To prepare for unmanned aircraft system threats they may see on the battlefield, Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division participated in the Army’s first Counter-Small UAS home-station training session at Fort Carson, Colorado, from April 19-May 7 in advance of an upcoming deployment to the U.S. Central Command region. Soldiers simulated using the Mobile-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defeat System, or M-LIDS, which is a system of sensors and shooters mounted on a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle.
The U.S. Army will also deploy five-person, C-sUAS mobile training teams that will remain stationed in the CENTCOM area of responsibility to train other deployed units. At Fort Carson, 4th ID Soldiers learned skills that included power-up procedures and connecting different systems and components, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Jones, the systems integrator for the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The training will help counter UAS threats, which provide enemies with assets capable of collecting intelligence and performing reconnaissance and lethal attacks at low cost, such as drones.
“There are lots of enemy UAS threats that are out there on a pretty regular basis and that’s likely what we’re going to be faced with,” Jones said during an interview in May. “It’s really great to be able to have that opportunity to execute the training, and have the time to digest that information, because once we do get downrange, we don’t always have a lot of time to learn a new system. Many of these Soldiers in the class are your typical infantry Soldiers who don’t deal with a complex system of systems like this on a regular basis as well as enemy UAS threats. They’re focused on a lot more of your standard infantry tasks.”
The training included classroom lessons, hands-on interaction with the C-sUAS systems and a live-fire training session. The class, which consisted mostly of infantry Soldiers, was designed in accordance with the Defense Department’s recently approved C-sUAS strategy that focuses on the posturing of mission-ready forces capable of deterring UAS threats. The mobile training teams will be comprised of a team lead and about four system trainers with expertise in a range of disciplines, including threat systems, UAS pilots and air defense artillery. The curriculum will be tailored to each unit’s needs and will cover topics from basic threat identification and tracking to joint service primary UAS operations.
In 2019, then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper assigned the Army as the DOD’s executive agent for C-sUAS activities and former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy then established the Joint C-sUAS Office, or JCO, under director Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey. Through the JCO, the Army will develop integrated plans, technologies, training concepts, and doctrine, while focusing resources on efficiently countering the UAS threat. As part of the effort, the DOD released its C-sUAS Strategy providing the framework for addressing sUAS across the spectrum from hazards to threats in the homeland, host nations, and contingency locations.
The strategy outlines three efforts: ready the force by developing innovative solutions, defend the force with the provision of mission-ready forces that are able to deter and defeat UAS threats, and building the team by leveraging partnerships.DOD contractors and representatives from each original equipment manufacturer participated as Soldiers learned how to identify enemy threats from friendly forces. Those representatives included experts on the radar systems, electronic warfare and the gunner systems. Instructors broke down the course into separate training blocks, including sections on command and control, radar, and network, said Gary Cathcart, who works as the M-LIDS logistics lead for the Logistics Management Directorate, Army Rapid Capabilities Office.