UV - Unmanned Vehicles

Raytheon’s new radar brings unique precision to counter-UAS (sponsored)

9th September 2019 - 10:47 GMT | by Industry Spotlight

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This article is brought to you by Raytheon

AdvertisementAdvertisementAn object in flight heads toward a forward operating base. It be could be anything from a drone to enemy aircraft, or just a flock of birds. Identifying that object long before it reaches the base is crucial for protecting the assets and personnel stationed there.

At a nearby airport, an air traffic controller sees what he believes to be a UAS in the sky over a runway. He alerts the authorities to ground all flights. Allowing an airliner to take off without fully vetting the target could pose a great risk — one not worth taking.

Addressing such scenarios begins with precise detection of drones, friendly or otherwise, and knowing what you are seeing before you engage—a process counter-UAS experts call “positive identification.”

“I can’t emphasize how imperative the detecting, identifying and tracking elements of the counter-UAS kill chain are,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Mission Systems and Sensors at Raytheon. “Without sensors and C2 working seamlessly to identify and communicate information on the target, it is impossible to know what response is appropriate to use.”

What makes KuRFS unique is not just its ability to see with precision, but that it’s a sensor readily integrated with a variety of counter effects.

Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Mission Systems and Sensors at Raytheon

To aid positive identification, Raytheon offers sensors built specifically to see UAS in flight. KuRFS, short for Ku Radio Frequency Sensor, is an advanced electronically scanned array, or AESA, radar that uses the ku-band frequency for detection, identification and precision tracking of potential threats. A small, powerful radar, it provides nonstop surveillance of airborne objects. It can also sense and identify incoming rockets, artillery or mortars. It can provide warning to soldiers who may be in the way, giving them the time they need to take cover and counter.

“What makes KuRFS unique is not just its ability to see with precision, but that it’s a sensor readily integrated with a variety of counter effects. Together, the operator gets a full system that can look, understand and engage,” said Rosselli.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Army announced that its Howler system, a combination of the KuRFS radar with the Raytheon Coyote UAS, achieved initial operational capability. This system identifies a drone with the KuRFS radar and sends the Coyote UAS to destroy it with a kinetic impact. It’s a game-changer, as the threat from UAS requires a customized response.

One sensor, one effector is not sufficient to address the spectrum of UAS classes and scenarios. 

“KuRFS can be integrated with both the Coyote UAS and also Raytheon’s High Energy Laser, or HEL,” Rosselli said. “Raytheon is regularly modeling various drone engagement scenarios with our customers, and can tailor fully integrated systems for each of those cases.”

Having a layered defense of sensors, C2 and effectors acting together as a total system is the most effective means for detecting and defeating drone attacks.

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