An emerging threat: Small drones as flying IEDs

The military is taking seriously the idea of drones, even small ones, not just delivering weapons but being used as weapons themselves.

Army engineers working at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., have demonstrated their ability to shoot down incoming unmanned aerial systems, adapting a system being developed to counter rockets, artillery and mortars to include UAS among its targets. Meanwhile, researchers at the Army’s just-completed Network Integration Evaluation 16.1 tested small quad- and octocopter drones both to see what they’re capable of and devise ways of defending against them.

One reason for this type of research is the ubiquity of all kinds of UAS. “Every country has them now, whether they are armed or not or what level of performance,” Manfredi Luciano, project officer for the Enhanced Area Protection and Survivability, or EAPS, Army Technology Objective, said after the Yuma demonstration. “This is a huge threat has been coming up on everybody. It has kind of almost sneaked up on people, and it’s almost more important than the counter-RAM threat.”

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