Design and development of a counter-swarm prototype air vehicle
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Small weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that leverage new commercially available technologies are an emerging low-cost and easily available threat. These inexpensive vehicles can threaten ground forces and warships and easily overwhelm air defenses through saturation attacks, which are cost-effective due to the low unit cost. Current air defense systems are designed to counter low quantities of very capable but extremely expensive weapons, and in many cases cannot properly defend against attacks involving a large number of offensive weapons. To avoid the scenario of an opponent overmatching current defenses with emerging low-cost weapons, a missile-based interceptor system is proposed. This vehicle also makes use of new low-cost, high-performance commercial-off-the shelf (COTS) technology to attain the required performance metrics and deliver a payload capable of defeating multiple units, while still remaining cost-effective against the threat of low-cost small UAVs. This thesis describes the development of the mission, aerodynamic, structural, and recovery systems of a prototype vehicle intended to show that the concept of a low-cost delivery system for a counter UAV payload is valid and worthy of further development. Completion of such a vehicle covers a gap in existing air defense systems, disallowing adversaries an opportunity for tactical advantage.
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