Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited Announces the Successful Qualification of Its Directed Energy Drone Defence System
Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited (EOS or Company) announced the successful qualification of its directed energy (DE) drone defence system. EOS' DE system uses a powerful laser as the directed energy source and has now successfully disabled Group 1 drones at an effective rate of 20 drones/minute at ranges beyond 1,000 metres, establishing a new benchmark for neutralising swarm drone attacks. This level of performance, for the first time, meets all current customer requirements for defence against emerging threats from swarms of lightweight drones. The DE system has been developed as a key element of the EOS TitanisTM drone defence system, specifically to disable drones in Group 1, 2 and 3 and to neutralise sensors on all drones at very long range. Safety protocols at the testing facility and its associated airspace limited this qualification to Group 1 drones. Testing will be extended to Group 2 and 3 drones at a different location in third quarter 2022. The US Department of Defense classification for Uninhabited Aerial Systems (UAS or drones). Of immediate concern for tactical manoeuvre, operations or defending assets, are drones from Groups 1, 2 and 3. These drones are now having a major impact on military operations and there are no deployed defences against them. Groups 4 and 5 represent strategic applications that can be countered by existing air defence systems. Titanis is now a proven, integrated defence capability against all drones, providing a seamless integration of command and control, radar detection, tracking, target selection and real-time allocation of a kinetic weapon, DE or surface-to-air missile to neutralise each drone. To engage Group 1 and 2 UAS up till now Titanis has used kinetic weapons, such as guns and cannon, leveraging the performance of EOS weapon systems for the extreme accuracy and responsiveness required to engage airborne manoeuvring targets. Titanis performance has been honed over four years of regular testing with real drones and live ammunition so it can reliably disable a wide range of small drones using kinetic weapons. However kinetic defence against drones has limitations including: Use of kinetics is constrained by collateral damage considerations associated with rounds which can fly beyond the target; Kinetic weapons can each neutralise 5-6 drones per minute, but drone swarm numbers can reach 20 drones per minute; Kinetic weapons are not effective against drones attacking or operating directly overhead; and Kinetic weapons, unless specifically designed for Counter UAS (CUAS) roles, cannot neutralise Group 3 drones, which cannot be cost-effectively engaged with current surface-to-air missiles (SAM). DE capability was developed by EOS to overcome all these limitations, and to operate alongside kinetic defences to provide a complete defence system against drones from Groups 1-3 as required by current customers. In the recent test and qualification program, an operational DE system was transported to a remote site using a normal military transport process and was fully operational on site within the specified time of four hours. The system operated over a wide variety of atmospheric conditions, neutralising a large number of drones under realistic but safe test conditions. The drones were disabled or destroyed at a rate of up to 20 drones per minute, including the time required to switch targets, establish target tracking, lock the laser beam onto and bring down each drone. The system uses only reduced power for Group 1 drones. No other drone defence system has claimed comparable results. After the trials the DE system was relocated to another site and quickly restored to full operation, in a further demonstration of a robust capability not normally associated with powerful lasers. The next step in the qualification of the Titanis DE system for CUAS operations will be the establishment of its effect against Group 2 and 3 drones. Group 2 drones present similar challenges to Group 1.