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20 Sep 18. Harris Corporation Receives Orders for 1,540 Two-Channel Handheld Radios from US Army. Highlights:
- Includes radio sets, vehicular mounting kits and support services
- AN/PRC-163 provides next-generation, two-channel capabilities in a handheld radio
- Extends Harris’ leadership in software-defined tactical communications
Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) has received orders for 1,540 AN/PRC-163 two-channel handheld radios and related equipment and services as part of the U.S. Army’s two-channel Leader radio IDIQ contract. The versatile AN/PRC-163 enables users to send information up and down the chain of command as well as across the battlefield network backbone. It incorporates secure two-channel connectivity in a lightweight, easy to use, handheld rugged form factor. The radio can simultaneously transmit voice, data and situational awareness through Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking applications, VHF/UHF line-of-sight, and legacy SATCOM while offering a path to future software-only updates for MUOS, SATURN and other emerging waveforms. The award further extends Harris’ leadership in software-defined tactical communications and builds upon the company’s proven ability to engineer and deliver two-channel, next-generation handheld, manpack and vehicular radios. Harris previously was awarded contracts by the U.S. Special Operations Command for next-generation handheld and manpack radios and was awarded a position on the Army’s HMS Manpack IDIQ with its two-channel AN/PRC-158 manpack radio.
“The AN/PRC-163 is the most advanced software-defined handheld radio in the world today and will provide our warfighters and commanders with unprecedented capabilities, including enhanced levels of command and control, and situational awareness,” said Dana Mehnert, President, Harris Communication Systems. “The award of the two-channel Leader radio contract is an important milestone in the modernization of the Army’s tactical network and Harris is honored to be part of it.”
20 Sep 18. GD releases updated MUOS WFv3.1.5 waveform for US Navy radios. General Dynamics (GD) Mission Systems has released the updated mobile user objective system (MUOS) WFv3.1.5 waveform for US Navy radios.
The waveform has been released after the company completed testing of the updated system for the navy’s software-defined digital modular radios (DMR). The new WFv3.1.5 waveform is a software that adds the MUOS capability to the DMR radios, which are also built by General Dynamics Mission Systems. This will help improve secure voice, video and data communications across the MUOS satellite communications (SATCOM) network, which has been recently approved by the US Strategic Command for expanded operational use. General Dynamics Mission Systems director Carol L Real said: “There are more than 700 DMRs in the navy’s radio inventory, it is one of the largest number of fielded, tactical radios capable of connecting to the MUOS network.
“DMR is one of the first US military radios to use the MUOS waveform and other over-the-horizon waveforms, including ultra-high frequency (UHF) SATCOM waveform simultaneously, without interfering with radio communications on other DMR channels.”
As a four-channel radio, DMR serves as the US Navy’s communications hub for secured surface ships, submarines and shore-site communications.
The ground and network management system enables radio operators to communicate beyond line-of-sight across the globe, transmitting simultaneous voice, video and mission data with ten-times the communications capacity of legacy UHF SATCOM radios. (Source: naval-technology.com)
20 Sep 18. TMD exhibits at EW GCC again – showing latest products for Electronic Warfare, with Ka band technology, on Stand 9. Exhibiting again at the Electronic Warfare GCC event in the Emirates, TMD Technologies Limited (TMD), major West London based manufacturer in the microwave and RF field, will be showing a representative selection from its advanced TWT and solid state based MPMs (Microwave Power Modules) for Electronic Warfare on Stand 9.
“Last EW GCC was the first time we had exhibited at an EW event in the UAE,” said TMD’s Sales and Business Development Director, Jane McAlister, “and that was in direct response to our planned on-going expansion into the Middle Eastern markets. The EW GCC event is recognised as the gateway to the EW community in the
Middle East and is supported by the region’s intelligence and military elite. It is a perfect venue for cutting-edge technology companies like TMD to build strong business connections with those involved in meeting regional military and security objectives. Highlighting the importance of this event to TMD, an executive team of Dave Brown, Group CEO, Nigel Hann, Head of Sales, and I will all be attending this EW event to take up every opportunity of moving forward with our growth targets in this area.”
