China anti-drone rifle
The rifle emits radio-jamming signals that force UAVs into a controlled descent Sina Weibo

Police in China are being equipped with new high-tech weaponry to help them fight back against illegal drone use. Officers in the central Chinese city of Wuhan have been issued rifles that emit radio-jamming signals to knock quadcopters and similar unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) out of the sky.

Rather than disabling the drones completely - which would cause them to fall out of the sky and potentially injure people on the ground - the scoped rifles put the drones into a controlled decent so they can land without being damaged.

It does this by emitting radio frequencies that are the same as the ones drones use to communicate with the operator's control unit, commonly in the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz ranges.

The concept is similar to the anti-drone gun designed by US firm DroneShield, which has been designed to safely ground UAVs used by criminals so forensics can be gathered in-tact.

Mashable reports that the Wuhan police department has been trialling the guns in preparation for the 2017 Wuhan Marathon, where overhead UAVs could pose a risk to spectators and participants.

During tests, Wuhan police were able to shoot six drones out of the sky at a distance of up to a kilometre. The new technology comes at a cost though: 250,000 yuan (£29,600 $36,200) per rifle, to be precise.

DroneShield DroneGun
DroneShield's anti-drone weapon also uses radio jamming to take down illegal drones DroneShield

China has imposed tougher restrictions and regulations on drone ownership following security scares at airports and public events. The UK and United States have also attempted to increase awareness around the dangers consumer drones pose to low-flying aircraft after a number "near-misses" at airports.

New methods for dealing with illegal UAVs being explored by security agencies include net-firing bazookas and birds of prey trained to snatch them out of the sky.