Networking The Battlefield, Recon Centre Stage at Eurosatory
By Julian Nettlefold
The ability to network images across the battlefield from multiple EO/IR systems, from sniper sights to hand held reconnaissance sensors, is gathering pace. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold was briefed on the latest handheld reconnaissance technology available today at Eurosatory 2018.
Qioptiq, the South Wales, UK, optronics company has once again confirmed its Prime sponsorship for Owning The Night 2018.
Craig Taylor of Qioptiq said, “We are delighted to be the Prime sponsor for Owning The Night 2018. Owning The Night provides the MoD, industry and other users with a unique opportunity to discuss and demonstrate night vision equipment in a night-time environment which allows exhibitors to display the full potential of their systems.”
Nick Lindley of Symposia at Shrivenham said, “We are delighted that Qioptiq has agreed to return as Prime sponsor and we are very much looking forward to running the event in association with them. This year’s Owning The Night promises to be particularly good as Chepstow racecourse is the perfect location for the event”.
Julian Nettlefold of BATTLESPACE said, “Qioptiq has been a key supporter of Owning The Night since its inception and we are delighted that they have agreed to sponsor at our new Chepstow location. Holding OTN at Chepstow this year allows us to expand the scope and range of equipment on offer. With over 400 acres of display area and little ambient light, it provides a perfect location for night vision demonstrations.”
Owning the Night 2018 is to be held at Chepstow Racecourse, Monmouthshire, South Wales, UK, in Association with Symposia at Shrivenham, on Tuesday 20th November 2018 from 1000 to 2000 hours.
Owning the Night 2018 Details
Cranfield Defence and Security ‘Symposia at Shrivenham’, and BATTLESPACE Publications present: Battlefield Surveillance – ‘Owning the Night’
Tuesday 20th November 2018
Event time: 10:00
Monmouthshire, South Wales,
NOTIFICATION AND CALL FOR PAPERS
The 2018 biannual Owning the Night symposium is scheduled totake place at Chepstow racecourse on Tuesday 20th November. This location offers the best combination of presentation and networking facilities, and outdoor vistas for demonstrating night vision equipment. The demonstrations can be done from the balcony of private boxes, or under cover on the steps and hardstanding of the racecourse stand. Silks restaurant provides an excellent conference venue and has an expansive view of the course and park estate. The day will comprise a number of technology presentations and discussions, followed after nightfall by actual demonstrations including night driving and UAV technology. Onsite carparking is free and refreshments including a buffet lunch and evening supper are included.
The theme of the event is about helping the soldier not only to operate at night, but to manage the information and data that is available to him in order to improve decision-making in terms of both time and outcome. In particular, the conference will look to see how systems can deliver both better visibility and be fused with other informations streams. Owning the Night 2018 will give Defence, Police, Government and Industry a taste of the future and the ability to try the latest night vision devices from weapon sights through night driving aids to advanced target tracking and identification systems.
Call for Papers
If you wish to present a paper on a topic you feel is relevant to the theme, please submit an abstract of around 200 words by e-mail to Leanne Lawson; no later than Friday 7 September 2018. Papers should be planned to take 20 minutes to present followed by 10 minutes for questions. If you wish to express an interest in attending as a delegate ahead of online registrations please also e-mail or call Leanne directly on 01793 785648.
Thales Launches Sophie Range
On the opening day of Eurosatory, June 11th, Thales launched a new Thermal Imager to master Collaborative Combat at night as well as in daylight.
Thales took its Sophie range of thermal imagers to the next level at Eurosatory and presented for the first time Sophie Ultima, a lightweight very high-performance 4-in-1 thermal imager. The new product is ready for connected combat and augmented reality and will help to guarantee tactical superiority both night and day.
Sophie Ultima represents a new generation of 4-in-1 thermal imaging devices for dismounted soldiers. It combines tactical binoculars, an infrared target locator, a daytime laser range finder and a teleconverter into a single piece of equipment, significantly reducing size and weight while delivering even higher performance. At 2.5 kg, Sophie Ultima meets the need to progressively reduce the weight of the equipment deployed by armed forces.
