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DSEI 2019: UK MoD outlines C-UAS demand signals

13th September 2019 - 17:00 GMT | by Andrew White in London

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Officials from the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) C-sUAS team have challenged industry to provide greater capability for armed forces operating in austere conditions.

According to Wg Cdr Rob Wilson, head of the Royal Air Force’s C-sUAS programme, the MoD is seeking technology to support urban operations especially, including user requirements for man-wearable and on-the-move solutions.

Citing a series of examples to delegates at DSEI on 13 September, Wilson described how the MoD remains in the ‘understand’ phase of its C-sUAS strategy, before highlighting how the organisation had not witnessed ‘many systems capable of working in near peer environments or urban terrain’.

Wilson also described additional requirements across the contemporary and future operating environments with examples including demand signs for C-sUAS to counter mass attacks of swarming UAS.

Discussing how legacy C-sUAS solutions could be improved in the future, Wilson also called for longer range capabilities as well as less manpower intensive operations. 

‘The nature of the threat and the range of technologies, techniques and disciplines that can be used to defeat it, have led to duplication of effort and conflicts over funding and ownership of the problem set,’ he warned.

According to Peter Clarke, head of the MoD’s Rapid Innovation Cell which was first launched in January 2019, multiple equipment areas continue to be pursued over the next few years.

So-called sub-challenges include the integration of multi-sensors and effectors into C-sUAS systems; capability to identify incoming drone intentions; neutralisation of air/ground UAS networks; automated detect, track and identify capabilities; introduction of post ECM effectors; C-sUAS on the move; swamping and swarm defeat; as well as urban detect, track, identify and defeat. 

Clarke also highlighted a series of features critical to the development of a mature C-sUAS system, which includes rapidly upgradeable solutions featuring high levels in automation, equipped with open interfaces and threat data bases and easy-to-use user devices by non-specialists.

As a result, the MoD is seeking to conduct regular testing of seven types of ‘high technology readiness’ commercial and military off the shelf technology, including: C-sUAS equipment for the protection of land bases and ships; man-wearable and man-portable equipment for urban and rural areas; vehicle fits for on the move and static missions; hunter-killer drones; unattended C-sUAS equipment; and intervention from air and space platforms.

‘We are seeing a lot of interest from C-sUAS equipment suitable for deployment on a land base but we are keen to see more capability in those other areas,’ Clarke concluded.

The UK MoD already operates an inventory of C-UAS technology from original equipment manufacturers including Leonardo, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Anti-UAV Defence System consortium.

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