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10 June 21. US Cyber Command wants more money for network defense. U.S. Cyber Command asked Congress for an additional $62m to harden Department of Defense networks as part of its unfunded priorities that didn’t make it into the command’s fiscal 2022 budget request.
A copy of the list obtained by C4ISRNET showed that Cyber Command noted the recent SolarWinds intrusion of various government networks in its request for money to help the DoD secure its own networks and respond to malicious cyber actions. The item topped a list of four unfunded priorities totaling $93.4m.
The DoD has said that the vast SolarWinds breach of federal and business networks, attributed to the Russian foreign intelligence service, did not affect its own systems.
“I ask your committee to support these priorities … to help us strengthen military readiness and alliances, secure the homeland from cyberspace attack and advance national interests,” Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of Cyber Command wrote in the proposal.
Cyber intrusions and ransomware incidents are rising to epidemic status, according to some cybersecurity analysts, leading the federal government to prioritize response efforts.
In fact, the largest slice of the Pentagon’s $10bn cyber request asked for $5.6bn to protect IT systems.
Cyber Command’s No. 2 unfunded priority is $23.3m for cyber training. The command, through service acquisition executives, is building an online training system called the Persistent Cyber Training Environment, which allows forces to conduct individual and collective training as well as mission rehearsal.
The other two items listed are $3.2m for human intelligence to help the command build an organic intelligence capability to access strategic targets and $4.8m for acquisition personnel.
Cyber Command has worked for several years to establish an acquisition structure with Congress, which in 2016 authorized limited purchasing authority described as a crawl, walk, run approach to ensure the young command could get the plan up and running.
In the most recent annual defense bill, Congress eliminated the $75m acquisition cap on Cyber Command and enhanced the commander’s authority to oversee programs and priorities. However, the services still run major programs on behalf of the command and joint cyber mission force.
The $4.8m would go toward integrating the command’s Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture, which guides its acquisition priorities. Congress and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office gave the command poor marks for the architecture, citing integration and oversight problems. The command has since sought to assuage those concerns. (Source: Defense News)
08 June 21. Northrop Grumman to Develop C5ISR and Control Systems for US Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutters. Award from prime shipbuilder Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) helps meet important milestones to deliver first four shipsets to the fleet. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a newly expanded role as systems integrator for C5ISR and control systems on the U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), by Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG), the prime contractor for the OPC program. In a newly expanded role as C5ISR systems integrator, Northrop Grumman is responsible for integrating all cyber hardened C5ISR systems, including command and control, communications, navigation and the shipboard computer networking systems.
“With C5ISR and control system test and integration underway, the ESG-Northrop Grumman team hasn’t missed a beat,” said Todd Leavitt, vice president, maritime systems and integration, Northrop Grumman. “The effort and resiliency shown by our teammates at Eastern Shipbuilding Group has been outstanding.”
Northrop Grumman’s responsibilities for the OPC platform include the integrated bridge, navigation, command and control, computing network, data distribution, machinery control, and propulsion control systems, cyber/information assurance, testing and integration work.
10 June 21. US Army says 2025 tactical network will make JADC2 a reality. Mobile command posts dot the battlefield. On-the-move units connect with new commercial satellite constellations but automatically pivot to other communications routes if interrupted by an adversary. Soldiers and systems on the ground communicate with waveforms that mask their locations while receiving up-to-date battlefield data to help make decisions.
That’s what the Army wants its battlefield network to look like by 2025 — a network that is more expeditionary and mobile but can pass and process massive amounts of data at speeds the Army will need in coming decades. It’s all part of building a network that can enables Joint All-Domain Command and Control, the Pentagon’s future war-fighting concept in which sensors and shooters are connected.
The Army wants to deliver on that vision through its third iteration of tactical network tools, known as Capability Set ’25. The service’s tactical network team, made up of the Network Cross-Functional Team and its acquisition arm — Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical — rolls out the new network tools every two years.
