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01 May 20. Prime contractors collaborate to deliver ADF leading-edge HF comms capability. Babcock Australasia and Lockheed Martin Australia have announced the signing of a collaboration agreement to deliver world-leading high frequency communications to the ADF as part of a joint-bid for JP 9101.
The collaboration agreement marks the companies’ partnership in responding to the Commonwealth of Australia’s request for tender for an Enhanced Defence High Frequency Communications System (EDHFCS) under Joint Project 9101.
JP 9101 aims to deliver what the Joint Capability Needs Statement (JCNS) identifies as: “Reliable, automated and survivable long-range high frequency (HF) radio communications capable of supporting command and control, tactical data exchange and internet protocol (IP) communications, as a primary bearer for users without access to satellite communications and as an alternate bearer for satellite communications users.
“The fixed HF network needs geographically dispersed sites for wide-area coverage, direction finding (DF) and redundancy. This capability is currently partially provided by DHFCS.”
JP 9101/Project PHOENIX is engaged with Navy, Army and Air Force to ensure that all requirements are understood, and that each gains an increased understanding of EDHFCS capabilities.
Babcock Australasia’s managing director – land, Graeme Nayler, said the agreement aligns the companies’ submission with the Department of Defence’s commitment to integration and collaboration, while delivering a robust and agile solution.
Nayler told Defence Connect, “JP 9101 is an extension of the work we do globally, the biggest contemporary HF system is the comparable UK program, which we have managed for the past 18 years; it is also similar to the New Zealand system Babcock has just secured the contract for.
“For Babcock, the way we view things is from the customer perspective, with a focus on world-beating capability, cost, risk profile and delivery time frame, particularly as the current program was on the projects of concern list. The collaboration with Lockheed Martin Australia was a way to address lessons learnt from the previous program and was a natural extension of the long relationship we have enjoyed.”
In New Zealand, Babcock was recently awarded the contract to provide enhanced HF radio communications to the New Zealand Defence Force by 2023 together with a second contract to deliver through-life-support for the twenty years to follow.
This builds on work conducted by Babcock in the UK, where the company has provided a Defence High Frequency Communications Service to the UK Ministry of Defence for 18 years and welcomes the prospect of HF service delivery to the United States and Canada when the opportunity arises in future, providing a truly global solution to all nations of the Five Eyes Alliance.
Lockheed Martin Australia’s Rotary and Mission Systems business development director, Neale Prescott, said the companies’ partnership unites their vast breadth of experience and technical heritage in HF technologies to provide the right solution for the Australian Defence Force.
Prescott told Defence Connect, “Lockheed Martin Australia has been involved in the areas around HF radar and communications since 1997, with JORN.
“The company has drawn on this experience as a technology partner with a detailed understanding of system engineering, complex physics using the ionosphere and supporting Australian SMEs to support capability delivery.”
For both companies, supporting Australian industry content (AIC) and building the local capability of Australian SMEs is critical to the success of JP 9101.
Nayler explained, “Our big focus on the AIC is to include a transfer of skills and know-how locally, making the SME business partners more resilient moving forward throughout the spiral development process. This will help Australian businesses take part in technology insertion down the track, building capability that doesn’t exist locally yet.”
JP 9101 Phase 1 will help assist the ADF long-range communications end users with different levels of capability in terms of capacity and assurance.
Project PHOENIX proposes to build on the capability foundations of the extant DHFCS and deliver a more versatile long-range HF communications bearer system.
The new system is planned to achieve IOC in 2025, and will have a 15-year life of type (LOT).
Headquartered in Canberra, Lockheed Martin Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
The company employs more than 1,000 people in Australia working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors.
In Australia and New Zealand, Babcock Australasia operates across defence, emergency services, and oil and gas sectors, supporting customers’ technical, program and complex platform requirements. (Source: Defence Connect)
29 Apr 20. US Navy’s future networks need rapid acquisitions, CIO says. The Navy wants to rebuild its legacy networks but needs to speed up its acquisitions first, according to Aaron Weis, the military service’s CIO.
“The acquisition teams that we have, they know what they need to do. I think they’re hamstrung by the process,” Weis said during an April 21 FedInsider webinar. “How do we take acquisition teams who are technically skilled and trained and give them the freedom and accessibility to go apply that in a different mindset and a time frame?”
