PortandTerminal.com, May 7, 2019
Canadian start-up AerialX has developed the DroneBullet, a UAV that is designed to knock threatening drones out of the sky
Drones represent the ultimate tool for asymmetric guerrilla warfare, capable of letting single bad actors confound much larger, more sophisticated organizations.
In 2018 at London Gatwick, the travel plans of 140,000 passengers were disrupted and 1,000 flights were cancelled after drone sightings stopped all movements at the airport. The FAA now receives more than 100 reports each month of drones being sighted near airports, helicopters and other restricted areas.
Drones have also been weaponized and used by terrorist groups in the Middle East as well as anti-government protesters in Venezuela who used UAVs in an assassination attempt on President Madura during a military parade in 2018.
The FAA estimates that there are over 1.1 million drones in the United States (2017). By 2021 they expect that number to increase to over 3.5 million.
AerialX, the Canadian start-up behind the DroneBullet, describes it as a “hybrid between a missile and a quadcopter.” It is, in essence, a kamikaze drone which looks like a miniature missile, but boasts the manoeuvrability of a quadcopter. With a takeoff weight of 910 grams, the DroneBullet has a 3 km range (almost 2 miles) and is able to reach speeds of up to 350 kilometres-per-hour (210 miles/hr) in a dive attack. It’s designed to lock onto enemy drones and then pursue them; ultimately crashing into them and knocking them out of the sky.
Unlike a conventional missile, the DroneBullet doesn’t pack any explosives. All its destructive power comes from the kinetic energy supplied by its impact. Should it survive its initial collision (something which certainly isn’t guaranteed), DroneBullet can recalibrate itself in order to pursue a second target or return to the ground.
AerialX says that it has received purchase orders from both the military and law enforcement, in the U.S. and overseas. If the DroneBullet performs as well as advertised, expect to see it become part of the arsenal of tools to fight the growing drone threat.
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