Deputy Director of the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) Stan Darbro visited YPG Jan. 28 to meet with Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) and Yuma Test Center (YTC) leadership.
YPG Commander Col. Patrick McFall, Command Sgt. Maj Herbert Gill, Technical Director Larry Bracamonte, Air Combat Systems Director Jeff Rogers and Aviation Systems and Electronic Test Division Ross Gwynn welcomed Darbro and discussed a proposed partnership between RCCTO, the Joint C-sUAS Office (JCO) and YPG. Darbro’s main goal was “communication.”
RCCTO is tasked with rapidly prototyping technology that lines up with the Army’s modernization priorities: the Secretary of the Army chairs the board of directors. The JCO and RCCTO team selected YTC as the location for two counter-small unmanned aircraft system (C-sUAS) demonstrations in 2021, in addition to other C-sUAS test events throughout the year. C-sUAS capabilities have become an urgent operational need for Combatant Command leadership as a result of real world threats and operations.
YPG’s task is to execute the demonstration with short notice and manage the requirements while also sharing the range space with other high-profile tests.
“My intent is to come out here and say, ‘We are doing an event in April, where do you need help? What are the challenges that RCCTO can help with as a team member to solve those challenges so we can stay on schedule?’” explains Darbro.
RCCTO and YPG have worked together in the past on previous programs such as the M777 Extended Range program for the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy earlier this year. The difference now is RCCTO intends to be hyper-focused on supporting JCO in C-sUAS capability advancement, resulting in two C-sUAS demonstrations yearly starting in 2021. “This is going to be predictable, revolving, two times a year,” explains Darbro.
Following the discussion with the YPG/YTC team Darbro was confident about the partnership. “We all understand the urgency….I think the Yuma part of our team knows exactly what they have go do.”
McFall echoed the sentiment, “The YPG family is excited about the RCCTO/YPG partnership. We fully understand the urgency to support RCCTO and the Army with modernizing our military and ensuring the Warfighter has the right equipment to win our nation’s wars and conflicts.”
The partnership will bring the vast majority of C-sUAS developmental testing to YPG and opens the door for other projects.
“I think there is a lot of things the range can assist in the maturation process, and not just counter-small UAS but some of our other technologies as well. Going forward I am really excited about seeing Yuma be the premier place for the counter small-UAS to go to,” said Darbro.
Because of the urgency and importance of the work this type of commitment requires a strong partnership.
“I think we ought to be a team -- RCCTO, Yuma and the JCO,” Darbro said, adding, “We should get to a point where we are just seamless. Where if we have to do a demo and it’s on autopilot. People understand what has to be done and we start forecasting earlier what we need to do to make it successful.”
Rogers adds, “YPG having a strong partnership with RCCTO and JCO is critical in developing a much needed capability for U.S. Forces. YPG has the perfect range and technical expertise within the workforce to meet these challenges. A direct and open line of communication with RCCTO and JCO will prove to be instrumental in the success of advancing the C-sUAS capability for the Warfighter.”