Antidrone weapons 50mm cannon, high energy lasers and radio frequency interference

Army engineers, who are seeking to adapt ongoing research to counter aerial systems that could threaten Soldiers, successfully shot down two aircraft as part of their final technology demonstration.

Although the research project began with the objective to counter rockets, artillery and mortars, the project scope was expanded to include threats from unmanned aerial threats, sometime called drones, whose use has expanded rapidly.

Although a missile-based C-RAM defense system has been selected as the technical approach for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 Intercept Program of Record, the gun alternative continued to mature as force-protection technologies for other potential applications.

During the final testing Aug. 19 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, engineers shot down two Class 2 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) using command guidance and command warhead detonation. The UAS was an Outlaw class aircraft, a product of Griffon Aerospace, and the intercept engagements occurred at over a kilometer range and about 1500 meters.

The first shoot-down at the kilometer range was a replication of the test performed April 22, in which the EAPS technology first successfully intercepted a loitering UAS. Some fire-control improvements were made after the April 22 tests, and were validated during the August 19 testing.

The second shoot down was executed at a 50 percent greater range and exceeded the EAPS demonstration objectives.

The Picatinny area-protection systems tracks both the incoming threat and interceptor, then computes an ideal trajectory correction for the interceptor to maximize probability of mission success. A thruster on the interceptor/projectile is used for course correction. The ground station uplinks the maneuver and detonation commands, while receiving downlinked assessment data.

The interceptor takes the commands and computes the roll orientation and time to execute thruster and warhead detonation. The warhead has a tantalum-tungsten alloy liner to form forward propelled penetrators for defeat of C-RAM targets, and steel body fragments to counter unmanned aerial systems. C-RAM stands for counter rockets, artillery and mortars.

Lasers in the 150kw to 300 kw power ranges appear likely to have managable power levels and useful lethality. Based on the military missions, lasers with 300 kw would be able to take out drones at ranges of at least tens of miles.

RF Jamming to freeze a drone and make it an easy target

The latest RF drone jamming system uses a quad-band radio frequency (RF) inhibitor/jammer that can disrupt all commercial drone licensed telemetry bands, and is effective against micro UAVs at up to 2 km (1.2 mi) and mini UAVs at longer ranges. Radio beams to freeze drones in midair by interfering with their control channels.

The AUDS made its public debut in May and has undergone testing in Europe and North America in different terrains ranging from open country to urban settings. A production version was showcased at the DSEI Show in London last month and is available from Blighter or Lighteye Systems in the US for £800,000 (US$1.2 million).

A400 Series Air Security Radar
Detection range: 8 km
Minimum target size (RCS): 0.01 m2
Frequency band: Ku-band
Radar type: E-scan Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) Doppler Surveillance Radar
Transmitter power (nominal): 4 Watt
Azimuth coverage: 180° (standard) or 90° (optional)
Elevation coverage: 10° (M10S antennas) or 20° (W20S antennas)
Elevation adjustment: +/-40° using optional Blighter Radar Tilting System (BRTS)

SOURCES – Blighter,, Lockheed,