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Small, slow and low-flying drones are becoming a greater threat to US Armed Forces deployed globally. The Army has noted the growing threat of smaller drones – including commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products – for the past few years, saying that they are much harder to detect and can evade radar systems. A report noted that more than 600 variants of UAS have been used in more than 80 nations, and have been used in a military capacity by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
It is over this backdrop that the Army has awarded a $108m contract to a defense company – SRC – for the delivery of an anti-drone technology, known as the Silent Archer counter-UAV system.
The technology comprises of proven, radar and electronic warfare systems, a camera for visual identification of targets and a 3-D user display to provide the warfighter with advanced situational awareness, according to the company website.
An unclassified US Army report released in 2016 stated: “As unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have become smaller, slower and operate at lower altitudes, they have become more challenging to detect, identify, and defeat. Technological advances have exacerbated these challenges. These systems can be either proprietary, state sponsored or COTS. Typical roles for these UAS are limited-scale reconnaissance and surveillance.”
“However, miniaturization of components will make these UAS more capable in the future. This, coupled with their small size, low cost, and widespread availability will drastically increase their use worldwide,”
The US Army previously ordered 15 sets of the anti-drone technology from SRC in 2017, as part of a $65m contract. The US Air Force then also chose SRC’s counter-drone systems under a $57m contract, according to army-technology.com.
The Silent Archer can be deployed in fixed-site, expeditionary or fly-away configurations, and is the solution of choice for VIP protection and high profile events such as the G8 and G20 Summits as well as the 2012 Summer Olympics.