Many agree that the United States is fortunate that the soaring Bald Eagle was chosen over the lowly Turkey, proposed by Benjamin Franklin, as its national bird. It is majestic, powerful, swift, and deadly. But now, it has also accidentally proven to be a capable anti-drone weapons system.- Advertisement –
Last month, a Bald Eagle engaged and defeated a Michigan state government drone flying over the Great Lakes. The drone the eagle took down was ironically operated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
According to USA Today, the $950 drone was 162 feet above the waters of Lake Michigan mapping shoreline erosion when attacked by the Bald Eagle. The bird reportedly swooped in and ripped a propeller off the drone causing it to fall into lake 150 feet offshore.
Despite an exhaustive search, the downed drone was not found.
“The motive for the attack is currently unknown, though territorial disputes and hunger are the leading theories,” reported USA Today, adding, “The drone team is considering ways to prevent future attacks, such as using designs that would make eagles less likely to mistake EGLE drones for seagulls.”
In a tweet, Michigan State Representative Beau M. LaFave said this about the “Eagle vs EGLE combat”: Michigan Eagle takes on EGLE (Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy) and wins. Bird can be heard singing “I fought the law, and I won”
One major positive from this incident, noted USA Today, is that it highlights a “thriving eagle population. A 2019 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey showed 849 active nesting sites in Michigan, up from a low point of 76 nesting sites in the 1970s.”
Another takeaway is that the Bald Eagle may be able to serve as a natural counter-drone defense system. Perhaps DARPA, DOD and DHS are already secretly working on this.
On Friday, President Barack Obama ruled out sending U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, or ISIS, fighters as they take over large areas of the country. He did leave the door open to a set of nebulously named “other options.” What form might those take? In May, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made clear that he would allow the U.S. to carry out Predator and Reaper drone strikes in the country against groups hostile to his government. Today, many in Washington are asking when will the U.S. send drones back to Iraq? Continue reading
by Kenneth Bloomquist
Drones are exceptional new military tools that magnify American air supremacy. They are cheaper to build, easier to place in the field, and more accurate than their manned jetfighter counterparts. Most importantly, drones effectively identify targets as they emerge and can strike these targets within very short windows of opportunity. The Predator drone in particular has proven both versatile in several battlefield roles and unmatched in its ability to deliver precision strikes on short notice, making it an indispensable addition to US counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. The endurance and rapid response capability of the aircraft have helped the US military and intelligence community keep pace with smaller, faster, and lower-profile terrorist networks. Continue reading