank at Panama City, Fla., covered more than 2,400 nautical miles. Proteus conducted a range of simulated mission while submerged for 720 hours, Battelle said.
Battelle, Columbus, Ohio, and technology partner Huntington Ingalls Industries, jointly developed Proteus.