Sponsored by Spectra Group
14 Oct 21. Darktrace Self-Learning AI Defends Organizations Across All 16 CISA Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Organizations deemed vital to the United States turn to autonomous technology to fight back against a new era of cyber-threats. Darktrace, a global leader in cyber security AI, today announced that its Self-Learning AI is defending organizations across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Within CISA, the Office of Infrastructure Protection leads efforts to manage risks to critical infrastructure, deeming them “essential to the economy, security, and sustainment of the American way of life.” Self-Learning AI has proved crucial in this mission. It augments human teams and takes autonomous action to detect and respond to threats against the country’s most sensitive systems and critical data—at the earliest stages of an attack. Self-Learning AI works by constantly evolving its understanding of both IT and operational technologies, allowing it to identify the subtle, emerging signs of a cyber-threat and take targeted action to interrupt encroaching attacks. These real-time alerts enable critical infrastructure organizations to continue business operations without disruption. The technology also allows defenders of critical infrastructure to achieve the Biden Administration’s goals outlined in the National Security Memorandum on Protecting Critical Infrastructure Control Systems — namely threat visibility, indications, detections, warnings, and facilitating response. Darktrace Self-Learning AI has successfully fought back against insider threats, supply chain attacks, zero-day exploits, APTs as well as state-sponsored attacks across U.S. critical infrastructure industries.
In May 2021, hackers hit Colonial Pipeline with ransomware, forcing the company to halt the pipeline’s total operations to contain the attack. In the same month, Darktrace AI detected, investigated, and contained a double extortion ransomware attack on a water and wastewater organization in North America. Unlike in the case of Colonial Pipeline, the attack was interrupted before hackers could demand any ransom payment or disrupt business operations. Darktrace catches ransomware and other security threats similar to this every day across all 16 sectors.
“The Florida water system attack was a huge wake-up call for us. If hackers get access to credentials, they could leverage them to gain entry to enterprise systems then laterally move to the operational system,” said Bryon Black, IT manager at South Coast Water District in Laguna Beach, California. “Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI has provided our team with enhanced visibility into our entire digital environment and how our staff operate. Autonomous Response allows Darktrace AI to take action and mitigate risks as threats arise – helping to prevent the spread of lateral movement.”
“Despite the Biden Administration’s aspirations for critical infrastructure to be “off-limits” from hackers, these organizations remain the top target from nation-states and cyber-criminal groups alike,” added Marcus Fowler, Director of Strategic Threat at Darktrace. “The reality is, whether motivated by espionage or financial gain, or simply seeking to cause disruption, attackers are already within some of our critical systems. Self-Learning AI is vital for defenders of critical infrastructure, allowing them to spot the breadcrumbs of attacks before they escalate, interrupt them autonomously, and minimize disruption – keeping data, employees, and citizens safe in a new era of cyber-attacks.”
Darktrace (DARK:L), a global leader in cyber security AI, delivers world-class technology that protects over 5,000 customers worldwide from advanced threats, including ransomware and cloud and SaaS attacks. The company’s fundamentally different approach applies Self-Learning AI to enable machines to understand the business to autonomously defend it. Headquartered in Cambridge, U.K., the company has 1,500 employees and over 30 offices worldwide. Darktrace was named one of TIME magazine’s ‘Most Influential Companies’ for 2021. (Source: PR Newswire)
14 Oct 21. Spear EW at AOC Europe. MBDA showed off its new Spear EW at AOC Europe. In 209 MBDA was awarded a contract to demonstrate SPEAR-EW, a new electronic warfare version of the SPEAR weapon system family on order for the Royal Air Force (RAF). SPEAR-EW is being developed by MBDA in partnership with Leonardo to complete a wide range of Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) missions, under a Technical Demonstration Programme (TDP) contract awarded by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S). SPEAR-EW will integrate a cutting-edge miniaturised EW payload from Leonardo, which will act as a stand-in jammer to greatly increase the survivability of RAF aircraft and suppress enemy air defences, acting as a significant force multiplier.
Bill Beaumont of MBDAS told BATTLESPAE Editor Julian Nettlefold, “SPEAR-EW is a revolutionary new capability that, alongside the existing SPEAR3 weapon, marks a fundamental change in the ability of friendly air forces to conduct their missions despite the presence of enemy air defences. Our vision for SPEAR is to create a swarm of networked weapons able to saturate and neutralise the most sophisticated air defences. Adding SPEAR-EW to the family alongside our existing SPEAR strike missile demonstrates the principle of introducing complementary variants to the SPEAR family that will add significant capability and force multiplication without the need to repeat the platform integration. We have an exciting roadmap of variants, spirals and technology insertions in the pipeline to further enhance the family as we move forward. The next iteration of Spear EW will be an autonomous version which can communicate directly with the missile to enable the carrier aircraft to evade enemy missile attacks. The Spear EW wings have composite rather than metal wings in order to accommodate the antennae required for comms purposes.”
The core of SPEAR-EW’s payload is Leonardo’s advanced, miniaturised Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology, which offers the most advanced and future-proof electronic jamming and deception available on the market today.
The new SPEAR-EW will complement the SPEAR network enabled miniature cruise missile, which is designed to precisely engage long range, mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets in all weathers, day or night, in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants and camouflage, while ensuring a safe stand-off range between the aircraft and enemy air defences. Powered by a turbojet engine the SPEAR missile offers over double the range, and a far more flexible operating envelope, when compared to a conventional glide weapon. SPEAR-EW utilises this long endurance through its capacity to be launched at enhanced stand-off ranges and loiter while carrying out its jamming mission.
The compact size of the SPEAR family allows four weapons to be carried internally in each of the two internal weapons bay of the F-35, or three per station on the Eurofighter Typhoon. SPEAR-EW will keep the same form and fit as the baseline SPEAR to enable a single integration pathway and launcher solution. SPEAR family complements MBDA’s wider portfolio of strike weapons, filling the gap between the large and very-long range Storm Shadow deep strike missile and the highly accurate Brimstone close-air-support missile. The SPEAR weapons system also recently completed a set of ground trials and fit-checks of a loaded three-pack SPEAR launcher onto a Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft. The work was undertaken by a joint engineering team from MBDA, BAE Systems, and the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), and took place at BAE Systems’ flight test site in Warton, Lancashire.
13 Oct 21. Mynaric And H3 HATS Detail Successes With World’s First Industrialized Optical Communications Terminal For Airborne Applications. Mynaric and H3 HATS today announced the successful start of a joint demonstration campaign to showcase laser communication capabilities for high-altitude long endurance aircraft using industrialized optical communications terminals. Initial flights of the campaign demonstrated key performance criteria of Mynaric’s HAWK product currently in pre-series production onboard one of H3 HATS’ aircraft. Where previous tests of this nature have used one-off prototypes or technology demonstrators, today’s announcement marks the world’s first demonstration of an industrialized optical communications terminal for airborne applications. Initial flights of the campaign utilized a setup of two of Mynaric’s manufactured HAWK products for airborne laser communication on the ground and mounted in the fuselage payload bay of a G520NG aircraft, respectively, to demonstrate air-to-ground links. The setup was recently cleared for flight by all relevant regulatory aviation authorities. The first flights of the campaign demonstrated stable bidirectional laser links with 10 Gbps speed between the aircraft and the terminal on the ground during various flight patterns.
