Commercial drones present quite a problem for Western armies, because there’s still no adequate defense system to stop them. When faced with a need to down a drone, NATO armies have to rely on convenient anti-aircraft weapons.
And some country turns out to have done just that.
As Sputnik reported earlier, cheap commercial-grade drones, are quite capable of conducting surveillance or, as proven by Daesh militants in the Middle East, even dropping grenades on soldiers' heads. The problem here is that an average commercial drone costs about $200. And a single missile that could be used against one costs much, much more.
In fact, the best choice for downing a drone these days is a $40,000 hand-held Stinger AA missile. Designed to destroy several million-dollars-worth of Soviet helicopter, these used to be quite a cheap solution. But not so much when compared to the abovementioned $200, right?
Some unnamed country — all we know is that it is an ally of the US — has gone further, and fired a $3 million Patriot missile to down a little buzzing thingy. This was made known by US Army General David Perkins, who addressed the Association of the United States Army's Global Force symposium in Alabama earlier this week.
"That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from Amazon.com did not stand a chance against a Patriot," General Perkins reported. "Now, that worked, they got it, OK, and we love Patriot missiles."
The victory for the Patriot is not surprising, since it was designed to take out fast moving attack planes. But isn't it overkill?
"I'm not sure that's a good economic exchange ratio," Perkins told the audience. "In fact, if I'm the enemy, I'm thinking, ‘Hey, I'm just gonna get on eBay and buy as many of these quadcopters as I can and expend all the Patriot missiles out there.'"
General Perkins did not disclose which country did it, maybe out of mere courtesy.
There's little to laugh at in reality, since the US is urgently trying to develop a cheap anti-drone weapon to protect its troops in the Middle East. But so far, the best bet NATO is gonna get in the near future… is a $15,000 air-to-air AIM-9X missile, jerry-rigged to be fired from the ground.
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