Sponsored by Spectra Group
10 Sep 21. Spectra Group receives another SlingShot order from major European Customer. Spectra Group, the specialist provider of secure voice, data and satellite communications systems, has received an order for their SlingShot satellite communications system from an undisclosed European ministry of defence. The order is for specialist use by troops currently deployed on remote operations globally. This announcement coincides with DSEI taking place in London 14-17 September where Spectra Group will be exhibiting on stand H6-107.
Spectra Group’s SlingShot system is unique in that it can be integrated with in-service UHF and VHF tactical communications radios to extend the range from 30km to 1000(+) km on the move, in all conditions. By integrating SlingShot and Inmarsat’s L-TAC satellite service with in-service radios, the deployed troops have immediately gained communications capability that would otherwise not be available. In addition to Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) voice, SlingShot includes a data capability supporting critical applications such as situational awareness tools; GPS tracking; reporting and other data messaging without the requirement for ground-based line-of-sight rebroadcasting infrastructure. Enabling an extension of the in-service radios with the robust SlingShot system also means that troops do not need to carry both VHF radios (for line-of-sight) and UHF TACSAT radios (for strategic rear link). With SlingShot, a single radio can carry-out both functions. Finally, the small omni-directional antennas utilised with SlingShot provide manpack, land, sea and air platforms, with real-time Comms on the Move (COTM) rather than Comms on the Pause, as experienced with traditional TACSAT systems.
In March 2021, the British Armed Forces announced that they had equipped regular Army units with Spectra Group’s SlingShot system, as they deploy on Operations and Exercises, to enable tactical satellite communications across the area of operations. At the time, Major General Jonathan Cole, Director of Information and CIO of the British Army, said: “SlingShot is a fantastic addition to our communications inventory, delivering vital capability to deployed troops. Of particular note is the fact that the training burden is minimal as the system is effectively a ‘bolt-on’ to our current BOWMAN radios. SlingShot is a game-changer in allowing our troops to operate at reach without the additional requirement to deploy more troops to provide rebroadcast capability when operating at Battle Group level and below. I am delighted to be working with Spectra on the fielding of such an important capability”.
Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group, said: “We are very pleased to receive yet another order from a European specialist user group. We have seen SlingShot become a battle-winning capability used by Special Forces across the globe, but we’re delighted to see our SlingShot system now being procured for use on operations by this new customer for the first time”. He added: “The beauty of SlingShot is that it can be “plugged into” any in-service tactical radio system. Numerous Armed Forces, including the British Army, are leading the way with this kind of approach to the integration of SlingShot but we’re now seeing other global forces, including the USA, adopt a similar strategy to meet every Beyond Line Of Sight communications scenario”.
10 Sep 21. Inmarsat Launches Velaris Connectivity Solution for UAS. Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications company, has announced the launch of its advanced new Velaris connectivity solution, which is uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst for the safe and rapid growth of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) industry. Powered by the Inmarsat ELERA global satellite network, Velaris will provide secure communications for commercial UAVs – commonly known as drones – to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and seamlessly integrate with aircraft in commercial airspace. Backed by military grade cybersecurity, it allows operators to send their UAVs on long distance flights and access various applications, such as real-time monitoring, to ensure safe integration with other air traffic. In addition, Velaris allows a single pilot to remotely operate multiple UAVs at scale, making operations more commercially viable. Over the next seven years, the commercial UAV market is projected to increase from $2.32bn in 2021 to $11.29bn in 2028, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.39% during this period. This will have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of business and society, ranging from cargo delivery, urban transport and surveillance to emergency services and disaster relief, including the supply of critical items such as medicine, test kits and food for remote communities.
To support this fast-paced growth, Velaris will unlock unprecedented new digital automation capabilities within the UAV industry, leading to significant advances in safety, productivity, customer service, location access and accuracy, while also reducing the overall cost of operations. Importantly, it will also support the transport of people and goods in an environmentally friendly manner.
Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat’s Senior Director of UAVs and Unmanned Traffic Management, said: “Commercial UAVs have the potential to revolutionise a vast array of different industries throughout the world. However, to truly unlock their potential on a commercial scale, it is imperative that autonomous vehicles and unmanned aviation are safely and securely integrated into managed commercial airspace. That’s exactly what Velaris, as Inmarsat’s first global UAV connectivity solution, will deliver.
“Inmarsat’s unparalleled experience in air traffic management and aviation safety, combined with our established track record in civil and military UAV communications, ensures that we can support global regulators, air navigation service providers and UAV operators with seamless airspace integration. In addition, thanks to our ambitious and fully-funded technology roadmap, including our brand new ORCHESTRA communications network of the future, Velaris will continue to develop and evolve alongside the UAV industry, remaining its gold standard connectivity solution for decades to come.”
Inmarsat was recently crowned winner at the prestigious Air Traffic Management (ATM) Magazine Awards for its Pop-Up Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Platform, developed with Altitude Angel. Furthermore, Inmarsat is well-integrated in the air traffic management industry as a consortium member of Cranfield University’s recently opened Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC). The company participates in several projects that aim to revolutionise the future of flight, including the UK Government funded Project HEART (Hydrogen Electric and Automated Regional Transportation) – which is developing the country’s first automated, zero carbon regional air transportation network – and Airspace of the Future (AoF) – which focuses on integrating UAV services with the wider UK transport ecosystem.