“Closing laser communication links in the air is in many dimensions a lot harder than in space given the aircrafts’ movements and atmospheric conditions,” said Bulent Altan, CEO of Mynaric. “Having overcome these challenges HAWK offers connectivity with unprecedented security and bandwidth to airborne platforms. As the world’s first industrialized optical communications terminal for airborne applications, it enables aeronautical communication capabilities previously unimaginable. We are proud to have yet again advanced the industrial frontier of laser communications and look forward to expanding HAWK’s mission envelope further as the flight campaign with H3 HATS progresses.”
“Our customers today are stuck with sub-par data rates in the low Mbps for air-to-ground use cases and are limited to no real available solutions for air-to-air connectivity,” said Tina Ghataore, Chief Commercial Officer of Mynaric. “Our HAWK product line hits the perfect sweet spot to transfer large quantities of data with Gbps quickly and securely. From Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, to Transport and Commercial Aircraft, we see our products becoming integral to future airborne and mobility networks.”
The flight campaign utilizes a G520NG aircraft suited for manned or unmanned missions at high altitudes of up to 50,000 ft and for long endurances. The addition of the HAWK optical communications terminal to the aircraft extends its capabilities with secure and undetectable high-speed communication particularly relevant for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), broadband provisioning and other missions from high altitudes. HAWK has been designed for secure real-time broadband communication within a wide array of airborne applications and small size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements. The product is currently in pre-series production at Mynaric’s production facility that was inaugurated in June 2021.
“Congratulations, to the demonstration of this high-speed laser communication, which we see as an important step for our high-altitude platforms,” said Robert Schmoldt, COO of H3 HATS. “The used aircraft G520NG was fully operated from the ground station and showed the UAV capability which is required for our flying telecommunication tower concept.”
The partnership between Mynaric and H3 HATS foresees an expansion of HAWK’s suitable mission envelope in upcoming flights and joint customer demonstrations going forward. The HAWK optical communications terminal for airborne laser communication is currently included in flight campaigns with customers and partners in Europe and the United States. Mynaric has a long track-record of demonstrating laser communication’s use for airborne applications. Today’s announcement marks yet another milestone of the company’s efforts to unlock the industrial age of laser communications.
About H3 HATS
Germany-based H3 HATS is a subsidiary of the internationally renowned H3 AEROSPACE specialized in development, production and services of high-altitude platforms. H3 Aerospace is one of the world’s largest and most experienced composite aircraft manufacturers since 1971. Within its 50 years of history, the company delivered more than 3,500 aircraft that have flown over seven m hours on five continents. Its product range evolved from pioneering gliders of the 70s, the record-breaking high-altitude aircraft G520, G850 and being the world market leader for training aircrafts with the G120TP. Learn more at H3-HATS.com.
Mynaric (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: M0Y, ISIN: DE000A0JCY11) produces the optical fiber for the skies and, as a pioneer of laser communication, enables extremely fast and secure wireless data transmission between aircraft, drones and satellites. Globally, the need for fast and ubiquitous network connectivity is advancing inexorably. Data networks such as the internet are now largely based on infrastructure on the ground which cannot be expanded arbitrarily for legal, economic or logistical reasons. The future, therefore, calls for an expansion of the existing network infrastructure into air and space. Mynaric provides laser communication products to establish the necessary data highways for telecommunication constellations in air and space. Learn more at mynaric.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
13 Oct 21. US Army to release new digital transformation strategy. The strategy seeks to align various technology efforts as a means to better prepare the service for multidomain operations. The Army is releasing a digital transformation plan as a way to synchronize all its technology modernization efforts and better posture itself for multidomain operations, according to the service’s chief information officer.
“This is a new way of doing business for the Army,” Raj Iyer told reporters at the annual AUSA conference. “What digital transformation is all about is us operating better with industry, leveraging commercial technologies like we never have before. … This is not one where we’re going to treat as an IT project. … This is about changing culture, it’s about empowering our workforce to do things differently and for us to leverage better these commercial technologies.”
The strategy is organized under three objectives: modernization and readiness, which includes creating a digitally-enabled, data-driven Army; reform, which involves optimizing and mission-aligning digital investments providing greater value to the Army; and people and partnerships, which involves improving the workforce.
Technologies associated with the plan include cloud, data, cybersecurity and mission networks.
Iyer said that the strategy would allow the Army to be able to prioritize the right initiatives and thereby save money.
Threats against military networks are a key driver in the push for digital transformation.
“The attacks that we’re getting in the Army are changing dramatically. It used to be perimeter defense would work well for defending our systems. Now a lot of those attacks have moved up the attack surface to the application level,” Maj. Gen. Matthew Easley, chief cybersecurity officer in the CIO’s office told reporters. “That forces us to change the way we think of cybersecurity” and systems, he added.
Iyer explained the Army wants to do enterprise computing in a more centralized way, which is also a departure from the past.
“Every commander has done their own thing and that’s all lead to a lot of silos of excellence over the years. If you look at the requirements for multidomain operations, that model doesn’t work anymore,” Iyer said. “We need to get to much more of a centralized approach of doing things and the cloud gives us that tremendous opportunity to do that.”
The strategy comes on the heels of the recently released unified network strategy, which seeks to link the enterprise network to the tactical.
(Source: Defense News)
13 Oct 21. Northrop Grumman Connects Warfighters to the Future. During a sophisticated flight test of the U.S. Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), developed by Northrop Grumman, data from Army, Air Force and Marine Corps sensors and weapons systems were fused on a network. This capability demonstration enabled operators to connect any sensor with the best shooter to see, track and intercept a cruise missile target, despite a highly contested electronic attack environment that jammed some of the radars and would have otherwise denied the intercept. In addition, IBCS shared target flight track data with a Navy C2 system during the event. The flight test was another in the system’s long series of successful intercepts, but it was much more: It was proof of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) capabilities inherent in Northrop Grumman’s modular open systems approach (MOSA) to C2 architecture – capabilities crucial to Department of Defense (DOD) preparations for the battlespace of the future.
JADC2 and Joint Connectivity
In that not-too-distant future, adversaries will threaten with advanced weapons from every domain – land, air, sea, space and cyberspace – and from every direction, all at the same time and potentially at hypersonic speeds. To prevail, it’s now recognized by militaries across the globe that stand-alone networks must be more integrated to enable command and control of the full battlespace across domains and services. That connectivity will allow them to perform as a joint force, coordinating defense and strike strategies and saving every precious second.
“What we demonstrated during the July flight test is the capacity of our approach and architecture to integrate multi-domain systems across the services,” said Mike Foust, a Northrop Grumman engineering fellow and Integrated Air and Missile Defense chief architect. “We’ve already proven joint-force connectivity and shown the path to future Joint All-Domain and Command and Control.”
Among Northrop Grumman’s solutions to the broader demands of JADC2 is the innovative Joint Integrated Fires Command, Control and Communications system (JIFC3). It uses as a foundation the resilient, extensible MOSA architecture and incorporates new tools to help commanders quickly coordinate, deconflict and synchronize defensive and strike firing of missiles and other assets.
Integrating Today and Tomorrow
Foust emphasizes this truly open systems architecture enables disaggregation of stove-piped systems and joint connectivity at every level – weapon or sensor systems and all military nodes, even whole C2 systems.
The approach creates a highly-accurate common operating picture as sensors share data to create composite tracks of missiles or other threats that can be used by any effector or weapon system to engage them. Weapon systems may share C2 capabilities so that an airborne or space-based sensor might someday cue firing of a ship- or land-based missile.
“Our architecture can integrate future systems, as well as existing systems that were never designed for joint use,” Foust added. “We can leverage the large investment in current systems, which may gain extended range or fuller use of their capabilities – or discover new uses and missions for them – as part of the joint system.”
