UAS & Robotics

Northrop demonstrates counter UAV technologies

Systems that can track and eliminate unmanned aerial vehicles are in increasing demand, as the threat of small UAVs that can potentially be outfitted as flying improvised explosive devices grows.

Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated its counter-UAS system, called Venom, for the Army at Fort Sill. Okla., the company said in a release.

The system is capable of tracking small UAVs and providing accurate target coordinates while the UAV is in flight, the company said. Venom is described as a ground based targeting system with Northrop’s Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder, which can recognize targets in day, night or obscured conditions, range to the target at an eyesafe wavelength, and calculate grid coordinates with the company’s GPS/Elevation/Azimuth capability. It operates on a universal stabilized and gimbaled mount. 

During the demonstration, Venom provided precision target coordinates for fire support receiving “slew-to-cue” messages and locking and tracking low-flying UAVs. Northrop said Venom is “vehicle agnostic,” meaning it can be integrated into a wide variety of platforms.     

“By continuing to invest in Venom, we have been able to repurpose our mature LLDR technology for additional missions,” said Kay Burch, vice president of communications, intelligence and networking solutions at Northrop Grumman. “Adding counter-UAS and on-the-move targeting will give our warfighters greater flexibility in mission planning and execution.”

The need to counter small UAVs has prompted a variety of different approaches. The Army, for example, previously repurposed a vehicle mount system for countering rockets, artillery and mortars in order to  track and shoot down small UAS. Last summer, the military devoted its Black Dart exercise to testing ways of defending against small drones. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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