DARPA MFP drone-defense program seeks to protect moving convoys from swarms of attacking small UAVs

U.S. military researchers are asking for industry’s help in developing an agile and mobile drone-defense system that can defeat a raid of self-guided, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are attacking important targets like high-value moving convoys.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., released an industry solicitation last week (DARPA-PS-17-01) for the Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program.

The potential $63 million project seeks ways to defend against not only today’s radio-controlled and GPS-guided weaponized UAVs, but also against future UAVs that navigate by visual means in large groups to gather intelligence and coordinate attacks against one or more high-value moving targets.

Of particular interest is the ability to counter relatively small fixed-wing or helicopter UAVs that weigh less than 200 pounds apiece, DARPA officials say. An MFP system must be able to integrate new approaches and technologies quickly, and work on ground vehicles, surface vessels, and aircraft.

The program’s first phase will develop enabling technologies. (…)

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