The French air force is busy training up eagles to be able to take down rogue drones that may be used in a terrorist attack.
According to the French air force, drones constitute “a credible threat for a terrorist mode of action on our national territory just as they do for external operations.”
While current weapons to take down drones include “jammers” and other emerging technology, the air force sees eagles as the most effective and least expensive way to disable the devices.
“The eagles could be used in major events like the July 14th, G20 meetings or big international conferences like the recent COP 21,” an air force spokesperson told L’Express newspaper.
“In certain situations, when debris could fall onto the crowd below, the drone cannot be shot down. The eagle can intercept the device without causing extra damage.”
The air force acquired eagle eggs in spring this year and the birds began their training in the summer, when they were big enough.
“They have been taught that there is food on the drones, and now when they see one of these devices they intercept. We are training them not just to attack them, but to detect them.
The air force is hoping to be able to use the eagles in real situations from the summer of 2017 onwards. The tactic of employing eagles to fight drones has already been used by police in the Netherlands as the video below shows in dramatic style.
In recent years months and years France has been troubled by the potential threat from drones.
In spring 2015 a series of mysterious drone flights over famous landmarks in central Paris left authorities concerned.
Perhaps more worrying were the spate of drone overflights at France’s nuclear power stations in 2014. The culprits were never caught.
The flights sparked concerns that terrorists could use the devices to launch attacks.
In other incidents planes have had near misses with drones at Charles de Gaulle airport.