Sponsored by Spectra Group
02 June 21. Going Agile: LM Integrating Air Battle Management Capabilities into USAF Software Factory Environment. In support of the roadmap to enable Joint All Domain Command and Control, Lockheed Martin is working for the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to integrate critical battle management capabilities from the Theater Battle Management Core System (TBMCS) into the Air Force’s Kessel Run All Domain Operations Suite (KRADOS).
As the original Equipment Manufacturer of TBMCS, Lockheed Martin is enhancing key software components and incorporating them into Kessel Run’s suite of applications through collaboration with Kessel Run development teams. This effort is key to providing worldwide combatant commands a complete suite of next generation tools to plan, execute, and assess joint theater air operations.
In partnership with the Air Force, Lockheed Martin is migrating these TBMCS capabilities to Kessel Run’s cloud platform via a cloud-based software delivery environment dubbed Wolfpack. Wolfpack is the connective tissue, involving containerization of applications, that serves as the application gateway between Kessel Run applications and operational TBMCS variants operating in the field today. Through Wolfpack, KRADOS can seamlessly exchange data to operational TBMCS interfaces managed by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Through the Wolfpack application gateway, KRADOS will have the ability to process key data produced by the TBMCS instances used by warfighters directing and executing the joint air campaign.
“For more than 20 years the TBMCS system has supported the joint air planning campaign,” said Amr Hussein, Vice President of C4ISR Systems at Lockheed Martin. “Migrating TBMCS into the Kessel Run environment ensures that those capabilities remain viable and available to Air Operations Centers around the world.”
Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to develop TBMCS in 1995. Declared program of record for managing the air campaign in 2000, TBMCS provided air commanders with the ability to plan, direct and control all theater air operations to support command objectives. The system provided vastly superior joint interoperability to the previous system, giving users around the globe a common operational picture and real-time shared situational awareness of the battlespace environment. (Source: ASD Network)
02 June 21. World Leading Partnership to Deliver Cloud Computing to the Edge of the Battlespace. Thales Australia, Microsoft and Australian SMEs Myriad Technologies, archTIS and Fortifyedge have partnered to launch Nexium Defence Cloud Edge (NDC Edge), a secure Tactical cloud computing capability at the edge of the battlespace.
As military operations become increasingly data-driven, timely access to important information and applications is critical for the Australian Defence Force.
Developed in Australia for the Australian Defence Force, NDC Edge delivers a sovereign capability, built on Microsoft Azure Stack technology, that is designed to be compatible with Five Eyes nations, as well as humanitarian aid and civilian applications.
The theatre level Nexium Defence Cloud Edge enables the analysis and distribution of data in real time, accelerating the decision-making cycle to gain and maintain operational tempo. Nexium Defence Cloud Edge (NDC Edge) takes this capability from the Strategic Headquarters level to the Tactical Edge, to the dismounted warfighter and the edge of the battlespace. This secure tactical Warfighting Cloud that gives deployed forces access to the right information at the right time is crucial to enable rapid and informed decisions.
Three innovative Australian SMEs, Myriad Technologies, archTIS and Fortifyedge are integrating their new technologies that enable this sovereign capability to run at the tactical edge for the ADF and coalition forces.
NDC Edge incorporates some of the best civil and commercial technologies available to provide a complete, modular, sovereign solution that enables forces to operate autonomously in the theatre of operations.
It offers a wide array of possible configurations, from very high-capacity and easily scalable infrastructure to all-in-one containerised systems that can establish a headquarters as a cloud node rapidly, and link it to deployed forces quickly and securely.
This capability enables deployed forces to securely share critical information across domains, multinational coalitions and other agencies to allow a shared common operating picture. NDC Edge is designed to be flexible, with the ability to rapidly re-role in theatre, introduce new capabilities and integrate with legacy platforms, allowing commanders at all levels to build and enhance mission capability quickly.
Nexium Defence Cloud Edge is a compact, highly integrated and modular solution. It includes all the components of military command posts and meets performance requirements in terms of size, weight and power (SWaP) to simplify deployment and minimise the logistical footprint.
(Source: ASD Network/
02 June 21. Boeing bullish on battlefield communications market. Boeing Defence Australia is in the final stages of developing its Integrated-Battlefield Telecommunications Network for the Australian Army under Joint Project 2072 Phase 2B, and is now turning its attention to other local opportunities.
The Army’s name for the program is Project Currawong — in line with its tradition of naming communications systems after Australian bird species — and it is entering service with deployed Army units and the Royal Australian Air Force’s combat communications squadron.
I-BTN has been developed in-house by BDA and is a scalable and distributable telecommunications system which will form the digital backbone of the Army’s battlespace telecommunications. The intellectual property is owned by the Commonwealth of Australia.
Speaking on the eve of the Land Forces 2021 exhibition in Brisbane, Australia, on Monday, Boeing Defence Australia business development manager Darcy Rawlinson said the government recently granted approval for the firm to market the technology to members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. He specifically identified the U.K. and the Royal Australian Navy as potential near-term customers.
“The U.K. is looking at the [battlefield telecommunications] problem at the moment under Trinity program, and they have a very similar requirement to the Australian Army,” Rawlinson said. “They are looking for a wide-area network to connect their headquarters, and they also have additional responsibility to provide communications for large NATO headquarters. We have a scalable solution for that.”
Rawlinson added that the U.K. is currently approaching industry and that Boeing would respond through Boeing Defence UK. Under the plan, the U.K. unit would be responsible for the development of a local solution, based on the Currawong system, with much of the support and engineering work done in Australia by the local division.
“It will be a great opportunity for us and our existing supply chain because there will be more hardware built here in Australia,” he said.
The Royal Australian Navy is seeking to upgrade its Maritime Tactical Wide Area Network under its Sea1442 Phase 5 program and is expected to go to market later this year to canvas solutions. Rawlinson said a Currawong-based solution would meet the Navy’s requirements for an optimized, highly interoperable network capability and would benefit the Australian Defence Force in terms of amphibious operations and training.
“The Navy is looking for broadband connectivity across its major surface ships and they are seeking a capability which is able to evolve to meet future threats and requirements,” Rawlinson said. “The requirements are very similar to Army and RAAF requirements for Currawong. It makes sense for the ADF to share information across all three forces.”
The initial Joint Project 2072 Phase 2B contract was signed in 2015, with the first material release rolled out during 2017, providing a “black” — or unclassified — network capability.
The second release followed in 2020 and added features such as a troposcatter system, allowing beyond-line-of-sight communications up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) without reliance on satellite-based communications systems.
The third and final iteration of Currawong’s contracted development is now undergoing a test readiness review ahead of its system material release next year. The third release will add “red” — or protected, secret and coalition secret — networking and also a headquarters-on-the-move capability, able to be fitted into the Army’s G-Wagon fleet as well as the Hawkei and Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle fleets.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
02 June 21. Northrop Grumman Helps to Enable Decision Superiority.
Northrop Grumman’s gateway systems and secure processing capabilities uniquely positioned to make JADC2 Data Tankers a reality
The Air Force is talking about a new mission set for tanker and cargo aircraft—make the tankers flying communication nodes. The new mission set concept, known as the Data Tanker, uses existing aircraft, operating refueling missions, to not only share fuel but also collect and transmit data over high capacity data links and, via high speed processors, share information with warfighters at the tactical edge.
The data tanker effort is part of a broader U.S. DoD initiative to connect and integrate shooters, sensors and platforms across all domains and branches of the military to advance the speed of information sharing and decision making – also known as Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
Northrop Grumman’s Gateway Systems Provide Data Tanker Capabilities Today
Northrop Grumman’s gateway systems have an extensive track record of helping interconnect branches of the military via airborne and tanker platforms. Through multiple DoD programs, Northrop Grumman’s gateway offerings provide a “Wi-Fi in the sky” capability for a range of missions relying on advanced data translation and communications capabilities. The company’s gateway offerings are also well positioned to provide access to layers of information in JADC2 environments.
The KC-135 for example, a current DoD tanker platform, carries Northrop Grumman’s current gateway systems to provide advanced, open and secure datalink capabilities to warfighters who otherwise would not be able to access communications or translate mission data across branches of the military.
