A grenade is not the best way to stop a drone, but a grenade launcher might be. This week, the Army was granted a patent for a net-carrying grenade-sized weapon, designed to work in a standard 40mm launcher, that can ensnare a drone. Formally a “scalable effects net warhead,” the net grenade could finally provide a countermeasure to cheap drones that’s almost as inexpensive as the drones themselves.
Ensnaring a robot in a net is perhaps the opposite of lethality, but here that’s a selling point — stopping the drone means immediately disabling it and possibly doing a forensic investigation on the drone’s innards afterwards. Bullets can stop drones, but it’s a hard task even at sport shooting competitions and in a real-life application bullets still have to fall somewhere, risking injury to friendly forces and bystanders. Anti-air missiles like the Patriot can also intercept drones, but drones can be as cheap as a few hundred dollars and missiles like the Patriot can cost a few million dollars. Both more-kinetic options can ruin the drone’s circuitry, obliterating any useful clues as to who may have launched the drone.
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