Army Demonstrates Anti Drone Capabilities

Discussion in 'U.S. Army' started by Admin, Oct 7, 2015.

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  1. Admin

    Admin Captain Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 3, 2015
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    Army engineers demonstrate anti-drone technology


    PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Oct. 5, 2015) -- Army engineers, who are seeking to adapt ongoing research to counter aerial systems that could threaten Soldiers, successfully shot down two aircraft as part of their final technology demonstration.

    Although the research project began with the objective to counter rockets, artillery and mortars, the project scope was expanded to include threats from unmanned aerial threats, sometime called drones, whose use has expanded rapidly.

    "It's unbelievable how much it's exploded," said Manfredi Luciano about the use of drones.

    "Every country has them now, whether they are armed or not or what level of performance. This is a huge threat has been coming up on everybody. It has kind of almost sneaked up on people, and it's almost more important than the counter-RAM threat."

    Luciano is the project officer for the Enhanced Area Protection and Survivability, or EAPS, Army Technology Objective. The technology is being developed by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, at Picatinny Arsenal. Funding for development and testing was provided by the ARDEC Technology Office.

    The challenge has increased exponentially in the last decade as the world's inventory of unmanned aircraft systems, or UASs, has grown from approximately 20 system types and 800 aircraft in 1999, to more than 200 system types and approximately 10,000 unmanned aircraft in 2010, said Nancy Elliott, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Army's Fires Center of Excellence on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

    Although a missile-based Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar, or C-RAM, defense system has been selected as the technical approach for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 Intercept Program of Record, the gun alternative continued to mature as force-protection technologies for other potential applications.

    During the final testing Aug. 19, at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, engineers shot down two class 2 UASs using command guidance and command warhead detonation. The UAS was an outlaw-class aircraft, a product of Griffon Aerospace, and the intercept engagements occurred at over a kilometer range and about 1500 meters.

    The first shoot-down at the kilometer range was a replication of the test performed April 22, in which the EAPS technology first successfully intercepted a loitering UAS. Some fire-control improvements were made after the April 22 tests, and were validated during the Aug. 19 testing. The second shoot down was executed at a 50 percent greater range and exceeded the EAPS demonstration objectives.

    The EAPS ARDEC gun alternative to area protection envisions a 50mm cannon to launch command guided interceptors. The system uses a precision tracking radar interferometer as a sensor, a fire control computer, and a radio frequency transmitter and receiver to launch the projectile into an engagement "basket."

    "In order to minimize the electronics on board the interceptor and to make it cheaper, all the 'smarts' are basically done on the ground station," Luciano said. "The computations are done on the ground, and the radio frequency sends the information up to the round."

    The Picatinny area-protection system tracks both the incoming threat and interceptor, then computes an ideal trajectory correction for the interceptor to maximize probability of mission success. A thruster on the interceptor/projectile is used for course correction. The ground station uplinks the maneuver and detonation commands, while receiving downlinked assessment data.

    The interceptor takes the commands and computes the roll orientation and time to execute thruster and warhead detonation. The warhead has a tantalum-tungsten alloy liner to form forward propelled penetrators for defeat of C-RAM targets, and steel body fragments to counter unmanned aerial systems. C-RAM stands for counter rockets, artillery and mortars.

    The integrated test demonstrated a proof-of-principle that direct fire, command guided ammunition can intercept and negate aerial threats, Luciano said. Technologies from the EAPS gun alternative Army Technology Objective, or ATO, may potentially be used for both Army and Navy air defense systems, he said.

    The August testing concludes the EAPS Gun ATO. ARDEC now awaits counter-UAS requirements. Once requirements are generated and approved, the technologies developed under EAPS can be configured to a new design for a future tactical system.

    The EAPS fire-control radar interferometer was designed, fabricated, and operated by Technovative Applications in Brea, California. Radar interferometers use multiple receive antennas to enhance angular measurements for centimeter tracking accuracy.

    Design of the 50mm cartridge/interceptor was a collaborative effort between ARDEC engineers and Orbital ATK, Armament Systems Division in Plymouth, Minnesota. Interceptors were assembled by Orbital ATK and warheads by Aerojet Rocketdyne in Sacramento, California. The fire-control algorithm was a collaborative effort by the various subject matter experts but led and written by Propagation Research Associates, Inc., in Atlanta.

    The EAPS Integrated Product Team was led by ARDEC's Munitions Systems and Technology Directorate at Picatinny Arsenal.


