The Defense Department launched a five-day competition early this year to test experimental technology platforms such as laser weapons and nets as part of a potential $700 million program to counter unmanned aerial systems used by the Islamic State militant organization, the New York Times reported Saturday.
The Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization held the Hard Kill Challenge at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and assessed the capability of 10 systems from nearly 12 government contractors to target armed drones.
JIDO organized the challenge to defeat the drones the militant group uses to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as to carry and drop bombs on Iraqi troops and other U.S.-backed ground forces.
Under the competition, participants had to zero in and destroy 30 hostile aerial drones that fly at least 250 yards away through the use of several classified technologies that include an attack drone with a net designed to capture enemy UAVs and four high-energy laser guns.
Lt. Gen. Michael Shields, JIDO director, and Lt. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, a top officer on the Joint Staff, leads a task force that DoD created in February to oversee the department’s counter-drone campaign.
“What we learned is there are limitations with various technology,” Shields said of the challenge.