The Defense Department’s Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS) Office (JCO) has released a white paper solicitation detailing technology areas they will be demonstrating at its second semi-annual demonstration at Yuma Proving Grounds in September.
The September event will have two focus areas which is an expansion from the more focused demonstrations in April, according to Col. Greg Soulé, director of acquisition and resources at the JCO, who spoke at an industry day presentation on May 12 concerning the solicitation.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity on a recurring basis and intend to provide these on a semiannual basis, each with its own focus area,” Soulé said. “In April we ran our first one. It was in coordination with the Air Force as service lead, and the focus area was low collateral effects interceptors. The next event in September is focused on low-cost ground-based aerial denial and handheld or dismounted solutions. A service will be designated service lead and determine the path forward toward the best solution is said to make available for procurement across all services.”
The low-cost ground-based aerial denial solutions need to be ground-launched with no in-flight terminal guidance, Charles Logan, technology planning lead for the JCO, said during the presentation. These solutions can not include cyber or electronic attacks through radio frequency waves and must cost less than $15,000 per UAS engaged.
The system selected will also have to be integrated with the JCO’s command and control (C2) system for the demonstration in Yuma, Ariz. The JCO confirmed that Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) system, which was previously selected as the basis for this effort, will be an integration requirement for these systems. FAAD C2 is supplied by Northrop Grumman [NOC].
The handheld C-sUAS solutions will be capabilities that are held or attached to a weapon or service member while conducting operations. According to Logan, the JCO is looking for systems that weigh less than 24-pounds and cost under $37,000.
All systems selected by the JCO will have to meet the Joint Requirements Oversight Council Memorandum (JROC-M) which provides strategic direction for C-sUAS capability development in the Department of Defense, Army Lt. Col. Dave Morgan, who works with requirements capabilities at the JCO, said. The JROC-M is classified so industry partners can only receive it through acquisition channels.
The JCO has released outlines of specific requirements which it separates into six categories: command and control, detect, track, identify, defeat, and exploit.
“Command and control or C2 really serves as the enabling capability for our efforts and was the critical portion of the base document where we built in a requirement for a modular open system architecture to enable integration and interoperability of feature material solutions by requiring data conformity through shared interoperability standards,” Morgan said. “We expect that our interoperable C2 path will enable the componentization of detect, track, ID, defeat and exploit capabilities by enabling plug and play components to establish a tailorable defense design, and to rapidly integrate new technologies.”
The JCO effort focuses on UAS in groups 1, 2, and 3 which include UAS with a maximum weight of 1,320-pounds, operating altitude of less than 18,000 mean sea level (MSL), and speeds less than 250 knots, according to the Department of Defense C-sUAS strategy document.
“Early on it was quickly identified that focusing on the low slow and small UAS would be a potential issue,” Morgan said. “So, we made a conscious decision to include group three to ensure we did not inadvertently create a scene within our formation. In essence, we wanted to make sure that there was no daylight between the beginning of the short-range air defense capabilities and the end of the counter-small UAS capabilities.”
The JCO will select up to 10 systems from each of the two technology areas for phase one presentations which will take place between June 14 and 18, Logan said. Then the JCO will narrow the group down to 10 systems total to be selected for demonstrations at Yuma in September which will last two weeks.