Rogue drone removed from Pope Francis mass in Slovakia: report
A rogue drone was reportedly removed from a mass held by Pope Francis in Slovakia this past September.
The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that D-Fend, an Israeli anti-drone technology company, removed a drone during a mass Pope Francis was leading with 60,000 worshippers on Sept. 15 of this year.
Ninety bishops and 500 priests were also in attendance at the mass, according to The Jerusalem Post.
While the interception occurred nearly three months ago, the embargo on the information was only recently lifted, according to the newspaper.
D-Fend said it was tasked with protecting the pope, his retinue and attendees at the mass from rogue drones during a number of events spanning from Sept. 12 to Sept. 15 in Slovakia, with the final gathering being an open-air Mass in Šaštín.
The Israeli technology company reportedly collaborated with the Slovakian Interior Ministry in providing protection during the events.
D-Fend utilized its EnforceAir product during the event, according to The Jerusalem Post. The product reportedly has a ground-level tactical kit that allows for 360-degree coverage.
The Israeli technology company said it recognized several drones near the event, but local police quickly determined them to be authorized and “friendly,” according to The Jerusalem Post. Authorized drones are allowed to fly in the airspace.
The EnforceAir product, however, eventually identified a do-it-yourself drone during the mass, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Police had at first said they would address the potential threat by using a jammer-based solution, but soon after decided to proceed in a different fashion because jammers could disturb communications systems in the near vicinity, The Jerusalem Post reported. They were also reportedly worried about interrupting media transmissions during the pope’s mass and disturbing 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, according to The Jerusalem Post.
A representative of the office that was tasked with overseeing the pope’s protection while he was in Slovakia said the technology company “wanted to utilize a counter-drone technology that is best suited for crowded events and sensitive situations,” noting the importance of safeguarding a high-profile event.
“EnforceAir’s innovative solution took control of the rogue drone that threatened the potential safety of the pope, the crowd and the VIPs in attendance, quickly and easily,” the official added, according to The Jerusalem Post.
D-Fend said the incident in September “reflects the growing danger posed by drones to officials around the world and to large events.”
“The incident ended safely because of counter-drone technology that was deployed by D-Fend at the scene,” the company added, according to The Jerusalem Post.
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