MoD invites proposals for anti-drone technologies

Ministry puts £2m behind contest to identify ways to combat ‘swarms’ of hostile autonomous airborne vehicles

The Ministry of Defence has launched a £2m competition seeking ideas for how to tackle the threat posed by drones.

The MoD is particularly interested in proposals related to “autonomous decision-making mechanisms and networked sensing systems”. Such technologies could, the department believes, enable the “detecting, tracking, identifying and defeating” of hostile unmanned aerial systems (UAS). 

The ideas put forward are likely to include “next-generation counter-UAS technology” that could offer effective and efficient means of detecting and disabling drones. 

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So-called flexible counter-UAS technology would, meanwhile, involve solutions capable of “bringing counter-UAS technologies together and linking with other surveillance systems and cooperative drone-awareness systems”.

The MoD also wishes to hear proposals for products and services that could help combat future drone technologies, which are likely to see the vehicles “acting autonomously, in swarms and in highly congested airspace”, the department believes. 

During the first phase of the competition – which is due to take place between July 2019 and March 2020 – the MoD will award about £800,000 to support proof-of-concept exercises. After which, further development of successful projects will be funded by an additional £1.2m, delivered over the course of “multiple phases”.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: “As the security threats from hostile drones are evolving at pace, it’s critical that our armed forces benefit from the very latest technology to stay ahead. This competition will draw on the brightest and best of our defence industry to find innovative solutions that will ensure we are protected in the years to come.”


Sam Trendall

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