Rheinmetall

With everything going on around the world at present what do you see as the main drone defence requirement?
 
Lessons taken from conflicts in Syria, Yemen or Ukraine indicate that the defence against drones, or what is dubbed Low-Slow and Small (LSS) systems is an urgent matter and that forces or security organizations who lack capabilities are in serious trouble. The two main requirements are on one hand for military ground based air defence organizations to adopt Counter-LSS capabilities and on the other hand for security organizations like Police or Correctional Services to basically enter the world of air defence to be able to perform their tasks of securing events or locations from drone incidents.  The technologies used in both cases are the same and can be derived largely from the field of air defence. For many organizations, including Airports or Airlines the question of a major incident involving drones is not a question of “if” but a question of “when”.         
 
 
With technology now making it possible to build drones for the specific purpose of causing damage, what capabilities do Rheinmetall have to combat this?
 
I can use a quote from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA issued in a recent program solicitation : Most counter-UAS systems under development are focused on today’s threat, which relies on radio frequency (RF)-based remote control or global position system (GPS)-based navigation. However, the next evolution of UAS will not require GPS nor active communications to accomplish their missions. These vehicles will be capable of navigating by visual means or other methods, performing synchronized actions that allow large groups to coordinate an attack against one or more moving targets and be used as intelligence assets or as weapons carrying platforms.

It clearly states that we need to consider two possibilities. First is the use of an unmodified drone which can pose a risk and second there is the case of a purpose built or modified drone which can be envisioned to be used by terrorists who will make sure their mission cannot be jeopardized by drone defence systems relying on RF or GPS detection and intervention.
Rheinmetall focuses its efforts on the demanding threat that is posed by purpose built modified drones.
 
How do you see our grouned based air defence systems developing and what role do you see for Rheinmetall?
 
The issue of drone defence is a special case of ground based air defence. We have been in the drone defence world for more than fifty years based on the fact that we used model aircraft – for cost reasons - to train operators of gun based air defense systems. Countering drones has thus been one of our capabilities for a very long time. Having qualified our systems for the role of countering Rockets, Artillery and Mortars (C-RAM) we have achieved a major step towards being capable of dealing with the LSS target set. We can bring military solutions for this problem to the table right now and we can use our expertise to include new features geared towards new missions and environments where a military grade solution like an air defence gun may not be practical. As the focus now shifts towards the small battlespace of drone defence, the continuous application of new technologies to ruggedize inherent capabilities of our systems will ensure, that we can stay abreast with the rapid development in drone technology. This means for example that we augment the regular search function, which has been based on Radar only,  to include TV/EO, passive emitter locators,  acoustics and visual means. Rheinmetall’s role will be the overall solution provider but subsystems will be third party suppliers as well in case we do not have the technology in-house.     
 
Countering hostile drones is of prime importance - what is Rheinmetall able to offer as a solution to this problem?
 
Due to the fact that there is no “Silver Bullet” that can solve the problem as a single solution, Rheinmetall is currently establishing a toolbox of capabilities to Sense, Decide and Act against drones. This toolbox consists of special technologies that we have in the wider Rheinmetall group as well as specific cooperations with providers of partial capabilities in the Sense and Act domains. The counter drone toolbox will allow us to provide specific solutions for the drone defence issue of the individual customer. We have furthermore used our military systems background to design specific systems like Radshield which is used to detect drones and small throw-overs crossing the wall of a prison. The combination of military grade software with commercial hardware enabled a comprehensive product which could solve a major issue of most correctional institutions. On the other side, we have proven that we have the technology to deal with LSS targets in the military world by demonstrating the effectiveness of the gun solution, using the innovative AHEAD air burst technology or new solutions like High Energy Lasers as ultimate and cost effective effectors. Our toolbox is continually upgraded with new systems and will allow civil security organizations and military customers to choose and tailor solutions in accordance with the precise needs.

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