US Special Operations seeks electronic counter drone technology with multimission capability

US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is seeking a device that can both jam radio frequencies to neutralise drone threats and stop roadside bombs from exploding says a report published by Defense News.

The article referenced the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, hosted in Florida by the National Defense Industrial Association, when a lieutenant colonel who serves as SOCOM’s programme manager for counterproliferation described the need for a next-generation multimission electronic countermeasure device.

The article also referenced a second official: “Army Col. Anh Ha, who leads the command’s warrior-focused office, said a major initiative is ensuring an operator working in an isolated area — far from command infrastructure and with limited resources and power — can still have a shared, common operating picture with higher headquarters.”

Referencing a report by C4ISRNET, the article went on to say the US Army’s 2021 research budget emphasized tactical architecture for electronic warfare, including “a request to increase spending for the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare effort, the Terrestrial Layer System—Brigade Combat Team program, the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, and the Terrestrial Layer System—Echelons Above Brigade effort.”

Defense News quoted the counterproliferation Army lieutenant colonel at SOFIC focus on a smaller package: “Counter-unmanned systems: This consumes the bulk of our energy in the program office.” The office stood up the counter-UAS program this past fall, he noted, and although the current focus is on aerial threats, the office is looking for ground and maritime counter-drone options, too.

“His team wants to find portable, dismounted and fixed expeditionary site options for the next-generation multimission electronic countermeasure gear. The Marine Corps and SOCOM have an existing system called Modi, made by the Sierra Nevada Corporation and used by the Army and Marines.

“The next-gen version needs to hit those other domains and be more portable. The current dismounted system weighs 40 pounds.

“The program manager said “ideally” the office expects to select a system by fiscal 2024 and begin production in fiscal 2025. And SOCOM would like to run these systems as smoothly as they can in order to “reduce burden to our operators and incentivize autonomy as much as possible,” concluded the Defense News article.

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