New drone tech tested in Ybor City warehouse

In just a couple of years, drones have become a common sight. 

Most of the ones we see as civilians are for recreational or commercial use, but some have serious roles to play in security and defense.

U.S. military forces say they are trying to stay steps ahead of terrorists using drones for a variety of nefarious purposes.

"We can deny them by jamming their communications links. We can defeat them using nets, guns, and other drones going in to intercept them. It's sort of the wild west," explained Air Force electrical engineer, Capt. Barron Stone.

Capt. Stone heads up Thunderdrone, a joint project with Ybor City's SOFWERX and Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base.

Several hundred people involved with drones and related technology attended a three-day conference to meet and compare notes on defending against attacks by drones.

Software specialist James Scurry from Tampa brought his anti-drone laser technology.

"Originally I was shooting at mosquitoes with a laser," he says. "I saw what SOFWERX was doing and drones are a lot larger, so let's try that," he laughs.

Scurry says he's met with dozens of fellow innovators to compare notes. The conference included both large defense contractors and individuals developing technology at home, like Scurry.

Capt. Stone says the group also heard from special operations personnel who faced enemies using drones.

Some of the most promising technology will be tested at an event in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in April.

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