The U.S. Army is assessing when to test technologies for countering threats from small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The threat that such aircraft pose within the U.S. and abroad “is an ongoing concern,” the service’s Rapid Equipping Force said in a Nov. 6 “sources sought” announcement. Continued technology improvements are making small drones “more available and at lower cost, with a larger payload ratio … and easier to fly, navigate and transport.” These factors increase the possibility that small drones might be used in “nefarious ways.”
The force set a target for this month to test such technologies, but it is still reviewing industry responses submitted by the Nov. 16 deadline. The Army said it has received 17 responses, but has not yet set a test date.
The Fort Belvoir, Virginia-based Rapid Equipping Force requested information from the industry on technology that can “detect, identify and defeat” rotary- and fixed-wing drones of 20 lb or less (comparable to a DJI Phantom or X-UAV Talon). The force said it is interested in technology for detecting such drones from about 0.5 mi away, differentiating between multiple drones, manned aircraft and natural flora and fauna and then defeating them with non-kinetic methods such as sound or light waves, but also to electronic warfare and radiation.
The Rapid Equipping Force was set up in 2002 to “generate requirements for near-term solutions” and “provide immediate technology solutions to deploying and pre-deploying forces.” It is part of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.