Joint connectivity, integrating all the sensors, effectors and capabilities available across all the military services and domains, provides warfighters with beyond-line-of-sight vision and control, and with more time and more options for action. It’s the necessary solution to the challenges of the future battlespace. And Foust saw the shape of that future back in July at White Sands.
“This flight test was the proof of our architecture,” said Foust. “Now we are demonstrating truly joint, all-domain command and control.”
13 Oct 21. Elbit Systems Adds Multi-Channel and Full-Duplex Capabilities to the E-LynX Family of Software Defined Radios. Elbit Systems adds multi-channel and full duplex technologies to its E-LynX™ family of Software Defined Radios (SDR), substantially increasing network throughputs, further empowering the Company’s SDR-based solution for multi-domain digital transformation. When using Radio systems with single or dual radio frequency channels, the ability of tactical users to transmit and receive information is dependent on channel availability, which limits the reach and network presence of the users. Elbit Systems new patented multi-channel technology enables simultaneous use of multiple radio frequencies for transmission and reception, utilizing one or more waveforms, providing all-time network availability and presence – a key factor in multi-domain operations. The multi-channel network capability improves the optimization of spectrum resource allocation and enhance the capability to execute concurrent missions while maintaining fast, resilient, secured, interoperable and immune communications in any terrain. Current tactical radio technologies allow access to the network for a single user to at a time. The new full-duplex technology enables tactical users to exchange information simultaneously and have dynamic conversations, accelerating the flow of information in the battlefield.
As of today, the E-LynX family of SDR is the preferred choice of several countries for their multi-domain digital transformation, including Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Brazil and Israel. Elbit Systems will deliver more than ten thousand multi-channel full-duplex E-LynX SDR systems under several of these programs.
13 Oct 21. Elettronica SpA yesterday celebrated their 70th anniversary in Rome, the Italian company are a leader in the Electronic Defense sector and a strategic player in international security. Elettronica SpA, have seventy years of successes, research and pioneering innovation with military platforms for 30 governments all over the world, helping the military to get back home safely. In the presence of the most distinguished representatives from the sector, in the charming setting of the Scenery Laboratory of the Opera House of Rome, the 70th anniversary of the company was celebrated with an event devoted to the vision of the future, as the leader in its field with 70 years of industrial history and expertise. Established on the intuition of its founding father Filippo Fratalocchi and developed according to the visionary strategies of his grandson Enzo Benigni, Elettronica Spa has led the history of the sector of electronic defence, with a constant commitment in research and innovation. Starting from a laboratory at the Tiburtina district of Rome with 25 employees, it presently employs over 1000 staff with 5 offices worldwide, from Asia to the Middle East, and two Subsidiary Companies, the German Elt GmbH specializing in Homeland Security and Cy4Gate, an Italian company with excellence in cyber intelligence and cyber security, listed in 2020 at AIM with the most important IPO of the last 3 years. The company led by Enzo Benigni, Chairman & CEO, and Domitilla Benigni, also CEO and COO, and Lorenzo Benigni, Senior Vice President Governmental & Institutional Relations, have supplied over 3000 strategic surveillance, self-protection, electronic defence and operational support systems for air, naval and land applications. The event represented an important occasion to think about the “Great Future” and the responsibilities in the defence and security sector. An initiative to consider the new technological frontiers, cybersecurity, drones, big data, that intertwine with the unforeseeable and changing geopolitical dynamics. The event was attended by well-known representatives from international organizations, European and Italian institutions: Giancarlo Giorgetti, Minister for Economic Development, Lorenzo Guerini, Minister of Defense, Claudio Graziano, President of the EU Military Committee, David H. Petraeus, Partner of KKR and President of KKR Global Institute, Roberto Baldoni, Director of the Italian Cybersecurity Agency, Gianni Letta, former Undersecretary to the Prime Miniser’s Office, Franco Bernabè, Chairman of Acciaierie Italia Spa. Kevin Ashton, expert in technology and digital Transformation and Dav Moran, expert in technology and inventor of the USB pen drive.
Video messages were also sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Luigi di Maio, and the French Minister for the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire.
In the current climate, where technology impacts on geopolitics, Europe needs to reaffirm its role by finding a new strategic position, redefining the global alliances and asserting its own technological sovereignty.
The Chairman Enzo Benigni said, “The sector of Defense is about to face a huge change from a social, geopolitical and technological point of view, that will change the old rules; an epoch-making turning point, a Great Future. The concurrence of political stability, the lively debate on the European Defense and the new financial resources introduced by the Italian PNRR have laid the bases for an ideal condition to face and govern this great change. We feel that our company is the protagonist of this moment in consideration of its distinctive skills and for showing the existence of a European Defense both in its shareholding and through the participation in the main European Defense Programs”.
Recent events, including the cyber-attack to the US pipeline in Texas, already showed how digitalization is offsetting – or better – increasingly mixing the concepts of traditional Defense and Security, and ho IT codes represent both the danger and the weapons we have at our disposal to defend our future and future generations.
The world in which we live, and that includes the new scenario of the Defense, is a network full of connected smart devices. The connective tissue of this network is the electromagnetic spectrum, where Elettronica have been studying and innovating for the last 70 years.
“There are no more borders between defence and security; digitalization made our daily lives easier but also more fragile”, stated Domitilla Benigni, “The conflicts we need to be ready to face are silent and invisible, as it is invisible the electromagnetic spectrum. We see this clearly in the so-called “super systems”, the interconnected platforms of the future that work on the electromagnetic spectrum, and we from Elettronica have been focusing our attention for 70 years on the dominance of this environment. This excellence, together with the cyber skills, give our company vision and fundamental abilities in the sector of Defense and Security that we have in front of us,”.
An important challenge that requires to focus on new technological sovereignties and on a stronger and stronger public-private collaboration.
As underlined by Lorenzo Benigni, SVP in charge of Institutional Relations “We have built our company history thanks to the extraordinary support of the Armed Forces and institutions, unavoidable interlocutors and fundamental actors in the dialogue with the Governments of the different Countries of the world that we have dealt with. This was one of the factors of success of the last 70 years, and it will continue to be so especially if we look at the main European Defense programs”.
The initiative was most of all the occasion to gather reliable interpretations on the dynamics that we have in front of us.
David H. Petraeus, President of KKR Global Institute underlined “We are faced with a new cold war with old and new actors. In a grey zone war where not hearing the engines of ships and tracked vehicles, but the devious silence of cyberwarfare and information warfare”
Claudio Graziano, President of the European Union Military Committee stated.
Roberto Baldoni, Director General of the national cybersecurity agency stated: “Security is not something that your conquest and that remains unchanged forever; it must be continuously fuelled, because attackers always use new methodologies. If we were to measure the level of exposure to cyber risk in a scale from 0 to 10, I would say we are at level 8. The true enemy that we need to defeat in this case is the low degree of awareness, and to do so we have to invest in training, by increasing the number of young engineers and experts that will be able to defend us from cyber-attacks, by paying particular attention to the number of women involved. We need to raise the bar of resilience to cyber-attacks in our Country, by also using the investments of the PNRR in the implementation of a new digital industrial policy that, among its priorities, shall develop a national and European technology also to improve the de-risking of the critical infrastructures of our Country”.
