DARPA starts counter-drone program

Three U.S. companies have been tapped by DARPA to develop technologies to counter small drone attacks on land and sea convoys.
By Richard Tomkins  |  Aug. 22, 2017 at 12:35 PM
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Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency is sponsoring development of technology to counter fixed-wing and rotary small drones, the agency announced on Monday.

DARPA has contracted with three companies to develop scalable, modular, and affordable approaches for the Mobile Force Protection program, which could be deployed in the next three to four years to protect land and maritime convoys.

The companies for Phase One of the project, chosen following a Request for Proposals, are Dynetics Inc., Saab Defense and Security USA, and SRC Inc.

"The three teams we've assembled have innovative ideas for a versatile, layered defense system that could protect convoys on the move from multiple small unmanned aircraft systems in real time," Jean-Charles Ledé, a program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office, said in a press release. "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."

"Our goal is a technology demonstration system that could fit onto currently deployed tactical ground vehicles and maritime vessels -- getting advanced and upgradable capabilities quickly to the warfighters who need them."

DARPA said the U.S. Army's Maneuver Aviation and Fires Integration Application service-oriented architecture will be the common framework for the data-fusion engine, decision-aid algorithms and user interface. It will also act as the framework for command-and-control software.

DARPA is working closely on MFP with the Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate and the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency said.

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