According to an Army official, half of the companies selected to demonstrate counter-Drone technologies to the US military in September dropped out owing to COVID-19 constraints and ongoing supply chainconcerns. According to Army Col. Greg Soule, the JCO’s procurement and resources division leader, just five of the ten businesses chosen by the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) made it to the three-week demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.
While Soule expressed hope that the pandemic would lessen sufficiently for more companies to attend future demos safely, he said that he wasn’t sure if future events would see a significant increase in participation. The JCO is banking on industry to deliver low-cost, off-the-shelf technology that can be rolled into the organization’s portfolio of capabilities. The JCO was founded in 2019 to identify solutions to counter small Drone on behalf of all the services.
The JCO can then decide whether to award prototype contracts to firms for further examination after examining data from the demos and white papers produced by the companies. However, suppose fewer businesses sign up for the demos. In that case, the JCO will have a smaller pool of technologies to pick from, potentially cutting off the US military from solutions needed to safeguard military sites and assets from small Drone.