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Counter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Demonstration

The Air Force Research Laboratory's, Directed Energy Directorate participated in a counter UAV demonstration in May 2008, at Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, California showcasing the ability to track small airborne targets from a ground based mobile platform and negate them using high power microwave (HPM) technology.

Using a surrogate high energy laser on the Mobil Active Targeting Resource for Integrated Experiments (MATRIX), several UAVs were successfully illuminated and tracked in flight. MATRIX integrated a laser range finder allowing for real-time automated optimization of the laser beam. It recorded video and provided range data to cue the Microwave Emitting Ground Attack (MEGA) device, the first known cue from a laser range finder to a microwave device. MEGA affected the UAVs autopilot and communications equipment for a successful negation.

The annual test serves to improve the United State's ability to prevent, detect, track, and engage hostile low-observable homeland and theater air threats. The event provides a venue to obtain data on commercially available, improvised and/or state sponsored small UAVs that pose a potential threat to soft targets. The goal is to assess the nature of the threat and current systems and research capabilities to detect, declare, and target or defeat the threat.

The Air Force Research Laboratory plans to participate in the upcoming counter unmanned aerial vehicle testing at China Lake in May 2009.

The Directed Energy Directorate works together with nine other Air Force Research Laboratory organizations to meet the technological needs of the United States Air Force. The Directorate concentrates on improving warfighter capabilities such as precision engagement, long-range strike, counter electronics, force protection, and space situational awareness. With headquarters at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Directorate researchers develop, integrate, and transition technology that includes high-energy lasers, high-power microwaves, millimeter waves, beam control, and advanced optical systems. The Directorate also assesses potential applications and effects of systems using directed energy technologies, performs modeling and simulation, and manages space situational awareness data collection and reporting.