Video: Dutch train birds of prey to attack enemy drones

Bird of Prey - Drone take out
A bird of prey plucks a drone out of the air (photo: Politie)A bird of prey plucks a drone out of the air (photo: Politie)

Birds of prey in the Netherlands will be trained to hunt down and take out enemy unmanned flying devices, police announced on Sunday. The authorities released video of a successful demonstration from Friday, saying a final decision on continuing the program will be made over the next few months.

Nobody else in the world has undertaken a similar project, police said. They are working with raptor training company Guard From Above, based in Den Haag.

The concern is the increasing use of drones, particularly for criminal purposes. Dutch security services are also concerned about the prospect of drones being used to carry out terrorist attacks with bombs, biological and chemical weapons, broadcaster NOS reported.

Tokyo police arrested a man in April accused of landing a drone carrying radioactive sand on the office rooftop of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, the BBC reported at the time. In 2013, a Pirate Party member took credit for flying an unmanned device onto a stage at an event attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nobody was injured in either incident.

“There are situations where drones may not be flown,” national police innovation leader Mark Wiebe said in a statement. He cited situations like the need for an air ambulance to land safely, but a drone is operating in the area, or drones being flown over a crowd just to take interesting photos.

“If that drone then falls from the sky it can be dangerous for people,” he said.

The birds of prey are trained to capture a drone and bring it to the ground in an unpopulated area where it will not harm people and other birds, Wiebe said.