Counter Uncrewed Aerial Systems Sandbox 2022

Suffield, Alberta
Sep 12 – Oct 7, 2022


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New update: The following companies have been selected to demonstrate their innovations at the Sandbox:

  • AerialX
  • CACI, IN. – FEDERAL
  • DroneShield LLC
  • Echodyne Corp.
  • Edgesource Corporation
  • EOS DEFENCE SYSTEMS PTY LIMITED
  • Hensoldt Sensors GmbH Germany
  • LiveLink Aerospace Ltd
  • MyDefence A/S
  • SkySafe
  • Teledyne FLIR Unmanned Aerial Systems ULC
  • Thales Canada Inc., Optronics

How might we detect and/or defeat (kinetically or non-kinetically) Micro and Mini Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) with systems that can be integrated into the broader military command and control system?

Building on the results of the CUAS 2019 Sandbox, the theme for CUAS 2022 is effective detect and defeat technologies that can be integrated into broader military command and control systems.

The Challenge

Detect, Defeat: Counter Uncrewed aerial systems.

How might we detect and/or defeat (kinetically or non-kinetically) Micro and Mini Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) with systems that can be integrated into the broader military command and control system?

Background and context

As stated in Canada's defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged, "As the development of remotely piloted systems increases… Canada will require the appropriate capabilities to identify and defend against these burgeoning threats" (Strong, Secure, Engaged 2017, page 73).

The Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) is leading the CUAS effort, coordinating with the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). The information presented in this IDEaS CUAS Sandbox represents a blending of requirements and characteristics of interest to one or more of the services, as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The US Department of Defense’s Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD) will be attending the CUAS 2022 Sandbox as an official Application Evaluator and Observer, giving international exposure, expertise, and feedback to innovators.

The following CAF projects have a direct interest in CUAS systems and the results of this Sandbox:

Canadian Forces Land Electronic Warfare Modernization (CFLEWM). CFLEWM is upgrading the Army's Mobile Electronic Warfare Teams in Light and Armoured platforms. While dedicated CUAS capabilities are out of scope for CFLEWM, it is interested in understand how multi-role EW Sense and Attack capabilities can contribute to the CUAS fight, and how dedicated CUAS sensors could feed into the EW sensor network.

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Modernization (ISR Mod). ISR Mod is investigating CUAS systems that are capable of providing direction finding and location of UAS and Ground Control Stations for the purposes of targeting. This projects is mandated under SSE: Canada's Defence Policy – Initiative #42 and is funded. This project is still undergoing initial planning; however, a potential Request for Proposals including some CUAS requirements may come to fruition in 2022-23.

Counter Uncrewed Aerial Systems (CUAS). A specific CUAS initiative is investigating CUAS systems capable of defending critical infrastructure, vehicles and personnel from micro and mini UAS. This project is not funded at this time, and consequently an intended date for any future procurement cannot yet be stated.

The CUAS 2022 Sandbox will build upon the demonstrations seen at CUAS 2019. While the breadth of technologies in 2019 was interesting many were not yet at a sufficient readiness level for operational use and/or their effectiveness left operational, integration, and command and control concerns. With the threat drone's increasing complexity, size, and speed, it is time for an additional Sandbox to provide the opportunity for new or improved innovations in this difficult problem space.

While UAS threats come in many sizes, those of concern in this particular Sandbox are:

  • Micro UAS with typical characteristics of: <2kg, up to 200ft Above Ground Level (AGL), normal mission radius of 5km Line of Sight (LOS);
  • Mini UAS with typical characteristics of: 2-15kg, up to 3000ft AGL, normal mission radius of 25km LOS; and
  • While operating at high speeds up to 200 kph.

The increase of the availability, complexity and capabilities of such UAS is posing increasing threats to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) elements including observation of such CAF elements and what they are doing, delivery of weapons against them including UAS loitering weapons, as well as swarming attacks by multiple UAS concurrently. Additionally, potential adversaries are now adapting UAS designs in response to the development of CUAS capabilities, to reduce visibility, minimize radio-frequency emissions, increase autonomy, and operate at higher velocities making current CUAS capabilities increasingly obsolete.

