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08 Oct 20. Singapore International Cyber Week: Adapting to the new normal.
Minister of State, James Cleverly, on cyber threats, digital inclusion, disinformation, data privacy and the future global digital and cyber landscape.
Good afternoon from London.
Thank you Ms Yong Ying-I for the introduction and the challenging question. I want to thank Minister Iswaran, David Koh, and the entire Singapore team for successfully bringing us together at such a challenging time. This is my first experience of Singapore Cyber Week so it’s a real pleasure to be here, although when I say here, I mean virtually. I feel this will be a test of our internet connectivity!
In answer to your question on economic potential, the UK is enriched by digital technology and has embraced its benefits wholeheartedly – for example in 2018 the digital sector contributed £149bn to the UK economy. We firmly believe that new technology is an opportunity to be embraced, not feared.
With that said cyberspace is a place where threats lurk and change happens at great speed. In 2019 the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre handled 658 incidents, an increase of over hundred compared to the previous year.
COVID-19 has escalated existing trends in digital adoption. Just as we have seen more people working, socialising and buying online, we have also seen a rise in cyber-attacks, misinformation and online harms. These threats endanger all of us.
We must use our collective voices and actions to reaffirm that international law applies in cyberspace, just as much as it does in our normal lives. It is not the Wild West. The current UN processes have built a platform for common understanding and norms of behaviour. We now need to develop those norms into practical areas of cooperation.
We must do more to deter harmful behaviour. Sadly, malicious actors have taken advantage of COVID-19. We have seen attacks made on pharmaceutical companies in order to steal valuable research on vaccines. Just as NATO has built a powerful deterrent against aggression on land and sea and in the air, we must do the same in cyberspace.
We must shape the standards of new technology to ensure individual security, safety and privacy. The rapidly expanding Internet of Things is a good example of where the UK and Singapore have both led initiatives to promote security in design. We must promote digital inclusion and responsible digital transformation in emerging markets, so that more people can access the social and economic benefits of digital technologies in a sustainable and secure way.
And we must ensure a secure, free flow of data across borders. This is the lifeblood of trade in a modern economy.
The UK firmly believes that working with others to share expertise and build capacity, both to take advantage of this technological revolution and increase our common resilience against threats.
I am pleased to announce that we have extended a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore to help Commonwealth nations build their cyber incident response capabilities.
Together, we are doubling our total investment since the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London to £1m. Almost half of Commonwealth nations are now setting up national cyber security incident response teams. This is one of the key commitments in the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration, endorsed by my Ministerial colleague Lord Ahmad in 2018.
Everything I have said today is about partnership. We want to continue working with you all to harness the benefits of our increasingly interconnected world.
Challenges will always exist. Today they include COVID-19, geopolitical tensions, new technology, and climate change. They all, not only require national but also global solutions. And it is the same for cyberspace.
As long as we work together, cyberspace can make us all more prosperous, more secure and more interconnected.
Thank you. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 Oct 20. Lawmakers say Pentagon needs to be more aggressive with AI. The Defense Department doesn’t have the right mindset when it comes to artificial intelligence and unmanned systems, a new report says.
The House Armed Services Committee’s Future Defense Task Force, led by Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), was tasked with reviewing DOD technology needs and evaluating barriers to achieving them. Its 81-page report includes 25 findings and recommendations.
“We’ve done too little in four years to foster the type of attitude in the Pentagon that it’s going to take to develop the environment that fosters innovation,” Banks said at a Sept. 30 Brookings Institution event. “We need greater innovation in artificial intelligence, AI, in the air at sea, surface, underwater, space.”
AI was front and center in task force’s report. The first recommendation called for “every Major Defense Acquisition Program to evaluate at least one AI or autonomous alternative prior to funding” and for those programs be AI-ready and interoperable with existing and planned joint all domain command and control networks, according to the report.
The second recommendation stressed the development of international norms that limit AI’s potential harmful use, even suggesting the development of a treaty to “establish an international code of ethics and privacy protections that ensure personal freedoms and liberties globally.”
At the Brookings event, Moulton said spending a certain percentage of the defense budget on AI or other emerging tech needed to be paired with cutting legacy system investments and preparing for the future force structure, which could mean spending money on personnel, education and training.
“What does our force look like to truly meet these new threats?” Moulton asked. “We probably need to have a lot more cyber warriors engaged in the Department of Defense…. I expect that will mean we will have to raise pay and benefits to make sure we can attract and retain that talented workforce.”
For Banks, any substantive changes to surmount the Pentagon’s “attitudinal barrier” will have to come from the defense secretary.
“We need leadership at the Pentagon who takes this report seriously and echoes the themes and recommendations we’re making to help us get to where we need to be,” he said.
To assist with the Pentagon’s mindshift, the congressmen stressed investing resources in successfully disruptive organizations, such as the Defense Innovation Unit, AFWERX, the Air Force’s Kessel Run software factory and the Army Futures Command.
Moulton previously expressed that sentiment, suggesting that the Defense Innovation Unit’s potential success was stunted by its resources.
“With an initial funding of $520m, which would be $4.5on in today’s dollars, [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] led to current initiatives like DIU, which while particularly noteworthy, simply doesn’t enjoy the same level of support with a mere $41m budget,” Moulton said in a February hearing. “We cannot expect the same success without the same level of commitment.” (Source: Defense Systems)
09 Oct 20. DOD Kicks Off World’s Largest Dual-Use 5G Testing Effort. Defense Department officials announced yesterday the awarding of $600m in contracts to 15 prime contractors to perform testing and evaluation of 5G technologies at five military installations across the United States, said the acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.
“5G networks — and the technologies that will be built upon them — are an integral component of the National Defense Strategy,” said Michael Kratsios, during a teleconference from the Pentagon. “We at the DOD are committed to the advancement of this critical emerging technology to improve the lethality and modernization of our force.”
Five installations, including Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; Naval Base San Diego; and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, will serve as locations for the application and evaluation of a variety of 5G technologies.
The effort — Tranche 1 of the department’s larger 5G initiative — will accelerate adoption of 5G technology, enhance the effectiveness and lethality of U.S. combat forces, and further the development and use of common 5G standards to ensure interoperability with military partners and allies.
Kratsios also said the department’s efforts in 5G will benefit participating industry partners, as well, because operating on U.S. military installations allows industry to move faster in their own experimentation and testing than what would normally be possible.
“Outside of the department, in order for private sector companies to test the capabilities and functionality of 5G communications, they face an onerous process — negotiating agreements with state and local officials, attaining pole permits, funding the construction of antennas, and the list goes on,” Kratsios said. “At the DOD, we already have the personnel, operational capacity, facilities, scale and regulatory green light to get the job done.”
