DroneShield and Allen-Vanguard: Counter Drone Company Partners with Counter IED Firm

DroneShield Texas DroneShield and Allen-VanguardCounter-drone company DroneShield partners with counter IED company Allen-Vanguard

By Jim Magill

DroneShield Limited, an Australian/US company that produces and markets technology to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and Allen-Vanguard, a US-owned provider of systems design to thwart improvised explosive devices (IED), have teamed up in a partnership that combines the two firms’ product-development and marketing efforts.

The two companies will explore synergies as they market their respective systems to customers in the military, law enforcement and security arenas, DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik said in an interview. DroneShield and Allen-Vanguard share a number of customers in common, such as the U.S. Department of Defense. “The same people tend to buy counter-drone and counter-IED systems,” Vornik said.

Technologies employed by both companies are similar in a number of ways. “For example, one of the primary ways of listening for drones alongside radar is radio frequency (RF) and a lot of IEDs also get triggered by RF signal,” he said. “The idea of jamming the drones and jamming the roadside explosives, it’s very much the same theme in terms of defense.”

The partnership will market to its customers an integrated counter-UAS and counter-IED system. “This is quite useful because it saves the customer a lot of hassle from having to buy (systems) from two different places and stitch them together. We do that work for them,” Vornik said.

On the business-development side, the partnership will combine the global distributions networks of the two parent companies. “There are a lot of people in their network who will be interested in buying DroneShield equipment, who we don’t have ready access up to now. Similarly, we’ve already had inquiries from our distributors who are looking for counter-IED,” he said.

Initially, the partnership will focus on integrating the technologies of the two parent companies.

“One of the common complaints from customers is we’re selling them just another box. They have 20 different boxes, each doing its own thing and customers are trying to stitch them together into a combined system,” Vornik said. “What we and Allen-Vanguard can now provide is a single system that does both counter-drone and counter-IED. That’s step one.”

Down the road, step two for the partnership might include developing new anti-drone and anti-IED products as the market demand changes. Unlike in the company’s early days, in the current security environment all of DroneShield’s product development is done in response to customer inquiries, Vornik said.

“When we first began seven years ago, it was very much us trying to think of what made sense for the customers, because the customers didn’t know for themselves,” he said. “Now the market is much more mature. We basically have a wish list of features and capabilities that we get from our customers.”

One area in which the market for the partnership’s products is rapidly growing, is the deployment of anti-drone and anti-IED technology by special forces units of the military, especially those engaged in forward deployments. “They’re in enemy territory where they might have drones conducting surveillance or they might encounter roadside bombs,” Vornik said.

Technology such as that developed by the DroneSheild/Allen-Vanguard partnership will likely play an increasing role in the conflict brewing in Eastern Europe, where all parties seem to be operating in a military gray zone. “Conducting a war without always looking like you’re conducting a war, that’s very much what seems to be going on with this conflict,” Vornik said. “While it’s highly unfortunate, we believe that it’s very much feeding up into the capabilities that we and Allen-Vanguard offer.”

The partnership agreement between the two companies might be the initial step toward a full-scale merger of publicly listed DroneShield and privately owned Alan-Vanguard.

“Never say never. This is an opportunity for both companies to understand what we can do together,” Vornik said. “Everything is on the table. Culturally, there’s a lot of fit.”

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Jim Magill is a Houston-based writer with almost a quarter-century of experience covering technical and economic developments in the oil and gas industry. After retiring in December 2019 as a senior editor with S&P Global Platts, Jim began writing about emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robots and drones, and the ways in which they’re contributing to our society. In addition to DroneLife, Jim is a contributor to Forbes.com and his work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, U.S. News & World Report, and Unmanned Systems, a publication of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.