In the 2019 Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the U.S. Air Force declared its intent to employ artificial intelligence (AI) and dominate the air, space, and cyberspace domains. While recognizing that adversaries are pursuing AI for their own gain, the Air Force strategy provides the ways and means to prevent competitors from gaining an advantage over the United States. It recognizes that leveraging AI means investing in the AI ecosystem: the people, computing infrastructure, data, and policies necessary to support any organization’s deployment of AI technology. Significantly, the document seeks to catalyze decisions in the upcoming budget and planning cycles to grow the Air Force’s AI ecosystem through focus areas and objectives.
Recent surveys of both the federal workforce and the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community highlight that budget and organizational culture, along with a dearth of technical talent in the workforce, are the most frequently cited barriers to AI readiness. Currently, DoD has limited investment in the education and training necessary to make AI a reality in the military. Further, investment in data and information technology (IT) modernization are difficult budgetary commitments. The Air Force’s strategy provides the clear and concise direction for decisions to prioritize budgetary allocations to workforce education initiatives, data management and integration, and IT modernization efforts. In a departure from historical precedence, the 2019 AI Strategy articulates the importance of incorporating open source software.
For several years, open source software faced skeptical audiences in DoD and the service branches as these communities often equate classified and sole source as secure and invaluable. By contrast, open source code is a foundation of software development, particularly in AI and machine learning. The strategy’s objectives to utilize open source software and algorithms support the adoption of both AI technology and software-driven capability throughout the enterprise. Further, the strategy synchronizes with existing efforts within DoD and should take advantage of ground already covered by others.
The Defense Innovation Board’s recently published Software Acquisition and Practices (SWAP) study and the ongoing AI Principles Project seek to address two barriers to AI deployment: an acquisition system ill-suited to software procurement and uncertainty on the boundaries of responsible use of AI in national security. However, an explicit commitment to an IT refresh is missing from the strategic focus areas. Learning-based AI solutions require access to computing power and modern computer infrastructure, a necessity on par with the data. As the JEDI cloud computing contract continues without a decision amid questions surrounding conflicts of interest, DoD may unintentionally incentivize the services to pursue their own bespoke computing solutions.
Regardless of a multi-cloud or single-cloud solution, strategic guidance is necessary for bringing an enterprise computing capability to DoD and the services. While the 2018 Department of Defense AI strategy and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center work across the defense establishment, each service has a responsibility to consider its own interests and responsibilities with AI. Army Futures Command is headquartered in Austin, a technology hub of talent, education, and industry. Army Directive 2018-18 established the AI Task Force under Futures Command with locations in the National Capital region and in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University. The Task Force must develop and implement the U.S. Army’s AI Strategy as well as coordinate with the Army’s cross-functional teams to advance Army modernization. Similarly, the Air Force recently announced its AI Accelerator program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to collaborate on AI research, development, and application. These moves reflect the new reality of software-driven capability—to get the best technology, the services need a presence with the best talent. Across the services, the commitment to AI innovation and implementation has been uneven.
The U.S. Navy has not publicly released direction on its use of AI. While the Navy and Marine Corps are reportedly increasing investment in AI, particularly advances in robotics and autonomous vehicles through the Office of Naval Research, the absence of strategic guidance from leadership raises questions on the prioritization of AI specifically and digital competency in general. Ultimately, the true measure of success will be delivering and integrating an AI capability in support of the mission. Digital literacy cannot be ignored by any service that wants to remain relevant in the twenty-first century. It is improbable that allocating the necessary budget, investing in upskilling the workforce, committing to an IT refresh, and deploying a technology that evolves at the speed of software could be executed and coordinated through years of budget cycles without codified strategy and guidance. By providing direction to the force and creating a mechanism for accountability within the organization, the Air Force is making a bet that it can set the pace for AI deployment.
Lindsey Sheppard is an associate fellow with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Commentary is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s). © 2019 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.
BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold travelled up to Cambridge to meet Dr Richard Salisbury, Managing Director of Thermoteknix Systems Ltd.
Dr Richard Salisbury is a candidate for BATTLESPACE Businessman Of The Year 2019
History of Technical Innovation, Service & Quality in Thermal Imaging
Thermoteknix was founded in 1982 and has a distinguished history of consistent technical breakthroughs in infrared (IR) thermal imaging and thermal measurement based hardware, systems and software application products. Recognized in 1998 by the prestigious ‘Queen’s Award For Export Achievement,’ the ‘Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation)’ in 2008, then again in 2015, Thermoteknix is one of the world’s leading sources of thermal imaging expertise and excellence.
“What drove you to form Thermoteknix in 1982 in such a technically challenging and cut-throat market with large multi-national corporations as your main competitors?”
“Thermal Imaging technology today is a mature science but in 1982 it was in its infancy. Back then, thermal imaging equipment was very large and heavy and the computer systems powerful enough to process real time video data and imagery only existed in Ministries of Defence. Such technology was certainly not commercially available to the scientific community, industrial monitoring nor law enforcement markets. At that time I was a physician specialising in Rheumatology at Cambridge, with both clinical medicine and academic research posts.
“We recognised the need for a computerised thermal imaging system to quantify inflammation, assess response to therapy and prevent long term damage to diseased joints. I had previous experience in this area having been a doctor at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath which was a leader in medical thermal imaging at the time. In collaboration with computer scientist Mike Prees, we put together a computerised hardware and software processing system for thermal imagers and realised that it had wider applications outside the field of our immediate use. We contacted Agema in Sweden, who were the manufacturers of the Thermovision 680 – the thermal camera we had already interfaced to our own designed digital electronics and processing software, which was then operating on an Apple II/CPM micro-computer. Agema recognised the potential of our technology for their customers and we formed Thermoteknix in order to commercialise and OEM the product to them for their global customer base.
“The “PC” market was developing rapidly and we saw the need to develop our technology into real-time video based image processing and to move the platform onto IBM PC/Intel technology. Our state-of-the-art electronics and software were ideally suited to the needs of another US infrared camera manufacturer, Inframetrics Inc, and we supplied them exclusively as an OEM with our wide range of Scientific, Military and Predictive Maintenance digital
hardware and software products. This arrangement endured successfully for 12 years until 1998, when FLIR purchased Inframetrics. Some years prior to this, we realised that reliance on a single customer and route to market embodied significant commercial risk and limitation to the company’s growth. We therefore needed to broaden the Thermoteknix portfolio by developing a range of vertical market products with our own routes to market.
“Early IR instruments were created by mechanically skilled developers in many companies yet they lacked the data capture electronics and software analysis tools needed to obtain the best value from the IR data generated by their instruments. With our unique experience and insight into the science of image processing, signal analysis and industry software standards, Thermoteknix developed TherMonitor® Reporter and ThermaGRAM® electronic hardware and software in the early 1980’s. We marketed them in partnership with leading IR camera suppliers for the next 20 years. Those products have become the ‘de facto’ IR industry standard tools and helped Thermoteknix’ marketing partners become the largest camera and systems suppliers of their time.”
“Was the defence and law enforcement market the key driver then?”
