Darpa awards for Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program
DARPA’s Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program focuses on the challenge of increasing concern to the U.S. military: countering the proliferation of small, unmanned aircraft systems (sUASs).These systems, which include fixed, or rotary-wing aircraft and have numerous advantages such as portability, low cost, commercial availability, and easy upgradeability, pose a fast-evolving array of dangers for U.S. ground and maritime convoys. Countering these threats in real time requires a range of technology advances to enable rapid detection, identification, tracking, and neutralization of adversary sUASs—all while mitigating collateral damage.To expedite the development of counter-sUAS capabilities DARPA recently awarded Phase 1 agreements for MFP to three teams, Dynetics, Saab Defense and Security, and SRC.
“The three teams we’ve assembled have innovative ideas for a versatile, layered defense system that could protect convoys on the move from multiple small unmanned aircraft systems in real time,” said Jean-Charles Ledé, a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO). “Each team will now work to integrate novel ideas for advanced sensors and neutralization approaches into a common framework emphasizing safety for civilian bystanders, ease of operation, and low size, weight, power, and cost. Our goal is a technology demonstration system that could fit onto currently deployed tactical ground vehicles and maritime vessels—getting advanced and upgradeable capabilities quickly to the warfighters who need them.”
The MFP program is aiming for three phases punctuated by open-air demonstrations involving increasingly sophisticated threats and scenarios. The goal is for the technology demonstration system to show initial functionality at the end of Phase 1 and progressively improve, culminating in a full-capability demonstration on a moving vehicle or vessel by the end of Phase 3.
At the conclusion of each open-air demonstration, DARPA plans to offer the Services and other U.S. Government agencies the opportunity to fund extended field evaluations of the current technology demonstration system.
DARPA’s goal is to develop the interim versions and the final prototype system to meet the needs of a broad number of potential U.S. Government and commercial users.