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Where Eagles Dare

French military use winged warriors to hunt down rogue drones

Where Eagles Dare thanks to Roy Taylor

A golden eagle grabs a flying drone during a military training exercise at Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, southwestern France

Where Eagles Dare thanks to Roy Taylor

DJI phantom drones no match for drone-seeking eagle

Where Eagles Dare thanks to Roy Taylor

A golden eagle carries a flying DJI Phantom drone away during a military training exercise

Following incidents of drones flying over the Presidential Palace and restricted military sites - along with the 2015 Paris terror attacks - the French air force has trained four golden eagles to intercept and destroy rogue UAV drone aircraft. Aptly named Aramis, Athos, d’Artagnan and Porthos (an homage to Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers”) the four birds of prey have been honing their attack skills in France since mid-2016.

“A drone means food for these birds,” stated Gerald Machoukow, the military base’s falconer. “Now they automatically go after them.”

The use of hunting birds (normally falcons and northern goshawks) by military forces around the globe is common practice in the fight to scare other birds away from runways and so cut the risk of accidents during takeoff or landing. But it wasn’t until 2015 when the Dutch started using bald eagles to intercept drones that others started to see the benefit of these winged warriors. The French bred the four golden eagles using artificial insemination since eagles are a protected species and harvesting wild eggs is strictly forbidden. They chose the golden eagle because of the bird’s hooked beak and sharp eyesight.

Weighing in at around 11 pounds, the birds are in a similar weight class as the drones they’re sent to destroy. Clocking in at a top air speed of 50 miles per hour, with the capability of spotting its target from over a mile away, the eagles are deft hunters. To protect the eagles from drone blades and any explosive device that might be attached to them, the French military designed mittens of leather and Kevlar, an anti-blast material, to protect the bird’s talons.

QuotaBills
Love is a kind of military service. - Ovid

Owning a drone does not a pilot make. - Alex Morritt

It is not death that alarms me, but dying. - Michel De Montaigne

I will be the Thai equivalent of Eddie the Eagle. - Vanessa Mae

I now close my military career and just fade away. - Douglas MacArthur

Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity of others. - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars. - William Westmoreland

A woman's best protection is a little money of her own. - Clare B Luce

There is no security in this life. There is only opportunity. - Douglas MacAurthur

The old age of an eagle is better than the youth of a sparrow. - Proverb

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music. - Groucho Marx

I would uphold the law if for no other reason but to protect myself. - Thomas More

We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it. - John Steinbeck

If the Eagle Scouts had some sort of Sith equivalent, Marcone was it. - Jim Butcher

Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness. - Sidney Hook

Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller

A memorandum isn't written to inform the receiver, but to protect the writer. - Dean Acheson

It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man and the security of a god. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age. - Jeanne Moreau

You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness. - Jonathan S Foer

Birds find shelter during the rain, but eagles avoid rain by flying above the clouds. - Abdul Kalam

A man's own good breeding is the best security against other people's ill manners. - Lord Chesterfield

Statistics have shown that mortality increases perceptibly in the military during wartime. - Alphonse Allais

The game is played not to protect the rules; rather, the rules are made to protect the game. - Ravi Zacharias

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection. - Sigmund Freud

You can't fly with the owls by night and expect to keep up with the eagles during the day. - Unknown

I do not think there is any silver bullet to solving the technology side of the security equation. - John W. Thompson

Hard work is the soundest investment. It provides a neat security for your widow's next husband. - Unknown

A drone is often preferred for missions that are too 'dull, dirty, or dangerous' for manned aircraft. - Nick Hahn

Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds. - John P Barlow

You can't reach old age by another man's road. My habits protect my life but they would assassinate you. - Mark Twain

The only security men can have for their political liberty, consists in keeping their money in their own pockets. - Lysander Spooner

Tariff: A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer. - Ambrose Bierce

If you can't even acknowledge that you have to fix social security, that's not a very good starting point. - Rob Portman

People confuse amassing money with security, but it is not so. What a pity to confuse real security with making money. - Billy Graham

Enthusiasm is the best protection in any situation. Wholeheartedness is contagious. Give yourself if you wish to get others. - David Seabury

Accountant: 1. A noble insect; 2. A dutiful book balancer whose role within a corporation is to protect it from creative ideas. - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark ... to have been loved so deeply ... will give us some protection forever. - J K Rowling

In a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power - including strong and principled diplomacy. - Barack Obama

Social Security's not the hard one to solve. Medicare, that is the gorilla in the room, and you've got to put all of it on the table. - Joe Biden


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