Army Testing New Weapons to Combat Weaponized Drones

Battelle’s DroneDefender is a shoulder-fired weapon that uses radio waves to cut the link between the drone and its controller. (Photo courtesy Battelle)Battelle’s DroneDefender is a shoulder-fired weapon that uses radio waves to cut the link between the drone and its controller. (Photo courtesy Battelle)

The U.S. Army is close to selecting a new style of weapon designed to stop an imminent threat of terrorists using drones to fly bombs into military and government facilities.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, commonly known as drones, have become an effective, reliable tool to help commanders gather battlefield intelligence. They have also exploded on the commercial market, flooding toy stores and hobby shops with inexpensive, multi-propeller drones.

They’re small, extremely quiet and fly at high altitudes, making them difficult to detect. A year ago, a DJI Phantom evaded Secret Service radar and landed on the White House lawn.

The Federal Aviation Administration instituted a no drone zone around the nation’s capital in July with a 15-mile no-fly zone around Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, just south of Washington. The FAA expanded the no-drone zone in late December to a 30-mile radius, encircling much of southern and central Maryland and northern Virginia.

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About the Author

Matt Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.
  • Constantin COJOCARU

    Dear Mr. Matt COX,
    Regarding your article, please allow me to present with all my respect for you, few REMARKS:
    1. The bad guys are using many times, professional drones, with the geofencing software disabled. A professional drone, don’t need permanent radio guidance and radio communication with its owner. It is impossible to take the radio control against a rogue drone which has programmed already inside its memory the flight parameters. Having the GPS coordinates in the memory, the drone will go at the exact programmed place. If the drone is using an inertial guidance head, than the situation is bad, because this guidance is not using the GPS technology.
    2. Regarding the jamming of the radio communication between the drone and owner, please be aware that the bad guys could use hoping frequency communications which is very difficult to be jammed. Many times, the drones bused by the bad guys will keep “a radio silence” (will not communicate with the owner). It is nothing to jam in such situations.
    3. Regarding the destroying of the undesired drones with classic guns / weapons or laser canons, the results are the same: they are destroying the rogue drones and the drones will fail without any control, endangering the people and the goods located at the soil surface.
    In conclusion, these solutions are not able to bring safely, in a smoothly manner the rogue drones, because a damaged drone or a drone without control, could fall down with big speed, endangering the lives of the people and goods located at the soil surface. Please imagine what tragedy could happen if a rogue drone, without control, is failing above a crowded place, a gas station, a chemical factory, an oil refinery.

    Last year, when FAA presented the undesired situation created by the rogue drones invasion, I have created and recorded already a simple, very cheap, efficient and very safe methods for hunting and bringing down safely the rogue drones. The FAA has been informed about the invention and I hope also to see soon the invention implemented by the US authorities.
    With your permission, I will send the PDF presentation brochures to your contact e-mail address.

    With high respect and consideration,
    Constantin COJOCARU – solution engineer / CIVITASGROUP

    • blight_

      1. Agreed. That or something like TERCOM/DSMAC. Use topo data from USGS, have the drone fly along streets to evade radar (albeit at risk of hitting wires and lampposts), DSMAC to recognize target (e.g a certain window in the white house). Will be difficult to stop that, at that point the target is bringing the drone down. And not all drones have a fail-safe mode…as we learned in the early Predators they simply dropped from the sky. But that’s a risk bystanders will have to live with.

      2. Yep, they could use frequency hopping. It presumably was a problem that had to be dealt with by counter-IED people as well. Warlock and its successors could do broad spectrum jamming but this is undesirable, but in an emergency, necessary and proper.

      3. Yep. Solution is to immobilize the drone, presumably via inexpensive means like a snare. Can’t wait to see the day barrage balloons return to use. Imagine a ring of barrage balloons with mesh through the top…then no drones. Would be amusing to protect the White House with one ,but a big building like the pentagon, unlikely/impossible. And of course, a mesh meant to protect from top-attack by drones would be a danger to helicopters.

    • blight_

      In re your proposal, just saw a link where people experiment with using birds of prey to take down small drones.
      http://devour.com/video/hunting-drones-with-eagle

  • thexfile

    Iran flew a unarmed surveillance drone over a U.S. aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman on Jan. 12. There was nothing the aircraft carrier could do to stop it.

  • Jack_All

    Craps. Just make powerful drones with pivoted 2 halves of a sphere that open up, eat, close, and incinerate all other smaller drones using swoop and scoop tactics.