In the wake of the rising demand for anti-drone weapons in domestic and overseas markets, Chinese engineers have developed a number of solutions, ranging from laser guns to electronic jamming instruments.
Now, researchers of the 206th Institute of the Second Academy under China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp have built what they say is the country’s first antidrone combat drone system.
The Sparrowhawk combat drone is based on a six-rotor unmanned aircraft with two small guns that fire projectiles that release a net.
Its major targets are small drones flying slowly at low altitudes, which have become a noticeable public security hazard to authorities around the world.
Peng Yanyun, a chief designer of the drone, said Sparrowhawk is capable of handling any small drone flying slower than 20 kilometers per hour and lower than 120 meters.
After Sparrowhawk detects unwanted drones within a radius of 1,000 meters, it will track and take aim at the target and then fire a projectile, which will release a net to neutralize rogue drones.
The drone’s gun is capable of using two types of projectiles to dispose of a target.
One type has a wire that stays connected to the aircraft after it is fired to allow the drone to capture its target and bring it to the ground. The other does not have a wire, so the target will fall directly to the ground, Peng said.
Ba Tengyue, the drone’s project manager, said the product is designed for law enforcement authorities to conduct low-altitude surveillance or patrol in urban areas, especially government and military sites, public gathering venues and key infrastructure like nuclear power plants and oil depots.
He said the drone features high levels of automation and intelligence, low operational costs as well as good deployment flexibility.
The institute has also designed a truck-based system to work with the Sparrowhawk in counter-drone operations, he said.
The system has multiple detection methods including radar, signal tracking and electro-optical surveillance. The system also can use electronic jamming to disrupt rogue drones, Ba said.
The Beijing-based 206th Institute is a leader in the domestic counter-drone market. It is one of the first developers of anti-drone systems in China and its products have been deployed to safeguard a succession of significant events held in China such as Boao Forum for Asia and the BRICS Summit as well as the Asian Games.
Some public security departments also have purchased and fielded the institute’s anti-drone products.