New TWT based MPMs for EW and radar systems
On show, underlining TMD’s extensive expertise in EW/ECM and radar products for airborne, ground-based and naval platforms will be the new line of Ka band TWT (Travelling Wave Tube) based MPMs, exemplified by the PTX8807 – as well as the new PTX8110 compact high power MPM, solid state PTS6900 and TWT based ultra-compact PTXM Series MPMs. The new PTX8807 TWT based MPM addresses the solution to providing counter measures against increasing operating systems emerging in the Ka frequency range – such as missile threats.
Covering the 30-40 GHz Ka band with 200 W output power, the PTX8807 is easily integrated into EW and radar systems. It comprises a high power helix TWT and switched mode power supply to form a single drop-in unit without the need for potentially unreliable high voltage connections. The PTX8807 operates at high altitude and humidity and is easily incorporated into a variety of airborne platforms.
Emphasising its enviable expertise in the development of compact Ka broadband MPMs, TMD has recently received an order for four PTX8807s for use in a naval multi-MPM EW jamming system in a NATO role.
PTX8110 compact, high power MPM for high performance radar and EW
The new PTX8110 operates from 6-18 GHz at 200 W and, with its compact design, is easily integrated into those high performance EW and radar systems requiring higher power. Comprising a high power helix travelling wave tube (TWT) and switched mode power supply, the PTX8110 forms a single ‘drop-in’ microwave amplifier unit.
Solid state PTS6900 MPM for fast system integration
Whether for airborne or ground-based operation, TMD’s latest solid state PTS6900 MPM is the solution for fast integration into EW/ECM systems. It employs advanced GaN MMIC technology and operates over the 2-6 GHz range with 150 W output and adjustable 55 dB gain. Offering a very high predicted MTBF of 30,000 hours in an uninhabited fighter environment, it is also ITAR-free – a distinct advantage to non-US customers.
PTXM Series TWT based MPMs with super efficiency packaging
TMD’s PTXM Series ultra-compact MPMs are designed for airborne radar, EW and communications. They operate over the frequency range 4.5 to 18 GHz, with power outputs up to 140 W, and incorporate mini TWTs and super efficiency packaging to offer perhaps the highest power density on the market today. With low volume and low weight, they are ideal for applications such as UAVs.
18 Sep 18. LM Embraces Agile Software Development to Evolve Signals Intelligence Capabilities for AF Weapon System. Working with the Air Force, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has used agile development to evolve the signals intelligence capabilities for the Distributed Common Ground System, the Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system. The AF DCGS produces actionable intelligence from data collected by sensors on manned and unmanned ISR platforms.
“To help our customers upgrade systems, Lockheed Martin is using modern agile methodologies, which unlike other software development approaches, welcome change,” said Dr. Rob Smith, Vice President of C4ISR and Unmanned Aerial Systems. “For DCGS, we worked with the Air Force to provide a spiral-based agile development and integration model leading to “continuous integration – continuous delivery.”
Using this agile approach, Lockheed Martin helped the Air Force transform DCGS to a modern architecture capable of rapidly integrating new capabilities as threats evolve. Partnering with the AF DCGS requirements, acquisition, and security communities, Lockheed Martin was able to migrate the majority of DCGS signals intelligence applications onto the open architecture infrastructure for testing just 10 months after task order receipt. In the past, large system releases would begin testing event some 18 to 24 months after award. Lockheed Martin helped gain efficiencies in software development, reduce the software lifecycle time and field new capabilities quarterly, representing a 50-75 percent reduction in fielding timelines.
