Ascent Vision Technologies drone technology

Technology shown on this truck is used to disrupt signals between a drone and its operator. The technology, designed by Bozeman-based Ascent Vision Technologies, reportedly destroyed an Iranian drone approaching a Navy warship last week.

The U.S. Marine Corps used new technology last week on a Navy ship in the Middle East to thwart an Iranian drone.

It was designed by Belgrade-based Ascent Vision Technologies.

The technology disrupts signals between an unmanned aerial system and its operator. Military.com reported that the device, called the Marine Corps’ Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, destroyed an Iranian drone that came within 1,000 yards of a Navy warship in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Department of Defense released a statement confirming the incident with the drone and said the ship took “defensive action,” however, it did not provide further information.

Steve Zinda, Ascent Vision Technologies’ vice president of international business development, said that although military drones have been around for years, “bad actors” have started using recreational drones to wreak havoc.

Zinda said a $500 drone ordered from Best Buy or Amazon can be used to carry a grenade or another small weapon to cause harm.

“The need for this technology came about to stop those smaller threats,” Zinda said.

The counter-drone technology from Ascent Vision Technologies is made up of multiple parts. It uses a radar system to detect a drone within a 5-kilometer radius. A camera system tracks the drone and can identify if it’s hostile or not. Then a “jammer” disrupts the signal between the drone and its operator.

Zinda said the signal disruption can result in three different outcomes — the drone will return to the operator, land immediately when the disruption occurs, or become so confused it crashes to the ground.

The camera and the system’s software were developed and manufactured in Belgrade. The jammer and the radar come from separate suppliers.

Tim Sheehy, CEO of Ascent Vision Technologies, also founded its sister company, Bridger Aerospace. It also works with drones and makes technology for aerial wildfire fighting. Sheehy is a former Navy Seal and Purple Heart recipient.

Zinda said Ascent Vision Technologies started out developing high-tech cameras, and now makes integrated systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Its products are used by the military and other organizations worldwide.

“It’s been a great story of growth,” Zinda said.