“We work with our global partner ecosystem to develop UAV terminals that deliver smaller, more cost effective multi datalink solutions,” added Spouncer. “These are optimised for a wide range of use cases so that our customers can always have the highest possible standard of connectivity. I’m pleased to launch Velaris today. Coming soon after the launch of Inmarsat ORCHESTRA and ELERA, this truly emphasises Inmarsat’s long-term commitment to the commercial UAV market.” (Source: UAS VISION)
09 Sep 21. Peraton to Provide Customers With Global Communications Connectivity Through OneWeb Distribution Partnership Agreement.
– Addition of OneWeb network boosts Peraton’s portfolio of integrated global communications solutions
– Peraton’s global network to now reach remote regions in Africa and the Indo-Pacific in 2022
– Connectivity services to deliver improved flexibility, reliability, and capacity at reduced costs to current and future Peraton customers
Peraton and OneWeb, a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, today announced a distribution partnership agreement for Peraton to offer OneWeb’s low latency and cloud connectivity solutions to its critical government and commercial infrastructure customers.
OneWeb’s global, secure, and low latency satellite network built on 4G standards with Metro Ethernet Forum aligned products will dramatically advance Peraton’s capability to deliver secure, high-bandwidth, integrated global solutions to support its customers’ challenging mission needs in unfavorable operating environments. OneWeb’s open architecture and high throughput network will directly enable Peraton to offer seamless integration of remote and mobile sites around the globe in support of its customers’ most critical mission sets.
“The capabilities offered by OneWeb’s satellite network complement Peraton’s existing satellite and terrestrial services,” said Mike King, Peraton’s Chief Growth Officer. “We are now positioned to provide a more comprehensive suite of communications capabilities with the flexibility to go wherever our customers’ missions take them.”
“LEO communication represents a game-changing capability for maritime, aviation, defense, and other customers operating in remote environments outside of standard network coverage areas,” said Nate White, Peraton’s Vice President and General Manager of Communications. “These customers currently rely on more conventional satellite solutions with high latency, lower throughput and greater delivery costs. OneWeb’s LEO satellites services will enable Peraton to deliver improved flexibility, reliability, and capacity at reduced costs to our customers.”
Peraton adds OneWeb to the company’s extensive portfolio of communications solutions providing LEO capability as primary or as a hot backup to existing geostationary (GEO) satellites and fiber circuits for the DoD.
“OneWeb is delighted to join forces with Peraton to support a broad portfolio of national security, intelligence, federal, and commercial customers. The combination of OneWeb’s transformative connectivity solutions combined with Peraton’s expertise and customer intimacy will accelerate our growth in these markets,” said OneWeb’s Head of Government Services Dylan Browne.
The enhanced service delivery options enabled by OneWeb’s LEO network will increase the array of value-added communications services Peraton provides to its law enforcement, defense, and national, state and local government customers. This capability will also significantly expand Peraton’s global network reach by allowing the extension of low latency broadband services to even the most remote locations, including historically challenging regions in Africa and the Indo-Pacific.
This distribution partnership agreement builds on Peraton’s recent contract awards to provide commercial satellite communications services to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command.
Peraton drives missions of consequence spanning the globe and extending to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. As the world’s leading mission capability integrator and transformative enterprise IT provider, we deliver trusted and highly differentiated national security solutions and technologies that keep people safe and secure. Peraton serves as a valued partner to essential government agencies across the intelligence, space, cyber, defense, civilian, health, and state and local markets. Every day, our employees do the can’t be done, solving the most daunting challenges facing our customers. Visit Peraton.com/News and follow Peraton on LinkedIn for news and updates.
OneWeb is a global communications network powered from space, headquartered in London, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. Find out more at www.oneweb.net
(Source: PR Newswire)
09 Sep 21. Northern Strike 21-2 leverages Persistent System’s Wave Relay® mobile ad hoc network (MANET). Joint readiness exercise utilized MANET to connect distributed units in simulated fight against near-peer power.
Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), an industry leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) technology, announced today that it successfully supported Northern Strike 21-2, the U.S. National Guard’s largest joint service readiness exercise.
During the exercise, which was hosted at Michigan’s sprawling National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC) earlier this month, Persistent’s Wave Relay® MANET solutions enabled multi-service reserve, Guard, and active-duty U.S. military participants to practice fighting a near-peer adversary in a distributed, small-unit fashion.
“Our technology facilitated the fusion of existing systems and datalinks—such as MQ-9 video, Link-16, P25 digital radio communications equipment, and land mobile radio—into one rapidly deployable all-domain network,” said Adrien Robenhymer, Persistent’s VP for Business Development, for the U.S. Air Force, Intelligence Community and the Department of Energy.
The NADWC network allowed, for example, small-unit teams in austere threat environments to communicate with A-10 aircraft pilots to coordinate close air support missions. Likewise, it enabled Air Force All-Domain Combat Teams landing by C-130 to deliver high bandwidth updates back to a headquarters unit thousands of miles away.
“We’re not in the business of developing technology, but we have this opportunity to collaborate, test and collect data at the National All Domain Warfighting Center. Our training audiences come to NS for their own purposes, and so do these industry partners,” said Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, assistant adjutant general for air, Michigan Air National Guard. “Whether it’s early development, late maturation, getting warfighter feedback on their capability, or perhaps they’re already being used by the DoD and want to better understand the end user experience, we want all this technology, integrating with the warfighter at NS to improve readiness for the future operating environment.”
