A visit to West Point by the U.S. Secretary of Defense is not a rare occurrence. However, watching the nation’s top defense official zap a drone with a state-of-the-art, anti-drone rifle is not an everyday event.
But that’s the scene that greeted cadets and dignitaries last week as Secretary Ashton Carter took out a Parrot quadcopter with the U.S. Army’s newest innovation – an inexpensive drone killer that can be built for about $150 in parts.
Designed by Captains Brent Chapman, Matt Hutchison, and Erick Waage of the Army Cyber Institute, the rifle emits a radio signal that can command a UAV to power down – resulting in the inevitable plummet to terra firma. Following the rifle’s successful test, the Defense Department posted a video of the demo to its Twitter account.
Soldiers unveiled the aptly named “cyber-rifle” in October during the 2015 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition. The weapon resembles a standard, Army-issue M4/16 rifle.
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) March 23, 2016
“It was something that we built in order to illustrate the power of enabling the soldiers at the tactical level to ‘make’ in support of a mission,” Chapman said in an interview with Popular Mechanics. “It’s an idea we call tactical making, or expeditionary making.” In fact, the rifle’s design is easy enough to allow a soldier in the field to assemble it using a Raspberry Pi (an inexpensive, credit-card sized computer), Wi-Fi radio, and antenna.
Since the Rise of the Drone has emerged over the past few years, the anti-drone market has also risen. According to a recent study by India-based business-intelligence firm MarketsandMarkets, the anti-drone market is expected to grow to a billion-dollar industry within six years with predicted compound annual growth rate of 23.89 percent across 2017-22.
The anti-drone sector has many moving parts – from another “anti-drone rifle by Batelle Innovations to the Orwellian-sounding “anti-drone death ray” Anti–AUV Defense System. And, who can forget, when the drone media world blew up a few month ago after Dutch company, Guard From Above, announced a partnership with the nation’s federal police force to deploy eagles and other raptors to identify and take down drones (despite cries of “fowl play” by wildlife experts.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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