(CBS Local) — The U.S. military is turning to the falcon in their hi-tech war against the threat of unmanned drones. This isn’t the Marvel superhero Falcon however; the Air Force is studying the fierce birds of prey used by hunters for centuries to find their next drone-killing solution.
Researchers at Oxford University have found that the feathered predators have a simple system of aerial hunting that the government hopes to apply to a new generation of drones that will hunt down other unmanned threats.
“Falcons are classic aerial predators… Our GPS tracks and on-board videos show how peregrine falcons intercept moving targets that don’t want to be caught,” Oxford’s Professor Graham Taylor said in a press release. “They do this in a similar way to most guided missiles. Our next step is to apply this research to designing a new kind of visually guided drone, able to remove rogue drones safely from the vicinity of airports, prisons and other no-fly zones.”
The Pentagon has reportedly been looking at using lasers or jamming signals to keep drones away from high-security areas. This summer, military officials gave permission for drones entering the airspace of 133 U.S. bases to be shot down if a threat was perceived.
The idea of a falcon-inspired weapon has its roots in ancient hunting techniques that reportedly date back nearly 3,000 years. According to the International Association of Falconry, Mongolian warriors in 1,000 B.C. used falcons to hunt and scout for food between battles.