Providing significant tactical advantages at night, it makes target identification possible over distances at which competing equipment can only recognise the target type. Most importantly, Sophie Ultima also provides tactical advantages in daytime operations by combining a high-performance glass day channel with the detection capabilities of infrared imaging. Through its ability to detect body heat at ranges exceeding 1 Km, this technology will allow soldiers to de-camouflage potential enemy soldiers that would previously have been invisible to the naked eye.
With Sophie Ultima, Thales proposes a thermal imager with expanded functionality and augmented performance. This enables it to deliver the benefits of collaborative combat such as augmented reality in a digitalised theatre of operations. Soldiers are able to detect sooner and engage faster, and as a result, strikes are faster, safer and more precise. The product architecture is fully modular to accommodate future operational requirements and technologies, and includes the new ‘eXtension’ concept, a family of plug & play accessories for future capability upgrades.
Sophie Ultima offers a significantly reduced instruction, training and support footprint thanks to common user interfaces and shared maintenance solutions, while still ensuring that suitable equipment is available for each task and mission. The new Sophie family will cover the needs of operational units from squadron leaders to Special Forces.
In recent years, Thales has sold 15,000 Sophie thermal imagers in 55 countries.
“The armed forces rely on Thales for its expertise in the connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity technologies that are key to their digital transformation. With Sophie Ultima, the soldier of the future will master the art of collaborative combat day and night.” Jean-Pascal Arrou-Vignod, Vice President, Optronics, Thales.
Thales Dismounted Innovation Laboratory
The Editor was also shown the new Thales Dismounted Innovation Laboratory system which combines an augmented reality system into a comprehensive EO/IR soldier system linking helmet mounted sensors with the soldier’s weapon system to allow targets to be located and transferred wirelessly from helmet to weapon without the need to bring the weapons to the shoulder position
“Before we realize it, military battles will be fought by a single unified combat machine composed of soldiers, vehicles, and sensors, all operating in complete synergy and in real time. Battlefield decision-making time will be reduced to seconds, giving a critical on-the-ground tactical advantage over the adversary. It’s called ‘collaborative combat,’ and it’s based on advanced technologies, where Thales is leading the way.” Thales told the Editor.
“Warfare has always been collaborative, but, in the past, military information was simply exchanged from one unit to another.” says General Alain Bouquin, former Commandant of the French Foreign Legion and a Thales defence consultant. “This means lost time. By networking all the fighting vehicles and the sensors they carry, military personnel can share information immediately, reducing the process of detecting and neutralizing a threat to a matter of seconds.”
With shorter response times, greater precision and optimised firepower, collaborative combat will combine new vetronics (vehicle and electronics) capabilities with the power of software radio to give tomorrow’s armed forces the edge — even when the adversary is numerically superior and has better knowledge of the terrain.
“The idea is to dominate the enemy with minimum of stress and effort,” Bouquin says. “Collaborative combat means going from commands based on reasoning to commands based on reflexes that rely on options analysed by artificial intelligence.”
What will tomorrow’s digitalised battlefield look like?
Here is a glimpse:
Tanks will be interconnected by Synaps, the Thales’ software-defined radio system so that they can communicate in near real -time. They will operate alongside wheeled armored vehicles equipped with common vetronics (vehicle electronics) to collect and transform battlefield sensor data into high-value protection and combat services.
To take one example, the vehicle’s optical and electronics system will include augmented reality software. Combined with the armored vehicle periscope, the crew will have a clear and detailed picture of the outside environment. With acoustic sensors providing 3D spatial coverage of the area around each vehicle, they can locate a shooter with even greater accuracy by automatically triangulating the sensor data from multiple vehicles.
The system immediately characterises the threat and alerts the crew, automatically deploying smoke rounds and/or flares to protect the vehicle. Special algorithms provide almost instantaneous support on how to respond to the threat. And because all the sensors are interconnected, it knows the exact location and weapon status of each platform. It can then use this information to engage the target with the most appropriate form of lethal force.
