Drones

US Army creates a drone-netting grenade

A 40-mm practice grenade, similar in appearance to the anti-drone grenade, is loaded into a portable launcher
A 40-mm practice grenade, similar in appearance to the anti-drone grenade, is loaded into a portable launcher
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A diagram of the anti-drone grenade
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A diagram of the anti-drone grenade
A 40-mm practice grenade, similar in appearance to the anti-drone grenade, is loaded into a portable launcher
2/2
A 40-mm practice grenade, similar in appearance to the anti-drone grenade, is loaded into a portable launcher

As last month's grounding of flights at Gatwick Airport showed us, drones can cause a lot of problems – and they can even pose a security risk – when they're flown in the wrong places. Engineers with the US Army are developing a countermeasure, in the form of a drone-netting grenade.

The experimental 40-mm grenade was invented by Tomasz Blyskal, Richard Fong and LaMar Thompson at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.

Individual soldiers could shoot it at rogue drones using M320 portable grenade launchers, while heavy weapons platoons could utilize larger Mk-19 launchers. The former setup could target drones hundreds of yards away, while the latter has an even longer range.

A diagram of the anti-drone grenade
A diagram of the anti-drone grenade

Once the launched device nears an airborne drone, a servo within the grenade releases its ogive (nose) section. This allows a spring-loaded weighted net to be ejected forward out of the grenade's body. That net proceeds to spin through the air, spreading out 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30 ft) to ensnare the drone. The netted aircraft subsequently falls to the ground.

The servo is triggered via a signal from an integrated control board, which can in turn be remotely activated by someone on the ground, or by an onboard proximity sensor.

According to the army, initial tests have shown that the grenade is more effective than other approaches such as drones that net other drones, as no drone-piloting skills are required. Additionally, because one person could carry dozens of the grenades, the system would be better able to take down whole swarms of drones.

British engineering firm OpenWorks' portable SkyWall device also launches projectiles which in turn deploy drone-catching nets.

Source: US Army Techlink

9 comments
D[]
According to the diagram the grenade releases a small mess of string. Does not look effective at all. General: Get the tech illustrator to draw the technical diagram for the net grenade. Lt: Sir I have the illustration here General: Where is the net, the net is not visible! Lt: One second sir.... Sir, Here is the illustration. General: Good work soldier!
Nobody
I hope this has a built in range finder to aid in aiming otherwise it will not have the several hundred yard range being claimed.
Daishi
I saw the approach here but something else that would work is a flak type system with a bunch of single ball bola traps intended scatter in every direction from the payload. The quad rotors should get tangled in the strings and stop spinning. I think that system would allow for less accuracy than a net and allow longer ranges. A net would require being very accurate or the drone being close to the ground.
rude.dawg
Can't jet engines be designed and built to have meshes protecting their intakes?
AngryPenguin
@rude.dawg Not without losing a lot of speed and fuel efficiency.
MD
I Love the Loose use of the term "invented" Pretty much an obvious mashup... Gun fired Nets have been widely used for quite a while... Merely placing inside that is effectively a "discarding sabot" (controlled deployment projectile / shell).... Unlikely to be widely useful, given the limited real/verifyable "drone" incidents.... Keep the "Inventions" coming, keep the people living in fear..
Expanded Viewpoint
Oh come on now!! With the level of sophistication we have reached in the last 10 years at the least in machine vision recognition, coupled with LIDAR tracking, we could EASILY put together a system that would be one man portable to combat this problem. Set up a small tripod with the LIDAR unit on it and another one with a 12 gauge shotgun that shoots plastic bullets at the drones, and you'd have a 24/7/365 security system pretty cheaply! If rain or fog keeps the LIDAR from working properly, have a regular RADAR gun do the target acquisition and tracking. With the choreographed drone sky dancing I have seen done, we could also "swarm" any intruder with them and bring it down. To use the well worn cliche', if it saves just one airplane from crashing into the ground, it would be worth sacrificing a few small drones. Randy
Nik
So I surround my drone with a thin wire cage.......(if I had one), that prevents the string fouling the props, and just continue being a damn pest? This seems like an expensive scam to hoodwink idiots. Whats wrong with a 12 bore shotgun? It would cause enough damage to drop the drone out of the sky, and a 12 bore cartridge would be a fraction of the cost. [Remember K.I.S.S.?]
GaryOwens
@angry penguin, how about a grill/grid that’s only used for low level ? Take off and landing. Then withdrawn for normal cruising.