Budget to Accelerate Development of Counter sUAS Systems

counter drone

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The US counter-drone development effort has been gaining momentum. The Congress wants to rapidly advance a joint program to develop and field a counter-drone capability, requiring the Pentagon to field a system as early as next fall and adding more than $47 million to fuel the effort

“The executive agent of the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS) Office shall prioritize the objective of developing and executing a plan to develop, test, and begin production of a counter unmanned aircraft system that can be fielded as early as fiscal year 2021 to meet immediate operational needs in countering Group 1, 2 and 3 unmanned aircraft systems,” read the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) release.

Lawmakers would also like the capability, if practical, to be able to go after larger UAS.

The initiative started in 2019 when the defense secretary delegated the Army to lead the effort to develop counter-drone systems, many of which were rooted in urgent needs from Middle Eastern conflicts, and consolidate capability into a select group of interim systems.

The Congress wants the office to “consider the selection of counter unmanned aircraft systems with specific emphasis on systems that have undergone successful realistic operational tests or assessments or have been or are currently deployed,” according to the NDAA, as reported by defensenews.com.

Furthermore, the system should be something that would allow the C-sUAS office to reduce or accelerate the timeline for initial and full operational capability. The system should also meet operational requirements to counter current threats “including effectiveness against unmanned aircraft systems that are not remotely piloted or are not reliant on a command link,” the language stated.

The use of autonomous and semiautonomous systems or processes is also desired, lawmakers noted, and the capability should be affordable with low operating and sustainment costs.

The chosen capability should be flexible enough to allow for continuous integration of different sensors based on the unique needs of military installations and deployed forces as well as varying geographies and threats, lawmakers wrote.