The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS Lassen (DDG 82), have tested counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capabilities during the Black Dart exercise, held off the coast of Destin, Florida, US.

Black Dart is the largest US Department of Defense (DoD) live-fly, live-fire, counter UAS technology demonstration.

During the exercise, which provided realistic training environment scenarios, the destroyers successfully tracked UASs that were launched from Eglin Air Force Base.

"We want to communicate and coordinate to expand our battlespace and reduce reaction time."

In the initial scenario, the operators were acquainted with the routes of the UAS to allow all the systems, linked operators and sensors to verify system settings and operator procedures.

Under the advanced scenarios, the routes of the UAS were unknown to the operators, to increase the realistic aspect of the training.

USS Jason Dunham combat systems officer lieutenant commander Carl Poe said: "The goal here is to test our organic sensors radar systems, camera systems and interface with the shore side operators who are testing systems for the same purpose.

"We want to communicate and coordinate to expand our battlespace and reduce reaction time we have from detection to engagement of these UASs."

The UASs were operated by the US Air Force Academy's Air Force cadets from Jason Dunham's rigid hull inflatable boat, which was located 2nm away from the destroyer.

This provided an opportunity for the cadets to test the UASs in a maritime environment as well as for Jason Dunham to test sensor and tracking systems from different ranges and elevations.

Image: An air force cadet operates a UAS during exercise Black Dart. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Maddelin Angebrand/Released.