The first of the two winning projects is called SWADAR (SWarm ADvanced Detection And TRacking) and was proposed by the Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA) based in Capua, Italy.
We asked Domenico Pascarella, Senior Researcher and Head of CIRA’s System and Infrastructure Security Laboratory, to explain and summarise his team’s project:
“SWADAR proposes a technological solution for drone-swarm tracking to provide military commanders with an operational picture of swarm attacks. It uses a defensive team of drones, which tracks the hostile swarm from different perspectives. Defensive drones are equipped with proximal sensors to achieve the required resolution and sensitivity. A coordination mechanism and an ad-hoc network ensure the cooperation of the defensive team to maintain optimal performance for tracking. A fusion of the drones’ views is also performed to provide the operator with the common operational picture and to assess swarming metrics, which are key indicators to establish the most effective counter-actions and to possibly automate the decision-making of mitigations. Moreover, the tracking solution is extended with the automated recognition of the swarm-attack scenario and with the learning of new swarming behaviours. This guarantees the adaptability of the system in the face of evolving attacks. In the end, the human-interpretability of recognition results is allowed by a module based on eXplainable Artificial Intelligence.
SWADAR aims at supplementing air defence systems by introducing a line of protection against intrusions of drone swarms within critical infrastructures, both in the military and the civil fields. The same concept may be applied also for the protection of mobile platforms (e.g., convoys of military vehicles). Moreover, SWADAR integrates and customises state-of-the-art technologies, provided by European stakeholders to secure the overall supply chain. For example, drone kits and sensors are produced by European providers. Also, the simulation equipment for the learning of swarming behaviours may represent a core asset for other defence activities.
Currently, a five-year roadmap is envisaged for the implementation of the SWADAR prototype according to an incremental lifecycle, which will release three versions with increasing capabilities. Follow-on activities are expected for the prototype engineering, too. These include the management of safety and cyber-security aspects, looking also at the possible insertion in civil environments (e.g., integration in national airspaces)”.