DARPA shoots streamers to counter drone swarms in urban areas

DARPA shoots streamers to coun...
MFP vehicle deploying an interceptor
MFP vehicle deploying an interceptor
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MFP vehicle deploying an interceptor
MFP vehicle deploying an interceptor
Mobile Force Protection project vehicle launches drone interceptor in a test at Eglin Air Force Base
Mobile Force Protection project vehicle launches drone interceptor in a test at Eglin Air Force Base

DARPA's Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program has developed a system designed to counter unauthorized drone intrusions over military installations or operations. Because they may need to be used over populated areas, the program sought a non-explosive approach and hit upon the idea of using drones that fire stringy streamers.

One emerging military threat is the drone swarm. Autonomous uncrewed aircraft that can operate together and maneuver as a single unit like schools of fish or flocks of birds present growing challenges to military planners. This is particularly the case in urban areas where countermeasures need to avoid using explosives wherever possible to avoid civilian casualties.

Begun in 2017, the MFP program is looking at countermeasures that focus on low-cost, reusable drones that can intercept enemy drones to protect high-value convoys in populated areas. DARPA has developed a technology demonstrator that uses the new X-band radar to automatically detect and identify potential targets, and then, through an automated decision engine, dispatch fixed- and rotary-wing interceptors from moving vehicles. These interceptors are then guided in without a human operator.

The Counter-Unmanned Air System (C-UAS) uses a number of methods that don't rely on explosives or high-velocity projectiles to take out drones. To do so against multiple targets, the prime method harks back to the Second World War, when Britain's Miscellaneous Weapons Department experimented with using wires trailed by balloons or rockets as a way to counter enemy aircraft. Instead of wires, the MFP system uses stringy streamers in a similar way to bring down hostile drones by tangling in their propellers and control surfaces.

Mobile Force Protection project vehicle launches drone interceptor in a test at Eglin Air Force Base
Mobile Force Protection project vehicle launches drone interceptor in a test at Eglin Air Force Base

Once the technology is matured, DARPA will help move the system into a practical form for the various military services.

"Because we were focusing on protecting mobile assets, the program emphasized solutions with a small footprint in terms of size, weight, and power," says MFP program manager Gregory Avicola in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. "This also allows for more affordable systems and less operators."

The system is demonstrated in the video below.

Mobile Force Protection (MFP) Demonstration

Source: DARPA

Gotta love it when low tech solutions might be the simple answer.

So hanging those streamers from balloons might also be a way to reused WWII “tech”.
Ultra-fast defensive drones that can shoot Silly String might work. Drone swarm wars would be fun to watch. Strategies could get really interesting.
Thing is all these anti drone systems assume lame ass drone operators. How about surface skimming drone..also the drone seems a lot more maneuverable than this flying pogo stick... take your average DJI drone, flip it to Sports mode... or hey take a DJI FPV drone which zips around at 90mph and it will run circles around this pogo stick... now take an fpv drone flying through trees.. anyway
And 2 can play... Easy implementation would be a guided mortar with the warhead containing long strand kevlar fibres for explosive dispersion into the path of oncoming device.... In reality these tools are not designed gor warfare but to reduce the use of civilian information gathering (civil liberty and safety is just touted as an excuse) - Drone Journalism is so annoying, in the face of Government sponsored civil clampdowns, the world over (Right and Left wing authoritarians become indistinguishable in their actions.)

Real war adversaries at least use rockets or cruise missiles not multicopters to deliver "packages".