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Royal Navy sets sights on new C-UAS solution

The UK Royal Navy (RN) has outlined plans to equip deployed ships with a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) solution that is able to detect, track, identify, and defeat nano, micro, and mini UAS threats.

In an Invitation To Tender (ITT) released on 13 September, Navy Command Headquarters has called for a first system to be delivered by mid-January 2022 to support a Fleet Minor Trial activity. Up to five follow-on systems could be procured.

In a statement of requirements issued with the ITT, the RN said the service wanted a COTS C-UAS system that can be rapidly deployed onto naval platforms. “Small UAS is a threat currently being experienced [and it] is increasingly likely to be an issue for deployed surface ships. Given the range of potential payloads and interference these UAS can carry, an effective means of detection is required,” it added.

The RN's preferred course is to pursue the development of a COTS software-defined radio capability to provide a detect, track, identify, and cyber/radio frequency-based takeover capability. The procurement is to be conducted in three phases, beginning with a Phase 1 proof of concept to be managed by the RN's NavyX autonomy accelerator.

Under Phase 1, up to five compliant respondents of the ITT will be invited to take part in a demonstration event to be held at Portsdown Technology Park in Portsmouth. A second stage will see the technology exposed to challenging conditions as a land-based arrangement at the demonstration event. Based on the results, the successful bidder will be awarded an initial term contract for two years, up to a maximum value of GBP4 million.

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