Ascent Vision Technologies drone technology

Technology shown on this truck is used to disrupt signals between a drone and its operator. The technology was designed by Belgrade-based Ascent Vision Technologies, which was recently bought by a larger tech company.

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A Belgrade-based drone technology company was recently acquired by an international electronic warfare company for $350 million.

Ascent Vision Technology, which develops and builds drone technology for military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, was purchased by CACI International in mid-August.

“The combination of CACI and AVT brings unique advantages to our defense and national security customers,” said CACI president and CEO John Mengucci in a press release announcing the acquisition. “We welcome the talented and mission-focused AVT employees to CACI.”

AVT president and chief commercial officer Lee Dingman said that while CACI now owns AVT, there is “zero indication” that the company plans to move any AVT operations or employees out of Gallatin Valley.

“There is absolutely no indication of plan for (moving) that we’ve talked about over the last many months or for the future. They’re really pumped to keep us where we are,” Dingman said. “The valley is great for laser photonics, optics, not only for research and development but manufacturing ... our plans are expansion, not contraction.”

AVT plans to expand into an additional building at the airport sometime in the next few years, Dingman said.

Both Dingman and J.P. London, CACI executive chairman and chairman of the board, noted that the company cultures of CACI and AVT mesh well.

“The cultures of CACI and AVT are aligned with an unwavering commitment to integrity, ethics and innovation,” London said in the news release.

AVT made big news last summer when a piece of counter-drone technology developed by the company disrupted an Iranian drone that was headed toward a U.S. Navy ship stationed in the Middle East. According to a July 2019 article about the incident, the counter-drone technology can detect a drone once it flies within a 5-kilometer radius while a camera system identifies if the drone is hostile. If it is, a signal disruption is sent out, which will either make the drone return to its operator, land immediately or crash.

AVT’s sister company is Bridger Aerospace, which manufactures fire mapping sensors and other aerial wildfire fighting technology. Both are based at the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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