Launched at the World Defense Show in Riyadh on 7 March, the technology company MARSS, headquartered in Monaco, has unveiled a new high-speed interceptor for use during counter-unmanned air system (C-UAS) operations.
In what is touted to be the world’s-first ‘drone killer’, that can reportedly knock out aerial threats at 80 metres per second, the design of the drone which is basically a quadcopter-type model with two 90cm-diameter wings, was designed in response to the growing and evolving threat posed by hostile drone operators.
The issue is: you need to protect your critical infrastructure in the middle of urban areas – you can’t put a missile system in the middle of a city. How do you counter such a drone threat without creating more collateral damage?MARSS chief executive Johannes Pinl
Apparently, a hostile drone attack against a Saudi facility eight years ago pushed forward the need to develop countermeasures against such attacks-he said.
With increasing weaponisation and nefarious use of drones in civilian and military operations, the British team at MARSS has developed a rapid interceptor to neutralize potential threats.
The MARSS Interceptor
Tech and specs
Offering an intelligent, cost-effective and low collateral solution to neutralising hostile drones, the MARSS Interceptor is fully integrated with NiDAR C-UAS and is capable of defeating category I & II drones head-on from up to 5km.
Touted to be the fastest interceptor on the market, the MARSS Interceptor is essentially a dual fixed-wing and quadcopter flight. Capable of fully automatic vertical launch, the interceptor knocks out hostile drones using solely kinetic force without the use of any explosive or jet fuel.
How is it launched and the targets intercepted?
The Interceptor is housed in a vertical smart launcher and connected to the NiDAR sensor infrastructure.
2. Target Acquisition
The operator launches Interceptor via a vertical smart launcher which in turn acquires the target using an onboard AI imaging infrared seeker.
3. Flight Pursuit
Once the target is identified, the interceptor chases it with dogfight manoeuvrability, at altitudes exceeding 2km, and high speeds over 80m/s.
|Propulsion||Non-energetic jet drive|
|Salvo firing||>3 in 10 secs|
|Tracking sensor||Ground NiDAR handover to onboard sensor and verification|
The concept essentially has all of the machine learning and image processing intelligence that we use on our ground-based sensor systems but is able to fly extremely fast over several kilometres and physically impact the threat drone systemStephen Scott, head of research and development
What sets the whole design apart is that since it doesn’t involve projectiles or missiles and depends solely on kinetic energy to down rogue drones, it becomes that much more feasible to be used in everyday settings- providing a visible counter-measure at major public events, for instance.
MARSS’s focus is about protecting infrastructure and protecting people and you can imagine it being deployed to protect critical national infrastructure globally or for large events, for instance the Olympics and big football and sporting events. Because it’s entirely software-controlled we are able to limit who uses it, where they use it and what they use it againstStephen Scott
The interceptor is currently being developed in the company’s Bristol research and development office and is slated to be available to customers about a year from now.
COVER: EDR Magazine