A drone is just a drone. It can be used for peaceful purposes like taking photos of the latest additions to the Tesla Gigafactory or it can be used for nefarious purposes like dropping bombs on the race track at Silverstone during the Formula One race later this year. It should be noted that Silverstone began life as an airfield during World War II. The Germans tried to bomb it but couldn’t get through the British air defense system. Now it appears that teenagers with weaponized toys bought online may be able to accomplish what the vaunted Nazi war machine could not.
A report in British tabloid The Sun claims that the organizers of the Formula One race at Silverstone on July 16 have hired Drone Defense, a local security company, to supply security guards with the means to foil an assault from above. They will be supplied with specialized “net guns” that will “pluck drones out of the sky like you would a goldfish from a tank.” That’s according to Drone Defense founder Richard Gill, who says, “Outdoor events, festivals and sporting venues are all very attractive targets for rogue drone users.”
A spokesperson for Silverstone declined to confirm or deny that ISIS was plotting to disrupt the race but did say the racing circuit has to “control the use of any drones at the Circuit, not only at the British Grand Prix, but every day of the year. We only ever allow pre-approved drone operators at the Circuit who adhere to a strict accreditation process.
“Not only is a drone a significant distraction to the drivers on the track, but the circuit has its own heliport and therefore airspace over the venue also has to be taken into consideration, particularly at the Grand Prix when the volume of air traffic is significant. Silverstone is therefore currently considering its options with regard to drone defense at the British Grand Prix. Regarding the use of nets, I cannot confirm whether this is a method that a drone defender would use.”
Bear in mind that British tabloids have a richly deserved reputation for scare mongering and sensationalist reportage. However, officials at the race track have confirmed that they have signed a contract with Drone Defense without confirming details about what exactly that company will do or how it will do it.