A golden eagle grapples with a drone in an aerial battle above an airbase in southwestern France.
Four golden eagles have been trained by the French military to tear invading drones from the sky. D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis (named after characters from The Three Musketeers) were hatched out and fed on top of drones, to create an association between food and the flying bots. It takes around eight months to train the eagles, with a chunk of meat given as a reward after each successful capture.
The unusual technique has been adopted amid worries about rogue drones being used to spy or launch attacks on French soil, after drones flew over the Élysée Palace in Paris and a restricted military site in Brittany in 2015.
The musketeers have created such a buzz that the French air force is reported to have ordered a second brood of avian allies, expected to begin training this summer.