16 Apr 2019

MOD launches £2m fund to develop counter drone technology

The MOD has launched a fund to find counter drone technology to combat hostile use of drones.

The competition, run by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), the MOD’s innovation hub, will seek robust and cost-effective next-generation counter drone to the risks posed by hostile UAS.

The MOD is looking to develop new defensive capabilities which draw upon autonomous decision-making mechanisms and networked sensing systems capable of detecting, tracking, identifying and defeating hostile UAS over complex and varied environments.

The competition is the latest stage in Defence Science and Technology Lab’s (Dstl) ongoing research programme into Countering UAS which has been running for ten years.

This programme has included the extensive research, testing and evaluation of the counter-UAS technology currently employed by the MOD, including the landmark series of ‘Bristow’ trials with industry in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

The call is focused on tackling the challenges of current and future UAS capabilities, in particular:

  • Next-generation Counter-UAS technology – new technological solutions to provide robust and cost-effective sensing and defeat options.
  • Flexible Counter-UAS technology – programmes capable of bringing counter-UAS technologies together and linking with other surveillance systems and cooperative drone awareness systems.
  • Countering Future UAS Systems – developing capability to detect and mitigate threats from UAS acting autonomously, in swarms and in highly congested airspace.

Phase 1, which will deliver proof of concept of the proposals, will be worth approximately £800k and is scheduled to take place from July 2019 to March 2020. The total funding for the competition is expected to be at least £2m, split over multiple phases.

The full competition document can be found here.

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