First DroneSentinel order highlights growing security opportunity in drone defence

DroneShield ASX DRO DroneSentinel Sentinel
DroneShield's recently launched DroneSentinel product.

Counter drone technology provider DroneShield (ASX: DRO) has announced the first order for its recently launched DroneSentinel product and says that a new “demonstration hub” in the Netherlands will improve the public’s awareness of the dangers of drone “incidents” that have affected governmental end-users.

The A$210,000 order was made by ForcePro, one of DroneShield’s European distributions, utilising the company’s latest technology including RadarZero, a portable radar system “roughly the size of a paperback book” which the company launched last month.

The products purchased by ForcePro will be used to set up a DroneShield demonstration hub in the Netherlands (home of the NATO Joint Force Headquarters), where there has been “significant interest in counter-drone products” across a number of domestic Dutch and international customers.

“The Dutch demonstration hub will enable European end-users to swiftly and efficiently observe DroneShield’s products in action, before making purchase commitments or seeking budgetary allocations from their governing bodies for purchase commitments,” said Oleg Vornik, Chief Executive Officer of DroneShield.

Civilian and military markets

DroneShield also says that its technology can court both the civilian and military markets effectively.

“The size and price point position RadarZero well for the civilian markets, while its functionality and specifications also make it appropriate for the military customers,” according to a DroneShield market statement.

Given the recent spate of unfortunate drone incidents involving civil and military aircraft, (allegedly, fuelled by the strong surge of civilian drone sales across many countries) — the call for better drone security and drone defences is now being made by several entities, both in the public and private sector.

Drone incidents

As reported by the BBC, a helicopter crash on Daniel Island in southern California was reportedly caused by a drone.

If crash investigators corroborate early reports, the crash would be the first aviation accident caused by a drone, and the first drone-related civilian aircraft crash in the United States.

The growth in the popularity of drones has been exponential in recent years. First made available only for military and industrial purposes, drones are now affordable for “civilians” and consumers.

Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be bought for as a little as $100 and require no previous experience or training to operate; yet are capable of reaching altitudes in excess of 100 metres and capable of being operated remotely from several kilometres away.

Civil aviation authorities in several countries have warned of an inevitable overlap between commercial and military aircraft with hobbyist drone operators, intentional or otherwise.

The most recent crash in California coincides with the release of a Transportation Safety Board of Canada report on a collision in Quebec involving a drone and a charter plane.

In a further incident, a drone reportedly collided with an air-tour helicopter in Hawaii.

“Governmental end-users, both military and civil, throughout Europe, are currently largely helpless against the threat of intentional or unintentional drone misuse. As the density of the drone population has increased dramatically, the frequency and the severity of incidents have gone up. As a result, governmental end-users have now recognised the need to have tools at their disposal to detect and mitigate drones,” said Mr Vornik.

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