Meet Telangana's New 'Legal Eagles': Police Force Set to Deploy 'Flying Squad' to Clip Wings of Dodgy Drones – News18

Reported By: Kakoli Mukherjee
Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta
Last Updated: March 28, 2024, 17:36 IST
Hyderabad, India
The eagle squad is part of the Internal Security Wing (ISW), a branch that oversees VVIP protection in Telangana. Representational image/AFP
Telangana police’s new eagle squad is almost ready and will become operational soon. Recently, the smart eagles that have been trained to bring down drones gave a demonstration at the Integrated Intelligence Training Academy in Moinabad. Three birds painstakingly trained over the last three years intercepted drones with precision. One of the eagles was fitted with surveillance cameras to take images of targets.
The eagle squad is part of the Internal Security Wing (ISW), a branch that oversees VVIP protection in Telangana.
Sharing details about the development, Tafseer Iqbal, deputy inspector general of police (ISW) said: “This demonstration was the result of three years of experimentation and hard work. We found out which species of eagles works best for us and the best ways to train them.”
The police worked with two bird trainers — Abir Bhandary and Md Fareed — for the project. This is touted as the only eagle squad in India and the second one in the world after the Netherlands.
Tafseer Iqbal said that the birds are used in red-zone areas where drones are not allowed. They cannot differentiate between home and enemy drones.
“One of the biggest advantages of this squad is the low cost. It’s economically very sound. Investment in nano and macro-level drones for such projects involves crores of rupees. But in the eagle squad, we need to spend only on the birds and training,” said the IPS officer, who was recently appointed special secretary to the government, and commissioner, minority welfare department. “These trained birds are very good at spotting the drones and they bring them down immediately. After this demonstration, we are receiving queries about it from all over the world.”
It’s interesting to note that though the Dutch police started using an eagle squad for the same purposes in 2016, they discontinued it after a year. The reasons cited were that the squad was inefficient, the maintenance of the birds was expensive, and that it was not safe for the eagles.
One of the factors to be considered here, say experts, is the safety of the birds.
“Drones have propellers, which have sharp blades. They might injure the bird. Also, drones have anti-collision sensors. They might sense the birds and change their course,” said bird behaviourist Ali, who advocates for cage-free birds through his initiative Fancy Feathers. “Eagles are best suited for this kind of job as they have the required body weight and a large wing span. But the ability of the birds to take down these aerial vehicles also depends on the size of the drones.”


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