    The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
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  2. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

    Oct 8, 2015
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    Professional "Doer" of "Things"
    Being a geek
    50mm cannon? Wow, but I expect this system would be joined by smaller laser systems for tactical uavs like Raven and ScanEagle. 50mm guns would easily disable such systems, but in many respects would be overkill and more costly compared to laser systems. That said, for larger targets like Predator equivalents of Russia and China, a 50mm cannon would likely have both the altitude, speed and leathality needed to counter those types of airframes.

    This is Boeing's current non-mobile system. I wouldn't image it'd be too difficult to mount this and its power pack on a vehicle for tactical level anti-uav operations.


    Another system is being developed by the USN and USMC

    GBAD, similar to this Boeing Avenger laser system, is currently undergoing safety testing.


    GBAD is expected to be in use on upcoming JLTVs.

    According to Boeing, and military tests which support the assertion, the HEL MD demonstrator also has counter UAV capabilities.


    It's unclear whether or not HEL MD will progress beyond a demonstrator.
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  3. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 7, 2015
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    An emerging threat: Small drones as flying IEDs


    The military is taking seriously the idea of drones, even small ones, not just delivering weapons but being used as weapons themselves.

    Army engineers working at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., have demonstrated their ability to shoot down incoming unmanned aerial systems, adapting a system being developed to counter rockets, artillery and mortars to include UAS among its targets. Meanwhile, researchers at the Army's just-completed Network Integration Evaluation 16.1 tested small quad- and octocopter drones both to see what they’re capable of and devise ways of defending against them.

    One reason for this type of research is the ubiquity of all kinds of UAS. "Every country has them now, whether they are armed or not or what level of performance,” Manfredi Luciano, project officer for the Enhanced Area Protection and Survivability, or EAPS, Army Technology Objective, said after the Yuma demonstration. “This is a huge threat has been coming up on everybody. It has kind of almost sneaked up on people, and it's almost more important than the counter-RAM threat."

    Another reason is that small UAS also can avoid the detection by radar systems designed to spot airplanes, missiles and larger military drones, as a post by the Homeland Defense Information Analysis Center(HDIAC) notes. A case in point is the 2-foot-diameter quadcopter that flew onto the White House lawn in January, unnoticed by the White House’s radar. It turned out that drone was not a threat, but it could have been.

    “I personally believe that the unmanned platform is going to be one of the most important weapons of our age,” Navy Capt. Vincent Martinez, commander of the Navy Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) EOD Technology Division, said in the HDIAC post. “I’m going to have to start thinking about not only how to diffuse the payload but how I defuse the platform. When I walk up on that platform, is it watching me, is it sensing me, is it waiting for me?”

    HDIAC referred to the possibility of weaponized small drones as “flying IEDs,” a reference to the roadside improvised explosives that tormented U.S. troops for the duration of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Martinez said that even some small hobbyist drones could be armed with up to 6 pounds of C4 plastic explosives or several fragmentation grenades, which could do a lot of damage. And an armed drone might not come alone—the Army researchers at NIE were working on operating their drones in swarms, at one point having 10 in the air, simultaneously executing a flight plan. Swarms, researchers pointed out, not only could cause more damage but they also would increase the chances that one or more would get through, say, a base’s defenses, even if base personnel saw them coming.

    While concerned about quadcopters and other small drones, the military also is working to defend against mid-size UAS. The tests in Yuma, carried out by researchers from the Army Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., dealt with what the Army called an outlaw-class UAS made by Griffon Aerospace. In August, engineers shot down two of the UAS at kilometer range using command guidance and command warhead detonation, the Army said.

    The military services are developing other ways of countering UAS. The Navy last year deployed its first anti-UAS laser weapon in the Persian Gulf. And the Marines and the Army are in different stages of development of vehicle-mounted lasers.

    As the availability of UAS—large and small—continues to grow, the potential threat from them can’t be ignored. “Right now, we are in a period of tremendous uncertainty and trying to determine what the singular threat is going to be is a significant challenge,” said Jerry Leverich, a senior analyst with the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command futures directorate, adding that “a $100 device [such as a quadcopter or even model airplane] currently being used for surveillance can be quickly adapted for lightweight explosives.”
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  4. Falcon

    Falcon Lieutenant Colonel Staff Member Social Media Team

    Oct 10, 2015
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    A shotgun loaded with birdshot could handle a threat like this, we can't have expensive lasers all over the place. Shotguns are good for today's battlefield anyway as they can be used to breach doors, fire bean bags for crowd control, and are good for clearing out buildings.