The Army has awarded Leonardo DRS a contract to fulfill an urgent operational need to protect soldiers from enemy unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The $42 million contract for counter-UAS capability is a follow-on to a previous contract under which DRS and Moog [MOG.A, MOG.B]] built prototypes of a two-vehicle anti-drone defense system. The previous $16 million contract was awarded in July.

Leonardo DRS_CUAS

Leonardo DRS acts as lead systems integrator of the two-vehicle C-UAS capability which includes Moog’s reconfigurable integrated-weapons platform (RIwP) turret, Leonardo’s mast-mounted surveillance and battlefield reconnaissance equipment — “known as SABRE — and other government-provided technologies. 

Vehicle integration will be performed by Leonardo DRS’ business unit, DRS Land Systems, in St. Louis, Miss. Leonardo DRS is a U.S.-based division of Italy’s Leonardo.

When integrated on two Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected all-terrain vehicles, the system will provide troops with a mobile counter-drone capability capable of detecting, identifying, tracking and defeating small unmanned aerial systems.

“Drones are becoming an increasingly dangerous threat against our forward deployed soldiers, and we are proud to support this urgent requirement to protect them from potentially lethal small unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Aaron Hankins, vice president and general manager of DRS Land Systems.  “We are working hard to deliver the best capability to our soldiers as quickly as possible.”

The production contract was awarded as part of the Army’s Mobile Low, Slow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defense System, Increment 1 effort. The program seeks to immediately field counter-UAS capabilities while informing requirements for systems to deal with emerging unmanned technologies.

To counter the anticipated threat from small, inexpensive enemy drones, the Army already is fielding the counter-UAS mobile integrated capability (CMIC). The Stryker-mounted system is a suite of sensors and countermeasures that can detect, identify, track and disrupt or destroy small enemy unmanned aerial systems. CMIC is now deployed to Army units in Europe and soon could include a 10 kilowatt laser 

CMIC has proven effective at defeating small unmanned aircraft in Army exercises and is now being fielded to deployed units that have filed operational needs statements requesting the technology, he said.

The system can identify whether a UAS is friend or foe and then trace its remote signal to the ground-based operator. The Army then can interrupt the signal, knock down or destroy the aircraft and then target the enemy operator with lethal fire.