RAF unveils Ninja: Cutting-edge tech to hijack drones and blow enemies to smithereens

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The technology is currently being used by American troops stationed at British RAF bases. The negation of improvised non-state joint aerial-threats (Ninja) works by overriding the command system of enemy drones and sending new instructions. Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (Dsei) arms fair in London, Mark Goodwin, a programme manager for the company, said Ninja is able to identify targets up to a seven-kilometre distance.

But as the target gets closer, about three kilometres or so away, it is able to take control of its command system and either force it to relocate or send it back to its home base and lead to the arrest of those who were controlling it.

The new system has been sent to RAF bases where US troops are currently stationed.

The bases include RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, and the technology is not being used outside of Britain.

Mr Goodwin believes the system, developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will be deployed to other RAF bases to be used by the British military in the future.

Ninja functions with another piece of technology called the Guardian.

The Guardian is known as an “electronic sniper rifle” as it is able to jam enemy drones from a distance of up to 10 kilometres away.

Previously, this would have seen the drone shot down and destroyed.

But with the introduction of Ninja technology, the drone can be spotted early and then preserved and used for military observation.

Leonardo said Ninja can “similarly surgical cyber effect at a shorter range which can take control of a drone’s protocols and manoeuvre it to a safe location”.

Mr Goodwin said that the Ninja can transport the drone to a known location so military personnel investigate the enemy technology.

He said: “If the enemy has got a target . . . it will go back to its last planned home position.

“They can trick that and set another home position and launch it.”

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He also said that Ninja can send a high-quality drone loaded with explosives back straight back against enemy fighters.

But he did warn that this would only be likely to happen in a warzone scenario where operators work under different rules.

A Leonardo source said: “You can take control of it and move it 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.

“If you used the system abroad on an operation then you could potentially send it back against them.”

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