The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking research proposals on novel technologies that provide protection against low-flying unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in cities.
As part of its Aerial Dragnet programme, DARPA is looking for technologies to monitor drones flying below 1,000ft in order to protect military troops in large cities.
The potential technologies can also be used to help protect US metropolitan areas from UAS-enabled terrorist threats.
DARPA programme manager Jeff Krolik said: “Commercial websites currently exist that display in real time the tracks of relatively high and fast aircraft—from small general aviation planes to large airliners—all overlaid on geographical maps as they fly around the country and the world.
“We want a similar capability for identifying and tracking slower, low-flying unmanned aerial systems, particularly in urban environments.”
The Aerial Dragnet system will provide a continually updated common operational picture (COP) of the airspace at altitudes below where current aircraft surveillance systems can monitor, and which is disseminated electronically to authorised users via secure data links.
The programme aims to combine low-cost sensor hardware with the software-defined signal processing hosted on existing UAS platforms.
Image: An artist’s concept shows elements of a notional Aerial Dragnet system. Photo: courtesy of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.