DASA: Countering Drones

Key Features

Organisations call apply for a share of £800,000 in Phase 1 of the DASA Countering Drone’s challenge to develop the technology needed to counter Unmanned Air Systems (C-UAS).

Programme:     DASA

Award:     Share of £800,000

Opens: 9th Apr 2019

Closes: 29th May 2019

! This scheme is now closed


This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is seeking proposals that can develop the technology needed to counter Unmanned Air Systems (C-UAS) and demonstrate how these can be integrated together to form a capable system.


There are three challenges in this competition that are covered in more detail below. Your proposal must meet one or more of these challenges. They are:

Challenge 1 – Next Generation C-UAS Technologies

This challenge is focused on providing robust cost-effective security from the threat of drones that offer significant improvement over current systems. DASA are interested in technologies that:

  • require minimal manning in complex environments, 24/7
  • have a low impact on or risk to friendly forces equipment and personnel

Challenge 2 – Advanced and Flexible C-UAS Integration

This challenge is focused on:

  • how C-UAS technologies can be brought together in a flexible way and
  • how C-UAS sensor system outputs can be linked to other wide area surveillance systems and to cooperative drone awareness systems

Challenge 3 – Countering the Future UAS Threat

This challenge is focused on developing capability to detect and mitigate threats from UAS acting autonomously in highly congested airspace, both singly and as a swarm.

With the rapid advances in artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI/ML), sensing and navigation, future UAS are likely to have a high degree of autonomy. This may include capabilities such as:

  • being able to operate independently of active data and navigation links
  • UAS sense and avoid without operator intervention
  • automatic target identification and tracking
  • novel power sources
  • long term “perch and stare”

There is further scope information on all 3 of the challenges here.

Funding Costs

This is Phase 1 of the competition with £800,000 available. Phase 1 is expected to deliver proof of concept of proposed advanced technology components and subsystems, which could be developed and integrated into full C-UAS systems.

Individual proposals cannot exceed £100,000 and are expected to last up to 9 months. Proposals that exceed the £100,000 cap will be rejected.

Further phases are expected and will make the remainder of the total £2 million allocated to this challenge, available.

What are DASA looking for?

Your proposal should include evidence of:

  • innovation or a creative approach
  • clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to any defence and security context

The aim is to harness advances in integration, sensing, fusion, autonomy and non-lethal effectors to improve the ability of UK Defence to counter an adversary’s use of UAS across the battlefield while preventing or minimising collateral damage.

Some of these solutions may also be applicable to the security challenge faced in the civilian sector. This could include systems or components that deliver or enable:

  • flexible and rapid multi-modal integration, particularly adopting the SAPIENT concept(s)
  • low cost efficient sensors, particularly those compliant with SAPIENT
  • ideas to provide automated and networked sensing systems over wide and complex areas
  • methods of robustly defeating or denying current and next generation drones in a range of scenarios and environments
  • innovative ideas for significant and rapid improvements to extant systems for deployment
  • autonomous decision making
  • signal processing to improve discrimination and identification
  • networked approaches which may use existing sensing systems such as CCTV etc.
  • ability to identify, locate and track the UAS operator
  • airborne, mobile or expendable solutions


For this competition, DASA are not interested in proposals that:

  • constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews which just summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation (which therefore cannot be extended into Phase 2)
  • are an identical resubmission of a previous bid to DASA or MOD without modification
  • offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)
  • offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
  • offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions
  • offer manpower intensive detect, track and identification solutions
  • offer standard barrage jamming
  • offer highly bespoke, closed or crude integration
  • offer low potential for cost efficiency