“No, defence and law enforcement markets came later with the development of our own thermal imaging cameras and modules. The scientific community was the main driver for our original OEM imaging market products with a focus on Research and Development, subsequently Predictive Maintenance and then Defence and Security. Running parallel to that was the development of a range of industrial thermal cameras built for continuous operation in the cement industry. These cameras must operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year in very challenging environments, subject to extreme weather conditions and exposed to high levels of dust, shock and vibration. Thermoteknix have now sold over 1000 systems in more than 50 countries around the world. Having created camera systems which survive outdoors in severe conditions, (-40°C to + 60C and up to 1200°C inside a cement kiln) we now had the experience needed to design, build, supply and support thermal imaging solutions for a number of other sectors. These included security, surveillance and defence where durability, robustness, miniaturisation and unfailing reliability are all essentials.”
“Recognising the ability of our products to withstand extreme heat and vibration, Formula 1 were interested in using our technology to record and manage on track tyre temperature and heat distribution – a factor critical to performance. In 2008, we were contracted to develop a real-time miniature thermal imaging camera suitable to be installed on F1 race cars to monitor tyre temperature during testing and race practice. The data recorded by cameras enabled F1 team engineers to make adjustments to the suspension and other componentry to optimise traction and handling. This huge success was followed by a project with Red Bull Racing who wanted a similar system for their IndyCar team. This led to our big break with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab who were working with CISCO to install systems on helicopters and Rapid Response vehicles. The team were also working on the Aegis Anti-Balistic Missile Defense system and we became a key supplier with our miniature thermal imaging cameras being used onboard for Aegis missile tests.
“Then came our most significant and prestigious contract to date which was working with NASA on the LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) program, a complex mission to confirm the presence of sub-surface water on the Moon. We developed and supplied a space certified miniature thermal radiometric camera which was installed onto the Lunar robotically controlled spacecraft to film the debris and material resulting from the impact when the Centaur upper stage booster was deliberately driven from space into the Lunar surface. Analysis of the resulting plume conclusively proved the presence of lunar sub-surface water ice. We were the only non-US company selected for the LCROSS sensor project and we also captured the first and only thermal images of the dark side of the Moon. It was a truly exhilarating moment when five of our Thermoteknix team attended NASA Ames Mission Control during the closing stages of the LCROSS mission to witness the impact of the Centaur rocket booster into the Moon and the thermal images captured by our camera following six minutes behind in its wake. We are also proud to have one of our thermal imaging cameras now permanently embedded in the Moon!”
“In 2004 FLIR purchased another key infrared camera manufacturer Indigo Systems. Indigo were an OEM customer of ours and we saw the need to drastically redirect our business. This was to take into account the growing trend to online sales and the companies like FLIR developing very broad product ranges to address the industrial, law enforcement and military markets.
“Our new strategy was to restructure the Thermoteknix product offering into three related yet separate market sectors:
Industrial systems, OEM thermal imaging cores and modules, and Security, Surveillance and Defence vertical market products. Our aim was to develop a range of leading technology, non-ITAR, low power, high performance, cost effective products incorporating the best Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) combined with our proven expertise in quality, reliability, customer support and service.”
Industrial – 30% with 10% compound growth p.a.
OEM Cores (Defence) – 30% with 10% – 30% compound growth p.a.
Security, Surveillance and Defence – 40% with 15% – 20% compound growth p.a.”
Thermoteknix Process Industry IR Monitoring Systems
Thermally driven processes in modern manufacturing industrial production plants require accurate and reliable monitoring for the overall plant success. IR measurement science offers ideal tools for process monitoring and optimization. The challenge of supplying effective instrumentation products starts with the harsh environments typical in cement plants, lime plants, paper mills, power plants and steel mills. Thermoteknix’ patented developments and creation of the Centurion IR linescan and ThermaScope® IR imaging video cameras, are designed for long life and high performance accuracy in the harsh environments found in these industrial applications. Thermoteknix WinCem® kiln shell scanning software provides 3D visualization of rotary kilns, WinStrip® networks thermal data and imagery within steel plants and Thermoteknix WinBrix® Refractory Management Systems provide major manufacturers with vital analysis, tracking and reporting in the multi-million dollar world of refractory selection and installation.
After more than 30 years, customers around the world still enjoy Thermoteknix on-going support including field service and are kept up to date with their Thermoteknix process industry monitoring systems. All major cement producers worldwide now purchase and rely on Thermoteknix Process Industry IR Monitoring Systems for use inside and outside their kilns.
The Thermoteknix MIRICLE® and MicroCAM range of OEM thermal imaging cameras were developed to offer integrators, system builders and end-users a self contained, high performance thermal imaging camera or module that exceed the performance of other units available. Thermoteknix thermal imaging cameras are available in a range of resolutions and lenses, from hermetically sealed space qualified units to hand held imagers, to multi-function target locators, fixed surveillance cameras and unattended ground sensors. Supported by Thermoteknix integral signal processing and image enhancement with flexible configurations, Thermoteknix thermal imaging cameras can provide a self-contained solution in a miniature package.
Thermoteknix continuously develops and enhances its thermal imaging products to today’s technology and in support of thousands of customers’ needs and applications in a wide variety of fields.
“You have developed an expertise in the development and manufacture of advanced cores?”
“We pride ourselves on the ability to design, manufacture and test our products under one roof. We have installed a top of the range shock test system as well as environmental test chambers to test our products to withstand the harshest conditions including weapon shock. Our in-house mechanical, electronic and software engineering departments are able to create vertical market off-the-shelf products as well as working directly with clients to develop or customise unique solutions to their specific program requirements.
The Thermoteknix range of MicroCAM 3 long-wave thermal imaging cores are suited to a wide variety of applications and are available with a choice of array sizes, pixel pitch and lens options. They also incorporate Thermoteknix’ patented XTi Shutterless Technology® so viewing is never interrupted. This also does away with moving parts making MicroCAM 3 ultra-reliable, silent and super power-efficient.
All MicroCAM 3 cores can be delivered as self-contained camera units or as OEM modules for integration into end-user products.”
The Thermoteknix Military and Law Enforcement range includes NVG image intensifiers, handheld and helmet mounted thermal imagers, target acquisition and location systems and image fusion devices.
The thermal and night vision range includes Thermoteknix NiCAM-14 NVG Image Intensifiers, TiCAM thermal imaging monoculars and binoculars, award-winning ClipIR clip-on thermal imagers for enhanced situational awareness using fused thermal and night vision and the small FuseIR monocular goggle combining high performance night vision and thermal imager.
TiCAM 1000C Target Acquisition and Location System
The Thermoteknix TiCAM 1000C is a day and night, rugged, surveillance, target location, acquisition and reconnaissance system that delivers accurate target location and real time visual and thermal imaging. It combines a LWIR uncooled thermal imager and high-resolution daylight CCD channel with Global Positioning System (GPS), eye-safe Laser Range Finder (LRF), Digital Magnetic Compass (DMC) and Laser Pointer. Targets are acquired quickly and accurately with a variety of methods to communicate essential location and target imagery to the observer and host systems.
Built-in image and video recording ensure that operationally critical information is recorded in camera or accessory device and presented in a clear format via the interactive user interface. The
TiCAM 1000C delivers a 24-hour capability in a wide range of challenging operational scenarios with a low training and support burden. The TiCAM 1000C is lightweight but housed in a compact, robust Aluminium clamshell case and operates from 8xAA batteries or external power. It can be connected directly to various Battle Management Systems (BMS) for real-time data exchange. Other TiCAM models in the range, including TiCAM 90, 600, 750, 1000A and 1000B provide a full suite of capabilities for the dismounted warrior or security professional.