11 Oct 21. The US Army will soon be able to see itself in cyberspace on the battlefield. The U.S. Army will soon receive a new tool that gives commanders a picture of their digital battlespace, following an operational test this summer. The Army will field the new tool, called Cyber Situational Understanding, to operational units in fiscal 2022 as part of what the service calls Capability Set ‘21, said Lt. Col. Scott Shaffer, product lead for Mission Command Cyber at Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical. Under the Army’s effort to modernize its network, the service adds capabilities every two years that build upon those from prior sets. Cyber Situational Understanding is a tool specifically designed for ground commanders to better understand the cyber and electromagnetic landscape to make more informed decisions. The tool is not meant to be used for cyberspace operations. It’s a first-of-its-kind tool that will be built into the Command Post Computing Environment, which will consolidate current mission systems and programs into a single user interface at the command post. The Army has planned three incremental capability drops for the new technology. The initial capability planned for delivery in 2022 will provide a foundational capability for forces to see their own networks, Shaffer told C4ISRNET. The next capability drop — Capability Drop 1, which the service hopes to field in 2023 — will add more to the ability of friendly forces to see their networks while beginning to add in some capabilities for seeing an adversary’s posture within the cyber and electromagnetic environment. Lastly, Capability Drop 2, which is planned for fielding in 2024, will focus on refined analytics, shoring up the friendly and adversarial battlespace while adding in an ability to see and monitor what’s called gray space, or natural cyberspace, Shaffer said. The gray space will include social media feeds and networks. The Army is working on a new concept and doctrine it calls information advantage, which will help commanders make better informed, faster decisions. The core tenet is the ability of forces to be able to see themselves, the adversary and everything else going on.
“As we talk information advantage, just go back to those three things: See yourself, see the adversary and see all the other relevant things that are occurring,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander of Army Cyber Command, said during the TechNet Augusta conference in August. “Because if we get focused and stuck on just blue [friendly forces] and red [enemy forces], we’re going to miss everything else that’s happening that may have a tremendous influence and impact on the outcome of our ability to accomplish our mission.”
Fogarty stressed in years past that U.S. forces have suffered because they didn’t have good visuals of themselves in these environments.
One of the key uses for Cyber Situational Understanding is allowing commanders to make informed decisions based on their battlespace. For example, Shaffer described a hypothetical in which, within the interface, a commander can see if a particular system, such as the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, which coordinates fires, is compromised.
The commander will be able to see where the system is employed in an upcoming mission and make an informed risk decision. Should troops still use the system if it’s compromised, do they turn it off and use a backup system, or do they forego this fire mission and turn to a different capability?
Cyber Situational Understanding will also be the first tool directly built into the Command Post Computing Environment.
In contrast, other programs later integrated to the platform might be unable to share their data as seamlessly, Shaffer said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
06 Oct 21. US Army Awards Palantir $823m Contract For Enterprise ‘Data Fabric.’ The award is part of the second capability drop of the Distributed Common Ground Systems-Army. The Army announced today it has enlisted the data analytics firm Palantir in a $823m contract to provide what the company called the “data fabric and analytics foundation” for the Distributed Common Ground System-Army program.
The contract comes as the Army enters its next phase of modernizing its intelligence infrastructure to prepare for multi-domain operations, a major part of which is getting soldiers access to data around the world.
Following an initial testing period, under the new contract, Palantir will support the operational testing of the Distributed Common Ground System-Army’s second capability drop. The Distributed Common Ground System-Army is the service’s primary platform for storing, processing and delivering intelligence to commanders. Palantir will provide Army users with its Gotham data platform, which Palantir said in a release will “connect the dots between disparate sources.” The Army release said the contract was awarded Sept. 30.
The Army is in the midst of a sprawling modernization effort that includes preparing for a battlefield in which soldiers and commanders require consistent access to data.
The award to Palantir caps a year of vendor competition and soldier testing. In February 2020, Palantir was awarded an initial contract to provide its platform for numerous iterations of testing with intelligence users across the Army, the PEO release said. The initial award was part of the Army’s so-called “Test-Fix-Test” phase which included soldier testing, including a focus on advanced intelligence analytics and intelligence planning tools.
The DCGS-A interfaces with the intelligence community data fabric to provide both sides with intelligence.
“We look forward to the continued partnership with PEO IEW&S and the Army’s Intelligence Community in providing new and exciting technology that help them in their modernization efforts,” said Doug Philippone, Palantir’s global defense lead, in a statement. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
11 Oct 21. NGTF seeks Multi-Function Aperture Grand Challenge proposals. The Next Generation Technology Fund (NGTF) seeks proposals from industry and academia to develop next-generation Multi-Functional Array (MFA) antennas capable of supporting Electronic Warfare (EW) functions over a wide frequency, as well as radar communications.
The call for proposals closes at 2.00 PM (AEST) on 18 November 2021.
This is a three-phased program designed to run over a 5-year period. The first phase of the program will end in February 2022 and focuses on developing the core concepts addressing the S&T challenges and retiring the risks.
The program is now seeking responses from interested parties to participate in Phase 2 of the program. The goal of this phase is to develop Australian-based and sovereign capabilities in one of the following ways:
- establish new industrial capabilities relevant to MFA
- leverage existing in-house industry capabilities
- focused research in collaboration with industry partners.
The NGTF is seeking responses that address key topics:
Antenna array elements and surface: 2 developed array designs operating over a decade of bandwidth, providing wide scan angle range and dual polarisation.
Impedance matching: Novel impedance matching techniques are being designed to meet the multi-function wideband requirements of the antenna surfaces.
Beam forming and excitation: Novel forms of array excitation for beam forming, steering and control accompany the MFA surface designs.
RF amplifier design: GaN power amplifier and low noise amplifier designs for the MFA front-end RF transceiver to support multi-carrier functionality across a decadal bandwidth.
Circulator and switch design: Development of switch and circulator designs capable of operating with high isolation across the MFA bandwidth.
Self-Interference Cancellation: Wideband interference cancellation, based on novel Simultaneous Transmit and Receive (STaR) techniques suited to the antenna surface designs.
Digital Pre-Distortion: Digital pre-distortion of RF amplifiers under load to enable wideband multi-carrier operation with minimal impact from in-band distortion.
System simulator: Phase 1 established a high fidelity electromagnetic simulation environment that is being used to assist with validation and future-proofing of the array designs.
Thermal Management: Novel semiconductor design combined with electronic fabrication techniques to improve thermal management.
The call for proposals closes at 2.00 PM (AEST) on 18 November 2021. Responses are to be submitted electronically via the AusTender website. (Source: Rumour Control)
11 Oct 21. Commtact unveils new solution – CommNet – a real-time, highly-reliable private communications network for first responders & special forces. The multi-platform broadband solution provides complete situational awareness (video, voice, data) for any scenario, and enables real-time, continuous communication between personnel in the field and the equipment/ platforms they use.
Commtact Ltd. – a leading provider of advanced wireless communications solutions for first responder teams and robotics platforms – is unveiling CommNet – a new real-time communications network solution for first responders, large events and command & control center teams.
Being the first on the scene of catastrophes and natural disasters, first responders have a growing need for an independent, reliable, real-time mobile communications network that facilitates data sharing alongside constant situational awareness. CommNet provides exactly this. Based on Commtact’s proven operational performance, the new system enhances real-time situational awareness in a variety of missions, supporting ongoing real-time communications between multiple users operating diverse platforms. Even with a large number of users, the system provides consistently high quality of service (QoS).
Incorporating high-performance software-defined radios (SDRs) within ruggedized body-worn components, the solution provides reliable, low-latency video, voice and data connectivity. It ensures consistently high QoS for large numbers of end users, including first responder teams and rugged multi-domain platforms. The agile, flexible solution easily adjusts to a variety of customer needs.
Leveraging proprietary wireless technologies, the system supports point-to-point (PTP), point-to-multi point (PTMP) and MESH topologies and a wide range of radio frequencies and channel width, while delivering high throughput over a secure private network.
