Toy drones don't stand a chance against a $3 million missile

Patriot missile versus tiny drone. Which one wins?

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Inquam Photos / Reuters
Inquam Photos / Reuters

A Patriot missile costs around $3 million. A commercial quadcopter? Let's say roughly $200. But which one would win on the battlefield? General David Perkins, Commander of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, knows the answer to this hypothetical David and Goliath match-up -- because it's already happened. During a military symposium, he touched on a strike made by a US ally, where the consumer drone "did not stand a chance" against the twenty-year old missile. With all due respect, sir, we could have told you that.

"On the kinetic exchange ratio, the Patriot won," he said, adding that: "I'm not sure that's a good economic exchange ratio." General Perkins said that this was why the US army is looking at other (non million-dollar missile) solutions, especially electronic and cyber warfare approaches.

ISIS is already repurposing commercial drones into bombers, and the army itself is planning to outfit its own soldiers with tiny drones. On the defensive side, the army's 'Phaser' can destroy entire drone swarms with microwaves from a satellite dish. You know it's a big deal when the military pulls Maverick out of retirement to battle drones.

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