A futuristic looking anti-drone weapon has confused a race-goer after police were seen wielding one on a rooftop at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The DroneGun Tactical, made by the Australian-American company DroneShield, was spotted on Friday above the pit lane at Melbourne's Prince Albert Circuit during the first day of the Grand Prix's four-day schedule.
The device works by blasting a drone with high-frequency radio signals that confuses it into either landing immediately or returning back to its controller.
DroneShield gained prominence after being praised by the Ukrainian armed forces when they successfully used their weapons at the breakout of conflict with Russia.
The weapon will be used by police throughout the event, including during the main race on Sunday afternoon, to enforce strict flight restrictions above the circuit.
A video of police using the weapon was posted to TikTok by a confused race-goer with the caption: 'what is Victoria Police doing with this [gun emoji] on the roof of the pit lane at the Melbourne F1?'.
However, numerous users commented what the weapon is and what is it used for.
'Looks to be a drone gun, to stop people flying over the track,' one user wrote.
''That's a drone gun, shoots down drones,' a second wrote.
One user even knew the make and model, writing: 'That's a DroneGun Tactical. It's used against UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and drones.'
A spokesperson for Victoria Police confirmed that it is 'providing operational support to the Grand Prix to enforce the current flight restrictions in place across the event period'.
'This includes detection and mitigation of unauthorised drone use in the immediate area that imposes a safety risk to attendees and competitors at the event,' the spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
It's among numerous products produced by the company that can either detect or take down commercial drones since starting operations in 2014.
More recent iterations of the drone gun have seen advancements in the weapon's weight, dropping from a cumbersome 15kg M1 to the M3 gun that weighs only 2kg.
The DroneGun Tactical offers 'long range coverage' and will cut the video feed from a drone immediately once targeted with high-powered radio signals.
'The best analogy is to say that you and I are talking, and somebody comes up next to us with a loudspeaker and shouts over the top of us,' Oleg Vornick, DroneShield's CEO and managing director, told the ABC.
'You're the pilot, I'm the drone, and the loudspeaker is the jammer.'
Since gaining popularity during the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, DroneShield has scored a number of lucrative military contracts around the world as armies embrace its anti-drone technology.
On January 1, four unauthorised drones were brought to the ground by DroneShield weapons at the inauguration of Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
DroneShield products were also used in 2018 to protect the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the Winter Olympic Games in Seoul.
In the US, the weapons have been used to take down drones supplying narcotics to prisons and disrupting air spaces around airports.Read more 2023-03-31T03:36:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd