Air Force tests new anti-drone technology with MEDUSA network

By Sara Sirota / September 23, 2020 at 11:59 AM

The Air Force has tested the ability of new sensor and missile technology to thwart a fleet of small unmanned aerial systems while integrated with an emerging command-and-control network at the large-scale Apollyon exercise last month, the service revealed today.

The 96th Test Wing evaluated over 20 anti-drone systems -- including a successful live fire of an air defense missile -- during the event, which was held at Eglin Air Force Base, FL between Aug. 10 and Aug. 24, according to a notice published on the service's website.

These weapons were integrated with the Air Force's Multi-Environmental Domain Unmanned Systems Application -- a new network designed to perform counter-UAS C2 operations. The Army -- which is overseeing the Pentagon's efforts to come up with technology that can defeat drones -- intends to include MEDUSA among its capability choices once the network is interoperable with the Forward Area Air Defense C2 system.

The MEDUSA demonstration at the Apollyon exercise also served as a proof-of-concept for the Air Force's joint all-domain C2 ambitions.

"I believe this was just a sampler of what's coming for the test community once we start integration into a JADC2 environment," Capt. Joseph Haggberg, flight commander of the Apollyon planning team, said in the service's notice. "It was fantastic seeing nearly every sensor connected to any shooter through a common interface and C2 network which created multiple layers and options for sensing and protection."

The Air Force also developed anti-drone concepts of operations, tactics, techniques and procedures during the exercise. The Apollyon teams directed 431 UAS sorties and made 240 kinetic and non-kinetic defeats in total.