Robenhymer said Persistent’s support of Northern Strike 21-2 was a scaled-up version of the roles the company played in other recent demonstrations. For example, in May, Persistent showed how, in the wake of a devastating hurricane, its MANET solutions could help the South Carolina Air National Guard reestablish internet, radio, video, and chat for response units.
Likewise, in March, Persistent supported the U.S. Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept, which aims to counter the near-peer threat to large air bases by having U.S. forces operate from smaller, rapidly deployable, temporary airstrips manned by skeleton crews.
“We are constantly looking at ways to demonstrate the power and versatility of MANET, how it connects people and improve their situational awareness when normal communication channels fail,” he said.
(Source: PR Newswire)
09 Sep 21. US Army to kick off mobile communications pilot for armored brigades. The Army is gearing up for a pilot effort to figure out how its armored brigades will communicate on the move as part of its modernized tactical network.
To date, the Army has focused on infantry and Stryker brigades for its modernized integrated tactical network, using what it calls capability sets to incrementally add new technologies to formations. The Army plans to outfit armored brigades with the new gear beginning in 2025, but to do that, it needs to run experiments to inform some of the specific requirements and technology needs for the heavy vehicles that are additive to the baseline network established in 2021.
“What we’ve been tasked with is what level of capability, what systems or what platforms within the heavies would need what level of tactical network capability,” Col. Shane Taylor, project manager for tactical network within the Army’s program executive office for command, control, communications-tactical, told C4ISRNET in an interview.
The pilot, which is taking place at Fort Stewart early next year with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, will look at three courses of action, Taylor said, ranging from line of sight communications — both from vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to command post ― and heavy satellite communications for beyond line of sight.
On the multidomain battlefield, U.S. military leaders expect forces to have to move constantly. This means they’ll need to be able to communicate while moving as opposed to communicating at the halt or stopping to set up a network.
The pilot is the first formal effort taking aim at the heavier units for capability set 25. It will serve as a way to evaluate the concepts behind various methods of on-the-move network capabilities to the armored formations while also allowing soldiers to drive requirements prior to the 2025 fielding of units.
However, Taylor pointed out that while this is the first effort focused on armored units, the service is looking at some existing technologies being used as part of the lighter units fielded and set to be fielded from capability sets 21 and 23.
“We do have some systems that are out there that are very mature, that could be fielded tomorrow, but we also have some solutions that are a little more immature that may help us identify areas where there’s opportunity as we move forward,” he said. 2025 is “not a very long time when we talk about the formations and the scale that we’re talking, but it is a long time when it comes to technology maturation. We’re looking at a variety of both, and a lot of the new things that we’re talking about would definitely have play in a [capability set 25] construct.”
Other goals for the pilot include network simplification, seamless failover between line of sight and beyond line of sight, software simplification and allowing network architecture updates, among others.
The pilot will also help inform what systems can be outfitted on these larger vehicles to not overburden soldiers.
“We want to do anything that we can to minimize the amount of work that they have to do to deal with their communications while they’re trying to fight,” Taylor said. “Probably the biggest challenge in my mind is ensuring they have the necessary network capabilities that they need, but also doing it at a level that minimizes impact on their ability to fight. … That’s what we hope the pilot will help inform is what is that level of balance that we need and what are they comfortable with and what the [concept of operation] will be going forward from that.”
The pilot is also a good opportunity for industry to better understand the Army’s needs and how best to support the efforts going forward, he added.
Taylor reiterated that the capability set and overall integrated tactical network approach is a paradigm shift from the past, in which requirements were created, they were delivered to industry, a contract was awarded and the Army would field that system to soldiers.
The process is much more collaborative now, taking into account soldier feedback along the way to ensure the end system is easy to use with multiple levels of experimentation.
“This is going into it a different approach where we focus on interoperability and integration up front from a design perspective and then we march to that,” Taylor said. (Source: Defense News)
20 Jul 21. CROWN: European multifunction radiofrequency system project launched. Europe’s defence research programme – PADR – has launched a new project. The CROWN project will focus on European active electronically scanned array with combined radar, communications and electronic warfare functions for military applications.
The project, with a budget of approximately €10 million and a duration of 30 months, was selected under the 2019 call for proposals for ‘Electromagnetic Spectrum Dominance’ under the EDA-managed EU Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR). The CROWN consortium is coordinated by Indra (Spain) and brings together 11 leading industry members, research centres and an SME from seven EU countries. The project was officially launched at an online kick-off meeting on 6 and 7 July 2021, with the participation of the consortium members, EDA and European Commission representatives.
CROWN will lay the foundation for designing and building a next-generation multifunction radiofrequency (RF) system based on Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA) technology for a broad range of applications, to become available in several military domains within the next decade.
The planned activities include R&D assessment and recommendations on critical technologies, R&T activities on system and component level as well as designing, manufacturing and testing of a small-scale prototype.
CROWN – European active electronically scanned array with Combined Radar, cOmmunications, and electronic Warfare fuNctions for military applications – brings together 11 participants from 7 countries:
Indra (Spain), Thales (France), Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales – ONERA (France), Hensoldt Sensors (Germany), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Germany), Saab (Sweden), Totalforsvarets Forskningsinstitut – FOI (Sweden) Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek – TNO (Netherlands), Leonardo (Italy), Elettronica (Italy) and Baltijos Pazangiu Technologiju Institutas – BPTI (Lithuania).
Being part of the PADR programme, CROWN will support the European Commission, EDA and Member States and will contribute to the long-term critical capability for European Strategic Autonomy. The project is also closely linked to the activities conducted under EDA’s Capability Technology Groups, namely CapTech Radar and CapTech Components.
ABOUT THE PADR
The CROWN project is part of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) launched by the European Commission in 2017 to assess and demonstrate the added-value of EU supported defence research and technology (R&T). It paved the way for a proper European Defence Programme to come as part of the European Defence Fund (EDF), under the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027).
The PADR implementation is run by EDA following the mandate via a Delegation Agreement between the European Commission and EDA signed on 31 May 2017. By this agreement the Commission entrusts EDA with the management and implementation of the research projects launched within the PADR. (Source: EDA)
08 Sep 21. New L3Harris Hawkeye Terminal Connects Warfighters Anywhere in the World.
- Portable terminal provides high-speed data communications for Internet, C5ISR and video
- Easily transportable and significantly lighter weight than previous generations
- Showcases L3Harris’ investment in connected systems to enhance warfighter decision making
L3Harris Technologies (NYSE: LHX) has launched its new Hawkeye 4 (H4) Lite Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), which connects warfighters virtually anywhere in the world.
The H4 Lite is a mobile satellite communications terminal that can rapidly deploy and maneuver across a complex battlefield, while providing high-speed data communications for Internet, C5ISR and video transmission. This terminal, which is small enough to fit into a suitcase, was designed for both mobile expeditionary teams and high throughput command posts that require mission flexibility and seamless upgrades to emerging capabilities.
“The Hawkeye 4 Lite is the only available VSAT solution featuring the latest technologies in a single, high-performance terminal with one-touch, auto-acquire and interference mitigation,” said Jerry Adams, General Manager, SATCOM, L3Harris. “We‘ve invested heavily into connected systems that enable the warfighter to make decisions faster, and the Hawkeye does just that.”
The terminal also includes L3Harris’ industry-leading Viewsat-E GUI and GATEKEEPER™ – technology that automatically monitors, detects and eliminates co-channel interference. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
08 Sep 21. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released the Cloud Security Technical Reference Architecture (TRA) and Zero Trust Maturity Model for public consultation.
The TRA aims to guide agencies looking to securely migrate data to the cloud by explaining considerations for shared services, cloud migration, and cloud security posture management.
Meanwhile, the Zero Trust Maturity Model has been designed to support the development of zero-trust strategies and implementation plans.
The TRA — authorised under Executive Order 14028 — was developed in partnership with the United States Digital Service (USDS) and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).
“President Biden’s Cyber Executive Order outlined crucial steps needed to secure the federal government’s networks and CISA is focused on completing the required tasks and more,” Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director of cyber security, CISA, said.
“To meet agencies’ needs, we drafted the Zero Trust Maturity Model and Cloud Security TRA in coordination with USDS and FedRAMP.
“We are now requesting public comment to ensure our recommended cloud technology modernisation and zero trust efforts, respectively, enable the best visibility, flexibility, and security.”
The model is expected to be redeveloped following the consultation period, in a bid to incorporate stakeholder feedback.
The consultation period is scheduled to conclude on 1 October 2021.
09 Sep 21. In Search of a Role? Loyal Wingman (Boeing) – Uninhabited aircraft outfitted with stand-off weapons could accompany low-RCS aircraft into contested airspace to engage IADS electromagnetic threats.
The US Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces has asked the USAF to assess the feasibility of the Next Generation Jammer for its aircraft.
The Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces is part of the US House Committee on Armed Services. The latter is a House of Representatives standing committee. The subcommittee oversees US armed forces’ programmes across all sevices, according to its website.
In late July, the subcommittee published its legislative provisions for the 2022 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA). NDAA legislation covers the annual budgets of the US DOD. It stipulates funding levels and expenditure policies. One of the subcommittee’s key proposals on electronic warfare is noteworthy.
The subcommittee has asked the US Air Force to assess the feasibility of installing Raytheon’s AN/ALQ-249 incarnation of the US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) onboard USAF tactical aircraft. Three subsystems comprise the NGJ: The AN/ALQ-249 is the mid-band jammer. This is thought to detect and engage radar and communications emissions on frequencies of two to six gigahertz/GHz. Low-band (100 megahertz to two gigahertz) and high-band (six to 18GHz) jammers are also being developed. All three should be in service from circa 2026. The only aircraft currently earmarked for the NGJ is the US Navy’s E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare jet.
Radar Cross Section
The subcommittee’s request could see the USAF evaluating the AN/ALQ-249 for deployment with Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning-II and F-22A Raptor combat aircraft.
Both the F-22A and F-35A deploy their weapons from internal bays. This ensures that the low Radar Cross Section (RCS) of these aircraft stay free of protrusions potentially compromising this. Mounting the AN/ALQ-249 externally could increase both jets’ RCS.
Another option could be to install the AN/ALQ-249 in the aircraft’s weapons bay. This raises several challenges: The pods carrying the AN/ALQ-249 on the E/A-18G are mounted below the wings. This provides an uninhibited field-of-view to detect and jam hostile emitters. Both the F-22A and F-35A would need to lower the pods below the aircraft for the same effect. This could compromise their RCS and impinge on their aerodynamics.
As the Growler’s two pods are mounted beneath each wing this ensures one always has a line-of-sight to the threat when the aircraft is banking. Mounting two pods in these jets’ weapons bays could be problematic. The pods’ proximity could cause interference between jamming signals directed against simultaneous threats. An added problem with the pods’ internal carriage is that these aircraft will have no additional room for weapons.
