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Battelle shows off DroneDefender at Navy Expo

Handheld, rifle-like system meant to take down small drones.

By Geoff Ziezulewicz
Battelle shows off DroneDefender at Navy Expo
Defense non-profit Battelle showed off its handheld DroneDefender system at this week's Navy Sea-Air-Space Exposition. Screenshot via Battelle/YouTube

WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- Defense research non-profit Battelle showed off its DroneDefender system at this week's Navy Sea-Air-Space expo, a handheld, rifle-like system designed to counter the growing presence of smaller, commercial drones in the sky.

The "point-and-shoot" system uses radio control frequency disruption to safely stop drones before they can pose a threat to military or civilian safety, according to the company.

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The lightweight array has a demonstrated range of 400 meters, the company says.

But don't get too excited about taking down your neighbor's annoying airborne toy. The technology is restricted to use by federal authorities under a permitting process.

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It does not require a direct shot to disable a drone, the company said.

Instead, a shot in the direction of the drone within a 30-degree cone will disable the airborne intruder.

Battelle says they've sold nearly 100 units to the Defense and Homeland Security departments, with an expected release date later this year.

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Such drones are increasingly on the radar of some military minds. They will also be useful as private drones are a growing problem around airports.

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"It's a tough mission set because of the size and the altitude of these devices...you can buy them off the Internet, you can buy them in a store, Army Rapid Equipping Force head Col. Steve Sliwa told Military.com earlier this year. "They are not really that expensive. The ones that could threaten an installation, they are a little more expensive, but we are not talking about big dollars here."

Battelle also showcased Proteus, an optionally manned underwater vehicle that recently simulated traveling 2,412 nautical miles in a Florida testing tank and ran underwater for 720 hours while conducting a variety of missions, according to the non-profit.

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Also on display was the HorizonVue M360 video system, which uses Battelle's 360-degree cameras and interactive software that allows undersea operators to continuously monitor complex environments to a 4,500 meter depth, capturing a view that normally requires six to nine regular cameras.

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