Marines’ Anti-Drone Defense System Moving Toward Testing, Fielding Decision by End of Year

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April 9, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: April 9 on

The Marine Corps’ counter-drone defense system is transitioning from an urgent operational need (UON) to a formal program of record, but the program is trying to retain its speed and agility as it moves into testing and fielding.

Last year the Marines spun the Ground-Based Air Defense portfolio into its own program office under the Program Executive Office for Land Systems, and this year the office is speeding towards a Milestone C decision by the end of the year to field its Marine Air Defense Integrated System (MADIS) system-of-systems approach to detecting and neutralizing enemy drones.

Program manager Don Kelley told USNI News that this system-of-systems approach will be the key to MADIS’ success: it will allow the program to speed up its test and evaluation by taking some credit for the components’ previous successful tests, and it will allow the program office to create multiple related variants of MADIS to address evolving threats. The Marines had planned to focus on a version that would be installed atop Joint Light Tactical Vehicles for mobile protection and at fixed sites to guard small forward outposts, but a growing need for counter-drone protection at Marine Corps installations back at home may force a second program of record for a larger base-protection system that could still leverage many of the same components and software.