Should outfitting the F-22A or F-35A be unfeasible, the air force has another option. It could consider installation onboard the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas F-15 or General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16 series aircraft. Underwing hardpoints on these jets may make this more feasible.
However, this raises additional challenges. Steve ‘Tango’ Tourangeau, dean of the RV Jones Institute, a centre of excellence for electromagnetic spectrum operations, is concerned about how the AN/ALQ-249 would fit with the USAF’s overall anti-access/area-denial posture.
Investments by near-peer adversaries like the People’s Republic of China and Russia place a premium on advanced Integrated Air Defence Systems (IADS). These use sophisticated ground-based air surveillance radars to detect and track hostile aircraft. The IADS would play a key part in ensuring that China and Russia’s combat aircraft and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) can exact as heavy price on an aggressor.
It is no surprise that the USAF prioritises RCS reduction for its combat aircraft. This helps ensure they are as difficult to detect and track as possible by fire control radars equipping SAM batteries and combat aircraft. Both the F-22A and F-35A are ‘first day of war’ weapons. They would assist the immediate roll back of an IADS to help sanitise the airspace for non-stealthy platforms.
Aircraft like the F-15 and F-16 would be at considerable risk flying in contested airspace. Eagles and Vipers equipped with the AN/ALQ-249 could remain at stand-off ranges performing electronic attack. With a service ceiling of 65,000 feet (20,000 metres), an F-15 equipped with the AN/ALQ-249 would have a jamming range of circa 313 nautical miles (580 kilometres). This translates into a jamming footprint of 407,589 square nautical miles (1 million square kilometres). While this might provide good coverage at the edges of areas protected by an IADS, it may not cover aircraft prosecuting targets deep in hostile territory.
Adding jammers to the F-15 or F-16 also risks these aircraft’s RCS: “These are not stealth platforms, and hanging jammers on them makes them less stealthy,” Mr. Tourangeau continues. He concedes that legacy fighters carrying the AN/ALQ-249 maybe practical for lightly contested airspace where a modicum of threat persists. This could include adversaries who lack strategic/operational SAM batteries but deploy operational/tactical level systems. This could also free the navy’s EA-18Gs from having to perform this type of mission during future operations.
Mr. Tourangeau believes that other options are more practical for the USAF in prosecuting the advanced electromagnetic threats accompanying an IADS. These include stand-off weapons like Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158 series Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile and/or Raytheon’s AGM-88F HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile). These could be integrated onto uninhabited aircraft accompanying low RCS platforms in contested airspace. (Source: Armada)
08 Sep 21. Lack of access to data during Afghanistan exit shines light on tech gap. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan prompted Pentagon officials working on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept to ask: Do troops have access to data they need on the ground, absent of an adversary capable of disrupting that access?
The answer was “no.”
“What we learned as a department and the joint force is we’ve grossly underestimated the scope of this problem,” said Brig. Gen. Rob Parker, deputy director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s J6 directorate and chairman of the JADC2 Cross-Functional Team.
“We have some real work to do on some big challenges that are out there, [such as] getting access to authoritative data sources [and] having the right policy in place to allow us to share that with our partners — not just international partners, but our own federal partners,” Parker said during the Defense News Conference on Sept. 8.
The two-week operation in which the U.S military evacuated more than 124,000 people provided the Pentagon’s JADC2 leadership new lessons learned and identified areas in need of improvement. That included ensuring data is populated and easily visible on programs of record.
Data access is central to JADC2, which aims to provide unprecedented amounts of data to war fighters to make informed decisions in battle.
Senior leaders at the Pentagon, starting with Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, are making a major push on ensuring the department harnesses its gobs of data to make better decisions. In the last year, the department released a data strategy, and earlier this year Hicks published five “data decrees” as the department sought to elevate the importance of data across the force.
The Afghanistan withdrawal also reinforced the Pentagon’s need to ensure its workforce has the data skills to understand incoming information, produce computer code and develop algorithms. Ultimately, the withdrawal has “given us a lot to look at,” Parker said.
”Twelve to 14 days to get your data all together and looking at it may sound very good by traditional bureaucratic measures in the Pentagon, but it’s absolutely failure in the future fight,” he said.
As the department moves forward with JADC2, Parker also said the concept’s implementation plan is under review by senior staff. He added that it’s “weeks away” from being released.
The plan, which is classified, will outline seven minimal viable products that the military needs in order to enable JADC2:
- A DevSecOps software development environment.
- Zero-trust cybersecurity.
- Cloud technology.
- A transport layer.
- Identity, credential and access management, or ICAM.
- Assault Breaker II (a tool to counter anti-access, area-denial capabilities of adversaries).
- The mission partner environment.
The mission partner environment — a common platform that allows the U.S. military and allies to share information — will have an initial operating capability within 90 days: one for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the other for U.S. Central Command.
Parker said the Defense Information Systems Agency also had a “viable” ICAM solution that could be ready in the next year. And he added that he’s “excited” about the the department’s announcement of a new multivendor enterprise cloud capability, the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, which is set to replace the controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud.
Multivendor cloud capabilities combined with low-Earth orbit satellites is another area in which the JADC2 CFT is interested.
