SAN ANTONIO — Andy Morabe, director of business development for IXI Technology, says he can take down any drone with the drone gun he’s developed, including any that might be flown over the southern U.S. border by drug cartels.
His Drone Killer gun is the first and only hand-held device that can take down a drone without blowing it up, and it quickly became a favorite among law enforcement officials at the Border Security Expo here this week.
While many Americans think of drones as toys, DHS and local law enforcement agencies around the country are becoming increasingly worried about the threat they pose to national security.
In January 2015 , a drunken government employee infamously flew a drone over the White House grounds. The incident was followed by similar ones again in May and then in October , prompting government and private-sector officials to consider the need to protect vulnerable places from the new potential medium for spying or attacks.
In other instances, drones have crashed while flying over college football games, including one at the University of Kentucky in 2015.
At the border, Mexican drug cartels have been known to use drones to carry drugs into the U.S., or explosives.
Fighting back is difficult, since any item falling out of the sky — especially one with spinning blades — can pose a threat to the public. That means it’s not always possible to simply shoot them down.
Morabe’s Drone Killer overpowers the drone’s frequency, and sends it new instructions. It’s very similar to a gun and has a trigger that the user can pull to kill the drone.
“Breaking the command control will cause it to go back to its operators. If you want to break it down, you break the command control — it goes to low battery mode and sets down,” Morabe said. “The beauty of this is you don’t need to be a sharp shooter. It’s got a 30-degree cone.”
The ability to command the drone to land would allow Border Patrol agents to apprehend the drone and any item it’s trying to carry over the border wall, Morabe added.
Morabe originally created the product for fire departments in California that have had problems with local residents flying drones near forest fires and disrupting helicopters that are flying over and spraying the affected area.
The Drone Killer was launched just last year and was in high demand at this year’s border expo, but it’s not cheap: They run $27,500.
Still, Morabe said one major city’s sheriff’s department has purchased a number of Drone Killers and uses them at large public events in the case a citizen’s drone is detected in the area.
He is scheduled to perform a field test for the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton in March. [Click for More]