The US Army tested counter drone equipment at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in June, according to a report published by C4IRNET. The exercise addressed the challenging threat posed by one-way attack drones, highlighted by the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft (UAS) Systems Office (JCO).
According to C4IRNET:
“The JCO, together with the US Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, chose five companies to demonstrate capabilities that could defeat one-way attack drones, which are typically Group 3 sized unmanned aircraft systems that are preprogrammed to fly without control of an operator once launched, which “creates an additional challenge for countering them,” Col. Mike Parent, the JCO’s acquisition and resources division chief, told reporters on July 13.
“The US Army defines Group 3 UAS as featuring a maximum gross takeoff weight of less than 1,320 pounds. In Ukraine, Russia has used Iranian one-way attack drones on Ukrainian forces, highlighting an urgent need to counter this type of threat.
“The demonstration featured one high-power microwave system — Lockheed Martin’s Mobile Radio Frequency-Integrated UAS Suppressor (MORFIUS) — and two kinetic capabilities — Thales’ Lightweight Multi-role Missile (LMM) and the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).
“The capabilities were tested at roughly a 4-kilometer range or greater based off of one-way attack drones’ typical ranges observed in theatre.
“The JCO has now conducted four demonstrations. Two in the spring and fall of 2021, another in the spring of 2022, and the most recent event this summer,” says C4IRNET.
The office has looked at low-collateral interceptors for C-sUAS; it has examined cheap, ground-launched and hand-held capabilities, and HPM as countering UAS as a service. “The JCO participated in another demonstration earlier this year to evaluate capability to defeat Group 3, one-way attack UAS at shorter ranges – just 2 kilometers – with the goal of finding candidate systems that could be rapidly delivered within 30 to 90 days of contract award. While the demonstration was open to looking at other capabilities, only kinetic systems were ultimately evaluated there,” according to C4IRNET.
“The JCO plans to issue a report by the end of the month.
The office anticipates having additional funding in fiscal 2024 to proceed in a prototyping effort for a capability to defeat one-way attack drones as well. The JCO would not share what capability gaps it plans to address in its next demonstration planned for June 2024, but the office plans to release a request for white papers in August and will make selections of participants in the late October, early November timeframe,” says C4IRNET.
(Image: Lockheed Martin MORFIUS uses high power microwave pulses to defeat one-way attack drones)
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