Pentagon completes its first counter-drone technology demonstration

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Technology developers came together to show their latest in counter-drone technology during a demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

Focused on Low Collateral Effects Interceptors (LCEI), this demonstration is the first in an on-going series of semi-annual demonstrations aimed at evaluating technologies to deliver an enterprise approach to counter growing threats from rapidly increasing small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).

In collaboration with the Air Force, the Joint Counter-sUAS Office (JCO) and the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) hosted the demonstration April 5-9. Three companies, Aurora Flight Sciences, ELTA North America, and XTEND, were selected through a Request for Information (RFI) process to attend the demonstration, focused on defeating sUAS in environments that require minimal collateral damage to the surrounding areas or personnel, such as in urban areas.

Aurora’s Modular Intercept Drone Avionics Set (MIDAS) is an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled, multi-rotor sUAS outfitted with optical sensors and a customized payload that can defeat multiple sUAS per flight with low-collateral effects. An autonomous solution, MIDAS is cued from ground radar and locks on with its onboard sensor.

The ELTA North America team demonstrated their Drone-Kill-Drone (DKD) system, which they say is 100 percent autonomous from launch to intercept. The system needs no human intervention other than the command to launch.

XTEND described their SKYLORD GRIFFON system as a C-sUAS platform that allows operators with no flight experience to intercept aerial threats. The system can seamlessly interface with most detection or C2 systems and uses augmented reality to enable the operators to “immerse” themselves in countering sUAS.

Future demonstration events will be posted separately as the JCO coordinates with Joint partners to select focus areas providing the most impact to transitioning solutions into production. A second demonstration will occur in late FY21 and an RFI to industry will be released this spring.



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