A video emerged in recent days of a particularly terrifying concept: a drone with a shotgun mounted on its fuselage. But it doesn’t look like it’s designed to hunt people – the video is a demonstration of a Russian device designed for smaller aircraft, i.e. other drones
The drone appears to have started its development in 2016 (via Foxtrot Alpha) from a group of students at the Moscow Aviation Institute. While there have been cases of people mounting firearms (and chainsaws) on drones, there are a few drawbacks – the recoil from a shot makes it impractical to actually be an effective weapons platform.
According to Defense.ruThe students seem to have solved that problem by developing a stabilization mechanism to improve their accuracy. Russian arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey was granted a patent for the design and presumably created the prototype.
The drone is armed with a Russian-made Vepr-12 shotgun, and an operator wearing a visor can control the drone from the ground. The plane takes off vertically, it can fly around 40 minutes, and according to C4ISRNET, is designed as a platform to attack small drones from the air. The video shows the drone in action, flying to attack a balloon target and then an RC plane.
Another video from a year ago shows that the drone doesn’t necessarily have to be in the air to be functional either:
In theory, it’s an interesting idea that a drone with a weapon installed (or is it a weapon with wings?) Could be a kind of anti-drone defense. Drones are already a threat on the battlefield, as militaries around the world have had to deal with military and commercial drones produced for the war in Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan and, in particular, Syria. In some cases, drones have been used to drop explosives at enemy forces, but they don’t necessarily have to be armed to be effective – they can simply capture video to use in propaganda.
As a result, there is also a huge market for drone defenses: Bard College’s Center for Drone Study found that there were “at least 235 anti-drone products on the market or in active development” a year ago. It found that the most common defensive measure was a jamming system, such as what Gatwick and Heathrow airports bought to protect their airspaces from drone incursions, while other concepts, such as microwave cannons, nets, and even birds of prey, are also being tested. This particular method, dealing directly with the threat in question, appears to be a flexible way of tackling the problem, given that this particular aircraft does not require specialized launch facilities or equipment and could theoretically hunt down an enemy aircraft quickly.
Sam Bendett from the defense research and analysis organization CNA says The edge that this type of system appears to be the result of Russia’s experiences with drones in Syria, noting that its service members are being trained to deal with drones. Russia says, as “a plethora of electronic warfare systems – stationary, mobile, portable – to deal with UAVs”, and that electronic countermeasures are “done regularly and consistently.” He notes that this particular drone is a prototype, and suggests that “it may have been [created as] a simple “gap” measure to help forces against small, cheap systems. ”It’s another tool in a larger anti-drone arsenal.