Region’s companies benefit from share of £2m DASA contracts to counter hostile drone threats

Photo shows: Animal Dynamics' Stork Drone
Animal Dynamics Stork Drone

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has awarded nearly £2 million to develop new capabilities to detect, disrupt, and defeat the hostile and malicious use of drones.

Eighteen bids have been funded as part of the Countering Drones competition launched earlier this year by the then-Defence Secretary, and a number of companies across the region have benefitted, including to Oxford-based Animal Dynamics which will develop a UAS swarm system to detect and neutralise unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) by employing peregrine falcon attack strategies and QinetiQ, which has a facility in Malvern, to develop a drone tracking system in complex environments and a ‘hard kill’ for disrupting the UAV’s on board electronics.

David Lugton, competition technical lead, said: “The introduction of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones, has been one of the most significant technological advances of recent years and represents a shift in capability of potential adversaries.

“The threat from UAS has evolved rapidly and we are seeing the use of hostile improvised UAS threats in overseas theatres of operation. There is a similar problem in the UK with the malicious or accidental use of drones becoming a security challenge at events, affecting critical infrastructure and public establishments; including prisons and major UK airports.”

There was a very high level of interest from industry with over 90 bids from a wide range of organisations from micro businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, large defence firms and academia.

This led to a doubling of initial funding from around £1m to around £2m being awarded to organisations in Phase 1.