At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, four vendors will work to build a 5G-enabled test bed to enable augmented reality and virtual reality training. The effort will enhance mission planning and distributed training.
To enhance naval logistic operations, four industry partners will develop a 5G-enabled “smart warehousing” capability at Naval Base San Diego. The project there is focused on transshipment between shore facilities and naval units and includes using 5G to improve the identification, recording, organization, storage, retrieval and transportation of materiel and supplies.
At Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, four vendors will be focused on warehousing capabilities, similar to what’s happening in San Diego; however, the focus in Georgia will be on the storage and maintenance of Marine Corps vehicles.
Nellis AFB will serve as a test bed for the use of 5G technology to enhance operational and tactical command and control applications and services. There, a 5G network will be employed to disaggregate and mobilize existing C2 architectures in a combat employment scenario.
Finally, at Hill AFB, six industry partners will work to develop better ways to allow Air Force radar systems to share spectrum with 5G cellular services.
“We look forward to great progress to come from these test sites in the months and years ahead,” Kratsios said. “Nations that master advanced communication technologies will enjoy long-term economic and military advantages.”
Work on the test bed sites will last approximately three years, with the sites expected to be set up within the first year. Full-scale experimentation will happen by year two.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Hill AFB, Naval Base San Diego and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany were named as Tranche 1 test beds for 5G capabilities in October 2019. The requests for proposals from interested industry partners went out earlier this year. In May, Nellis AFB was named as an additional Tranche 1 test bed.
The five Tranche 1 test sites were selected for their ability to provide streamlined access to site spectrum bands, mature fiber and wireless infrastructure, access to key facilities, support for new or improved infrastructure requirements, and the ability to conduct controlled experimentation with dynamic spectrum sharing.
In June, the department also announced seven new locations to serve as Tranche 2 test beds for additional 5G capability testing.
The Tranche 2 locations include Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Joint Base San Antonio; the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California; Fort Hood, Texas; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California; and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
Dr. Joe Evans, the principal director for 5G in the office of the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, expects the first solicitations to industry partners at Navy and Marine Corps bases in Tranche 2 to happen this month. Solicitations for the involved Army and Air Force installations should be ongoing through December.
For the Tranche 1 locations, prime contractors include AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Ericsson, Federated Wireless, GBL System Corp., General Dynamics Mission Systems, Inc., GE Research, Key Bridge Wireless LLC, KPMG LLP, Nokia, Oceus Networks, Scientific Research Corporation, Shared Spectrum Company and Vectrus Mission Solutions Corporation.
“These sandboxing activities at military bases harness the department’s unique authorities to pursue bold innovations in game-changing technologies,” Kratsios said. “By increasing our coordination among partners in the services, industry and academia and by renewing our commitment to fundamental research and development, we will preserve our nation’s technological edge and the innovative genius that has long been the source of American strength and leadership.” (Source: US DoD)
08 Oct 20. The Art of Packing More Into Less. As military tactical communication needs evolve, Software Defined Radios (SDR) that form the core of the capability are packing more communications bands into smaller form factors, running more – and more advanced – waveforms, offering higher data rates and implementing tighter security protocols.
The tactical communications industry has changed since Armada’s last Tactical Radio Compendium. For example, the merger of two of the world’s most important players, Harris Corporation and L3 Communications, which was announced on 1 July, created L3Harris Technologies which claims to be the sixth largest defence company in the US and tenth in the world.
Meanwhile, the new company won a development prototype contract from the US Air Force as part of a competition to replace the service’s Rockwell Collins AN/ARC-190 HF radios. L3Harris’ offering is the Falcon Wideband, a software-defined digital multi-mode radio designed to augment space-based beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) systems in SATCOM-denied environments.
Enabling data rates ten times greater than the ARC-190 can manage, the Falcon Wideband boasts embedded encryption, electronic counter-counter measures (ECCM), low probability of intercept and low probability of detection (LPI/LPD) and an SDR’s inherent ability to accept new waveforms and upgrades through software. The Falcon Wideband is also smaller and lighter than the ARC-190, combining three subsystems into a single package, according to the company.
Earlier in the year, the US Army awarded the company a follow on Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) for AN/PRC-158 multi-channel manpack SDRs. These are two-channel sets capable of handling classified and unclassified data simultaneously. They feature integrated cross-banding between waveforms, including TrellisWare’s TSM, the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), the Single Channel Ground to Air Radio System (SINCGARS), SATCOM and others, adding new capabilities while remaining compatible with older sets.
This contract is the company’s second LRIP contract and is scheduled to be followed by operational testing as the set is fielded. Valued at up to $12.7bn, the contract includes a five-year base and an additional five-year option. The US Army plans to buy about 65,000 HMS manpack radios under the Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.
MUOS Upgrade for Marines
Secure narrowband SATCOM capability is at the heart of a US Marine Corps order announced in January for Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) software upgrades to the service’s deployed Falcon III AN/PRC-117G manpack radios. The $75m upgrade is designed to enable Marines to use the next-generation MUOS satellites launched to provide better voice and data communications anywhere in the world. The MUOS software upgrade will also serve a greater number of users, providing them with more robust communications in disadvantaged environments such as urban and high/low latitudes.
NSA Certificates for PRC-163
The US NSA has certificated the AN/PRC-163 handheld radio, clearing it for top secret information on VHF/UHF, SATCOM and MANET applications.
On 6 November last year, the US National Security Agency (NSA) awarded Type-1 certification to L3Harris for the AN/PRC-163 multichannel handheld SDR. This certification permits the radio to transmit secure voice and data communications up to ‘Top Secret’ level on both channels for VHF/UHF line of sight, SATCOM and mobile ad-hoc networking applications. The 163 is compatible with legacy SATCOM systems and coalition radio systems the company emphasises, and has capacity for capability growth including support for MUOS, SATURN and other emerging waveforms through software updates. Type 1 certification came a couple of months after a major order from the US Army for 1,540 sets plus vehicle mounting kits and support services awarded under the IDIQ contract covering the two-channel Leader radio requirement.
Type 1 encryption is proliferating at the tactical edge, as the advent of a generation of miniature devices exemplified by General Dynamics Mission Systems’ new KG-175N TACLANE Nano indicates. This small form factor HAIPE encryptor is intended for mobile and dismounted users and, says the company, supports the bandwidth required by voice, video and data applications, including real-time video and data analytics in a package that measures 1.2in high by 3.5in wide by 2.25in deep and weighs less than 226 grams (8oz).