“We’re going to take … JADC2 from concept to reality by 2025,” Col. Rob Ryan, acting director of the Army’s Network Cross-Functional Team, said recently at the Army network’s sixth technical exchange meeting with industry.
The terms automated and protected provide the major theme of Capability Set ’25, which is merely in early planning stages. Automated network tools allow for faster data processing speeds and quicker decision-making by commanders. The “protected” piece of the new capability set focuses on delivering secure tools and communications that can withstand enemy interference.
To guard the location of command posts and soldiers, the Army needs advanced networking waveforms for Capability Set ’25 that have a low-probability intercept/low-probability detect to reduce electronic signature to hide from adversaries from the brigade level down to platoons.
“From a commander’s perspective looking at his command post in the field, right now we emanate from every system we’ve got,” said Brig. Gen. Charles Masaracchia, director of the Army Mission Command Center of Excellence. “There’s no ability to mask or hide.”
The need to reduce the electromagnetic signature around soldiers and command posts is so high, according to Wayne Schoonveld, the acting chief of the tactical communications division at the C5ISR Center, that he said the service is willing to sacrifice some level of bandwidth in order to reduce that electromagnetic output.
Other technologies at the core of the Army’s future tactical network are new commercial satellite constellations in low Earth orbit and medium Earth orbit. LEO and MEO satellite constellations will provide soldiers communications options that allow for higher throughput and reduced latency. While Capability Set ’23 has limited LEO and MEO, the Army tactical network team plans for those constellations to be more fully mature in the Capability Set ’25 timeframe.
According to CS25 documents, the Army wants LEO and MEO capabilities to be available to soldiers at-the-halt and on-the-move, which will require ruggedized terminals, as the service works toward an increasingly mobile command post that can move throughout the battlefield. The service is also looking for a higher amount of SATCOM connections on the battlefield, with virtualized waveforms being a top requirement for ensuring security.
But with multiple constellations to use, said the Army needs a next-generation tactical terminal that can manage communicating with several constellations, according to Schoonveld.
“One of the challenges we see with CS25 is that it will be extremely difficult to have to buy kits to manage each of those constellations,” he said. “We want to be able to unify the management of those constellations and use that bandwidth collectively as like a pool so that we can provide resiliency through diversity.”
The Army also wants to automate its communication pathway’s PACE — primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency — plans in Capability Set ’25 so if one communications route is interfered with, the system automatically chooses the unblocked route.
“One of the things we’re trying to do in that effort is use machine learning techniques to help the computing devices that have to manage these multiple transports do it in a smart way,” Schoonveld said. “We are working on some reinforcement learning algorithms. But we would be very interested … if you [industry] are looking at or working on algorithms — especially lightweight-type algorithms — that can help provide a network situational understanding and help make smart routing decisions.”
Capability Set ’25 will also include a hybrid tactical cloud architecture that will provide soldiers with access to data on the battlefield, as well as common data management fabric that’s available from the division level down to platoon.
The tactical network team wants data fabrics to be available “at every echelon going down as far as we can to enable decision-making at every level,” said Donald Coulter, a senior science and technology adviser for the Network Cross-Functional Team.
Additionally, the Army expects to automate its cyber defenses to be prepared against machine learning-enabled digital attacks, Coulter said.
Tools delivered in Capability Set ’23, which just passed preliminary design review and is focused on increasing network resiliency, will evolve to be more automated and protected to fit the tactical network of 2025, Army documents showed. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
10 June 21. FINN flies again! Successful cross banding and multi-node communication shown effective in latest development test event.
Global Air Logistics and Training, Inc. (GALT) completed a successful government customer developmental test of the Fused Integrated Naval Network (FINN) Prototype system at MCB Camp Pendleton, California. FINN encompasses a MCWL-led effort to provide the Naval Force (US Navy and US Marine Corps) with the ability to share Situational Awareness (SA) between incompatible platforms with emphasis on high priority LPI/LPD and assured links.
