Not all drones are harmless. The small devices for recreational use that many of us think of when we hear about a drone do not at all reflect the capabilities that drones have to professional or military applications.
Some drones with a professional vocation can carry cameras for surveying and LiDAR sensors, and even tanks of several tens of kilos of weight in which, among other options, it is possible to introduce the fluids used to fumigate crops and large plantations.
Drones used in the military are even more ambitious. In fact, they can be so bulky and have such a high load capacity that in this area they are often identified as unmanned aerial vehicles. And, as we can guess, they can carry several missiles with the purpose of allowing the destruction of targets remotely.
In Madrid alone, the National Police anti-drone system neutralizes an average of three unauthorized flights every day
However, we do not have to look at military drones to identify the potential danger that one of these devices may entail. If misused even a small home drone can endanger other people.
In fact, only in Madrid does the National Police anti-drone system neutralize an average of three unauthorized flights they have the ability to put airspace in real danger. Fortunately, there are many ways to combat drones that are potentially dangerous.
One of the resources that the National Police has to neutralize them are rifles manufactured by HIKVISION that emit a signal capable of impede communication between the drone and the remote controller, as well as the operation of the GPS. As you can see in this photograph published by the National Police on their Instagram account, their appearance is intimidating.
The US Air Force’s solution is much more aggressive
And it is understandable that this is the case. In the military field, as I mentioned a few lines above, a drone can represent a very serious threat and endanger the lives of many people. Especially if it incorporates some kind of projectile.
For this reason, it is often not enough to neutralize it by preventing communication between the drone and the remote control station; it is necessary to damage it to prevent it from launching a projectile. And this often involves destroying it.
To achieve this, it is possible to use conventional projectiles, but in practice it is very difficult to hit a drone that can be very restrained in size, and which, moreover, usually travels at great speed. For this reason the electromagnetic weapon designed by the US Air Force research laboratory that you can see in the two images that illustrate this article uses a different strategy.
THOR (Tactical High Power Operational Responder), which is what this device is called, emits a high power microwave beam which, like conventional anti-drone devices, interrupts communication between the threatening drone and the remote control station. But it is by no means the only thing it does.
In addition, according to its creators, it is capable of damaging the electronic circuits of the drones on which it acts, making it impossible for them to remain in the air and launch any type of attack. However, to achieve its purpose you do not need to prolong the emission of the microwaves. According to the Air Force, it manages to neutralize the attacking drones in just a nanosecond, so its destruction is practically instantaneous.
Images | US Air Force
More information | The Air Force Research Laboratory