Hawkeye AD / M-SHORAD – A New Approach to ‘CLOSE’ Range Air Defence

Issue 83

Searching for an effective solution to bridge the C-UAS capability gap has presented the warfighter with a dilemma until AUDS© appeared on the market in 2015. Since then the capability has evolved into Hawkeye AD / M-SHORAD and now speaks for itself as a unitary system that delivers the entire C-UAS kill chain from detect to defeat. In its current configuration it is the only system that has been successfully deployed in an extreme, hostile environment and performed peerlessly. It now has a deservedly high reputation with the warfighter (US Army) who regarded and described the system as a game changer.

Evolution has been rapid. The current users were the first to see the benefits of adapting the capability and being able to deliver effect at the point of greatest need. This was done with great affect to the point that allied forces declared Mosul ‘Drone Free’ 3 months before the city fell. It is a fair probability that having lost a key asymmetric capability, Daesh’s’ freedom of action and manoeuvre was restricted and their military decline became inevitable. This particular lesson has not been lost on possible peer and near-peer adversaries

Maintaining this theme of what the benefits Hawkeye AD / M-SHORAD brings to the warfighters’ Order of Battle (ORBAT), we have seen that AUDS© created a safety umbrella under which other systems could operate unthreatened. Its’ secondary capability, enhanced situational awareness, early alert and warning and precision targeting delivered a hitherto unparalleled additional precision kill capability (sniper detection). Ultimately the enemy was unable to deliver an effective counter to AUDS© unlike other C-UAS systems that were deployed in parallel.

Outside of the contact battle, live experimentation has demonstrably shown that the use of drones against a force without an effective C-UAS capability has the effect of canalising forces. Drones, when used in the ISTAR / STA role are regarded as the greatest threat to deployed troops. They restrict freedom of action and manoeuvre, often to the point of paralysis. When used in conjunction with weaponised UAS, the enemy has a very effective and cheap means of area denial and stand-off attack. Having an effective C-UAS system, particularly a highly mobile one in Hawkeye AD / M-SHORAD, friendly forces are able to seize and hold the initiative by denying close-in air superiority. In doing so, it allows the warfighter to project force and capability at the right time and in the right place to create decisive effect. Therefore it makes the opponent stop and think and in reality this means surrendering the initiative. This was clearly demonstrated in Northern Iraq and allowed allied forces to retake control of the skies. much uncertain place for hostile sUAS3 state and non-state actors alike. Home-team success is measured as freedom of manoeuvre and action out of sight and influence of our adversaries. When integrated, employed and used as part of a wider layered defence capability, Hawkeye AD / M-SHORAD gives the warfighter greater confidence and trust in his ability to deliver effective force protection.