SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, SC — On July 18, 2023, Task Force 39 of U.S. Army Central, a team committed to cultivating inventive concepts across USARCENT, organized a CARPE Dronvm test at McEntire Joint National Guard Base and Poinsett Range.

CARPE Dronvm, a Department of Defense-funded application created by MITRE Corporation, utilizes crowd-sourced data to detect unmanned aerial systems (UAS). During this particular test, a version of the application was deployed on cell phones to detect UAS. Maj. Travis Valley, the operations officer of Task Force 39, highlighted that leveraging crowd-sourced UAS detection has the potential to significantly enhance force protection capabilities.

Soldier using a smartphone to test a drone detection application
Sgt. Mickey Reeve, Ops NCO for USARCENT’s Task Force 39, demonstrates how to launch a drone at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., on July 17, 2023. The drone was used to support the CARPE Dronvm testing on 18 July, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Leo Jenkins) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Leo Jenkins)


“The CARPE Dronvm experiment, or proof of principle, was a huge success for ARCENT,” said Valley. “This was the largest experiment ARCENT has conducted to date. We expanded the experiment footprint, covering 50 kilometers, with multiple individuals in the area using the CARPE Dronvm app. This was all to prove the CARPE Dronvm app works. It did, in fact, it exceeded my expectations on the simplicity of use and the program’s drone detection ability. This has the potential as a Force Protection multiplier, adding another tool to help protect Soldiers in a deployed environment.”

In the course of the test, Soldiers utilized government-provided cellular devices to evaluate the functionality and effectiveness of the application by capturing images of a UAS. The UAS selected for this test journeyed from McEntire Joint National Guard Base (JNGB) to Poinsett Range, ensuring the utilization of the maximum available testing area.

CARPE Dronvm stems from a U.S. Air Forces Central initiative aimed at developing systems to detect unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Currently, U.S. Army Central is conducting tests to assess the feasibility of deploying this application at the Soldier level.

“Countering the drone threat in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is essential to keeping our personnel, aircraft, and equipment safe,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Norris, AFCENT counter-UAS cell chief. “Our MITRE partners have been helping make CARPE Dronvm a reality since 2019. Every single warfighter can help sense and warn, creating a comprehensive layered defense that will tie into our existing command and control architecture and increase awareness of threats in the region.”

Over the past few years, the threat posed by unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has escalated, with malign regional actors exploiting and experimenting with this cost-effective weapons system. The accessibility of UAS technology has made it the preferred choice for potential adversaries, leading to a rapid proliferation of this technology and its heightened utilization. In response, Lt. Gen. Patrick Frank, the USARCENT Commanding General, has emphasized his command’s dedication to developing advanced technologies to effectively counter this evolving threat.

“The UAS threat is a shared security challenge for the U.S. and our regional partners,” said Frank. “To combat this threat, CENTCOM and USARCENT will test and field counter-UAS systems. The advanced measures we intend to pursue regarding innovation and experimentation will provide critical, real-time data to inform Army and Defense decisions on counter-UAS technologies.”

United States Army Central is the U.S. Army Service Component Command for United States Central Command and is responsible to the Secretary of the Army for the support and administration of more than 12,000 Soldiers, including those assigned to joint task forces and embassies, across the 21 countries in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility.

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Post Image- U.S. Army Central conducted a test of the CARPE Dronvm application at McEntire Joint National Guard Base and Poinsett Range July, 18 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Behlin) (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Michael Behlin)