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AUSA 2017: US Army tests MANET counter-UAS solution

3rd October 2017 - 12:10 GMT | by Andrew White in London

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Radio manufacturer Rajant Corporation has disclosed details of a Mobile Ad Hoc Networking (MANET) counter-UAS solution currently undergoing evaluation with the US Army’s Program Manager for Counter-Rockets, Artillery and Mortars (PM CRAM).

Speaking to Shephard at the Defence Communications conference in Krakow, Poland on 26th September, company officials explained how its concept, which has yet to be named, is currently undergoing field tests in Morehead, Kentucky. 

According to Barry McElroy, Senior VP for sales at Rajant Corporation, the company’s solution comprises a swarm of approximately 20 vertical take off/landing UAVs pre-positioned at a forward operating base which can be triggered by a radar identifying RAM and UAS targets. 

UAVs are networked via Rajant Corporation’s Kinetic Mesh radio modules which can be attached to a single of swarm of platforms for secure broadband communications.

Designated 'BreadCrumb' radio modules, the lightweight wireless node offers military-grade security with strong cryptographic options and per-hop, per-packet authentication to protect communications between the drones and ground-based facilities, McElroy explained.

Rajant Corporation is currently integrating MANET payloads on board DJI 4114 Pro UAVs with additional LiDAR payload which can be launched in response to the detection and identification of RAM threats by radar payloads. LiDAR on board the UAV has a maximum operating range to find and fix targets up to 200m.

UAVs can then be launched in swarm configuration to directly take out target drones on impact with zero requirement for explosive payload warheads. MANET payloads are used to communicate with a control centre while the LiDAR payload has a maximum range of 200m.

Rajant Corporation’s MANET technology is platform agnostic allowing for it to be integrated on board multiple types of UAVs, McElroy added, while highlighting how the company had also completed UAV to UAV communications at 80 mbps data throughput.

The company is also in process of gaining Type 1 encryption accreditation, which would alllow it to directly support larger UAV and special mission aircraft payloads. A trials period is due to begin in December with certification expected to be confirmed over the next 12-18 months.

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