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18 Mar 21. Leonardo eyes more cyber security deals with EU institutions after parliament contract: exec. Italy’s Leonardo aims to sign more cyber security deals with European institutions after winning a digital contract with the European Parliament, the head of the defence group’s cyber division said.
Leonardo’s cyber business, which already counts the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) among its clients, has recently pursued alliances with other groups to widen its range of services, and may also explore M&A, the unit’s chief Tommaso Profeta told Reuters in a phone interview.
In a sector UBS expects to see high single-digit percentage growth in revenues in the next few years, state-controlled Leonardo aims to grab deals on the basis of its traditional ties with governments and institutions, he added.
“We aim to increase our presence as a preferred partner of the European institutions,” Profeta said.
Brussels is planning to invest more than 1.6bn euros in cyber security infrastructure as a part of its Digital Europe Programme for the 2021-2027 period.
Leonardo and contract partner Cronos International, a Belgian IT firm, recently won an 85m euro ($101m), six-year deal to provide services for the European Parliament’s information and communications infrastructure.
That followed another deal it signed to provide security features for the new Entry/Exit System (EES), an automated platform for registering travellers from third countries each time they cross an EU external border.
EU law enforcement agency Europol and border body Frontex will be among the users of the EES, Profeta said.
“Currently around 60% of our clients are governments or institutions, while the remaining 40% are private,” said Profeta.
He said he did not expect those proportions to change dramatically in the near future even if Leonardo is currently adding large companies to its list of private clients.
Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo has recently said the group could use part of the proceeds coming from a share listing of its DRS unit for acquisitions.
“I do not exclude M&A activity in the future to increase market share in cyber,” Profeta said, without elaborating. ($1 = 0.8389 euros) (Source: Reuters)
17 Mar 21. USAF curtails ABMS demos after budget slashed by Congress. Cuts to the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System program, the centerpiece of a concept to link sensors to shooters, mean that the service will only be able to conduct two technology demonstrations this year, the Air Force’s chief architect said Wednesday.
In its fiscal 2021 budget, Congress slashed funds for the ABMS program roughly in half, allocating only $159m of the Air Force’s $302m request. As a result, the Air Force will have fewer opportunities to test off-the-shelf tech it wants to mature to more seamlessly connect its sensors and shooters, Preston Dunlap said.
“This year, we were attempting to do three evaluation events or onramps,” Dunlap told reporters during a roundtable. The Air Force held its first ABMS demo of the calendar year — the fourth such event since 2019 — from Feb. 22 to 25.
“No. 5 will be coming up this summer. No. 6, though, we had to cut. That’s the real impact … It was going to be in partnership with Australia, and allies and partners in the Pacific.”
ABMS is the Air Force’s piece of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept, which seeks to link all of the military’s aircraft, sensors and other weapons systems. Originally envisioned as a replacement for Air Force platforms, such as the E-8C JSTARS ground surveillance plane, the program has evolved into an Internet of Things for the military.
During the most recent ABMS demonstration, held in partnership with U.S. Air Forces in Europe, or USAFE, the service tested an array of IT and communications technologies meant to make it easier for service members to instantly share data across platforms that are currently stovepiped.
For instance, the service incorporated additional sensors into its base defense and counter-drone architecture, and integrated new cyber and space technologies. Much of the specific gear, and the role it played operationally, was classified. Allied and partner nations also played a role in the demonstration for the first time, Dunlap said.
In addition, the service tested several emerging artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to help automate target recognition, he said.
“You’ve seen us do this as an Air Force and Space Force over the last year in different areas, but this for me was a pretty exciting tipping point getting it really to the line of mission action, in a way we’ve never done before,” Dunlap said.
Brig. Gen. Adrian Spain — USAFE’s director of plans, programs and analyses — pointed to technological advances in space-based communications satellites and cloud computing that allowed airmen to quickly connect to a network and push data to the cloud, even in more austere environments where that connectivity is not usually possible.
“Often one of the challenges we have operationally is, we kind of know what we want, but then when we’re tasked on putting it down on apiece of paper, it’s really hard to say specifically, ‘This is what I’m talking about,’” he said. “By doing this event, it really gave us the opportunity to refine our requirements to be able to say, ‘These are definitive gaps that we have in our operational processes.’”
Most of those gaps, Spain added, involved finding areas where machines can be used to automate jobs currently performed by humans.