MUOS for Navy too
Improved security is also part of an update to the MUOS SATCOM waveform announced in September 2018 by GD Mission Systems, which led the team that created, tested and released the MUOS WFv3.15 version that adds MUOS capability to the US Navy’s software defined Digital Modular Radio (DMR) system. WFv3.15 also improves secure voice, video and data communications across the MUOS network.
With more than 700 sets in service, the DMR is a four-channel radio that supports surface ship, submarine and shore site communications and can communicate with a broad range of tactical radios used by the military, handling information at different security levels, each channel operating independently of the others.
The US Navy’s Digital Modular Radio, which serves aboard surface ships, submarines and shore stations, has been upgraded via software to add MUOS dedicated military SATCOM capability.
Brazil’s new SDRs
The Brazilian military needs a new generation of secure tactical SDRs, which are under development by IMBEL. The publicly owned defence giant has selected NordiaSoft to provide the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) solutions for the new radios, the Canadian software house announced in September. IMBEL is using the company’s embedded Components (eCo) Suite in the development process.
“The NordiaSoft eCo Suite for SCA version 4.1 provides us with the environment we need to speed up the development of our next generation SDRs,” said IMBEL’s Multiband Tactical Radio project manager Gustavo Loss. “We rely on the eCo Suite to address all the SCA requirements that enhance supportability of our waveforms.”
The eCo Suite for SCAv4.1 development includes tools to create SCA models, automatically generate source code, monitor and debug SCA systems and allow any kind of Human Machine Interface (HMI) to control the SDR, says NordiaSoft.
Switzerland Seeks New C2
Switzerland is looking for new generation command and control systems under the overarching TK A (Telecommunication, Army) programme. In early July, Roschi Rohde & Schwarz, a Swiss subsidiary of the German radio technology house, put in a bid for Ersa mob Komm (replacement mobile communication components), which is an important TK A sub-project. The offering is based on the company’s SOVRON networking system that consists of SDRs running network capable waveforms and a tactical router from RUAG, which is partnered with R&S for the programme.
After extensive tests by the German Army, SOVRON family radios have been selected for the German contribution to the NATO Very high readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) 2023, which Germany is to lead. The Army’s IDZ-ES soldier system and the Puma infantry fighting vehicle are important elements of VJTF and are to be connected by the end-to-end over the first mile using SOVRON family SDRs under contract awarded to R&S as a subcontractor to Rheinmetall Electronics.
Rohde & Schwarz’ SOVRON family radios have been chosen for the German Army’s contribution to NATO’s Very high readiness Joint Task Force, equipping IDZ-ES soldier systems and Puma IFVs.
With simultaneous voice and data capabilities, the radios involved are the handheld SHDR/SOVRON HR and vehicular SDTR/SOVRON VR, which are interoperable with the German Armed Forces’ joint radio system SVFuA, which uses SOVRON D radios. The radios will run SOVRON WAVE tactical waveforms optimised for territorial and collective defence and international crisis management operations, providing Mobile Ad hoc Networking (MANET) functions. The first batch of which will be for command vehicles and are scheduled for delivery in 2020.
Belgium Picks Synaps
Thales’ CONTACT SDR systems, known as SYNAPS for export, are part of a broad package of onboard intelligence and data handling capabilities selected by Belgium under the CaMo (motorised capability) agreement with France signed at the end of 2018 to be incorporated into Scorpion family vehicles. Thales started work on the electronics for 382 Griffon multi-role armoured vehicles and 60 Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicles in late June, vehicles that will be delivered in partnership with Arquus and Nexter.
Griffon and Jaguar are to have collaborative combat capabilities enabled by common vetronics that provide computing power to integrate navigation, protection, observation and communication systems, with the SYNAPS SDRs providing the comms component.
Finally, Malaysia’s long-running policy of building up its high-technology industries, particularly on the defence side, has taken a step forward with the launch of the Sapura Thales Electronics (STE) TRC 5200, which Thales says has been fully designed and developed in Malaysia. This 5W handheld VHF radio has been through field trials in several countries besides Malaysia, says Thales, and STE expects to sell more than 10,000 TRC 5200s over the next five years, around twice as many as were sold of its first-generation predecessor that was supplied to countries in Asia, Middle East, Africa and South America.
The Sapura Thales Electronics (STE) TRC 5200 has been fully designed and developed in Malaysia according to Thales.
Flexible networking, advanced security features and SATCOM capabilities, once the preserve of only the largest, best funded militaries, are now expected by many more countries in the market for modern radio systems. (Source: Armada)
06 Oct 20. New ELINT Receiver. Rohde and Schwarz’s new WPU-2000 can detect radar signals transmitting in frequencies of up to 40 gigahertz.
The WPU-2000 detects transmissions from 20 megahertz/MHz to 18 gigahertz/GHz. These frequencies can be extended down to eight kilohertz and up to 40GHz. A company press release says that two gigahertz of real-time bandwidth lets the WPU-2000 intercept signals from wideband, frequency agile radars. The press release adds that scan speeds of 2500 gigahertz per second can “detect and process all types of low probability of interception radars.”
The WPU-2000 can be used as a stand-alone system. Alternatively, it can be integrated with other ELINT systems. These systems can include a high gain antenna for direction finding. A company spokesperson tells Armada the firm has “already delivered multiple systems to an undisclosed customer” and has “further deliveries in the pipeline.” They add that the WPU-2000 can be installed “on any platform” enabling it to be used in land, sea and air domains.
07 Oct 20. The US Navy needs industry to tackle software-defined networks, data sharing. The U.S. Navy needs to quickly modernize its fleet’s network in order to be prepared for future fights, but one of the “greatest impediments” to that effort is that 5frwcgydtqr5s4eathe hardware inside ships requires hull cuts to be upgraded, a top Navy IT official said Monday.
“These platforms need to be water-tight which means our entry points are small. The equipment that needs to be upgraded inside the hulls often requires hull cuts,” said Rear Adm. Susan BryerJoyner, Navy cyber security division chief in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. “That challenges our ability to pivot quickly in order to upgrade the traditional hardware that [delivers] the capabilities we’re trying to provide to the warfighter.”
The key to modernization is to get around the hull cuts, BryerJoyner said Wednesday at the AFCEA NOVA Naval IT Day. This is a time-consuming process that has long irked the Navy. Instead, the service is turning to industry for help getting around the large hardware requirements of traditional networking capabilities.
BryerJoyner said that the Navy’s future lies in software-defined networking. Software-defined networking relies on software applications for network management.
