Birds vs. Drones

April 1, 2017

France Is Fighting Drones With Eagles

With the threat of rogue drones spying over sports stadiums and the like, the French army is training four golden eagles to strike them down. Keep in mind: we’re talking those small remote-controlled drones you might get at a hobby store, not the unmanned planes that drop bombs.

How can an eagle take down a drone? Well, these eagles are quite unique. They’ve been raised in captivity by the French army, and trained to treat drones as they would their dinner. This means swooping in and clenching the drones with their strong talons—capable of exerting 500 pounds of pressure. Ouch!

Once the eagle brings the drone back to the ground, they get a piece of meat for reward, so they’re pretty motivated to get the job done. As it turns out, eagles are perfect drone hunters.  They’re fast flyers—reaching up to 150 miles per hour!—and have great vision, spotting prey up to a mile away.

The program is still in experimental stages—inspired by a similar one in the Netherlands back in 2015—and there are only four eagles being trained. The eagles, named after four famous characters from the Three Musketeers, are expected to patrol the skies for real in the not-so-distant future.