During the successful ground and flight tests, the GALT team demonstrated the airborne FINN Prototype communication gateway capabilities between ground-based communication nodes and the podded system flown on an MQ-9 surrogate (SAAB-340). Over the course of two weeks and 24 flight hours, the FINN Prototype demonstrated multi-waveform cross banding (L-16, TTNT, BE CDL, IBS, and TSM-X) monitoring, management and control of the payload, track correlation, data fusion, and edge networking communication to and from remote/disadvantaged users and command elements.
The development test is the latest in a series of successful flights, using AFRL approved pods, advancing the development and maturing of the FINN capability.
GALT is a non-traditional, small business that delivers premier communications and command and control solutions in support of the Department of Defense. GALT’s combination of technical innovation and fast-paced execution unleashes new capabilities, bolsters security, and transforms information flow. GALT specializes in open, scalable, and tailorable communications architectures, rapid prototyping, and user experience design. GALT’s process is based on Agile Software and System engineering development to improve, modernize, and enhance command, control, and communications systems. (Source: PR Newswire)
08 June 21. Leonardo DRS Brings Next-Generation Situational Awareness Capabilities to Joint Forces. Leonardo DRS, Inc. announced today that it is providing next-generation joint-service situational awareness radio systems for U.S. military customers and allied nations. The next-generation Joint Tactical Terminal (JTT-NG) will upgrade legacy systems currently in operation on air, land and sea platforms across all Joint Forces
The Joint Tactical Terminal system is a core part of the company’s range of networking and communications capabilities for Joint Forces platforms. New JTT-NG systems are being produced by the Leonardo DRS Airborne and Intelligence Systems business and orders can be placed through the Joint Tactical Terminal contract vehicle from the Joint Tactical Terminal program office.
The JTT-NG two-way beyond line-of-sight communications system improves on the previous version by providing more capabilities and a more than 60 percent reduction in size and weight. Its comprehensive near real-time battlespace awareness capability communicates to the warfighter ms of threat, survivor, and Blue Force Tracking reports daily, and is the only modular Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS) receive and transmit terminal available in the market.
“Leonardo DRS is proud to provide next-generation IBS technology to ensure our warfighters have unmatched battlefield situational awareness,” said Larry Ezell, Senior Vice President General Manager of the Leonardo DRS Airborne and Intelligence Systems business. “This system is the best long-term technical solution available for all military forces to ensure their critical mission needs are met.”
For more than 15 years, Leonardo DRS has provided Joint Tactical Terminal Systems supporting Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS) to users across multiple airborne, land and sea platforms. The next-generation IBS technology offers more functionality with the full-duplex satellite communications system supporting multiple waveforms in an NSA-certified High Assurance (Formerly Type 1) design. The JTT-NG is postured for long-term use in the IBS Enterprise, with the capability to host current and emerging waveforms, such as WCDMA/MUOS.
The JTT-NG is the world’s most advanced IBS transmit/receive terminal, and also continues the company’s legacy of seamless communications and interoperability between the United States and its “Five Eye” partners.
07 June 21. US Army research budget focuses on tactical electronic warfare architecture. Despite a slashed electronic warfare procurement proposal, the U.S. Army still plans hefty investment in research and development to build out a battlefield architecture with the ultimate goal to link with national electronic and cyber tactical systems.
The envisioned cyber and electromagnetic activities architecture would integrate a set of systems to allow the Army to conduct multidomain operations across distributed locations and connect its own tactically focused platforms, along with connecting to national strategic systems. Pending congressional approval, the Army’s research and development funding for key systems that make up the structure — most under development for years — would hold steady or slightly increase over the service’s projections, with one new large addition:
- Multi-Function Electronic Warfare: The Army cut procurement in fiscal 2022 for the airborne jamming pod mounted to a MQ-1C Gray Eagle, but it will still develop the technology, bumping its research and development request to $12m, up from $9m the Army predicted a year before that the project would need.
- Terrestrial Layer System Brigade Combat Team: Research funding for the first integrated cyber, signals intelligence and electronic warfare system for brigades would meet Army projections at about $39.7m.
- Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool: The Army’s $16.8m research and development request and $700,000 procurement figure matched its projections for the system to allow commanders to plan and visualize their invisible battle space.
- Terrestrial Layer System Echelons Above Brigade: The Army wants $19.5m R&D funds for this new program that will provide commanders at echelons above brigade capabilities for sensing, improved geolocating, conducting nonkinetic fires and supporting kinetic targeting.
In contrast to the strong R&D budget, the Army’s proposed procurement budget dropped from $123m enacted in FY21 to $48m requested for FY22.
For one big cut, the Army zeroed out the MFEW jamming pod procurement to try to save $12m, part of a larger divestment effort to reserve money for higher priorities.
The $12m development request for MFEW, which falls under a larger item called Electronic Warfare Development, would support phase 2 of an other transaction authority agreement, or OTA, for engineering and an operational assessment in FY22. The Army indicated the money would go toward contractor testing, a test range and a government limited user test, which is slated for fourth quarter of 2022.
For the brigade-level Terrestrial Layer System, the biggest change was that last year’s procurement budget outlined seven systems for purchase in FY22, but the Army lowered that to six systems.
The TLS EAB system seeks to fill certain gaps between TLS BCT and larger airborne assets, with the Multidomain Task Force serving as the fielding priority.
“The operational gap that we’re trying to fill, the ‘T’ obviously in Terrestrial Layer Systems means that we’re trying to do it from the ground,” Kevin Wilson, TLS EAB lead for Electronic Warfare & Cyber at Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, said during a recent conference hosted by the Association of Old Crows. “We’re trying to pick up some of the signals and emitters that are at distances too great to do with TLS BCT. They’re using a 250 foot tethered drone. Pretty close to the FLOT [forward line of own troops] and the physics of that limit that to some ranges. We’re trying to get after ranges that are greater than that, but less than the ones that absolutely require air or national assets.”
The system will provide also provide a jamming capability for these larger echelons, as the Army realized during the counterinsurgency fight of the last 20 years that it needs to fight at higher echelons.
The budget funds would initiate the development of prototypes and integration of TLS EAB mission equipment. Wilson said the Army is planning to award an OTA for prototypes using middle-tier acquisition in second quarter of FY22, but prior to that, the service is working on pre-prototypes. The Army plans a request for white papers in July, with a decision by the Army Requirements Oversight Council July 9. The first unit equipped is planned for fourth quarter FY24.
The glue holding much of these capabilities together is the Army’s Electronic Warfare Planning and Management tool, a command-and-control planning capability that allows forces to visualize the potential effects of electronic warfare in the field and chart courses of action to prevent jammed capabilities. The $16.8 m R&D budget would go continue Increment 1, which includes a series of four software capability drops.
Other aspects of the Army’s CEMA architecture include plugging these systems into the larger joint and national structure.
“Where the real magic happens is when they’re able to reach back to the sanctuary and take advantage of national capabilities,” Col. Kevin Finch, project manager for Electronic Warfare & Cyber at PEO IEWS, said during the Association of Old Crows conference. “Whenever we end up going up against that near peer threat or the peer threat, you may not be able to get to them on net. But, if you have a presence forward to have some RF-enabled cyber, you now have platforms at the tactical edge that will allow you to get into those systems. It now gets the commander a different series of abilities to do that.”
Finch listed one of those capabilities as the Joint Common Access Platform, which will allow members of U.S. Cyber Command’s cyber mission force to conduct offensive cyber operations.
