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Illegal drone jammers bought on Chinese trading platform

Illegal drone jammers bought on Chinese trading platform

Although the purchase and use of jammers is not allowed in most countries, it appears to be no problem to get illegal drone jammers via Chinese suppliers. This is shown by research by the magazine Engineering & Technology. Without asking critical questions, a supplier was willing to send two drone jammers in parts to addresses in Germany and the UK from China.

Illegal drone jammers bought on Chinese trading platform

As the use of drones increases and the unmanned aircraft sometimes fly in places where they are not allowed, so too are concerns about possible misuse. This has led to a vibrant industry in anti-drone technology, including the development of jammers – drone jammers – that block or even take over the pilot’s control signal.

However, such technology is not intended for civil use. The purchase and use of jammers to prevent drones is, therefore, the exclusive domain of defense organizations, which are still very reluctant to use such technology because of the possible unwanted side effects. Yet it appears to be very easy for private individuals to get hold of an illegal drone jammer, a journalist from E&T found out.

Via the B2B trading platform Made-in-China.com, the journalist contacted Wavesonic Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of counter UAS technology. One of the jammers from the range of this supplier is the WS-03 Pro, a portable drone jammer with a range of one mile. The “rifle” is simply manually aimed at an approaching drone and it then either lands or flies back to the take-off location, depending on how the drone is set up.

According to a representative, it was “no problem” to deliver the product, even though the potential buyer indicated that he was in the EU and wanted to use the product as a private person “to protect my home”. The drone jammer was not inexpensive with a price tag of $5,000, but it would “provide protection against all unwanted drones in the area,” said the representative.

Illegal drone jammers bought on Chinese trading platform

Illegal drone jammer shipped in parts

There appeared to be a catch: because the illegal drone jammer looks like a gun, it cannot simply be exported. But it turned out that the supplier had a solution: the drone gun can be sent to the buyer in parts as a few separate packages. “Don’t worry, everything can be easily clicked together, thanks to connectors,” the seller writes.

Incidentally, disassembly and shipment of parts of prohibited products from Asia to Western countries appears to be fairly common. In 2019, at a port in LA, US customs officers intercepted nearly 53,000 illegal Chinese rifle parts in three separate shipments, hidden in containers with other household items such as clothing, toys, and electronics.

Legal options

Citizens who feel uncomfortable about a nearby drone are advised to contact the police, E&T writes in conclusion. However, the question is whether the police have the capacity to deal with such reports. As more and more drones are flying around, logically more complaints will likely be filed. 

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This article first appeared on Dronewatch.nl and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.

Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager (@wdejager) is the founder of Dronewatch and author of several bestselling books about drone photography. Wiebe is a certified drone pilot and has a full ROC license.

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