Earlier this year, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducted an Arctic air defense exercise that featured Northrop Grumman’s gateway capabilities on both KC-135 and KC-46 aircraft. Northrop Grumman’s gateway solutions provided a communication system designed to deliver range extension to warfighters for links like Multifunctional Information Distribution System, Situation Awareness Data Link and other beyond-line-of-sight communications. This produces a single integrated situational awareness picture of the position of friendly assets and potential threats. The successful exercise demonstrated Northrop Grumman’s ability to easily integrate its gateway offerings and deliver advanced data link capabilities to support multiple DoD tanker platforms.
platforms like the F-16 Viper and E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (pictured) fueled and flying.
As the DoD looks to evolve data tanker capabilities, Northrop Grumman’s leading gateway innovation is uniquely positioned to support this effort. The company is currently developing rapidly deployable, and affordable, low size, weight and power gateway systems which are designed to enable communications, and cross-domain translations, between multiple beyond line-of-sight and line-of-sight voice and data networks—including 5th to 4th generation capabilities. These systems include multi-level security and advanced functions such as cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, next generation datalinks and the use of third-party software and sensor solutions.
One of Northrop Grumman’s enhanced gateway systems that is well suited to support the data tanker effort will provide the insight needed to understand the health of the network and automatically self-form and self-heal in both contested and non-contested environments. A key capability to this enhanced gateway system is our secure processing capabilities.
Currently, sensor information from a variety of platforms is sent from a disadvantaged user (low connectivity location) back to a processor that could be hundreds of miles away. This creates time delays and security concerns.
The Data Tanker can reduce vulnerabilities and delays by securely processing the data directly at the tactical edge, advancing the speed of decision making and overcoming the lack of bandwidth and connectivity our warfighters currently experience. Northrop Grumman solutions include cyber survivability, built into the coding of the datalinks, software and hardware, designed to keep the system secure and protected from attacks.
Northrop Grumman is also partnering with leading advanced processing industry companies to develop additional future Data Tanker and gateway system efforts to further enable the JADC2 vision across all domains.
Advanced and secure networking will allow for faster and more resilient information flow between data tankers and other warfighting platforms. This flow will direct the right data to the right operator, at the right time, providing information overmatch and decision superiority.
Data Tankers will be a key component to support decision dominance and information overmatch. With Northrop Grumman’s proven leadership in advanced networking, open and intelligent gateway systems, along with innovative secure processing capabilities, the company is ready to support the DoD as it looks to integrate platforms that will support the future fight.
01 June 21. US Army wants $537m boost for tactical network, driven by radio needs. The U.S. Army tactical network acquisition team requested a substantial $537m increase for fiscal 2022 in an overall budget request with sizable cuts to other service programs.
The $2.3bn budget for the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical signals the Army’s commitment to modernizing its force as it prepares for Joint All-Domain Command and Control, which is how the Pentagon envisions the battlefield of 2030 and beyond, with data passing quickly and uninterrupted to soldiers on the ground and in planes in the air. The added money, part of the Army’s proposed $2.6bn for network modernization, would accommodate the service’s plan to field radios and other advanced communications upgrades to soldiers.
As part of its massive modernization effort, the PEO C3T and the Network Cross-Functional Team are delivering new collections of network tools, known as capability sets, every two years. The Army is currently fielding Capability Set ‘21, and the $537m increase would support the “continued procurement of tactical radios and other commercial communications gear to support the Capability Set 21 fielding,” said Paul Mehney, director of communications at PEO C3T, the N-CFT acquisition arm.
The bulk of the network modernization increase would be $228 m for the handheld, manpack and small form fit (HMS) radio program. That massive procurement program, totaling a $775m total budget request, fields four categories of radios to the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command. With that money, the Army would purchase 5,440 leader radios in FY22 — up from 4,229 the year before — to support the continued fielding of Capability Set ‘21, Mehney said. The HMS program will include single-channel data radios that work with augmented reality through the Integrated Visual Augmentation System program. That radio programs has a baseline of about 104,000 radios, budget documents showed.
For commercial off-the-shelf communications equipment, the Army requested $191m, or $83 m more than enacted in FY21, for two radio modernization programs. One new budget item is the Low Cost Tactical Radio Replacement program for $51.6m to replace and modernize the legacy Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, a decades-old radio system that is increasingly vulnerable to advanced threats.
The replacement program would provide “resilient and secured communications for Army ground forces to conduct Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) over extended mission ranges,” budget documents said. The procurement dollars would buy hardware, warranties, one-time integration, spares and service support for the program, Mehney said. The Army plans to field the hardware to the first unit in November 2022.
