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Using Kinetic Energy Non-Lethal Weapons to Neutralize Low Small Slow Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

  • Cyril RobbeEmail author
  • Alexandre Papy
  • Nestor Nsiampa
Original Paper
  • 722 Downloads

Abstract

Low, small, slow unmanned aerial vehicles (LSS UAV) are the smallest and cheapest category of aircraft without a pilot in command on board. They are either remotely controlled or programmed and fully autonomous. Typically, these are used for entertainment or as a means for filming events or activities. The development of all these LSS UAV goes with an increased risk of seeing them used for military or terrorist actions. Indeed, because of their versatility and current technical capacities, using LSS UAVs to carry small caliber weapons or to deliver an improvised explosive device (IED) to a potential target in an urban environment becomes feasible with relatively low expertise and means. Already, many recent news report the presence of LSS UAV in situations where they could represent serious threats. Due to a technological gap on detection technologies, these potentially harmful LSS UAVS are currently likely to be visually spotted very late by the security teams, typically a few dozen meters from their potential target. Such a conclusion makes the use of capture solutions such as drone-chasing drones, or even using birds of prey, inadequate. Besides, in the context of urban environment, fancy technologies such as jammers, lasers, or other high-energy devices are potentially unsuitable due to possible strict regulations concerning the use of wave emitting devices and a high potential of collateral damage on other equipment. The following study discusses the potential suitability of kinetic energy non-lethal weapons (KENLW) to neutralize LSS UAV in such conditions as the last line of defense. These weapons are designed to minimize permanent or unnecessary injuries when used against human targets. The study is divided into five parts. Firstly, LSS UAV and KENLW are defined and the market is analyzed in order to focus the work on representative candidates of these two categories. Secondly, impacts of KENLW projectiles on LSS UAV are performed in a controlled environment in order to highlight the effect of the impact on the target. The results are presented in terms of V50, which is defined as the velocity characterized by a probability to produce the desired effect of 50%. The projectiles show good potential to break the propellers or even the hull of the LSS UAVs. Thirdly, a theoretic study which objective is to discuss the probability to hit the target is proposed. The results show reasonable probabilities to hit the propellers or the hull with a perfect aiming. Besides, the aiming problem is discussed and highlight the need of dedicated aiming systems to reach the presented results. Fourthly, the potential collateral damage occurring when such projectiles impact human targets is studied. The selected projectiles give mixed results. The most efficient projectiles on the LSS UAV are also the most harmful when impacting the human body. Finally, conclusions concerning the suitability of KENLW systems for neutralizing LSS UAV threats are drawn.

Keywords

Unmanned aerial vehicles Non-lethal weapons Ballistics Impact measurement Human vulnerability Biomechanics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Weapons Systems and BallisticsRoyal Military AcademyBrusselsBelgium

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