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Activity title

Defeat of Low Slow and Small (LSS) Air Threats

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Systems Concepts and Integration

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asymmetric threats, automatic sense and warn, C-LSS, C-UAS, information fusion, networked air defence systems, systems integration


While conventional threats from the air by fighters, bombers, attack helicopters, and cruise missiles remain of concern to NATO, challenges posed by unconventional Low Slow and Small (LSS) air threats are of increasing and vital concern. In particular, the deployment of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) has provided one of the most significant military capability enhancements of recent years, delivering a wide range of effects in a number of roles. As UAS capability proliferates over the coming years, it would be naïve to assume that these effects could not be targeted against NATO interests. The Air Defence (AD) challenges posed by UAS are many and range across the complete kill chain; traditional systems may be unable to detect, identify and negate a number of potentially hostile UAS and a range of C-UAS negation effects, up to and including kinetic destruction, may be required. Future challenges will be posed by the problem of discriminating “rogue” UAS amongst the increasing numbers of UAS in both civil and military theatres of operation and by the increasing complexity of the target set. Whilst programmes such as NIAG SG 170/188/200 have identified extant and near future capability in industry, this “First Generation” capability tends to be expensive and dependent upon highly trained, dedicated, personnel. There is a need to develop cheaper automated sense and warn “ Second Generation” systems linked to a range of proportionate effectors. The SCI 241 Technology Group (TG) aims to build on the existing NIAG 170/188/200 series of studies and develop a long term NATO approach to C-LSS. It will meet regularly to identify, coordinate and if necessary instigate Analysis, Research and Demonstration work across the NATO nations that clarifies: a. The future threat posed by Low Slow and Small air systems to NATO interests, singly, networked and/or in swarm b. The probability of encounter and potential impact of these threats by defined epochs and in mutually agreed operational contexts. c. Future UAS detect and mitigation options across the complete kill chain


This TG will be a “living programme” that will seek existing far sighted scientific contributions from the NATO military, industrial and academic community to support “Second Generation” C-UAS networked systems that are: a. Less man-power intensive than current systems; b. Capable of rapid sense and warn of emerging and future LSS air targets at militarily significant ranges (tbd) with a low false alarm rate; c. Able to cue and employ a range of effectors; d. Able to work against targets fitted with countermeasures; e. Cost effective and easily assimilated into existing force protection infrastructures. f. Minimise EM and physical interference, fratricide and collateral damage on neighbouring systems.


The programme invites NATO member nations and partners to identify and prosecute work, relevant to future C-UAS systems, within the following scientific and technology areas (not exclusive): a. The impact of the changing air threat on C-UAS and Air Defence Concepts. b. Technology challenges posed by future LSS air systems to NATO interests, singly, networked and in swarm c. Novel sensors/sensor networking d. Automatic sense and warn algorithm development e. Command and control C2 systems using emerging technology to maximize situational awareness (SA) of the presence of LSS threats at all force levels f. Work to automatically detect, track and classify/identify multiple LSS (sub 7kg UAS) targets g. Novel effectors, including RF and Laser DEW and mission denial options h. Work to combine a range of similar capabilities (eg C-RAM and C-UAS) into common sensor suites. i. Ways of signaling the presence of a potentially hostile drone to ground troops. j. Ways of determining incoming drone intent. k. Own force drone identification systems. Interested nations are invited to report such work to the TG, on line and at routine (tbd) progress meetings. The TG will coordinate this work and will jointly identify its relevance to C-UAS solutions. The TG Chair will report its findings regularly to NATO nations via the CSO and the JCG GBAD TOE C-EAT sub-group with recommendations for action where appropriate. This TG will maintain a living programme that is expected to develop as more NATO nations contribute work.

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