As the military use of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) has increased dramatically, including by entities that may pose a threat to the United States, scientists at Picatinny Arsenal are part of the effort to counter potential threats to U.S. armed forces by such systems.
According to UAS vision in many cases, unmanned aircrafts are used to gather intelligence with cameras and sensors, thus there is a need for the U.S. Armed Forces to have counter measures in place. Since 2010, the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as ARDEC, at Picatinny Arsenal, has been positioning itself as a player in the close-in counter UAS mission by participating in an annual experiment to assess the Department of Defense, inter-agency and private industry capabilities in Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or C-UAS.
In 2012, ARDEC partnered with the Navy’s Office of Strategic Systems Programs and successfully demonstrated the capabilities of fire-control radar to detect, track, and characterize UAVs. This information was then used to veer a remote weapon station gimbal at the threat UAS, emulating a potential defeat system. Given the success in being able to accurately detect and track unmanned systems, in fiscal year 2013, ARDEC directed its focus on integrating the fire control radar with a variety of current weapon systems that could potentially neutralize the UAV threat.
After a System of Systems analysis, the integrated C-UAS System of Systems included three different end-to-end “kill chain” capabilities. According to ARDEC Project Officer Hannibal People, ARDEC was proven to be successful with its effort in 2013, since the integrated System of Systems showed as a promising solution after defeating the UAS threat at two different test events. This ability marks the first time a small class UAS has been defeated by a prototype U.S. Army “gun launched” munition using a novel warhead design. The significance of this accomplishment is the potential to provide a single-shot, low-cost-per-kill weapon system that can function in a multi-role capability for both fixed and mobile Army platforms.