France has evolved a new anti-terrorism measure in the form of trained Eagles to bring down drones. The country nurses fear of terror attacks by terrorists who could use drones, and the fears are genuine. There have been instances of the sighting of drones in sensitive areas of Paris like the Eiffel Tower, the US embassy, and the Elysée Palace. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have also been seen over military installations and nuclear plants and is a matter of concern.

France has already witnessed several terrorist attacks on its soil in which people have been killed.

Therefore, in order to prevent such attacks, it has decided to train a fleet of Eagles that will intercept and destroy the airborne threats. This assumes importance since there are reports that ISIS is converting commercial drones into lethal weapons to carry out attacks.

Training the birds of prey

To start with, the French Air Force got hold of eggs of four royal eagles and started their training schedule after the birds had grown to adult size. They were kept on top of the machines right from their eggshell days till the early stages of feeding – the intention was to let them become familiar with the metallic body of the drones. When the Eagles began to fly, the training shifted to real life situations in the field – namely, intercepting the flying drones.

Eagles have the power to grab and whisk away large animals and, when they intercepted the drones, they were rewarded with meat as encouragement.

Eagles are tailor-made for such jobs

A pertinent question may arise – why select eagles? The reason is that they can spot drones from a distance of several thousand meters away and can seize them in their claws to put them out of action.

Eagles are more robust than other birds of prey like falcons, hence are fit for these assignments.

Use of birds has its advantages where crowds are involved especially during public ceremonies, festivals or fireworks – in such a scenario conventional weapons like guns could lead to casualties in the civilian population which have to be avoided.

It may be noted that the practice of training eagles to capture drones is common in Holland and France is following in its footsteps.