Air Operations Center
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Several U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center technologies were in play during the Department of Defense's largest live-fly, live-fire counter-unmanned aerial system technology demonstration Sept. 11-23 here.

Black Dart 2016's mission was to assess the DOD, interagency and industry's counter-UAS capabilities, according to Navy Cmdr. Ryan B. Leary, Black Dart project officer.

Black Dart is designed to be a venue where participants from industry and government can bring systems of various levels of technical maturity, Leary said. It provides an environment where military services, combatant commanders, other U.S. government agencies and industry partners can share awareness of the latest developments in C-UAS capabilities. The intent is to foster an atmosphere of experimentation and innovation, where many potential solutions, or pieces of solutions can be shared and combined, Leary said.

The exercise tested capabilities including surveil, detect, identify and track, and the C-UAS platform's abilities to attach, shoot and defend.

AMRDEC's mission set enables the organization to work across the center in C-UAS science and technology initiatives, many of which were demonstrated at the exercise.

One of the key technologies in the demonstration, the Joint Forcible Entry C-UAS Kit, is an integrated system which incorporates the AMRDEC-developed Maneuver Aviation Fires Integrated Application, known as MAFIA -- PFED Incr II, common tactical air picture.

"JFECK employs system-of-systems approach, integrating a suite of sensors capable of performing all facets of the Detect-Identify-Defeat functions for CUAS," said Michael Murray, Battle Operations Software Suite team program lead at AMRDEC'S Weapons Integration Directorate. "JFECK re-missions existing Army programs of record systems at the lowest tactical level, including the Maneuver Aviation Fires Integrated Application for Command and Control of all systems to include a common tactical air picture, the Army Global Engine 3D mapping software, a mobile Doppler radar with air surveillance capabilities, an EO/IR sensor camera for targeting and full motion video, and Electronic Attack capabilities," he said.

Also at the demonstration, the Joint Multi-Platform Advanced Combat incorporates multiple technologies, including acoustic, image processing and radar sensors primarily developed at AMRDEC.

JMAC is critical enabling technology for beyond-visual-range engagements in a crowded battlespace, permitting maximum range with minimum fratricide. The JMAC capability is a cooperative development between AMRDEC, the Air Force Research Labs, the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization and industry.

"AMRDEC has been a dedicated participant at Black Dart for many years. They are key contributors of our objectives to create a venue for collaboration and innovation," Leary said. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with AMRDEC to provide C-UAS technical solutions and operational tactics to our Warfighters."

"JMAC is changing the dynamic of how combat ID works to give the warfighter correct identification for air defense protecting Americans from terrorist and other national security risks. JMAC works with any sensor that allows it to be very versatile. While the current JCTD for JMAC is a large scale air defense JMAC can easily scaled down as it is dependent on the type sensors used for the mission set. The allows JMAC in the future to use with mobile platforms such as MAFIA to give small scale situational awareness for counter UAS and threat identification using the Fires set of sensors such as the Q-50 radar. This would allow the warfighter to be able to identify the threat and call for fires allowing rapid call for kill chain. JMAC also is Joint program collaborating with the Air Force Research Labs, First Air Force, CERDEC, and JIAMDO which is just a small sample of all the partners," said Elizabeth Bullock, electronic engineer, RDMR-WDG-R.

"Black Dart was an unparalleled opportunity to test out our year-long efforts against otherwise unavailable targets," said Aaron Ryan, electronics engineer with WDI-Infrared and Optical Technologies. "It's definitely an exciting and humbling experience to see our efforts realized while getting the real-time feedback from potential customers. The competing technologies brought forth from other participants drive the competitive nature in all of us and give us motivation to improve and return next year for more."


The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.