Drones

Laser defense system zaps drones out of the sky

Laser defense system zaps dron...
Chinese scientists are reportedly developing a laser capable of shooting the drones out of the sky (Image: Shutterstock)
Chinese scientists are reportedly developing a laser capable of shooting the drones out of the sky (Image: Shutterstock)
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Chinese scientists are reportedly developing a laser capable of shooting the drones out of the sky (Image: Shutterstock)
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Chinese scientists are reportedly developing a laser capable of shooting the drones out of the sky (Image: Shutterstock)

Drones cruising through Chinese airspace may be set for rude awakening, with local scientists reportedly developing a laser capable of shooting the vehicles out of the sky. Chinese media are reporting that researchers from the China Academy of Engineering Physics have been working on a laser defense system to safeguard against the proliferating technology, and its early testing has been largely viewed as a success.

As they torment football coaches at World Cups, hover over French nuclear plants and endanger Kanye West's baby, the question of how drones can be kept in check is of growing concern.

Referring to a statement from the China Academy of Engineering Physics, China Daily says the Low Altitude Sentinel System is designed to target smaller aircraft, and then within five seconds reduce them to a fine dust. It is capable of tracking drones moving at 180 km/h (111 mph) at an altitude of 500 m (1,640 ft) or lower within a radius of 2 km (1.24 mi).

China Daily quotes Yi Jinsong, a manager at the China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment Corp, which is working with the academy on the project: "Intercepting small drones has usually been the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high, and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage."

The academy says the laser system can be installed or transported in vehicles, and anticipates it being used to prevent drone flyovers during events in urban areas. It claims that in testing, it shot down more than 30 drones with a 100 percent success rate. Scientists are continuing to work on similar systems with improved power and range.

Source: China Daily

4 comments
4 comments
Spencer Goldade
I wonder how it avoids accidentally targeting birds? It implied that it was an autonomous system, but perhaps it's human controlled.
ivan4
Did they try it on drones that had a highly reflective surface?
The only thing I can see it doing in that case is blinding the camera so preventing revealing pictures being taken.
the.other.will
If those specs are correct, this weapon will be limited to the smallest of drones - micro UAVs. Locating those can be a bigger problem than bringing them down.
Les LaZar
I call BS on this whole story. In order to "...target smaller aircraft, and then within five seconds reduce them to a fine dust." they would have to track the aircraft while in motion (and its debris, if it starts to break up during the process). They would need a laser beam practically as wide as the aircraft. Putting enough energy into a laser beam a foot or two in diameter at 500m appears to be beyond our current technology, at least as far as something that can be transported in small ground vehicles. If the beam is narrow, say 1cm, then it is possible they could disable the aircraft, causing it to fall largely intact. Might that not cause more problems than the aircraft itself? The beam would have to have enough energy to burn through a critical element of the aircraft in one shot. Tracking a small drone in motion and holding the beam in one spot for an extended period (seconds) seems farfetched.