Counter drone developer Department 13 edges into Japanese market with key distribution agreement

Department 13 International ASX D13 counter drone distribution agreement Japan Nippon Kaiyo

Counter drone technology developer Department 13 International (ASX: D13) has inked a distribution agreement with Tokyo-based Nippon Kaiyo to supply Department 13’s MESMER product to Japan’s key markets.

Department 13’s MESMER unit can be integrated into existing security and surveillance systems to detect, identify and mitigate drones, which are becoming increasingly adopted by consumers, but also used in malicious acts including war and espionage across the globe.

The protocol manipulation technique in MESMER allows operators to take control of a drone and either land it safely or return it to its launch place. Using this technology, Department 13 can also control swarms of drones using different radio protocols.

With more than 38 million people living in Tokyo, alone, and the country’s reputation for technology uptake, Department 13 claims the country is a crucial market for its MESMER device.

Department 13 now has distribution agreements across Latin America, the United States, Australia, South East Asia, and Europe.

The company’s first shipments of the v1.5 system occurred in August with Department 13 carrying out demonstrations to potential clients in the interim.

By mid-December, Department 13 had sold two more MESMER units to clients in Australia and South East Asia, with the v1.5 MESMER units selling for about US$400,000 each.

“This agreement with Nippon Kaiyo bolsters our continuously developing distribution network for MESMER,” Department 13 chief executive officer Jonathan Hunter said.

Headquartered in Maryland in the US, Department 13’s MESMER product is upgradable to ensure it is remains affective against the evolving drone technologies.

With drone registrations made mandatory in the US in late 2015, the country has been able to keep track of purchases. The number of small hobbyist drones in the US sat at 1.1 million in 2016. However, this number is predicted to triple to 3.55 million by 2021.

Additionally, UPS and Amazon have been testing out delivering packages via drones and this is anticipated to expand.

Goldman Sachs has estimated the global drone market to hit US$100 billion by 2020, with military accounting for US$70 billion, consumers or hobbyists comprising US$17 billion and the commercial and civil sector anticipated to be valued at US$13 billion by 2020.

In early afternoon trade, Department 13’s share price was up more than 6% at A$0.085.

Lorna has more than 10 years experience as a finance journalist and editor. She has written for an array of industry publications reporting on various sectors, including: resources, energy, construction, biotech, pharma, science and technology, agriculture, and chemicals. Specialising in resources, Lorna has covered a myriad of small and large cap ASX and dual-listed stocks.