United States defence and intelligence consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton has licensed Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed Department 13’s Mesmer counter drone system.
According to Department 13, licensing Mesmer also allows for potential inclusion of the system in field prototype demonstrations made to the US Military, predominately the US Navy and Marine Corps.
The system, previously with a price tag of $1 million, will not be used by Booz Allen for developmental purposes, however.
Through the deal, CEO of the Maryland-based firm Jonathan Hunter hopes to open further avenues within the US defence space.
“We are pleased with Booz Allen’s decision to include Mesmer as part of its larger, vendor agnostic, demonstration and evaluation efforts of counter UAS technologies,” Hunter said.
“Including Mesmer in this capability demonstration, alongside other counter-UAS technologies, may serve to introduce D13 to a host of new customers in the US defence industry.”
Mesmer detects and mitigates radio controlled devices and “mesmerises” them, taking control of intruding drones and forcing them to land rather than grounding them via kinetic attacks or jamming.
The esky-sized device is intended for the protection of a fixed site, such as an airport, where it can use existing radar to detect intruding drones.
“We believe that making drones fall from the sky is a bad thing,” Hunter said previously, pointing to an incident in 2015 where a drone carrying radioactive material was found on the roof of the Japanese prime minister’s office.
“If they had shot that out of the sky, they would have dispersed radiological material everywhere,” Hunter said. “That would have shut down Tokyo for at least a month.”
With the Mesmer device, Department 13 can manipulate radio transmission protocols that are used to control drones.
Aside from drone defence, the company has 13 patents and 22 patent applications in areas such as cellular communications and networking, data bandwidth, and cybersecurity for mobile devices.