Sponsored by Spectra Group
25 Mar 21. British Armed Forces lead the way in transferring SlingShot Special Forces satellite communications system to regular units. Spectra Group is an internationally renowned specialist provider of secure voice, data and satellite communications systems, specifically optimised for use in remote and challenging environments, with offices in the UK and USA. Recently, the British Armed Forces have announced that they have equipped regular Army units with Spectra Group’s SlingShot system, as they deploy on Operations and Exercises, to enable tactical satellite communications across the area of operations.
Spectra Group’s SlingShot system is unique in that it can be integrated with currently in-service UHF and VHF tactical communications systems to extend the range of tactical radios from 30km to 1000(+) km on the move in all conditions. By integrating SlingShot and the L-TAC satellite service with the UK’s line-of-sight VHF BOWMAN radios, the deployed troops have immediately gained communications capability that would otherwise have only been available to more specialist units. In addition to Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) voice, SlingShot includes a data capability supporting critical applications such as: situational awareness tools; GPS tracking; reporting and other data messaging without the requirement for ground-based line-of-sight re-broadcasting infrastructure. Voice and data remain encrypted ‘end to end’ utilising BOWMAN’s own crypto to secure voice and data transmissions using the already battle-proven SlingShot system. Enabling BOWMAN with the robust Slingshot system also means that troops do not need to carry both BOWMAN radios (for line-of-sight) and UHF TACSAT radios (for strategic rear link). Both can now be carried out using the same radio. Finally, the omni-directional antennas utilised with SlingShot provide manpack, land, sea and air platforms, with real-time Comms on the Move (COTM) rather than Comms on the Pause, as experienced with traditional TACSAT.
Major General Jonathan Cole, Director of Information and CIO of the British Army said: “SlingShot is a fantastic addition to our communications inventory, delivering vital capability to deployed troops. Of particular note is the fact that the training burden is minimal as the system is effectively a ‘bolt-on’ to our current BOWMAN radios. Sling shot is a game changer in allowing our troops to operate at reach without the additional requirement to deploy more troops to provide rebroadcast capability when operating at Battle Group level and below. I am delighted to be working with Spectra on the fielding of such an important capability”.
Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group said: “We’ve already seen SlingShot become a battle-proven and battle-winning capability used by Special Forces across the globe but we’re delighted to see our SlingShot system now being used on operations by more regular forces for the first time”. He added: “The beauty of SlingShot is that it can be “plugged into” any in-service tactical radio system. The UK have led the way with this kind of approach to the integration of SlingShot but we’re now seeing other global forces, including the USA, adopt a similar strategy to meet every Beyond Line Of Sight communications scenario”.
24 Mar 21. LIG Nex1 delivers EW self-protection system prototype for KF-X fighter aircraft. South Korean defence company LIG Nex1 has developed an electronic warfare (EW) self-protection system for integration with the Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) fighter aircraft being developed for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF).
Company officials told Janes that a prototype of the system was delivered to aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in the second half of 2020 to equip the KF-X prototypes currently being assembled at KAI headquarters in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province. The first prototype is expected to be formally rolled out in April.
KAI expects to complete construction of the second and third KF-X prototypes this year and finish assembling the remaining three aircraft by the first half of 2022. The fourth and sixth prototypes are expected to be tandem-seat variants.
The officials said that the internal EW suite, which was developed under a KRW114.5bn (USD101m) contract signed in late October 2016, is expected to enter series production following a series of trials and evaluations.
On its website LIG Nex1 described the system, which it referred to simply as the “KFX EW Suite”, as an “EW self-protection jammer” that is designed to detect, analyse, and jam signals from enemy radars and/or incoming missiles. The suite will also be integrated with countermeasures and decoys on the KF-X, including chaffs and flares. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Mar 21. Elettronica Launches ‘EMSOpedia.’ The World’s first Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Encyclopaedia. The leading electronic warfare company has involved experts from inside and outside the company in the production of this important new online publication
As part of the companies 70th birthday celebrations Elettronica has published the world’s first Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Encyclopaedia. Entitled EMSOpedia the online publication gives clear and comprehensive definitions of the terms and concepts used in EMSO (Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations).
The Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) is a domain in which, from which and through which all military, military-supported and asymmetric missions are performed. Alongside air, land, sea and space, the electromagnetic spectrum has become a key enabler for cyber warfare and space activities. Mastery of the spectrum to achieve spectrum superiority and supremacy is intrinsic to prevailing in all domains, including cyberspace. Therefore, warfare in the 21st century and beyond will see the electromagnetic spectrum as a contested and congested resource where silent battles will be performed.
The civilian and military worlds are increasingly converging in the electromagnetic spectrum. The global economy is dependent on the spectrum in more ways than one can imagine. Meanwhile, electronics miniaturisation is giving people a growing number of devices which can access and exploit the spectrum. Thus the electromagnetic spectrum is a virtual yet critical international infrastructure. Protecting it is paramount.
EMSOpedia will help people to understand these challenges, both in the military and civilian contexts. It is a useful, multi domain and interdisciplinary tool not only for the armed forces, but also for the more general audience of Academia, students, policy makers and journalists.
Compiled by the world’s leading electronic warfare experts inside and outside the company, with the cooperation of several qualified contributors, EMSOpedia will become the standard reference work for the fast-moving discipline of EMSO. It is an ’open project’ to which all experts and practitioners, as well as, Institutional Entities, sector associations, academia representatives can make qualified contributions to increase knowledge, enriching definitions and add new entries.
Currently, there is an initial EMSOpedia release with 100 entries which contains significant EMSO knowledge but possibilities exist to enlarge this further. Anyone with expertise on the subject can write to the scientific committee of the project and apply to enrich existing entries or create new ones.
EMSOpedia is published in a handy online format making it easy to use from your PC, laptop, or from your tablet or mobile/cell phone. Elettronica has also designed it to be ‘future proof’ as it will be updated with new entries throughout its life reflecting the dynamic world of EMSO.
Elettronica was founded in 1951 by the engineer Filippo Fratalocchi. He introduced Italy to electronic warfare, realising the need to protect ships, planes and vehicles from electromagnetic threats, like radar.
“Today, 70 years after its establishment, Elettronica is a global and integrated Defence, Security and Cyber Group. We have always invested in research and development to maintain our market position and to predict future threats. We are heavily involved in the evolution of Electronic Warfare into Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations. For this reason, to celebrate our 70th birthday, we wanted to collate all our knowledge in EMSOpedia, our encyclopaedia dedicated to EMSO and share it with the global defence community. This is to say thank you for the help the company has received from so many stakeholders, institutions, armed forces, academia and suppliers.
EMSOpedia is unique. There is no organic initiative using its broad taxonomic structure which also clarifies the myriad of interconnections between EMSO’s various topics” said Mr. Enzo Benigni, President and CEO of Elettronica S.p.A.
The EMSOpedia can be accessed at URL: www.emsopedia.orgAbout Elettronica
Elettronica has been at the forefront of Electronic Warfare for 70 years, supplying over 3000 high-tech systems to the armed forces and governments of 30 countries. Elettronica’s systems are designed for a variety of operational missions, from strategic surveillance, self-protection, intelligence gathering, electronic defence and operational support for the sea, land and air domains. The company boasts a strong list of successful national and international collaborations on major programmes like the Tornado fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, the NH-90 helicopter, the Italian offshore patrol vessel and the Franco-Italian Horizon and FREMM warships. The company is part of Gruppo Elettronica which also includes CY4GATE, specialising in Cyber EW, Cybersecurity and Intelligence; and Elt GmbH, a German subsidiary specialising in the design of Homeland Security systems.
23 Mar 21. If DOD Wants AI In Its Future, It Must Start Now. Now is the time for decision makers, commanders and policymakers within the Defense Department to get on board with fully implementing artificial intelligence, the director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center said.
Right now, said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, AI is being used in many places across the department — but not at scale.
“I think you know you can see 1,000 flowers blooming across the Department of Defense and that’s really powerful — it’s a step in the right direction,” he said, speaking at the National Defense Industrial Association. “But we need to start building on it. This is a truism that I think bears repeating again and again: If we want artificial intelligence to be our future, then we have to start building it in the present.”
