US counter small UAS programme on track with field tests, but faces challenging schedule

Calls by US Congress to field a low collateral Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS) in 2021 is looking unlikely according to an article published in National Defense magazine. However, the Pentagon is progressing well with development and testing of C-sUAS equipment following the establishment of the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS) Office (JCO) by the Defense Department in 2019.

The JCO released the Counter sUAS Strategy in January 2021 which provides a framework for addressing the challenge posed by malicious drones and information sharing systems. This followed selection of 10 initial joint C-sUAS system in mid-2020 and investment in these capabilities. The JCO is on track to host its first industry day in April at Yuma Proving Ground, Arozona in collaboration with the US Air Force. The office plans to select an initial capability for procurement and fielding in 2022.

The JCO supports a layered approach to C-sUAS, designed to address a range of threats and fill capability gaps by development new capabilities and upgrading existing ones. Among these, Unmanned Airspace reported tests conducted by Northrop Grumman and Pierce Aerospace earlier this year.

(Image: Northrop Grumman-Pierce Forward Area Air Defense C2 platform)

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