Finch described the ultimate vision for the CEMA architecture and multidomain operations by 2035:“It’s not just having a capability, a standalone capability as integrated but also being able to take advantage of capabilities at national to very quickly reach back and if they need a specific capability, we’re able to bring that forward in a rapid fashion.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
07 June 21. Thales revolutionises IoT “out-of-the-box” connectivity to any cellular network worldwide.
- Breakthrough connectivity solution greatly simplifies and digitalises the IoT journey allowing ‘empty’ eSIMs to be personalised with chosen mobile operator credentials in factory or in the field at first power-on
- The award-winning solution combines a Cinterion® IoT Module, an IoT eSIM, and the Connectivity Activation services integrated with existing mobile operator infrastructure
- Solution can help reduce Total Cost of Ownership by more than 30%
The award winning* Cinterion® IoT Suite Connectivity Activation by Thales greatly simplifies and digitalises cellular connectivity and the daily operations of industrial IoT device manufacturers and service providers. Based on standard eSIM technology, the new solution eliminates the need for IoT service providers to setup and run complex eSIM Remote Subscription Provisioning (RSP) platforms. It uses a single IoT eSIM that works with whichever mobile operator is selected by the device manufacturer or IoT service provider. The solution also enables resilient device connectivity and lifecycle management over the multi-year life spans of industrial solutions thereby delivering a reduction in Total Cost of Ownership for customers.
By 2025, 75bn IoT devices will be connected with a potential market value of around $1.6trn. This not only brings unprecedented business opportunities, but also challenges such as how to streamline supply chain logistics for smart devices.
The solution simplifies manufacturing processes and logistics: In fact, device manufacturers no longer need to produce multiple product variants for deployment with different Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in different countries. One product now fits all MNO networks as the IoT eSIM embedded in the industrial device can connect to any MNO network worldwide.
Thales system shortens device installation: Thanks to a remote activation process, the IoT eSIM automatically downloads the MNO profile that best suits the device location and connects to the network according to the service providers’ pre-defined business rules.
The solution guarantees network resilience and longevity: As networks and IoT applications evolve, the solution ensures reliable connectivity and business continuity by automatically switching to back-up connectivity providers removing the need for physical device updates.
“Thales leverages its unique expertise of cellular network infrastructure and collaboration with more than 400 mobile operators to simplify industrial IoT connectivity. The Thales Connectivity solution offers all the benefits of digitalisation and eSIM technology for the industrial IoT sector. With more than 25 years of constant innovation in IoT connectivity solutions, Thales enables the best total-cost-of-ownership and performance to its customers.” Frederic Deman, SVP of Analytics and IoT Solutions Business Line, at Thales.
Frederic Deman, SVP of Analytics and IoT Solutions Business Line, at Thales, “The IoT eSIM solution is a huge step forward for Aidon helping to ensure production flexibility and connectivity of our smart meters, even in rural areas, and all without the need for physical handling of SIMs,” said Petri Ounila, Director, IoT Devices, Aidon. “The solution co-developed with Thales provides a true operator selection and provisioning at any stage of the product lifetime. It is improving our ability to get smart meters connected, stay connected and adapt to new metering as-a-service business models.”
“The Thales Cinterion Connectivity Activation solution turns traditional methods of IoT device service provisioning and updating on its head, bringing new levels of service digitization, automation, Over-the-Air (OTA) management, and digital security to industrial IoT solutions” said Phil Sealy, Research Director at ABI Research. “Device manufacturers and service providers will no longer be tied to complex connectivity device design and logistics, thanks to a simplified and flexible approach.”
07 June 21. USMC Completes First AH-1Z Flight With Link-16. Bell and Northrop Grumman integrate new data link into Viper. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has successfully demonstrated in flight testing a two-way connection between the AH-1Z Viper helicopter and a ground station using new Link-16 hardware and software. Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company manufactures the AH-1Z Viper and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has developed the Link-16 system. Link-16 is part of a defined road map of planned improvements designed to ensure the H-1 platform maintains its technological edge and combat capability throughout its service life.
“Bell is excited to help bring this capability to the USMC H-1 community,” said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. “The ability to participate in the modern and connected battlefield makes the aircraft more lethal and better-equipped to support Marines on the ground.”
Link-16 enables the AH-1Z—unlike any other helicopter in the world with its fully integrated anti-air capability and AIM-9 Sidewinder — to quickly obtain and share information from its sensors with other weapons systems using its onboard digital architecture. This is accomplished through Northrop Grumman’s Link-16 package, which includes a new digital moving map, a new security architecture, and the Link-16 and Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) datalinks.
