Anti-drone weapons will become a crucial part of security forces' itineraries as commercial availability grows, putting more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the hands of criminals. Drones are already being used to smuggle contraband into UK prisons, meanwhile aviation authorities continue to warn of the dangers they pose to low-flying aircraft.
Being able to knock drones out of the sky safely is a crucial part of anti-drone technology. US and Australia-based firm DroneShield has developed a rifle-like gun that uses signal-jamming to disable drones at a distance of up to 1.2 miles away and bring them safely to the ground.
Called DroneGun, the weapon is capable of jamming radio frequencies in the 2.3-2.4GHz and 5.7–5.8GHz ranges, which are the most common frequencies used by drones to connect to the operator on the ground. Once this signal is lost, the DroneGun is able to put the UAV into a controlled descent so that any intelligence, items or weapons on board can be recovered without damaging the drone or anyone nearby.
The 5.7kg weapon also cuts off video transmission between the drone and the operator and is capable of blocking tracking technologies like GPS and GLONASS.
"DroneGun provides a safe countermeasure against a wide range of drone models," reads DroneShield's website. "It allows for a controlled management of drone payload such as explosives, with no damage to common drones models or surrounding environment due to the drones generally responding via a vertical controlled landing on the spot, or returning back to the starting point (assisting to track the operator)."
DroneShield also develops drone-detecting sensors capable of identifying drones from their audio signatures and provides a warning system for prisons, government buildings and other critical infrastructure where the sensors are installed.
As Wired notes, DroneShield's gun is yet to be approved by America's Federal Communications Commission (FFC), meaning it's not yet legal to use. It's not the only anti-drone weapon currently under development though, with UK-based OpenWorks Engineering currently developing a bazooka-style net gun that can snatch a drone out of the sky from up to 100m away.