The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) has entered into a new research and development partnership with Epirus, an expanding growth technology company developing counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (cUAS) for the private sector, the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20) tasked the NNSS to create cUAS testbeds and encouraged NNSS to utilize the facility through the Strategic Partnerships Program (SPP), which led to the formation of the partnership with Epirus.
Within the NNSS’ portfolio is the Site itself, a unique 1,355-square-mile outdoor, indoor and underground experimentation and training user facility located in a remote, highly secure area of Southern Nevada. As an integral component of the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, the NNSS provides applied engineering innovation, high-hazard test and evaluation, and operating services for the U.S. Government and its allies—as well as other strategic partners, such as Epirus.
Recently Epirus Chief Executive Officer Leigh Madden and Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Dr. Bo Marr, came to the NNSS to conduct onsite industry engagement with the Epirus Systems. Three weeks of intense testing culminated in capability demonstrations for senior Defense and NNSA officials. During this period, the team flew more than 800 flights and accomplished all of their experimentation goals. Of note, a rare blizzard hit the NNSS during the second week of testing; while this could have derailed the work, the infrastructure and facilities managers at NNSS managed to get the snow cleared and operations underway with minimal lost time.
The Epirus Leonidas System is a cUAS with the power and precision to disable multiple threats across a wide area or neutralize a single system in tight, crowded spaces.
The partnership between the NNSS and Epirus is one of the first of many upcoming partnerships with private companies that are actively engaged in national security work, allowing new ideas to emerge from a broader range of expertise.
This particular partnership will continue as a multi-year project. Over time, the complexity of the testing will be enhanced by increasing distances, trying different types of Unmanned Aerial Systems and having a variety of complex scenarios.