ClipIR Small Clip-On Thermal Imager – Fused Thermal and Night Vision
The Thermoteknix ClipIR is a miniature self-contained uncooled thermal imager which attaches directly to most monocular, bi-ocular or binocular Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) to deliver fused thermal and night vision when required. This extends and improves operational capabilities in all dark and low light conditions by providing enhanced situational awareness and threat identification. Fused thermal imaging and night vision synergistically increase engagement capability for the dismounted fighter. This is particularly important in urban environments, in buildings, caves or on jungle missions where intensifiers alone cannot deliver operational effectiveness due to limitations of NVG functionality in such situations.
ClipIR – with patented Shutterless XTI Technology® is the only clip-on thermal imager with a real-time 40° Field of View fused image. Small and weighing only 150g, with 4½ hours battery life from 1xAA battery, ClipIR is a compact, powerful addition for every NVG.
FuseIR Fused Thermal and Night Vision Monocular Goggle
Thermoteknix FuseIR is a lightweight goggle combining thermal imaging and image intensifier. Helmet mounted, the FuseIR provides superior capability in all low light conditions or on missions in complete darkness. I² only, Thermal or Fused I2 and Thermal only operation can be selected from a dedicated mode switch, while choice of various overlay and edge enhancement modes and other operating parameters can be selected from a simple to operate scroll wheel. FuseIR plays a vital role in night time operations for key, fast response fighters and intercept users. ClipIR and FuseIR are not for sale or use in USA.
NiCAM-14 Monocular NVG
Thermoteknix NiCAM-14 is a small and lightweight night vision monocular NVG which is available with onyx or green intensifier tubes and a choice of performance levels to meet the demands of the night fighter, from patrol to special operations. NiCAM-14 is usually helmet-mounted but can also be hand-held or weapon-mounted. The Thermoteknix NiCAM-14 features a fully integrated mounting bracket allowing instant attachment of a Thermoteknix ClipIR thermal imager for fused thermal and night vision capability.
The NiCAM-14 is one of Thermoteknix’ range of image intensifiers which also includes the NiCAM-7 bi-ocular and NiCAM-31 binoculars, all compatible with Thermoteknix’ ClipIR thermal clip-on imager.
TiSIGHT-DV50 Direct View Thermal Weapon Sight
The Thermoteknix TiSIGHT-DV50 is a rugged, direct view thermal weapon sight utilising a Thermoteknix MicroCAM thermal core which delivers up to 14 hours uninterrupted operation on 4xAA Lithium batteries. TiSIGHT-DV50 has Thermoteknix’ shutterless XTi technology with silent operation and without interruption to live image display usually found in other thermal weapon sights which require regular image calibration, particularly when live firing.
TiSIGHT-DV50 has a machined high grade Aluminium housing giving long term durability but lightweight on the weapon. It has a standard Picatinny rail for automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles without the need to “zero” or calibrate the system. It can also be used as a spotting scope when not weapon mounted.
A Clip-On model,TiSIGHT-CO50 is available for use in conjunction with a standard weapon sight.
The key enablers for Thermoteknix military products are:
1. High quality, innovation and reliable performance
2. The ability to customise systems
3. The development of specialised products and systems
4. Price Competitive with added value
5. Product Support and the training and support of agents across the world
6. Attention to detail and working with customers to ensure that the relationship continues post sale.
“Given the current budget squeeze in the UK, has this affected your sales figures?”
“No, we are an international business with a broad range of customers across the world, so we are insulated to some degree from the current UK MOD budget problems. We are patient as priorities change and MOD programs invariably move to the right. Our goal is always to deliver and support the best performing, best value products. This is not always “cheapest” but through life cost, reliability, longevity and the performance engineered by design into our products bring us success. Obviously, our overseas customers take comfort in the ‘chosen by UK MoD’ label which they hold in high regard, and reduction in UK MOD spending affects the long-term survival of UK SME’s in the defence industry.”
Sales detail by Region:
1. UK MoD 10%
2. Mainland Europe 25%
3. Asia 35%
4. North and South America 25%
5. Other 5%
Thermoteknix currently employs 69 people at its Cambridge facility with agents representing their products all over the world. Many of these agents are highly qualified engineers with a breadth of capabilities from embedded and UI software through microelectronics in thermal imaging.
“How do you see Thermoteknix in the next twenty years?”
“My co-founder, Mike Prees, retired in 1992 and Thermoteknix has been family owned since then with my wife Geraldine as co-director. We currently turn over between £10-12m per annum without external investment. We have a history of innovation, recognised by three UK Queen’s Awards, technology development unsurpassed in the industry and a reputation earned over thirty years for quality and customer dedication by our long serving, and extraordinarily gifted staff. We work closely with our agents on the ground and we have products in use and still supported for more than twenty years. I am indebted to my wife and co-director, Geraldine who has shared the trials and tribulations and successes of our Company since its inception and to our children who have been part of our journey into the dark. I would obviously like one or more of our sons to take a role in driving the business forward in the future and to bring their energy and skills to grow and adapt the direction of the company. Finding the best staff is always challenging and the current Brexit debacle is a real obstacle to recruitment with its negative climate for stability, investment and business development. The sooner the UK’s position and role on the world’s stage are confirmed and agreed, the better it will be for UK PLC.”
“In the military product segment our mission is to develop and deliver a range of products extending from a simple sensor for the dismounted war fighter to a variety of sophisticated multi-function devices integrated across the battlefield and to the HQ.”
Dr Richard Salisbury, aged 69 has been married to Geraldine for 32 years. They have four boys, Max, an A&E doctor, Jonti, territory sales manager at Thermoteknix, Ben, European sales manager at the London Stock Exchange, FTSE Russel Group, and Charlie who is a data analyst at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Prestigious invitation to participate in the US Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments 2019
In the wake of escalating global interest in and sales of their game-changing SlingShot communications system, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd was selected to take part in the 2019 series of US Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments (AEWE 2019). AEWE, fielded by the US Army Maneuver Battle Lab (MBL) at Fort Benning, Georgia focuses on small unit modernization, providing capability developers, the Science and Technology (S&T) community, and industry with a repeatable, credible, rigorous, and validated operational experiment, supporting both concept and material development.
Spectra’s SlingShot is a unique, lightweight, low-power system that enables existing, in-service tactical military and commercial VHF/UHF radios to utilize commercial L-band satellite coverage (L-Band ComSatCom). The technology delivers Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) and Comms on the Move (COTM) with low-latency voice and data connectivity to radio networks for ground, vehicle, maritime or airborne platforms, with or without encryption. SlingShot’s unique capability provides reliable, secure communications between widely dispersed military forces and/or civilian agencies operating in austere and hostile environments, without the delay or logistical challenges of deploying additional infrastructure.
SlingShot was invited to take part in AEWE 2019 by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), chosen alongside a number of emerging technologies identified for integration into the US Army to gap future battlefield capability shortfalls. Extensive planning, testing and evaluation was conducted throughout 2018/9, including SlingShot achieving safety accreditation from the US Army Test and Evaluation Command, and culminating in an Army War Gaming Force on Force (FoF) Exercise conducted in February and March 2019.