As of November 2020, the Air Force had awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts to 93 vendors across five announcements, allowing those companies to participate in the ABMS experiments. That month, the service tapped its Rapid Capabilities Office to move the most mature and useful technologies from the ABMS experiments to a program of record.
The Air Force intends to begin buying the first ABMS “capability release” as soon as this year, which will allow the service to equip tankers with gear that allow fighters like the F-35 and F-22 to stealthily share data — something that is not currently possible.
With lawmakers critical of the program’s direction, Dunlap said the program’s biggest challenge going forward will be be proving it can move technologies from development into procurement.
“We trust that we’ll be able to explain what’s going on, and why that’s important and how it’s so critical to enabling not only the DoD joint all-domain concept, but also be able to show the acquisition approach will be successful to achieve that in the end,” he said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Mar 21. DARPA developing AI into a mission-critical partner. As artificial intelligence advances, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is moving toward treating computers less as tools and more as partners that can help solve complex military problems, according to Matthew Turek, program manager in DARPA’s Information Innovation Office.
Speaking at FCW’s March 10 Defense Readiness Workshop, Turek said DARPA has approximately 30 programs focused on AI and another 90 that are leveraging AI technologies — from foundational science and hardware to algorithms, knowledge representations, machine learning and autonomy. Some of those, he added, are already in the field.
Those programs fall into three waves of AI. The first covers symbolic reasoning, in which engineers create sets of rules to represent knowledge in well-defined in domains, like optimizing the shipping of military equipment. The second wave applies statistical models that have been trained on big data for specific problem domains to deliver nuanced classification and prediction capabilities. This type of AI has been used for face detection algorithms and virtual assistants like Siri – whose foundational technology was developed at DARPA, Turek said.
Service members are using second wave statistical machine learning for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance and predictive vehicle maintenance. For ISR, the AI systems analyze drone video, detect objects in the scene and rapidly cue people on the battlefield to what’s happening around them. Predictive maintenance applications are pulling data from vehicles’ operational systems, their service histories and built-in sensors to schedule maintenance before a part is likely to break.
For the third wave of AI, where computers become real partners, DARPA is building on second-wave learning capabilities by “trying to improve the abstracting and reasoning,” Turek said, so systems can explain the decisions they make. To develop explainable AI, the technology expected to enable third wave systems, DARPA is “investing in things like common sense reasoning, continuing our investments in theoretical foundations of machine learning and applying those to complex DOD problems,” he said.
(Source: Defense Systems)
16 Mar 21. CMMC board preps for staff changes. The governing body in charge of standing up and running the Defense Department’s unified cybersecurity standard for contractors is preparing to shift to a more permanent staffing arrangement.
Since it officially stood up in January 2020, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB) has been run by industry professionals volunteering their time, often in addition to their primary careers.
“The AB is in the process of hiring professional staff to provide the needed level of effort for continuing its mission,” Karlton Johnson, the body’s chairman, said. “That will allow those on the board to transition from hands-on working members to the true advisory role that all boards are chartered to fill.”
Johnson said the transition had long been a part of the body’s plan “for continuity of operations as the effort grows.”
The announcement comes after two board members, Nicole Dean and Ben Tchoubineh, chair of the AB’s training committee, stepped down from their roles after 15 months to “focus on their full-time careers.”
According to Johnson, the AB is planning to hire several professional staff members who will be paid, the details of which will be announced at a future time. In terms of timeline, they’re planning to have transition for Dean complete by March 23 and for Tchoubineh by April 30.
Johnson said both Dean and Tchoubineh will stay on to facilitate a transition of their responsibilities.
The staffing shift comes as the AB is working to build out the ecosystem needed to train and certify organizations and individuals who will provide cybersecurity assessments for defense contractors.
DOD plans to begin rolling out the CMMC requirement in contracts for up to 15 pilots this year. (Source: Defense Systems)
16 Mar 21. US Army participates in first-of-its-kind cyber exercise. For the first time, Army leaders combined two exercises to test emerging cyber technology needs in a more real-world tactical environment.
This year, Cyber Quest — an annual demonstration of emerging technology needs at Fort Gordon —was conducted in concert with the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at Fort Benning. The event is designed to test new concepts and technologies for multidomain battle focused at lower echelons, such as company and below.
Army officials explained that combining the two events more closely aligns to the Army and Department of Defense’s push toward multidomain operations.
