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The Drone Threat

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DARPA Seeks New Tech To Neutralize Adversary Drones

October 5th 2017

Flying Robot

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arlington County, VA) is seeking out innovative drone sensing and neutralization technologies.

The U.S defense agency's Tactical Technology Office recently posted a request for information looking to identify promising technologies for countering adversary small unmanned air systems (sUAS). These would be used to augment or complement DARPA's Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program, which is currently developing a system capable of defeating self-guided sUAS - i.e., those that "do not rely on a radio or GPS receiver for their operation" - attacking a high-value convoy in transit.

The program emphasizes low-footprint solutions - in terms of size, weight, power, and required personnel needed for operation - as well as "varied and low collateral damage neutralization techniques and effectors." Phase one of the three-phase program is currently in progress, with a plan to culminate in a field evaluation in January 2018.

"Keeping warfighters safe from small unmanned air systems requires knowing that one or more is coming and removing their potential as a threat while they're still at a safe distance," says Jean-Charles Ledé, a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. "This RFI aims to help DARPA stay abreast of the latest technologies that could provide those capabilities, and integrate some of the most promising ones into an eventual MFP technology demonstration system."

Technology requirements include being capable of detecting and neutralizing numerous self-guided sUAS at a distance of one kilometer or greater. Detection technologies should support highly automated operations and be compatible with tactical ground vehicles - such as the Humvee and the U.S. Coast Guard's Defender-class 25-foot boat - while neutralization technologies should ensure low collateral damage and low cost per engagement.

The deadline for responses to this RFI was October 2. The agency plans to select up to about twenty submissions in the areas of sense and/or neutralization to attend a one-day MFP Technology Day in Arlington, VA, currently planned for November 8, 2017.


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