Dutch Anti-Drone Police Eagles Ready For Duty

The DJI Phantom menace

Eagle Catches Drone

Eagle Catches Drone

The early eagle catches the droneScreenshot by author, from YouTube

When it comes to stopping drones, nature finds a way. Well, nature and nurture, as well as Dutch policemen. Early this year, Dutch police released a video of eagles trained to snatch quadcopters out of the sky. Animals, especially birds of prey, have done this on their own plenty of times. The Dutch innovation is taking a theoretical question, "can birds be trained to attack drones?" and turning it into a public safety tool.

The first eagles are now ready for action. The Verge reports:

With today's announcement, the Netherlands becomes the first country to use birds to take down drones, which have become a growing security concern around the world. Dutch forces bought four sea eagle chicks after completing their trials this year, and around 100 officers will be trained to use them. The birds are five months old now, and until they mature, the force will use eagles supplied by Guard From Above, a company that trains birds of prey to take down hostile drones. Authorities expect their own "flying squad" to be active by next summer.

There are plenty of non-eagle ways to counter drones. The Pentagon seems pretty convinced that lasers are the future of anti-drone weapons. In the meantime, the Army has trained cadets with a simple anti-drone "cyber rifle," and a more complex version was spotted with U.S. forces in Iraq. Nets, whether fired by special net-bazooka, fired by drone-mounted net gun or hung below other drones and used to capture in the sky, are another popular alternative. Other companies are developing and marketing drone-jamming systems. So why, with all these high-tech options, are the Netherlands using eagles?

Guard From Above, the company that trained the eagles, says "Sometimes the solution to a hypermodern problem is more obvious than you might think."