U.S. military shows off giant ray gun for shooting down drones

The Dutch have anti-drone eagles, Tokyo police have drones with capture nets, the Marines have a laser on a Humvee and, now, the U.S. federal government has a gigantic anti-drone gun that shoots invisible waves of energy at uninvited drones. The DroneDefender ray-gun is made by Battelle, and it works by jamming the frequencies a drone uses, causing it to lose connection with its operator.

According to a new video posted by Military Times discussing the ray-gun, Homeland Security and the Defense Department are in possession of "about 100" of the model, and they work on drones at distances up to 400 meters. When a drone — such as the annoying quadcopter your neighbor uses to spy on your backyard BBQ — is hit with electromagnetic waves from the weapon, it will not be able to communicate with its operator and will respond in whatever way it is programmed to.

Most often, the affected drone will return to whatever it is programmed to know as "home," though in some cases the loss of communication will trigger the drone to make a safe landing wherever it currently is, or will cause it to simply hover in place.

At this point, the DroneDefender is only available in the United States and only to the federal government; some federal agencies are using it, though the specific ones weren't mentioned. The limitation is due to FCC restrictions based on the "type of technology" the gun uses — the agency doesn't want ordinary citizens to have the means of knocking out remote communications from hundreds of meters away.

The gun was created as a way for military personnel to keep drones away from its bases and other installations, and comes at a time when various organizations and governments are seeking technology to deal with the flying pests. Due to the sudden popularity of drones, their more advanced abilities to travel far distances from their operators, and their low prices, more people than ever are buying the devices.

While mostly used for fun or for photography/videography and land-surveilling purposes, some people have used drones to spy on others, or in ways that violate regulations (and good common sense), such as flying near aircraft and airports.

SOURCE: Navy Times