“Emergency, medical, and command and control center teams need continuous, and reliable communication, at any given moment, and in all terrain conditions. We are proud of Commtact’s technology development, which is based on the company’s proven attempt which are in use all over the world, and provides a solution to this need.” says Ariel Kandel, CEO of Commtact.
11 Oct 21. Spire Global and Myriota partner to re-imagine Internet of Things connectivity. Adelaide-based Myriota has partnered with US company Spire Global, a leading global provider of space-based data, analytics, and space services. The partnership will accelerate Myriota’s global service deployment timeline, expanding the Myriota Network using Spire Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) nanosatellites. Myriota is the first large-scale, commercial, IoT-focused customer of Spire.
Myriota will use Spire’s existing satellite platform and continue to scale the Myriota Network as Spire deploys new satellites. The partners plan to quickly ramp up Myriota’s coverage to a global, low latency constellation, extending its existing coverage in North America, Australia and New Zealand to other markets including Europe. By leveraging Spire’s proven constellation and global operations platform, Myriota expects to quickly and cost-effectively scale its IoT services to meet rising global demand.
Spire’s constellation of low-earth orbit nanosatellites is equipped with a range of software- defined radios (SDR) that let partners test, deploy, operate, and scale custom applications. Myriota expects this landmark partnership to allow it to expand its network more quickly in more areas, and to improve latency using existing spacecraft.
The Myriota Network enables customers in industries like logistics, utilities, and agriculture to securely monitor and collect data globally using its long-lasting and low-cost IoT sensors. Myriota customers are already tracking, locating, and monitoring assets including vehicles, wind turbines, equipment and tools, and shipping containers. The new partnership will support reduced latency and new services.
“Australia is a hotbed of innovative companies, and it’s gratifying to help a leading satellite connectivity provider go to market quickly and scale up efficiently,” said Theresa Condor, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Space Services and Earth Intelligence at Spire.
“With high demand for the Myriota Network from our partners, who are rolling out products at an ever-accelerating rate, this agreement is a game changer for our business.” (Source: Rumour Control)
08 Oct 21. Merging worlds: Army releases unified network plan to ensure global connectivity. The Army has released its unified network plan, which aligns various modernization efforts to provide a network the service needs if it’s to share data from the enterprise to the tactical sphere in support of multidomain operations.
The plan, published Oct. 8, outlines five lines of effort:
- Establish the unified network to enable multidomain operations.
- Posture the force for multidomain operations.
- Security and survivability.
- Reform processes and polices.
- Network sustainment.
The global nature of conflicts — physical and digital alike — against nation states will require forces to have ready and resilient access to data from anywhere. That means unifying the Army’s tactical and enterprise network, and developing a seamless global communications, Lt. Gen. John Morrison, deputy chief of staff of the Army for G-6, told C4ISRNET.
“We want the ability of our tactical formations to be able to rapidly deploy anywhere in the world, immediately plug back into the unified network, and have the data and information that they need to conduct operations,” he said in a Sept. 22 interview. “It’s not only data and information; it’s access to strategic, operational and tactical effects — all three of them being able to be applied at the time and place of the maneuver commander’s choosing.”
Morrison explained that networks were previously theater-centric and lacked a global focus. Because of that, force transitions from one theater to another could prove difficult from a network perspective. Some of that was due to bureaucratic challenges, some of it was technical and related to theater architectures.
As a result, the Army has devised what it is calling the unified network — an attempt to align tactical networks for forces directly on the battlefield and the enterprise systems used by stationary forces at installations.
For the last four years, the service has been undergoing an aggressive modernization effort to improve its tactical network, but the Army is now taking that same vigor to linking its enterprise strategic systems to tactical forces to better share data.
The new plan outlines three phases of modernization beginning in the near term all the way out to 2028 and beyond.
In the near term – between now and 2024 – the goal is to begin establishing the unified network. Work in this sphere has already begun with tactical network modernization but also involves a standardized secure architecture based upon zero trust, inserting emerging technologies such as 5G and software-defined capabilities, and movement toward cloud infrastructures, among other activities.
The phase ends with the creation of a standardized and integrated security architecture that sets the foundation going forward, the plan says.
The midterm, from 2025-2027, focuses on “operationalizing” the unified network and begins with convergence of the tactical and enterprise network capabilities.
Other efforts involve the completion of a Department of Defense Information Network operations modality that enables defense of the network.
Morrison described this DoDIN framework as involving operations, maintenance, configuration and security of the network from the tactical edge to the installation level.
Certain organizational designs or force structure changes the Army made and is continuing to evolve created efficiencies. This primarily involves the creation of expeditionary signal brigades-enhanced, which support units that don’t have organic communications capabilities. These groups could include military intelligence battalions, chemical battalions, engineering battalions or air defense artillery branches.
Morrison described these units as “significant combat multipli[ers],” and said the concept is proven.
The Army is currently in the process of moving beyond the initial two battalions, adding more overseas.
The Army has also been able to reinvest personnel it saved from the ESB-Es into the DoDIN operations framework to more intently focus on the operations and defense of the network.
“We are reinvesting personnel to reenforce our regional cyber centers so we have that theater-level capability. We are reinvesting those personnel efficiencies into Army Cyber and NETCOM [Network Enterprise Technology Command] to establish that global DoDIN ops capability that will nest over the top of the theater structures. We are transforming our theater tactical signal brigades into corps signal brigades to support corps maneuver and provide that DoDIN ops for the corps,” Morrison said.
“We’re doing the same with our theater strategic signal brigades, and they are now becoming theater signal brigades, but with that enhanced DoDIN ops capability to really be able to do the command and control of their formations both at the installation and theater level but also the organic tactical formations that are assigned to them.”
The midterm also involves the establishment of a hybrid cloud that accelerates artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The far term involves continuous modernization, as officials have explained the network will never be final given the Army will always strive to insert new and emerging technologies.
When it comes to testing these new concepts and techniques, Morrison said, operations will inform much. However, from an experimentation standpoint, the Army will use events, such as Project Convergence, from which to take lessons.
The Army is also working to align the unified network efforts with its Multi-Domain Task Force and military exercises to determine if the service is on the right path with modernization efforts.
“I think we have a really good blend of real-world operations that will drive learning demands and experimentation. And between the two of them, I think it’s really going to inform us as we move forward,” Morrison said.
However, he acknowledged that while the unified network approach is meant to lead the Army’s effort to become what senior leaders call “multidomain capable” by 2028, there is no set end state for network modernization efforts. Rather, it will be an ever-evolving process that will adjust with emerging technology trends.
“We want to set the foundation so we can incrementally modernize over time. For an enterprise as large as the U.S. Army, where we have over a m users on the network, to sit there and think that we’re going to field all the way across that one common solution and then have that one common solution for 10, 15 years is a misnomer,” Morrison said. “Having that foundation so we iteratively modernize over time is absolutely critical.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Oct 21. Summit Highlights DOD’s Cybersecurity Initiatives, Challenges. Some of the cybersecurity challenges the Defense Department faces and some of its key initiatives include the highlight of a fireside chat at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit.
David McKeown, DOD’s chief information security officer and deputy chief information officer, explained that seven “pillars” makeup DOD’s cybersecurity architecture. “The priority of all of the pillars working together, or in harmony, is that we’re able to detect advanced persistent threats trying to attack our network, advanced persistent threats that have successfully hacked our networks and their lateral movements inside of our networks,” he said.
