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With the commercialization of drones, public security and critical infrastructure security have been exposed to potential drone attacks, thus becoming a major concern for law enforcement services around the globe. Aerial drones are being used by criminal organisations and other hostile elements.
An Australian company specialising in equipment to counter improvised explosive devices has launched a product that can disable and control drones entering defined air spaces in a bid to increase public safety.
EPE Australia partnered with United States firm Department 13 to help bring the counter drone capability, known as MESMER, to Australia.
The company’s managing director Warwick Penrose said: “We are seeing criminal activity using drones now for surveillance assets for law enforcement.. the bad guys are using drone technology to look at what we are doing and how we are doing it to try and avoid capture.”
“Military organisations worldwide are grappling with this problem of how we can detect and mitigate drones…we are trying to think about ways we can protect the airspace,” he said.
“Certainly for our public safety perspective it is an issue out there for our critical infrastructure such as our airports.” “Co-ordinated drone attacks, that is something we are seeing at airports now, four or five drones working in conjunction with each other.”
According to brisbanetimes.com.au, earlier this year, an international criminal syndicate, busted smuggling $30 million worth of cocaine into the Port of Melbourne, attempted to use a drone to make sure their meetings were not being watched by police.
The technology, which allows the user to stop, redirect, land or take control of a target drone, was demonstrated to the Australian Defence Force as well as state police forces earlier this year.
“We listen for the signals of the drones and based on what we hear we throw out a couple of packets of data to handshake with the drone and effectively convince the drone to talk to us, to speak to its controller,” he said. “We can detect and mitigate up to five kilometres.”
The technology is different to other counter drone systems that use radio jamming or standard electronic mitigation techniques. The platform is low power, it can be operated below one watt, and will not affect non-targeted communications signals, according to an article on the Department of State Development website.