China recently introduced a laser-based system which can be used to target and destroy small drones, The Guardian reports. The system is able to locate small, slow moving drones within a 1.2 mile radius and is capable of destroying a target within five seconds. It is effective up to an altitude of 500 meters against drones or other aircraft flying at up to 112 miles per hour.
Drone are becoming more commonly used by the military and can be seen in civilian airspaces more frequently. Drones can be used for medical reasons—delivering equipment such as defibrillators to heavily urbanised areas quickly, or even delivering drugs and other supplies to remote or inaccessible provinces. They are also often used for military or defence reasons, as they are relatively cheap to produce and require no human operator.
The system has been produced to answer concerns regarding unlicensed mapping activity by drones and possible terror threats, the article notes. It was developed by the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP).
Yi Jinsong, a manager at China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment Corp, stated that "intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage." The new system, which can be installed on vehicles, has a much higher success rate—100%, in fact.
The CAEP is currently working on this success and is looking to create more powerful drones with more range, the article notes. The laser system is far cheaper than using missiles for the same purpose and has led to other countries also looking to create a similar system.