The concept takes advantage of Thales’ mastery of four major advances in the digital transformation:
* The Internet of Things will connect all the players on the battlefield –soldiers fighting vehicles, and weaponry – through cameras, sensors, GPS, and computers for a transparent, continuous flow of information. Soldiers themselves will be equipped with electronic devices that monitor important physical functions such as blood pressure or heart rates and transmit this information to local medical teams.
* Big Data will gather data from battlefield action, analyze it, and then store it in the Cloud.
* Cyber Protection will provide the cyber solutions such as sensors and firewalls necessary to detect abnormalities and to store data safely.
* Artificial Intelligence will provide algorithms for an automatic merger of all data to support the decision making process.
Thales’ solutions ensure mission readiness and simplify complexity so that military personnel can focus on strategic and operational decision-making. Thales is already offering live, virtual, constructive training in connected combat. High-performance simulators can replicate any cabin, environment and mission scenario, so that crews can train in an immersive high fidelity virtual operational environment. That will make them more efficient on tomorrow’s battlefields.
By contributing its technological leadership to bring all of these elements seamlessly together, Thales is making collaborative combat a reality. And that will connect to success on the battlefield.
The Editor visited UK night vison specialist Thermteknix to get an update on the company’s latest products from founder’s son, Jonti Salisbury.
History of Technical Innovation, Service & Quality in Thermal Imaging
Founded in 1982 and with 30 years of consistent technical breakthroughs in infrared (IR) thermal imaging and thermal measurement based hardware, systems and software application products, Thermoteknix has been driven by reliably taking care of our customers’ most challenging needs.
“Modern night time combat requires full operational effectiveness in varying conditions and terrains, from inner city to dense jungle. Image Intensifiers (I²) require some ambient illumination to operate effectively but they are defeated by excess light such as from street lights or headlights, camouflage, vegetation and from insufficient light on cloudy moonless nights, fog/smoke or complete darkness inside buildings. Thermal imaging is independent of light and operates in any level of darkness, fog and smoke but does not identify the features and textures shown by I².” Jonti Salisbury said.
TiCAM 1000B Multi-Function Thermal Imager
TICAM 1000B is a versatile security, surveillance and observation sensor for day and night-time use. The device is based on a MicroCAM 3 high resolution uncooled thermal image with Laser Range Finder, Digital Magnetic Compass, Real-Time in camera digital recording and GPS providing accurate location and co-ordinates.
Lightweight and compact, TiCAM 1000B is suitable for forward observation squads, search and rescue, infantry, border security and special units with varying levels of training.
TiCAM 1000B operates from internal AA batteries or external power. It can be connected to various information/command systems for real-time data exchange.
TiCAM 1000 LRF Target Locator
TiCAM 1000 LRF Target Locator is a versatile target acquisition and observation sensor for day and night-time use. The device has a direct-view optical channel for daytime use, a MicroCAM high resolution uncooled thermal imager, laser range finder, digital magnetic compass & GPS.
Lightweight and compact, TiCAM 1000 is suitable for forward observation squads, infantry, border security and special units with varying levels of training. TiCAM 1000 operates from AA or Li-Ion batteries or external power. The day-time direct-view channel needs no power, and other functions consume power only when used. It can be connected to different combat and command systems, using either a cable or wireless connection. In addition to its role as a transmitter of location information and coordinates, TiCAM 1000 can be used as a receiving terminal from external DMC/GPS. TiCAM 1000 is fully operational regardless of environmental circumstances and is able to measure a target’s location information accurately up to a distance of 6km, irrespective of the target’s global location.
FuseIR Fused Night Vision Monocular
FuseIR combines a high performance I² device with a powerful uncooled MicroCAM thermal imager in a small lightweight unit which delivers the best of both worlds: I², Thermal or Fused operation extending the user’s low light and night time capability for maximum situation awareness.
FuseIR is a mission-ready device with universal fast helmet mount attachment and quick release mechanism. All functions are quickly and simply accessed via a single control wheel specifically designed for left and right handed users even when wearing gloves.
FuseIR is based on a high sensitivity and high frequency response intensifier tube and Thermoteknix MicroCAM® 3 thermal imaging core. It is the only fused night vision device with Thermoteknix patented Shutterless XTI Technology®, so has no moving parts, is completely silent in operation and is ‘Never Blind.’ Supporting I² only, Thermal only and Fused Night Vision modes, FuseIR weighs just 400g and maximises detection and identification in a compact handheld/helmet mounted device.
