Unmanned combat air vehicles primary driver for global C-UAS development: Poll

17 March 2021 (Last Updated March 17th, 2021 15:18)

The proliferation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has led to a demand surge for counter-UAS (C-UAS) technologies. The demand is expected to rise further as global security forces focus on countering the increasing threat of hostile UAS and advancements in drone technologies.

The proliferation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has led to a demand surge for counter-UAS (C-UAS) technologies. The demand is expected to rise further as global security forces focus on countering the increasing threat of hostile UAS and advancements in drone technologies.

Verdict has conducted a poll to understand which aircraft category is considered the primary driver for the development of C-UAS.

An analysis of the poll results revealed that unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) is the most significant driver of C-UAS development, as voted by a majority 40% of the respondents.

A lesser 25% of the respondents opined that medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV is the primary driver, while high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) is considered the primary driver by 14% of the respondents.

Primary driver for global C-UAS development

Another 14% of the respondents were of the view that mini unmanned aerial system (MUAS) is driving the development of C-UAS platforms, while the remaining 8% voted for other UAS categories.

The analysis is based on 395 responses received from the readers of Verdict’s defence sites, Army Technology, Airforce Technology, and Naval Technology, for a poll conducted between 11 February and 01 March 2021.

Development of C-UAS

The growing threat posed by unmanned drones to civilian and military infrastructure and critical assets presents a huge challenge for governments and militaries. The rapid rise of commercial technologies including autonomous operations combined with future concepts such as swarming and multi-modal operations requires the development of effective and advanced C-UAS systems.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has earmarked $404m in investments on C-UAS research and development and at least $83m towards the procurement of C-UAS systems in 2021. The US Air Force received the prototype of a vehicle-mounted C-UAS solution in October 2019 known as High-Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS), which can identify and neutralise hostile drones within seconds.

The US Army as well as the US Navy are working on the development of computer-enabled C-UAS products in collaboration with the Defense Digital Service. The US Navy has two C-UAS products in the pipeline for deployment in 2021, including the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN), and High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS). The Navy took the delivery of HELIOS from Lockheed Martin for testing in January 2021.

The European Defence Agency has also recommended the development of a European C-UAS capability to ensure better force protection, as part of its annual defence review in November 2020.