The Dutch National Police are recruiting pilots for a powerful new air force, specifically designed to take down hostile drones.
But they’re not building any new planes; instead, they’re pitting the old against the new, nature against technology.
So who are these elite pilots? North American Bald Eagles.
In response to the growing possibility of attack from weaponized drones, the Dutch National Police (DNP) have trained bald eagles to remove drones from mid-air. They purchased the bald eagles as chicks, and have been training and testing them for the past year. These tests, according to the DNP, have been wildly successful – so much so that they’ve purchased more chicks.
The eagles are trained to locate drones in the air and “respond accordingly”, which means attacking the drone until it hits the ground, and then moving it to a safe distance from crowds.
A fully-grown bald eagle’s wingspan can measure between 5.9 and 7.5 feet, and its talons can reach up to two inches in length (that’s just the talon’s claws, not including the toes). Their feet are covered in thick, scaly skin which usually protects them from other animal attacks; in this application, this skin protects them from the beating rotors of small drones. (For larger drones, the DNP is designing a “foot protector” to cover the eagles’ feet.)
With measurements like these, it’s easy to see why eagles rule the skies of the animal kingdom. This is a fascinating example of humans taking advantage of the wonders of nature.
You may be asking, is there a video of this awesomeness??
Why yes, yes there is.