Marduk Technologies expects to demonstrate a prototype of its Shark counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) system in the August/September timeframe with the Estonian military.
Indrek Seppo, Marduk Technologies’ CEO, told Jane’s that the testing of limited aspects of the system will focus on Shark’s electro-optical (EO) tracking technology and that they are working to extend the range of the system’s UAV detection capability.
Ultimately, the Shark system uses laser effectors – initially up to 10 kW – to temporarily or permanently 'blind' the optronics payload of a UAV.
At present, it is envisaged that Shark will be used to combat quadcopter UAVs with an aim to expand the capability to small fixed-wing platforms, which are generally faster targets.
Rather than providing a jamming function – as is the case with many C-UAV technologies – Shark seeks to disrupt the effectiveness of an adversary’s platform by denying the visual reconnaissance and flight control aspects brought through its optical sensors.
Due to the wide field-of-view that is typical of the cameras carried by commercially available quadcopters, Seppo said that the laser can be effective even if it does not directly hit the aircraft’s payload; a 1 km engagement range is an initial target for Shark.
Seppo added that a UAV-based Shark is also in the long-term roadmap for the development of the system, as is a portable configuration that could be carried and deployed in the field.
The concept of operations for Shark envisages a network of systems providing a wide-area defensive capability, with an electro-optical system cued to a target following the initial detection by another sensor, following which it is tracked by Shark and ultimately engaged by the laser; the system will also offer utility against swarming UAVs. Shark will be able to distinguish between UAVs and false targets, such as birds.
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