Army Futures Command Gives $15,000 Grant For Drone Detection System

first published on January 14, 2019 by

Army Futures Command held a contest for detecting and deterring small commercial drone attacks. This is a video from the team that won the contest.


As the battlefield continues to evolve at the cyclic rate, Army Futures Command continues to search for solutions for modern problems. Most recently, commercial drones have seen an exponential increase in their weaponization and usage in places like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. These small commercial drones give groups like the Islamic State, Sham Legion, and the Taliban capabilities that were previously only found through intensely expensive projects like the MQ-9 Reaper Drone.

These often modified commercial drones are outfitted for speed and devastation. Small 40mm warheads are attached to the bottom of the drone, and dropped on defenseless targets from above. The drones then stay on station and relay information to the terror cells allowing them to record and assess the damage, and even use them as continuing surveillance on the battlefield as their small groups of fighters make movements and decisions on the ground. Mitigating this effective weapon has been a high priority by the United States Armed Forces ever since the first footage of one of these attacks was released to the internet as propaganda.

In response to this, the U.S. Army Futures Command held a contest for students around the country called “A-Hack-of-the-Drones,” where graduate students where tasked with developing a system to defeat the risk of commercial drones to American troops in the field. The contest was held in September of 2018, and the students who won the contest were awarded a $15,000 grant to continue the development of their system.

The winning system was a long range acoustic detection device. When complete, the device will be a small micro-antenna equipped by personnel on the ground that will relay the exact location and heading of the drone up to 1,000 meters away from the device. If completed, and functioning properly, the device will give personnel on the ground the ability to locate a drone’s exact location and bring the device to the ground at a safe stand-off distance.

Here is the video that was created by Khaboshi Imbukwa at the Naval Postgraduate School.