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FAVS 2023: UK to field Land GBAD C-sUAS capability by end of year

The UK plans to field a Land GBAD C-sUAS capability starting with 225 SMASH SLS anti-drone fire-control systems for small arms in December. (Technische Bureau H A Muller (TBM BV))

The UK plans to field a LandGround-Based Air Defence (GBAD) counter-small unmanned aircraft system (C-sUAS) capability starting in December, Squadron Leader Hugo Piers Morris, senior officer 2 (SO2) counter-small uncrewed air systems, Project 6 lead, joint effects, in the British Army Programmes Directorate, said on the first day of SAE Media Group's Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability (FAVS) 2023 conference being held in London from 13 to 15 November.

The capability will consist of 225 SMASH Smart Weapon Sight (SLS) anti-drone fire-control systems for small arms to be delivered in December, followed by body-worn electromagnetic DETECT systems to complement SMASH and section-level handheld radio frequency (RF) DEFEAT non-kinetic effectors and company-level manportable systems in February 2024.

The project's package 1 is aimed at the rapid deployment of dismounted systems to counter Class 1b and 1c UASs, according to Sqn Ldr Morris. Spiral development between 2025 and 2028 and beyond has received UK Defence Innovation funding for the development of novel technologies.

Package 2 for a mounted capability will involve integrating existing platform systems to deliver a mounted C-sUAS capability, with the spiral development of a hard-kill capability based on the Protector remote weapon system and a platform-agnostic soft-kill capability. It could also leverage C-UAS potential from other platform-specific subsystems, such as armour protection systems.

Package 3 aims at greater battlefield integration and automation, enabled by short-range air defence (SHORAD) and the growth, evolution, or rationalisation of C-sUAS assets.

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