Drones

Battelle’s DroneDefender anti-drone beam gun grounds UAVs

Battelle’s DroneDefender anti-...
The Battelle DroneDefender is a portable anti-UAV beam weapon
The Battelle DroneDefender is a portable anti-UAV beam weapon
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The Battelle DroneDefender is a portable anti-UAV beam weapon
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The Battelle DroneDefender is a portable anti-UAV beam weapon
The Battelle DroneDefender jams all UAV commands, including detonation
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The Battelle DroneDefender jams all UAV commands, including detonation
The Battelle DroneDefender comes in various configuration
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The Battelle DroneDefender comes in various configuration
The Battelle DroneDefender jams both control and GPS signals
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The Battelle DroneDefender jams both control and GPS signals

There's recently been a run of new anti-drone systems introduced to deal with potential threats from UAVs, but these have been on the large and expensive side. To provide an affordable alternatives to plug the gap between shotguns and truck-mounted systems, national security research and development firm Battelle is introducing DroneDefender. Billed as the first portable, accurate, rapid-to-use UAV counter-weapon, it's a rifle-like raygun device that uses a radio beam to jam drone control systems and stop them in midair.

Most UAVs in service today are relatively harmless, but their growing numbers increases the risk that they will be used maliciously or carelessly. Recent systems for dealing with rogue drones have taken one of two approaches. One type destroys UAVs by shooting them down with special anti-aircraft guns, which has the obvious limitation that such weapons can't be used in many areas for legal or safety reasons. The other type uses large-scale jamming systems that fire radio beams to interfere with the drone's controls, but many of these, like the anti-aircraft guns, are very large, expensive, and not at all suitable for dealing with minor problems at small installations or following VIPs and other targets on the move.

Battelle's DroneDefender is designed as a point-and-shoot system that looks like an elaborate shoulder raygun with two antennae, a software-defined radio, and jamming circuitry. It works by firing a radio beam in a 30° cone that jams the control and GPS navigation frequencies to disable drones at distances of up to 400 m (1,300 ft). Battlle says that the system not only freezes the UAV, but also stops all outside control commands, including radio detonation signals.

The DroneDefender places a heavy emphasis on speed and portability. It weighs under 10 lb (4.5 kg), can cold-start in under a tenth of a second, and operates continuously for up to five hours with optional battery packs. It can be carried or fixed on a Picatinny rail mount and comes in hardened versions for forward deployment in hazardous areas.

The Battelle DroneDefender jams both control and GPS signals
The Battelle DroneDefender jams both control and GPS signals

Battelle says that the DroneDefender requires no special training to use, has already been tested against a DJI Phantom drone target, and has shown a consistent response in field conditions.

Because, US FAA regulations prohibited an actual demonstration, the video below shows a simulation of the DroneDefender in use.

Source:

Battelle

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13 comments
swaan
What about drones with GPS and preplanned flight paths?
Bob
Great idea BUT could this be used in the future to wreck self driving vehicles or hijack delivery drones??? This thing could be more dangerous than a real gun. I could see a larger version of this taking down aircraft or wreaking havoc on an expressway where every car is controlled with a computer. While this may not yet be a powerful EMP weapon, it's just a matter of scale.
EH
I think the FCC also has some problems with this device. Besides almost certainly exceeding the radiated power limits for an unlicensed device and the FCC prohibiting civilian jammers generally, it is probably unsafe to have a high-output antenna that close to your face for minutes on end, even though nearly all the power is going forward - the near field has higher field strengths than one would expect from looking at the emissions from a distance. They should put a copper mesh groundplane a couple of feet across between the antenna and the operator. Painted black with a transparent conductive-coated aperture for the scope, the mesh would still allow sighting but greatly reduce cooking the operator's eyeballs. GPS jammers are also potentially dangerous to aircraft, especially those coming in for a landing, certainly more of a threat than most handheld lasers. I expect these drone-jamming devices will not be licensed for civilian use.
christopher
This is utterly ridiculous - we already have nutcases irritating planes with later pointers, and now you want to give people the ability to totally disable their GPS and navigation? And for what? Anything that this might possibly protect against, needs only one tiny software upgrade to convert it into a suicide device: if(I_am_being_jammed){follow_signal; self-destruct-on-impact}... the nutcase with the jammer becomes the beacon the drone needs to head for to destroy the jamming device and/or operator.
Stephen N Russell
Used similar device but larger in 50s movie Earth vs Flying Saucers to defeat UFOs over Wash DC ( on DVD).
greenace92
If it's actually a "drone" eg. autopiloted not four motors and it flies, I don't see why an autopilot doesn't take over and keep it in the air using accelerometers/gyro and head back to where it came from unless GPS is gone too. Didn't read article though <- dumb This guy's pointinga helical antenna like a gun lol.
morongobill
But will it work against the Predator?
Mel Tisdale
For some people, the fact that it is illegal is immaterial. How long will it take for autonomous vehicle projects to be abandoned on the basis that they have too many vulnerabilities?
AliciaRussell
I'm sure that people that want to breach that fence are smart enough to have more than 1 drone. I would think that the price of these things is in the area of thousands of dollars and there is only one per institution, while the price of drones is in the low hundreds of dollars. If I'm sneaking a cell phone into a prison, and even if I lose 2 to 1, Jimmy the Shank gets his cell phone.
DocDbiker
There are UAVs that can navigate from an initial GPS co-ordinate using fairly sophisticated 6 axis gyros and accelerometers with high levels of accuracy (in fact some mini quads use them and forgo GPS entirely). So if such a UAV is flying a preprogrammed path, with timed "actions" commands using something like the Arduino, then cutting it off from outside radio commands or it's GPS reception is going to achieve nothing. If I was seriously going to use a UAV as a weapon then I'd put a number of 3KG lift hexcopters over my target at 1000m+, where they would not be seen or heard (without artificial aids), and have them release a dozen or so 250 gram fletchets. These would hit the ground with about the same force as a burst from a .50cal machine gun. This "Dronedefender" would in all likelihood be out of range, and the operator will not have seen the threat.