Drone (Picture: MOD).
Technology

MOD Seeks 'Robust' And 'Cost Effective' Drone Solutions With £2m Competition

The Ministry of Defence says it is looking for "robust" and "cost-effective" next-generation solutions to counter threats posed by drones.

Drone (Picture: MOD).

The MOD is hoping the competition can help keep the UK ahead of the times in regards to anti-drone technology (Picture: MOD).

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has launched a £2m competition for proposals to tackle the future threats of drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

The competition, run by the Defence and Security Acceleratorator (DASA), the MOD's innovation hub, will look for "robust" and "cost-effective" next-generation solutions to counter the threats posed by hostile UAS.

The MOD says it is looking to develop new defensive capabilities using "autonomous decision-making mechanisms", as well as networked sensing systems that can detect, track, identify and defeat drones. 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “As the security threats from hostile drones are evolving at pace, it’s critical that our Armed Forces benefit from the very latest technology to stay ahead.

"This competition will draw on the brightest and best of our defence industry to find innovative solutions that will ensure we are protected in the years to come."

The MOD is looking for "cost-effective" ways to combat hostile UAS (Picture: MOD).
The MOD is looking for "cost-effective" ways to combat hostile UAS (Picture: MOD).

The competition is the latest stage in the Defence Science and Technology Lab's (DSTL) 10-year research programme into Countering UAS.

The DSTL's principal engineer, David Lugton, said: "Through this competition, we are looking to inspire and develop a range of solutions to mitigate the threat posed by UAS now and in the future.

"Among the technologies we’re looking for, we’d be interested in those which can detect and track multiple threats simultaneously, with minimal human oversight, and against a broad spectrum of UAS types.

“We’re also interested in Counter-Unmanned Air Systems which can overcome the challenges posed by line of sight blockages, collateral, and ones which can link systems together to improve understanding of the local “drone air picture."

Military equipment on a roof at Gatwick Airport to counter drones entering the airfield.
Military equipment on a roof at Gatwick Airport last year to counter drones entering the airfield.

In December last year, the military was called in to deal with sightings of drones at Gatwick Airport.

The sightings caused disruption for 36 hours - affecting around 1,000 flights and more than 140,000 passengers.

The incident resulted in Mr Williamson urging airports to buy anti-drone equipment, rather than having to rely on the RAF.