The other new budget item the Army listed is a $31.8m effort for tactical communications components, described as including “several communication components” that would support the service’s integrated tactical network. Components would include Link 16, line-of-sight (LOS), beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS), and TSM waveform-capable radios. In FY22, the new effort would purchase Link 16 and line-of-sight radios, in addition to armored brigade combat team integration as part of Capability Sets ‘21 and ’23. The Army plans to award that contract in April 2022 with first delivery in July 2022, budget documents showed.
The service’s major tactical network contribution to JADC2, its Tactical Network Technology Modernization in Service program, would receive $89 m over FY21 funding to total $436.5m. The TNT MIS program provides network connectivity and transport for soldiers for units on the move and “at the halt” on the ground as part of the tactical modernization team’s unified network efforts. The $436m allocation would focus on modernizing the services “at the halt” capabilities, including a mission network refresh, spare parts, modernization of aging technology in units, and upgrades to regional hub nodes — five critical ground stations across the world that direct Army network traffic.
MIS budget plan includes $16m to modernize those regional hub nodes, which rely on aging infrastructure. From the modernization funding allotment, the Army would use $12m to integrate commercial satellite communications in the tactical network transport, including those from low earth, medium earth and geosynchronous orbits, as well as from high-throughput satellites — all critical technologies that will increase the tactical network’s speed and resiliency and allow multiple transport options if an adversary interferes with one.
Also for the TNT MIS budget line, the Army requested $155.7m for “technology insertion” to modernize aging equipment in 22 at-the-halt units. That item is “critical to defending the network from emerging cyber threats, ensuring commanders maintain communications in contested or congested environments,” budget documents read.
The tactical network team proposed an $11.1m cut to its signal modernization program, which provides expeditionary communications and reduces the size, weight and power of network hardware. Mehney said this cut largely would affect the terrestrial transmission line-of-sight radio to reach soldiers in 2022. The number purchased would drop from 203 in FY21 to 131 in FY22. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 June 21. Memo Outlines DOD Plans for Ethical Artificial Intelligence. From the battlefield to the back office, artificial intelligence has the potential to transform how the Defense Department does business in areas like increasing the speed of decision making, making sense of complex data sets and improving efficiency in back-office operations. Ensuring that AI is developed, procured and used responsibly and ethically is a top priority for the department’s top leader.
“As the Department of Defense embraces artificial intelligence, it is imperative that we adopt responsible behavior, processes and outcomes in a manner that reflects the department’s commitment to its core set of ethical principles,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks wrote in a department-wide memorandum released last week.
As part of that commitment to responsible artificial intelligence, or RAI, the memorandum sets forth foundational tenets for implementation across the department including a governance structure and processes to provide oversight and accountability; warfighter trust to ensure fidelity in the AI capability and its use, a systems engineering and risk management approach to implementation in the AI product and acquisition lifecycle; a robust ecosystem to ensure collaboration across government, academia, industry, and allies and build an AI-ready workforce.
The memorandum also spelled out how the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center will serve as the lead to coordinate the implementation and oversight of the department’s RAI efforts.
Hicks also reaffirmed the Defense Department’s AI Ethical Principles adopted in February 2020. The DOD was the first military in the world to do so. That commitment involved the adoption of five principles for the ethical development of artificial intelligence capabilities.
Those principles include:
Responsible: DOD personnel will exercise appropriate levels of judgment and care while remaining responsible for the development, deployment and use of AI capabilities.
Equitable: The department will take deliberate steps to minimize unintended bias in AI capabilities.
Traceable: The department’s AI capabilities will be developed and deployed such that relevant personnel possess an appropriate understanding of the technology, development processes and operational methods applicable to AI capabilities, including transparent and auditable methodologies, data sources and design procedures and documentation.
Reliable: The department’s AI capabilities will have explicit, well-defined uses, and the safety, security and effectiveness of such capabilities will be subject to testing and assurance within those defined uses across their entire life cycles.
Governable: The department will design and engineer AI capabilities to fulfill their intended functions while possessing the ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences, and the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that demonstrate unintended behavior.