“Some of the partners out there who are putting multi-cloud vendor solutions on some of their early LEO capabilities — we think that not only helps us in terms of moving this data globally at speed with high bandwidth [and] gets after some communication issues, ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], PNT [positioning, navigation and timing], but importantly we think that’s going to be a critical step to getting some of the processing at the edge,” Parker said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed off on the JADC2 strategy in May, which is also classified. Parker said an unclassified version of the strategy should be released in the next few weeks. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
09 Sep 21. Zut Alors! The first ‘Admiral Ronarc’h’ class frigates will take to sea without AShM soft kill systems. These are expected to be retrofitted onto the ships when batch 2 vessels commence delivery. The French Navy’s new frigates will enter service with a reduced electronic warfare fit. News emerged in the French meda this July that the Marine Nationale’s (French Navy’s) ne ‘Admiral Ronarc’h’ class frigates will initially be bereft of Anti-Ship Missile (AShM) soft-kill systems.
The French Navy is receiving two vessels via the batch-1 programme. The first commissions in circa 2025. A further three ships will commission later via the batch-2 programme, possibly early next decade.
Speaking to the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament), Admiral Pierre Vandier, the navy’s chief of staff, said he expects finance for these subsystems to be available from 2026.
These capabilities were not earmarked for the ships during the French government’s 2019-2025 military planning law. The law allocates finance for defence procurement. Acquisition of these Electronic Warfare (EW) systems is postponed until the drafting of the 2026-2032 military planning law.
Armada reported back in 2019 when the first steel for the ‘Admiral Ronarc’h’ class was cut, that the ships would receive a robust EW fit built around Thales’ Sentinel and Altesse-H systems. Sentinel is an electronic support measure detecting and locating hostile radars. It may also jam these threats and almost certainly covers a waveband of at least two gigahertz/GHz to 40GHz. Sentinel is vital for detecting and recognising signals from radar-guided anti-ship missiles. It could be one of the systems earmarked for later installation.
Armada has previously discussed the delayed installation of the ships’ decoy launchers. The frigates will eventually deploy chaff, flare, active radio frequency and corner reflector countermeasures. It appears a decision is outstanding on exactly which systems will be used.
Although the exact type of launcher is undecided, a decision could be taken in the next two years, sources familiar with the programme tell Armada. Batch-1 ships will not have the launchers. These will be fitted to batch-2 vessels. Batch-1 frigates will then be retrofitted. A similar process may be used for Sentinel’s installation.
It may seem risky deploying these ships without AShM countermeasures. The French Navy routinely patrols the eastern Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and South and East China Seas. These regions have countries of concern and non-state actors that may deploy AShMs against French ships. There are ways to accommodate this temporary soft kill deficiency. The new frigates could deploy with legacy vessels already outfitted with AShM countermeasures. These could give overlapping coverage for the ‘Admiral Ronarc’h’ class until the batch-1 retrofit.
AShM soft kill is a capability the frigates must not do without. These are prized asymmetric weapons for non-state actors. Armada records show that the Hezbollah Shia Islamist organisation received China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) YJ-83 (NATO reporting name CSS-N-8 Saccade) AShMs from the Islamic Republic of Iran. These attacked the Israeli Navy’s INS Hanit ‘Sa’ar-5’ class corvette on 14th July 2006 killing four crewmembers. A decade later in October 2016 Houthi insurgents in Yemen attacked the United Arab Emirates Navy’s HSV-2 Swift logistics vessel with similar missiles. The US Navy’s USS Mason ‘Arleigh Burke’ class destroyer was also attacked. Her kinetic and soft kill countermeasures repelled the attack.
Alongside YJ-83 missiles, over the past two decades the People’s Republic of China has exported Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation TL-6 and TL-10, China Aviation Industry Corporation C-704 and CASIC C-801 (CSS-N-4 Sardine) AShMs to Iran. The latter has transferred some of her C-802s to Syria. Likewise, Russia has exported NPO Mashinostroyeniya P-800 Oniks (SS-N-26 Strobile) and Tactical Missiles Corporation Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton) to the beleaguered country. The French government must ensure that the ‘Admiral Ronarc’h’ frigates have the wherewithal to counter these threats. (Source: Armada)
08 Sep 21. New in-flight connectivity can revolutionize Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) in contested airspace. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully demonstrated a data link for connecting aircraft in highly contested airspace for long-range command and control through an open architecture network. This experiment is a critical milestone in the evolution of a distributed multi-domain battle management command and control architecture that maintains decision superiority for the U.S. military and allies.
“Northrop Grumman technologies, built on advanced low size, weight and power electronics, enable integrated and secure communications across domains supporting the Department of Defense’s JADC2 strategy,” said Tom Pieronek, chief technology officer and vice president, research & technology, Northrop Grumman. “Northrop Grumman remains committed to delivering capabilities that maintain strategic advantage for the U.S. and its allies across all domains and against all adversaries.”
The flight demonstration is the first integration of a new mission-specific military transceiver, multi-level security data switches, and open architecture wide-area networking, utilizing commercial technology into the observe, orient, decide and act loop – the decision-making chain for threat engagements.
This is a key step toward harnessing the power of a network into critical domains for national security missions. The flight demonstration linked the Scaled Composites Proteus, a High-Altitude, Long-Endurance research aircraft, with a Firebird, an unmanned air vehicle with the capability to be flown manned, through an advanced line-of-sight data link with low probability of intercept/low probability of detection characteristics that includes anti-jam properties.
The aircraft established a link, performed a simulated ISR mission, and connected back to a cloud-based 5G network testbed through a novel prototype multi-level security switch.
Northrop Grumman’s advanced battle management technologies help warfighters and branches of the military easily communicate and securely share mission critical data across air, land, sea and space to speed up decision timelines and maintain a strategic advantage in an age of data-driven conflict.
