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RAF Stepping Up Its Defense Game Against Rogue Drones

No future military operations can be envisioned without unmanned air systems (UAS), but they can become an out-of-control threat just as much as they are beneficial in airborne missions.
RAF is currently training one of its units to specialize in countermeasure operations against rogue drones 6 photos
RAF's ORCUS C-UAS SystemRAF's ORCUS C-UAS SystemRAF's ORCUS C-UAS SystemRAF's ORCUS C-UAS SystemRAF's ORCUS C-UAS System
The events that are currently taking place not just in Ukraine but in other parts of the world as well, such as the Middle East, clearly demonstrate the enhanced role of today’s UAS in military conflicts. An asset that becomes a threat when used by the enemy, drones have quickly led to the development of countermeasure systems.

UK’s Royal Air Force introduced the Orcus Counter-Uncrewed Air System (C-UAS) two years ago as part of Project Synergia. Like most systems of this kind, the Orcus is supposed to detect and identify what are known as hostile drones and take them down if they pose a serious threat. Usually, these C-UAS systems are an important protection element for key infrastructure. This includes air bases, both on British territory and overseas, wherever RAF personnel operates.

RAF officials say that the UAS problem has grown to the point where C-UAS capabilities have become a matter of national security. The most recent development related to that is training the RAF Regiment Gunners from the 2 Force Protection Wing to take the lead.

They will become experts in operating Fixed Site C-UAS. According to Wing Commander Wiseman, through their deployment at various operational theaters, “they have experienced first-hand the very real and extremely potent threat posed from Uncrewed Air System.”

RAF’s Synergia Project was dedicated to counter-drone research and development, with Leonardo being the main industry partner. The Orcus device was described as looking like a camera module placed on top of a tripod. It doesn’t look menacing, but it boasts advanced radar, electro-optic and radio frequency sensors, plus electronic attack capabilities.

Last year, Leonardo took the Orcus’ power to the next level by integrating the Ninja technology developed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The Ninja is capable of jamming and taking command of a hostile drone at a short range and then directing it to a safe location.

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