The enhanced AF DCGS signals intelligence capabilities will allow airmen to be faster and more effective in executing the DCGS worldwide intelligence mission. This is also a critical step in the transforming DCGS from traditional sites to a worldwide hub-based architecture, which paves the way forward for centralized processing and remote support. This hub-based architectural tenet will lead to significant cost savings in support contracts and allow that savings to be reinvested into the development of new applications and capabilities for DCGS.
This effort also demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s commitment to modern agile methodologies, to field capabilities that are modular, open, non-proprietary and aligned to customer desires for faster, more cost-effective development efforts. As Lockheed Martin and government learned agile together, as a team they streamlined processes and adapted and institutionalized new methodologies. This shift toward agile processes includes guiding principles such as value stream mapping and reduced testing through increased automation. (Source: ASD Network)
17 Sep 18. BAE Unveils New Advanced Analytics Solution to Automate the Production and Protection of Sensitive US DoD Documentation. BAE Systems unveils new advanced analytics solution to automate the production and protection of sensitive U.S. Department of Defense documentation. Epiphany™ is a highly configurable solution that uses electronic workflows, centralized storage, and smart data optimization features to cut down on hours of labor and documentation and put enterprise data to work to solve agency challenges. BAE Systems introduced Epiphany, an innovative new information security and risk management framework (RMF) capability, today at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland. Epiphany is both a process and secure information management solution capable of searching an organization’s historical data and automatically completing many standard compliance documents while safeguarding the processing, storing, and transmission of critical national security and weapon system information.
“After just a few minutes of answering common organizational process questions, Epiphany can begin automating an organization’s most complex and time consuming processes, including the completion of detailed regulatory paperwork,” said Pete Trainer , vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Air Force Solutions business. “The solution meets Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement security standards and is ready for use in stand-alone, cloud, or public facing environments.”
Epiphany’s detailed document repository stores all relevant project information to manage document version control, while tracking the status of all reviews and approvals in real-time. Epiphany’s customizable framework also features an easy to use workflow guide for creating new process document templates. Once these user-generated templates are added to Epiphany’s library, the completion of future reports using the new templates can also be automated using its built-in smart data capabilities. BAE Systems delivers a broad range of solutions and services enabling militaries and governments to successfully carryout their missions. The company provides large-scale systems engineering, integration, and sustainment services across air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains. BAE Systems takes pride in its support of national security and those who serve. (Source: ASD Network)
19 Sep 18. MacB develops RC3IS to support US DoD FMS programme. Alion Science & Technology company MacAulay-Brown (MacB) has developed a new resilient command, control and communications integrated solution (RC3IS) for the US Department of Defense (DoD). Under the deal, MacB will provide the solution for use by customers and coalition partners in support of the DoD’s foreign military sales (FMS) programme. The RC3IS can serve as a suitable solution for coalition partners focused on acquiring systems and capabilities developed in the US that would enable the foreign nations to carry out air operations organically and fight together with the US forces.
MacB Strategic Missions Division vice-president Ricky Carter said: “Numerous demonstrations to government representatives from the FMS programme have enabled us to fully optimise the functionality of the RC3IS.
“Our engineering and integration efforts exceed the requirements for Air Operations Certification (AOC) modernisation plans for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, resulting in MacB being well-positioned as the programme of record to deliver next-generation technologies for our coalition partners.”
The company’s technical team has used expertise in air battle management and air operations to help significantly reduce the size, power, and weight of the RC3IS for testing and customer demonstrations. Senior engineers from MacB developed an advanced architectural framework that combined the best commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components and integrated them into a single suite, developing a fully interoperable solution in line with the current US AOC applications. The current configuration of the solution supports use by 120 users, while it is scalable to expand to three times the capacity. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Sep 18. DIA wants MARS IOC within three years. The head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) wants to build its proposed Machine-Assisted Analysis Rapid-Repository System (MARS) during his tenure at the agency.
Lieutenant General Robert Ashley, DIA director, said he wants to reach initial operational capability (IOC) within three years for MARS, a cloud-based, machine-assisted data analytics system meant to replace the existing DIA Modernized Intelligence Database (MIDB), which was built about two decades ago for the storage and retrieval of global intelligence data.