08 Sep 21. The British Army’s 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) globally recognised for ground-breaking data platform and analytical support for UK’s Emergency COVID-19 Response. Delivers first UK national data platform to be created by the military that provides a common operational picture to over 1000 users across government, health and multiple agencies, enabling rapid decision making and collaboration.
42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) has been internationally recognised for creating a ground-breaking national data platform that informed decision makers and planners with a dynamic common operational picture of all aspects of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, and delivering geospatial data analysis services throughout the crisis.
The British Army’s geospatial intelligence experts are the UK winner of the 2021 Esri Special Achievement in Geographic Information Systems (SAG) Awards, recognising organisations that have set new precedents and improved the world using geographic information systems (GIS), by Esri President and Founder, Jack Dangermond.
The data platform is the first to be created by the UK military for a national civilian crisis and broke new ground in being capable of overlaying COVID-19 incidence data with NHS infrastructure, hospital bed capacities, population demographics, partner facility locations and available personnel numbers. The extent of its reach is also unique to the UK pandemic response, in joining up multiple organisations and gaining over 1000 users, spanning the Cabinet Office and Government Departments to the NHS, SAGE, Local Authorities, First Responders and Military personnel.
In March 2020 the crisis triggered an urgent need for collaboration and daily decision making and 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) (42ER) were tasked with providing a common operational picture of the fast-evolving national emergency. 42ER drew on its experience using GIS to co-ordinate humanitarian operations and within days created a secure, web-based COVID-19 Viewer using Esri’s ArcGIS Online solution. This gave instant access to the same trusted, real-time data to all parties to make faster and more informed decisions, and to effectively deploy limited resources, to save lives, protect the NHS and combat the pandemic.
42ER’s geo intelligence specialists were embedded as advisors within Government and the NHS. Their analysis combined multiple streams of location and time-based data to identify the optimum locations for COVID-19 Testing Centres and the selection and revision of proposed Nightingale hospitals and other care sites. In tandem 42ER used Esri’s ArcGIS mobile survey application, Survey 123, to enable the Military Assessment Teams visiting potential Nightingale sites to collect and immediately upload field data, enabling planners to rapidly decide the site’s suitability.
The Geo-cells also supported the Joint Biosecurity Centre using Esri technology to map and visualise the regional distribution of COVID-19 case and death rates, which have been used in the UK Government’s COVID-19 Briefings to the nation.
Captain Luke Parker, 42ER support lead, says:
“42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) is proud to have played a key role in enabling the Government to make faster, well-informed decisions in the battle to protect the NHS and save lives. The online GIS platform helped lots of different organisations to work together to make the big decisions about how the UK responded to the pandemic”.
Adrian Friend, Head of Defence, National Security & Public Safety, Esri UK, says:
“The ability to deliver time-sensitive information advantage into the hands of decision-makers during such a period of uncertainty and crisis is a fantastic achievement. 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) should be immensely proud of all they have achieved, and I am pleased they have received the international recognition they deserve for their amazing efforts. “
08 Sep 21. Airbus and Alstom sign cyber security cooperation agreement. Airbus CyberSecurity and Alstom, global leader in sustainable mobility, have signed a worldwide cooperation agreement focussing on rail transport cybersecurity.
The partnership will allow the partners to provide rail operators with solutions and services combining Alstom’s solutions and expertise in rail transport with Airbus CyberSecurity’s services and expertise in ensuring the security of industrial information systems.
“In the context of increasing worldwide cyber threats across all sectors, Alstom aims to protect its assets and those of its customers as effectively and as early as possible. The collaboration between Alstom and proven specialist Airbus CyberSecurity will ensure the future usage and success of green mobility worldwide,” Says Eddy Thesee, Vice President Cybersecurity at Alstom.
“As specialist in the cybersecurity of industrial systems, particularly in the transport sector, we are keen to contribute to securing the information systems of the rail sector along with Alstom”, says Nicolas Razy, Director of Airbus CyberSecurity France.
Airbus CyberSecurity will contribute to joint offers with services and solutions in security monitoring of railway systems through its various Security Operations Centres (SOCs) and in responding to incidents. It will also contribute to security auditing services and penetration and intrusion testing, notably through its simulation and testing platform for industrial systems, CyberRange.
Alstom is bringing its knowledge of railway systems design, manufacture, operations and maintenance into the partnership. The global leader in digital rail will also leverage its unique railway cybersecurity expertise developed in recent years. Worldwide, Alstom counts over 13,000 employees working on digitalisation in the rail sector, particularly in the areas of signalling technology, smart mobility and cybersecurity.
In recent years, railway companies have developed ambitious digital strategies, particularly to cope with the growing number of passengers. They have deployed and interconnected information systems combining IT, operational technology (OT) and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the management and control systems of trains, metros and trams, track signalling systems and rail operations control centres. To protect their asset and ensure safe and secure mobility to their customers, railway companies will be able to rely on solutions tailored by Alstom and Airbus CyberSecurity for their industry.
06 Sep 21. Joint Elbit-DoD review rebukes Defence’s handling of BMS. A jointly funded report by Elbit and the Department of Defence has rebuked Defence’s management of the Army’s Battle Management System after Defence issued a “cease use” order for the BMS in April this year.
Defence issued the cease use order in April following allegations that the Australian Army’s Battle Management System was being used as a backdoor for Israeli spy activities, an allegation strongly denied by Elbit Systems.
