'World's first riot control copter' drone unveiled, shoots pepper spray, plastic bullets

skunkAn eight-armed UAV designed by a South African firm to fire dye markers, pepper spray pellets, plastic bullets, and other "less-lethal" ammunition was shown off in London this week.

Photo: DefenceWeb

Photo: DefenceWeb

"The Skunk is equipped with 4 high-capacity paint ball barrels firing at up to 20 bullets per second each, with 80 Pepper bullets per second stopping any crowd in its tracks," says its maker.

As we've covered here on Boing Boing before, it is billed as the world’s first “riot control copter,” the drone branded ‘The Skunk’ carries on-board speakers, thermal cameras and strobe lights. Its maker, Desert Wolf, say they have sold 25 units to "unnamed companies in the mining industry and that it will be entering service between June and July this year."

"The Skunk Riot Control Copter is designed to control unruly crowds without endangering the lives of security staff," according to a blurb on Desert Wolf's product page.

The Skunk is equipped with 4 high-capacity paint ball barrels firing at up to 20 bullets per second each, with 80 Pepper bullets per second stopping any crowd in its tracks. The current hopper capacity of 4000 bullets and High Pressure Carbon Fiber Air system it allows for real stopping power. Bright strobe lights, blinding Lasers and with on-board speakers enables communication and warnings to the crowd.

The powerful Octa copters can also be operated in formation by a single operator.

The lifting capability of the Skunk is 45 Kg due to the eight powerful OS Max electric motors with 16 Inch props.

From a BBC News interview with the manufacturer, based in South Africa:

"We received an order for 25 units just after," Desert Wolf's managing director Hennie Kieser told the BBC.

"We cannot disclose the customer, but I am allowed to say it will be used by an international mining house.

"We are also busy with a number of other customers who want to finalise their orders.

"Some [are] mines in South Africa, some security companies in South Africa and outside South Africa, some police units outside South Africa and a number of other industrial customers."

Defenceweb has more from an article published last month, including a photo of the octo-copter at a trade show.

In addition to two high definition day cameras, the Skunk carries a FLIR thermal camera for night vision capability. A camera and microphone on the operator’s station records the operators (a pilot and payload operator) so their behaviour can be monitored. Hennie Kieser, Director of Desert Wolf, said people tend to be less aggressive when they are monitored.

[HT: @wildebees]

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