The U.S. Army has begun testing the newest Ballistic Low Altitude Drone Engagement, or BLADE, prototypes mounted on a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, according to a recent U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center news release.
The BLADE can detect, track, identify and take down drones with electronic attack, according to U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center. It is a set of enabling technologies that are integrated with an armament system to defeat smaller unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at close ranges, which includes the distance a Soldier can see a UAS without using binoculars. Its intuitive interface makes the BLADE easy for Soldiers to use.
The BLADE system works with the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS), and uses advanced fire control and precision targeting enablers to detect, track and defeat unmanned aerial systems. Mounted on a tactical vehicle, CROWS contains a sensor suite and fire control software that allow the warfighter to remotely engage targets. CROWS can engage targets during the day or at night, and includes a daytime video camera and a thermal camera.
U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center also reported that the new ground-based air defense counter-drone system has hit a small UAS during an engineering test that the BLADE team conducted on prototypes in June at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The test proved that the BLADE system can hit them with only a short burst of fire.
BLADE is offered for installation on almost all combat vehicles of the U.S. Army, including M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Stryker wheeled armored fighting vehicles, JLTV, and HMMWV vehicles.