The US Army is actively exploring the use of affordable commercial drones as potential weapons in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and is concurrently developing strategies to counter this emerging threat.
In a significant effort to reinforce defense capabilities, the Army is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the Co-axial Unmanned Guided Autonomous Rotorcraft (CUGAR) as part of the Dynetics Advanced Multi-layered Mobile Force Protection (MFP) system. This evaluation took place during the Maneuver and Fires Integration Experiment (MFIX) 2024 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, marking a pivotal step in the Army’s pursuit of state-of-the-art defense solutions.
This evaluation aims to strengthen military defenses against unauthorized drone intrusions into fixed-base military installations and operations on the move. The MFIX campaign, supported by a collaboration of military, government, industry, and academic partners, serves as a crucial platform for shaping Fires concepts and requirements for the Army.
Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos, introduced the MFP system, featuring a multi-layered defense architecture designed to neutralize enemy Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) while minimizing collateral damage. The CUGAR drone is a central element of this defensive system, working alongside the fixed-wing MORFIUS interceptor provided by subcontractor Lockheed Martin.
Tailored to protect high-value convoys navigating potentially densely populated areas, the program addresses a range of threats, including ‘self-guided’ small unmanned aircraft that operate outside traditional RF navigation and control signals. The program emphasizes countering multiple threats rather than singular unmanned aerial assailants, necessitating the development of an integrated solution comprising sensors, autonomy, command and control (C2) software, and threat mitigations, emphasizing innovation at its core.
The MFP system’s open systems architecture allows for the seamless integration of additional sensors and effectors as they evolve, highlighting the system’s adaptability and scalability for future enhancements.