WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army’s counter-drone office recommends three specific companies, if the service chooses to invest in drone defense as a service, according to a Sept. 16 memo obtained by Defense News.
Anduril, Black Sage Technologies and SAIC are the companies recommended by the Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office following a demonstration event in April at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
Counter-UAS as a Service, or CaaS, would be a contractor-owned, government-operated capability at fixed locations.
The office received a total of 25 white papers for CaaS and selected five to demonstrate their capabilities as they met specific requirements. These five companies were Anduril Industries, Black Sage, CACI, Rafael Systems Global Sustainment and SAIC.
The military is the military branch tasked with leading the bureau, which was established in late 2019. The bureau has now held three protests — two last year in the spring and fall, and one this spring. The plan is to continue demonstrations twice a year to fill capability gaps identified by the military in the fight against small drones.
“Vendors have developed or integrated end-to-end CaaS architectures by partnering with other vendors, first participated in subsystem performance characterization, and then run a demonstration of their CaaS System- of-System in a realistic operating environment,” the memo reads.
The systems came up against drone threats in Groups 1, 2 and 3 – a categorization of unmanned systems based on weight.
Anduril’s system used radar and electro-optical/infrared technology for detection and tracking. It also had electronic warfare capability. This was all controlled through its Lattice command and control framework, the memo says.
The company’s solution is mature based on ongoing work for the United States Marine Corps and United States Special Operations Command.
“Anduril used a combination of Anvil AUAS and Pulsar EW/[positioning, navigation and timing] effects to successfully mitigate incoming threats,” the memo notes. “They provided a turnkey solution with lessons learned from USMC and SOCOM for rapid operational capability.”
Additionally, Anduril’s solution “demonstrated a low false detection rate,” the paper reads.
Black Sage’s architecture consists of multiple radars, radio frequency detection and defeat, a PNT jammer, and a protocol attack “all controlled through their C2 defense operating system”, according to the memo.
The original plan included a high-energy laser, but “availability issues” prevented it, the memo adds.
Black Sage’s offer was “very effective,” the memo says. The system’s Goshawk PNT jammer “is a very powerful broadband jammer that has demonstrated the ability to mitigate all autonomous threats, some of which were likely defeated at ranges before certain sensors detected them”.
Additionally, the system had a low rate of false detections, the memo notes.
Finally, SAIC “developed and demonstrated a robust SoS architecture, with layered sensors and effectors to span the long range from mobile to the last line of defense at short range,” the document says.
The system included RPS-42 and Spyglass radars tuned to electro-optical/infrared camera systems and DroneSentry, EnforceAir and RfOne MkII for radio frequency detection, the memo adds.
“All sensors and effectors have been integrated into their Valkryie C2 system,” he noted.
EnforceAir and AeroGuard “demonstrated impressive effectors,” according to the document. EnforceAir was able to “force-land” the Phantom 4 Pro V2 and Opterra Dragonlink. Additionally, he added, AeroGuard pursued threatening planes and deployed a net to capture the threat.
The memo contains the disclaimer that – although the Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office recommends the service consider all three companies – the document “is not intended to be a requirement to assign these vendors “.
SAIC considers its solution unique because “we didn’t build anything, we built an integration capability where you can take a lot of things and you can control a lot of things at the same time,” said Bob Genter, president of SAIC. the company for defense and civil activities. Defense News in an interview ahead of the Association of the US Army’s annual conference.
“It depends on what you’re trying to do,” Genter said. “He brings radar systems, cameras and drones to be able to go out and capture other drones [with a net].”
The system also has the ability to neutralize threats using high power microwave capability.
Abilities can be interchanged based on a client’s needs. SAIC can work with all possible sensors or non-kinetic or kinetic solutions, according to Genter.
“All of these things are controlled by a single pane of glass where you have an operator who can click on whatever tool they need to use.”
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering ground warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.