LE PLESSEY ROBINSON, France ― It’s expected the French military will soon receive a system to detect and “neutralize” small civilian drones
The Milad mobile anti-drone system, built by Communications & Systèmes, or CS, a specialist in mission-critical systems, is a military version of its Boreades civil system. It’s been adapted to meet requirements set by the Armed Forces Ministry, according to Egidio Cau, a technical director with CS, who spoke to Defense News on May 4.
The Paris police deployed Boreades last year as part of security measures for the July 14 military parade on the Champs Elysées, a high-profile event at which French President Emmanuel Macron played host to his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump.
Today’s concern is that small, off-the-shelf UAVs might fly over sensitive sites such as airports and public events. Those drones could one day be armed with explosives and flown to hit a military target at home or abroad ― an approach already in use by militant organizations.
”The threat is commercial drones,“ Cau said. ”These are small drones, which anyone can buy; they are very small, have small radar signature and are very agile.“ They also have a low heat signature, can be guided or fly on a programmed flight path, and they can be bought in a high street store.”
That threat assessment led to a tender for a military counter-UAV system, which attracted bids from the largest French defense companies. The Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office picked CS, which announced the deal March 5.
Cau declined to provide the contract’s value, but did say the deal was worth tens of millions of euros.
The Boreades system will be on display at the Eurosatory trade show, which runs June 11-15.
Two French agencies ― the National Research Agency and the Secretary General for Defence and National Security ― funded the work that led to a Boreades technology demonstrator, which began operating in 2016.
The Paris police acquired the Boreades system, which has been deployed around France, including at the 2016 UEFA European soccer tournament.
The requirements for Milad are to detect, identify, track and “neutralize” small commercial UAVs considered to be a threat. A “soft neutralization” approach is to jam the drone’s signals, forcing the UAV to land as required by its own safety instructions.
The Armed Forces Ministry has asked for delivery of Milad ”very quickly,“ CS said in a March 5 statement, and the systems will equip the Air Force, Army and Navy.
There is strong interest from foreign interior and defense ministries, Cau said. CS last year demonstrated Boreades to delegations from Belgium, India, Indonesia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
CS is the integrator of the Milad system, which includes a 360-degree 3-D radar from the Canadian unit of Flir, which also supplies the cameras.
MC2-Technologies supplies a jamming rifle that cuts the drone’s control signals, and there is an option for a counter-UAV net launcher, dubbed SkyWall, from British company OpenWorks Engineering. Safran optoelectronic binoculars can be included in the system.