“Northrop Grumman’s Link-16 system will help U.S. Marines today, and well into the future, with critical technology that facilitates coordination, collaboration, and interoperability. By enabling the display and integration of Link-16 data with the H-1 system, pilots of the AH-1Z have greater situational awareness and enhanced survivability,” said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. “This milestone also highlights our focus on “speed to fleet,” due to the unprecedented time between demonstrating the concept and getting to first flight. Flexibility and adaptability, using next generation agile development practices, are the only ways to innovate and keep pace with changing mission needs.”
In a collaboration between the USMC H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276), Bell, and Northrop Grumman, the team leveraged commercial best practices of Agile Development methodologies. This strategy provided an under glass solution from concept requirements to vehicle design testing in 12 months. Northrop Grumman’s Lead Technology Integration group rapidly architected and integrated a mission package for Link-16, including a modern digital mapping solution, for the H-1 platform while Bell’s H-1 program team provided all of the necessary vehicle analysis and modifications to incorporate the mission equipment throughout the existing integrated systems of the AH-1Z. Together, the teams are redefining what it means to rapidly field integrated solutions on existing fielded platforms to increase warfighter capabilities.
“The H-1 has decades of battlefield experience, it has evolved to fight in numerous environments,” said Col. Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager. “The integration of Link-16 aligns with this platforms’ ability to adapt to the ever-changing threat and meet the needs of current and future warfighters.”
The USMC has flight tests planned for the AH-1Z throughout the summer, which will be followed by flight testing of Link-16 on the UH-1Y Venom. The service anticipates AH-1Z initial fleet integration with Link 16 in 2022.
04 June 21. Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Advanced Networking at Northern Edge 2021. Systems showcase 5th-to-5th and 5th-to-4th generation communications During the Northern Edge 2021 joint exercise, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully demonstrated advanced communications and networking systems technology to connect warfighters in contested environments.
Northrop Grumman’s Freedom Pod and Freedom Radios successfully demonstrated advanced networking capabilities aboard manned and unmanned aerial platforms during the Northern Edge exercise. Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Megan Fowler/U.S. Air National Guard
Validated on three separate platforms, one demonstration was conducted in partnership with the Air National Guard and involved the company’s Freedom Pod — a derivative of the LITENING advanced targeting pod that incorporates a Freedom Radio and an infrared search-and-track sensor for passive surveillance and targeting.
“Northrop Grumman’s Freedom Pod provides swappable, multi-function capabilities to a range of aircraft, including unmanned, to provide a greater level of sensing and connectivity for the warfighter,” said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman’s advanced networking technologies, including the Freedom Radios and Freedom Pods showcased at Northern Edge, help warfighters and branches of the military easily communicate and securely share actionable information across air, land, sea and space. The company’s advanced networking technologies are designed to interconnect the missions of today and will provide the functionality needed to support the network-centric operations of tomorrow.
In addition to Freedom Pod efforts, other variants of Northrop Grumman’s Freedom Radios, which enhance situational awareness for a range of manned and unmanned aircraft, were involved in two platform demonstrations centered on advanced 5th generation communications. These demonstrations leveraged the Freedom Radios’ cyber-secure, software-defined, multifunction, open architecture solutions designed to support a wide range of integrated communications and networking capabilities across multiple domains.
“The Freedom Radio product line enhances situational awareness for a range of manned and unmanned aircraft—through 5th generation communications capabilities,” said Jenna Paukstis, vice president, communications solutions, Northrop Grumman. We have the capabilities needed to connect advanced platforms with functionality necessary to adapt to emerging all-domain mission demands to help the DOD realize its vision for JADC2.”
Northrop Grumman has participated in every Northern Edge exercise over the last decade.
04 June 21. Airbus eyes Air Combat Cloud role on Tempest. Airbus is seeking a role in developing the Air Combat Cloud pillar of the UK’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS), of which the Tempest fighter is a crucial component.
