The compact defensive weapon which resembles a pistol fitted with a large silencer was developed by Droptec, a company based in the cantonal capital of Chur.
The pistol, which is designed for “rapid and simple neutralization of drones” according to the firm, has a guaranteed range of up to 30 metres and operates by “shooting” nets measuring two by two metres. These webs entrap drones, bringing them to the ground.
The gun is a world first, according to experts. Existing arms based on the use of nets either have a much shorter range, or have the size and appearance of rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
The Droptec net gun was developed in collaboration with Graubünden cantonal police to boost security at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Christian Gauer of Droptec said on Wednesday.
Cantonal police on Wednesday confirmed officers had carried the net guns during the recent event attended by Donald Trump, Swiss news agency SDA/ATS reported. However, they did not provide any other details and did not state whether the pistols had been used successfully.
Dangers of drones
The biggest threat posed by drones is the transport of weapons Droptec director Marcel Ruf said on Wednesday. He also noted they could be used to smuggle drugs and telephones into prisons, citing previous incidents in Switzerland.
In 2014, an attempt was reportedly made to smuggle a mobile phone into the Bostadel prison in the canton of Zug while in 2016 a spokeswoman for a detention centre in Pöschwies said there had already been two attempts to fly drones over the prison.
In recent years, Swiss prisons have been increasingly concerned about the threat posed by drones. In 2016, the Lenzburg prison in the canton of Aargau said it was planning to spend €200,000 francs installing an anti-drone alarm system on its roof to prevent drones being used to deliver goods to prisoners.
The same prison purchased two of the new Droptec anti-drone pistols in summer 2017, according to the firm.
The Droptec net guns, which cost between €4,000 (roughly 4,600 francs) and €5,000 are classified as weapons in Switzerland and users must have the appropriate licence.