Northrop Grumman Corporation recently took part in the annual U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Black Dart exercise for countering unmanned aerial systems (UASs). Managed by the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization, Black Dart is the DOD’s largest live-fly, live-fire joint counter-UAS technology demonstration.
“The proliferation of UAS threats is a growing concern,” said Chuck Johnson, director, integrated fires, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “In the highly complex threat scenarios we are seeing, the users need innovative and agile capabilities such as beyond-line-of-sight detection and nonkinetic negation that can be rapidly integrated with fielded systems.”
Northrop Grumman’s Mobile Application for UAS Identification (MAUI) is a mobile acoustic sensor that operates on Android cell phones and uses the phone’s microphone to detect Group 1 drones, defined as UASs weighing less than 20 pounds, flying lower than 1,200 feet and flying slower than 100 knots. The MAUI software-based approach leverages commercial off-the-shelf mobile devices to provide beyond-line-of-sight detection and identification of UAS threats in high noise environments.
The company’s Drone Restricted Access Using Known EW (DRAKE) is a radio-frequency negation system that delivers a nonkinetic, selective electronic attack of Group 1 drones. DRAKE demonstrates the feasibility of repurposing mature counter-improvised explosive device technology for interoperable, counter-UAS missions while protecting friendly force communications.
The 2016 Black Dart demonstration was expanded to Eglin Air Force Base for more space and to include littoral and maritime environments. The exercise brings together 25 government entities, 1,200 people and more than 20 variants of UASs for testing technologies to detect, identify, track and defeat UAS threats.
Watch a video of Northrop Grumman’s DRAKE being demonstrated: