5 Ways to Kill Drones

New FAA drone regulations mean we need more ways to take them down, literally.


Look Out!

Drones are everywhere these days, from hobbyists to Amazon, and although these small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may not be as intimidating as those developed by the military, they can still pose a threat to public safety.

As the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently rolled out new operational rules for the commercial use of drones, we may see an increase in aerial traffic once the rules go into effect this August.

It isn’t difficult to imagine drones being used to nefarious ends, so with that in mind, here are five ways to fight back against the impending drone swarm.

1) Battelle’s DroneDefender

(Video courtesy of Battelle.)

This attachment to a standard rifle offers a non-kinetic solution to disabling drones. By firing a cone that jams GPS and radio signals it forces the drone to the ground, providing a safer alternative to just shooting the drone out of the sky.

It should be noted though, that the vast majority of signal jammers are restricted in the US, so it’s unlikely these sorts of countermeasures will be commonplace.

2) The Anti-UAV Defense System

(Image courtesy of Blighter Surveillance Systems.)

(Image courtesy of Blighter Surveillance Systems.)

The Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) developed by a partnership between Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems in the UK takes the principle behind the DroneDefender a step further. It’s currently being tested by the FAA in US airports.

The system can detect, track and disrupt a UAV by using a combination of radar, infrared tracking and a radio signal inhibitor to block signals to the drone. This will force the drone to land, or crash, before it can become a threat to the airport’s normal operations. The system’s signal tracking capabilities could potentially allow for action to be taken against the individual holding the remote as well.

3) Capturing Drones in Nets

In a slightly lower-tech solution, the Tokyo Police have used a large net attached to their own drones to catch other drones like flypaper. 

This should allow for recovery of the captured drone, though operations would be dependant on the flying skill of the police operator.In a different application of the net, Theiss UAV Solutions have developed the EXCIPIO, a net gun mounted on their own UAV to chase and disable other drones. 

The issue here is controlling the falling drone and keeping it from causing more damage when it lands. If control is key, the next solution might be the best.

4) Training Eagles to Hunt Drones

(Video courtesy of Guard From Above.)

This very low-tech solution employs large birds of prey to do what they do best—capture and destroy fast-moving aerial targets.

The eagles are effortless in catching small drones, though there are concerns that the spinning rotors could damage the birds’ talons. While the trainers at Guard From Above note that the birds have not yet been injured, they are looking into options to protect their trainees. 

5) Rheinmetall’s Oerlikon Skyshield High Energy Laser

High energy laser. (Image courtesy of Rheinmetall.)

High energy laser. (Image courtesy of Rheinmetall.)

From low tech to very high-tech, the Oerlikon Skyshield High Energy Laser by Rheinmetall is only a part of a larger aerial defense system, incorporating radar, anti-air missiles, and 35mm guns to track, target and destroy all manner of enemy targets using whichever weapon is best suited to the task.

The lasers are able to track slower moving targets—like drones—and dazzle them with light in an effort to disrupt their camera systems before burning them out of the sky. This could also apply to other low flying targets such as mortars, where the heat from the laser causes the explosion to detonate prematurely.

Rheinmetall notes in promotional videos that the system can be used in multiple applications, including military camps, high-value civilian targets and urban settings.

Do you have a better way to take out a drone? Comment below.