08 Nov 2019

DASA awards contracts to defend against hostile drone attacks

DASA has awarded £2million contracts to eighteen bids aiming to disrupt hostile drone attacks as part of a competition.

The Countering Drones competition was launched earlier this year and will fund ways of disrupting, defeating, and detecting hostile drone activity. The competition is run by DASA on behalf of Dstl and has received support from NATO and the Department of Transport.

The funded proposals include 4G and 5G controlled drones, low-risk methods of stopping drones through interceptor signals, and AI sensors to identify UAVs. The competition forms part of ongoing Dstl research into defending against drones.

Competition Technical Lead David Lugton said: “The introduction of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones, has been one of the most significant technological advances of recent years and represents a shift in capability of potential adversaries.”

“The threat from UAS has evolved rapidly and we are seeing the use of hostile improvised UAS threats in overseas theatres of operation. There is a similar problem in the UK with the malicious or accidental use of drones becoming a security challenge at events, affecting critical infrastructure and public establishments; including prisons and major UK airports.”

There was a very high level of interest from industry with over 90 bids from a wide range of organisations from micro businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, large defence firms and academia. This led to a doubling of initial funding from around £1m to around £2m being awarded to organisations in Phase 1.

Phase 1 is expected to run until Summer of next year. A collaboration day for the competition will be held in London on 28 November by Dstl and DASA.

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