The military is designing mittens of leather and Kevlar, an anti-blast material, to protect their talons
Since 2015, French military and law enforcement has maintained a special interest in the threat that drones create above their nation’s cities. It began with reports of a drone flying in restricted space over the presidential palace. Since then, terrorist attacks, most notably the ones taking place in November 2015, have led to more vigilance in thwarting any drones deployed by terrorist groups.
Firing upon them could a create a situation worse than an unchallenged drone would, as a falling drone of any size could create havoc in a crowded area.
So to fight a new technological threat, France has turned to a time-tested predator – the eagle.
Named after characters from The Three Musketeers, d'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis are four eagles who, last year, were literally born on the back of a drone. Their upbringing, overseen by the military and falconers, had them eat atop drones they were able to incapacitate the devices. This month, the French military has announced that the eagles are ready to be put into service to keep the French skies safe from drones attacks.
The implementation of using birds to fight drones was actually introduced last year by the Dutch, who trained an eagle to rip a drone from the sky and return it safely to the ground. Video footage of their efforts suggests a successful outing.
Making the training and implementation easier is that eagles seem to have a natural animosity towards the aircraft:
While they four French eagles have yet to complete a real mission yet, hopes are already high enough that French authorities are readying another crop of drone-busting birds this year.
And going forward, they’ll be wearing armor. "The military is designing mittens of leather and Kevlar, an anti-blast material, to protect their talons," Agence France-Presse recently revealed.
Something tells me the site of four angry eagles decked out in Kevlar armor might be enough to make even a soulless drone reconsider its decisions.