The flying capabilities of peregrine falcons are worth studying, as they represent a perfect example of how drones should fly to detect and attack intruders. To find out what strategies to adopt when guiding drones in future missions, the US Air Force funded a study which looked at the falcons’ moves.
The flying strategy of the peregrine falcons can be useful for the military
Peregrine falcons are extremely swift, and can dive without effort through air and glide towards their prey just like missiles do. For a better understanding of these strategies, researchers needed to study them better. Therefore, they selected eight falcons in Wales and adjusted video cameras and localizing systems on them.
Then, they studied these observations together with a professional falconer and a drone specialist. All the measurements performed by the cameras and systems were handled using a computer program, which put up a model of their flying patterns. This way, they could study in detail their strategy.
Drones can get inspired from the falcons on how to attack their targets
The video recordings revealed that peregrine falcons moved according to the same laws as guided missiles. They are visually guided, but the principle behind it is called proportional navigation. However, air force specialists wanted to borrow the strategies of the falcons to guide the drones more safely, and to annihilate intruder drones from protected regions.
It’s quite easy to calculate such an attack. Information like the speed of the target is not necessary. Instead, the drone should calculate the rotation performed by the intruder. Peregrine falcons have no means to assess the speed of their prey, but they can easily observe its direction. Also, no matter how fast this prey is, they can catch it, as they are actually the fastest animals on Earth.