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    5th Armored Brigade First in the Army to Offer Counter UAS, Best Practices

    5th Armored Brigade First in the Army to Offer Counter UAS, Best Practices

    Courtesy Photo | Soldiers from 5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division West, developed a course of...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Mylinda Durousseau 

    5th Armored Brigade

    By: Captain Matthew L. Blair

    Soldiers in 5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division West, successfully trained the 1st Battalion 178th Infantry Regiment in counter-unmanned aircraft systems ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan.

    According to Headquarters Department of the Army Counter-IED/Explosive Ordnance Disposal, 1-178th Inf. Reg. is the first in the Army to receive deliberate C-UAS training; and it showed at the battalion’s ten day culminating training exercise. The battalion successfully detected, engaged, and defeated over 80% of the UAS they faced.

    Fort Bliss, the largest FORSCOM installation, is the first in the Army to persistently permit military personal to fly commercial-off-the-shelf UAS in the training area. This capability was created to train soldiers and joint partners to combat the emerging small unmanned aircraft systems threat around the world.

    Drone enthusiasts reading this: do not launch your drone or UAS on Fort Bliss! There is a lot more to this capability than just safely operating a UAS. The process required a herculean effort which 5th AR BDE is now sharing with the rest of FORSCOM in order to duplicate the capability at other installations.

    UAS fall into five classes based on their size and weight. The Army and its joint partners have defined plans for how to defend against and defeat large UAS the size of the Shadow, Gray Eagle, and Predator. Smaller UAS, less than 55 pounds, are the responsibility of battalion battle space owners to defend against and defeat. Low, small, and slow UAS are highly capable and a rapidly evolving technology. They are hard to detect, easy to acquire, and their sophistication and capability increase every year. This emerging capability and ready accessibility of small UAS also means it can present a threat to the United States military.

    The most common threats to soldiers from small UAS are intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Small UAS can carry a high resolution camera relatively inexpensively and are virtually undetectable visually beyond three hundred meters. Almost all small UAS now have global positioning systems that allow them to acquire highly accurate locations based on what the small UAS camera is viewing.

    The second most likely use of small UAS is terrain denial and command and control disruption. Groups of small, inexpensive UAS can spread out over a large area to deny aircraft the ability to land. UAS with electromagnetic emitters can temporarily disable all single channel radio communications over several kilometers.

    The final, least common, and most dangerous use of small UAS is as a kinetic weapon. UAS can easily be equipped to drop grenade sized bombs or be equipped with warheads and flown into targets as small guided missiles.

    Small UAS are worrisome and the Army’s new emphasis on defense against the UAS threat is well founded. The small UAS threat also has significant short falls which, when properly trained, our soldiers learn to exploit in order to gain further advantage on our adversaries. Small UAS have a short range, usually less than two kilometers, and have very short battery life, usually less than thirty minutes. Once soldiers know this, small unit leaders are quickly able to isolate the area the UAS operator is working in and defeat either the UAS or the operator.

    The Army currently does not have a doctrinal solution to defeat small UAS nor is there a single program of record to defeat small UAS. 5th AR BDE developed best practices by collaborating with Asymmetric Warfare Group experts and Global Threat Mitigation Systems, the small UAS experts at the National Training Center and Joint Readiness Training Center. The program 5th AR BDE developed focuses on layers of active and passive defenses from the battalion, down to the companies, then platoons and squads, then individual service members.

    Both soldiers and radiation detectors are required to create an active defense against small UAS since neither the soldier nor the equipment will detect all UAS in all circumstances. Audible signature and movement are the best cues for soldiers while radar and radio detectors work best at night when vision is limited for both our soldiers and hostile operators. Likewise, no single defeat mechanism can mitigate all threats. Layers of multiple sensors and defeat mechanisms at multiple echelons are used throughout one’s area of operation to create the most effective defense in depth.

    Defense in depth is most effective when it focuses on soldier fundamentals instead of material solutions. Scanning an area for activity, including in the sky, is a basic soldier task as is reacting to enemy contact. Soldiers need to react to visual contact with UAS just as they would with any other contact with a hostile actor: seek cover and report the contact. Material solutions intended to defeat current UAS capabilities cannot keep pace with the development of UAS technology. Reporting techniques focus on immutable features, wings style, engine type, fuselage, and tail.

    Soldiers trained by 5th AR BDE also learn to use electromagnetic handheld jamming weapons to defeat, capture, or destroy small UAS. The advantage of the electromagnetic weapons is that they allow the UAS to be recovered intact and then forensically interrogated to learn more about the enemy’s capabilities instead of merely eliminating it from the battlespace.

    CUAS training is a Department of Army directed task. The training 5th AR BDE created is available to all units at Fort Bliss, Tx. The ultimate goal is to give this training capability to all units Army-wide in order to continue to adapt to an emerging threat.



    Date Taken: 06.25.2019
    Date Posted: 10.07.2019 18:53
    Story ID: 346470
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 

    Web Views: 377
    Downloads: 0