Operational Scenarios

The UAS threats occur in a variety of operational scenarios, five of which are of specific interest to defend against. Note that not all scenarios will be duplicated in the sandbox itself, even if evaluated for sandbox selection purposes:

  • Operating Base. Defending a Forward Operating Base (FOB), airfield, or VIP conference location in which a Counter-UAS system can be in a static location once deployed, and where equipment size and power consumption is not a major issue. The perimeter of the area to be defended is circle with a 2.5km radius, so the combined location and quantity of the systems used must be within that circle with an effective range extending beyond that perimeter in all directions.
  • Mobile Vehicle. Defending a mobile vehicle force element such as a patrol of five vehicles, in which the CUAS system must be vehicle mounted and powered for mobility, creating a defensive bubble around the centre vehicle while on the move.
  • Dismounted Personnel. Defending a small element of 12 dismounted soldiers or a VIP group in a static location, in which case the counter UAS system and its power source must be "Person Portable", ideally also operating while the group is on the move, creating a defensive bubble around the group.
  • Urban Environment. Functional in urban scenarios such as complex and cluttered infrastructure, obstacles, and electromagnetic environment. The area to be defended is a major city downtown location square of 4 city blocks, with office towers up to 10 stories high on the blocks to be defended and the surrounding area.
  • Naval Environment. Defending a ship that is (i) underway in littoral waters that vary from large straits to confined entries to harbours; and (ii) alongside a dock or anchored in a harbour. The equipment must contented with obstacles such as the ship's superstructure, the unique electromagnetic environment surrounding the ship, the various speeds and movements of a ship, a variety of coastal, urban, and port landscapes, and it must be able to withstand prolonged exposure to the marine salt environment.

CUAS Outcomes

While each operational scenario can have different parameters and priorities at any one time, the common counter-UAS effects sought are to:

  • Detect and track the UAS before the UAS detects / observes / acts against CAF units. This range, altitude, and bearing based aspect varies with the type and capability of sensors that the threat UAS is using.
  • In addition to basic detection, the associated and more precise aspects of recognition and identification are also of interest, with the following definitions for this Sandbox:
    • Detection means that the solution is able to consistently distinguish an object from the background clutter.
    • Recognition means that the solution is able to recognize the broad class of an object's type (is it a mini/micro UAS, or a larger UAS, or an aircraft, etc.?), and by consequence reduce the likelihood of nuisance alarms.
    • Identify means that the solution is able to specifically determine details about the object detected, and differentiate between types of mini/micro UAS.
  • Prevent/limit the UAS's ability to transmit any data it collects.
  • Prevent/limit the UAS's ability to close within its sensor or weapon range of our forces, noting that this range varies with the type and capability of sensors and weapons that the UAS is using.
  • Concurrently overlaid with the above, countering swarms of such UAS.
  • All conducted with a system whose internal functions are seamlessly integrated, as well as being externally integrated into the CAF's broader command and control systems enabling mutually supportive decisions and actions across layered capabilities without having to monitor and operate each capability / system manually.

CUAS Methodologies.

The general methodologies for achieving such CUAS effects can be characterized as:

  • Active detection, in which the CUAS system is transmitting a signal in order to detect the UAS (such as radar), which has the disadvantage of potentially revealing the location of the transmitter, depending on the technology used.
  • Passive detection, which conceals our own position and relies on detecting the UAS from effects it generates (such as visual detection, electronic signatures, audible noise, etc.).
  • Non-kinetic neutralization as a soft-kill, using means such as radiofrequency effects or other methods to deter, disable, take over, or otherwise mitigate the UAS.
  • Kinetic neutralization as a hard-kill, using ammunition, nets, entanglers, missiles, or other means to physically disable the UAS.

CUAS Areas of CAF Interest. DND/CAF is open to receiving sandbox applications regardless of the technology used; however, as DND/CAF is using the sandbox to build and increase our knowledge beyond what is already known certain technology types are of higher interest. The overall process for determination of which applications are selected to attend will be made as described in the sandbox Call for Applications, noting the following:

Selection emphasis in the following technology areas can be expected provided their performance is relevant:

  • Interceptors
  • Hard-kill munitions
  • Beyond line of sight capability
  • Networks of low cost sensors
  • Systems already designed for integration into external command and control systems

All technologies selected for the sandbox must be operated in a safe manner. The following technology areas may have restrictions imposed during actual demonstrations at the sandbox to ensure compliance with regulatory and safety standards:

