Portable drones are good jammers

he U.S. government has purchased more than a hundred suspected drone jammers to protect government facilities, property, and personnel. The jammer interferes with the radio control of the drone, avoiding dangerous alternatives involving bullets and other projectiles.

According to Defencetech, Battelle Labs sold its portable drone jammer DroneDefender to the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. The jammer looks like an intersection between an old-fashioned TV antenna and an assault rifle, which can block drones more than 400 meters away.

DroneDefender works by directing radio energy to the drone, disrupting the connection between the drone and the operator. Jammers operate in common industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) frequency bands. The 2.4 GHz frequency (one of the most common drone control frequencies) is part of the ISM band.

Jammers also interfere with GPS signals, an important feature of drones based on satellite navigation guidelines. Once stuck, the drone can hover directly into place.

DroneDefender’s “soft kill” method is to disable drones by cutting commands and navigation links, rather than more dynamic methods, such as guns filled with birds and fire. The flow of radio wave energy will not harm people or cause property damage.

The system weighs 15 pounds (including a battery pack) and can be used for up to five hours in a row. The Department of Defense and Homeland Security purchased a total of 100 DroneDefenders, but will not discuss specific unit costs or the agents that will receive them.