“We need to get to software defined networks. We know we need to be able to share data more seamlessly across the Navy. The challenge is, how do we come up with modular platforms that don’t require hull cuts in order for us to be able to swap in and out on board the ship,” she said. “That’s honestly one of the greatest impediments to modernization.”
She also added that the service is seeking help from industry for data sharing. Like the other services, Navy ships must be able to pass data in denied and degraded environments, whether that’s caused by the weather, adversaries or the poor satellite connection. The service, she said, must adjust to a state of operations where applications do not have constant connectivity.
The Navy also needs to understand if the data needs to be shared just locally aboard a ship or if it needs to be aggregated in some form to be shared with the rest of a strike group or across a theater, she said. Data sharing capabilities across the theater will also be a critical component for Joint All-Domain Command and Control, a major push by the services to connect sensors and shooters across domains.
Tactical cloud computing in remote environments will be a cornerstone piece to data sharing. Speaking on the same webinar, Navy Chief Information Officer Aaron Weis said the shift to cloud, driven in part by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, was currently the top priority. But for tactical cloud, Weis said, “there’s no better use case for tactical cloud than a ship afloat or an expeditionary marine force.”
But for all that to work, the network must be perfected.
“If the end state is ‘I’m not going to be able to securely move data from anywhere to anywhere,’ well, now we’re back to that modernization and the network discussion,” Weis said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
07 Oct 20. HAPSMobile and Loon First in the World to Deliver LTE Connectivity from a Fixed-Wing Autonomous Aircraft in the Stratosphere.
Jointly developed communications payload enables video call during Sunglider’s stratospheric test flight.
SoftBank Corp.’s HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”) and Alphabet’s Loon LLC (“Loon”) today announced they successfully tested their jointly developed communications payload in the stratosphere on HAPSMobile’s “Sunglider,” a solar-powered unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Taking place during Sunglider’s first stratospheric test flight at Spaceport America (SpA) in New Mexico on September 21 MT, the test marked the world’s first successful delivery of LTE connectivity from a fixed-wing High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) autonomous aircraft in the stratosphere.
The stratosphere-ready payload used in the test flight was a first-of-its-kind for a fixed-wing, autonomous aircraft-based HAPS to deliver LTE connectivity. Using MIMO technology, the payload enabled LTE connectivity to be delivered continuously for approximately 15 hours during Sunglider’s test flight. The payload performed as planned in the demanding conditions of the stratosphere, where wind speeds reached greater than 58 knots (approximately 30 meters per second) and temperatures were as low as -73 degrees Celsius.
During the test, the communications payload enabled a video call between Loon members and AeroVironment, Inc. (“AeroVironment”) team members with smartphones at SpA and HAPSMobile team members in Tokyo. The test system was composed of a service link from Sunglider using the 700MHz spectrum band (LTE Band28) and a feeder link between the aircraft and a ground gateway using millimeter wave spectrum*. Since the radio waves transmitted and received by Sunglider operate on the same frequencies as existing smartphones and devices, Loon and AeroVironment members in SpA were able to use regular smartphones to participate in the video call. During the test flight, smooth operations and connection speeds enabled high-definition, low-latency video calls.
-AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced the Sunglider™ solar-powered high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) achieved key test milestones, including reaching an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above sea level and successfully demonstrating mobile broadband communication. Sunglider’s development and testing is funded by HAPSMobile Inc., a joint venture majority-owned by SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) and minority-owned by AeroVironment.
During the test flight, which began at 5:16 a.m. MDT on September 21 and concluded at 1:32 a.m. MDT on September 22, the AeroVironment team piloted Sunglider to a stratospheric altitude of 62,500 feet above Spaceport America in New Mexico. Sunglider successfully achieved major test objectives relating to propulsion, power systems, flight control, navigation and datalink integrity, as well as structural performance during the most turbulent phases of the flight as it entered and exited the jet stream.
The broadband communication demonstration successfully linked teams in Tokyo, Spaceport America and Silicon Valley using an LTE payload jointly developed by Alphabet’s Loon LLC and HAPSMobile. Employing standard LTE smartphones, a team at Spaceport America conducted multiple video calls via the Sunglider’s payload while the aircraft circled for more than five hours in the stratosphere.
“In less than three years AeroVironment and HAPSMobile have made incredible progress, developing two Sunglider solar HAPS unmanned aircraft and performing five consecutive flight demonstrations, culminating in this latest significant milestone,” said Wahid Nawabi, president and chief executive officer of AeroVironment. “Reaching stratospheric altitude, maintaining continuous flight for more than 20 hours, achieving key test objectives and demonstrating seamless broadband communication illustrate the tremendous potential HAPS technology offers to expand connectivity globally. We look forward to maintaining our momentum toward aircraft certification and commercialization, working in close partnership with HAPSMobile as we establish a disruptive capability that offers tremendous value creation potential.”
The Sunglider, a solar-powered HAPS, has a wingspan of 262 feet and is propelled by 10 electric motors powered by solar panels covering the surface of the wing and rechargeable battery packs, resulting in zero emissions. Flying at an altitude of approximately 65,000 feet above sea level and above the clouds, the Sunglider can carry payloads weighing as much as 150 pounds and is designed for continuous, extended missions of months without landing.
*The service link used a 5MHz band of the 700MHz spectrum band for this test. In addition to an outdoor environment, the video call test was successful indoors.
Vint Cerf, recognized as one of the “Fathers of the Internet” and VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, LLC, and Jun Murai—known as the “Father of the Internet in Japan” and Professor at Keio University’s Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, and HAPSMobile External Director—also joined the video call and discussed HAPS’ significance for the future of the Internet.
Footage of the test flight can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G_h_fDyYAk&feature=youtu.be
During the test flight, HAPSMobile also conducted basic measurements of stratosphere-to-ground radio wave propagation data that will be used toward future contributions to the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) with a view to international standardization. With the valuable data and learnings that the teams collected during this test, HAPSMobile and Loon will be collectively working with ITU, 3GPP, regulators and telcos to further the already in progress work on HAPS. The test also provided insight into how HAPS could be used in disasters and alongside other lifesaving technologies.
Junichi Miyakawa, Representative Director & CTO of SoftBank Corp., and also President & CEO of HAPSMobile, said, “I am thrilled that our wireless communications equipment jointly developed with Loon exceeded our expectations in severe high-altitude conditions. Through this test we’ve obtained vital data that will accelerate the development of commercial services and improve the coverage and quality of our HAPS connectivity. We look forward to further developing the payload with Loon so we can revolutionize mobile connectivity and bridge the world’s digital divide.”
