DARPA launches Aerial Dragnet
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the Aerial Dragnet programme to map small UAS in urban terrain, it was announced on 13 September.
The programme is looking for innovative technologies to provide wide-area surveillance of all UAS operating below 1,000ft in a large city. While the programme aims to protect soldiers operating in urban settings overseas, the system could ultimately find civilian application to help protect US metropolitan areas from UAS-enabled terrorist threats DARPA said.
Aerial Dragnet seeks to develop systems adapted to the fundamental physics of small UAS in urban environments that could enable non-line-of-sight (NLOS) tracking and identification of a wide range of slow, low-flying threats.
The surveillance nodes should use sensor technologies to look over and between buildings and maintain UAS tracks even when the craft disappear from sight around corners or behind objects. The programme will combine low cost sensor hardware with software-defined signal processing hosted on existing UAS platforms.
Jeff Krolik, DARPA programme manager, said: ‘Commercial websites currently exist that display in real time the tracks of relatively high and fast aircraft—from small general aviation planes to large airliners—all overlaid on geographical maps as they fly around the country and the world. We want a similar capability for identifying and tracking slower, low-flying unmanned aerial systems, particularly in urban environments.’
More from Uncrewed Vehicles
The Royal Danish Navy is boosting its autonomous mine countermeasures capabilities by procuring new uncrewed underwater systems.
A defence analyst claims that Russia's move to acquire and deploy Iranian UAV's in Ukraine tells of wider weapons supply issues and a depletion of stocks.
A team at the University of Maine will define a path forward to support advanced manufacturing of USVs, under a contract from the US Office of Naval Research.
Insitu receives order for 13 Blackjack and 25 ScanEagle UAVs.
Ukraine ordered 40 Warmates, half of which have already reached frontline units with the remainder to arrive by the end of September.
Despite a number of Skyborg test successes, a defence expert has questioned how the development of next generation drones will advance without activities being concentrated and clear requirements set out.