Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2023-11-07

Raytheon’s Cutting-Edge Tech Leads the Charge Against Drone Threats

The world is witnessing the widespread proliferation of drone capabilities as they have become so readily available. Drones of all types are flying farther, faster, and with more accuracy, and can attack from 360 degrees, causing significant damage and disruption.
 
In an interview, Thomas (Tom) Laliberty, president of Land & Air Defense Systems at Raytheon, said: “Countering drone threats requires layered, customised solutions. An effective defence requires networked sensors and a C2 system to detect, identify and track these threats at effective ranges. A mix of effectors is required – kinetic and non-kinetic – to destroy targets with maximum speed and accuracy and minimal collateral damage. These components need to work together seamlessly to defeat any combination of threats simultaneously.” Excerpts:
 
What does Raytheon consider to be the key pieces of the “optimal solution?”
Raytheon has developed the enabling technologies, as well as complete and customisable systems, that enable military and civilian customers to defeat complex UAS threats in any environment.
 
For complex, integrated drone attacks, the company has developed high-performing sensors and cost-effective kinetic and non-kinetic effectors, integrated with a command-and-control architecture, that can handle a highly saturated air picture and allow air defenders to react easily to complex scenarios.

This supports the ability to address drone threats as efficiently as possible and enables the selection of the right effectors against a range of threats and defeat threats more efficiently. Our solutions are scalable to meet any mission while being flexible and easily upgraded to outpace enemy advances. 
 
As sensors proliferate on the battlefield, what is the secret to detecting rogue drones or entire swarms effectively?
Raytheon’s mix of advanced radars, infrared, electro-optical and SIGINT sensors puts eyes (and ears) on target, giving air defenders actionable intelligence and precision guidance. Raytheon has decades of experience in these areas, and we have built a suite of sensors and radars that work together to accomplish this tough task. 
 
Our sensors include the KuRFS radar for persistent 360-degree short-range air defence sensing, a true, multi-mission radar that supports simultaneous Sense & Warn, C-RAM, and C-UAS missions. The KuRFS, or KuMRFS multi-mission radar, provides sensing and fire control capability, delivering a clear air picture and improved probability of kill across an array of effectors, including high energy lasers and EW effects as well as kinetic-defeat missiles and guns for C-UAS and C-RAM. 
 
These radars operate in the Ku-band of the radio frequency spectrum, which allows for higher-resolution imaging – an important part of tracking smaller flying objects.

KuRFS can quickly pick up the track of airborne threats launched at medium- to close-range. With extreme precision, KuRFS can discriminate what the threat is and has the ability to filter out biological versus non-biologicals. It’s able to track low, slow-moving targets – single and multiples - within a wide range of radar cross sections (Group 1-3 UAS), with very low false alarm rates and dropped tracks. 
 
KuRFS has been integrated to support more than 15 weapons systems, including the land-based Phalanx, Coyote effector, and HPM – the high-power microwave, as well as the HELWS high-energy laser weapon system.

The radar is integrated with FAAD C2 command-and-control software for the U.S. Army. The Ku-720 radar is a scaled version of KuRFS, specifically designed for highly mobile operations.

The radar reduces the size, weight, and cost of the currently deployed KuRFS while retaining its same proven technology for surveillance, threat detection, identification, and tracking.
 
Raytheon’s Multispectral Targeting System is a best-in-class electro-optical/infrared sensor with more than 3,000 fielded systems and more than three million operational hours. Our high-energy laser beam director is based on this combat-proven technology, which means our system can find highly manoeuvrable threats, track and target on the move, fire the laser at the exact spot on the drone or shell that you want to target, and survive the toughest combat conditions.
 
The effective detection and tracking of a single drone or an entire swarm enables the next critical step—engaging and neutralising it. Raytheon has advanced a portfolio of cost-effective kinetic and non-kinetic effectors that are proven effective against a range of threats. 
 
