How badly do Iraqi security forces want a new U.S.-made drone zapper in the fight against ISIS?
Check out this CBS News video to see for yourself.
The footage, which aired on the network Monday night, shows how militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are using commercial drones armed with small bombs to attack Iraqi forces in Mosul.
The segment also features an interview with Iraq’s federal police commander, Gen. Ali al-Lami, whose facial expression says it all.
CBS correspondent Charlie D’Agata asks al-Lami whether American troops have supplied him or his forces with any of the drone zappers. The general shakes his head. D’Agata then asks if he would like to have them, to which al-Lami replies, “We wish, of course.”
Military.com has previously reported how Battelle, the Columbus, Ohio-based firm that makes the weapon, called the DroneDefender, at a manufacturing facility in nearby Dublin, has already supplied the Defense Department and the Homeland Security Department with about 100 of the devices.
The product resembles an assault rifle but features a directed energy frequency jammer mounted on the frame. It has a range of about 400 yards and works by disrupting the links to the drone controller or GPS device. Once jammed, drones usually default to one of three safe modes — hover in place, return to the pilot or gently drop to the ground.
In a telephone interview Monday with Military.com, Katy Delaney, a spokeswoman for Battelle, confirmed the company has to date sold about 100 DroneDefenders to the Pentagon and DHS and that the technology is used by U.S. troops in combat zones, but stopped short of specifying how or where exactly the products are employed.
Delaney said Battelle hasn’t sold the device to any foreign government, but has received export licenses to sell it to such allies as the U.K. and Canada.
Interest in the technology has surged over the past year, with Battelle receiving several hundred queries from state National Guards, local law enforcement agencies, jails and prisons — even Hollywood types interested in disabling paparazzi drones, Delaney said.
But because the device disrupts radio waves, the Federal Communications Commission prevents its use by anyone other than federal authorities, she said.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Army, which has tested the DroneDefender and other anti-drone products, didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request from Military.com asking whether the service plans to supply the technology to Iraqi forces, which have previously lost control of much bigger U.S.-furnished gear, from guns to Humvees.