Marine Corps’ new ‘fusion center’ will focus on counter-drone technology

Marine Corps’ new ‘fusion center’ will focus on counter-drone technology

The Marine Corps recently established a facility it calls a “Fusion Center” at its base in Quantico, Virginia, and its initial work will focus on anti-unmanned aircraft systems capabilities.

The office, which was established without much fanfare over the past few months, brings together personnel from a variety of organizations that play key roles in modernizing the Marine Corps and is seeking to transfer capabilities from science and technology companies through the acquisition pipeline. The purpose is to support the To Fielding.

“It’s all about geography. We can sit there and think, ‘What will S&T do for us in the future?’ And we look at it and say, “Okay, this is within the realm of possibility.” And then… you can say, “OK, how much overlap is there in some of these features?” Therefore, given a limited number of resources, it helps you understand which ones are needed to reach their maximum potential and fill the gaps. ” Gen. Stephen Lightfoot, director of the Marine Corps Capability Development Directorate, said during a panel discussion at the Modern Day Marine Conference on Tuesday.

Steve Bowdren, director of the service’s Land Systems Program Office, said the fusion center will help program managers “look to the left” for new opportunities.

“For me, and my program, is focused on cost, schedule, and performance, and schedule is the driving force. But we have to invest in looking to the left. Program managers need to look to the left. Take a look to see what’s in the S&T pipeline and what’s in the R&D pipeline. Understand what technologies are on the horizon so you can inform your next engineering change proposal. ,” Bowdren said.

“There are some things that we will be able to incorporate into the new program of record. And there are some things that we hope we can incorporate into the immediate program of record as some kind of engineering change proposal technology updates. Potential. It’s also possible in the software that we’re working on. So we’re very focused on the program managers always looking at the plans and the milestones. “And with this fusion cell, the resources are there to help you do that.”

Kevin Murray, chief technology officer at Headquarters Marine Corps, said the new fusion framework will initially focus on counter-drone capabilities.

Gen. David Walsh, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, said the fusion center has been operational “in the last few months.”

“There wasn’t really a ribbon-cutting ceremony,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting. “They’ve been kind of dropping into the fusion center for the last few months and building on top of it.”

Demand for new tools to counter unmanned aircraft systems is growing as U.S. forces and others have come under attack from unmanned attack drones in the Middle East, with officials warning that they will be able to attack Ukraine and Russia in Europe. He sees unmanned aerial vehicles playing an important role in war.

“If you just look at what’s going on in Ukraine and Russia and the number of small UAS first-person view drones. And if you look at commercial off-the-shelf technology, such as mobile phones that are used for signaling, There’s a lot of countermeasures going on there. And the longer it takes us to get there, the more we’re going to fall behind. “Yes,” Lightfoot told reporters.

“We know that’s a big part of the future,” he added. “If there’s any part of it, I think the changing nature of warfare, small unmanned aerial vehicles and counter unmanned aerial vehicles, is probably the biggest change that we’re seeing.”

Bowdren noted that the Corps plans to increase its anti-drone weapons. Previously, the service had limited tools available for this type of mission set.

“Five years ago, the Marines just had the Stinger.” [man-portable air defense systems]. That was it. “We are now in the process of deploying a complete set of systems to counter UAS in a way that can be quickly upgraded to respond to emerging threats,” he told reporters.

This includes the Vehicle-Mounted Light Maritime Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS), which the services are working to develop under the Joint Emergency Needs Program.

“We’re building a recording program for that. We’re going to test it out this year and look for position players next year,” Bowdren said.

The Corps is also developing MADIS, a system Bowdren described as its “big brother,” with initial operational testing and evaluation expected in the coming months. Those involved aim to put it into practical use next year.

“And on top of that, you have a medium-range interception capability that can defeat UAS up to Group 3 and then defeat UAS with anti-cruise missiles and other things. So that’s going to be operationally evaluated this year. , [we’re] We look forward to the potential rollout within a year from now,” he said.

Officials are also researching technology to protect military facilities from small drones.

“There are some systems that are urgently needed right now. But we are building a record program and if we can coordinate all the bids and get the contract in place by the deadline, we will roll it out within the next year.” We plan to do so,” Bowdren said.

john harper

Written by John Harper

John Harper is editor-in-chief of Defense Scoop, Scoop News Group’s online publication focused on the Department of Defense and its pursuit of new capabilities. He leads a team of award-winning journalists providing the latest news and in-depth analysis on military technology and how it shapes the way the Department of Defense operates and modernizes. You can also follow him at @Jon_Harper_ (his social media platform formerly known as his Twitter).

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