Loon’s CEO Alastair Westgarth said, “This successful test represents yet another step to develop a new layer of connectivity based in the stratosphere. It is also an important step in our ongoing strategic partnership with HAPSMobile. By developing technologies to harness the opportunity of the stratosphere, we are making progress toward our shared goal of connecting unconnected and under-connected populations around the world.”
Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, said, “I had the privilege of participating in a milestone demonstration on September 21. A HAPSMobile solar-powered Sunglider aircraft flew to over 62,000 feet carrying a Loon LTE base station. That floating, stratospheric base station connected a mobile phone to the Internet where a four-way, high resolution video conference ensued. Participants in the video call were in New Mexico, Tokyo, Mountain View, California and Washington, DC. This technology holds great promise for the future of connectivity, especially as part of efforts to expand internet access to places that don’t yet have it.”
Jun Murai, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies Professor at Keio University, and also HAPSMobile External Director, said, “Using the stratosphere for the mobile Internet is going to be the next most innovative challenge, and it will add to the existing and achieved innovations of the Internet. It was my honor to participate in this historic trial of Internet-based video conferencing among multiple points using HAPSMobile’s Sunglider, which was actually flying in the stratosphere. The result was a perfect success, making very strong impressions on everybody with high-resolution, smooth video and practically no latency, which made for exciting and natural conversations. HAPS technology is greatly needed by all of us for natural disaster recovery and Internet inclusion, which are key missions of the Internet today. The Internet is for everyone, everything and everywhere. Now we step forward to achieve this dream.”
Loon’s mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies. By leveraging these advanced technologies, Loon is making it possible to expand internet access to the billions who currently lack it. Loon works with a range of partners to expand and supplement existing networks and enable new solutions that will meet the connectivity needs of the future. To date, Loon’s stratospheric balloons have travelled more than 40 million kilometers around the world and connected hundreds of thousands of people.
HAPSMobile Inc., a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. and minority-owned by AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), plans and operates a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business with the aim of bridging the world’s digital divide. HAPSMobile is primarily engaged in network equipment research and development for the HAPS business, construction of core networks, new business planning and activities for spectrum usage. AeroVironment, Inc. is HAPSMobile’s minority owner and aircraft development partner for its solar-powered unmanned aircraft “Sunglider” designed for stratospheric telecommunications platform systems that flies approximately 20kms above ground in the stratosphere. HAPSMobile has a strategic relationship with Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. For more information, please visit https://www.hapsmobile.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
06 Oct 20. DIA awards nearly $800m in work to major defense primes. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency awarded nearly $800m in contacts to two major defense contractors to improve data storage and network modernization. The DIA, a military intelligence agency, chose Northrop Grumman to deliver its Transforming All-Source Analysis with Location-Based Object Services (TALOS) program, which focuses on building new big data systems. The contract is worth $690m. A spokesperson for Northrop Grumman did not respond when asked for the performance period.
The platform will include the DIA’s Machine-Assisted Rapid-Repository System (MARS), according to a Sept. 30 press release from the defense giant. MARS is a massive new DIA database that manages foreign military infrastructure data that is critical for operations planning and targeting.
“Transforming current databases housing foundational military intelligence into multi-dimensional, flexible and rigorous data environments, MARS will create a military intelligence environment that will be accessed for up-to-date information by the Intelligence Community and warfighters,” a press release from Northrop Grumman said Sept. 30.
Northrop Grumman will serve as the enterprise modular integrator for MARS under the contract and will use artificial intelligence and machine learning “to develop a big data processing system capable of ingesting and managing large volumes of data to inform warfighting decisions,” the release said.
The contract was awarded Aug. 14 using the General Service Administration’s Alliant 2 Government-wide Acquisition Contract.
The DIA also awarded a $100m contract to General Dynamics Information Technology for IT system modernization. Under the contract, GDIT will “provide worldwide engineering support to DIA’s core IT infrastructure to include system design, architecture, testing plans, and security accreditation,” according to an Oct. 6 press release.
GDIT was awarded an Infrastructure Services Enterprise Engineering task order as part of the DIA’s Enhanced Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise contract. The task order has a base period of one year with four option years with an additional six-month option.
“GDIT is excited to continue our 35-year relationship supporting DIA and their complex national security mission. The ISEE award is a true testament to GDIT’s ability to develop and deliver enterprise IT Infrastructure solutions at scale,” said Deb Davis, vice president and general manager of mission solutions and service sector for GDIT’s Intelligence & Homeland Security Division. “As a mission support leader and trusted partner for DIA’s IT backbone, we look forward to supporting the ongoing modernization of the DoDIIS Enterprise.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
07 Oct 20. Jamming Backpacks. The US Army could have their VROD and VMAX systems (pictured here) replaced by the TCE which will be able to perform electronic and cyber attacks at the Forward Edge of the Battle Area. The US Army could receive backpack-based electronic warfare/cyber attack systems in the coming years.
The Check the Manual article in the September edition of Armada’s Electronic Warfare Newsletter discussed changes being made to the US’ Joint Electronic Warfare Doctrine.
US Joint Publication 3-85 – Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations or ‘JEMSO’ as the doctrinal publication is known highlights the convergence of electronic attack and cyber warfare. This concerns electronic attack as the conduit through which malicious code is introduced into hostile command and control networks. This code can be used to disrupt, degrade or destroy these networks, or to covertly retrieve intelligence for exploitation by friendly forces.
US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) already has tools which it uses for the execution and battle management of cyber attacks. These are exemplified by Northrop Grumman’s Unified Platform which equips USCYBERCOM. Few details have been released regarding the Unified Protector’s attributes. However, it is reasonable to assume that the system is used for cyber warfare at the operational and/or strategic levels.
Cyber attack tools are moving into the tactical domain. The US Army’s forthcoming Terrestrial Layered System (TLS) is a vehicle-based electronic attack system equipping the army’s Brigade Combat Teams. The TLS capabilities will include cyber warfare and conventional electronic attack.
While the TLS is a vehicle-borne capability plans are afoot to outfit dismounted troops with a backpack system to perform cyber and electronic attack. L3Harris is leading this effort via the Tactical Cyber Equipment (TCE) programme. The TCE is a backpack with “swappable capability cards” to support EW or cyber operations Mark Adams, L3Harris’ vice president and general manager of wireless solutions, told Armada.
