The US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) has acquired an unknown number of hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS) that are capable of blocking enemy electronic signals in "contested areas".
Acquisition information has been included in the Department of Defense (DoD) budget estimate for 2021.
The DoD does not provide detailed information on the capabilities of the "classified" drone developed by Project Hornet, other than noting that the mini-plane is "versatile" in design and can block a range of electronic devices.
Owned by Special Forces Command
The information provided indicates that the system has successfully "demonstrated" its capabilities, adding that the project has been "converted" to special forces command and is awaiting distribution to US Army special forces.
American forces are currently using a variety of UAS for kinetic and surveillance purposes.
This is perhaps the first instance of an officially mentioned project in which a UAS is specifically designed to counteract the opponent's electronic communication.
British Army troops stationed in Mali have recently been equipped with mini drones, fired from grenade launchers, that offer similar capabilities.
The drones are designed to carry a range of payloads that can be used for kinetic and non-kinetic functions, including disrupting enemy electronic communications and sensors.
Disrupt insurgent telephones
Forbes listed the possible devices that could interfere with the Hornet and wrote that the UAS could "block signals for cell phones, walkie-talkies or other radios".
The point of sale suggested places where the system could be optimally used and said insurgents in Iraq have long used cell phones to coordinate their operations.
In countries like Afghanistan and India, government agencies have successfully used cell phone control to prevent insurgents from using cell phones.
In Iraq, however, insurgents intimidate network operators in order to maintain cellular communications.
Block GPS devices
Forbes said a cell phone-sized GPS jammer on an unmanned aircraft could block or "spoof" an entire city's Global Positioning System (GPS), adding that the system could also be used to disable enemy radar to put.
Robert Bunker, further proof of the system's effectiveness, security and counter-terrorism, told Forbes: "One of these electronic warfare drones could position itself over a terrorist or insurgent security camp to electronically isolate it before it is ambushed."
"The drones could be used to electronically isolate and suppress specific targets within a tactical bubble."
Bunker also provided that Hornet could be used to disable drones used by militants.
"A convoy could launch one of these systems in a counter-UAS mode to neutralize an enemy drone with weapons," said Bunker.