Rigorous testing and evaluation in multiple tactical and operational scenarios
The Exercise consisted of US, UK and Australian military units operating in a wide range of squad, platoon and company level operational scenarios. These scenarios included movement to contact, offensive and defensive kinetic operations. During the scenarios the SlingShot system was evaluated extensively alongside various industry technologies, providing BLOS voice and data connectivity from tactical manpack recce sections to vehicle-borne forward observers and battalion level headquarters tactical operations centres.
The evaluation was conducted throughout by the Mission Battle Lab (MBL) analysis team, who led, coordinated and managed all aspects of data collection during the Networked Assessment and FoF Phases of the Exercise. This team included members from multiple participating agencies including the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCoE), the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE), and the British and Australian Armies. The analysis team collected data through various methodologies including observations from SMEs and user surveys. MBL personnel conducted focused interviews throughout the exercise, administering surveys at the conclusion of the experiment, focusing on the effectiveness and suitability of the system.
Four Soldiers from an Australian reconnaissance section employed SlingShot during the squad, platoon and company Situational Training Exercise (STX) phases of the FoF exercise. Vital system interoperability between commercial and military radios, UHF to VHF and vice versa, was proven in a number of operationally challenging scenarios using all three variants being evaluated – manpack, vehicle and operations room. Reliable, responsive BLOS COTM were maintained with all the SlingShot systems, including in vehicles travelling at 80mph and throughout the extensive Fort Benning training area and to a distance of approximately 40 miles North of Fort Benning where LoS communications failed. This distance could have well been many hundreds of miles more had it been required. During AEWE 2019, SlingShot further proved its ability to remove the necessity for hill-top repeater sites to extend radio communications, thereby negating the associated manning and logistic requirement for the provision of power, force protection and resupply.
AEWE 2019 findings confirm Spectra’s SlingShot’s ease of use, utility and effectiveness
The AEWE 2019 findings stated, “SlingShot performed as intended enabling the reconnaissance section to maintain communications with the battalion throughout the experiment. During the excursion, soldiers had no issues transmitting both data and voice transmissions, while stationary and on the move, from approximately 40 miles away. In addition, the system enabled interoperable communications between soldiers using various frequency bands and radio types. All four soldiers felt the SlingShot greatly increased their ability to communicate when terrestrial networks were not available. When asked to rate the effectiveness of the system for maintaining communications and position location information when terrestrial networks were not available, all four soldiers rated the system as effective or very effective.”
Summarizing, AEWE reported that, “Slingshot performed as intended, enabling the reconnaissance section to maintain communications when terrestrial networks were not available. The system proved easy to use, allowing Soldiers to rapidly connect and communicate without interfering with operations.”
Although aircraft and maritime assets were not available for AEWE 2019, SlingShot was utilised successfully in all the operationally challenging situations in which it was involved, in the manpack and vehicle roles. SlingShot is also able to provide BLOS COTM and interoperability on fixed/rotary wing aircraft and maritime platforms.
Spectra – A Global Sales Success
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd is an internationally renowned specialist provider of secure voice, data and satellite communications systems, specifically optimised for use in remote and challenging environments. They are a world-leading solutions provider of high-grade information security and communication capabilities, with over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries, Special Forces and private enterprises of all sizes. They were recently awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation Category for SlingShot.
Launched in 2013, over 3500 SlingShot systems are now in operation world-wide. The system is used by over 20 different organisations, in mostly NATO countries. Spectra continues to expand its SlingShot business into new markets. Globally, SlingShot is rapidly becoming the system of choice for tactical radio users needing increased range, flexibility and interoperability.
In Oct 2018, following contract successes in North America, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd established new offices in Fairfax County, Virginia with Spectra Group (US) Inc. Spectra Group’s permanent presence in the USA enables them to guarantee closer product support to their existing partners in North America, as well as dedicated product and service support directly to the end-user.
Spectra Group are now looking to expand their already substantial international sales into new sectors not currently covered by their existing US partners; a significant development as, globally, the USA offers the largest Defence, Emergency Response and Homeland Security market. As a dynamic, agile, security accredited organisation, Spectra can leverage their international delivery experience to also provide Cyber Advisory and secure Hosted and Managed Solutions on time, to spec and on budget, ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices.
BATTLESPACE Editor, Julian Nettlefold met up with Bill Guyan, senior vice president and general manager of the Leonardo DRS Land Electronics business.
There is little doubt that most major corporations have defining moments in their history, which map the future of the company and its ability to capture key market sectors.
The 2002 acquisition of Paravant, albeit small in dollar terms in comparison with other DRS acquisitions, was key as it provided Leonardo DRS with a focused and agile engineering-led business that has grown to become a major provider of tactical computing, mission systems and networking solutions to the world’s militaries. The Editor was privileged to visit Paravant in 2001 at its Palm Bay, Florida facility, when it was a small to medium size enterprise making rugged computers. This business has grown into a world leader for the design, development and manufacture of rugged military computer and display systems and integrated mission systems for the world’s armed forces. The sheer numbers are impressive, as the facility has already produced over 300,000 computers for the U.S. Army and over 40,000 for the British Army. The company has also established strong positions with many other international customers including the Dutch Marines, Australia Land Forces, UAE GHQ and the Indonesian Army. The latest Mounted Family of Computer Systems II (MFoCS II) award last May signals the potential for another 10 years of high volume production, as the U.S. Army moves to “pure fleet” its more than 130,000 already fielded, and battle-proven systems.
On April 3rd 2019 Leonardo DRS received its first production MFoCS II delivery order for the next-generation of U.S. Army mission command computing systems. This modular, scalable system supports the Army’s new Network Modernization Strategy for ground combat vehicles, combat service support vehicles, and command posts.
The initial delivery order, worth $132.1m, was placed with the Leonardo DRS Land Electronics business unit by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Office of the Defense Information Systems Agency on behalf of U.S. Army Program Manager, Mission Command and US Army Program Executive Office – Command, Control and Communications – Tactical. The original contract award for the program was awarded to Leonardo DRS on May 25, 2018.
50 Year History of Leonardo DRS
It’s worth looking at the history of Leonardo DRS to understand the Company’s vision in creating a world leader in military computing technology in the face of fierce competition from already established prime contractors such as Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.
DRS began operations in 1969 when engineers Leonard Newman and David Gross opened Diagnostic/Retrieval Systems. While they began only with a handful of Pentagon study contracts, the new firm quickly became a leader in passive submarine detection. Within a few years, the company was providing the U.S. Navy with the most advanced signal processing and display equipment of the time.
In 1997, the company changed its name to DRS Technologies, befitting its technology-rich portfolio and culture. In 2002, the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DRS. Battlefield or tactical computing was added to the core technologies after the acquisition of Paravant Computer Systems, Inc.
The rest, as they say, is history and on October 22nd 2008 Finmeccanica purchased all outstanding shares of DRS. The enterprise value of the transaction was US$5.2 billion, including the assumption of approximately US$1.6 billion in outstanding debt (including the convertible notes). DRS was then known as DRS Technologies, a Finmeccanica Company, with the retention of a proxy board in the U.S.A which enabled DRS to perform, and continue pursuit of lucrative sensitive and classified programs for the U.S. Government. In 2017, Finmeccanica changed its name to “Leonardo” for the famed Italian artist and engineer Leonardo Da Vinci. DRS Technologies changed its name as well, to Leonardo DRS, better reflecting the breadth of its still evolving heritage.
