MITRE Reveals Winners of Counter-UAS Technology Challenge


The MITRE Corp., a nonprofit organization that operates research and development centers sponsored by the federal government, has announced the winners of its Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) Challenge on Sept. 8.

Eight finalists competed in one or more of three categories: detection and determination, interdiction, and end-to-end system. The challenge asked innovators from around the world to identify solutions that could 1) detect small drones (under 5 lbs.) during flight and determine which ones were threats based on a geographic location and flight trajectory and 2) interdict small UAS that were perceived as threats by forcing them to be recovered intact in a safe area.

The DroneRANGER from Alexandria, Va.-based Van Cleve and Associates was awarded $80,000 for best detection and determination system and best end-to-end system.

The SkyWall 100 from Riding Mill, U.K.-based Open Works Engineering was awarded $20,000 for best interdiction system.

A live flight evaluation took place Aug. 10-18 at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. The MITRE Challenge Team chose the finalists from among 42 applicants, representing eight countries. One purpose of the challenge was to evaluate a range of technology and test the different solutions against the same scenarios.

For example, the SkyWall 100 system consists of a compressed-air-powered launcher and an intelligent projectile. The launcher is equipped with a SmartScope, which uses computerized targeting while the projectile is programmed to deploy a net at precisely the right time to entangle a drone. Immediately after the net is deployed, a parachute is released that controls the descent of the captured drone.

In contrast, DroneRANGER’s key components are a 360-degree scanning radar and a positioning system on which images (visual and thermal) and radio frequency (RF) jammers are integrated. The radar detects the drones, and the RF jammers block radio frequencies, thus neutralizing the drones.

The other finalists were as follows:

  • DroneTracker from DeDrone Inc. of Kassel, Germany, and San Francisco;
  • Dronebuster from Radio Hill Technologies of Portland, Ore.;
  • ICARUS System of Lockheed Martin from Bethesda, Md.;
  • DroneBlocker from TrustComs/Trifecta Global of Versailles, France, and Beltsville, Md.;
  • KNOX System from MyDefense Communications of Sundby, Denmark;
  • MESMER System from Department 13 International of Columbia, Md.

MITRE also gave an honorable mention to a team from Duke University.

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