An additional £1.5M funding is being allocated to the U.K. Defence and Security Accelerator’s (DASA) Countering Drones competition.
The Home Office Counter-Drones Unit owns domestic counter-drones policy for the U.K. government, working closely across government and operational partners to understand risk and operational requirements. The government priority is to help industry and academia to deliver world-leading counter-drone solutions to support the safe and responsible use of drones in the U.K. This DASA competition provides an immediate opportunity to help further develop the critical counter-drone technical capabilities needed, and to support counter-drone exploitation routes in the future.
The additional funding from the Home Office and Department for Transport brings the new total to at least £3 million. It is anticipated that this should more than double the number of proposals that the government will be able to award for this DASA competition.
In light of the additional funding, the competition will be extended by 10 days until Friday 31st July.
For this new funding, the government is particularly keen to hear from industry and academia who have innovative solutions to respond to domestic security needs, in addition to the needs already published. While the scope of the existing competition, and challenges within, in general reflect these broad requirements, the announcement about the new funding also included an example scenario:
“A scenario could include numerous drones being used at an important installation, major event or demonstration over a wide, complex geographic area, and over a prolonged period of time. The small UAVs (sUAVs) could be a mix of commercially available, high performance multirotor types, being operated directly in a planned and sophisticated manner. They could also include legitimate drones. The intent of the sUAVs could range from surveillance to malicious disruption or attack. There may be electronically sensitive infrastructure in the area.”
DASA is interested in counter-drone solutions that can be static, mobile, portable or temporarily deployable on vehicle(s), to detect the presence of sUAVs, determine their location, intent and assess the risk posed, locate the operator and enforce a ‘no-drone’ zone.
The government aims to communicate with industry and academia as clearly and efficiently as possible, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. This work will therefore be in lieu of a separate Home Office Counter-Drone Unit Grand Challenge this financial year, to reduce the burden on industry that different competitions bring.