The Department of Homeland Security this summer plans to begin assessing systems that can be used to detect, identify and track small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in urban areas, giving technology developers an opportunity to test their systems in urban applications and allowing the department’s Science and Technology (S&T) branch to evaluate them in an operationally relevant setting.

The testing this summer will give way to further assessments in the fall to quantify the counter-sUAS system performance, again in “urban clutter conditions,” DHS said in a notice in the site last Friday. The first tests this summer will allow system developers to assess their systems and then make changes as needed, DHS says.

SkyTracker sensor data displayed on a monitor. Graphic: CACI International
Companies such as CACI International are developing counter-drone technologies that could be used to protect critical infrastructure and military installations. Pictured here is sensor data from CACI’s SkyTracker counter-UAS system. Graphic: CACI International

The testing will be done by S&T’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aerial Systems, which is guiding the department’s efforts UAS technology solutions. The project is called Technical Assessment of Counter-UAS Technologies in Cities, or TACTIC for short.

The TACTIC program is looking for technology solutions that can detect and identify sUAS that are potential threats to people or critical infrastructure.

DHS said that the information that is collected during TACTIC may be used by the department, its components, and the larger Homeland Security Enterprise. It also said that the data will be used in the development and validation of modeling and simulation, to develop a predictive capability for system performance in various terrains, and for cost-benefit analysis, and for inclusion in an interagency compendium of C-UAS solutions that is updated semi-annually for the National Security Council.

The upcoming testing will also give federal, state and local law enforcement official the opportunity to assess sUAS threats and Counter UAS technologies.