“Achieving RAI for the department is a collective effort that requires strong leadership, robust governance, oversight and sustained engagement at all levels of our organization,” Hicks wrote. “Applying RAI across a wide range of warfighting, enterprise support and business practices is essential to ensure military advantage, support our people and safeguard the nation.” (Source: US DoD)
01 June 21. This move risks DoD electromagnetic superiority, a senior leader says. The Department of Defense risks achieving electromagnetic superiority against top adversaries by siloing certain aspects of the discipline across various portfolios, the department’s top electronic warfare officer said.
Specifically, Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, was referring to electronic protection, which involves shielding systems from spoofing or jamming.
He has made electronic protection one of his top priorities since getting into the job, using most of his recent speaking engagements to foot stomp the idea that it falls outside his purview of electronic warfare.
While he oversees electronic attack — the art of jamming systems — and electronic support — which deals with sensing the environment — electronic protection falls under the purview of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; position, navigation and timing; and communications communities because they are features and not systems.
“Very often EP [electronic protection] gets cut from budgets because they have cost constraints, they have schedule constraints, they have performance constraints. EP is the first thing to go,” he said last week at the Cyber Electromagnetic Activity conference hosted by the Association of Old Crows. “EP’s not a phase 0 of war problem. You put a radar out there, you’re not going to have an EP problem until you start getting actively attacked. That’s the higher phases of war. Because they can operate in phase 0 without any EP problems, EP goes. It’s a risk mitigator, why do we need it?”
Phase 0 refers to shaping the environment before conflict breaks out — most often referred to now as the gray zone.
However, electronic protection is critical for electromagnetic survivability because it allows sensors and systems to operate in contested and congested electromagnetic battlespaces.
“EMSO [electromagnetic spectrum operations] works if EP is part of EMSO, because it ensures that radars, comms and PNT systems can survive in that domain,” Tremper said.
The DoD recently altered its lexicon and approach to this domain by shifting from electronic warfare to electromagnetic spectrum operations, which combines the warfare and spectrum management aspects for a more holistic approach.
“If you take EP out of the EMSO conversation, it breaks down because at that point all we’re talking about is electromagnetic attack, electromagnetic support and spectrum management. In the absence of facilitating that EP conversation, the radar, PNT and comms developers are not getting that same message, they’re not designing to those same standards, and we end up with a lot of spectrum users that are not participating in spectrum superiority,” he said.
Tremper noted that there has been a large education effort underway for senior leaders to get them to understand the importance of electronic protection. While conventional wisdom has been that protection refers to platform protection, electronic protection actually refers more to sensor protection.
“It’s features, not systems,” Tremper said of electronic protection.
Systems like Counter Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare, or CREW, don’t address electronic protection, he said, so they have been trying to push for that with senior Pentagon leaders. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
29 May 21. Royal Navy Uses Artificial Intelligence used at sea for first time. For the first time, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is being used by the Royal Navy at sea as part of Exercise Formidable Shield, which is currently taking place off the coast of Scotland. This Operational Experiment (OpEx) on the Type 45 Destroyer (HMS Dragon) and Type 23 Frigate (HMS Lancaster), is using the A.I. applications, Startle and Sycoiea, which were tested against a supersonic missile threat.
As part of the Above Water Systems programme, led by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) scientists, the A.I. improves the early detection of lethal threat, accelerates engagement timelines and provide Royal Navy Commanders with a rapid hazard assessment to select the optimum weapon or measure to counter and destroy the target.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said, “It’s vital that our brave and highly skilled Armed Forces stay ahead of the game for the security of the United Kingdom and our allies. The Royal Navy’s use of A.I. for the first time at sea is an important development in ensuring readiness to tackle threats we may face. I’m proud to see that two Scottish built Royal Navy vessels are at the heart of this exercise in the waters off the Hebrides.”
Dstl has worked closely with industry partners Roke (Startle App), CGI (Sycoiea App) and BAE Systems to ensure the new A.I. based applications work alongside existing radar and combat management systems.
The Startle A.I. system is designed to help ease the load on sailors monitoring the ‘Air Picture’ in the Operations Room, providing live recommendations and alerts.
The Sycoiea system builds upon this with Threat Evaluation and Weapon assignment identifying the nearest threat and how best to deal with it.