While DOD has historically been very good at perimeter defenses, it has a lot of tools that it has deployed, McKeown said. “We’re successful with 99.9% of all attack vectors. But there is this advanced capability that nation-state actors have [in which] they can get a foothold through a variety of means — phishing, brute force attacks on vulnerabilities that are on servers, web attacks and hacking the code,” he said. “And once they get a foothold, what we’ve found over time is we have to struggle to find them and then finally, eradicate them from an app on the network and have confidence that they’re gone from the network.”
DOD cybersecurity, McKeown said, has always turned to industry for great solutions with new technologies. “We’re also looking to them when they build a new operational technology [to include] cybersecurity and the censoring that we’re going to need to protect devices,” he added.
DOD is also looking at cybersecurity solutions that it can purchase at scale from vendors, he noted.
“We’re actively looking at where we can partner with industry on those solutions to overlay on top of whatever our network infrastructure is,” McKeown said.
“We do need to partner with industry, so that they can help us provide better security solutions,” he emphasized. “In the area of cloud, we’ve spent a great deal of time [and] our journey to the cloud has been pretty strong of late. We’ve migrated a vast majority of our users there, we’ve partnered with Microsoft to work on the security concerns over time, and we continue to work on those.”
DOD will continue to adopt what industry is putting out, he noted, adding the department does need the help to “bake in” cybersecurity and not have it as an add-on feature for an additional price.
For DOD’s strategic cybersecurity program, adoption of all of the different technologies that industry has to offer is definitely on our radar, McKeown said. “We want to meet with industry, we want to know what they have, but we do want them to be cognizant of the fact that we really kind of demand a secure solution coming in the door.” (Source: US DoD)
08 Oct 21. General Says Artificial Intelligence Will Play Important Role in Network Defense. Attacks by hostile governments and criminal networks on civilian and Defense Department cyberspace assets are constant threats. As artificial intelligence grows in cyberspace and as it matures to enterprise scale, it, too, will become a target, said the director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. The first aspect of cyber defense of AI starts with the networks, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael S. Groen said today during a virtual fireside chat at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit.
“The department is undergoing a little bit of a mind shift on networks and architecture. Our networks are a core piece of our warfighting architecture. Our networks are weapons, and, so, we have to treat them like weapons. We have to, we have to plan to protect them, make them resilient because everything that we’re going to do in an artificial intelligence or data-driven way will depend on the security [of] those networks,” he said.
As a result, the department has paid a lot of attention to network security and has done a really good job of shoring up things like zero-trust architecture, cloud security, the transport layer, switching and routing, Groen pointed out.
Adversarial AI has its own unique challenges like data poisoning, spoofing and deep fakes, and so on, he said.
“There’s special attention being paid to AI security within the department, so a lot of work is being done on testing vulnerabilities of algorithms and keeping a lid on spoofings, interruptions and poisonings,” he said.
Detecting threats and anomalous activity on the network at high operating tempos, such as in warfighting, is important, he said. AI can aid humans in monitoring the network for threats — a feat that’s sometimes beyond the physical and mental ability of humans.
There are a number of initiatives to employ AI for network protection, Groen said. The department is working closely with U.S. Cyber Command, network managers and others to make this happen.
Groen said he thinks that the ability of the department to employ AI for network protection will grow rapidly over the next several years.
A culture shift will be needed in order for operators and warfighters to embrace AI integration, he said.
Commanders who are going to use AI in decision making will need to understand its limits and understand what it will actually do for them. Operators have to know how to use AI and how to wield an algorithm like they would wield a weapon, he said.
The department isn’t going to flip a switch and suddenly turn on AI, he said. Instead, it has chosen an incremental approach, starting AI at a small scale for the most pressing problems and then finding other ways to use AI to make processes work better in an ethical framework.
There’s a lot of latent talent in youngsters joining the military, he said. That talent needs to be encouraged and developed so that they can find challenges and rewards in using cyber and AI to enable the warfighters. (Source: US DoD)
08 Oct 21. The US military recently undertook multidomain testing of its Scarlet Dragon platform, testing the platform’s machine learning capabilities in target identification. The US XVIII Airborne Corp recently undertook multidomain testing of its Scarlet Dragon target identification platform, alongside the US Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. As part of the exercise, the Army used the platform’s machine learning capabilities to search 7,200 square kilometres of satellite imagery across US eastern seaboard to identify simulated targets. The exercise then tested the interoperability and command-and-control integrations between the domains and F-35s providing air support once the targets were identified. According to reports from the US-based Army Times, some targets were the “size of a 10-square-foot box”. The platform utilises machine learning from Project Maven, which hit headlines in 2019 when Google departed the project after a series of concerns. Writing for the Modern War Institute, Richard Schultz and General Richard Clarke explain the importance of Project Maven for target identification.
“Designated Project Maven, this effort’s initial objective is to automate the processing, exploitation and dissemination of massive amounts of full-motion video collected by intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets in operational areas around the globe,” the pair noted.
The exercise was the fourth iteration of testing, with the first Scarlet Dragon test fire being conducted in 2020.
Scarlet Dragon was conducted as NATO finalised Exercise Dynamic Monarch in September, the 11th iteration of NATO-sponsored live Submarine Escape and Rescue (SMER) exercises. (Source: https://www.cybersecurityconnect.com.au/)
08 Oct 21. JAIC working to discover ‘state of our data’ across combatant commands. The director of the Department of Defense’s artificial intelligence clearinghouse hopes a new initiative will help combatant commands better make use of the department’s data. The new Artificial Intelligence and Data Accelerator, or AIDA, is housed within the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.
“We’re just now discovering what is the state of our data. Everybody loves to say that the Department of Defense has all kinds of data. It does. Most of it’s crap,” Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, director of the JAIC, said during a pre-recorded interview shared at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit.
“How do we figure out where is the useful stuff so that we can get it into decision making processes and decision flow?” he continued. “There’s the data discovery and the data management aspect of this.”
Defense officials have previously discussed the importance of understanding and acting upon the vast sums of data the Pentagon collects. Artificial intelligence is considered critical to sifting through these large volumes.
Groen said as the department looks to institutionalize artificial intelligence, commanders and organizations will have to think differently about how data can drive decision making.
“This is new. It represents a whole new operating model for the department,” he said. “All of the things the Department of Defense does — our mission doesn’t change, but the way we execute that mission has to change. It has to become data driven.”
AIDA is aiding in that effort by helping to identify use cases for combatant commands.
“We are not rewriting the book for a combatant command environment. What we’re doing is working with their staff to find out what their most pressing problems are and then finding ways to use AI, perhaps, to make those processes better,” Groen said.
The hope, he said, is that as this is done more frequently, it should create a library or an app store kind of capability for combatant commands to draw algorithms from. Most of the combatant commands share the same problems; they can use this library to pull algorithms to addres certain challenges, while allowing tailoring to specific problems.
All this is building towards a joint operating system, Groen said.
“Think any other operating system where things have a common look and feel, things fit together purposefully and it’s widely available through an app store kind of environment. This is what we want to jump start through AIDA,” he said. “How do we get the department to act as one entity so we truly do have all-domain command-and-control, any sensor informing any decisionmaker across the environment. That’s what AIDA is all about.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
12 Oct 21. Dstl: our role in cyber defence. Dr Paul Kealey, Head of Cyber information Systems for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, explains how we keep ahead of the cyber curve and protect the UK.
Paul Kealey leads over 700 word-leading scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) who create cutting edge science for the UK’s defence and homeland security capability.
The 2021 Integrated Review (IR) saw huge investment in the cyber and space security areas, and Paul explains how Dstl will ensure the money is used to its full potential to protect the nation.
The value of government money is taken extremely seriously, and means that we make sure it is used in the most cost effective manner and with maximum benefit.
