Innovative c-UAV Barrier Drone Defense
- Weaponized drone tactics and platforms are evolving to overcome C-UAV systems
- Current C-UAV Systems may not be capable of completely defeating hostile drone swarms
- Some drones are likely to get through the defenses
- The Cost and Complexity of RF/Laser/Hard-kill C-UAV systems limits their use
- Vehicles and Aircraft need a Last Line of Kinetic Defense against Weaponized Drones
Close-in physical APS barrier to entangle and obstruct drones
Weaponized drones represent a disruptive asymmetric threat for targets of opportunity anywhere in the world. Current Counter-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (C-UAV) systems typically utilize RF jamming as a first line of defense, sometimes backed by a laser or even a gun-based kinetic kill component. Swarms of weaponized drones threaten the possibility of overwhelming C-UAV defensive systems. Should any drones in an attacking swarm get through the defensive screen of a C-UAV system (or if there isn’t one on on-site), targets such as vehicles, aircraft, and fixed installations would have no protection.
The cost and complexity of RF/Laser C-UAV systems limits their deployment on ground vehicles. These same factors, plus weight, size, and aerodynamics also effectively eliminate C-UAV options for helicopters and hovering aircraft. There are many documented cases of UAV’s making incursions in restricted airspace and threatening aircraft operations. There are also cases on record of UAV’s intentionally colliding with helicopters.
It is clear that a cheap, explosive-equipped drone is fully capable of taking down a helicopter and its crew.
This points to the need for a simple and lower-cost “vehicle-centric” kinetic close-in defensive system, to be used in conjunction with C-UAV systems as a complementary “red zone defense” against any attacking drones that penetrate the wider-area defensive dome. This system would need to be simple and inexpensive enough to mount on any vehicle or defended installation. Ideally the system would also provide defense against other common asymmetric threats, such as RPG’s.
The Active Rotating Countermeasures (ARC) System represents a simple, inexpensive kinetic close-in defensive system. As a “last resort” line of defense, the ARC system could complement current and future RF / Directed Energy C-UAV systems. An individual-target defensive capability, the ARC system is suitable for mounting on a range of vehicles. The kinetic defensive requirements at short range consist of very quick aiming, barrier overkill, and the ability to address multiple threats simultaneously (from different directions). The ARC system fulfills these requirements in a simple architecture. The ARC system features a modest energy budget and is designed for reasonable acquisition and maintenance costs. The ARC system also offers the flexibility to deploy a variety of countermeasures, and the development potential to keep pace with the evolution of battlefield threats.