Thursday, 25 May, 2017

Drones showing up weaknesses in missile defence plans

Reuters Reuters
Juana Turner | 17 March, 2017, 01:03

When a $300 commercial drone went head-to-head with a $3m Patriot missile, it was only going to end one way.

A small drone was shot down by a $3 million Patriot missile, a USA general said on Monday.

The missile wasn't fired by the United States, but by someone Perkins described as an ally "dealing with an adversary", suggesting it wasn't a test.

Earlier this week Gen. David Perkins told the Association of the United States Army's Global Force symposium in Huntsville, Ala. that the strike against an Unmanned Aerial System, or drone, was made by a USA ally. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the "Phased array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target", or PATRIOT.

According to news reports, U.S. general David Perkins revealed the Goliath-smashing-David-event a military symposium.

No further details were given, but Perkins said it involved "a very close ally".

But the problem, as he put it, is that the cost-to-benefit analysis of smacking down a cheap quadcopter with a $3 million missile doesn't quite line up.

Perkins questioned the economics of taking down a small drone with a weapon costing millions of dollars.

Patriots are radar-guided missiles created to shoot down enemy missiles, travelling at five times the speed of sound to strike its target.

Describing small unmanned aerial vehicles as a commander's problem rather than an air defense problem, Perkins suggested alternative methods for tackling enemy drones such as electronic warfare and cyber measures, according to the CNET report.

Thirteen countries now have Patriot air-defense systems, according to Jane's.

Perkins pointed out the obvious - that deploying large surface-to-air missiles as a defence was not good bang for your buck.

Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London (RUSI) told Fox News that the strike underlines an ongoing challenge for armed forces bristling with high-tech weaponry.

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