We use the funding to make sure the military has the capability it needs now and in the future to keep the UK safe.
We also look at the government’s agenda of levelling up, making sure we look at how investments across the whole United Kingdom are delivered and making sure that we develop industry, export products and jobs for the whole of the nation.
The importance of research in Space and Cyber
We are facing many challenges in cyber and space where the UK is constantly being challenged in the cyber domain. It is not optional and we need to be ahead of the cyber curve to protect the UK‘s commerce and finance, the multi-systems used in defence and security.
Similarly, in space, it is crucial we take part in space research, not just for a ‘safer spaces sake’, but it is a key enabler where it is used for timing the planks of the communication, earth monitoring (civil or military) and for navigation, so having a safe and secure set of space capabilities pedals the whole of the UK economy.
Threats to the UK’s cyber infrastructure
It’s a continuing problem for all parts of the industry and defence, from banks to hospitals and even your home computer, but it is actually the National Cyber Security Centre that lead on the providing the security on the national infrastructure.
Dstl’s role in defence ensures that our military equipment, and our military systems have that equal world-class level of security and are safeguarded ahead of any planned and potential threats.
How we use data
We use data in a number of ways: firstly to support military commanders to help them make better decisions, for example data can help see what’s on the other side of the mountain and what’s going on in the battlefield.
Data is used to understand what another Army or adversary are doing, so Dstl experts will develop algorithms that can help provide intelligence, giving personnel the information they need and at pace wherever they are.
We also develop data to ensure even better decisions are made in investment and where defence should invest its money, which capability area is a priority. Dstl supports across government, advising them what they should be investing in.
Keeping ahead of the threat
Intelligence is gathered as part of a cross-government effort, for example the UK’s Defence Intelligence organisation will lead on the intelligence signal.
Dstl works under the Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) Dame Angela McLean where we follow her science and technology strategy, and this looks at generation after next technologies that don’t just look ahead, but can predict and plan for the likelihood of future attacks.
We are making computers and algorithms of the future, not just to be in front, but actually jump ahead. We are making future computers and future algorithms that will ensure we are secure and without risk of vulnerabilities, in essence, we are jumping ahead of what technology currently offers. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
13 Oct 21. Northrop Grumman Eyes Next-Gen SIGINT For Army.
“So I think [the concept of integration is] so simple and yet so hard to achieve,” Northrop VP Walsmith said. “You need to be able to integrate applications, whether they’re your own or someone else’s, with ease and simplicity. It is easy to say. It’s very hard to engineer.”
Grumman is now looking to leverage the same high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to enable the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations.
The defense contractor last week announced the Air Force selected it to design a prototype for new SIGINT sensing and payload tech, dubbed GHOST (Global High-altitude Open-system Sensor Technology). GHOST operates within Northrop’s SAGE, a cloud-based SIGINT systems architecture. (SAGE, the company said, is not an acronym.)
Northrop thinks SAGE could be adopted by the Army as the service looks to modernize and bolster ISR capabilities as part of its Concept for Intelligence 2028. An element of the Army’s vision includes Multi-Domain Sensor Systems, or MDSS, which “will deliver the right information at the right time to the right decision makers as a critical enabler for [long-range precision fires], [electronic warfare], cyber effects, and [command and control] functions,” according to the 2028 document.
MDSS, Northrop’s VP of the Cyber and Information Solutions Business Unit Jennifer Walsmith told Breaking Defense, is “so important to the future Army airborne SIGINT payload initiative, which will ultimately be integrated into the overall new Army suite of platforms.”
The Army’s (and Air Force’s) move to modernize SIGINT is part of a continuous effort, but current projects are unfolding as both top military and Intelligence Community leaders have recently tried to reassure Congress that the US’s over-the-horizon ISR capabilities will be sufficient to track — and strike, when necessary — terrorist groups likely to find safe haven under the new Afghan Taliban government. It is widely believed US human intelligence assets in Afghanistan have been largely depleted following the military’s withdrawal and the shuttering of the embassy in August.
The move also comes on the heels of a riff between the Army and the National Security Agency over SIGINT payloads. NSA prides itself on SIGINT capabilities, which NSA head Gen. Paul Nakasone last week said was the agency’s “superpower” and NSA Cybersecurity Directorate chief Rob Joyce said was its “secret sauce.” Congress has sought to smooth the tensions.
Walsmith noted that as the US shifts focus from counterterrorism over the past 20 years to near-pear competition with countries like China and Russia, there’s another urgent reason for developing and deploying new SIGINT capabilities.
“As we pivot from Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight will change,” Walsmith said. “The fact that they’re likely to need, our military commanders, a deterrence in non-kinetic space before we ever get to conflict means that we need to converge the capabilities as quickly as we can, because that is the most important aspect in how we are able to deter, in my view, kinetic conflict, and how we’re able to bring the ability for our mission warfighters to achieve that.”
The Army calls MDSS a “family of systems” that includes HERMES (High Efficiency Radio Frequency Management and Exploitation), TLS-EAB (Terrestrial Layer System – Echelons Above Brigade), and HELIOS (High-Altitude Extended-Range Long Endurance Intelligence Observation System). Each of these fit within a broader cyber, electronic warfare, and SIGINT framework.
A big part of the modernization task ahead is integrating systems, platforms, and applications, which is why SAGE’s open architecture could prove important to both the Army’s MDSS and the Defense Department’s broader Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
As to the massively complex integration that awaits, Walsmith said, “So I think [the concept of integration is] so simple and yet so hard to achieve. You need to be able to integrate applications, whether they’re your own or someone else’s, with ease and simplicity. It is easy to say. It’s very hard to engineer.”
Northrop is already providing offensive and defensive cyber capabilities to the Army. Here, Northrop is working on two key initiatives, including the Cyberspace Tools-Development Environment and Platforms and Rapid Cyber Development Network. The goal, Walsmith said, is “cyber at scale on the platform and in cyberspace.”
Such a goal will prove important going forward because China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are much more capable cyber actors than most terrorists organizations. The countries also happen to provide a target-rich environment of digital infrastructure. This puts the US and these adversaries in a sort of non-kinetic, cyber mutually assured destruction scenario — but it only holds if the US retains adequate offensive cyber to give nation-state adversaries pause in conducting truly catastrophic hacks of US infrastructure. As the lone tier one global cyber power, the US is currently well-positioned, but China and Russia will continue to challenge.
The reality is that such an environment poses and will continue to pose new threats and risks, requiring new capabilities. “We’ve already faced challenging adversaries, for sure,” Walsmith said, “but now looking forward, it’s going to get even harder.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
14 Oct 21. Hensoldt South Africa introduces new jammers. Hensoldt South Africa has unveiled two new jammers at the AOC Europe event in the United Kingdom, with its GRJ8500 and GRJ6000 jammers covering the V/U/SHF and HF frequencies. The Association of Old Crows (AOC) electronic warfare event was held from 12 to 13 October in Liverpool and saw Hensoldt South Africa introduce its new generation communications electronic attack systems for countering signals threats.
“Introduced to reliably counter the new and emerging signals that have reshaped the electronic battlefield, Hensoldt’s new GEW GRJ8500 and GEW GRJ6000 systems feature the most advanced signal attack methods on the market”, said Hennie Venter, Chief Executive of Hensoldt South Africa’s GEW Business Unit, which specialises in spectrum dominance.
Hensoldt said the GRJ range of electronic attack (EA) and surveillance systems control the adversary’s ability to communicate and use the electromagnetic spectrum by either disrupting it, or manipulating it. Jammers can be mobile, tactical or fixed.
