The U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)’s Sensing for Asset Protection with Integrated Electronic Networked Technology (SAPIENT) has completed trials with NATO in order to assess SAPIENT as a potential NATO standard for Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS).
SAPIENT is an open software architecture that helps different sensors, interfaces and decision-making modules work together with little or no software engineering, and can improve efficiency through use of autonomy.
SAPIENT’s Interface Control Document (ICD) was tested during the Counter-Unmanned Aerial System Technical Interoperability Exercise (C-UAS TIE 21). During the air defense exercise, SAPIENT proved highly successful in providing the standard for underlying information exchange.
It enabled more than 70 connections between C-UAS and Command and Control (C2) systems. It also facilitated 17 advanced Autonomous Sensor Modules (ASM) from different vendors to connect to 7 decision-making modules. In some cases this connection was completely plug-and-play, achieving zero-second integration time.
As a result, many suppliers of counter-drone technology have now adopted the SAPIENT standard. It has already been adopted by MoD as the standard for C-UAS technology.
“NATO TIE adds to the recent success of the SAPIENT deployment at Contested Urban Environment 2021 and builds on its adoption in the U.K. MoD counter small-UAS Strategy,” said David Lugton, Dstl Project Technical Authority for C-UAS systems.
“The widespread voluntary adoption of SAPIENT by industry across NATO was highly impressive, paves the way to an open commercial market of SAPIENT compliant C-UAS components and places the architecture as a crucial enabler as the demand for rapid C-UAS interoperability increases across the NATO nations.”
By providing a common standard for interfacing sensing, effector, fusion and C2 element, SAPIENT facilitates the use of autonomy and reduces the workload on operators. And by using the openly-available SAPIENT Interface Control Document, suppliers and partners can ensure they develop compatible modules, making integrations between systems quick and easy.
“Zero-second integration is really important,” said Dstl’s Professor Paul Thomas. “Rather than spending months or years developing a system, by which time the threat has changed or gone away, you can simply click together these pieces and they just work at deployment time. So you can respond to a new or an emerging threat by integrating the pieces you need at the time you need them.”