The US Army has awarded a $108m contract to US defence solutions firm SRC for the delivery of its anti-drone technology, known as the Silent Archer counter-UAS system.
SRC announced that the contract was for “mobile systems that counter small, slow and low-flying drones”, which are becoming a greater threat to US Armed Forces deployed globally.
According to the Pentagon, SRC was the sole bidder for the contract to provide additional systems, such as radar and other electronic sensors to identify, track and defeat small enemy drones.
The US Army has noted the growing threat of smaller drones – including commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products – for the past few years, saying that they are much harder to detect and can evade radar systems.
An unclassified US Army report released in 2016 stated: “As unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have become smaller, slower and operate at lower altitudes, they have become more challenging to detect, identify, and defeat. Technological advances have exacerbated these challenges. These systems can be either proprietary, state sponsored or COTS. Typical roles for these UAS are limited-scale reconnaissance and surveillance.”
“However, miniaturisation of components will make these UAS more capable in the future. This, coupled with their small size, low cost, and widespread availability will drastically increase their use worldwide.”
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The report noted that more than 600 variants of UAS have been used in more than 80 nations, and have been used in a military capacity by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The US Army previously ordered 15 sets of the anti-drone technology from SRC in 2017, as part of a $65m contract. The US Air Force then also chose SRC’s counter-drone systems under a $57m contract.
Upon signing the 2017 contract with the army, SRC president and CEO Paul Tremont said: “We are proud to partner with the army to provide critical technology that will defend against evolving threats like small drones.
“This contract is a great example of the innovative solutions that our employees create.”
SRC has been developing its drone technology since 2006, and in 2017, worked to develop a commercial system that allows drones to fly safely within civilian airspaces.