A U.S. ally used a $3 million missile to shoot down a small retail drone.
Speaking at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium in Alabama, U.S. General David Perkins said that an unspecified U.S. ally used a $3 million Patriot missile to shoot down a quadcopter that likely cost around $200-$300.
“That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from Amazon.com did not stand a chance against a Patriot [missile],” Perkins said. “I’m not sure that’s a good economic exchange ratio.”
“Now, that worked, they got it, OK, and we love Patriot missiles,” Perkins said. “[But] if I’m the enemy, I’m thinking, ‘Hey, I’m just gonna get on eBay and buy as many of these $300 quadcopters as I can and expend all the Patriot missiles out there?'”
Unfortunately, Perkins didn’t elaborate on the incident any further, except to say that the country who shot down the drone was “a very close ally.”
There have been reports of guerrilla groups in Iraq fastening weapons on dozens of drones at a time and flying them at their enemies, according to the BBC. The cost ratio between these drones and large surface-to-air missiles makes defending against this drone tactic a costly endeavor.
“It is clearly enormous overkill,” Justin Bronk, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute, told the BBC. “It certainly exposes in very stark terms the challenge which militaries face in attempting to deal with the adaptation of cheap and readily available civilian technology with extremely expensive, high-end hardware designed for state-on-state warfare.”