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Countering small UASs (unmanned aerial systems) to help protect warfighters has become a growing need recognized by the US defense administration. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has recently awarded contracts to three industry teams to develop methods to counter small UASs.

Teams led by Dynetics, Saab‘s defense and security business unit and SRC will develop counter-sUAS approaches under the first phase of the Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program. The agency expects to deploy a counter-sUAS platform within the next three to four years.

The program focuses on a challenge of increasing concern to the U.S. military: countering the proliferation of small, unmanned aircraft systems (sUASs). These systems—which include fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft and have numerous advantages such as portability, low cost, commercial availability, and easy upgradeability—pose a fast-evolving array of dangers for U.S. ground and maritime convoys, according to

The contracts were awarded one year after the agency posted a request for information on potential systems that can help protect warfighters from sUAS threats, reports

“Each team will now work to integrate novel ideas for advanced sensors and neutralization approaches into a common framework emphasizing safety for civilian bystanders, ease of operation, and low size, weight, power, and cost,” said Jean-Charles Lede, a program manager at DARPA’s tactical technology office.

“Our goal is a technology demonstration system that could fit onto currently deployed tactical ground vehicles and maritime vessels,” Lede added.

The U.S. Army‘s Maneuver Aviation and Fires Integration Application architecture will serve as the common framework for the teams’ technology approaches and support the creation of a plug-and-play system that can accommodate future sensors and technologies.

DARPA aims to give military services and other government agencies the opportunity to fund field evaluations under MFP and develop a system that would address the needs of U.S. government and commercial users.