AID, the French defence innovation agency, supports CILAS and its project against UAVs named HELMA-P.
The French company CILAS has received support from the AID for its HELMA-P technology project, aimed at developing a laser system which has the capacity of neutralising hostile UAVs. Through the support of the AID (Defence Innovation Agency), the company "benefits from test campaigns and demonstrations at the Landes site of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) Missile Testing. The results were promising from the first week of testing," the Armed Forces Ministry said. The use of a laser for neutralisation makes it possible to diversify the military's modes of action while being able to free itself from the constraints linked to jamming, a technology that should be less and less effective. "The objective with HELMA-P is to have a versatile laser weapon system that can be used to neutralise drones or optronics and that can eventually be upgraded to neutralise rockets, artillery and mortars," adds the Ministry of Armed Forces.
While fight against UAVs affect both civilian and military environments, including DPSA and OPEX, the use of lasers is not trivial. While the Ministry of Armed Forces specifies that HELMA-P could be used to secure "convoys and tactical units", it did not go into detail on the frameworks for the use of such technology.
Pending the availability of an operational system, several series of tests are planned between 2020 and 2021. The first trials were conducted in October and showed satisfactory results. "The results were promising as early as the first week, in particular because of the very short neutralisation time. Several so-called "dummy" firings (firing towards the ground) were carried out at a distance of up to one kilometre on different UAV models. They demonstrated the effectiveness of the HELMA-P system with the in-flight destruction of several UAVs," added the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
Connecting the systems.
It now remains to be seen how the detection of the UAV systems will be carried out on the terrain on which the HELMA-P system will be deployed. Indeed, having a detection system is essential for the implementation of an effective UAV response chain. Being able to communicate the detection and neutralisation bricks represents a significant operational advantage.