The increasingly intensive use of drones raises multiple security problems that are now well identified, such as securing sensitive sites (critical infrastructure, transportation, prisons for example), and securing major events or military and strategic sites. The recent development of sensor and effector technologies tailored for these applications enable to build suitable counter-drone (C-UAS) solutions, but they often lack modularity and scalability due to the absence of standardization in the field.
CS GROUP, a pioneer in the C-UAS field who has operational systems deployed since 2016, has already taken into account this modularity requirement in the architecture of its BOREADES solution. BOREADES natively enables various sensors and effectors to be connected to the C2 designed and developed by CS GROUP, in order to propose a configuration suited to users' requirements and use case. CS GROUP has already integrated dozens of sensors and effectors into its BOREADES system. Thanks to their expertise in the C-UAS field, CS GROUP's teams are involved in several C-UAS related working groups, such as Eurocae's WG-115 and NCIA TIE21.
The TIE21 exercise, developed and conducted by the NCIA, aimed at identifying and evaluating standards for internal (between C2 and sensors or effectors) and external (C2 to C2) C-UAS capabilities interoperability, and brought together key industrials in the field. The standards implemented during the exercise were SAPIENT for internal interconnection, as well as ASTERIX and L16 (STANAG 5516) for C2 to C2 interconnection. CS GROUP has developed and validated the SAPIENT interface in its BOREADES C2 prior to the exercise. In addition, CS GROUP's recognized expertise in the field of tactical data links enabled us to be appointed as L16 "test lead" during the exercise.
The CS GROUP teams were present at De Peel air base, in the Netherlands, from November 2 to 12, 2021. We have implemented our BOREADES C-UAS C2 as well as STARLINX, our multi-TDL C2. CS GROUP was able to easily validate the implemented standards with the other participants. The interoperability objective has created a great collaboration spirit between all the participants, also facilitated by the NCIA teams who were very involved both prior and during the exercise. The ad-hoc scenarios, built with an increasing difficulty level over 3 days, were concluded with a drone swarm scenario, then followed by a superb drone light show dedicated to this exercise.
CS GROUP was fully committed in the interoperability objective, and thus deployed a minimal configuration around its C2 BOREADES. During the exercise, interconnections between the BOREADES C2 and various radar or RF sensors, as well as optronic cameras and jammer effector were implemented through the SAPIENT protocol. A total of 15 interconnections were achieved successfully, evaluated without any non-compliances.
The evaluation of the L-16 standard was also successful, and enabled to conduct an initial evaluation of the minimal set of messages to be implemented for operational communication between C-UAS C2 and external C2. The exercise was also an opportunity to propose some operational recommendations for the implementation of this L16 interface.
The TIE21 exercise was very successful as a first evaluation step of future C-UAS standards. CS GROUP will keep working in the C-UAS and tactical data links domains, and already prepares the next TIE22 exercise!