FBCB2 thru Bowman to MFoCS
Once Paravant merged into the DRS structure, the company embarked on a plan to establish DRS as the sole supplier for the U.S. Army’s Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Program. Installed on M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, these blue force tracking systems supported U.S. Army and Marine Corps operations. Supporting the Army’s overall battlefield visualization efforts, FBCB2 was developed as a digital battle command information system designed to provide commanders, leaders and soldiers, from brigade to individual soldier and across all the battlefield functional areas, with improved information for command and control and enhanced situational awareness.
This was achieved in the face of strong competition from the likes of Raytheon and Northrop Grumman and in October 2004, DRS Technologies received $39.5 million in new orders to provide rugged Appliqué Computer Systems for the U.S. Army’s FBCB2 program. Then, DRS was competitively awarded a five-year U.S. Army indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) full-rate production contract to provide FBCB2 systems, which exceeded $100 million in value.
The new orders were received from the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Work for these orders, including the design and manufacture of rugged computer hard disk drives and processor, display, and keyboard units, were performed by the company’s DRS Tactical Systems unit in Palm Bay, Florida. Delivery of more than 4,000 Appliqué systems commenced in early 2005 and continued throughout the year.
Incorporating the latest developments in digital information processing and networking, the FBCB2 system provided improved combat support, real-time command and control capabilities, enhanced interoperability and situational awareness throughout the force structure at the soldier, weapons and platform levels, assuring that U.S. armed forces keep pace with advanced technology developments of the 21st century. Interoperability with external command and control and sensor systems provided a seamless flow of battle command information.
The system supported lower-echelon battle command tactical mission requirements, such as real-time situational awareness, target identification and graphical combat area displays. The situational awareness component collectively displayed the geographical location of all weapons, platforms, soldiers, command posts and other facilities and was used in conjunction with the Army’s Tactical Internet (TI), a seamless Internet connection, for ease in communication. The TI interfaced with the Army Tactical Command and Controls System (ATCCS), collected information from both the operation center and the individual units and then disseminated it through FBCB2 computer and display systems for improved situational awareness.
UK Bowman Computers
The FBCB2 success was preceded in 2003 with a contract from General Dynamics (UK) Ltd worth over US$70M to provide processor and computer products for digital battlefield applications supporting British armed forces under the United Kingdom’s Bowman program. For this award, DRS provided Platform Battlefield Information System Applications (BISA) processor units, various tactical computers built around a common, modular design, Commander’s Crew Stations (CCSs) and associated computer accessories, including hard disk drives, keyboards and batteries. Work for this contract was carried out by the company’s DRS Tactical Systems units in Palm Bay, Florida, and supported by DRS’s UK facility (now an integral part of Leonardo MW Ltd) located in Farnham, Surrey, U.K.
“You are now established as the primary supplier of rugged computer and display systems for the British Army’s Bowman programme. Now that the momentum is building to develop and field the next generation of capability in the form of Morpheus, what do you see as your winning differentiator to position Leonardo DRS for the next generation of tactical computing that Morpheus will require,?” The Editor asked.
“The British Army seek best-value solutions to equip their forces. We expect to see requirements that encourage the innovative use of latest COTS technologies, while ensuring delivery of full-spectrum systems reliability and mission-critical performance. Advanced technology is key to Morpheus and to that end we are in the unique position to leverage U.S. commercial technology used in support of the MFoCS II program to serve as the source of not only the ongoing Bowman technology upgrades, but also in support of Morpheus. The result will represent the latest in ultra-rugged commercial-off-the-shelf technology in the form of Intel® Xeon multi-core processing units, solid-state hard drives, rechargeable battery technology and rugged multi-touch sunlight-readable GVA display systems. The other key factor in winning Morpheus is the ability of DRS to not only manufacture but also support these products throughout their lifecycle in the U.K.,” said Bill Guyan.
“What is the timescale for the Morpheus bid?”
“Having won the original Bowman contract in 2003, DRS has since won several competitive contracts to provide technology insertions and upgrades to the Bowman data terminal fleet. DRS won an additional contract to provide rugged tactical displays, rugged computing technology upgrades, and associated services for Bowman’s Legacy Systems Upgrade (LSU) now known as Bowman 5.6. The contract, awarded by General Dynamics U.K. to DRS Technologies U.K. Limited (DRS UK), valued at $51 million, reinforced Leonardo DRS as the major supplier of platform tactical computing to military forces in the United Kingdom through the Bowman program. We are following U.K. Army plans for potential refresh of data terminals in the 2021 to 2023 timeframe.”
“What are the key MFoCS technologies available for Morpheus?”
“It is probably safe to say that the primary technology for Morpheus has not yet been produced, given the continued rapid cycles of COTS technology development. Ideally, we strive to rapidly adapt the latest and most promising technologies for delivery as mission-critical capabilities for use by our military customers. We are proud of our demonstrated ability to limit the time lag between commercial availability and readiness for delivery as a qualified military product. We have been able to successfully leverage the same technologies used in the U.S. Army’s MFoCS program to support Bowman technology upgrades, with the supply of computer mainboards as a key enabler. That seems to be a model that provides the latest technology as good value for money and ensures a desired level of interoperability, security, and supportability. In addition, interoperability between allies is key to today’s combat operations and the common technology will enable not only seamless communications between allies but also worldwide logistic support in any war theatre.”
MFoCS I & II
In the U.S., FBCB2 developed into the Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) where, once again, DRS won competitions to secure and refresh its position as sole supplier to the U.S. Army for MFoCS I in 2013 and MFoCS II in 2018.
The MFoCS II family of systems supports the continued fielding and upgrades of the Army’s Joint Battle Command – Platform (JBC-P) and features critical system capability upgrades, cybersecurity improvements, and multi-touch displays. In addition, there are significant performance enhancements of the platform computing server as the Army continues to improve the JBC-P systems used for tactical situational awareness and global “Blue Force Tracking” and In-Transit Visibility logistics tracking.
“We are very proud to deliver these advanced MFoCS systems for joint service use to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. As the Army continues its modernization efforts, MFoCS will serve as a critical enabler of the Mounted Computing Environment and the Modernized Network. MFoCS II was designed to meet the extreme requirements of mission-critical reliability in the most demanding environments combined with robust security enhancements to ensure trusted performance today and into the future,” Guyan said.
“What gave you the cutting edge to beat the competition to win this contract?” The Editor asked.
“This was a “Best Value” competition. Three factors gave us the edge; our long history of proven performance supplying advanced computers in high volumes to the U.S. Army, our approach to providing not only the best but the most reliable technology and our ability to deliver on time and at a competitive price. A critical component of the MFoCS II system is the cyber-hardening technology inside the hardware. This Cyber Secure technology, called Edge-Assured™, ensures commanders are operating trusted and protected computer systems though all types of user operations. MFoCS II also retains key components and features of the first generation MFoCS platform, including a dismountable tablet, an expandable rugged platform computer and 12”, 15” and 17” sunlight readable rugged displays, featuring multi-touch functionality.”