Weis said that while there’s awareness, the challenge resides with getting flexibility from Congress and with Navy budgets.
“I think people are aware of this, it’s a matter of getting the flexibility from the financial side but also from the congressional side to give us the flexibility to move at that speed,” he said.
Weis said the future networks of the Navy and Marine Corps won’t have the same latency issues currently plaguing defense networks, and which are often due to multiple security checkpoints.
“It’s 28 hops to get from the Pentagon just to the [Microsoft] Office 365 infrastructure plus three break and inspects along the way,” Weis said. “It’s pretty hard to have Office 365 be effective in that kind of environment.”
Weis said the Navy will start building out new architecture and processes with Next Generation Enterprise Network Re-Compete.
The Navy awarded $7.7bn to Leidos in February for NGEN-R, its largest IT services contract, to modernize and maintain shore-based networks for the Navy and Marines. Rival bidders Perspecta and GDIT are protesting that award, with a decision due date from the Government Accountability Office in June. The service also awarded $1.4bn to HPI Federal for the hardware portion.
Now, the Navy is looking to leverage the contract to “jumpstart” modernization with several network architecture teams to help design it with “no more and no less security than required,” fewer hops, zero-based trust, and software-defined so the network can be segmented when needed.
“In preparation for that, we’ve already chartered a number of network modernization architecture teams, who are looking at what’s that should be architecture that we need to be putting in place,” Weis said.
But the award almost didn’t happen, Weis said.
“One of the first things we really talked about was do we stop NGEN-R and reset it given what we thought we needed to do. The reality is, given the acquisition timeframes it probably would’ve set us back another year,” Weis said. (Source: Defense Systems)
30 Apr 20. Turkey deploys Ates on EU frontier. Aselsan has provided the Turkish Land Forces with 10 Ates border security systems, which will be used to strengthen security along its border with Bulgaria and Greece. The 10 units were received by border units based in Edirne and Kirkalerli. This brings the total number of Ates-equipped vehicles in the region to 57. Funding was supported by EU pre-accession funds with the aim of tackling illegal immigration and smuggling into the EU via Turkey.
The Ates system is integrated with the Hizir 4×4 tactical wheeled armoured vehicle, which is manufactured by Katmerciler. The 57 vehicles were ordered under a €30m ($32.65m) contract awarded in May 2017.
Each Hizir 4×4 has on-vehicle sensors which locate gunshots, with a radar-detected target or firing point being displayed on a digital map. Furthermore, thermal imaging cameras can continuously record the mission and provide real-time data. (Source: Shephard)
29 Apr 20. L3Harris and Collins split $203m order for Army radios. The U.S. Army is ordering second-generation manpack radios from L3Harris Technologies and Collins Aerospace worth $203.2m, ahead of a forthcoming operational test that will inform a full-rate production decision next fiscal year.
The Army said April 29 it awarded a negotiated bilateral firm-fixed-price delivery orders to Collins, of Iowa, and L3Harris, of New York, for a total of 3,440 (1,720 each) radios and ancillaries. Delivery, which is part of its third low-rate production order, are to begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
The radios are a key element to what the service calls the integrated tactical network, the concept behind the Army’s modernized battlefield network which will incrementally add capabilities units every two years beginning in 2021.
The orders will support the ITN and tactical satellite modernization efforts, as well as security force assistance brigades and future deployments, according to the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T). L3Harris announced it received a $95 m low-rate initial production order for AN/PRC-158 multi-channel radios, while Collins said it received an order for its AN/PRC-162 ground radios, worth the remaining value of the award―about $108m. Both fall under the five-year HMS (Handheld, Manpack & Small Form-Fit) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, which has a $12.7bn ceiling and a five-year extension option for the Army.
“L3Harris is proud to deliver the most critical part of the U.S. Army’s Integrated Tactical Network, enabling secure multi-mission capability in the most challenging and contested environments,” said Dana Mehnert, L3Harris’s president for communication systems. “The AN/PRC-158 will equip soldiers with cutting-edge waveforms, providing resilient SATCOM and advanced wideband networking at the tactical edge.”
