The US has generated a drone interceptor that fires exactly what appears to be a form of Silly String into their rotors, bringing them down with minimal threat of accidental harm.
The interceptor was made by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It’s launched from a car and guided by radar that can automatically identify and track modest drones.
Once the interceptor includes a target drone in sight, it releases string-like streamers — their exact composition is unknown — to disable it. The machine can also launch multiple interceptors to deal with several incoming drones simultaneously, and the interceptors are reusable.
DARPA says it needs to provide drone defences to get convoys and other cellular units in heavily populated regions, where normal military weapons would create a lot of risk of civilian casualties. Existing interceptor drones, such as the Coyote used by the US military, take an explosive warhead, though other jobs rely on nets or ramming, which demand more precise aiming.
The agency has also developed other, unspecified, non-explosive anti-drone weapons and another interceptor which looks like a small aircraft, however, has not released a video demonstrating them. They must also be safer than volatile countermeasures.
“The issue of a hostile drone — potentially with explosives attached to it — falling to the ground and possibly injuring civilians exists,” says Robert Bunker, security analyst with C/O Futures. “But it’s a far better option than targeting such a drone with indiscriminate machine gun fire.”
Because it does not require explosives, this type of interceptor could also be acceptable for civilian use, for example defending airports, sports stadiums and other vulnerable sites. However, Bunker no