France has a nasty surprise in store for ill-intended drone pilots. Local military forces are training eagles to hunt down enemy drones in cases of incoming aerial attacks, The Washington Post reports.
The four eagles – named d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, like the characters from the literary classic The Three Musketeers – hatched last year, but have only recently mastered to perfection the art of snatching tiny aircrafts from the sky. Now they’re about to spread their wings out into the wild.
Earlier this month, d’Artagnan leapt off a military control tower and across a large field to cover 200 meters in 20 seconds, viciously seizing and smashing a practice drone into the grass. His siblings will soon accompany him in protecting the sky.
According to the report, the military-trained birds of prey were placed atop drones while still in the eggshell and kept around the flying machines for a short period after hatching. They were then trained how to hunt down drones and rewarded with meat, attached to the back of the tiny aircrafts.
“The eagles are making good progress,” the French air commander in charge of the falconry program told The Washington Post. In fact, Agence France-Presse reports the birds will soon “be casting off from peaks in the nearby Pyrenees Mountains.”
In light of recent tragic events in the country, France has been seeking a viable way of defending against enemy drones in crowded areas. Determined to implement an entirely weapon-free solution, the French military followed the example of Dutch police, which conducted a similar eagle-hunting experiment before.
According to Agence France-Presse, the French government has already approved a second brood of eagles.
In addition, the military is also designing a series of high-tech accessories to assists the birds in their fight against the machines.
Watch the footage in the video section above to see these mighty beasts hunt down drones in practice.