11 May EOS achieves Directed Energy drone defence milestone
EOS’ Directed Energy (DE) system, uses a powerful laser as the directed energy source and has now successfully disabled Group 1 drones at an effective rate of 20 drones/minute at ranges beyond 1,000 metres, establishing a new benchmark for neutralising swarm drone attacks. This level of performance, for the first time, meets all current customer requirements for defence against emerging threats from swarms of lightweight drones.
The DE system has been developed as a key element of the EOS Titanis drone defence system, specifically to disable drones in Group 1, 2 and 3 and to neutralise sensors on all drones at very long range. Safety protocols at the testing facility and its associated airspace limited this qualification to Group 1 drones. Testing will be extended to Group 2 and 3 drones at a different location in Q3 2022.
To engage Group 1 and 2 UAS up till now Titanis has used kinetic weapons, such as guns and cannon, leveraging the performance of EOS weapon systems for the extreme accuracy and responsiveness required to engage airborne manoeuvring targets.
Titanis performance has been honed over four years of regular testing with real drones and live ammunition so it can reliably disable a wide range of small drones using kinetic weapons.
However kinetic defence against drones has limitations including:
- Use of kinetics is constrained by collateral damage considerations associated with rounds which can fly beyond the target;
- Kinetic weapons can each neutralise 5-6 drones per minute, but drone swarm numbers can reach 20 drones per minute;
- Kinetic weapons are not effective against drones attacking or operating directly overhead; and
- Kinetic weapons, unless specifically designed for Counter UAS (CUAS) roles, cannot neutralise Group 3 drones, which cannot be cost-effectively engaged with current surface-to-air missiles (SAM).
In the recent test and qualification program, an operational DE system was transported to a remote site using a normal military transport process and was fully operational on site within the specified time of four hours.
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