MFoCS II: Enabling Army Network Modernization
The Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) II is a common computing solution that enables the platform-integration of consolidated requirements from a range of programs and military computing users.
- Tactical Sensors
- Tactical Networking
- Tactical Logistics
- Tactical Applications
- System of Systems
The Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) II represents the most advanced generation of rugged computers and displays ever engineered for military use. MFoCS II embodies the knowledge and experience gained through nearly 20 years of Mission Command and Battle Management Combat Experience with the U.S. Army Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P), Blue force tracking (BFT), Movement Tracking System (MTS) Logistics and UK Army Bowman programs.
MFoCS II deftly executes the software necessary for a range of applications — Command and Control, Manoeuvre, Logistics and Situational Awareness. In addition, it can run multiple software packages at full speed, simultaneously, and is engineered to accommodate future software demands.
MFoCS II signifies an improvement in system integration and display of current on-board sensors, such as Driver’s Vision Enhancer (DVE), 360-degree situational awareness cameras, gunshot detection systems; Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sights; Vehicle Health Management System (VHMS); Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) sensors; and more. When it comes to communications, the MFoCS II hardware infrastructure is also fully capable of providing embedded vehicle intercom, managing control of combat net radios, routing of data between terrestrial and Satellite Communications (SATCOM) radios and cross-banding between two different networks.
MFoCS II includes new technologies such as the Intel® Xeon Quad Core Processor, expanded memory, greater storage and enhanced Information Assurance (IA). These enhancements provide significantly improved processing capacity and efficiency to run next generation software applications such as Joint Battle Command – Platform (JBC-P), Forward Observer System (FOS) and the Tactical Ground Reporting (TiGR) System.
MFoCS II is backward compatible with fielded Mission Command capabilities. It integrates existing Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and future Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) capability into a powerful, modular and flexible hardware architecture.
MFoCS II supports Situational Awareness (SA) Command and Control (C2) and maneuver capability using next-generation computing and display hardware. These MFoCS II systems include dismountable Tablet PCs, Processor Units, keyboards, removable solid-state storage, Display Units, cabling and installation kits designed for various platforms — all engineered rugged for continuous operation in a wide range of military and combat environments.
“What of the future?”
“The future is bright for our company. The U.Ss Army is embarking on a series of modernization efforts to include Networks and new Manned and Unmanned Platforms. MFoCS is a VICTORY-compliant system at the foundation of efforts to move towards the Army’s vision for a Mounted Computing Environment (MCE). Internationally, budgets are trending up and commanders increasingly identify platform situational awareness as a critical modernization priority – to improve mission command capabilities, or command and control, AND to reduce the risks of fratricide. We are also committed to the development of GVA variants of our MFoCS II products and have already delivered early examples, which comply with many aspects of Def Stan 23-09. Our team is proud of having become the global leader in cyber-protected platform computing and displays for tactical platforms. We will continue to harness the latest in COTS technologies to enable increasing levels of capabilities for improved situational understanding through platform integration and sensor fusion. Mission critical systems must be reliable for use across the spectrum of operations. We know that Soldiers depend on our systems to work under the most extreme conditions. Our team is committed to always providing them with the edge.” Bill Guyan concluded.
15 Aug 19. Cohort is a company has a perfect profile for BATTLESPACE, ‘a focused mid-cap company specialising in technology including C4I and Cyber.’ To that end the Editor purchased some shares in Cohort in 2015 and 2019.
‘We create solutions to keep people safe. Acting with agility to find a better way, make smart decisions and meet customers’ needs. Where independent subsidiaries are free to grow and deepen relationships with the support of a steady hand. Bringing the expertise of the Group to the ingenuity of our businesses. To deliver purposeful innovation that protects us all.’
The independent technology group. Cohort plc.
The Editor has also known the Cohort management for many years when they worked at Alvis Plc. He remembers well the Press Conference when in 2004 GD announced the intended purchase of what was then AlvisVickers. CEO Nick Prest asked, “Have I done the right thing?” To which the Editor replied in the affirmative.
It’s worth noting here that before the takeover of Alvis by United Scientific Holdings (USH) in 1981, that Alvis was a prolific advertiser with its strap line Ad, ‘A Day In The Life Of a Scorpion.’ The USH management ran their business on a much lower key approach, so all advertising was stopped, a move, which in my view, lowered the perception of the Alvis product line in world markets. This dislike of advertising and PR semms to have migrated to the Cohort model.
Rumour has it that Nick Prest and Andy Thomis approached the then DMA and asked about purchasing a clutch of technology companies which could operate in their own right but be part of the Cohort umbrella.
Thus, Stanley Carter’s SCS (later merged with SEA), SEA, MASS, were purchased to form Cohort Plc which was then listed on the AIM. This was flowed by MCL, EID and Chess Dynamics.
From the outset Cohort has relied on its management divisions to have a free hand in management. However, in the 2000s the City was finding Cohort hard to understand given that other conglomerates were also failing in their ability to put their message across.
At the same time, Nick Prest branched out into another venture, the purchase of Shephard Press. We understand that he was on the losing team bidding for DSEI in 2008, so Shephard was the next choice after Alexander Shephard failed to sell the company to another publisher.
Nick’s main interest in Shephard was believed to be the Exhibition side as he had seen the amount of money he had to write cheques for when paying for Alvis representation at Exhibitions. However, the venture was short lived and the Exhibition side was closed in 2016, leaving just the publishing entity.
The Shephard purchase appeared to affect the relationship which BATTLESPACE had built up with Cohort companies.
However the reticence of the Cohort management to spend on Advertising and PR resulted in the continued perception of misunderstanding of the company in the City and defence industry.
Andy Thomis, although highly able, gives the perception of an amiable school master who is relieved that his class has squeaked through with a reasonable set of results, while Nick Prest gives the impression of one of aloofness with his interest seen as more intellectual than growing a company. More money was spent on City PR to prime the share price rather than product PR to broadcast new developments to the defence industry and MoDs.
To that end, in 2016, Jonathan Clegg was employed to look at the whole profile of Cohort to the City and MoDs alike. It was expected that a rebranding exercise would take place bringing the Cohort name to all subsidiaries. But this hasn’t happened for reasons not clear, one reason being having to gain agreement from every Cohort company.
However, the purchase of Chess Dynamics last year seems to have taken the lid off promoting Cohort. The recent appointment of a PR company to handle non-City PR appears to signal a change in policy to promoting the compnay; to that end Cohort ran a DSEI Open Day at a Crawley Hotel in July.
The briefs coincided with the results, delayed by the Chess acquisition, on July 23rd.
Cohort plc announced its unaudited results for the year ended 30 April 2019.
