many drones in the sky (Andy Dean Photography/

Defending against drone swarms

The Defense Department is on the lookout for a system to counter attacks on military bases and installations from swarms of drones. A March 1 solicitation from the Defense Innovation Unit outlines the need for a solution that can comport with requirements of U.S. law to protect homeland bases, but can also function abroad in a variety of environments.

The innovation shop wants solutions that are viable against a swarm of six or more drones that function independently or maneuver as a group. Vendors should also specify whether systems can work at night, neutralize fixed-wing or rotary-wing adversaries, respond autonomously when triggered by an input via satellite or other source and operate at ranges greater than 300 meters.

Specifically, DIU is looking for a system to aid in detection -- using radar, optical or acoustic signals -- and identification and mitigation. On the identification front, DIU wants a system whose library of unmanned aerial systems will keep pace with what's available. On mitigation, DIU expects to be able to intercept and disable or destroy threatening drones with directed energy such as a microwave beam or use a spectrum-based solution to jam and disrupt potential threats. In any case, DIU states a preference for "low collateral-damage effectuators" and "systems that support forensics and law enforcement."

This DIU solicitation is a little different from others. Vendors selected via written proposals will be invited to participate in a week-long test against targets on a DOD site. Responses are due to DIU by March 11.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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