Shotgun Shells and Eagles Pressed into Anti-Drone Warfare

   03.15.17

Shotgun Shells and Eagles Pressed into Anti-Drone Warfare

When it comes to security, drones are an ever-increasing problem. This is true whether we’re talking about borders, battlefields, government office, prisons–even private property. There are any number of places where drones just shouldn’t be.

The problem, though, is how to stop them.

The US Air Force is looking at special anti-drone shotgun shells, called “Skynet,” for this purpose, reports The Drive.

Here’s the product description from the company’s site:

The ALS12SKY-Mi5 is a 12 gauge anti-drone round designed to be rapidly deployed against commercially available drones being utilized for illegal purposes; i.e. illegal surveillance and contraband delivery. Upon firing through a 12ga rifled choke barrel, the five tethered segments separate with centrifugal force and create a five (5’) foot wide ‘capture net’ to effectively trap the drone’s propellers causing it to fail.

From the Drive article:

The Pentagon only wants the weapons to be able to handle remote-controlled aircraft in what it describes as Categories 1 and 2. The first group covers unmanned airplanes weighing less than 20 pounds and able to fly no more than 1,200 feet high. The second level includes drones between 20 and 55 pounds with the ability to reach altitudes of up to 3,500 feet. Drones in both categories generally wouldn’t be able to fly faster than 300 miles per hour.

Given that the effective range of these shells is only a few hundred yards, while even cheap drones can fly up to a few thousand feet in the air, I’m having trouble seeing how these are really going to cut it. But I guess if the birds get low enough, this would be a good weapon to have in your arsenal.

Meanwhile, over in France, they’re going low-tech and training golden eagles to attack and take down drones:

Under French military supervision, four golden eagle chicks hatched last year atop drones — born into a world of terror and machines they would be bred to destroy.

The eagles — named d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis — grew up with their nemeses. They chased drones through green grass that summer, pecking futilely at composite shells as seen in Sky News footage. They were rewarded with meat, which they ate off the backs of the drones.

When the eagles were ready — this month — d’Artagnan launched screeching from a military control tower across a field, Agence France-Presse reported.

The bird covered 200 meters in 20 seconds, slamming into a drone, then diving with the wreckage into the tall grass.

Between the shotgun shells and the eagles, my money’s on the eagles.

To be honest, I imagine it will turn out to be the case that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a drone is a good guy with a drone. In other words, anti-drone drones are likely to be the most effective countermeasures, and not eagles or boutique shotgun shells.

Finally, I leave you with the greatest drone cartoon of all time. It’s from before the most recent election, but it’s still so awesome:

drone-cartoon

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