Drone Hunters: 9 of the Most Effective Anti-Drone Technologies for Shooting Drones out of the Sky
Today, you are going to become a drone hunter. You may already have a drone, or know of someone who has a UAV.
Outside of racing, capturing 4K video, or pulling off some acrobatic tricks, drones have also made their way to the commercial industry, becoming a valuable tool for many businesses.
However, drones worry a lot of people and can cause a lot of trouble when they are misused. From delivering contraband to prisoners, to delaying airplane takeoffs, to spying on people, UAV use can be problematic. So, as drone technology has flooded the market, so has new anti-drone technology.
Now if you want something that resembles a loadout weapon from the video game Halo, this anti-drone catcher is definitely for you. Weighing-in at approximately 10 kilos, the SkyWall Patrol is a net launching bazooka.
The SkyWall is very intelligent. With its onboard AI computer, and smart-scope the bazooka can identify a drone and analyze the movements of the drone to ensure capture.
The shoulder mounted bazooka uses compressed air to fire its net, keeping the drone in one piece as it guides it back down to earth.
If you need to vanquish and get rid of multiple drones, do not worry, the SkyWall can be reloaded quickly and easily.
Like something out of Modern Warfare, this anti-drone weapon is a lightweight point-and-shoot device. Weighing-in at 4 kilos, the DroneDefender blocks a UAVs radio, GPS, and ISM signals, forcing the drone to return to its user and land.
Though it is not fully commercially available yet, the United States Border Control, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense are already using the DroneDefender.
Just be careful using something like this in public, as it does look like another custom loadout from a first-person shooter and may make people think you are a sniper.
The Anti-Drone "Death Ray" Truck
There is always a fear that drones could potentially get into the wrong hands and used as a terrorist weapon. Military contractors in the United States are more than prepared for that scenario.
Boeing has created the Anti-Drone "Death Ray" Truck. The weapon is mounted on a truck and is a High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator or HELMD.
Controlled with an Xbox-like controller, the weapon uses an invisible laser beam to take down drones in almost any weather condition.
Another signal jammer on this list, the DroneGun gets into the "mind" of the drone, preventing it from being operated or controlled.
DroneGun allows users to jam multiple RF frequency bands simultaneously, so that the drone loses communication with its controller and immediately ceases operation and video transmission. The drone is forced to land or return to its owner immediately.
The device can take out UAVs from as far as 1.2 miles away, thanks to its GLONASS positioning.
As mentioned above, drones are becoming a popular way to smuggle contraband into prisons. SkyFence is here to end that.
Installed in a prison in the United Kingdom, the 2,000-foot drone shield is designed to take out any rogue UAVs flying in the area.
The SkyFence System uses a host of signal disrupters to jam the flight control signal of drones as they fly by, forcing them to fly back to where they originally took off.
The DARPA Laser
The United States government has spent millions of dollars on anti-drone technology and for a good reason, too.
Though there have been no documented cases of people equipping drones with explosives for malicious purposes, there have been cases in Germany and Japan of people using drones as weapons.
This is why the Pentagon's Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office is currently evaluating a number of anti-drone weapons for potential use in the field. They are testing a number of devices which would be able to neutralize all types of UAVs no matter the shape or size.
Companies that have participated in the demonstrations of handheld systems have used technology that puts out a radio frequency signal to interfere with the way drones operate or use ground-based aerial denial systems, or kinetic systems, to shoot down incoming drones with ammunition. They are also working on evaluating high-power microwave (HPM) systems to protect fixed sites from drone attacks.
Like something out of a spy-film's plot, hacking a drone during its flight is a very viable anti-drone solution. However, it could equally lead to more misuse.
As demonstrated by the hacker and researcher Rahul Sasi, you can use malware to remotely hijack a drone killing the onboard autopilot and taking control of the drone.
In the very near future, you will probably be able to easily use some program to hack into any UAV via a click of a button on your computer or smartphone.
What better way to catch a drone than with a drone? Created by Dutch Firm Delft Dynamics, Drone catcher is a multicopter that surrounds target drones and either tows them to safety and/or drops with a net.
Some of the other anti-drone technologies on this list can be damaging to a drone, why the DroneCatcher makes sure you can take out a drone without losing any incriminating evidence.
Birds of Prey
Though the method is probably retired for good, birds of prey were a viable option for law enforcement looking to get rid of rogue drones. Birds like eagles and hawks were trained to take down drones on command.
Eagles themselves are some of the animal kingdom’s most effective hunters, with their massive wingspan and large talons. In early 2016, the Dutch police even showcased some of the birds they trained to take out drones.
However, the ferocious birds were eventually retired because they did not always behave as expected.
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