Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

Drones showing up weaknesses in missile defence plans

Drones showing up weaknesses in missile defence plans

A Patriot missile, which can cost up to $3 million, was used to shoot down a small quadcopter drone worth a few hundred dollars, according to a us general.

In January, the US Air Force placed an order for net-filled shotgun shells created to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to news reports, U.S. general David Perkins revealed the Goliath-smashing-David-event a military symposium.

A USA -made Patriot missile is launched during the annual Han Kuang No. 22 exercises in Ilan County, 80 kilometers (49 miles) west of Taipei, Taiwan.

Perkins joked that while the Patriot missile demolished the drone, it wasn't very economically sound.

In case anyone at the event was in any doubt about the effectiveness of using a multi-million-dollar missile on a small contraption made mostly of plastic, Perkins confirmed that the "quadcopter that cost $200 bucks from did not stand a chance against the Patriot".

But the problem, as he put it, is that the cost-to-benefit analysis of smacking down a cheap quadcopter with a $3 million missile doesn't quite line up.

Perkins told an audience at the Association of the United States Army's Global Force symposium in Alabama that the strike on the drone (file) was made by a "very close" U.S. ally.

"I'm not sure that's a good economic exchange ratio", he added.

Patriots are radar-guided missiles created to shoot down enemy missiles, travelling at five times the speed of sound to strike its target. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the "Phased array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target", or PATRIOT.

Thirteen countries now have Patriot air-defense systems, according to Jane's. However, recent reports have claimed groups in Iraq have been targeting the country's security forces by dropping grenades via quadcopter drones.

In an interview with the BBC, he said: "It certainly exposes in very stark terms the challenge which militaries face in attempting to deal with the adaptation of cheap and readily available civilian technology with extremely expensive, high-end hardware designed for state-on-state warfare", he told the BBC.

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