The TCE is intended to be used at the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA), Mr. Adams continues. L3Harris was awarded the contract to develop the TCE this May. Initiative deliveries are expected in the summer of 2021. Mr. Adams says that along with supporting dismounted combat the TCE could be used in mounted and fixed guises as the mission requires. He says that the open architecture approach used in the TCE allows it to be upgraded with new hardware and software as new capabilities become available.
The roll-out of the TCE will ensure that cyber and EW can be moved as close to the FEBA as possible. This will help to avoid overtasking assets like the TLS and forthcoming Lockheed Martin Multi-Function EW Air Large (MFEW-AL) pod-based EW system equipping the US Army’s General Atomics MQ-1C Grey Eagle uninhabited air vehicles. The MFEW-AL is also intended for use at operational/tactical levels.
The US Army currently uses the VROD (Versatile Radio Observation and Direction) and VMAX (VROD Modular Adaptive Transmit) backpack EW systems. These are employed for communications intelligence collection (VROD) and for limited electronic attack (VMAX) across wavebands of 300 megahertz to three gigahertz. Around 200 VMAXs and 100 VRODs are thought to be in service with the US Army.
The TCE may be a step change vis-à-vis these legacy systems potentially offering more sophisticated jamming waveforms and a cyber warfare element in a package that can be easily configured by the user. The TCE will be tied into the Raytheon EW Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT) electronic warfare battle management system deployed at the BCT headquarters and its laptop-based Raven Claw counterpart for mounted and dismounted units.
TCE-equipped units will be able to rapidly share the electromagnetic and cyber situation with other EW cadres which can visualise the situation in real time using the EWPMT/Raven Claw. Similarly, the TCE will give commanders the flexibility to deploy the TCE in situations where it may be unsuitable or impractical to deploy larger EW assets like the TLS and MFEW-AL. (Source: Armada)
07 Oct 20. Making Waves. The Franco-German Future Combat Air System sixth-generation combat aircraft is one platform which could benefit from technologies being developed under the CapTech RFST rubric.
The EU’s Radio Frequency Sensors Technologies CapTech is helping to spur innovation in the electronic warfare domain.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) is tasked with promoting and enhancing cooperation in armaments across the European Union (EU). Intrinsic to this are the Capability Technology (CapTech) areas the EDA has established and is promoting. The CapTechs are intended to further research and development of technologies applicable to the military capabilities of the EU’s member states. According to the EDA, each CapTech includes expertise from the public and private sectors with each CapTech under the auspices of a CapTech moderator.
One of the EDA’s CapTechs covers Radio Frequency Sensors Technologies (RFST). This CapTech was established in 2004. The initiative is an umbrella for a myriad of research and development projects which are ongoing within the EU’s member states run by a plethora of public and private sector organisations. A written statement supplied to Armada by the EDA stated that the membership and scope of these projects can differ widely. The RFST CapTech meets three times per year. At these meetings “the status of projects and proposals for future projects are discussed.” Exact details on the projects within the RFST CapTech “are for EDA member states only and not to be disclosed to the public.”
However, the EDA did disclose that one technology of interest to the initiative is the use of novel data processing techniques. This is already attracting significant interest from several programmes connected to the CapTech RFST.
Unsurprisingly artificial intelligence, a hot topic in the radar, military communications and electronic warfare fields, is expected to gain increased interest within the CapTech RFST in the future, particularly the hardware aspects of such technologies, the statement continued. Over the longer term, the EDA is confident that the importance of the EDA’s CapTechs “as fora for experts in the different research areas are likely to gain importance.” This could see the number of EU member states involved in the CapTech RFST increasing: “Currently, experts from ten participating member states are regularly participating and contributing to the meetings of CapTech RFST.” The EDA predicts that “in the future, an increased participation is expected due to the increased importance of the forum for the discussion on topics to be covered under the umbrella of new EU defence funding mechanisms.”
Like other EDA CapTechs covering sectors like optronics, communications, materials, ammunition and navigation to name just four, the work being performed by the CapTech RFST makes an important contribution to defence initiatives across the EU. This could also help member states to exchange information and foster innovation to drive this technology forward. As electromagnetic systems in the radar, communications and EW domains get more complicated this will only increase in importance in the years to come. (Source: Armada)
07 Oct 20. Decoy and Destroy. Gripen-E/F combat aircraft may receive additional stores in the near future in the form of the air-launched decoy the firm is developing for the jet. A new addition to Saab’s Arexis electronic warfare product line provides added protection for Gripen. For Saab the Arexis airborne Electronic Warfare (EW) architecture is a gift that keeps on giving. The firm launched the Arexis product line in 2017 at the Defence and Security International Exhibition in London.
Saab’s endeavours have produced a scalable EW system which can be mounted internally or externally. The Arexis architecture is evolved from Saab’s MFS-EW (Multifunction System-Electronic Warfare). This internally equips Saab’s Gripen-E/F combat aircraft. The firm has housed Arexis in a podded configuration. This can outfit Gripen-E/F aircraft or other fast jets.
The Arexis’ family’s newest arrival is an air-launched EW decoy. Announced in late August Saab says it is developing the decoy as part of its Gripen -E/F offering for the Suomen Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force/FAF) HX fighter programme. This is replacing the FAF’s legacy McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet planes.
Saab has not revealed the frequencies covered by Arexis. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to assume it covers wavebands of at least two gigahertz/GHz to 18GHz. This may have been increased downwards and upwards to 500 megahertz and 40GHz. Arexis uses Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology. This lets jamming signals be electronically steered towards the threat, thus decreasing reaction times when compared to physically steering an antenna. Jamming waveforms can be transmitted into the sidelobes flanking a radar’s main beam. The aircraft can attack the radar without being in its boresight reducing its chances of detection. AESAs can also quickly flip between jamming modes and targets.
Petter Bedoire, Saab’s chief technology officer, told Armada that the firm has miniaturised the Arexis hardware and will use the same Arexis software. Like its pod counterpart, it can equip jets beyond Saab’s Gripen series “with some small modifications regarding interfacing with the host aircraft” Mr. Bedoire adds.
Concept of Operations
The decoy and pod will perform different, but complementary missions. The pod is optimised as an escort jammer. It can protect a strike package of four-to-five jets as well as individual aircraft. Mr. Bedoire says that the pod is designed for the two-seat Gripen-F with the weapons systems officer managing it.
The decoy has been designed as a stand-in jammer for contested airspace. Several decoys can be launched to jam ground-based air surveillance and fire control/ground-controlled interception radars across a large area. Mr Bedoire says that the decoys can also be used to mimic missiles to further confuse air defenders.
