The US Air Force unit charged with guarding a nuclear arsenal is searching for mini-drones designed to electronically dogfight other mini-drones.
A request for proposals released on 11 April by the Global Strike Command’s security forces directorate seeks a supplier for a small fleet of interceptor drones weighing less than 2.72kg (6lb) each.
This counter-unmanned air system (UAS) force would be launched against small commercial drones sold in the USA, according to solicitation document.
The USAF envisions defeating small drones by disabling their communications equipment. The USAF drone would first detect signals commonly associated with commercial drones and wait for the all-clear from a ground operator. It would then attempt to broadcast a jamming signal over a narrow 60-degree arc up to a half-mile away.
The jammer should be able to disrupt at least four major communications frequencies – namely, 433MHz, 915MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. The USAF also would attempt to jam the drone’s navigation signal, targeting both GPS L1 and GLONASS L1 both separately and concurrently, the solicitation documents say.
Up to 38 anti-drone systems will be distributed across eight Global Strike Command bases, including Barksdale, Dyess, Ellsworth, FE Warren, Kirtland, Malmstrom, Minot and Whiteman, housing the USAF’s strategic bomber fleet and managing intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The USAF expect the supplier to deliver all 38 systems within 90 days of contract award.