There are those who believe that national security and defense against threats of any kind are of the utmost importance, and that any sort of threatening action made toward our nation or allies is worthy of being met with the highest level of force and counteraction conceivable.
It appears that such thinking was predominate among one of our nation’s allies recently on at least one occasion, as was revealed by U.S. Army Gen. David Perkins, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, during a military symposium in Alabama, according to the BBC.
While discussing the need for more cost/benefit analysis in the military, Perkins shared a story of a “very close” U.S. ally that recently used a $3 million Patriot missile to shoot down a small quadcopter drone that cost about $200 to $300.
“That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from Amazon.com did not stand a chance against a Patriot,” Perkins stated with a chuckle. “Now, that worked, they got it, OK, and we love Patriot missiles.”
However, while the Patriot missile certainly beat the drone in the “kinetic” match-up, Perkins noted that using a multi-million dollar surface-to-air missile to shoot down a cheap commercial drone was probably unwise economically.
“I’m not sure that’s a good economic exchange ratio,” he said. “In fact, if I’m the enemy, I’m thinking, ‘Hey, I’m just gonna get on eBay and buy as many of these $300 quadcopters as I can and expend all the Patriot missiles out there.’”
According to Fox News, Perkins suggested that other cost effective options to take down drones in a more economical fashion should be looked at first before using expensive missiles, such as utilizing electronic warfare measures.
You can watch the general’s commentary right here:
Though not mentioned by the general, there is, of course, always the option of soldiers using standard firearms like rifles and machine guns to shoot down the drones. According to Fox, that’s what Iraqi troops have been doing in and around Mosul to counter the small fleet of commercial drones the Islamic State group has adapted to monitor and drop grenades on coalition forces driving them out of the stronghold.
Then there is also the old standby 12-gauge shotgun, which any soldier with a box of shells and a little experience shooting trap or skeet could have a field day with shooting down small enemy drones.
In fact, PC Mag reported that the U.S. Air Force recently submitted an order for 600 special shotgun shells which contain a five-foot wide net that spins and expands in mid-air to capture a drone and bring it to the ground with minimal damage, save for that incurred on impact with the ground.
Should testing of the SkyNet Mi-5 anti-drone shotgun shells prove successful, the Air Force is expected to order at least 10 times as many shells and begin deploying them, likely opening the door for other uses for the special shell, such as with other military branches and law enforcement, prison guards or civilian security operations.
Obviously, something must be done, because it is the height of foolish waste and a clear sign that it is past time to drain the swamp to use a $3 million missile to shoot down a $300 drone.
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