In recent years, anti-drone warfare has been made a priority by armies around the world: these small, inexpensive, accessible and highly mobile aircraft represent a real strategic challenge. Equipped with an explosive charge, they can come to threaten bases or convoys by thwarting enemy surveillance equipment. Complex urban environments, where many civilians live, make the task of air defenses even more difficult.
In order to effectively combine anti-drone control and population protection – thus avoiding firearms or explosives – the US military has devised the Mobile Force Protection Program (MFP). The main objective of the MFP is to protect “high value” convoys. Developed for four years by the Agency for Defense Advanced Research Projects (Darpa), the MFP employs defense drones that manage to neutralize the target by firing coils into its propellers to cause it to fall.
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Darpa a ad on June 7 that the development of the program was coming to an end; the MFP should therefore soon be deployed on a larger scale. This mobile defense system is based above all on an X-band radar – super-high frequency – which automatically detects threatening drones. “The radar then associates targets with specific interceptors through an automated decision engine linked to a command and control system, which initiates and guides the interceptors with two types of drone countermeasures, while still being moving and without operator intervention, ”explains Darpa.
The launch of stringy coils constitutes the main mode of interception: these projectiles make it possible to temporarily block the propulsion of the targeted drone to make it fall. Above all, interception drones, fired from a moving vehicle, can be reused later. The MFP was unveiled in partnership with the defense company Dynetics, based in Alabama.
“Because we focus on protecting mobile resources, the program has focused on solutions with a small footprint in terms of size, weight and power,” said Gregory Avicola, MFP program manager at of the Darpa Tactical Technology Office. “It also makes it possible to have more affordable systems and fewer operators.”
The federal state has allocated an envelope of 12 and 4.3 million dollars for the development of the program over the fiscal years 2020 and 2021, or approximately 10.2 and 3.5 million euros.
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