The Guardia Civil have two of the rifles at the airport. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


It looks like something out of 'Star Wars', the futuristic wave rifle capable of downing drones, even ones that attack in swarms.

At Palma Son Sant Joan Airport, one of Europe's busiest airports, the Guardia Civil have two of these rifles for protecting the skies. Made by the Spanish company Aeronáutica SDLE, the rifle is a digital system that interrupts all communications between the drone and the issuing station. It is equipped with a military optical sight and has a built-in charger, so that it can fire as many shots as the operator deems necessary. The battery it carries can be recharged, so the number of shots it can take is unlimited.

Inmaculada Abad is head of the Pegaso unit, which comes under the Guardia's border control division. Members of this unit have undergone specialised training to deal with threats that may come from the air. The Spanish Army also has these anti-drone devices - 25 at present. Officer Abad explains that "the big advantage is that it has a range of around a thousand metres and can interrupt multiple drones at the same time". "They are easily transportable and can give us cover anywhere in the Balearics."

Since the war started in Ukraine, there has been concern in European countries that Russian drones could be used to fly over strategic facilities in order to gather information. In Mallorca, there has been no evidence of this, the anti-drone rifles mainly being needed in the event that a drone is flown over the airport, which is totally off-limits.