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Mon, May 16, 2022

What’s The Pentagon Cooking? Drones!

Pentagon Testing Microwave Systems To Neutralize Drone Swarm Threats

Science fiction is slowly becoming science fact as the U.S. Pentagon’s Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Systems Office recently completed a round of demonstrations using high-power microwave technology to simultaneously neutralize multiple drone threats.

In mid-February 2022, Pentagon was involved in the testing and evaluation of Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS). In late 2019, the US Army was tasked with running point on the C-sUAS operations, and twice yearly (spring and fall) conducts tests and fixes gaps for the next run.

In early April 2022, at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, three hopefuls Epirus, Leonardo DRS, and Raytheon Technologies demonstrated ground- and aerial-based high-power microwave denial systems featuring directed electromagnetic pulses (EMP’s). Three threat target groups were categorized based on weight; 1) less or equal to 20lbs, 2) 21 to 55 lbs, 3) over 55 but less than 1,320 lbs (the gross weight of a light sport aircraft). Beyond that, I guess they go to bigger guns! The Joint Counter Office (JCO) is also considering the use of Contractor as a service (CaaS) to augment defensive capabilities, which, in the authors opinion offers some benefits in having access without having to own and dispose of those assets.

At the end of the testing cycle, the JCO gained an appreciation of the current capabilities offered by the industry today, in addition to the 25 white-papers they had received for the CaaS, of which five hopefuls were selected for show-and-tell: Anduril Industries, Black Sage, CACI, Rafael Systems Global Sustainment, and SAIC.

In the authors opinion, unless the targets under protection are fixed/unmoving, the use of ground-based systems has obvious limitations if the threat is operating outside the beam angle, however, the best solution is perhaps a compromise between ground and airborne systems. Lets see how the project develops and future testing progresses.

FMI: https://army.mil

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