President Biden met with King Philippe of Belgium at the Royal Palace in Brussels yesterday, and security personnel in the area were spotted carrying crazy-looking anti-drone weaponry to prevent everything from aerial photos to high-tech assassination attempts.
New York Times staff photographer Doug Mills captured the above photo of the security guards who looked more like they were prepared for an alien invasion.
The bazooka-like weapon held by the guard on the left is the SkyWall Patrol handheld drone capture system made by a British company called OPENWORKS Engineering. It fires a projectile (with assisted targeting) that expands into a net, physically capturing the target drone and using a parachute to safely bring it down to the ground.
“It uses compressed air to launch a projectile up to the drone after the operator has targeted it using the onboard SmartScope, that compensates for drone speed and range automatically,” OPENWORKS writes. “Conventional weapons often fail to incapacitate a drone and do not offer a proportionate response to the drone threat and they can also escalate a situation when used in the vicinity of large crowds.”
Here’s a video showing a live field test of the SkyWall Patrol:
The guard in the middle is holding a DroneGun Tactical by the Australian company DroneShield. The weapon can jam the signals used to control drones from over a mile away. Upon getting hit with the jamming beam, a targeted drone will automatically land vertically or return to its remote controller or starting location.
“The DroneGun Tactical is a highly effective UAS countermeasure designed for two hand operation and long range defeat,” DroneShield writes. “The product includes high performance directional antennas in a lightweight robust rifle style design; featuring an intuitive control panel user interface to select and engage the range of jamming frequencies for target defeat.
“The DroneGun Tactical provides a safe countermeasure against a wide range of UAS threats (e.g. drones), with no damage to common UAS models or surrounding environment.”
Here’s a promotional video showing the DroneGun Tactical “in action”:
As drones have become increasingly popular among consumers and professionals, there has been increasing interest in countering the risks introduced by them. In addition to these two weapons spotted that have gained some commercial adoption, ideas that have emerged in recent years include everything from lasers that fry drones to trained eagles that take them down.
So be warned: if you ever try breaking the law by flying a drone in a no-fly-zone, especially one occupied by heads of state or large crowds, one of these weapons may be on hand to either neutralize your device or having it lead authorities right back to you.
Image credits: Photograph by Doug Mills and used with permission