DASA Launches Competition to Counter the Threat of Small Unmanned Air Systems

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is part of the UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), run by the Ministry of Defence. It funds proof-of-concept research that offers a high potential benefit to defence and security in the UK and which thereby supports UK economic growth and prosperity.

DASA has launched a competition to fund projects with the potential to develop the technology needed to counter unmanned air systems (C-UAS), or drones, and demonstrate how these can be integrated together to form a capable system.

There are many different UAS threats, each of which may require a different mitigation approach. Reducing or eliminating the risk posed by a hostile UAS requires a range of capabilities; detecting the presence of a drone, locating it, identifying it and what it is seeking to do, and then supporting or deploying measures (effectors) to mitigate its effect.

The competition consists of the following three challenges to reflect the scope of the threat:

Challenge 1: Next Generation C-UAS Technologies – This challenge is focused on providing robust cost-effective security from the threat of drones that offer significant improvement over current systems. DASA is interested in technologies that offer minimal manning in complex environments, 24/7 coverage, and have a low impact on or risk to friendly forces’ equipment and personnel.

Challenge 2: Advanced and Flexible C-UAS Integration – This challenge is focused on how C-UAS technologies can be brought together in a flexible way and how C-UAS sensor system output can be linked to other wide area surveillance systems and to cooperative drone awareness systems.

Challenge 3: Countering the Future UAS Threat – This challenge is focused on developing capability to detect and mitigate threats from UAS acting autonomously in highly congested airspace, both singly and as a swarm.

The competition will be run in multiple phases. Phase 1 proposals will demonstrate proof of concepts that can be further developed and integrated during later phases. Successful projects in this first phase may be encouraged to work with other suppliers in future phases in order to integrate solutions into a deployable system.

Applications are welcomed from across the full range of suppliers including academia, small, medium sized enterprises (SME) and large companies. Proposals should include evidence of innovation or a creative approach, and a clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to any defence and security context.

The total funding for this challenge is expected to be at least £2 million, split over multiple phases. The total funding available for Phase 1 is £800,000, and individual proposals cannot exceed £100,000. If successful, contracts will be awarded for a maximum duration of nine months.

Proposals should be submitted via the submission service by the 28 May 2019 deadline.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.