Dstl’s Programme Manager, Alasdair Gilchrist MBE said, “Dstl has invested heavily in the systems that are installed at the moment, but it’s imperative that we continue to invest to make sure that the Royal Navy remains relevant now and in the future. Being able to bring A.I. onto the ships is a massive achievement, and while we can prove the A.I. works in the labs, actually getting Navy personnel hands on is brilliant.
As outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the MOD is committed to investing in A.I. and increased automation to transform capabilities as the Armed Forces adapt to meet future threats.”
HMS Lancaster and HMS Dragon are currently trialling the use of A.I. as part of a glimpse into the future of air defence at sea.
HMS Lancaster’s Weapon Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adam Leveridge said, “Observing Startle and Sycoiea augment the human warfighter in real time against a live supersonic missile threat was truly impressive – a glimpse into our highly-autonomous future.”
Exercise Formidable Shield is Europe’s biggest and most complex air and missile exercise. Designed to improve allied interoperability and capabilities, it is a three-week exercise that carries out live-fire Integrated Air & Missile Defence activity with more than 15 ships, 10 aircraft and around 3,300 military personnel from around the world taking part.
Using NATO command and control reporting structures, ten nations are taking part in the Exercise including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Held every two years, Formidable Shield will run until 3 June and is led by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO on behalf of the US Sixth Fleet. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
01 June 21. Honeywell, Carbonix sign MOU for UAV comms. Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Carbonix, a leading Australian drone manufacturer, to provide its smallest and lightest satellite communications solution for their long-range fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Powered by Inmarsat’s global satellite communications network, the Honeywell Small UAV SATCOM system enables beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) command and control, real-time video streaming, and communication for defence and civilian missions. The MOU agreement marks a significant milestone for Honeywell as Carbonix is the first customer in the Asia-Pacific region to leverage Honeywell’s expertise and knowledge transfer in satcom solutions for UAVs.
“Our vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing drones are in the air for up to 10 hours, allowing for efficient, accurate and reliable large-scale data capture. Honeywell is an industry leader in providing satcom solutions and we are thrilled to establish this working relationship with them,” said Stephen Pearce, CEO, Carbonix. “Installing Honeywell’s Small UAV SATCOM solution provides our customers with the ability to capture high-quality data during long-endurance flights over remote locations.”
Traditionally, satellite communications systems have been available only for larger aircraft due to the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements. Now, with a customisable design that’s 30 percent lighter than competing systems, Honeywell’s Small UAV SATCOM system can be installed in different locations on the vehicle to accommodate a wider range of platforms while ensuring safety of flight and avoiding unnecessary bulk.
“We are honoured for the opportunity to work with Carbonix to enhance their platform capabilities in providing long-range UAV solutions to their customers with our highest-performing, reliable and secure satellite communications solution for UAVs,” said Tim Van Luven, vice president, Defense Aftermarket Sales, Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific. “Our Small UAV SATCOM system is only one kilogram (2.2 pounds) and was designed specifically to bring some of the connectivity capabilities enjoyed by larger aircraft to smaller UAVs in the air, at sea or on land. This SWaP design combined with the comprehensive high-speed broadband coverage worldwide will provide the necessary capabilities for both fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs to fly longer, safer and connected, even when they fly beyond line of sight.”
The seamless connectivity delivered through Inmarsat’s satellite network enables BVLOS capabilities that allow unmanned aircraft to be operated remotely at scale, beyond the pilot’s field of view. This technology can be used for a variety of applications, including long-range UAV inspections of linear infrastructure, where it is estimated to double or triple daily inspection capacity. The combination of the Honeywell Small UAV SATCOM system and Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity can keep vehicles connected even in remote areas or over water where other ground-based communications systems, such as 4G, are not available.
Honeywell’s suite of satellite communications systems can provide operators, passengers and crew with reliable, consistent connectivity throughout the world. They serve a range of needs, including onboard connectivity for command and control and data, as well as fleet tracking and aircraft management. (Source: Google/https://asianaviation.com/)
01 June 21. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., a global leader in the development of state-of-the-art defense solutions, and the prime contractor of Israel’s national Cyber Emergency Response Team (CERT), has signed an initiative with leading Israeli cyber solutions partners to establish an Israeli Operational Technologies Cyber Consortium. The initiative is in cooperation with the Israel National Cyber Directorate.