  • RF jamming
  • Lasers
  • High powered Microwaves

Innovators, Experts & End-Users

Participating Innovators Country Proposal Type
AerialX Canada Detect and Defeat
CACI, Inc.-Federal USA Detect only
Drone Shield -2 USA Detect and Defeat
Echodyne Corp. -2 USA Detect only
Edgesource Corporation USA Detect only
EOS Defence Systems PTY Limited Australia Detect and Defeat
Hensoldt Sensors GmbH Germany Germany Detect and Defeat
LiveLink Aerospace Ltd United Kingdom Detect and Defeat
MyDefence A/S (Pilot) -3 Denmark Detect only
SkySafe USA Detect and Defeat
Teledyne FLIR Unmanned Aerial Systems ULC -2 Canada Detect and Defeat
Thales Canada Inc., Optronics Canada Detect only
DND/CAF/RCMP Subject-Matter Experts and End-Users
Canadian Joint Operations Command
Canadian Army
Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Air Force
Canadian Special Operations Forces Command
Defence Research and Development Canada
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
US Department of Defense Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate

Eligibility and How to Apply

The call is now closed.

Who can apply?

  • Applications are open to individuals, academia, not for profit organizations, and industry of any size, as well as provincial, territorial, and municipal organizations.
  • Federal government departments/agencies, and federal Crown Corporations are not eligible to submit applications to this CFA.
  • Foreign companies can apply. Sandboxes are not exclusively restricted to made in Canada products / solutions; however, the level of Canadian content within each application will be given consideration during the evaluation process as described in section 6 of the Application Form.
  • How developed must my solution be? Solution Readiness Level 5 or higher. At a minimum, at the time of application your solution must have already successfully completed the work and validation testing associated with refining the integration of the solution's components (Solution Readiness Level 5 or higher). This ensures that solutions are ready for the near-end state demonstrations and testing in a simulated environment that DND/CAF expects in a Sandbox. Learn more about Solution Readiness Levels (SRLs).

Applicant Guide & Application Forms

The call is now closed.

The Applicant Guide is your one stop shop for everything you need to know:

  • Eligibility and How to Apply
  • Criteria
  • Responsibilities
  • CUAS Sandbox
  • Selection
  • Funds
  • CUAS Challenge
  • Test Plan
  • Photos

You can download a PDF copy of the Applicant Guide here, as well as the forms you will need to complete for your application to attend the Sandbox:

Some users report an error message when opening the Application form from their browser using Chrome. Internet Explorer does not seem to have this issue. In most cases this can be corrected by downloading the form to your computer (right-click on the link, Save As…) and opening it from your hard drive. If you continue to have problems, please contact us at IDEaSSandboxes-EnvironnementsprotegesIDEeS@forces.gc.ca and we will email a direct copy of the form to you.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be posted here while the Call for Applications is open. Many questions can be answered by reading the full Applicant Guide while this Call for Applications is open.

Please submit your questions to: IDEaSSandboxes-EnvironnementsprotegesIDEeS@forces.gc.ca
If you have any questions on IDEaS program in general, please visit the IDEaS FAQ page.

Q. When I click on the Application Form I get an Adobe error message and the form won’t open.

A. Some users report an error message when opening the Application form from their browser using Chrome. Internet Explorer does not seem to have this issue. In most cases this can be corrected by downloading the form to your computer (right-click on the link, Save As…) and opening it from your hard drive. If you continue to have problems, please contact us and we will email a direct copy of the form to you.

Q. I've notice a contradiction between some information on the website versus the information in one of the available documents to be downloaded.

A. Please note that in the event of any discrepancy between the information in the downloadable documents and the IDEaS website, the downloadable documents take precedence unless otherwise indicated.

Q. Are multiple submissions permitted?

A. Multiple submissions from one applicant are permitted, provided the solutions are thoroughly different from each other and not simply a variation of the same method or technology. Each solution must be submitted with its own complete application package. The determination of the degree of difference and acceptability of each additional submission shall be at the sole discretion of DND.

Q. Is there a Canadian content requirement? Can foreign companies apply?

A. Foreign companies can apply. Sandboxes are not exclusively restricted to made in Canada products/solutions; however, the level of Canadian content within each application will be given consideration during the evaluation process as described in section 6 of the Application Form.

Q. I'm confused by section 14 on the DND form 552 Application for Spectrum Supportability. What do I do?

A. DND 552 is only required if your solution emits radio frequency energy. Section 14 of the form on page 1 need not be completed at this time.

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