Plenty of military operations are using drones in combat, but here’s a new product that is — in a way — the antithesis of that. U.S.-based airspace security company Dedrone today publicly launched a counterdrone product called DedroneTactical.
DedroneTactical merges Dedrone’s relatively long (in drone years) history of drone-tracking and takedown artificial intelligence and sensor technology into a portable package designed specifically for federal customers and warfighters — and it comes at a time of rising demand for more portable and quick-to-use multi-sensor, counterdrone tech.
Drones have long been used in military operations, and their use is growing. In fact, this month Ukrainian forces are set to receive 200 long-range, high-speed FPV (first-person view) drones to support their battle against Russia. Those FPV UAS are being fulfilled by Puerto Rico-based military drone and technology giant Red Cat. And other popular military drones include the Teal 2 (also made by Red Cat).
But rather than the acronym for drones, UAS, call this new product from DedroneTactical a type of CsUAS (counter small uncrewed aerial system). DedroneTactical is a sort of CsUAS response kit that brings modular sensor-fusion and mitigation flexibility into the field, with technology including cameras, radar and Radio Frequency (RF) detect and defeat.
What to know about DedroneTactical
So what is it, exactly? It’s a portable, plug-and-play kit that leverages Dedrone’s autonomous, AI-driven command and control (C2) platform called DedroneTracker.ai, and it puts it into what Dedrone refers to as “an end-to-end CsUAS kill chain.”
DedroneTactical consists of two masted kits, one ruggedized laptop and associated peripherals. Each kit is designed to be set up and taken down without the need for additional tools — all within about 15 minutes.
DedroneTactical’s Base Kit supports a range of ruggedized RF sensors, and also supports BlueHalo Titan. All sensors are mounted on a single tactical mast and can be expanded to include additional remote DedroneSensors via wireless network links. The Extended Kit adds a second mast with radar and camera to enable both non-RF drone detection for autonomously navigated drones and as well as visual confirmation.
It was created in collaboration with federal agencies around the world. And Dedrone claims that its new solution has helped pave the way for year-over-year growth of more than 300%, including an increase in U.S. government agency contracts. In fact, Dedrone says it has already sold more than 100 DedroneTactical kits to U.S. and global governments who work on the federal level (because while the public launch is new, the product has been going out to certain customers already).
“Through this multi-sensor detect and defeat solution, DedroneTactical delivers our advanced AI-driven sensor-fusion technology in an expeditionary format, enabling operators to make decisions quickly and more accurately,” said Aaditya Devarakonda, CEO of Dedrone, in a prepared statement. “We look forward to continuing to innovate with, and in service of, all our federal customers and warfighters working to secure airspaces and protect people, property and information from the threat of drones.”
DedroneTactical works in coordination with the company’s separate DedroneTracker.ai C2 solution. And while DedroneTracker.ai itself isn’t new, it’s been a proven way to deliver fast, accurate CsUAS solutions.
That product takes AI-driven sensor-fusion capabilities and promises to almost-entirely eliminate false positives and elevate high threat score targets to the operator, in a true “man-on-the-loop” format. In theory, it allows for more effective, rapid and accurate responses to potential drone threats. With both products combined, customers have a “broader airspace security solution.”
The company says that, in testing, DedroneTracker.ai’s AI-driven image recognition and autonomous detection engine performed at an estimated 95% accuracy level.
What to know about Dedrone
Dedrone is largely considered the market leader in smart airspace security. Its customers include more than 50 federal government agencies around the world, including four of the G7 nation governments and 30 separate entities within the U.S. federal government. Dedrone also has a fairly significant partnership with the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) focused on emerging technologies within the U.S. military to provide situational awareness of drone activity over protected sites.
Dedrone first launched in 2014 in San Francisco, but is now headquartered just outside of Washington, D.C. (presumably to put it closer to the headquarters of U.S. federal agencies, who make up a huge customer base for the company). It’s also got offices elsewhere in the world including Phoenix, Arizona; Columbus, Ohio; London and Kassel, Germany.
The company claims to build the only solution that provides continuous, autonomous interrogation and verification of drones. In short, it builds products for federal and commercial customers to more easily detect, track, identify, analyze, and mitigate drone threats at sites including jails, airports and critical infrastructure.
One of its major non-military projects is a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct research about general airport counterdrone operations using Dedrone’s detection, tracking, identification and mitigation products. The research is being done at two U.S. airports: one is New Jersey’s Atlantic City International Airport, and the second airport (which only got involved this year) has not been officially disclosed.
Dedrone’s other products include DedroneDefender precision jammer, which uses narrow-band jamming at a MIL-STD-810H military standard.
And Dedrone company seems to have been growing steadily, in large part due to the new DedroneTactical product.
“The first half of 2023 has continued Dedrone’s incredible momentum from 2022, culminating in the new capabilities and equipment of our DedroneTactical solution, which were inspired by the demand of our federal customer base,” Dedrone CEO Devarakonda said.
To check out the new DedroneTactical product yourself, it’s actually on display this week at the 2023 Airspace Awareness & Protection Conference, which is being held this Wednesday and Thursday (June 7 and 8, 2023) in Leesburg, Virginia.