Saab is involving Finnish electronics miniaturisation expertise in the decoy’s development. Mr. Bedoire says the decoy’s payload is currently at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Six. According to standard definitions this means the payload has been demonstrated in a relevant environment. He added that the missile platform housing the payload is at TRL-7. This means that it has been demonstrated in an operational environment.
Citing HX programme confidentiality obligations Mr. Bedoire could not say when the decoy’s development will be complete. (Source: Armada)
06 Oct 20. Raytheon Intelligence & Space launches virtualized testing solution to assess cyber vulnerabilities. Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business (NYSE: RTX), is launching a new hardware emulation and software analysis tool called DejaVM™ that provides a virtualized environment to evaluate and reduce cyber threats against mission-critical systems in a modern networked space.
DejaVM enables system-level cyber testing without requiring access to the limited number of highly specialized physical hardware assets. The tool creates an emulation environment that virtualizes complex systems to support automated cyber testing. DejaVM focuses on improving software development, testing and security via its advanced analysis features.
“The complexity of cyber threats that organizations face continues to escalate, demanding more sophisticated solutions to evaluate and reduce threats to those missions,” said John DeSimone, vice president of Cybersecurity, Training and Services at RI&S. “This robust virtual environment helps our customers do exactly that.”
DejaVM provides an infrastructure that can be used to virtualize any system, supplying advanced debugging capabilities not possible on the actual platform. Any code within the system can be debugged, memory can be modified, and vulnerabilities can be detected wherever they occur.
“Our team of experts has worked tirelessly to launch DejaVM to enable customers to emulate critical network systems to identify and mitigate cyber vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by our adversaries,” said Teresa Shea, vice president of Cyber Offense and Defense Experts (CODEX) at RI&S. “Now more than ever, virtual cyber threat reduction environments are critical to protecting the systems our work and lives rely upon.”
05 Oct 20. SOVERON HR starts on road to success. Rohde & Schwarz deploys SOVERON HR handheld radio for use with an export customer. Rohde & Schwarz received another contract for the newly developed SOVERON HR handheld radio along with the successfully established SOVERON VR vehicular radio. Diehl Defence will integrate the mission-optimized radios with an export customer and has already received the first deliveries. All devices are produced in German Rohde & Schwarz plants because of the security technology involved.
As part of the SOVERON software defined radio system, SOVERON HR is able to maintain two audio connections and enables parallel voice and data connections, together with associated network-capable, high data rate, jam-proof SOVERON WAVE waveforms.
SOVERON HR and SOVERON VR have already been commissioned by the German armed forces to equip their Very High Joint Readiness Task Force 2023 (VJTF 2023), with key elements Puma infantry fighting vehicles and future dismounted soldier.
“With the innovative general SOVERON approach, Rohde & Schwarz is providing flexible and trusted national solutions, whose open architecture is compatible with legacy radio systems, while remaining viable for the future. The company uses in-house cryptology developments as the national key technology,” explains Hartmut Jäschke, Executive Vice President of the Secure Communications Division at Rohde & Schwarz.
The SOVERON communications architecture from Rohde & Schwarz, consisting of software defined radios, associated network-capable, high data rate, jam-proof waveforms and high-security cryptology, is the key requirement for a comprehensive, interoperable system solution.
05 Oct 20. Japan is bolstering its electronic warfare capabilities. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force has inducted the first of a new intelligence-gathering aircraft into service, following a two-year flight test program. The JASDF announced the induction of the RC-2 electronic intelligence, or elint, gathering aircraft at a ceremony held at Iruma Air Base in the western suburbs of the Japanese capital Tokyo on Oct. 1.
The RC-2 is based on Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ C-2 airlifter and has been heavily modified with multiple aircraft fairings that contain antennas for detecting, receiving and classifying electronic emissions. The aircraft made its maiden flight in early 2018, though the variant had been in development since at least 2015.
Since that time, it underwent a series of flight tests conducted by the JASDF Air Development and Test Wing at Iruma, where the force’s elint squadron is based.
The RC-2 will replace the four NAMC YS-11EBs currently serving with the squadron, although it’s unknown if the new platform will replace the YS-11EBs on a one-for-one basis. The Defense Ministry’s latest budget request, released on the same day of the RC-2′s induction, seeks $67.2m to acquire more of the specialized elint systems by purchasing an unspecified number of RC-2s.
Japan is also seeking to recapitalize its standoff jamming capability. The latest budget request sought $144.9m to develop a new standoff jammer aircraft, with the accompanying graphic released by the ministry suggesting that it will also be based on the C-2.
This aircraft will likely replace the two YS-11EAs and possibly the sole Kawasaki EC-1 in service with the JASDF’s Electronic Warfare Squadron, which is also based at Iruma.
The EC-1 is based on the older Kawasaki C-1 that Japan is slowly replacing with the C-2. The latest budget request is seeking $487.5m to acquire two more of the airlifters in the coming fiscal year.
Japan has acquired the C-2 at a relatively slow rate, with seven aircraft funded for fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2018. Fiscal 2019 received no funding for the effort.
In recent years, the country has also flirted with the idea of buying Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules airlifters from the United States as a cheaper option.
The U.S. ally is also seeking a further $47.4m to develop a new elint collection system that will eventually go on a new platform to replace the four Lockheed EP-3C Orion aircraft currently operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. (Source: Defense News)
05 Oct 20. Lucrative contracts coming soon from US Army’s enterprise information systems office. The U.S. Army’s enterprise information systems office expects to release requests for proposals for several highly lucrative contracts in the next few months, a top official has announced. At an AFCEA Belvoir event last week, Ross Guckert, program executive officer at Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, laid out the office’s top four highest value contracts for the upcoming quarter, including multi-award contract for IT services valued up to $10bn.
That contract, called Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-4 Hardware, has a base period of five years with five one-year options. According to industry day slides from July, the office plans for 17 awardees. A draft RFP will be released in the first quarter of fiscal 2021, which started Oct. 1. The final RFP is slated for release in the second quarter of fiscal 2021.
ITES-4H will provide the Army with IT services such as client, servers, storage and network environment, as well as maintenance of legacy platforms. ITES-4H is a follow-on for ITES-3H, which has 17 incumbents.
PEO EIS is also planning to release three more RFPs in the coming months.
In October, expect an RFP for an enterprise-wide cloud service provider. The estimated value is about $200m, and according to a PEO EIS spokesperson, the performance period is one year with two option years. The scope of the contract is migration and management of PEO EIS systems in a cloud environment, the spokesperson said.
