1 Feb 2019 15:06

Federal Penitentiary Service invents drones that bar quadcopters from carrying phones to penal colonies, detention facilities

MOSCOW. Feb 1 (Interfax) - Scientists from the Federal Penitentiary Service have created equipment that can be used to repel drones used by convicts' friends to send cell phones to penal colonies, the Federal Penitentiary Service said.

"Violators of the law are increasingly using drones to deliver prohibited items, primarily cell phones, to penitentiary facilities," the agency said on Thursday.

The delivery of over 260 phones to prisons using drones was prevented in 2017-2018, it said.

"To counter these illegal activities, equipment was developed in collaboration with specialists from the Federal Penitentiary Service's research institute to detect, block, and suppress drones," it said.

The new equipment was first used in the Kursk region in 2017. It informs penal colony staff about any approaching drones.

In April 2018, a more advanced protection system was installed in facilities in Tatarstan. It prevents drones from entering the territories of penal colonies and detention facilities, the agency said.

According to the Federal Penitentiary Service, the equipment prevented drones from entering the "airspace" of penal colonies and detention facilities in Tatarstan 87 times last year.

The technical characteristics of modern quadcopters make it possible to transfer prohibited items from a height which is three times the boundary where noise from them can be heard, the agency said.

Senders wrap items in special packing film to protect them when they hit the ground, and they put condensed milk with dust on it to camouflage the site of the landing, it said.

"Crossbows, launching devices, and airguns are used along with quadcopters to send smuggled items. Attempts were made to send over 19,000 mobile phones into penal colonies in 2018 (against over 24,000 in 2017)," the agency said.