Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi Blessing after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican, April 4, 2021

Israeli tech removed drone threat during Pope mass

Counter-drone technology, which was used during pontiff's visit to Slovakia in September, recognizes authorized drones and focuses defensive measures on rogue ones

i24NEWS |
Published: 12.14.21, 19:03
An Israeli counter-drone company’s technology halted a rogue drone in September that was interrupting a mass held by Pope Francis among 60,000 worshippers in Slovakia.
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  • The embargo on the incident, which was managed by D-Fend Solutions on September 15, was removed on Monday.
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    Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi Blessing after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican, April 4, 2021
    Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi Blessing after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican, April 4, 2021
    Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi Blessing after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican, April 4, 2021
    (Photo: AFP)
    There were reportedly 90 bishops and 500 priests present at the mass.
    D-Fend said that it worked with the Slovakian Interior Ministry to protect the Pope, his entourage, and attendees from the threat of rogue drones on multiple occasions in Slovakia from September 12 to 15.
    The EnforceAir anti-drone system, developed by D-Fend, used its ground-level tactical kit to provide a 360-degree view of the area.
    The counter-drone technology recognizes and permits authorized drones to operate in airspace, and focuses defensive measures on mitigating rogue drones.
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    A handout picture provided by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis during his weekly general audience, Vatican City, 27 January 2021
    A handout picture provided by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis during his weekly general audience, Vatican City, 27 January 2021
    A handout picture provided by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis during his weekly general audience, Vatican City, 27 January 2021
    (Photo: EPA)
    When a do-it-yourself drone was detected by EnforceAir during the open-air mass, police initially decided to mitigate the potential threat using a jammer-based solution.
    However, they changed their approach when they realized that such a move could disrupt communication systems in the area, halt media transmissions of the mass, or disrupt security base stations.
    “EnforceAir fended off the rogue drone, sending it back to its original takeoff position, far away from the large crowd,” D-Fend said.
    “We wanted to utilize a counter-drone technology that is best suited for crowded events and sensitive situations,” said a representative of the office responsible for the Pope’s protection during his bout in Slovakia.
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