August 2, 2015
DoD Officials Observe Counter-Drone Demo in California
By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
POINT MUGU, Calif., Aug. 1, 2015 – Small, unmanned aircraft
systems, or drones, are easy to obtain and launch and they’re hard to
detect on radar, making them of particular concern to the Department of
Defense, according to officials taking part in the Black Dart 2015
counter-UAS demonstration held here.
Black Dart 2015, which began July 26 and runs to Aug. 7, is DoD’s
largest live-fly, live-fire joint counter-UAS technology demonstration,
Navy Cmdr. David Zook, chief of the Capabilities Assessment Division
with the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization, or
JIAMDO, told reporters yesterday.
Zook briefed reporters at Naval
Base Ventura County and Sea Range here. He said the demonstration is
bringing together some 1,000 people, including industry personnel,
observers from allied nations, and participants from four military
Small drones can be launched from virtually anywhere and fly a significant radius, Zook said.
“Small manned and unmanned aircraft have always been hard to find,” he
said. “It’s hard to tell the difference in the radar cross section from
that and other small airborne vehicles or even birds.”
2015 provides “a unique and very valuable window for us to come
together for two weeks here and practice in a littoral environment, a
land-based environment and a deep-sea environment in many different
scenarios,” Zook said.
Zook said the demonstration features
cooperation and interoperability among military services in air and
missile defense, while also assessing the anti-UAS capabilities of DoD,
its agency partners and industry.
Previous Black Dart
demonstrations have resulted in new systems or improvements in
technology, tactics, and procedures that have helped the warfighter, he
Staying One Step Ahead
One only needs to look at recent news reports to see incidents
involving members of the public using drones, including a quadcopter
that landed at the White House, said Air Force Maj. Scott Gregg, Black
Dart’s project officer.
Drones can easily be purchased over the
Internet or at a hobby shop, Gregg said. Defense officials are focused
on staying ahead of the threat, he said.
“If there is anything
that the terrorists have shown, it’s that they’ll be innovative and use
anything that they can at their disposal to do what they’re trying to
do,” Gregg said.
“What we’re trying to do at Black Dart is make
sure that we are staying ahead of the game and that we have a good
understanding of their capabilities before those capabilities outpace
ours,” he added.
The smaller class of drones is an “emphasis
item” this year at Black Dart, in response to concerns from combatant
commanders and interagency partners, including law enforcement agencies,
“It’s a problem for everyone,” he said.
More than 70 countries are using UASs, either in government or military application, Gregg said.
Gregg points out that radio-controlled model aircraft have similar
performance and capabilities to some of the UASs that are considered to
“It’s a burgeoning market. The threat is expanding
rapidly, proliferation is expanding rapidly and it’s not just a military
threat,” he said. “Our allies are using them, our coalition partners
are using them, but our adversaries are using them too.”