“To get that data environment set will probably be one of the biggest things we do for the [US] Department of Defense,” Lt Gen Ashley said on 17 September during an event at the Washington, DC-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Sep 18. HENSOLDT Cyber GmbH and CSIRO’s Data61 have today announced an international partnership to develop a trustworthy hardware-software stack to protect against devastating cyber-attacks on defence systems, smart factories, autonomous vehicles and critical infrastructure at a time where threats are on the rise.
“Our uncompromising approach to cyber security combines secure processor hardware based on the open RISC-V architecture, secured production, and the mathematical security guarantees of the seL4 operating system,” said Marian Rachow, Managing Director of HENSOLDT Cyber GmbH.
Announced today at D61+ LIVE, Data61’s annual data science and technology showcase, this partnership will secure cyber-physical systems through seL4, the world’s most trustworthy operating system, mathematically proved free of implementation defects. Data61’s Trustworthy Systems group, the original developers of seL4, will adapt it to run efficiently on HENSOLDT Cyber processors, and will extend seL4’s existing correctness proofs to apply to that hardware.
“seL4 is provably secure, but its security guarantee relies on the assumption that the underlying hardware is trustworthy,” said Professor Gernot Heiser, Chief Research Scientist for Trustworthy Systems at CSIRO’s Data61. “We are excited to work with HENSOLDT Cyber, putting seL4 at the core of a security-focused integrated hardware-software stack to secure critical infrastructure.”
Munich-based HENSOLDT Cyber, founded just over a year ago as a joint venture of German companies HENSOLDT and Secure Elements, develops advanced secure IT solutions for cyber-physical systems deployed in industry and defence. “Collaborating with leading researchers to produce the best technology is core to our approach, and Data61 are world leaders in secure operating systems,” said Rachow. Securing Industry 4.0 is an early goal of the company, which is currently evaluating prototype solutions for smart production lines.
“Our first secure processor chips, capable of running seL4, will be produced in the first half of 2019,” said Simon Metzner, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of HENSOLDT Cyber. “The level of interest we see for this technology indicates a great market opportunity for our products.”
Gernot Heiser is also Chief Scientist Software at HENSOLDT Cyber, Scientia Professor and John Lions Chair at the University of New South Wales.
17 Sep 18. Pentagon spending could lead to consolidation of cybersecurity industry. Spurred in part by Russia’s campaign of hybrid warfare in Ukraine, the Pentagon will purchase more electronic warfare equipment, a move that could lead to consolidation in the cybersecurity industry, an analyst said in a new report. Russia’s use of electronic warfare combined with conventional combat tactics during its 2015 invasion of Ukraine exposed how the Department of Defense needed to increase its spending on cybersecurity, Brad Curran, an analyst at Front & Sullivan told Fifth Domain. Greater use of offensive cyber and electronic weapons by Russia means that the U.S. is expected to boost defense of its communications systems, and possibly look to increase its own offensive weapons.
A September report from Frost & Sullivan projected a 2.9 percent compound annual growth rate in cybersecurity spending from the Pentagon through 2023. Securing electronic communications “is a high priority,” Curran said. The Defense Department is “just getting started” and it will be “a continuous effort to make sure our combat networks are secure.”
The focus could benefit firms like Raytheon, which have invested heavily in electronic warfare, Curran said.
Curran said that government purchases of enterprise systems will likely stay the same or even shrink because many of the acquisitions are meant to boost efficiency. One example is the government’s investment in the cloud. But he predicts an increase in purchases of electronic warfare and offensive cyber capabilities, which will favor larger defense firms. The result will be consolidation of the cybersecurity industry among the biggest companies.
During the Black Hat conference, one cybersecurity firm described the industry as “cut-throat” and added they expected industry consolidation because of purchases from the largest contractors.