“Adaptive waveform technology is used to constantly optimise the system response to an ever-changing spectral environment. This smart technology enables the GRJs to autonomously respond to various signal scenarios in the most effective way,” the company explained.
“Sophisticated hopper-follower algorithms track and jam individual hops of modern fast-hopping radios. With predictive algorithms and fast look-through capabilities, the systems lock onto hopping radios after detecting the first few hops transmitted, ensuring that communications are never established between the target operators.”
“Frequency hopping or spread-spectrum signals are characterised to define smart jamming waveforms matching the target signals, which is much more efficient than traditional barrage attack methods,” said Christo Fouché, Chief Executive of Sales and Marketing of GEW.
“With significantly increased instantaneous bandwidth, it is now possible to detect and jam frequency-agile threats across much wider bandwidths than previous-generation EA systems,” said Fouché.
The GRJ systems are fully software-defined, allowing new jammer waveforms to be added, offering future expandability and waveform upgrades. Their target is the global land electronic warfare (EW) market for tactical and strategic communications jamming applications.
The two new jammers join the existing GMJ9 multirole jammer, and GMJ900 and GMJ9000 man-portable multirole jammers. The GMJ79 has been designed for counter-remotely controlled improvised explosive device and tactical communications jamming and is ideal for convoy protection. The GMJ900 specialised jammer system is specifically designed to counter new-generation targets, such as cellular networks, satellite phones, commercial drones, GNSS and Wi-Fi.
The GEW business unit of Hensoldt South Africa specialises in communication monitoring and jamming, direction finding, electronic countermeasures/warfare, electromagnetic spectrum management and security systems. Since the 1960s the company has been involved in providing electronic support, electronic attack and electronic warfare solutions. Its signal intelligence and spectrum monitoring systems have been sold and are in operation in more than 30 countries worldwide, including with the South African Air Force, Army and Navy, and the spectrum regulatory body, ICASA.
The company’s jamming systems are used to protect fixed targets, convoys, individual vehicles and foot patrols (manpack system) against remotely controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs) and other threats, such as the roadside bombs.
Hensoldt South Africa is also active in the fields of airspace surveillance, and security systems, particularly perimeter and border fencing systems with integrated alerting systems to localise a breach. Such systems have been successfully used to counter wildlife poaching.
Hensoldt South Africa is increasing its involvement in the radar, data link, identification friend or foe (IFF), customer services and business development fields, amongst many others, and this has been helped by the recent acquisition of Tellumat’s air traffic management and defence business units, which form part of the company’s new Radar Business Unit. This offers 3D radar, synthetic aperture radar, radar for counter-UAV operations and passive radar. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
13 Oct 21. Roke launches PERCEIVE Multi-Role®, a generational advance that provides decisive advantage in tactical Electronic Warfare. Roke, a leading UK innovator in science and engineering, is today launching PERCEIVE MR®, the next generation of multi-role Electronic Warfare (EW) sensor. Built on 50 years of EW solution heritage, including the award-winning RESOLVE tactical EW Support system together with the LOCATE Strategic and LOCATE-T (Tactical/Transportable) High Frequency Direction Finding (HF DF) products, PERCEIVE MR® delivers decisive military advantage for communications intelligence in the Land Electro-magnetic Environment (EME).
Specifically designed to meet the threats of the modern congested, cluttered and contested digital battlespace, PERCEIVE MR® is the first tactical wideband integrated antenna head to utilise both Adaptive Digital Beamforming (ADBF) and Super Resolution Direction Finding (SRDF). These technologies deliver the most accurate wideband DF in both azimuth and elevation from 30MHz to 6Ghz and intercept from 2MHz to 30MHz, therefore covering all radio frequency bands from HF through to SHF.
PERCEIVE MR® delivers unprecedented capability to target, classify and identify frequency hopping sources operating at over 10,000 hops/second. PERCEIVE MR also provides intercept capability against Digital Mobile Radio, even in privacy mode, with real time DF and supports up to 32 Direct Digital Drop Channels (DDC), with user configurable bandwidth, allowing up to 32 targets to be classified and streamed simultaneously.
The system is driven by Roke’s latest software suite, PREFIX /VIPER, allowing full function mission planning, execution and exploitation with minimised operator burden by means of intuitive workflows driven by advanced algorithms designed to evolve with the threat. Interoperable through an open standards approach, PERCEIVE MR® can integrate with third party applications, radio heads and receivers, with specific focus on vehicle integration.
Paul MacGregor, Managing Director of Roke, commented, “Gaining advantage in the electromagnetic spectrum is critical in today’s data-driven, information-led battlespace and understanding the adversary’s electronic presence is essential to achieving situational awareness. The new Roke PERCEIVE MR® tactical sensor combines leading edge technology and small form factor to deliver the next generation in wide band multi-function EW Support capability.”
“Developed by our world-class engineers through extensive consultation with our global user base, PERCEIVE MR® delivers superior tactical advantage, enabling commanders to make highly accurate and informed decisions that outpace the adversary. As the digital battlespace evolves, Roke is proud to be investing in technology-led solutions which provide our armed forces with the leading edge capabilities essential to mission success.”
11 Oct 21. Netline unveils its new C-Guard Micro – a compact, easy-to-carry, full-coverage Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Jamming Unit. Based on the proven technology of the C-Guard family, the unique compact system offers superior performance. Netline Communications Technologies Ltd. – a leading developer and manufacturer of high-end electronic warfare and spectrum dominance systems for defense forces and homeland security agencies – has unveiled the new C-Guard Micro system. This compact, portable, full-coverage Explosive Ordnance Disposal jamming unit has been designed for use by military forces and law enforcement personnel, to support bomb disposal squads during EOD missions and roadblocks, and anti-terror missions. Based on the proven, reliable and advanced technology of the C-Guard family, the C-Guard Micro is exceptionally compact and easy to carry, and offers an extremely high level of performance. It has been tailored and adapted to the needs of bomb disposal units for a flexible, mobile, compact and effective system, in terms of jamming strength. Weighing approximately 2.5kg, the C-Guard Micro can be carried either by a single user or by an EOD robot. When carried by an EOD robot, the system supports remote operation for switching the system on/ off and changing mission profile in real time, enabling interoperability between the robot and the jammer. Being compact, the system comes with a maximum of three antennas, offering extremely high performance, while also being able to handle and jam high frequencies – from UHF/ VHF up to 6GHz – which until now was only possible in large, cumbersome systems with multiple antennas. With small form factor and simple operation, the C-Guard Micro gives the users flexibility in situations where access is time-critical but limited, or possible only via stairs. The ruggedized system is resistant to harsh environmental conditions. The C-Guard Micro is based on Netline’s Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform, enabling flexibility and adaptability to various operational scenarios and arenas, and new emerging threats, by re-configuration of the system in accordance with the existing threats in the arena The system works on an external rechargeable battery that enables an operating time of about an hour, or by an external power source – such as the bomb disposal robot – giving the team the time required to neutralize the threat, while maintaining force protection.
“The C-Guard Micro jammer makes use of our new state-of-the-art EW Technique Generator,” says Yallon Bahat, CEO of Netline. “With more than double the transmitting bandwidth of the previous generation solution, it covers all threats with only three bands. Leveraging our proven jamming technologies, which have been operational for over two decades, the C-Guard Micro jammer achieves an exceptional weight-power-performance combination. We developed this unique system in accordance with the existing need of various bomb disposal units for an advanced technological solution, in a flexible and compact system. We are proud of this system, and of the contribution it makes by protecting unit personnel and enabling forces in the field to quickly neutralize threats and complete their mission.”
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.