“As we move toward multidomain operations … and we look at competition below the level of armed conflict, maneuvering very often will likely send a message as much as it will execute kinetic effects,” Maj. Gen. Neil Hersey, commander of the Army Cyber Center of Excellence, told reporters March 15. “Bringing those two things closer together supports multidomain operations.”
Moreover, the battle labs at Fort Gordon’s Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence are pursing similar technological endeavors, creating a synergy to mature on similar paths. There was also a mutually beneficial relationship between the two, in which the Maneuver Center could harness the Cyber Center’s more robust technological knowledge, while the Cyber Center stays attuned to what maneuver commanders need to be successful in their battlespace.
The tactical radios and electronic warfare systems will be used by soldiers at the tip of the spear. Officials explained that getting them into the hands of soldiers conducting real-life missions during an exercise against an active opposing force provides a better test bed to put the technology through its paces.
In the past, Cyber Quest has been mostly a lab-based demonstration in which the Army solicits specific technology needs. Members of industry will bring forward solutions they believe can help solve these problems. Technologies that perform well are then advanced to future exercises involving soldiers and scenarios.
This year, just the cyber equipment at the brigade tactical operations center, located at Fort Gordon, was simulated.
Fourteen vendors came to Fort Gordon with 15 technologies ranging from cyber situational awareness to electronic warfare to tactical radios. A variety of units, such as 4th Infantry Division, 1st Armor Division, the Cyber Protection Brigade, the 915th Cyber Warfare Battalion, tested equipment and brigade staff sections.
Officials described a live electromagnetic spectrum environment that the soldiers at Benning operated in.
Some systems tested were for light formations to extend the range of the forthcoming Terrestrial Layer System — the Army’s first integrated electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyber platform — tools to obfuscate electromagnetic emissions, systems to counter adversary intelligence and protect friendly forces as well as a spectrum analyzer tool designed to enable staff sections to detect adversary jamming, troubleshoot radio communications, and visualize friendly electromagnetic signatures for emissions control and force protection.
Officials said they learned a lot at the exercise, especially how units responded to threats of adversary jamming from the opposing force. For example, units altered their paths or used other experimental assets, such as drones, for better forward reconnaissance based upon what the adversary was doing in the electromagnetic spectrum. This flipped the script, providing the friendly forces an advantage.
The exercise also tested a variety of cyber technologies. One in particular was a tool designed to obfuscate cyber operations. In the event the software code used for offensive operations is intercepted or reverse engineered, the tool is designed to limit attribution or identification of its origins. This would be used by soldiers of the 915th Cyber Warfare Battalion, a relatively new unit designed to augment brigades with cyber and electronic warfare capabilities at the tactical edge.
Given the necessary linkage between the tactical on the ground forces and U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force, officials said this tool was designed for use by both. (Source: Defense News)
16 Mar 21. New ThinKom Antenna Design Offers Flexible Installation Options for Special-Purpose Aircraft. ThinKom Solutions, Inc. has developed a new product variant of its VICTS aero satellite communication antennas enabling more flexible installation choices and allowing for smaller distributed and embedded phased-array applications.
The new product variant, which targets government and military beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) satellite communication markets, integrates the VICTS antenna, antenna control unit (ACU) and power-supply (PS) electronics into a single low-profile small-footprint package. This eliminates the need for a separate line-replaceable unit (LRU) for the ACU/PS. Further, the unique high-efficiency and low-power characteristics of the VICTS phased array fully eliminate the need for other bulky and power-consuming LRUs, such as power-conditioning units, heat-exchanger units and external RF/power/cooling manifolds.
“This new design is part of our strategy to become the preferred satellite antenna choice for smaller volume-limited and power-limited platforms,” said Bill Milroy, chairman and CTO of ThinKom Solutions.
The incorporation of the ACU into the base of the antenna does not result in any increase in mounting footprint and maintains the antenna’s highly favored low-profile characteristics. The antenna measures less than 9 cm in total height, while retaining the flight-proven, high-reliability design and product features for which the VICTS antennas have become known.
An added benefit of the new product variant is enabling the transmit and receive antennas to be co-located or alternatively mounted in remotely separated platform locations. This maximizes application flexibility in terms of packaging, weight balance and other airframe and operational considerations.
