Unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) are being employed by combatant forces in conflict zones such as Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, and Nagorno-Karabakh. The influence of drone utilization has been pivotal in these conflicts, notably demonstrated by the Azerbaijani forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Looking ahead, it’s evident that drones possess the potential to serve as an asymmetrical tool in warfare for adversarial nations, terrorist organizations, and criminal entities. Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) actively seeks strategies and approaches to counteract this emerging threat.

Inside the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), advancements in capabilities aimed at countering sUAS threats to stationary targets are already in motion. Yet, the prevailing focus is not concentrated on safeguarding assets in transit. AFGSC, in particular, aims to foster the creation of pioneering capabilities tailored explicitly to protecting a convoy of vehicles that spans several miles and travels at speeds ranging from 5 to 70 miles per hour.

STRIKEWERX has extended an invitation to individuals or teams from various domains, including industry, academia, investment, and government, possessing proficiency in the realms of DETERRENCE, DETECTION, DELAY, DENIAL, and DEFEAT of adversaries employing sUAS against AFGSC’s convoy operations. We strongly advocate for well-structured collaboration among multiple individuals or entities participating in this endeavor.

Continental U.S. Mobile sUAS Swarm Defeat Challenge (Image Credit: STRIKEWERX)

What Participants Stand to Gain

This presents a unique prospect for advancing novel technologies in Counter-sUAS (C-sUAS) combat operations, a field rapidly evolving in national defense. This opportunity includes the potential for securing funding for developing concepts, rapid prototyping, and further refining your solution within AFGSC. This endeavor also offers the chance to collaborate closely with industry and government, enhancing the Air Force’s capabilities and ultimately fostering a more robust and mission-prepared military force. Moreover, there is the exciting potential to attend the Challenge Showcase, facilitating networking opportunities with peers, AFGSC, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Air Force Lifecycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Air Force Security Forces Center (AFSFC), Department of Defense (DoD), customers, and fellow investors, thereby establishing valuable connections across the government and DoD landscape. Additionally, this endeavor could lead to enduring contracts, agreements, ongoing business associations with the Air Force and other government entities, and prospects for collaborative teaming and technology advancement.

Anticipated Outcomes

The objective involves detecting swarming drones classified as Group 1 (weighing under 21 pounds, flying at altitudes below 1,200 feet above ground level, and traveling at speeds under 100 knots) and Group 2 (weighing between 21 and 55 pounds, operating at altitudes below 3,500 feet, and flying at speeds under 250 knots). The goal is to identify hostile intent, offering a spectrum of engagement choices and evaluating outcomes from each interaction. Ideally, an integrated capability is sought, although STRIKEWERX recognizes that the prototyping period of 12 to 18 months might not allow ample time for integrating multiple functions.

Upon the conclusion of the prototyping period, the capability will be showcased and evaluated by the government. Following the evaluation, vendors may retain the hardware if deemed appropriate.

Mobile C-sUAS Swarm Defeat Challenge Timeline

May 4-5, 2023- Challenge Definition Workshop (Complete)

July 17, 2023, to August 27, 2023- Submit Solutions

September 29, 2023- Showcase Selection

October 30, 2023, to November 1, 2023- Virtual Showcase

November 7-8, 2023- In-Person Showcase

For more information, please visit Mobile Counter Small UAS Swarm Defeat Challenge

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Post Image- Many drones flying over the city. Drones Scouting the City Sky. Generative AI (Image Credit: Adobe Stock by PhotoSozai)