UNVEX S&D to put latest advances in anti-drone systems on the table
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UNVEX S&D to put latest advances in anti-drone systems on the table

Foto: IDS

The European summit on remotely-piloted systems, Unvex Security & Defense, which will take place in the northwestern Spanish city of León on May 29, 30 and 31, will tackle the development of RPAS detection and neutralization systems. The so-called anti-drone systems will be analyzed by industry experts and specialists from Europe’s main defense institutions.

Along with the protection against threats derived from the ill-intentioned use of drones, the development of this type of technology has sparked the need for designing systems that avoid the signal interception of RPAS. That is, protection against anti-drone systems, which is especially required in the field of Defense due to the danger represented by the interception of systems used by the armed forces in conflict zones.

This issue, in particular, will be addressed by a representative of Aeronautics. This Israeli company has developed technology capable of protecting RPAS’ signal and guaranteeing their routes. On the roundtable dedicated to this matter, which will be held on May 30, will also feature members of the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Center of Excellence (C-IED COE), who will explain how they act in scenarios in which drones are used as IEDs, its consequences and the lessons learned through the security forces’ and armies’ protection and prevention procedures.

Condor Program

In this debate, attendees will be able to become acquainted with the features of several systems developed by Spanish companies, as well as the plans by the Spanish Ministry of Defense’s Armament and Material Office (DGAM) to promote research based on the Condor program.

As part of this project, the DGAM will start this summer with anti-drone system trials, with support from Spain’s National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA). In this project’s first stage, portable anti-drone systems have are already being tested. Lt. Col. José Manuel Mateo Alonso from the Spanish Army’s Artillery branch said during a talk at the Security Technology Center (Cetse) in March that the DGAM was making a “great effort in national technology analysis to know how we can protect our territory.”

Reaper flight

Within the summit’s exhibitions program, the RPAS Reaper from General Atomics will be one of the big protagonists. The MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) system will fly over the fair on the second day and transmit live footage that will be shown to attendees on screens located at the Spanish Air Force’s Virgen del Camino base.

The flight represents a significant milestone, as it will be the first time an RPAS with these features takes part in a joint exercise between two European countries, as explained during the press preview for UNVEX S&D a few days ago. The MALE will take off from its base in France, cross the border and take part in a joint field exercise at the Bardenas Reales badlands alongside Spanish Air Force units. Thereupon it is set to fly to the province of León, where it will show off its capabilities.

New technology

The second thematic hall on Tuesday, May 29, will be dedicated to the latest tech in unmanned aircraft, ground and naval systems, as well as their integration. Thales Alenia Space will show its newest advances on its Stratobus, an airship model that functions as a drone-and-satellite hybrid.

The company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will present its robotized Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) for defense and security, while the Spanish companies Indra and GMV will display the results of its latest Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) trials, designed for maritime protection and surveillance.

The project Nertra by the Spanish company Drotium will also be unveiled at Unvex S&D. It is an ambitious projected geared towards the transport of the future based on the integration of a transport system using autonomous electric vehicles.

European cooperation programs

The European industry has placed its bets on cooperation programs as the backbone of its new Defense policy. During the first day of UNVEX S&D, analysts will go over the state of projects such as Ocean 2020, Euromale or Watchkeeper.

NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) will present its ongoing projects and vision for the future. The same panel will analyze the European Union’s Ocean 2020 initiative, which studies the integration of autonomous naval vessels to improve maritime security. Euromale is the other big European project that is in its full-blown development stage. The program’s coordinator will explain its current state and key aspects at Unvex S&D. In addition, speakers will dissect the current situation and forecast for the future of the Watchkeeper project, a pioneer in the design and development of a tactical RPAS. The United Kingdom’s Armed Forces already operate this system in conflict zones since it was launched in 2005.


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