“The integrated antenna unit will provide enhanced capabilities for our government customers by eliminating the separate ACU/PS LRU,” said Milroy. “In some cases, this will facilitate fully embedded installations, completely eliminating the external radome altogether. The absence of a visible radome uniquely enables highly reliable, high-bandwidth BLOS connectivity on sensitive and high-survivability special-mission aircraft and platforms. The system fully supports low-probability-of-detection and low-probability-of-intercept emissions characteristics and provides proven over-the-air compatibility with the latest hopped and spread-spectrum waveforms.”
ThinKom has begun limited low-rate production of the new VICTS antenna product for a U.S. government customer. Initial units are currently going through integration, with formal qualification scheduled to start later in 2021.
16 Mar 21. DARPA Explores Tech To Boost 5G Signals. “The technical goal of MixComm’s work with DARPA under this effort is to try and simultaneously push the bandwidth, efficiency, and linearity of millimeter wave (mmWave) power amplifiers,” said DARPA’s Tim Hancock. “This has direct applicability to 5G.”
DARPA is seeking novel ways to boost the strength of radio signals to help DoD expand 5G wireless connectivity around the globe, without just pumping out more electrical power, says Tim Hancock, program manager for the effort.
To that end, DoD’s far-future research agency has awarded a $497m, one-year study contract to tiny wireless startup MixComm to demonstrate silicon-based millimeter wave (mmWave) power amplifiers. The “exploratory” award was made in response to Open Office Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) from DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO).
“These pre-decisional studies are often funded by DARPA to understand if there is sufficient justification to warrant a more formal investigation of a particular technology or research topic,” Hancock said in an email. “The technical goal of MixComm’s work with DARPA under this effort is to try and simultaneously push the bandwidth, efficiency, and linearity of millimeter wave (mmWave) power amplifiers. This has direct applicability to 5G.”
DoD has a number of initiatives designed to rapidly shift DoD facilities, troops on the battlefield, and eventually even robots to 5G wireless communications capabilities to increase the military’s sorely overstretched bandwidth. These range from research and development efforts on improving the efficiency of its 5G spectrum usage, to working with commercial providers to build 5G cell towers at myriad bases.
“MixComm develops mmWave Radios,” a company spokesperson elaborated in an email. “These solutions are used in 5G and Satellite Communications and offer tremendous bandwidth, capacity and low latency. mmWave frequencies are being used in cellular communications for the first time in 5G. These frequencies go from 24GHz to 47GHz and are referred to as the FR2 bands. With funding from DARPA, MixComm is able to develop 5G mmWave power amplifiers with groundbreaking output power and efficiency.”
All radios actually require an amplifier of some sort to pump up transmitted signals so they can reach distant receivers, Hancock explained.
“A mmWave Power Amplifier is an amplifier that makes that signal larger and often strives to do so with high efficiency to minimize the amount of power that is lost to heat. All signals, including mmWave signals, need to be amplified before they leave an antenna so that they can travel further distances when radiated through the environment, thus providing reliable connections between radios,” he said.
One of the benefits of mmWave radios is that they use “frequencies 10 [times] higher than what we use today,” the MixComm spokesperson said. “With 4G and Wi-Fi, we use frequencies below 6 GHz, but mmWave uses [greater than] 24GHz bands – enabling faster data rates that aren’t possible with other frequencies. For example, most people have seven or eight wireless connections in their home on Wi-Fi. When one person uses Netflix, everyone else gets clogged and wireless speeds dramatically drop. With mmWave, this wouldn’t happen.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
15 Mar 21. U.S. Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment demonstration leverages Persistent Systems MANET technology. Company’s mobile ad hoc network enables capabilities necessary to establish and operate small, rapidly deployable air bases in geographically dispersed areas, during conflict with near-peer power
Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) announced today that its Wave Relay® mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) technology successfully supported the U.S. Air Force’s demonstration of its Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept.
ACE seeks to counter the threat near-peer powers like China and Russia pose to American force projection by shifting from large, established air bases to smaller, rapidly deployable, temporary airstrips manned by skeleton crews.
“Normally, you would have hundreds of people on a large Air Force base to support a squadron of fighter jets,” said Todd Grant, Persistent’s Director of Business Development for the Air Force and C4ISR. “With ACE, you get the same capability from a smaller, harder-to-target footprint that moves.”
To accomplish this, the U.S. Air Force requires a highly versatile and mobile command-and-control network that can tie together the core elements a combat wing required to plan missions, maintain jets, put them in the air, and defend the airstrip. An additional goal is to minimize the cost by leveraging existing Air Force assets, such as legacy radios, computer servers, and satellite terminals.
