USAF seeks directed energy-based counters to UAVs

03 October 2017
The Insitu ScanEagle sits at the top-end of the size scale of UAVs to be covered in the USAF's DE C-UAS experiment. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

The US Air Force (USAF) is to develop laser and microwave-based solutions for combating small and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be ready for trials in fiscal year (FY) 2018.

The Directed Energy (DE) Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (DE C-UAS) is an experimental programme recently launched by the Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Group (SDPE) of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

A capability request for information (CRFI) issued in mid-September and reported by the USAF on 2 October seeks to find DE weapon systems for targeting Group 1 (maximum take-off weight [MTOW] up to 20 lb [9.07 kg]) and Group 2 (MTOW up to 55 lb [24.9 kg]) UAVs.

“DE C-UAS operations will integrate with traditional Command and Control (C2) concepts and organizations and existing joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs). DE C-UAS systems may employ a modular structure capable of interfacing with existing weapon system platforms and sensors to tailor configuration to tasking. Proposed systems must be robust and have integrated sensors used to find, fix, track, and target single and/or multiple [UAV] targets. Capabilities of interest include (but are not limited to): Battle Command and sensor systems that facilitate rapid detection, identification and classification of [UAV] targets integrated with a system that can provide the capability to interdict, defeat, or deny enemy use of [UAVs] through the use of directed energy (high-power microwaves and laser weapon systems),” the CRFI read.

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