The announcement was made at GISEC Global 2021 Cyber Security Expo in Dubai.
The new consortium will provide end-to-end, cyber OT (Operational Technology) solutions, working with market-leading Israeli cyber OT partners with complementary areas of expertise, to address technological-cyber OT needs of large-scale organizations.
The Consortium’s comprehensive, cyber defense solutions, will address the national-level critical services and infrastructures needs, to provide defense against cyber warfare malicious activities by state actors, as well as by independent rogue hackers, to protect assets such as Transportation, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing, Water and Sewage, energy infrastructure, etc.
The Cyber OT Consortium will include Rafael, IEC, Tashan, Waterfall Security, Trapx, MobileGroup, Radiflow, CyberPro, XMCyber, Cervello, and Cynerio. Combining technological and methodological cyber OT solutions from best-of-breed leading Israeli companies, large, medium and small-size, will allow the Consortium to offer a comprehensive and integrated battle-proven solution, both for the technological and methodological aspects of the challenge. The partner-companies were carefully selected, following a lengthy assessment of their experience, track record, added value and technological advantages.
Mr. Gideon Weiss, Vice President of Business Development, Marketing & Strategy at Rafael’s Air and C4ISR Systems Division: “The new Consortium positions the State of Israel as a leader in the global Cyber OT industry. Known as the ‘Cyber Nation’, and globally recognized for its cybersecurity and OT-related expertise, Israel boasts a rich ecosystem of market-leading, pro-active companies, providing best-of-breed cyber defense solutions. The Consortium born out of this ecosystem will combine and utilize all the cybersecurity knowledge and technology developed in Israel. The consortium enables commercial flexibility and enhances our competitiveness, as well as our ability to team and partner with industries and with cyber-defense organizations within our markets.”
Mr. Roi Yarom, Director of Economy and Growth at the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD): “As part of our role to protect Critical Cyber Infrastructure (CCI), we encourage initiatives that provide know-how in this area, by joining forces and developing customized defense solutions for CCI. The unique knowledge and experience that have been accumulated in Israel, will undoubtedly contribute and become an asset in this endeavour.”
31 May 21. A consortium of European digital players to design the future EU quantum internet. Providing ultra-secure communication for critical infrastructures and government institutions. The European Commission has selected a consortium of companies and research institutes to study the design of the future European quantum communication network, EuroQCI (quantum communication infrastructure). It will enable ultra-secure communication between critical infrastructures and government institutions across the European Union.
The European consortium led by Airbus is composed of Leonardo, Orange, PwC France and Maghreb, Telespazio (a Leonardo and Thales 67/33 joint venture), the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) and the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiM).
The EuroQCI will integrate quantum technologies and systems into terrestrial fibre optic communication networks, and will include a space-based segment ensuring full coverage across the EU and other continents. Ultimately, this will enable secure Europe’s encryption systems and critical infrastructures such as government institutions, air traffic control, healthcare facilities, banks and power grids against current and future cyber threats.
Since June 2019, 26 Member States have signed the EuroQCI Declaration, agreeing to work together with the Commission, supported by the European Space Agency, towards the development of a quantum communication infrastructure covering the whole EU.
The long-term plan is for the EuroQCI to become the basis of a quantum internet in Europe, connecting quantum computers, simulators and sensors via quantum networks to distribute information and resources with a state of the art security method.
The first service to make use of it will be quantum key distribution (QKD). The QKD service will transmit encryption keys through quantum communication channels on both terrestrial fibre optic and space laser links. Using quantum photon states makes key distribution immune to vulnerabilities unlike the current methods.
The 15-month study will set out the details of the end-to-end system and design the terrestrial segment supporting the QKD service. It will develop a detailed implementation roadmap, including the cost and timeline of each implementation phase. In addition, the study will support the European Commission in designing an advanced QCI testing and validation infrastructure including standards. The objective is to run a EuroQCI demonstrator by 2024 and an initial operational service by 2027.
The consortium will benefit from the complementarity of its members, which include large system integrators, telco and satcom operators and service providers, along with research institutes. The study will leverage and strengthen the existing contributions in various quantum projects made by each consortium member and will benefit from extensive field experience of the Italian quantum backbone thanks to CNR and INRiM.
