Emerging Tech

DOD looks to counter drone swarm strikes

drones (I'm friday/Shutterstock.com) 

The Department of Defense is in the market for a system using existing technology to counter possible drone swarm attacks against military bases and installations. A March 1 solicitation from the Defense Innovation Unit notes that, "it has proven difficult to identify and mitigate threats using currently fielded technologies." DIU is seeking a solution that can comport with requirements of U.S. law to protect homeland bases, but can also function abroad in a variety of environments.

DIU is looking for a system to aid in detection -- using radar, optical or acoustic signals -- and identification and mitigation. On the identification front, DIU is looking for a system whose library of unmanned aerial systems will keep pace with what's available. On mitigation, DIU wants to intercept and disable or destroy threatening drones with directed energy such as a microwave beam or use a spectrum-based solution to jam and disrupt potential threats. In any case, DIU states a preference for "low collateral-damage effectuators" and "systems that support forensics and law enforcement."

The innovation shop wants to know from potential vendors whether their solution is viable against a swarm of six or more drones that function independently or maneuver as a group. Vendors should also specify whether systems can work at night, can neutralize fixed-wing or rotary-wing adversaries, whether systems can respond autonomously when triggered by an input via satellite or other source and operate at ranges greater than 300 meters.

This DIU solicitation is a little different from others. Vendors selected via written proposals will be invited to participate in a week-long test against targets on a DOD site. Responses are due to DIU by March 11.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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