FORT SILL, Okla., -- The AUDS (anti-unmanned aerial vehicle defense system) has returned to Fort Sill to show off its ability to combine non-lethal defense with lethal. In April of 2017, the AUDS attended the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment at Fort Sill with the capability to work against unamend aerial vehicles (UAV) or drone by detecting, tracking, identifying and defeating them. Now in December, AUDS has improved the ability to disrupt threats.
"Once we find the UAS (…) we look at them with the camera, then it's like pulling a trigger on a gun (and disabling a target only were not using bullets)," said Col. (retired) Robert Menti, the senior manager for business development for Orbital ATK armament services division.
A bullet remains the same size when it exits the chamber as it does when it hits a target (generically speaking), however with this technology it can cover a broader area as it gets further away from the source, this gives the user the ability to not have to be as accurate with the target because they are not required to hit a small target.
To differentiate themselves from the C-UAS pack, Orbital ATK (who helped develop AUDS) chose to focus their efforts on adding a kinetic element.
"Now we have taken all the non-lethal pieces and linked it with (a weapon already in use)," Menti.
According the Menti, the M914 gun is under evaluation by the Army for several future platforms. The combined weapon can work together -- or -- the weapons can work independently. It maintains its own sighting system and can scan for targets while the AUDS is searching in another area. The goal is to be able to "sniff out" the controller and neutralizes the UAV.
"When we link these two together you have a full-spectrum lethal, non-lethal, networked system and it is a big improvement from last spring," said Menti. "Now we're taking it to the next step and putting together the two things because as the UAS threat gets more and more evolved really the only way you're going to defeat it, and to become more autonomous and more capable, is with a gun or missile. Electronic warefare eventually is not going to work anymore because there's nothing to jam, they're going to be autonomous. (…) There's no way to jam it because there's no link to the home station no guy back there controlling it because they're going to be automatically on waypoint navigation or cellular control."
Waypoint navigation can allow the UAV to stick to a preplanned course, not requiring an operator while cellular control allows the controller to use their cellphone to operate a UAV.
AUDS is designed for class 1 and class 2 UAV (very small, low and slow UAV) but they hope to be able to target even class 3 UAV fast movers at an extended range. Then as the threats get closer, the user has the ability to hand off defense operations to the gun or the electronic warfare capability -- all in one platform, said Menti.
"What we want to get to eventually is a panacea is multi-functional electronic warfare and that incorporates three different kind of electronic attack and electronic protection, counter IED, counter UAS, as well as command and control jammer for networks and threat voice communications," said Menti. "You can have three of those electronic warfare capabilities integrated on one platform so the commander can utilize, instead of having to coordinate three different capabilities everything is in one place. We link that to the gun -- delivering overmatch against threats."
The AUDS parts are all modular, meaning that pieces of it can be tailored to be used on different types of platforms depending on the need.
"Parts of it could go into the MSHORAD (mobile short-range air defence) program of record or parts of it could be taken other directions," said Menti. "It all depends on how the Army wants to do that. Really we're showing this off to all the services and other US government agencies. It's sitting on a STRYKER right now but we can take this kit and put it on many other types of vehicles and fixed-site applications."