29 May 21. US Army cuts procurement of airborne jammer in smaller electronic warfare budget. The Army eliminated its plan to buy a top electronic warfare system for Fiscal 2022, cutting about $12m in spending on the drone-mounted jamming pod under development, budget documents Friday showed. The decision to delay buying the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare pod is part of the Army’s broader budget trimming, reflected in its decision to cut its request for electronic warfare by more than half — seeking $48m in FY22, compared to $113m enacted the year before.
Once the MFEW cyber and jamming pod completes developmental testing, it can re-compete for procurement funding in future budgets, according to Army senior leaders.
Army officials have touted the system as key to regrowing the service’s prowess within the electromagnetic spectrum, which has significantly grown in importance over the past few years, especially following observations the Army made of Russia’s recent incursions into Ukraine, where Russia was able to jam communications and geolocate forces based solely on their electromagnetic footprint. Following those events, the Army issued several urgent-need capabilities in Europe to keep pace with Russia.
The Army has tested the jamming pod recently to help leaders make funding decisions for future budgets.
“We’ve definitely had some challenges with this program. Not from a technology perspective, it’s really been from a funding perspective,” Col. Kevin Finch, project manager for electronic warfare and cyber at Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, said May 26 during a conference hosted by the Association of Old Crows. “This particular program has been doing really well in addressing, providing that capability to the CABs [combat aviation brigades] and the units.”
The Army is developing the project’s Air Large portion, the service’s first organic brigade electronic attack asset mounted on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, and the service plans to develop smaller pods that will fit on smaller unmanned systems in the future.
Lockheed Martin has worked on the pod mostly under its own internal research and development funds. A Gray Eagle with the pod recently participated in Edge 21, an airborne exercise that will serve as the precursor the Project Convergence event, the Army’s premier demonstration for joint war-fighting efforts. At each successive event, the system has expanded the electronic attack techniques, and the Army expects to incorporate cyber capabilities this summer.
According to budget documents last year, the Army’s total obligation for the project for fiscal 2022 was $19.2m. In fiscal 2021, the service’s procurement dollars for the system were slated to to support procurement of one pod from the project.
As the Army has sought to make cuts across its programs, the number of programs available to cut is getting thinner and thinner. In fiscal 2020, the service cut 93 programs, followed by 41 the next year and seven proposed for fiscal 2022, meaning the decisions of what to trim are getting more difficult.
This is in contrast to a variety of new electronic warfare units, electronic warfare systems and a growth in force funded through previous budgets. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
29 May 21. UAE, US companies partner to provide cyber ranges in Gulf.
United Arab Emirates firm Beacon Red and U.S.-based Quali announced an agreement to work together to deliver cyber training and testing environments to Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Beacon Red CEO Mauricio De Almeida told Defense News that the joint cybersecurity services will be available to all six nations in the bloc, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.
“Within each country, the system will provide cybersecurity and related services for governments, military and critical infrastructure projects, allowing each customer to choose the appropriate environment that best suits their individual needs,” he said.
With Quali’s cloud infrastructure automation platform and Beacon Red’s cybersecurity, training and intelligence portfolio, the companies said they can rapidly build complex environments that mix virtual and physical features. The businesses will design cyber range scenarios and secure environments to validate projects.
“We are already working with several interested clients on their specific use cases and shell development requirements,” De Almeida said.
He did not provide any financial details about the companies’ strategic relationship, calling the deal unquantifiable in its early stages. Both companies invested significantly in the partnership, he added. Beacon Red is part of the UAE-owned Edge Group military conglomerate.
“Partnering for knowledge-sharing and joint collaboration is a critical area of focus for both Beacon Red and Edge as we aim to strengthen our local sovereign defense capabilities.”
Quali and Beacon Red are past the prototype stage and have a final solution, called the Cyber Range on Wheels and Cyber Lab on Wheels, De Almeida said. The idea launched in February at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in UAE, and the companies are continuing to expand capabilities ahead of ISS World Middle East and Africa trade show in June in the country.
Customers can use the services to emulate production environments without disrupting or negatively impacting the actual environments, De Almeida said.
“This is extremely valuable for sensitive environments where you want to test the integration of new security solutions, conduct vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, detonate malware, and test software upgrades in a safe but realistic environment. Based on recent supply chain and industrial control system attacks this solution can significantly help in defeating real threats.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
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