Chinese authorities unveil the development of a new highly accurate laser defense system that is able to shoot down small drones in a few seconds.

The Chinese Government has completed the development of a new weapon that is able to hit and shoot down small drones and aircraft in a few seconds. The China has successfully tested a highly accurate laser defense system that could be used to attack light unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to the results of tests the laser is able to hit a drone in a two-kilometer range and can destroy “various small aircraft” within five seconds of locating its target.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that the test results are very interesting because the laser is able to point-and-destroy unmanned, small-scale drones flying under an altitude of 500 meters and at speeds below 50 meters per second. The system appears to show a great precision and a low noise as confirmed by one of the researchers involved in the development of the weapon at the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP). The Chinese Academy is also working on developing other laser weapons with greater power and range.

During a test session the laser defense system successfully bring down over 30 drones, with a 100 percent success rate, according to the news reported by Chinese media.

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This kind of weapons could represent a privileged solution to prevent attacks during major events in urban areas or to avoid that spying drones could be used in the urban area for reconnaissance. Let me also add that the type of targets that the laser defense system is able to bring down belong to the category of vehicles more exposed to the risk of hacking, in these cases a defense system like the one developed by the Chinese authorities could prevent that the UVA is controlled by the attackers.

“Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage,” explained Yi Jinsong, a manager with China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment Corp.

Small-scale unmanned drones are widespread, their number is increasing and their use is becoming very popular also for commercial uses increasing the likelihood of incidents and criminal abuses.

Small drones are cheap and easy to use and acquire, making these vehicles an optimal choice for terrorists that intend to hit a target or spy on it (i.e. Critical infrastructure).

“Concerns have also been raised recently over drones involved in unlicensed mapping activities, and the negative effect this could have on both military and civil aerial activities. ” reports RT.com agencies.

The research on these drones is providing continuous improvements, experts sustain that the new generations of UAVs will be characterized by high performance, high autonomy and an extreme versatility, which makes their use suitable for many industries.

The US military is developing a new pocket-drone, called Extreme Access Pocket Flyer, that is able to fly for two hours and could be used for surveillance activities transmitting HD-quality video without resorting to Wi-Fi.

“By 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects to have as many as 30,000 drones flying over the United States. Of course, the large diffusion of the vehicles must be sustained by meticulous attention to matters related to the security and privacy of the population.

The use of these vehicles raises a series of discussions about their security. These systems are complex environments that theoretically could be hacked becoming a weapon in the hand of attackers. Other serious questions are related to their use in the civil sector and privacy issue related to the improper management of data collected by the drone during the missions.” I have reported on the topic in a post published by the Infosec Institute.

The post published by RT.com provides further details related to the diffusion of drones, for example the independent, nonprofit, public policy institute, Stimson revealed that  the US has the“world’s largest and most sophisticated fleet of weaponized UAVs,” though America is “not likely to remain the world leader in the development of innovative UAV technologies.” 

Pierluigi Paganini