RAF nabs deadly ‘Ninja’ hacking tech from US troops to crack down on drones

The Royal Air Force has deployed a new tool in its UK bases which can be used to hack hostile drones and turn them back on themselves.

Security company Leonardo says it has helped RAF bases Mildenhall and Lakenheath install the US-built NINJA tech as part of its anti-drone programme.

NINJA, also known by its catchier title "negation of improvised non-state joint aerial threats", was developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

It enables operatives to electronically take control of hostile drones and move them to a safe location.

This is to stop people disrupting RAF operations by flying shop-bought drones over military airspace.

If a hostile drone is launched towards an RAF base, the microwave-sized NINJA unit will detect the drone and hack it once it is within 3km of the base.

US troops can then send the drone new instructions and move it to a different location while gathering intelligence from it. The technology is not yet being used outside the UK.

A spokesperson for Leonardo told The Times that it could even be used to send explosives back to hostiles in a warzone.

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They said: "You can take control of it and move around, if it is coming towards you with explosive devices you could move it to a different safe place on the base or tell it to go home and follow it and arrest the operator."

NINJA is being integrated into the RAF's existing anti-drone ORCUS tech, which has been rolled out since drone sightings caused major disruption to Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

It works alongside something called the 'Guardian', described as an electronic sniper rifle that can shoot down a drone from six miles away.

The new tech comes as part of a wider £6 billion push by the British armed forces to modernise their weapons and technology.

This week, the Ministry of Defence announced it will invest £72.5 million into directed energy weapons', a.k.a. laser guns, for use on Royal Navy frigates and tanks.

  • Royal Air Force
  • Drone

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