Speaking to Janes at the company’s space facility in Portsmouth, the managing director of Airbus Defence and Space (DS) in the United Kingdom said that he would be keen to build on the wider company’s role in leading development of the Air Combat Cloud on the rival European FCAS being developed by France, Germany and Spain, with similar involvement in the FCAS programme from Italy, Sweden, and the UK.
“Something I hear from all of the parties involved [in both FCAS projects] is the need for interoperability. As the leader of the European Combat Cloud [alongside Thales and Indra as partners], we are engaged with asking how we at Airbus [DS in the UK] could help the UK with ensuring that [interoperability],” Richard Franklin said on 3 June.
For both the European and the UK FCAS projects, Air Combat Clouds are being developed to network together all the air assets of the FCAS that will comprise an optionally piloted combat aircraft (the New Generation Fighter for Europe and Tempest for the UK) and their autonomous ‘loyal wingmen’, as well as all other aviation assets operating in the battlespace. These Air Combat Clouds would then network with combat clouds of the other domains of land, sea, and space. (Source: Jane’s)
04 June 21. We Want Information! The US Army’s embrace of information warfare forms a key part of its Multi-Domain Operations posture.
“We want information!” demanded ‘Number Two’ in the cult 1960s spy thriller The Prisoner. This character was right to make the request. Information is as integral to military success as firepower and mnoeuvre. Depriving information to one’s enemy while accumulating it for oneself is a sine qua non for victory.
This was a topic under discussion at the Association of Old Crows’ Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) 2021 conference held at Belcamp, Maryland and online. Delegates were briefed on how the US Army will situate Information Warfare (IW) in Multi-Domain Operations (MDO).
MDO and IW
MDO is a hot topic. It emerged in 2018 as a response to the US’ 2018 National Security Strategy. A publication on MDO by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted the country’s changing national security priorities. These have shifted from countering violent extremism, witnessed in the Afghan and Iraqi theatres, towards “confronting revisionist powers, primarily Russia and China, that are said to ‘want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model’.”
Strategically, Multi-Domain Operations focus on the US Army’s role in the joint force alongside the navy, air force and marine corps. The joint force must counter and defeat near-peer adversaries in the sea, land, air, space and cyberspace domains. The CRS document also defines operational MDO. This “provides commanders numerous options for executing simultaneous and sequential operations using surprise and the rapid and continuous integration of capabilities across all domains.” The aim is “to present multiple dilemmas to an adversary in order to gain physical and psychological advantage and influence and control over the operational environment.”
IW is intrinsic to Multi-Domain Operations. The US Department of Defence’s Dictionary of Military Terms defines Information Warfare as “actions taken to achieve information superiority by affecting adversary information, information-based processes, information systems, and computer-based networks.” This is done “while leveraging and defending one’s own information.”
In his presentation, Lieutenant General Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of Army Cyber Command cited information advantage, decision dominance and “the need for speed” as the three pillars of IW. Information advantage merges cyber effects, electronic warfare and information operations.
He stressed the golden rule of sensing, understanding, deciding and acting while continually assessing what is happening in the battlespace at all levels. This is a nod to the famous OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop of strategist Colonel John Boyd. Those who navigate the OODA loop faster than their opponents are more likely to achieve success. In the era of MDO, the OODA loop is dependent on robust communications networks that can share information.
These networks will link all aspects of the force including personnel, weapons, sensors, aircraft, vehicles and headquarters to name just five. Assets will use conventional telecommunications and cloud computing to continually share data. IW supports rapid OODA loop navigation by ensuring commanders understand exactly what is happening in the battlespace in real time.
Adversaries will appreciate the importance of these networks to the US Army. Gen. Fogarty warned that adversaries will engage them with cyber and electronic attack. Therefore, one must always assume that the electromagnetic spectrum will be contested in tomorrow’s battles. Safeguarding these networks will help decision dominance. This in turn will help commanders maintain the initiative.