Highlights include: 2019 Unaudited
• Revenue £121.2m £110.5m
• Adjusted operating profit1 £16.2m £15.2m
• Adjusted earnings per share1 33.60p 29.08p 16
• Net (debt)/funds (£6.4m) £11.3m n/a
• Order intake £189.9m £76.6m 148
• Order book (closing) £190.9m £103.8m 84
• Proposed final dividend per share 6.25p 5.65p
• Total dividend per share 9.10p 8.20p 11
• Statutory profit before tax £5.7m £10.2m (44)
• Basic earnings per share 13.37p 18.95p (29)
• Overall results in line with expectations:
o Initial contribution from Chess better than expected
o Growth at MASS, SEA and MCL
o Weaker performance at EID
• Record order intake of £189.9m (2018: £76.6m), with better performance across the Group
• All the large order opportunities signalled last year were won – both renewals and new orders
• 81.84% of Chess acquired for an initial cash consideration of £20.1m in December 2018
• Chess’s Counter Unmanned Air Vehicle (C-UAV) system was deployed at Gatwick Airport in December 2018
• Dividend increased by 11% – dividend raised every year since IPO in 2006
• Strong order book and pipeline of prospects provide a good underpinning for revenue in the coming year.
• The 30 April order book of £190.9m underpins nearly £81m of revenue, representing 55% (2018: 46%) of consensus forecast revenue for the year. This has risen to 60% as at the end of June.
• Expect the Group to grow, including an improved performance from EID. • Financial resources in place for investment and acquisitions. Net debt expected to remain flat.
Commenting on the results, Nick Prest CBE, Chairman of Cohort plc said: “MASS, MCL and SEA all posted increases in profits and the result also benefitted from the acquisition of Chess in December 2018, partially offset by a weaker performance at EID.” Our record order intake of nearly £190m and an all time high closing order book of £191m gives us a strong base for the coming financial year. We also have a good pipeline of order prospects.” “Overall, we expect the Group to continue to make progress in the coming year and beyond, taking into consideration the budgetary risks of our main UK customer, the timing of exports and the strong opening order book”.
The Crawley Brief
What may also have prompted this brief, was the criticism in many quarters, including BATTLESPACE, that Cohort had not used the Gatwick UAV incursion and the subsequent use and purchase of its AUDS product to broadcast its capability in this new and exciting area of technology. The shares barely moved on that day.
The Crawley presentations were excellent and certainly pointed to the fact that Cohort is emerging from its reticence to broadcast its capabilities to the market. One key statement arising from the day was the announcement by Andy Thomis that Cory was now fusing its various companies to cover turnkey defence solutions under a Cohort umbrella, in short ‘A Combined Cohort Solution .’
The presentations were divided into Land, Sea, Air and Cyber activities from the various Cohort companies. The fact that the presentations were made under Land, Sea, Air and Cyber activities, may be a sign that the Company is about to centralise all its activities under the Cohort banner with a division of Land, Sea, Air and Cyber activities. This move would certainly make Cohort more understandable to the City and create a better corporate image.
Cohort in the Maritime Domain
Cohort supports the navies of 21 countries
• Delivering mission system components & systems for ships and submarines
• Sensors: Sonar (SEA), EO/Radar (Chess), EW Sensors: (MASS/MCL)
• Command & Control: (Chess / MASS/ SEA) Command & Control:
• Effectors: Torpedo Launchers (SEA), Decoy Effectors: Launchers (SEA), Gun Directors (Chess)
• Integrated Communications Systems: (EID/SEA)
• Training: (SEA) Training:
• Open systems
• Small & Large ships
KraitArray™ is a product family of low profile miniaturised acoustic arrays suitable for low speed towed or static applications. Systems Engineering & Assessment (SEA) have made use of their knowledge and experience of larger diameter arrays to develop this highly adaptable product that provides impressive performance with reduced power consumption, weight, drag and cost when compared with traditional line and towed arrays.
• Single 50m module
• Up to 32 acoustic hydrophones
• Up to 5 non-acoustic sensors
• Low power
• Analogue in the array but digital interface
• Designed for small unmanned surface vessels
• First deployed in 2016 Version 2
• Multiple modules – 150m max today
• Up to 192 acoustic sensors
• Up to 24 non-acoustic sensors
• Lower noise
• Low power
• Lower frequency operation and higher sensitivity
• Designed for a wide range of applications • First deployed 2018
Chess Dynamics Sea Eagle Naval Systems
Chess Dynamics manufactures a range of naval EO/IR under the Sea Eagle brand.
• Proven Surveillance and Fire Control Systems
• Deployed across Royal Navy & 7 international navies
• Detect – track – identify targets
• Provide target coordinates to gun
• Scalable solutions (OPV to AC)
Sea Eagle Family Sea Eagle FCEO Electro Optical Fire Control System
• Designed to interface with any naval gun
• Over 60 systems in service Sea Eagle FCRO Radar & Electro Optical Fire Control System
• All weather surface and air target engagement
• Delivering first production systems to launch customer in Q3
Sea Eagle EOSS Electro Optical Surveillance System
Sea Eagle EOSS is an electro optical surveillance system optimised for automated maritime surveillance on all classes of vessel. The system provides 24 hour passive surveillance and target identification through the use of thermal imager and daylight TV camera sensors (the system can optionally be fitted with a low repetition rate laser rangefinder). Enhanced capabilities delivered through 2019 giving a product refresh. Sea Eagle EOSS is in service with the UK Border Agency & French Navy
Sea Eagle FCEO Electro Optical Fire Control System
• 24-hour surveillance, tracking and fire control
• Gunfire control – ASuW, AAW, NGS
• New product in pipeline with enhancements including: HD sensors, Digital architecture and Automated target classification
Sea Eagle FCRO Radar & Electro Optical Tracking & Fire Control System
• Launched at DSEi 2017 as market disruptor
• EO + Radar allows 24-hour all weather target detection, ID and engagement with an option for HD sensors. Chess is delivering Sea Eagle FCRO to a launch customer. Very strong market interest, further orders expected.
Maritime Counter UAS (MCUAS) 20
• Based on our proven land CUAS systems
• Detect, track, identify and defeat drones at sea or in harbour
• Fully integrated into CMS
• Deployable mission module
At DSEI 2019 – Sea Eagle Family Sea Eagle FCEO Electro Optical Fire Control System Sea Eagle FCRO Radar & Electro Optical Fire Control System
Established in 1983, EID is a Portuguese high tech industry with deep know-how and vast experience in the fields of electronics, communications and command & control.
The company is focused in the design, manufacture and supply of advanced, high performance equipment and systems, mainly for the worldwide defense community. We are active in multiple countries worldwide, with customers in Europe, Africa, South America, Middle East and in the Asia Pacific region.
Products exhibited, working and demonstrated at DSEI: – ICCS 6 Naval Integrated Communications Control System – ICC-251 Compact Vehicular Intercom System – ICC-401 IP Vehicular Intercom System, NGVA compliant – Stanag 4754 – TWH-110 soldier radio system
Naval Integrated Communications Control System (ICCS) from EID is one of the world’s more widely used naval communications system. – ICCS 6 is a full IP version; – It is user friendly concerning operation – It is extremely competitively priced.
EID can customize the ships communications control systems to the specific requirements of navies around the globe – ICCS6 can be integrated with all brands of radio, satcom, modem and cypher equipment, etc., either legacy and new generation IP equipment – Furthermore ICCS can be customized for some land applications, such as Simulators (Operation and Hardware) for Navy Schools, BRASS (Broadcast and Ship-Shore communications), Ground based ATC, GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety at Sea), …
River Class batch 2, to be present at DSEI is equipped with EID’s ICCS – Over 140 systems supplied for warships pertaining to 12 navies: – More recent deliveries include Australia (Hobart Class destroyers), UK (River Class OPV), Netherlands and Belgium (M Class frigates), Portugal (Viana do Castelo Class and Tejo Class OPVs), 140+ systems have been supplied to 12 navies across the world.
