The US Concludes Mobile Force Protection Program

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The US Concludes Mobile Force Protection Program
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DARPA’s Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program passed Counter-Unmanned Air System (C-UAS) multilayer defence architecture tests. The tests took place at Eglin Air Force Base to protect military installations or operations against unauthorized drone intrusions.

The US was in search of a low-cost reusable drone interceptor system. The program began four years ago to create an integrated system for thwarting attacks from self-guided small unmanned aircraft. The goal is to protect high-value convoys moving through potentially populated regions where there is a requirement to avoid using explosive defensive weapons and mitigate collateral damage.

The technology demonstrator successfully neutralized tactically relevant drones using a newly-developed X band radar that automatically senses and identifies unmanned aerial system threats. The radar then pairs targets to specific interceptors through an automated decision engine tied to a command and control system, launching and guiding rotary and fixed-wing interceptors with two types of drone countermeasures while on the move and without operator intervention.

The requirement that the system field non-kinetic solutions pushed concepts that could be employed in and around civilian areas. The primary drone negation mechanism shoots strong, stringy streamers from reusable interceptors that foul propellers are causing loss of propulsion. Additionally, other non-kinetic techniques were developed and demoed. The focus on defeating raids with multiple threats, rather than single unmanned aerial attackers, required developing an integrated solution of sensors, autonomy, and mitigation solutions more robust than existing systems. Dynetics was the primary systems integrator.

DARPA is currently working with the military services to transition technology developed in the MFP project into various acquisition programs.

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