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Anti-drone weapons were carried by security teams during U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Belgium this week. Images shared to social media show Belgian security forces wielding a combination of handheld anti-drone weapons to protect a meeting between Biden and King Philippe of Belgium. Their deployment is a reminder of how serious the threat of drone attacks on high-value targets is worldwide.
Two different types of anti-drone systems were carried by members of the Belgian Federal Police, one which fires a net projectile at drones, and another that uses radiofrequency (RF) jamming to disrupt links between drones and their operators.
One of the weapons appears to be the DroneGun Tactical made by the Australian firm DroneShield. According to the company, the system can cause drones to “respond via vertical on the spot landing or return to its remote controller or starting point” when successfully disrupted by its multi-band radiofrequency (RF) jamming attack. These types of anti-drone weapons work by severing the command and control links between drones and their operators, and can instantly cease video transmission between them. These types of jammers don’t work against autonomous systems which do not rely upon RF links with human controllers, although those systems are far less flexible and are usually only capable of targeting fixed points, not fluid targets that are often in motion,
The other weapon seen carried by the Belgian Federal Police appears to be a Skywall Patrol made by UK-based OpenWorks Engineering. The gun is described by its manufacturers as a “handheld drone capture system” that uses compressed air to fire nets or a combination net-and-parachute round at hostile drones. It is effective in bringing down drones because “Conventional weapons often fail to incapacitate a drone and do not offer a proportionate response to the drone threat.” Further, the company writes, conventional weapons “can also escalate a situation when used in the vicinity of large crowds”, according to thedrive.com.