Unmanned Systems

Air Force is getting 100 handheld anti-drone “guns”

With the latest model of Radio Hill’s Dronebuster, a radio frequency detector and jammer, airmen will soon be able to detect and stop enemy drones, just by pointing and aiming a device.

The Dronebuster III weighs only five pounds. Meaning that, unlike other counter-drone technologies, the Dronebuster III can be carried and operated by a single war-fighter during on the ground operations. Troops with the Dronebuster will appear to be operating a gun-like device with a very wide, short barrel.

The Dronebuster III’s small size is in part due to its low power needs. Just 10% of the lithium ion battery’s power is required for the jamming function, reported Clay Wild, Vice President of Marketing at Radio Hill. The battery is also rechargeable, and has a charge life of at least three hours performing continuous jamming and ten or more hours in radio frequency detection mode, according to the Radio Hill Dronebuster fact sheet. 

Using new antenna cluster hardware and amplification software, the upgraded Dronebuster III is able to emit directed jamming frequencies at a target over longer distances than any other man-portable device, according to a Radio Hill statement. It is capable of electronically disabling drones using frequencies of ISM, UHF, HAM, or GPS bands. Adding up to a total frequency range of about 10 to 3000MHz.

The Dronebuster III can also detect and identify radio frequencies emitted by drones. The passive signal receptor discerns the direction of a drone from its electromagnetic signals, to ensure that the operator knows where to aim, even in degraded visual conditions, states the Radio Hill press release.  LED lights inform the operator of the strength of the detected radio frequencies.

“The Air Force identified the Dronebusters as an immediately available, off-the-shelf option to aid the Air Force in countering the emerging hostile threat posed by small, unmanned aircraft systems,” stated the Air Force spokesperson.

The Air Force’s acquisition of the Dronebuster III will contribute to the counter-UAS mission, which focuses on developing dismounted, stationary, and vehicle capabilities, according to statements by Col. Lanier Ward, Director of the Army Rapid Equipping Force, in April. As a handheld device, the Dronebuster III will be added to the arsenal of the dismounted warrior. 

“Countering the threat that small, unmanned aircraft systems pose, whether in the hands of hostile forces or negligent actors, is vital to ensuring continued air superiority and protecting U.S. personnel,” according to a written statement by an Air Force spokesperson.

The delivery date is set for next month, reported Wild. After just a few hours of training and practice, airmen will be ready to take the device into the field.

About the Author

Katherine Owens is a freelance reporter for Defense Systems

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