• Military officials intend to counter-drone systems twice a year, with the first demonstration taking place in April, and fielding the first systems next year. Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
     Military officials intend to counter-drone systems twice a year, with the first demonstration taking place in April, and fielding the first systems next year. Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Defense Department to Deploy Counter-Drone Systems in 2022

February 3, 2021
By George I. Seffers
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Officials give laser systems high marks.


The U.S. military should begin fielding low-cost, low-collateral counter-drone systems as early as next year, officials told reporters in a February 2 conference call.

The Army has been designated the lead service for deploying systems to counter small unmanned aerial system (C-sUAS) technologies across the department. The service recently released its C-sUAS strategy . The strategy provides the framework for addressing sUAS hazards and threats in a variety of operating environments, including the U.S. homeland, host nations and contingency locations.

Adversary UAS represent a rapidly proliferating, low-cost, high-reward asset for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal attacks on U.S. personnel and interests, according to an Army press release announcing the release of the strategy. Now, military officials are working with industry to deploy test and deploy some initial capabilities, such as nets or drone-on-drone interception systems, according to Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, USA, director, Joint C-UAS Office (JCO) and the Army’s director of Fires, G3/5/7.

The U.S. Defense Department in April will demonstrate initial capabilities to fill any gaps in capabilities to counter small unmanned aerial systems. “The approach we’re taking in the department is a system-of-systems layered approach with this capability integrated into a common C2 [command and control system],” Gen. Gainey told reporters.

He added, though, that more sophisticated systems, such as directed energy technologies, are performing well so far. “We don’t publicize a lot of the other capability that wasn’t selected on the interim list. For example, we have high-energy lasers that have proven successful in the contingency environment,” Gen. Gainey noted. “We’re building off of that capability to where we’ll see high-energy lasers integrated into our architecture.”

He added that some already have been integrated. “It’s a matter of scaling it up to the ultimate scale that we want to, but we’re deploying those systems right now under combat tests in theaters and showing a lot of progress with high-energy lasers.”

Additionally, the JCO is working with the Air Force on a “high-powered microwave capability that will also be deployed,” he pointed out.

The JCO is preparing for the first demonstration of low-cost systems in April. Officials expect to hold two demonstrations each year.

 

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