“That’s what we have shown with our Wave Relay® MANET during this recent demonstration,” said Adrien Robenhymer, Persistent’s VP for Business Development for Air Force, Intelligence Community, and Department of Energy Programs. “We connected geographically dispersed units at different military bases, providing users with direct communication, situational awareness, full motion video, and audio.”
The demonstration proved that the Air Force has the networking capability to support expeditionary air bases in an A2AD environment while saving hundreds of millions of dollars.
Persistent also demonstrated automated PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency) communications via satellite, internet, and 5G cellular, as well as by local area network for conditions when a beyond-line-of-sight capability is not available.
“In a world where technologies increasingly depend upon Cloud Computing availability, Persistent’s Base Defense and Missile Field Solutions can operate completely standalone when the Cloud is not available, enabling operation in a ‘CloudNONE’ scenario,” said Robenhymer.
But the implications of the ACE demonstration are even greater than that.
“The interoperability lessons that were learned here flow into the Advanced Battle Management System, the Air Force’s multi-billion-dollar effort to connect computers, sensors and shooters at machine-speed, in keeping with the U.S. Department of Defense’s vision of Joint All Domain Command and Control,” he said.
The next step, Persistent officials say, is to take the real-life capabilities shown with ACE and merge them with future Advanced Battle Management System work.
About Persistent Systems, LLC
Headquartered in New York City since 2007, Persistent Systems, LLC is a global communications technology company that develops and manufactures a patented and secure Mobile Ad hoc Networking (MANET) system: Wave Relay®. Wave Relay® transmits and receives data, video, voice and other applications under the most difficult conditions. Their suite of products is utilized in Commercial, Military, Government, Industrial, Agriculture, Robotics, and Unmanned Systems markets. Visit http://www.persistentsystems.com to learn more. (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Mar 21. Artificial intelligence leads NATO’s new strategy for emerging and disruptive tech. NATO and its member nations have formally agreed upon how the alliance should target and coordinate investments in emerging and disruptive technology, or EDT, with plans to release artificial intelligence and data strategies by the summer of 2021.
In recent years the alliance has publicly declared its need to focus on so-called EDTs, and identified seven science and technology areas that are of direct interest. Now, the NATO enterprise and representatives of its 30 member states have endorsed a strategy that shows how the alliance can both foster these technologies — through stronger relationships with innovation hubs and specific funding mechanisms — and protect EDT investments from outside influence and export issues.
NATO will eventually develop individual strategies for each of the seven science and technology areas — artificial intelligence, data and computing, autonomy, quantum-enabled technologies, biotechnology, hypersonic technology, and space. But for the near future, the priority is AI and data, said David van Weel, NATO’s assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges.
The alliance expects to release an artificial intelligence strategy by this summer, he told Defense News in an exclusive March 4 interview. This effort comes on the heels of the U.S. Congress backing the creation of a national AI strategy in January as part of the country’s annual defense authorization bill.
NATO would do well to have its own AI and data policy strategies in place, van Weel said. He expects the strategies to include NATO’s plans for setting interoperability and technology standards across all EDT domains, and provide guidance on both principles for responsible use of AI-enabled platforms and export control mechanisms.
“It’s basically enabling the organization to then be able to start incorporating AI into military requirements for NATO itself, but also for our allies,” van Weel said. “Data and AI are the first [EDTs] that we will pick up with speed and we’ll deliver on this year.”
The EDT implementation strategy was endorsed during the alliance’s annual meeting of defense ministers in February, and followed the establishment of an EDT road map during the 2019 alliance summit in London. The defense leaders of NATO’s members along with their counterparts in Sweden, Finland and the European Union met virtually for the 2021 ministerial.
The overarching goal of the strategy was to create the conditions for continued interoperability across the alliance as it tackles “a whole new field” of technologies on the horizon. “One of the big challenges when we go into this new phase of disruptive technologies is how do you keep all allies on the same hymn sheet when it comes down to communicating with each other, using the same technology, being interoperable,” van Weel said. “So that’s a big part [of the strategy] and a big role for NATO to play.”
For now, the strategy is internal to NATO, but van Weel said it is undergoing formatting for a “public-friendly version” that will be released “as soon as we can.”