In 2017, the Pentagon awarded more than $1.22bn to cyber contractors. That money went to 69 prime contractors and 50 different companies.
The Pentagon’s 2019 budget request for cybersecurity totals $3.6bn, according to the report, half of which is dedicated to operations and management. The Air Force has the largest share of cybersecurity programs, at $2.19bn.
Booz Allen Hamilton was the top recipient of public contracts from the Pentagon in 2017 with a total of $115.4m in awards, according to the report. In August, the Pentagon awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $91m contract to manage cybersecurity for the Ballistic Missile Defense System. But while artificial intelligence will be an area that the U.S. government focuses its investments on the future, Curran said it is not currently a major factor in acquisition. “The future is AI but right now it is more of a concept,” he said. (Source: Fifth Domain)
17 Sep 18. DIA announces winners in massive intelligence technology contract. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) awarded spots on a contract worth up to $500m to eight defense companies and one research organization as part of the agency’s effort to buy research, development, technical, and engineering services for intelligence missions, according to an announcement from the Department of Defense Sept. 14. DIA selected AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Harris Corp., KeyW Corp., Leidos Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Macaulay-Brown Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., and Southwest Research Institute for the procurement program, known as HELIOS. The companies won five year contracts that include five additional one-year options. The award winners will have multiple opportunities to compete for task orders on the indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract in support of DIA Directorate for Science & Technology missions.
Unclassified documents released in 2017 describe in part the scope of HELIOS as offering support services for “sensor technology focus areas including Measurement and Signature Intelligence” as well as “cross-cutting technology areas such as unattended remote sensing, robotics…and data processing, exploitation and dissemination.” Mission areas for HELIOS include space situational awareness, foreign counter space threats, the Internet of Things, data exfiltration, and rapid prototyping. The Virginia Contracting Activity received nine responses to their original open solicitation posted in Dec. 2016. All nine solicitors received a contract with a minimum award of $10,000. The HELIOS program has an estimated completion date of September 2028. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Sep 18. SOCOM awards $47m for radio software. U.S. Special Operations Command awarded the Sierra Nevada Corporation Aug. 23 a contract worth $47m to keep supplying and maintaining the software it uses in to ensure radios can communicate with one another across frequencies. Dubbed, TRAX, for “Tactical Radio Application eXtension,” the software “fills a [redacted] role in the Special Operations air-to-ground communication architecture,” and it works on Android devices, too.
The contract award is available online, and while the text omits several details, what can be seen is clear on why Sierra Nevada Corporation is the only contractor that can meet this need. Convenience is one factor. Sierra Nevada developed the software, so it makes sense to continue, and funding a new or redundant development to work in the same way and with the same interoperability would be added cost for no meaningful, tangible benefit.
There is also the matter of specific intellectual property. Sierra Nevada owns the TRAX software. Keeping the TRAX program with the same provider avoids the legal battles and technical issues that could come with trying to replicate it elsewhere. While SOCOM solicited information about an alternative capability, the justification statement argues that whatever that redacted capability is, the decision was made to single track it.
In the field, TRAX translates data protocols, allowing for communication across devices that otherwise couldn’t speak to each other. While military machines from radios up through planes are designed with the knowledge that they will need to be used together, and often built around shared protocols to match, reality is messier than planning, so a reliable software medium is one way to retain a capability even if the equipment on hand isn’t the equipment that was intended.
For all the limitations that might otherwise come with relying on proprietary software, a proprietary software that lets disparate devices communicate with each other is a way around technological path dependent.
“Long term, all systems must be interoperable, survivable against electronic attack, and capable of taking advantage of a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum,” writes Nick Brunetti-Lihach, a communications officer and faculty advisor at the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School.
“There is also a need to develop apps and network architecture with built-in security that is operating system agnostic.”
