Taking Control of Terror from the Sky

(DGIwire) – In December 2016, a Hamas member was gunned down in Tunisia. According to Defense News, Hamas described the man as a “drone program supervisor,” revealing the reality that Hamas—and possibly other terror organizations—have taken up drone warfare. In light of this, the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act takes steps to address the threat of adversary drones operating against the U.S. military.

A section of the Act authorizes the Department of Defense to take certain actions, including “reasonable force,” to deal with threats posed by a hovering drone to the safety or security of a “covered facility or asset.” This comes at a time, reports Defense News, when authorities in several countries have raised concerns about terrorist groups using drones to attack domestic targets.

“Augmenting our country’s ability to protect troops and military installations from drone warfare ought to be a top priority for our national leaders,” says Jonathan Hunter, CEO of Department 13. “As time goes on and reports of intended drone attacks accumulate, the drive to implement new anti-drone technologies will continue.”

Mesmer™, developed by Department 13, is a revolutionary commercial counter-drone platform, using sophisticated automated detection and mitigation strategies to stop, redirect, land or take total control of a target drone or radio-controlled device. This is done with protocol manipulation, which takes advantage of weaknesses found in all digital radio protocols. Mesmer is also flexible, operating as a stand-alone system, or working in tandem with existing hardware solutions. Mesmer is ideal for both commercial and defense/security organizations to deal with the emerging threat of ubiquitous autonomous systems. The company’s counter-drone solution offers the best of Department 13’s innovative technologies and deep experience.

Unlike other systems that use radio jamming and standard electronic mitigation techniques, Mesmer uses signal features and metadata to select and apply strategies in order to curtail drone threats, regardless of how drone vendors may try and prevent this from happening. This protocol manipulation is low-power so it offers an advantage by not affecting non-targeted communication signals. This also allows Mesmer to operate below one watt and within U.S. regulatory (FCC) constraints.

Hunter and his Department 13 colleagues suggest that threats, constraints and user needs will continuously change and evolve as drones and devices are implemented in the real world. So instead of a purpose-built hardware solution approach, they designed Mesmer software to use protocol manipulation to handle even the most complex of scenarios, providing end users with a powerful and flexible counter-drone system.

The Mesmer platform addresses diverse threat scenarios and drone types. It allows the possibility of “non-kinetic mitigations” (i.e. drones are not shot down) that pose no public hazards. Its open software architecture integrates with other security applications. Furthermore, the platform is operational in multi-terrain (urban, remote and rugged) environments, and it is easily deployed to support mobile counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) operation.

“The time to develop the optimal strategies for countering enemy drones is now, and every day brings reminders of the urgency of this issue,” Hunter adds.