Four decades of close cooperation with Army land forces around the world
• from the ICC-101 pure analogue basic intercom system to the new ICC-401 full IP intercom system
• from HF naval and army radio multiband equipment, to the current TWH-100 series personal radio
Introducing the ICC-401 at DSEI 2019
The new high range vehicular intercom system, NGVA compliant (STANAG 4754).
- Features ring topology and NGVA compliance – providing a higher performance and survivability – Radio agnostic – supports both legacy radios and new generation high capacity Software Defined Radios.
- Focused on the user comfort and security: Dynamic Noise Reduction(DNR), Active Noise Reduction (ANR), ergonomic, etc. TWH-100 series Personal Radio TWH-110 – a new member of TWH-100 series soldier radio – higher range, new waveforms and better performance for all tactical scenarios.
- Simultaneous voice, data and positioning report – 400MHz frequency band – Up to 4km line of sight range – Self managed network, repetition, 5 time slots, 2 PTTs – Seamless integration with intercom systems and higher echelon radios.
- ICC-251 compact vehicular intercom system – The most efficient mid-range intercom in the market today – Crew access to internal and external voice and data communications – Up to 7 crew members, 2 data terminals and 3 radio s – Analog and serial data interfaces – Dynamic noise reduction – Compatible with a wide range of radio equipment (new or legacy)
4000+ intercom systems have been sold to 12 countries worldwide.
SEA ASW Training Complete ASW Training Package
• Concepts: Theory / Knowledge / Awareness
•Tailored to user needs • Novel use of interactive video and simulation techniques
• Web based solution – classroom or remote
• Command: Command / Team Operation
• Collaborative – Commander, Operators, multiple platforms • Simulation based
• Allows teams to train in dynamic scenario – tailored for geographic region and force mix • Tailored to specific operations
• Sonar Operator • Simulation based, embedded
• Train using real software against defined scenarios – Anytime
• Combination of simulation and real equipment
*A Complete Solution Internal / External Communications Sonar Command and Control – Sonar & EW processing – Situational awareness – Fire control
Chess Dynamics Air Shield
Chess Dynamics showed Air Shield at the DSEI brief. Chess Dynamics has developed automated drone protection systems specifically for use at airports. The capabilities, launched at the British-Irish Airports EXPO, have been developed in response to the evolving sophistication and increased frequency of attacks on civilian infrastructure by unmanned aircraft, or drones.
Based on the military-proven Counter-Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) AUDS, installed by Chess at London Gatwick Airport following the sustained drone attack in December 2018 which closed the airport, the new scalable systems have been developed specifically to offer protection within the airport perimeter and flightpath for up to 10km from the runway.
Commenting on the rationale for development of the new systems, Graham Beall, Managing Director of the Chess Group, said: “The recent high profile drone attacks at international airports highlighted the urgent requirement for effective counter-drone technologies that meet the specific needs of airports to ensure public safety, and reduce the risk of costly operational downtime when suspected attacks occur.”
A Sky News investigation in February this year found that the number of drone incidents reported to UK police forces had risen by 40 per cent between 2016 and 2018 to 2,400 incidents, including dozens of reports of drones being flown within the flightpaths of airports.
Chess’s new C-UAS capabilities have been specifically developed to meet the needs of non-military organisations, including airports and areas of critical infrastructure. Based on two elements – AirGuard – protecting the airport perimeter, and AirShield – protecting the flightpath, the systems are configured to the specific requirements and desired level of security of each installation. Both systems are aimed at providing fully automated detection and alert to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) presence to minimise resource required, and significantly reduce the risk of error and security response delay.
AirGuard is a versatile, fully automated C-UAS solution, creating a 3D detection and protection ‘bubble’ around the perimeter of the airport. Incorporating multiple sensors including radar, acoustic sensors, radio frequency (RF) direction-finders and electro-optical (EO) video tracking technology, the system automatically detects and tracks airborne objects and flags an alert to the operator. Using real-time analysis of the camera output, the operator can classify the threat and use a simple system to respond to an emerging situation, escalating or downgrading the security threat as required. It also allows the operators to provide necessary security agencies with accurate information, including recorded video evidence for future prosecution purposes, whilst minimising potential disruption from false alarms.
The flexible system can be integrated into existing video management systems and security infrastructure to reduce both the cost of operation and resource required. It is available either as a fixed installation or can be mounted onto a vehicle – the latter designed to support smaller airports to provide greater flexibility.
AirShield offers Air Traffic Control (ATC) operations an automated UAV detection and alert solution to maximise protection of the flightpath up to 10km from the runway, enabling rapid decisions to be made, including ordering aircraft to divert their course, should a threat be identified.
Installed as a completely self-contained and stand-alone 3D radar electro-optic solution, the system can be fully integrated into existing ATC infrastructure. It is capable of auto-alerting operators of using radar detection and automatically enables real-time tracking and classification using multi-spectrum electro-optical video capability. The system is able to provide ATC with fast and accurate location, flight velocity and bearing data until the point where the UAV is no longer a danger to aircraft.
Discussing the development of the capabilities, Graham Beall said: “The AUDS counter-drone capability, which Chess’s technology is a major component of, is proven in military use, and it provided the basis of the initial solution that was delivered to London Gatwick in December, as part of their security response.
“The needs of airports are very different to those in a military scenario, and these new solutions, based on our existing C-UAS capabilities and the experience gained working with Gatwick, are designed to meet the specific requirements of civilian organisations – chiefly scalability, ease of use and minimising resources required, alongside the ability to provide automated alerts, reducing operational burden and potential risk of human error.”
• Bespoke ISO shipping container equipped with complete mission capable system
• Combines C-UAS combat proven electronic-scanning radar target detection, electro-optical (EO) tracking/classification and directional RF inhibition / kills
• Protects and improves survivability of the force, critical installations, and assets
2019 AUDS C-UAS has demonstrated operational capability with multiple systems deployed in combat operations since 2017
• Detects and defends single to swarm level UAS threats up to 3.5km
• Initialize/calibrate and begin operations within 5 minutes of start or less
• Single operator, intuitive GUI
• Self sustained for remote operation
• Deployable on naval ships or land
MIPS for Military Vehicle Systems
• 360° Protection Coverage
• Mission Configurable
• Automatic Detect, Track and Destroy
• RF Inhibitor options
• Interoperability with new Weapon/Munition Systems and Air Defence Guided Weapons
• Directed Energy options
• Solid state 3D air defence radar options
• High performance EO/Radar Tracking Systems
• Fully integrated to combat and C2 systems, mesh network
The Hawkeye Land Systems Family
Electro optical based intelligent sub-systems for surveillance, reconnaissance situational awareness, targeting, route clearance and weapon control and fire control systems.
The Hawkeye Land Systems include: Hawkeye VS Mobile Electro Optical Surveillance System, Hawkeye FS Fixed Electro Optical Surveillance System, Hawkeye CS Combat Electro Optical Surveillance System 40, Hawkeye AD M-SHORAD and GBAD Air Defense Electro Optical System with optional radar.