Gen. Fogarty warned that information shared across these networks must not be stovepiped. Instead, data should be merged to provide a comprehensive real-time picture of the battle. He cautioned that creating stovepipes can slow decision making. Stovepipes create friction and indecision: “This means that we are no longer faster and more effective than the adversary.”
He concluded by stressing that the integration of disparate capabilities for information sharing will be critical to the army’s success in future battles. Success will not necessarily be contingent on developing new processes to aid information sharing. Instead existing processes must be accelerated.
Returning to our cult TV series, Number Six waxes lyrical that information can always be gathered “by hook or by crook”. The army will need a similarly steely determination to gather and share information from all its capabilities to prevail in tomorrow’s wars. (Source: Armada)
04 June 21. TLC for TLS. The US Army is moving forward with its TLS-EAB ensemble to support operational-level CEMA. The Association of Old Crows’ CEMA-2021 conference had updates on the US Army’s TLS-EAB system. The conference was held in late May in Belcamp, Maryland and online. The Terrestrial Layered System Echelons Above Brigade (TLS-EAB) is a major part of the army’s electronic warfare modernisation. The army’s Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) will receive the TLS-BCT. The TLS-BCT’s equipment will be installed on a version of the General Dynamics M-1133 Stryker medical evacuation platform. This was chosen because it has enough electrical connections to powethe vehicles’ electronic warfare equipment.
As Armada has reported the TLS-BCT supports the manoeuvre force with electronic and cyberattack. It will detect communications and radar threats across wavebands of circa 30 megahertz to at least 18 gigahertz. Electronic/cyber attack will be performed in direct support of the manoeuvre force.
Operational-level SIGINT collection and electronic/cyber attack will be performed by the TLS-EAB. The TLS-EAB will comprise two Oshkosh FMTV wheeled tactical vehicles. One will carry a SIGINT and jamming system. This will likely detect and engage threats on similar wavebands to the TLS-BCT. The second will carry an electronic protection system. This will help safeguard friendly communications networks and radios from hostile electronic/cyberattack. The vehicle will perform cyber/electronic attack to preempt hostile actions. Unlike the first vehicle, it will not collect SIGINT.
Kevin Wilson, the US Army’s TLS-EAB lead in the electronic warfare and cyber at the programme executive office for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors updated CEMA-2021 delegates on progress.
An OTA (Other Transaction Authority) award is expected by the middle of 2022. OTA agreements engage industry and academe for research and prototyping. They are not procurement contracts. Mr. Wilson said that the goal of the OTA is to perform a full installation of the prototype system.
Development is being performed alongside the TLS-BCT. Relevant lessons learned emanating from this programme will be rolled into the TLS-EAB’s development. Similarly, continued testing of prototype systems during exercises will help inform development.
The TLS-EAB is currently in the pre-prototyping phase. This should finish by mid-2022. According to Mr. Wilson, the first two months of 2022 will see bids collected from prospective vendors. TLS-EAB prototyping will begin following the OTA award. Mr. Wilson expects a prototype field demonstration to happen by the end of 2023. Vendor selection is expected by mid-2024.
Limited production should begin by late 2024. This will let the army field some TLS-EABs with its Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF). The army initiated the MDTF in 2017. It forms the bedrock of the force’s strategy to defeat anti-access/area-denial postures. MDTFs are earmarked for Europe and Asia-Pacific.
A US Congressional Research Service document on the MDTF provides more detail: The MDTF will have strategic fires, air defence and brigade support battalions. An Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space (I2CEWS) battalion will support these. The I2CEWS includes two military intelligence companies, a signals company, an extended range sensing and effects company and an information defence company. It is reasonable to assume that the TLS-EAB will support all these elements. It will perform electronic/cyberattack on their behalf and on behalf of the MDTF’s kinetic battalions. Full rate TLS-EAB production should begin in 2025.
The TLS-EAB is not just an important enhancement of army operational-level CEMA. It may provide similar support to allies during future multilateral A2AD deployments. (Source: Armada)
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