£2m contracts to counter hostile drone threats

The Defence and Security Accelerator has announced it has awarded nearly £2 million to develop new capabilities to detect, disrupt, and defeat the hostile and malicious use of drones.

In total, 18 bids have been funded as part of the Countering Drones competition launched earlier this year by the former Defence Secretary. Among the proposal being developed are methods for detecting 4G and 5G controlled drones, cutting edge applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence for sensors to automatically identify UAVs, and low risk methods of stopping drones through novel electronic defeat or interceptor solutions.

The competition has also been supported by the Department for Transport and NATO to counter the rapidly evolving threats from UAS. The high level of interest from industry has led to a doubling of initial funding from around £1 million to around £2 million being awarded to organisations in Phase 1.

David Lugton, competition technical lead, said: “The introduction of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones, has been one of the most significant technological advances of recent years and represents a shift in capability of potential adversaries.

“The threat from UAS has evolved rapidly and we are seeing the use of hostile improvised UAS threats in overseas theatres of operation. There is a similar problem in the UK with the malicious or accidental use of drones becoming a security challenge at events, affecting critical infrastructure and public establishments; including prisons and major UK airports.”


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