The 2016 edition of Black Dart, the Defense Department’s formerly classified counter-drone exercise, expanded to Eglin Air Force Base.

“Eglin will allow us to deliver added uncertainty in the way of providing multiple locations for launching UAS at different distances so we can explore the full nature of the threat and the full nature of the (defensive) capability,” Navy Lt. Cdr. Ryan Leary, the exercise’s director. said in a Pentagon interview, Breaking Defense reported.

“The exercise tested technologies for detecting, identifying, tracking and defeating or disabling Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Eglin also provides littoral and maritime areas where counter-drone technologies can be tested against real targets, he added. Two Aegis destroyers took part. Leary said.

2015 Black Dart focused on LSS (Low Small Slow) drones, 2016 used over 20 different variants of UAS,” Leary said.

Group 1 UAS  weighed less than 20 lbs. and fly lower than 1,200 feet and slower than 100 knots. The largest in Group 3, weighed up to 1,320 lbs. and lower than about 18,000 feet and slower than 250 knots.

Black Dart 2016 also tested “non-kinetic and non-destructive negation of threat UAS” – a necessity in urban areas, where simply shooting down a drone could risk injuries to innocent bystanders and property.”

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Photo courtesy of DoD