“Coast Guard Continuing Quest to Deploy Counter-Drone Systems” –Seapower

This article was in the print edition of the Navy League’s magazine, “Seapower.” Unfortunately it is not available on the on-line version of “Seapower.”

Interestingly the only photo with the article was of a light vehicle mounting sensors that appear to be identical to those we saw on a photo of USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC-1141) en route to become part of PATFORSWA, based in Bahrain. That sensor is the RPS-42, part of the Marine Air Defense Integrated System (L-MARDIS). This is the system that was credited with downing an Iranian drone that approached USS Boxer.

From the Company web site: RPS-42 is an S-Band tactical hemispheric air surveillance radar system. It is a member of the non-rotating, solid-state, digital radar family Multi-mission Hemisphere Radar (MHR), developed by RADA Electronic Industries Ltd. The RPS-42 is a pulse Doppler, software-defined radar platform, that can detect, classify and track all types of aerial vehicles – including fighters, helicopters, UAVs, transport aircraft, etc. at tactical ranges. A single radar platform provides 90º azimuth coverage. Hemispheric coverage is achieved when four radars are employed as a system. Mobile or stationary, the system can be integrated with any C⁴I system and other radars and sensors. The software is able for On-the-Move (OTM) Operation. The radar can operate either as a stand-alone or as part of a large-scale surveillance system. The Antenna is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) based on Galliumnitrid (GaN) Amplifiers. Its diameter is 50.4 cm, the max width is 16.5 cm. The achievable range for detection of the smallest drones (known as Nano UAV) is 3.5 km.

According to the Seapower article, the Coast Guard began its counter unmanned air system (C-UAS) effort in October 2019, in response to the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018. “…the Coast Guard instituted a pilot program and outfitted two units with and one cutter with C-UAS capability…”

The first line of defense is certainly electronic countermeasures, but apparently we are also considering hard-kill options.

“Also working with the DHS and DOD is Northrop Grumman, which has designed a “hunter-killer” concept for C-UAS missions. In October 2020, the company demonstrated its Mobile Acquisition Cueing and Effector (M-ACE) a vehicle mounted system capable of detecting, identifying, and tracking threats before cueing soft or hard kill effectors, including the company’s own M230 30-by-113-millimeter gun, which fires proximity fuse ammunition.”

The M230 is actually as lighter weapon than the M242 25mm used in the Coast Guard’s Mk38 mounts, at 130 pounds vs 262 pounds for the M242. It also has a lower muzzle velocity and shorter range. It is, however, the gun used in the Army’s Interim Maneuver Short Range Air Defense System (IM-SHORAD)

.A similar turret could provide cutters with a great deal of flexibility in responding to a broad spectrum of threats. (Note what appear to be RPS-42 radars, labeled MHR, Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar, mounted on the vehicle below.) The Navy might be interested in a similar turret for their light amphibious warship (LAW).

Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD)

6 thoughts on ““Coast Guard Continuing Quest to Deploy Counter-Drone Systems” –Seapower

  1. It would be good if the CG pulled in this turret such that it would open the gate such the navy might latch on. I just wish the Hellfires were swapped out for a 4 pack coyote launcher. I want more rounds available and I want them in something where they are not exposed to the elements.

    • The Coast Guard is never going to buy a weapon that the Navy (Department) does not use. In fact the Navy buys most of our weapons. But in this case, the Marines are already using the gun, Hellfire, and Stinger. I think the Marines also use a version of this remote weapon station on some of their vehicles so it would not be a great stretch to put it on ships.

  2. The Coast Guard is not likely to purchase small missiles, at least not until there’s a hot war. More likely that we get more ships and aircraft, all with guns of various types, some with provisions for, but not with anti-ship missiles. And that’s probably just the NSCs, OPCs, and maybe the PSCs.

  3. Puzzled as why Israeli company RADA choose the S-band for its RPS-42 in preference to the higher definition X-band or even a K-band, no doubting its capability as said to be able to track just a few inches long nano-UAVs out to 3.5km. The Navy new long range volume search radar, SPY-6 is S-band, still using the old AN/SPQ-9B X-band for short range fire control and spotting sub periscopes etc, must be missing something.

    Wavebands, S ~ 3 to 6″, X ~ 1 to 1.5″, K ~ 0.3 to 1″

    Would note the Charles Moulthrope navigational radar AN/SPS-78 is X-band

  4. Pingback: Remote Weapon Stations | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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