Leonardo DRS has been contracted to develop a counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capability to protect US Army soldiers from enemy drones.

Under the $16m contract, Leonardo will collaborate with precision control system manufacturer Moog and other industry partners to develop this capability.

The C-UAS capability will be developed by integrating Moog’s reconfigurable integrated-weapons platform (RIwP) turret and Leonardo DRS’ mast-mounted surveillance and battlefield reconnaissance equipment (SABRE).

The RIwP turret provides commanders with more than 125 configurations, including missiles, direct-fire weapons, non-lethal deterrents, and an advanced sensor package.

The SABRE is said to improve full-spectrum reconnaissance and precision-fire targeting capabilities.

"This effort is a great example of industry collaborating with the army to quickly provide soldiers with a crucial capability."

The systems will be fully integrated on two MRAP All-Terrain Vehicles to provide a mobile C-UAS designed to detect, identify, track and defeat unmanned aerial threats.

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Work under the contract will be performed by Leonardo DRS’ business unit, DRS Land Systems, in St. Louis, Missouri, US.

DRS Land Systems vice-president and general manager Aaron Hankins said: “We are proud to support the army’s urgent requirement to protect soldiers from the growing threats by small unmanned aircraft.

“This effort is a great example of industry collaborating with the army to quickly provide soldiers with a crucial capability, and we are grateful for the opportunity to lead the effort.”

The contract forms a part of the army’s Mobile Low, Slow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defense System, Increment 1 effort.

It also supports near-term testing, which will enable the US Government to make decisions on the deployment of numerous production systems in early summer 2018, according to the statement.