US Army showcases anti-drone cannon with mid-flight course correction missiles

© Patrick T. Fallon
As the United States has unleashed a Pandora's Box of unmanned drone technology in the last decade, the Army has prepared for the inevitable rise of other nations' drone forces with a drone cannon that it says has a range of more than a kilometer.

The Army shot down two "outlaw-class" drones in a test-run for its Enhanced Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) project, which is designed to oppose rockets, artillery, mortars and unmanned aircraft. The Army called the drill a "final technology demonstration."

Technology for the EAPS is being developed by the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Center as a more modern alternative to C-RAM, the Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar defense system.


EAPS uses a maneuverable 50mm cannon to launch course-corrected projectiles.

"The system uses a precision tracking radar interferometer as a sensor, a fire control computer, and a radio frequency transmitter and receiver to launch the projectile into an engagement 'basket,'" the Army said.

On August 19, the Army used EAPS to shoot down two class 2 unmanned aerial aircraft, a so-called "outlaw-class" system made by Griffon Aerospace, "using command guidance and command warhead detonation." The military branch said "intercept engagements occurred at over a kilometer range and about 1500 meters."
That test, only recently disclosed by the Army, was a follow-up to an April run, when EAPS intercepted an unmanned system for the first time. The August drill "was executed at a 50 percent greater range and exceeded the EAPS demonstration objectives," the Army added.

"It's unbelievable how much (drones) exploded," said Manfredi Luciano, project officer for the EAPS, adding that unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are ubiquitous now, and the US Army must be prepared.

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"Every country has them now, whether they are armed or not or what level of performance. This is a huge threat has been coming up on everybody. It has kind of almost sneaked up on people, and it's almost more important than the counter-RAM threat."

The Army will next configure approved counter-UAS requirements to a new design for a next-generation tactical system, the Army said.