Analysts have previously called for NATO to establish an EDT framework that would help its members invest in critical technology projects in a more unified manner, arguing the move would bridge gaps in data protection and resolve regulatory and national workshare disputes.
Now NATO must find funding for the EDT efforts and work more closely with nontraditional industry partners, said Lauren Speranza, director of the Transatlantic Defense and Security Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington. This will be important if NATO is to reduce its traditionally long and drawn-out acquisition timelines, she told Defense News.
The goal should be “trying to find ways to provide quicker timelines that we can rapidly develop and deploy emerging and disruptive, technologically enabled capabilities, and then also trying to provide inroads for some of these smaller startup companies, where that radical innovation is really happening,” she said.
On March 1, NATO’s Advisory Group on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies released its first annual report with recommendations on both of those points. The group of outside experts from academia and the private sector was assembled in July 2020 to develop recommendations for the alliance in the realm of EDTs. One recommendation is to create an internal agency inspired by the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It would be composed of existing capabilities and centers of excellence that the advisory group dubbed the “NATO Advanced Technology Project Agency.”
This proposed public research and development entity would not only invest in breakthrough technology projects but also collaborate with NATO enterprise and allied innovation entities to coordinate and manage NATO’s innovation processes.
The second recommendation is to create a NATO investment bank, which would initially function with members’ support, subsidies, seed capital, grants and prizes to fund innovative projects in the EDT domain.
“The Bank would possess its own values-based venture capital fund with a remit to invest in promising solutions, technology companies and start-ups across application domains,” the advisory group wrote. “As such it would develop a portfolio of ownership spanning products and solutions, equity, and intellectual property and would be able to grant licences for commercialisation.”
Van Weel called these proposals “bold ideas,” adding that NATO is “definitely going to take them into account.” However, the alliance will have to take its existing structures into account, as well as the desires of its 30 members, he noted.
For now, NATO is incorporating the recommendations of the advisory group into its ongoing deliberations on how to better connect with the innovation community, with a follow-up to the EDT strategy to be presented to allies by this summer, he added.
The alliance is intent on establishing its role in cooperating and coordinating with innovation hubs in the near future, he noted. NATO has developed and honed close relationships with its armament directors and the federal sectors of its members for decades. But the game of EDTs “is being played in a different ballpark” — in universities and startup accelerators, he said.
“You can expect us to have a view on what this means — in what form will NATO engage, how will we bolster these innovation hubs — before summer.” (Source: Defense News)
15 Mar 21. Codan’s DTC reveals two new SDR mesh network transceivers. Domo Tactical Communications (DTC), part of Codan Communications, has launched two new software-defined radio (SDR) mesh network transceivers, the company has announced.
The SOL8SDR-M BluCore module is a miniature SDR transceiver designed specifically for applications where size and weight are critical. It is particularly suitable for use in micro and nano unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), DTC said.
The NETNode 5 RH is the latest addition to DTC’s NETNode 5 family, providing a high-power option for long-range communications. (DTC)
Measuring 54 × 50 × 11 mm and weighing 60 g, the module provides access to a range of internet protocol (IP) mesh and unidirectional Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (COFDM) waveforms, including DTC’s latest MeshUltra mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) waveform. DTC said that this waveform can operate with more than 80 nodes on the same frequency, sharing the network data throughput. It provides 200 mW of radio frequency (RF) output.
The module has two USB interfaces that can support cameras and headsets as well as WiFi, cellular, and Ethernet dongles. It can also be connected to other host devices using remote network driver interface specification (RNDIS) “Ethernet over USB” connectivity, DTC said.
DTC also launched a Robust High Power (RH) version of its NETNode Phase 5 IP Mesh radio, providing 30 W total output power through two 15 W transmitters. Phase 5 is the latest generation of the NETNode Mesh family, offering built-in dual high-definition video encoders and multi-in multi-out (MIMO) MANET capability. Existing versions of the radio provide 4W and 10W output power. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Mar 21. Joint Staff eyes progress in MPE integration into JACD2 initiatives. The US Department of Defense and service branches are working to integrate a nascent data sharing initiative, designed to link the United States Armed Forces and their global allies during future coalition operations into the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative.
US commanders are focusing on data exchanges at the secret and below releasable level for the Mission Partner Environment (MPE), with plans to test and evaluate those efforts at the next iteration of the multinational Bold Quest exercises, said Joint Staff Chief Information Officer US Marine Corps Lieutenant General Dennis Crall. The exercises represent the premier staging ground for demonstrating joint capabilities in linking sensor and shooter platforms across multiple domains.