FLIR Systems Recon V UltraLite
The Editor visited the FLIR Booth at Eurosatory to have a brief on the new FLIR Recon V UltraLite from Adam de Angelis and Tim McDowd.
Having the right equipment for the job is critical for military and law enforcement personnel. As technology progresses, more capability is demanded and portability, power and weight become critical factors. FLIR built the new Recon V UltraLite thermal monocular with this in mind.
The Recon V UltraLite, the latest version in the Recon series of thermal monoculars and part of FLIR’s Soldier Solutions family, weighs less than three pounds (1.4 kilograms), which is 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms) lighter than previous versions. The UltraLite allows military personnel and border patrol agents to see high resolution color images during the day as well as heat signatures day or night, and offers long-range detection, recognition, recording and geo-location. Equipped with a high-definition color display, laser range finder, GPS and digital magnetic compass, the UltraLite can be used as a handheld device or mounted to a tripod or other fixed location.
The Recon V UltraLite also has Wi-Fi connectivity and Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) network capabilities to provide warfighters network-centric awareness. Durable and easy to operate, the Recon V UltraLite uses commercially available AA batteries and features up to four hours of continuous use.
The Recon V UltraLite is sold directly through FLIR and is available today to military and force protection customers.
Fully operational at less than three pounds, the breakthrough Recon V Ultra Lite provides long-range target detection, recognition, recording and geo-location with an HD color camera and dual FOV thermal channels. Powered by commercially available AA batteries, the unit has a run time greater than four hours with smart power management. Combined with a highly accurate laser range finder, GPS, digital magnetic compass and intuitive user interface, targets can be quickly located 24/7.
Acute Situational Awareness
Recon V Ultra Lite has the latest 12-micron thermal imaging sensor with industry-leading processing and an HD color display provides outstanding image quality for positive target identification day or night.
* Rapid Target Classification
Built-in stabilization, 7.2x magnification, digital magnetic compass, GPS, and laser rangefinder provide accurate range-to-target and precise geo-location.
* Designed For Individual Field Operators
Light and easy to use, Recon V Ultra Lite minimizes operator fatigue and can survive the most demanding field missions.
Safran MOSKITO TI
During Eurosatory the Defense Material Organization (DMO) of the Netherlands announced the selection of Safran Vectronix AG, Switzerland (a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense) as part of the THIS (“Thermal Handheld Imaging System”) to deliver more than 1,000 units of the next-generation MOSKITO TI lightweight uncooled thermal imaging and targeting systems.
Selected as a result of an international competitive procedure, MOSKITO TI will equip various components of the Armed and Special Forces of the Netherlands
MOSKITO TI is a lightweight (1.3 kg), handheld system combining several high-performance sensors and modules including an uncooled thermal imager, high grade direct view optics (DVO), Low Light TV (LLTV) channel, a laser rangefinder (LRF), a digital magnetic compass (DMC) and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver.
MOSKITO TI will provide the Dutch Armed Forces with unprecedented operational capabilities and fulfill a broad range of operational needs, including day and night observation, target acquisition, artillery and fire correction, forward observer and Joint Tactical Air Controller, in all-weather environments.
Being recognized as the best of its class by several major international customers, MOSKITO TI is serially manufactured in Safran Vectronix centre in Heerbrugg, Switzerland.
Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aircraft propulsion and equipment, space and defense markets. Safran has a global presence, with more than 58,000 employees and sales of 16.5 billion euros in 2017.
Safran Vectronix AG, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, is a global leader in the state-of-the-art optronic equipment, systems and sensors for military and civil applications. Nearly 90 years of Swiss tradition and excellence in optics and precision engineering are reflected in our products – handheld laser rangefinders and night vision devices, tripod-mounted orientation and positioning systems and sensor modules for our OEM partners.
Wireless, lighter, networked, more powerful, less power hungry, longer range was the message at this year’s Eursatory for handheld recon systems, we very much hope to see them at Owning The Night 2018 demonstrated in their nighttime environment!