Soldiers are firing off Spider-Man-like nets from grenades to down enemy drones
U.S. Army photo by Michelle Eberhart
- Army researchers have invented a new grenade designed to take down enemy drones.
- The grenade, designed to be launched from the standard grenade launchers used by military and law enforcement, is packed with a net that can ensnare troublesome unmanned aerial systems.
- Initial testing indicates that this new invention is an effective counter-drone solution that is cheaper and simpler than most alternatives.
It's likely that whoever US troops fight in the next war, these enemies will be armed with drones. That's why Army researchers have invented a smart and cost-effective way to bring them down.
The US Army has invented a new grenade in the 40 mm configuration that is packed with a net and specifically designed to take out enemy drones.
The weapon, which was developed by Army engineers at the Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in New Jersey, can be launched from the standard grenade launchers regularly used by the US military and law enforcement.
Here's how it works, according to a patent...
The projectile contains a net with weights, the patent detailed. As the round nears the target, a signal from a control board releases the net stored inside, according to the recent patent.
The weapon can theoretically be used to counter both single and swarming drones.
The Army's simple yet effective invention has purportedly outperformed existing net-centric counter-drone techniques, such as drone-operated drag nets, where a pilot must outmaneuver an enemy aerial drone. That tactic would likely be ineffective against a swarm of drones, which a sophisticated adversary like Russia would be capable of wielding.
Furthermore, the new net-packed grenade is a lot cheaper than surface-to-air weapons, such as surface to air missiles, to take out an adversary's drones. A US ally once used a $3 million Patriot missile to shoot down a quadcopter drone that probably cost no more than $200, US Army Gen. David Perkins last year, calling attention to the need for affordable counter-drone capabilities.
Ground units equipped with the M320 grenade launchers could carry dozens of these grenades to eliminate enemy drones from hundreds of yards away, TechLink, the Department of Defense's national partnership intermediary for technology transfer, explained, adding that units equipped with the Mk-19 launchers could down enemy drones from even farther away.
The Army wants to eventually expand this concept to disable boats and trucks and much more.