Sometime between October and December, the office will release an RFP for IT services for its Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Enterprise Systems and Services, a data security provider to the joint force. That contract is valued at between $220 and $260m with a one-year base and four option years. An award will be made to a single vendor in the second quarter of fiscal 2021.
Finally, expect a woman-owned, small business set aside contract for strategic communication services, including “digital media, graphic design, protocol, and congressional and public affairs,” the spokesperson said. The performance period is one-year with four options, expected to be worth about $15-20m. It is unclear exactly when that contract will be released. (Source: Defense News)
07 Oct 20. Viasat Releases Configuration of AN/PRC-161 BATS-D Handheld Link 16 Radio Certified by National Security Agency for Use by U.S. General Purpose Forces and Five Eyes Nations. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced it has released a new, advanced configuration of its handheld Link 16 Battlefield Awareness and Targeting System – Dismounted (BATS-D) radio. This advanced version adds new security features to address emerging and expanded threats associated with the diverse operational use cases and new deployment scenarios where the radio will be utilized. Accordingly, this configuration has been certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) for immediate use by U.S. General Purpose Forces (GPF), Five Eyes (FVEY) partner nations and coalition forces. BATS-D is the world’s first and only handheld Link 16 radio. It bridges a critical gap between air and ground forces by providing warfighters at the tactical edge secure, reliable access to integrated air and ground information for improved situational awareness and enhanced close air support communications.
“The initial success of the BATS-D radios in the field proves this capability to be a true game-changer in military communications,” said Andy Kessler, vice president and business area director, Next Generation Tactical Data Links business, Viasat. “We’ve seen tremendous interest to extend the use of the BATS-D radios to new applications and expanded concepts of operation that address specific needs and capability gaps of U.S. and international FVEY armed forces. The availability of BATS-D for GPF and FVEY partner nations will empower more warfighters with secure, interoperable, digitally-aided communications, which ultimately translates into significantly enhanced situational awareness and improved mission coordination across the multi-domain battlespace.”
The BATS-D handheld Link 16 radio is known to the United States Department of Defense as the AN/PRC-161.
05 Oct 20. Pentagon seeks to move quickly on EMSO strategy implementation. The US Department of Defense hopes to move quickly on an implementation plan for the Pentagon’s soon-to-be released strategy for electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO), which will be the first major doctrinal overhaul of those operations since 2013.
Officials from the Pentagon’s Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Cross Functional Team (EMSO CFT), as well as senior departmental leaders, anticipate having an implementation plan in place for the new strategy within six months of the guidance’s final approval, according to US Air Force Brigadier General Darrin Leleux.
“The implementation plan development effort will be designed to identify tasks, reorganisation, timelines, resource requirements and risks to meet the strategy’s goals and objectives,” said Brig Gen Leleux, who serves as the team’s deputy director. He said the terms of reference for the plan have already been approved by senior leaders.
“The new EMSO strategy should build upon the successes of past strategies,” while also charting a new course that supersedes previous doctrine on those types of operations first issued in 2013, as well as 2017 guidance on electronic warfare operations, Brig Gen Leleux said during a 29 September virtual symposium hosted by the Association of Old Crows. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Oct 20. Why the Pentagon needs to fully embrace influence operations. With adversaries working non-stop to inject disinformation into the public discourse, the United States must embrace influence operations as an integral part of modern warfare, a top Department of Defense official said today.
In order to counter these actions and compete with state and non-state actors, influence operations cannot be “just a niche capability,” Ezra Cohen, the acting assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict, said during a virtual presentation Oct. 2. He speaking at an NDIA conference.
Cohen explained that DoD published an amendment to the National Defense Strategy in 2019 that focused on irregular warfare, how the department conducts such operations and what can be learned from 19 years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. It provides objectives for the entire joint force to apply irregular warfare capabilities to counter nation states below the threshold of conflict.
Of note, one of the five core themes of the document is that the department must emphasize operations in the information environment.
“Our adversaries embrace the anonymity of social media platforms and the viral nature of information flow as they employ information statecraft as an integral element of their approach to competition.” Cohen said. “They poison public discourse, undermine democratic processes, turn citizens against each other and deflect blame for their malign activities.”
Cohen emphasized that DoD can’t do this alone, it must require a joint effort between other government agencies that “integrates technical capabilities and institutional knowledge across civilian agencies, foreign partners and other entities.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 Oct 20. Bittium Launches Bittium Tactical Power Pack™ for Enabling Uninterrupted Field Use for Portable Tactical Communication Devices.
Bittium Launches Bittium Tactical Power Pack™ for Enabling Uninterrupted Field Use for Portable Tactical Communication Devices
Oulu, Finland, October 5, 2020 – Bittium launches Bittium Tactical Power Pack™ for portable tactical communication devices. The Tactical Power Pack has been designed to be used for example with Bittium Tough SDR Handheld™ radio and Bittium Tough Comnode™ device, but it can also be easily used with normal tablets and smartphones through USB connection. The Tactical Power Pack enables uninterrupted field use for the devices.
Bittium Tactical Power Pack has been designed especially for tactical communication use cases. It includes two 70 Wh, 6.7 Ah batteries that are attached as one with an adapter. This way the Tactical Power Pack can also be used as a charger for the two batteries. In the field, the batteries can be changed quickly to new fully charged batteries one by one without interrupting the power supply to the device being charged. The small size and light weight of the Tactical Power Pack enables also its easy attachment to soldier gear together with the device being charged. The Tactical Power Pack’s IP67 rated water and dust resistance and MIL-STD-810G rated shock resistance guarantee its use also in harsh conditions.
05 Oct 20. Canada seeks mobile phone detection system for search and rescue aircraft. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) seeks a mobile phone detection system for its search and rescue (SAR) rotary- and fixed-wing platforms that will allow the CAF to locate and communicate with operational mobile phones on persons in distress during missions.
The Cellular Airborne Sensor Search and Rescue (CASSAR) project will provide a carry-on/carry-off type of kit that the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will implement on its eight aircraft platforms on SAR standby, including the new Airbus Defence and Space C295W (CC-295 in Canadian service) Kingfisher fixed-wing platform. Brigadier-General Colin Keiver, RCAF director general for air and space force development, told Janes on 29 September that as long as a SAR subject has a mobile phone on, the CAF can both locate and communicate with the search subject.
Brig Gen Keiver said that one of the first things Canada’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) will do when it receives a distress call is try to obtain the rescue subject’s mobile phone International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) code from a family member. The IMEI code is a unique 15-digit code that precisely identifies a mobile device. The IMEI code then gets programmed into the mobile phone detector. (Source: Jane’s)
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