“We have laid the foundation for that” evaluation of the MPE at Bold Quest, scheduled for this fall, with Pentagon and Joint Staff leaders embarking on a series of five ‘sprint’ development goals that will culminate in the multilateral military exercise, Lt Gen Crall said during an AFCEA International-sponsored webinar on information dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. Part of that MPE development strategy will include working to ensure the programme becomes a critical component of the JADC2 effort.
“We have made a commitment to our partners, especially our Five Eye partners, that we will not do [MPE] as a bolt on. We will do this in real time as we develop what is now shaping up to be the key elements” of JACD2, Lt Gen Crall said, referring to the Five Eyes’ international intelligence consortium consisting of the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Mar 21. AI development, training at the tactical edge inches towards reality. The ability for networked communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and other artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled end-user platforms to update and enhance their embedded AI algorithms, based on the data collected on the battlefield in real time, could soon be a reality.
The current slate of AI-enabled tools and associated algorithms being integrated into deployable combat and intelligence platforms for US Armed Forces and government agencies can execute “inference at the edge”, as in predictive analysis of collected data to narrow down a list of potential options or outcomes for a combat commander, said Booz Allen Hamilton vice president Justin Neroda.
While actual AI algorithm training and development at that tactical edge is relatively non-existent with the current crop of AI systems, “I think that will become more and more prevalent,” said Neroda, who heads the company’s Strategic Innovation group focusing on AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics. “It is really about how do you do the math to compile that inference back to a central node, without sending all the data back. That is really the trick in that … and there are several approaches that we are looking at, in how do you do that effectively,” he told Janes. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Mar 21. Novocomms’ latest Internet of Things (IoT) antenna offers world beating performance at the lowest price. Novocomms announces the global launch of the FPCB LTE 4G antenna. The FPCB LTE 4G is the latest addition to the British technology company’s family of patented multi-channel antenna for use within the Internet of Things (IoT) sector.
Novocomms has invested heavily to provide customised engineering support to their customers – unique within the industry.
The company’s highly qualified team of engineers have many years of industry experience in providing solutions within the IoT supply chain.
Novocomms range of antenna already provides world-beating performance within the hardware of leading computer and consumer product brands.
Launching the FPCB LTE 4G, at the company’s British HQ, Dr Sampson Hu, Novocomms founder and CEO said: ‘Our reputation for delivering excellent antenna at a competitive price is further enhanced by the launch of the FPCB LTE 4G.
‘Our unique advantage is we provide a customised service. This individual, one to one support is something our competitors do not provide and we guarantee customer satisfaction.’
Novocomms’ experienced team of engineers include members who hold PhD’s in fields of sensory and radio frequency.
The LTE 4G Bands Flexible PCB has a fully customisable cable and can be adapted to respond to LB, MB or HB bands.
All antennae are designed with 50Ω impedance. The LTE range are all available with a fully customisable coaxial cable.
With the growing demands of IoT devices within the medical sector Novocomms designers have designed to enable transmission and receiving across 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and satellite frequencies.
A report by British consultancy firm Deloitte concluded that the market of IoT within the medical sector will grow to $158bn next year. In 2017 the market was verified to be worth $41bn.
The 2018 report states: ‘Connectivity between sensors and devices aids real-time patient care, even from remote locations, while improving communication within and between medical facilities.’
Dr Hu added: ‘The development of the IoT and in particular within the medical space has the potential to transform medical care.
‘From our beginnings we have worked with medical companies to develop the next generation of antenna which will power the communication that rests at the core of the IoT’s advantage.
‘We are well placed to provide that technology that will serve society.’ 15 Mar 21. Thales to lead defence communications project for European Defence Agency. Thales confirmed that it will lead a team of companies and European nations for new defence communications network.
Thales received confirmation that the European Defence Agency has appointed the company as project leader for the Softanet project, which will provide further understanding for the first European-wide enhanced defence communications network.
The project is expected to last for three years, and will be rolled out in three unique stages.
Softanet is a broad European partnership between both nations and companies, including Germany, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Rohde & Schwartz, Radmor and Airbus, while the project will be co-ordinated by Thales.
The project will observe whether using virtualisation technology will improve the European Defence Agency’s communication network.
The project’s three stages are expected be laid out in the following way:
Stage 1: To last six months in which participants determine the virtualised network structure.
