Drones pose a real security problem for law enforcement. They are relatively small and easy to hide, can quickly be deployed, allow for surveillance, and can carry a payload. And once in the air, how do you quickly take them down?
An order placed in late January by the U.S. Air Force gives us a good idea of how law enforcement drone defense is probably going to work. The Drive reports that a Notice of Contract Action was submitted by the Air Force to evaluate 600 12-gauge SkyNet Mi-5 shotgun shells supplied by AMTEC Less Lethal Systems (ALS).
The Mi-5 shells are anti-drone rounds and contain a five-foot wide capture net. When fired, five tethered segments spin and extend to create the net which travels towards the targeted drone, wraps around it, and raises it to the ground. The only damage caused will be from the impact with the ground, which should offer a chance to inspect and collect evidence from the drone.
The Air Force will use the shells with its Remington Model 870 shotguns after modifying them with a "choke tube" on the muzzle which will allow the shell to spin and extend the net properly. The types of drones these shells can target are classed as Category 1 & 2 by the Pentagon. They weigh up to 55 pounds and typically fly at heights of no more than 3,500 feet.
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As a way of dealing with a drone threat, this seems like a relatively cheap solution. It uses an existing weapon modified with a tube and uses a different shell. The overall expenditure ultimately depends on how much the shells and tubes cost.
If the Air Force's experiment with these initial 600 shells is successful, there's an option to buy a further 6,400 rounds to allow for wider deployment. And if they work for the US Air Force, then they will work for police officers, prison guards, and a host of other security departments and sections of the U.S. military.