US soldier develops software to defend against Iranian drones

Sgt Mickey Reeve won Centcom’s inaugural Shark Tank-type event for his Unmanned Aerial System training software

A scale model of an aerial drone in a wind tunnel. Reuters
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A US infantryman has developed software that may allow the military to better train against the threat of drones, an increasing hazard in modern warfare.

Sgt Mickey Reeve developed his own counter-Unmanned Aerial System training software that simulates every drone system the US military has at its disposal, and can be used to mimic any kind of scenario or location around the world.

Sgt Reeve created the software from scratch while stationed at Prince Sultan Air Base in Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia.

He was inspired by the threats his team faced each day from Iranian drones.

“I felt that this was good training that my base and my team needed,” Sgt Reeve said on Wednesday.

“The way I designed it was to essentially build out the criteria to emulate any sort of UAS.

“It's not tailored to one UAS specifically, but can be broadly applied and there are tools to make that as specific to the information that we have about these threats.”

His software turned heads at the US military's Central Command, when in October he won the inaugural Innovation Oasis, a Shark Tank-type competition aimed at fostering innovation and ideas.

“Previously, we've tried to overwork the problem to a certain extent of having counter-UAS trainers that were very specific to one type of, whether Iranian or other drone, that everybody is going to be looking for," said Schuyler Moore, Centcom's first chief technology officer.

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“The beauty of his is that it's platform-agnostic. You can change it depending on the size, the speed and the payload that might be coming in.”

The Army Software Factory is now researching just how widely applicable Sgt Reeve's software could be.

"We're working with Army Software Factory right now, to build out that initial minimum viable product that Sgt Reeve had and to ensure that not only is it applicable to his base where he was in Saudi Arabia, but to multiple other teams," Ms Moore said.

Sgt Reeve’s technology may also be incorporated into Red Sands, an ambitious new programme focused on countering drones in the Middle East.

The programme, which was initially to be based in Saudi Arabia, will be “shifting throughout the region", said Ms Moore, “depending what the specific project is".

She said the programme was designed to help integrate defence against UAS in the region.

Iran drone exercises - in pictures

Updated: December 07, 2022, 10:30 PM