Laser Weapons – fixed site or mobile:
Raytheon’s family of laser weapons come in three basic power classes – 15kW, 30kW and 50kW. With over 400 target kills and 25,000 hours of operation, these laser weapons are a proven option to defeat asymmetric threats rapidly. These laser weapons have engaged and killed multiple types of incoming targets at tactically relevant distances – including 60mm mortars and Group 1, 2 and 3 drones. 
 
Our team has delivered eight combat-ready laser weapons to the U.S. military, proving that our fully integrated laser weapons are rugged and ready to defend against drones. They offer a nearly infinite number of shots, minimal logistics, and pinpoint accuracy. 
 
LIDS – fixed site or mobile:
For the U.S. Army’s low, slow, small unmanned aircraft Integrated Defense System, called LIDS, Raytheon provides its Ku-band Radio Frequency Sensor, known as KuRFS, and the Coyote family of effectors as the system’s essential detect and defeat capabilities. LIDS is a multi-mission fixed, transportable or mobile deployed system for an extended range layer of defence. KuRFS provides advanced 360-degree threat detection, and Coyote is a proven, low-cost kinetic effector.
 
Coyote is able to down drones at longer ranges and higher altitudes than other systems, effective against single drones and swarms of varied size and manoeuvrability.
 
Air defenders may face a number of different threats, so how do they know they have the right tools and weapons to stop each threat?
Our laser weapons come in three basic power classes – 15kW, 30kW and 50kW – and they can be used as standalone systems or rapidly installed on a variety of platforms. 
So far, Raytheon has completed full installation and testing of 15kW laser weapons on a range of tactical ground vehicles, commercial vehicles, as well as an Apache attack helicopter. Many of these have been fielded in operational scenarios.
 
And our 50kW class DE M-SHORAD HEL system is here. As the U.S. Army works to address increasing and changing threats from unmanned aircraft systems and rockets, artillery and mortars, the service is turning to high-energy lasers installed on tactical vehicles to protect ground forces and equipment. The first of these combat-capable weapon systems – four 50kW-class lasers mounted on Stryker combat vehicles – are on track for operational fielding this year.
 
With soldiers at the controls, we’ve demonstrated repeatable success through the complete kill chain against multiple threat scenarios – day and night.
 
As a kinetic effect against these drone classes, our Coyote family of effectors protect at long ranges where it’s important to engage a target before it gets too close or within range to do harm. Coyote Block 2 is a game-changing capability leveraging innovative solutions to counter the small and low-cost UAS threat set affordably.

Block 2 is a missile variant that has kinetic defeat capability and is able to defeat small to medium-sized target UASs. It defeats threats at longer ranges and higher altitudes than similar class effectors. 
 
Coyote continues to provide an advantage to air defenders in engaging evolving threats at higher and further out target threats. This allows defenders to take the fight as far away as possible and provide a safe radius to operate within.
 
The drone threats are real and are causing havoc today. Are these technologies mature enough to field and offer protection today, or are these futuristic projects?
Raytheon has been very focused on this C-UAS mission space for several years now. It has been working closely with the U.S. military and military partners worldwide to advance and mature our portfolio of systems as effective capabilities against this complex threat. 
 
During U.S. Army testing, LIDS is tested against a range of UAS threats to demonstrate the capability and maturity of the systems. The consistently successful performance of Coyote and KuRFS proves that LIDS gives warfighters around the globe a competitive advantage. 
 
The U.S. Army is currently bolstering its counter-drone defences with LIDS, awarding Raytheon an October 2022 contract to equip two Army divisions with LIDS, followed by a contract for an additional quantity of fixed site and mobile LIDS systems awarded earlier this year to further support the U.S. Army’s Central Command. A third contract was recently awarded, intended to equip a third Army division.
 
We took an important step last year by demonstrating that our laser weapons are interoperable with the NASAMS architecture, in addition to a long list of other sensors and C2 systems, and this year, we will export a laser weapon to the UK for the first time. The next step for our high-energy lasers is to field the DE-MSHORAD 50kW system with the U.S. Army and teach soldiers how to operate this cutting-edge technology.
 

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