Tactical Radio Application eXtension is one of the programs Brunetti-Lihach specifically cited as a promising example of how to adapt in the future. If SOCOM is drawing the same lessons from the software as the Marine Corps, it’s likely both are on the right TRAX. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
17 Sep 18. US Army looks to build stronger tactical cyber teams. The Army is looking to build up and resource expeditionary cyber teams that will conduct cyber effects at the tactical edge. These units are called expeditionary cyber support detachments, or ECSDs, and are small teams attached to companies that provide cyber and electromagnetic spectrum effects such as sensing or jamming. These teams have evolved and continue to shift in size and capability.
“Every time we go out we’re always trying to find something new, some new angle or some way to leverage cyber effects to help the warfighter,” Staff Sgt. Christopher Knight, an ECSD team member told Fifth Domain in a recent visit to Fort Gordon.
Knight said it is difficult to find the right staff given the small pool of cyber experts. The ECSDs are recruiting to expand, he said, adding they just received eight more soldiers and are working to train them and develop a pipeline. Currently there are three teams, which fall under the 780th Military Intelligence brigade, with as many as seven soldiers.
Knight himself previously served on the cyber mission force, which is U.S. Cyber Command’s cyber force. He “jumped” at the chance to get out of a cubicle doing cyber operations and back to the forward edge, boots on the ground leveraging his knowledge of cyber.
Part of the challenge for these new expeditionary cyber soldiers is since they are not conducting operations from remote sanctuary locations, they need to work how to get close enough to targets in order to execute their attacks.
“We focus on our proximal access to get as close as possible and deliver cyber effect but still stay out of range” and have to figure out when to pull back, Knight said. “We have to be well rounded soldiers now. We can’t just be really tech savvy, we have to be combat ready at the same time.”
With the push to conduct expeditionary and tactical cyber operations, forces are going to need equipment. Previously, the cyber mission force has been the primary focus, according to Col. Steve Rehn, the capabilities manager for Cyber in the Army.
Now there’s a shift to the tactical space.
Rehn said in trying to equip these tactical forces – on the offensive and defensive side – the Army wants to build capabilities that can also be used by the joint force and cyber mission force.
“[We] can’t have a set of capabilities especially for the tactical environment that cannot integrate with, or operate with, the stuff that we use for the cyber mission force in the operational/strategic force,” he said.
With all the new forces standing up, the Army’s Rapid Capabilities Office is watching how they can meet the requirements.
“These are formations that are going to generate needs that aren’t going to be specifically designed for what we had spent the last five years building, which is a framework to equip our cyber forces,” Jack Dillon, cyber lead at the Army Rapid Capabilities Office, said in August during a presentation at TechNet Augusta. “We’re interested in those discussions and what types of capabilities we could enable and prototype where there may be gaps from the program community now.”
In terms of the ECSDs, Knight said since they are constantly developing, they have to train on every device and hardware configuration as well as even develop new capabilities, sometimes on the fly. (Source: Fifth Domain)
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra has a proven record of accomplishment – with over 15 years of experience in delivering secure communications and cybersecurity solutions for governments around the globe; elite militaries; and private enterprises of all sizes.
As a dynamic, agile, security accredited organisation, Spectra can leverage this experience to deliver Cyber Advisory and secure Hosted and Managed Solutions on time, to spec and on budget, ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices.
Spectra’s SlingShot® is a unique low SWaP system that enables in-service U/VHF tactical radios to utilise Inmarsat’s commercial satellite network for BLOS COTM. Including omnidirectional antenna for the man, vehicle, maritime and aviation platforms, the tactical net can broadcast over 1000s miles between forward units and a rear HQ, no matter how or where the deployment. Unlike many BLOS options, SlingShot maintains full COTM (Communications On The Move) capability and low size and weight
On 23 November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced that it had recently been listed as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier for 2015-2016 by the UK Crown Commercial Services
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 BATTLESPACE Businessman of the Year by BATTLESPACE magazine and is a finalist in the inaugural British Ex-Forces In Business Awards in the Innovator Of The Year category.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.