US Army Successfully Tests ‘Venom’ Drone targeting System

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Defense contractor Northrop Grumman said Tuesday that the US Army has successfully demonstrated its Venom detection and tracking system at military maneuvers. At the Army Maneuver-Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX), the company’s Venom system demonstrated its ability to identify and track even small drones, and provide accurate targeting data while on the move.

It can be used on a variety of land vehicles

The ground-based targeting system relies on Northrop’s Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder (LLDR) to identify targets for delivery of precision-guided munitions. During tests, the system supported counter-drone functions from two different vehicles, providing target coordinates to other systems in the network to destroy the unmanned aerial systems. Northrop Grumman said the targeting system’s vehicle agnostic design means it can be used on a variety of vehicles.

Kay Burch, VP of communications, intelligence and networking solutions at Northrop Grumman, said adding counter-drone and on-the-move targeting will give the US soldiers “greater flexibility in mission planning and execution.” Venom features a mounted sensor controlled under armor for added protection. The Falls Church-based company has so far delivered more than 2,700 LLDR systems.

Venom works in all-weather conditions

The system is capable of recognizing targets in day/night/obscurant conditions, and has its own GPS/Elevation/Azimuth to calculate grid coordinates. Drones are becoming much more prevalent, so warfighters will require the capability to identify, track and destroy drones. In October, Russian company United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation revealed that it was developing a drone that could detect even hidden objects beyond visual range.

The testing of Venom took place about a month after the US successfully tested its THAAD and Aegis missile defense systems. It was a highly complex test of ballistic missile defense systems that required every single element to work together to identify, track, engage, and destroy the enemy ballistic missile threats. The US plans to deploy THAAD system in South Korea, Poland, and Romania to counter nuclear threats from North Korea and Russia.

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