Stage 2: To last 18 months in which participants undertake a series of studies of the network.
Stage 3: Expected to last a year, will trial the network under the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Feb 21. Cyber defence exercise brings together military CERTs. CybExer TechnologiOver the past two days, EDA has organised the first ever live-fire cyber exercise specifically dedicated to improving European cooperation between Member States’ national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). The exercise gathered more than 200 experts from 17 EDA Member States and Switzerland, all of them connecting remotely from their working locations. The event marked the first practical part of the EU MilCERT Interoperability Conference 2021 (MIC), the second part of which will take place in June in Lille/France where the lessons learnt from the exercise and more strategic topics will be discussed.
The objective of this week’s exercise was to bring together military CERTs and observe incident management dynamics with a particular focus on information-sharing, a key factor in modern cyber defence. While European countries have come a long way in establishing mechanisms and processes to exchange information between civilian CERTs, such cooperation and communication channels are much less developed in the military domain, also due to the high sensitivity of the information. Faced with that, many stakeholders have expressed the need to extend the information sharing practices used in civilian circles also to military CERTs and their operations. The new EU Cybersecurity Strategy, released last December, highlighted that this initiative would contribute to significantly increase cooperation among Member States.
Building upon this background, the exercise goal was to experience and observe the dynamics of incident response during realistic live-fire cyber attacks and to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. The outcome and lessons learned from the exercise – as well as the potential follow-on actions required – will be discussed during the second part of the MIC in June in Lille. This part of the MIC will take place co-hosted by the “Forum International de la Cybersécurité”, a leading Cybersecurity event in Europe.
Live cyber attacks
The operational environment created for the exercise is based on advanced Cyber Range technology, with professional attackers based in several Member States launching live cyberattacks against infrastructure defended by teams from other Member States. EDA has been active in Cyber Defence exercises for a long time and supports a multinational EU effort in the domain, the ‘Cyber Ranges Federation’ project started in 2014. The exercise also included some military-specific platforms as part of the simulation, including a drone control system and a space ground control station, to be defended from attacks.
The MIC exercise was specifically designed for military CERTs and included platforms, tools and technology specific to the military domain; the entire exercise scenario was conceived in such a way that it used military planning and strategy similar to what is used in real cyber military operations. The intent was not only to provide a realistic scenario, but also to push participants out of their comfort zone, asking them to use all tools, processes and procedures possible, even those not directly at hand in the exercise platform. This allowed for creating an unusually realistic exercise environment.
“Strengthen Europe’s resilience”
The exercise was opened on Wednesday by the Estonian Minister of Defence, Kalle Laanet, and EDA’s Deputy Chief Executive Olli Ruutu. In this opening remarks, Minister Laanet stressed the importance of European cooperation in cyber defence because Member States all face the same or similar threats. “Today we can see that at the EU level civilian CERTs have established good community and their cooperation is improved continuously. However, military CERTs, which play vital role in cyber defence, are not communicating with the same methods. This is understandable considering the more sensitive information they are dealing with. Yet, despite these limitations, it is still important to offer opportunities for extending information-sharing practices. And this live-fire exercise does exactly that”, the Minister said. He thanked EDA “without their visionary leadership this event would not have taken place”. The exercise allows to build teamwork at national levels and “will strengthen the resilience of the European societies and Europe as a whole”, the Minister said.
EDA Deputy Chief Executive Olli Ruutu recalled that the Agency has been supporting Member States’ efforts to develop their cyber defence capabilities for a number of years. Today, EDA cyber activities range from defining key priorities at EU level looking at the capability development, R&T and industrial dimensions to facilitate the development of tangible capabilities (such as the Cyber Ranges Federation platform) and the adoption of emerging and disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and 5G. EDA also runs initiatives in support of Cyber Defence training, education and exercises, he said. “We are working in close cooperation with other EU institutions and agencies, including with ENISA, CERT-EU and the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in the framework of our quadrilateral Cyber Memorandum of Understanding. And we are also contributing to the EU-NATO cyber dialogue and cooperation in the context of the 2016 and 2018 Joint Declaration, working at different levels with the key cyber actors within the Alliance”, Mr Ruutu stressed. Cooperation between military CERTs is a top priority in EDA’s cyber defence programme as reflected in this exercise and the follow-on conference in Lille in June, he said. (Source: EDA)
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