WASHINGTON — After successful tests, the Pentagon’s emerging technology research arm finished work on an anti-drone system that can shoot strings of streamers into the propellers of threatening drones, causing them to fall from the sky.
The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency is looking to transfer the technology to a program of record through various service acquisitions programs, the office announced June 7.
The Mobile Force Protection program is designed to defeat drone intrusions over military installations and convoys using small unmanned aircraft. Using an X band radar, MFP automatically detects and identifies potential threats, then selects the appropriate interceptor to respond with. The system has a few different small drones it can send out, including rotary and fixed-wing interceptors. The primary interceptor tool is the one that shoots the streamers to gum up the works of other drones.
The entire process is designed to work without operator intervention.
“Because we were focusing on protecting mobile assets, the program emphasized solutions with a small footprint in terms of size, weight, and power,” said MFP program manager Gregory Avicola of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “This also allows for more affordable systems and less operators.”
Dynetics was the primary systems integrator for MFP.
DARPA received $12 million in fiscal 2020 and $4.3 million in fiscal 2021 for the program. The agency is not seeking more funding in FY22, signaling the end of the development project.
The program, which launched four years ago, successfully demonstrated its ability to intercept a drone during recent tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Watch MFP in action below:
Nathan Strout is the staff editor at C4ISRNET. He covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems.