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NEWS | June 4, 2020

Joint Base MDL to partner with AeroDefense to strengthen drone deterrence

By Staff Sgt. Jake Carter Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., will partner with AeroDefense, a local business specializing in tracking technology and drone detection, to produce a system to track drones across the installation as well as pinpoint perpetrators who fly them.

AeroDefense will be awarded the contract in early June after being selected in the Small Business Innovation Research program, which is managed by AFWERX, Air Force Innovation team and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“SBIR is a program that helps small businesses obtain grants and research partners through Air Force squadrons,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jason Falkner, 87th Contracting Squadron services support flight NCO in charge. “SBIR holds open solicitations on a four-to-six month rotational basis where businesses are able to submit memorandums of understanding and funds committed to support their work.”

Approximately $400,000  was committed to AeroDefense from the 87th Security Forces Squadron and 621st Contingency Response Squadron on Joint Base MDL. When awarded the contract from the SBIR, AeroDefense will gain an additional $800,000 from the Department of Defense to continue their work.

“With a two-to-one matching ratio given by the AFRL, the company will receive a grant of $1.2 million to grow the technology,” said Falkner. “Both units will receive equipment that they helped develop and AeroDefense will have a viable commercial product to sell to the nation at large, including other military installations.”

AeroDefense currently has drone detection and tracking technology in use at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., but is aiming to provide more compact technology including mobile site and vehicle detection for military application with the money from the grant.

“AeroDefense has working drone detection systems at different places across the country, but realized the potential military application of their products and contacted us,” said Falkner. “As a small business with less than 10 employees, obtaining a grant from the SBIR program is a huge benefit to them because it affords them additional resources to help further develop their technology.”

With the nationwide increase of drone activity around correctional facilities, the 87 SFS will be able to use the developed technology at the Federal Correctional Institute on Fort Dix to deter contraband being delivered into the facility. For the 621 CRS, they will be able to use the technology in the field and other countries with their frequency of missions across the globe. 

Earlier this year, Joint Base MDL unveiled the new dronebuster technology to intercept  drones over the installation but will look to expand with the new technology.

“The strategic value of working with AeroDefense is found in their proprietary technologies unique ability to locate both the drone and the pilot flying the drone,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jarrod Kologinsky, 87th SFS Standards and Evaluations section chief. The ability to detect not only the drone, but also the exact physical location of the operator fills a critical gap in our ability to defend the installation against unauthorized small unmanned aerial systems activity. The end product of this joint collaboration will be a ruggedized, portable, sUAS-detection technology built to handle Air Force fielding and deployment requirements.”

This partnership between the two parties will allow AeroDefense to a build relationship with Joint Base MDL personnel, while also introduce them to the installation mission and offer their professional expertise to help solve problems in the drone detection and tracking-technology field.