Accomplishing that will mean a lot of change and work within the department, he said.
“We have to do this comprehensively,” he said. “Transformation has to be wholesale if it’s going to be effective. The magic really starts happening when you connect automated processes. So if you have a data-driven process and it can drive another data-driven process — now you’re starting to execute at scale.”
Groen said the entire warfighting enterprise must be modernized to accommodate full integration of AI.
“We have to think about enterprise effects, decision tools that derive from massive data flows and integrated infrastructure that allows any sensor to inform any decision maker or any sensor to inform any system,” he said.
It’s not just warfighting that has to evolve — the systems that support the warfighting effort must as well, he said.
“[When] you think about the Department of Defense, there’s the warfighting end of the Department of Defense, but there’s the large gears that turn underneath the department that make warfighting possible and make warfighting successful,” he said, citing agencies like the Defense Health Agency, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
“Think about all of these activities that occur that are really the gears that the department rides on for effective warfighting,” he said. “These enterprises are sitting on massive amounts of data. It’s a natural target for AI implementation to create more efficiencies and economies and effectiveness in those large scale enterprises.”
Modernizing business processes within the department is also important, he said, in part to help the department become more compliant with auditability requirements.
“The department has historically been challenged from an audibility perspective, being able to account for where all of our dollars are … it’s a natural playground or natural implementation ground for artificial intelligence right in our business practices,” he said.
The JAIC, he said, is aiming to help the Defense Department achieve the efficiency and effectiveness seen in commercial enterprise.
“We believe that’s possible, and we think that’s necessary,” he said.
Achieving national security objectives with AI can’t be accomplished by the DOD alone, Goren said. Industry must be a part of that, he said.
“I don’t want you to underestimate the key role that you play in underpinning national security,” he said. “Your participation in this dialogue, and your participation in this transformation, is going to be absolutely critical.” (Source: US DoD)
23 Mar 21. Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville Manufacturing Center prepares IBCS for initial operational test and evaluation. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has successfully completed hardware refresh, refurbishment and return of major end items (MEI) for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) to the U.S. Army. The MEIs include engagement operations centers (EOC), integrated fire control network (IFCN) relays, and integrated collaborative environments (ICE), components of IBCS that have been in use by the U.S. Army since delivery. Most recently, these MEIs were employed in the harsh desert climate of the White Sands Missile Range during last year’s IBCS Limited User Test (LUT).
Following successful completion of the LUT, 24 IBCS MEIs were delivered to Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville Manufacturing Center and then received, inspected and assessed for physical and functional performance issues. Based on inspection results, MEIs received replacement parts and were re-assessed before being returned to the Army for field acceptance testing leading up to IBCS’ next major event: initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E).
“Since these MEIs were initially delivered, they have certainly been put through their paces, most notably during last year’s rigorous LUT,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “Our Huntsville Manufacturing Center is operational with the resident IBCS expertise to quickly and efficiently refurbish this equipment and return it to the Army for the next demanding IBCS test milestone.”
The IOT&E is a comprehensive test of IBCS system performance which will be conducted under realistic operational conditions prior to system employment. The IOT&E informs a Department of Defense and U.S. Army initial operational capability decision.
IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network relays, Engagement Center trailers and Engagement Operations Centers operated by soldiers in the U.S. Army’s 2020 Limited User Test are lined up after their “refresh” at the Northrop Grumman Huntsville (Ala.) Manufacturing Center for return to the Army.
Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville Manufacturing Center has a long heritage supporting large scale manufacturing efforts including IBCS MEIs and the Army’s command post platform. Earlier this year, IBCS hardware production commenced for Poland’s medium range air and missile defense program, WISLA.
IBCS is the centerpiece of the U.S. Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense to address the ever-changing nature of warfare. Designed to connect the forces for unified action across all domains against evolving threats, IBCS is a software-defined, network-enabled command and control system that integrates and optimizes “any-sensor, best-effector” toward enabling joint multi-domain operations and command and control.
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.