I would like to know all existing technological means of defending an area against the MQ-9 Reaper or other hunter-killer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by the United States in countries like Afghanistan, Syria, etc. Such means should either force the UAVs to leave the area or crash.

  • $\begingroup$ I hesitated to post my question here, on electronics.stackexchange.com, or on physics.stackexchange.com but I finally decided to post here because I think this community is the more appropriate but if my question is not adapted to be here, please move this question to the more appropriate StackExchange community. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ Why the downvote ? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ I have not voted, but asking for a list of everything ranked by price is not the best type of question on StackExchange. Perhaps if you asked more generally what options exist, or what potential weaknesses are, it would be a better question. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ put on hold Where should I post this topic then? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 9:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @frenchstudent this is primarily a community of pilots, mechanics, and people interested in airplane design or aerodynamics. This question simply isn't a great fit for those types of people, and that's why it was closed as off-topic. Furthermore, it's hard to imagine there would every be a decisively correct answer, which makes it difficult for me to imagine it being a good fit for any Stack Exchange site. You're probably better off soliciting opinions in a forum somewhere. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 18:43

3 Answers 3


By far the cheapest method for protecting a limited area would be to use an aerostat to carry aloft a jammer. Vehicles like the Reaper rely on a satellite uplink to maintain their command and control. As long as the aerostat is well above the altitude of the Reaper it can easily jam it. The cost of this option might be around \$1 million with an annual operating cost of \$200,000 and an effective diameter of about 10-20 miles.

A more expensive, but more flexible response would be to just shoot it down. To do this you would need an air surveillance radar, a high performance turboprop with machine guns like a Texan or Super Tucano, a pilot and a crew to operate the radar. With this method you could deny a pretty large area, maybe 100 miles in diameter easily, possibly more. The cost of this would be about \$3 to \$5 million plus annual operating costs of about $500,000. If you want to spend a bit a more a Yak-130 would be an excellent light attack jet to consider for anti-drone work. You might be able to find a used Yak for under \$10 million and it is a bitchin aircraft that can go double the speed of a Predator plus it has its own radar.

Missile systems would not really work because the types you would need to reach the altitude a Reaper operates at, are very expensive and complex (which is exactly why the Reaper flies at those altitudes). However if you could catch the Reaper while it was taking off or landing, a small missile like an RBS 70 would be even cheaper, assuming you could obtain that weapon.

  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if using a jammer (permanently) is an option. Wouldn't it prevent a lot of civil satellite applications, starting with GPS ones? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ @mins The jammer only will affect a local area and will be on particular frequencies. A predator operates on the Ku-band so you will only jam that band which will not affect GPS which operates on L-band. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 2:23

A drone is practically a type of aircraft and can be shot down using the same means as shooting down aircraft, and then some, like

  • missiles (surface to air or air to air).

  • If they are flying low, using guns in point or area defense weapons,

  • There are some other defensive measures under development like laser and microwave.

  • In case of UAVs being controlled remotely (as most of them are), the signals can be jammed.


This is a Glock 19. Cost: $350

Picture of a Glock 19

This is a 9mm bullet. The Glock holds 15 of them. Cost: $12.99 for a box of 50

Picture of a 9mm bullet

This is the ground control station for a Predator drone.

Picture of the outside of a UAV ground control station

And this is what it looks like on the inside.

Picture of a Predator ground control console

The Cheapest Way To Bring Down A Hunter-Killer UAV

Total cost: $362.99

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Being gunned down by military personnel trying... priceless $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 6:13

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