DARPA to field-test counter-UAS sensing and neutralization technologies in January 2018

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is planning to hold a Technology Day on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at its Arlington, Virgina offices for up to 20 teams who have responded to a request for information to support its Mobile Force Protection (MFP) programme, aimed at deploying sensing and neutralization technologies to defend US forces against quickly evolving unmanned airborne threats, such as small UAS (sUAS). MFP seeks scalable, modular, and affordable approaches with small footprints in terms of size, weight, power, and number of people needed for operation and sufficiently mature to perform a field demonstration planned for January 2018.

The programme aims to develop an integrated system capable of defeating self-guided sUAS (those that do not rely on a radio or GPS receiver for their operation) attacking a high-value convoy on the move, and recently awarded Phase one agreements to start research. To accelerate the programme’s pursuit of potentially revolutionary benefits, the Agency recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) to identify promising sUAS-sensing and -neutralization technologies that could augment or complement the MFP systems currently under development.

“Keeping warfighters safe from small unmanned air systems requires knowing that one or more is coming and removing their potential as a threat while they’re still at a safe distance,” said Jean-Charles Ledé, a programme manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO).

DARPA is interested in novel technologies in two main thrust areas:

  • Sensing: The ability to detect numerous sUAS at a distance of 1 km or greater, have a small footprint compatible with tactical ground vehicles such as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee) and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Defender-class 25-foot boat, and support highly automated operations.
  • Neutralization: The ability to disable or destroy numerous self-guided sUAS at a distance of 1 km or greater, while ensuring low collateral damage and low cost per engagement.
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