Leonardo Joins Army Effort To Defeat Small Enemy Drones

By Dan Parsons, DefenseDaily.com

July 17, 2017 -- The Army awarded Leonardo DRS a $16 million contract to fill an urgent operational need for systems that can detect and destroy enemy unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

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Leonardo has teamed with MOOG INC. to provide the counter-UAS capability, which the Army has identified as a critical capability gap against current enemies like Islamic State militants and potential adversaries including Russia and China.  

The counter-UAS capability will include Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP) turret, Leonardo DRS’ mast-mounted Surveillance and Battlefield Reconnaissance Equipment – known as SABRE, and other government-provided technologies.

The technologies will be fully integrated on two MRAP All-Terrain Vehicles for a mobile C-UAS capability designed to detect, identify, track and defeat unmanned aerial threats.  

“We are proud to support the Army’s urgent requirement to protect soldiers from the growing threats by small unmanned aircraft,” said Vice President and General Manager of DRS Land Systems Aaron Hankins. “This effort is a great example of industry collaborating with the Army to quickly provide soldiers with a crucial capability, and we are grateful for the opportunity to lead the effort,” Hankins said.

The contract was delivered as part of the Army’s Mobile Low, Slow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defense System, Increment 1 effort and supports near-term testing to inform requirements and government decisions for the deployment of numerous production systems in early summer 2018.

The work will be performed by DRS Land Systems in St. Louis, Missouri. Leonardo DRS is a United States-based division of Italy's LEONARDO.

To counter the anticipated threat from small, inexpensive enemy drones, the Army already is fielding the counter-UAS mobile integrated capability (CMIC). The Stryker-mounted system is a suite of sensors and countermeasures that can detect, identify, track and disrupt or destroy small enemy unmanned aerial systems. CMIC is now deployed to Army units in Europe and soon could include a 10kw laser.

CMIC has proven effective at defeating small unmanned aircraft in Army exercises and is now being fielded to deployed units that have filed operational needs statements requesting the technology, he said.

The system can identify whether a UAS is friend or foe and then trace its remote signal to the ground-based operator. The Army then can interrupt the signal, knock down or destroy the aircraft and then target the enemy operator with lethal fire.