In a statement, Ryan Bunge, Collins Aerospace’s vice president and general manager for communication, navigation and guidance solutions, said “our ground radio gives warfighters access to the most advanced networked communication technology available, ultimately leading to improved situational awareness and mission success. We’ve delivered superior communications capabilities with our airborne radios for decades, and we’ve leveraged that expertise to provide a complete, interoperable solution for both ground and air assets at the lowest life cycle cost.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
29 Apr 20. The US Army is moving forward with its electronic warfare pod. The Army has moved the Lockheed Martin-made electronic warfare pod to the build and evaluation phase of the operational system, as it bolsters its electronic warfare capabilities. The second phase agreement is worth nearly $75m, according to the Consortium Management Group’s Jan. 30 award listing, which made the award on behalf of the Army.
Lockheed Martin’s electronic warfare pod, known as the “Air Large” piece of the Army’s Multi-Function Electronic Warfare family of systems program, is mounted on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone. It provides commanders with jamming capabilities as well as electronic support, or sensing of the electromagnetic spectrum. The defense contractor developed a prototype as part of the first phase of the project it won in January 2019 under an $18m contact.
“Our internal research & development programs have resulted in first-of-its-kind converged technologies that are at the forefront of realizing our customers’ urgent need and vision for combined cyber and electronic warfare (EW) capability and dominance,” Deon Viergutz, vice president of Lockheed’s Spectrum Convergence division, said in a statement.
The company has been testing the pod as part of the Army’s Cyber Blitz exercise. Army officials plan to have the capability deployed to combat aviation brigades in 2022.
The pods are expected to play a critical role on the battlefield with near-peer adversaries, such as Russia and China.
“The air pod solutions are very important, especially when you start going against a near-peer competitor. The main reason why is because you start now dealing with more of an [electronic intelligence] ELINT threat than with a strictly commercial threat,” Col. Kevin Finch, program manager for electronic warfare and cyber within Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, told C4ISRNET in October last year. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
28 Apr 20. US Army receives eighth delivery of AN/PRC-162 ground radios. The US Army has received its eighth delivery of the AN/PRC-162 ground radio from Collins Aerospace for its Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (HMS) programme. The AN/PRC-162 has two independent channels across all frequencies and allows the US Army to maintain interoperability with legacy waveforms while also using new waveforms such as Trellisware’s TSM and the Warrior Robust Enhanced Network (WREN). The radio is available for dismounted and vehicle-mounted use and can be connected to an optional 50W high-power amplifier.
Ryan Bunge, VP and general manager of communication, navigation and guidance solutions at Collins Aerospace, said: ‘Our ground radio gives war fighters access to the most advanced networked communication technology available, ultimately leading to improved situational awareness and mission success.’ This order was placed as part of a $12.7bn ceiling contract in 2016, which includes orders until March 2026. (Source: Shephard)
27 Apr 20. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today it has surpassed a significant milestone of shipping 200 production units of its advanced Move Out / Jump Off (MOJO) Link 16 expeditionary tactical gateway system. The MOJO system allows platforms with size, weight and power restrictions to communicate on a Link 16 network, and exchange near real-time tactical situational awareness data and secure voice with other, high-valued Link 16 platforms. The 200th milestone shipment marks a threefold increase year-over-year in production capacity of the MOJO system. MOJO systems are currently in use by all U.S. military services, the U.S. National Guard, and coalition partners, and are deployed throughout the U.S. Department of Defense’s Combatant Commands. As a result of continued interest in Viasat’s MOJO system, the Company plans to steadily increase its production run rate and establish a surge capacity in order to meet ongoing customer demand. MOJO is a significant contributor to Viasat’s portfolio of Non-Developmental Item (NDI) offerings leveraging Link 16 communications for the U.S. and international defense markets. Viasat’s NDI offerings are designed to rapidly deliver next-generation technology solutions ahead of the traditional government procurement model by leveraging Viasat’s agile development process and flexible business model.
“The number of MOJO production units shipped-to-date in fiscal year 2020 demonstrates the value of our NDI offerings for military customers who require access to the most advanced technology solutions to assist in immediate mission needs,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “Our MOJO system is designed for easy adoption into specialized units like the U.S. Army’s Security Force Assistance Brigades and modernization efforts like the U.S. Army’s Integrated Tactical Network, which gives military users access to mobile, secure, high-speed connectivity for enhanced communications and cloud-enabled applications across the battlespace.”
