Pentagon completes its first counter-drone technology demonstration – suas news

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, Military Fast Capabilities and Crucial Applied sciences Workplace

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. – Expertise builders got here collectively to indicate their newest in counter-drone expertise throughout an indication at Yuma Proving Floor, Ariz.

Centered on Low Collateral Results Interceptors (LCEI), this demonstration is the primary in an on-going sequence of semi-annual demonstrations geared toward evaluating applied sciences to ship an enterprise method to counter rising threats from quickly rising small Unmanned Plane Methods (sUAS).

In collaboration with the Air Drive, the Joint Counter-sUAS Workplace (JCO) and the Military Fast Capabilities and Crucial Applied sciences Workplace (RCCTO) hosted the demonstration April 5-9. Three corporations have been chosen by way of a Request for Data (RFI) course of to attend the demonstration, targeted on defeating sUAS in environments that require minimal collateral harm to the encircling areas or personnel, comparable to in city areas.

“This was the primary of many trade alternatives as we glance to synchronize options and counter the small UAS risk,” mentioned LTG L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Vitality, Area and Fast Acquisition, which incorporates the RCCTO. “Occasions like this demonstration at Yuma Proving Floor will assist determine new approaches, focus our efforts, and permit us to leverage innovation rapidly.”

Following the primary demonstration, members will obtain an evaluation detailing how their functionality carried out in opposition to sure standards throughout the government-funded take a look at. The Air Drive will welcome taking part programs for additional analysis and doable inclusion within the LCEI growth program funded by the JCO beginning in FY21.

The programs have been evaluated for his or her effectiveness in defeating light-weight Group 1 UAS. These sort of drones are small and fast, onerous to mitigate and might carry varied payloads, together with surveillance gear.

“This week’s demonstration helps the Division of Protection as we try to offer essentially the most succesful counter-small UAS gear to our operational forces.” mentioned MG Sean Gainey, Director of the Joint Counter-small UAS Workplace. “By focusing the primary occasion on low collateral results interceptors, we’re addressing a key problem when working in advanced city environments, round delicate websites, or in conditions the place the foundations of engagement limits kinetic capabilities.”

The three corporations – Aurora Flight Sciences, ELTA North America, and XTEND – have been invited to the demonstration after they have been chosen by way of an RFI launched in January 2021. This follows the DoD launch of its C-sUAS Technique, additionally in January, which supplied the framework for addressing sUAS throughout the spectrum from hazards to threats within the homeland, host nations, and contingency areas.

Greater than 30 corporations responded with three taking part within the demonstration. The businesses will go away the demonstration with an consciousness of their programs’ strengths and limitations in opposition to identified threats.

Based on the corporate, Aurora’s Modular Intercept Drone Avionics Set (MIDAS) is a man-made intelligence (AI)-enabled, multi-rotor sUAS outfitted with optical sensors and a custom-made payload that may defeat a number of sUAS per flight with low-collateral results. An autonomous resolution, MIDAS is cued from floor radar and locks on with its onboard sensor.

“Aurora was honored to take part within the JCO and RCCTO demo occasion for low-collateral interceptors on the U.S. Military Yuma Proving Floor,” mentioned Kel Jackson, Counter-UAS program supervisor for Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Firm. “Demonstrating MIDAS’ differentiated Counter-UAS capabilities in such a difficult setting was invaluable.”

The ELTA North America crew demonstrated their Drone-Kill-Drone (DKD) system, which they are saying is 100 p.c autonomous from launch to intercept. The system wants no human intervention apart from the command to launch. DKD makes use of a mix of on-board processing, autonomous flight management, and optical goal lock to strike the goal whereas in flight. It accommodates an entanglement internet of lower resistant wires that spring-release throughout flight and entangle rotors for a particularly excessive kill fee. DKD is modular and scalable to hold further effector payloads and will be built-in to simply accept cues from drone detection sensors or Command and Management (C2) programs.

“Everyone knows warfighters are sporting a number of hats as it’s, so having one thing linked to the community that’s totally autonomous is essential,” mentioned Dean Nohe, senior director of enterprise growth for ELTA North America. “The DKD takes the community or sensor feed and assigns the fitting drone to the fitting risk. As soon as it will get near the goal, there’s on-board processing and on-board AI that allows an optical goal lock and continues the autonomous steerage to the drone till interception.”

XTEND described their SKYLORD GRIFFON system as a C-sUAS platform that enables operators with no flight expertise to intercept aerial threats. The system can seamlessly interface with most detection or C2 programs and makes use of augmented actuality to allow the operators to “immerse” themselves in countering sUAS.

“After three days utilizing this method everyone seems to be mission succesful,” mentioned Ido Baron, vice chairman of enterprise growth and gross sales for XTEND. “The system is man transportable, light-weight and cheap. Every drone is sort of a bullet in a magazine, with a lot of the value within the C2 system and software program, which is on the bottom.”

Based on the corporate, this expertise “fuses edge expertise with human-centric cognitive capabilities” permitting operators to deploy a number of drone groups to detect and intercept enemy drones. The SKYLORD GRIFFON offers a “sensible” onerous kill, which implies the CUAS system flies by C2 however as soon as it comes inside vary of the drone, the operator takes management to allow them to examine the goal to both intercept it or observe it, offering the total mission spectrum.

Every vendor had related situations and missions as a part of the demonstration, which additionally checked out ease of integration into present Division of Protection programs, their skill to function autonomously, and effectiveness at intercepting and concentrating on hostile UAS.

Future demonstration occasions will likely be posted individually because the JCO coordinates with Joint companions to pick out focus areas offering essentially the most affect to transitioning options into manufacturing. A second demonstration will happen in late FY21 and an RFI to trade will likely be launched this spring.

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