Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department believes that by launching the so-called "interceptor drones," the country will be able to deal with suspicious-looking private drones that can pose a threat to human lives and property.
Starting in the middle of December, the MPD will be operating interceptor drones round-the-clock which shall be handled by the department's trained riot police personnel. Each of these drones will measure 39 inches in diameter and have a net suspended from their body, which shall measure 118 x 79 inches.
When a suspicious-looking private drone is spotted hovering near key places such as the Diet Building or the official residence of the country's prime minister, the MPD will respond by deploying an intercept drone in order to catch the flying intruder using the net. Officers will then use loudspeakers to give out a warning to the unmanned aircraft's controller to vacate the area.
Tokyo's MPD had, for several months now, been looking for ways to deal with drones following an incident in April when a drone was spotted on the roof of the prime minister's residential address. The said drone allegedly carried a smoke canister and a plastic container filled with radiation-contaminated soil. Since then, the department saw the need to tighten security measures as a way to combat terrorist-like activities by using drones. The decision to use an interceptor drone resulted after the department reviewed its anti-drone efforts which were carried out overseas.
Apart from having a net suspended, the interceptor drone will also come equipped with a camera. There will also be portable terminals available in order to allow riot squad members to manipulate the devices remotely.
After doing a few trial and error rounds, the MPD decided that using a net is the best and safest way to catch a drone. This will prevent the drone from falling and eventually causing injuries to anything that is right below it.
Using an interceptor drone will be the first of its kind in Japan. Only one drone will be used during the testing phase, while a plan to go full blast is scheduled in February. This time around, there will be a full fleet of 10 drones that will be assigned to guard important government structures.
"Terrorist attacks using drones carrying explosives are a possibility," said a senior member of the MPD's Security Bureau. "We hope to defend the nation's functions with the worst-case scenario in mind."