The MOJO system is equipped with Viasat’s Small Tactical Terminal, the world’s only multi-channel radio capable of performing Link 16 communications in a small form factor. In using this system, warfighters on the move have a rapidly-deployable solution that delivers access to critical air/ground situational awareness data. In addition, the MOJO is a complete, compact and ruggedized line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight communications system that is ideal for translating incompatible messages from disparate satellite communications networks in remote locations where network extensions are critical to execute a mission.
24 Apr 20. Covid-19: Navy weighs up gapfiller cloud network solution to cope with teleworking load. US Navy information technology and cybersecurity officials are weighing up the potential benefits of the development and fielding of a temporary, cloud-based, secure network as a gapfiller capability to cope with the increased strain on service networks due to the mandatory teleworking requirements tied to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
“This crisis [has led us to recognise that there is a] need to bring [on] a capability faster. So, we have been able to . . . look at temporary government secure cloud [network]” options, in conjunction with US Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy and senior leaders at US Cyber Command, said Navy Rear Admiral Kathleen Creighton, director of the service’s cybersecurity division. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Apr 20. Op-Ed: Maintaining the integrity and security of individual cyber systems. With more and more of us working remotely and ever more dependent upon the cyber domain, maintaining the integrity and security of individual systems and the growing system-of-systems is becoming increasingly important, particularly as potential adversaries, both traditional and asymmetric, seek to compromise security, explains Major General Marcus Thompson, AM.
Over the past few weeks, our home and work lives have been co-existing. Few of us could have imagined how important the digital world would become amid global crisis in the physical world.
Right now, the nation’s digital architecture is sustaining us all, and there’s unlimited social media content to inform, entertain and distract in between the work and home routine.
At the same time, our current situation provides new opportunities for cyber threat-actors.
As Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force, I’m one of many voices talking about this issue, and trying to change behaviour – both within the ADF and the broader Australian community. My concern first and foremost is building ADF cyber capability to defend our networks and missions systems, which are as potentially vulnerable to cyber attack as any digital network or system.
But I’m also mindful of our collective cyber security, and how we can all play our part in the defence of the nation.
Like it or not, everyday citizens have become unwitting combatants in cyber space. This is the new battle ground.
The concept of information warfare might be too abstract for many people to understand until you talk to them about fake news, data leaks, hacking, scams, the use of bots to artificially amplify advertising or misinformation, the fight for their private information, and algorithmic influence. It then starts to crystallise.
While you’re connected to the internet – and more broadly, the information environment – you’re part of a domain where information warfare can be almost as effective as kinetic warfare, if not more so.
I’ve recently been asking several questions to elevate my concerns, and generate public discussion.
- How do we have a meaningful conversation with the public about a contested environment they may know very little about?
- How do we build national resilience, our ability to recover, towards malign influence and activities in the information environment?
- And lastly, what is the role of the ADF in a whole-of-government response?
As I’ve consistently (and quite honestly) stated, I don’t necessarily have the answers. But I’m not going to stop asking the questions until the answers, or at least some good ideas, are fired back at me.
I look for any opportunity to have this conversation with anyone who will listen. In the latest Defence Connect Insight odcast, I talked to hosts Phil Tarrant and Steve Kuper about these issues, which have never been more front-of-mind for me.
As we emerged from the national bushfire crisis to be confronted by the global pandemic of COVID-19, our resilience is being tested. The ADF has been called upon in ways not imagined, and we’ve proudly stepped up to help the nation in this time of need.
Our ability to fight on despite incredible odds is a very Australian quality.
This is the quality I’m calling on in the scenario of a large-scale cyber attack, which needs to be lifted from our imagination and firmly fixed in reality.
That resilience, born out of education, collaboration and lessons-learned, is a collective responsibility.
We can only achieve it by working together on the shared challenges posed in cyber space, within our respective roles.
However, and I can’t stress this enough, the most important digital security measures start with individuals.
If you’re not thinking about your online privacy and security then you’re putting yourself, your friends, your family and your workplace at risk.
Question and verify the information you’re seeing online. Review and update your privacy and security settings on all personal devices. And think carefully about the information you freely give away on social media.
If you’re in any doubt about what you need to do, the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Security Tips for Personal Devices is a great place to start.
Like many of you, I am confronted with finding new ways to have this conversation during these challenging times, and it’s given me time to reflect on how we can all learn from our current situation. No doubt many of you are taking the time to read, listen and learn – and I hope my comments are food for thought in this noisy digital world. (Source: Defence Connect)
Spectra Group Plc
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.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.