Drone swarms use nets to catch other drones in flight


Sandia National Laboratories researchers leading the MARCUS project are working to develop a system that addresses current and future national security threats posed by small unmanned aircraft systems

Robotics engineers from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) are developing drones that can capture hostile drones in flight. Funded by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, the Mobile Adaptive/Reactive Counter Unmanned System (MARCUS) project uses swarms of four unmanned quad-copters working in concert to intercept a drone and catch it in a net.

As drones become more numerous and more sophisticated, they also pose a growing threat. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are now a major component of the world’s major militaries but drones are also showing up in terrorist attacks, invasions of privacy, or acts of mischief at airports that could down an aircraft.

There have been a number of anti-drone systems developed over the years, including jammers, lasers, and even eagles trained to bring them down, but MARCUS aims to not only counter the threat of small UAVs but also to capture them for disposal or information gathering. According to SNL, this isn’t the first system to use nets but it is the first to combine nets with teams of drones controlled by a ground-based computer to coordinate the swarm’s course to ensure interception.

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US Navy deploys first anti-drone laser dazzler weapon


Artist’s concept of a laser weapon in action

The US Navy has successfully installed its first Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) laser weapon aboard one of its warships. During dry-dock operations, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) received the stand-alone laser system, which is designed to blind the sensors on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

The ODIN laser isn’t the first to be deployed on a US Navy warship. That honor goes to the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Laser Weapon System (LaWS), which was deployed on the USS Ponce (LPD-15) in 2014. However, this experience by the team behind LaWS at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division provided the expertise needed to complete the development of ODIN.

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7 Anti-drone weapons used by the military and law enforcement around the world


Drones can be used for some very nefarious activities. For this reason, armies and law enforcement need some effective means of countering them.

Drones are, frankly, awesome. But there are some bad actors who could use them for nefarious activities.

For these reasons, many companies around the world, including engineering-giants like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are producing anti-drone weapons to counter the potential threats drones can offer.

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ATHENA laser weapon counters multiple drones in full-integration test


The ATHENA system shown here destroyed multiple drones in a real-world demonstration for the Air ForceLockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) laser weapon engaged and destroyed multiple drone threats in a recent field test at a US government test range at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The laser weapon system being developed for the US Air Force was used against a mix of fixed-wing and rotary drones with the aid of government command and control systems.

The development of laser weapons requires more than just creating more and more powerful beam generators. Such systems must also be compact, portable, and robust enough to deploy in the field; able to track and lock onto a target; and be able to keep the beam stable over long distances.

In addition, to be practical, such weapons must be able to integrate with existing command and control systems and radar sensors. It was to demonstrate this that was the focus of the Fort Sill test, where the ATHENA laser was operated by airmen, who were given radar tracks of the drones, which then allowed ATHENA’s beam director to slew, acquire, track, and shoot down the targets using its high-energy laser.

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German Rheinmetall showcases new sea-based anti-drone laser system


German defense contractor Rheinmetall Defense Electronics showcased a new sea-based anti-drone laser system at the Defense and Security Equipment Industry in London,. The system, according to Chinese web site qq.com, features not one but four high energy lasers (HEL) mounted on turret, making it look like some kind of laser gun.

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