“ELSA (Elbit Systems of Australia) has, together with the Commonwealth of Australia, undertaken an independent review of the technical elements of the LAND 200 Tranche 2 software development and acquisition process,” an Elbit spokesperson confirmed.
ELSA’s firm denials were supported by a senior Defence official in June, who confirmed to the Senate estimates foreign affairs, defence and trade legislation committee that there were no specific security issues with ELSA’s BMS software.
“The battle management system is one of the systems that we have for command and control. There is also a fire support network. There is an electronic warfare network. They’re all enabled for command and control. This one is a key part of that from brigade headquarters down to company level and below and into vehicles. It is critical and is why this project is an important part of our future capability,” the senior Defence official said.
An ELSA spokesperson confirmed that the company looks forward to continuing its longstanding relationship with the Australian Army, having already collaborated together for more than seven years.
“Elbit Systems of Australia will continue to work with the Department of Defence on the future of the LAND 200 Tranche 2 program, in addition to preparing our bid for the Army’s Land 125 Phase 4 Integrated Soldier System tender,” the spokesperson said. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Sep 21. Better combat robot connectivity among improvements at major US Army network exercise. The U.S. Army network research team reported various advances at its latest annual experiment that could translate to future battlefield capabilities. The C5ISR Center tested numerous technologies this summer for manned-unmanned teaming and advanced network communications techniques at its Network Modernization Experiment, a field-based event at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to try tools in an operational environment. A primary takeaway from the experiment was that a critical open standards project for Army’s future battlefield network works. The C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards, or CMOSS, allows soldiers to upgrade capabilities more simply by plugging a rugged standard VPX card into a small box. The C5ISR Center team responsible for developing CMOSS brought a prototype to NetModX and attempted to integrate a TSM waveform that works with software-defined radios; a position, navigation and timing solution; as well as mounted mission command applications. CMOSS is based on an open standards architecture that increases the interoperability of tools.
“The more important lesson we learned is that the standards work,” Ben Peddicord, the C5ISR Center’s branch chief for intel technology and architecture, said during a July media roundtable.
“So we were able to bring together a number of solutions from a number of vendors, and very quickly and easily — I mean, like, within days — successfully integrate them and help them execute their mission. So I think we learned some specific very narrow technical issues that we need to work on. Nothing significant, but most importantly, I think we really demonstrated the power of the standards.”
The Army plans to field CMOSS capability on Stryker armored vehicles for Capability Set ‘25, one of the service’s rollouts of new tactical network technologies that happen every two years. The team also demonstrated interoperability with a dismounted soldier’s Nett Warrior situational awareness tool and with a UH-60 Black Hawk, according to an Army news release.
During the first week of NetModX the research team focused on integrating the three solutions into the larger network. In the following two weeks they experimented with more vendors.
“We were able to, in the following two weeks, have vendors come in and very rapidly in the field, drop their solutions in, and everything really, pretty much just worked,” Peddicord said.
The products included emerging waveforms; assured PNT; CMOSS infrastructure prototypes; and capabilities for data encryption, tactical communication and electronic warfare, according to Peddicord.
The CMOSS experiment at NetModX included participation from L3Harris Technologies, General Dynamics Mission Systems, Spectranetix, Trellisware Technologies, SRC Inc., Curtiss-Wright Corp. and Collins Aerospace.
The C5ISR Center also tested a developing network capability for robotic combat vehicles that would give operators an improved understanding of their radio connection to the vehicle. Currently, operators can maneuver the vehicle until their link dies and the robot becomes “orphaned” on the battlefield, said Archie Kujawski, lead of the future radio concepts team.
“We saw a need for the end operators to be able to visualize the battle space for that remote link through the radios and to visualize that as they move across the battle space, and we saw that as a pretty big need in order to enable that link,” Kujawski told reporters in late July.
In response, the C5ISR Center developed a Network Coverage Overlay that allows robot combat vehicle operators to visualize the strength of their connection with the colors green, amber and red, according to Jonathan Lee, lead of the spectrum research and development team. The tool displays a coverage heat map that estimates radio signal strength based on terrain and elevation. The end goal is a capability that will notify users when their connection is degrading.
“One benefit that allows a user to gain knowledge of where they will have real network coverage,” Lee said at the media event. “This allows the radios to be used better, and allows the vehicle operators to make decisions based on radio connectivity along the different routes, and consequently allowing them to see how far they can send the remotely controlled vehicle.”
The network researchers also tested anti-jam, covert radio waveform capabilities of command post communications as part of a broader effort to reduce the electronic signatures of the service’s command posts. The Army is pushing for mobile, distributed command posts as it prepares for potential future wars against advanced adversaries such as Russia and China.
At NetModX, the C5ISR Center tested new commercial radios on moving vehicles that could in the future be part of the mobile command post effort, known as Command Post Integrated Infrastructure, an effort led by Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical. The researchers tested two commercial radios from undisclosed companies in a “caravanning” activity in which vehicles rolled around a seven-kilometer course with mixed terrain and foliage, RJ Regars, a C5ISR Center systems engineer, said at another media update in August.
One radio performed well, while the other did not, Regars said without getting into specifics. Neither radio performed well in a second test in which the devices passed off responsibility for maintaining the data link, based on their location. Those results “were as we expected” because the commercial radios weren’t built with tactical use in mind.
“There’s value in understanding both what the commercial systems are doing well, and what they’re not doing well because … our emphasis is to leverage what we can from the commercial world, and not have to redevelop these things,” Regars said. (Source: Defense News)
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Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
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