The Ministry of Defence has selected Leonardo to support a multi-million-pound research & development programme to better understand counter drone technology.
Building on previous R&D undertaken with the company in this area, Leonardo will support the RAF to explore technical mitigations to the current threats posed by hostile drones through the evaluation of mature and evolving sensor and effector technology.
Starting in early 2020 the primary integration work will be mainly undertaken by Leonardo at its Basildon and Southampton sites, with real-time testing undertaken at several MoD locations within the UK.
The three-year programme will examine and inform how the RAF can detect, track, identify and defeat rogue drones. It will also support the RAF in responding to current and evolving threats and ensure it keeps pace with technology over time, say the firm.
Announcing the programme at DSEi last week, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Last year at Gatwick and Heathrow we saw the peril drone technology poses to our airspace.
Today I can announce that the RAF will be working with Leonardo on a three-year programme, looking at how to detect, track, identify and defeat rogue drones as this technology continues to evolve.”
The primary aim of the R&D programme will be to help understand and inform requirements for a potential future core RAF counter-drone capability.