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US Army Trains With M-LIDS Counter-Drone System in Kuwait 

US soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division trained with the Mobile Low, Vehicle Integrated Defense System (M-LIDS) vehicle-mounted counter-drone system in Kuwait last month as part of the multi-national anti-ISIS formation Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

Detects and Kills

The Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle-mounted system uses a combination of sensors to detect aerial threats before disabling them, either through electronic jamming or destroying them with a 30mm cannon or the Coyote small drone.

The army has been investing in the Leonardo DRS system since 2017 under its LIDS program to counter small drone threats. The service awarded a $42 million M-LIDS contract and extended it by $190 million in 2020.

M-LIDS
A Mobile Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defense System (M-LIDS). Image: Spc. Damian Mioduszewski/US Army

Temporary Solution

Despite the recent award, the system is only a temporary solution for the joint forces, as the military is narrowing its counter-drone options from 40 to 8.

The army’s Joint Counter Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Office (JCO) announced a list of eight counter-drone systems for future investment and deployment in June 2020. The M-LIDS was not on the list.

The selected systems are divided into four categories: fixed/semi-fixed systems, mounted/mobile systems, dismounted/handheld systems, and command and control.

Likely Replacement

JCO director Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey explained the strategy: “Our goal is to align existing and future Counter-UAS technology solutions to best address operational needs while applying resources more efficiently.”

“This is really why the organization was stood up — to eliminate the redundancy that was being fielded.”

“So essentially moving forward, we will focus our investments.”

According to C4ISRNet, the M-LIDS will likely be replaced by the US Marine Corps-developed Light-Mobile Air Defense Integrated System. The system is the only mobile counter-drone system approved by the JCO. 

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