Army's counter-UAS test last month focused on one-way attack warfare, as seen in Ukraine

By Dan Schere / July 14, 2023 at 11:41 AM

The Army's latest counter-unmanned aerial system demonstration conducted last month focused on one-way attack warfare -- an area in which officials hope to close capability gaps after observing the war in Ukraine.

The Joint counter-UAS Office (JCO), of which the Army is the executive agent, has been coordinating test events with industry and the services for the past two years to evaluate capabilities and inform requirements. The most recent demonstration took place May 30 through June 23 at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ and featured the use of High Power Microwave systems as well as kinetic weapons.

The products of five companies were used in the demonstration: Invariant, SAIC, MSI Defense, Thales and Lockheed Martin, according to the Army.

Officials did not discuss the results of the demonstration during a call with reporters on Thursday but said observations in Ukraine were what informed the focus area for this demonstration.

“Really, that is why we have one-way attack as our focus area,” said Col. Michael Parent, the chief of the JCO’s acquisition and resources division.

“So each demonstration that we have, we look at what are the gaps that are out there. We look at the services to help determine those gaps, the [combatant commands] and also our partners. And we talk to industry every month.”

Other demonstrations the JCO has carried out have focused on areas such as low collateral effects interceptor capabilities, ground-based aerial denial and handheld/dismounted solutions.

Parent said Thursday that the big challenge with improving an HPW system is covering great distances.

“You have to close the distance between the attacking target and also launching that system,” he said.

Parent said it is possible the JCO could procure prototypes and send them off for operational assessment following this demonstration. A report is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month, he added.

“We will provide that report, along with cost and delivery of solutions . . . packaged to our partners within DOD,” Parent said.

Services can then make their own decisions about procurement based on their gaps and needs, Parent said.

“Does it fit their requirement? If it does, they can fund it further and prototype it and actually send it forward into theater,” he said.

A fifth counter-UAS demonstration is planned for June 2024. Parent said Thursday that technical exchanges with industry are planned for this summer, followed by a request for white papers and an eventual down select in October or November.