Sponsored by Spectra Group
14 Jan 22. Thales introduces the first all-French collaborative platform approved to handle “restricted level” information. Thales has launched TrustNest Restricted, France’s first collaborative platform approved to handle “restricted level” information. Secure applications on the platform will support new hybrid (physical and virtual) working practices and collaborative workspaces for users. France’s chief of defence procurement, Joël Barre, recently visited Thales’s Digital Factory for a demonstration of this first restricted level cloud solution and its secure videoconferencing, voice, messaging and document sharing services.
All the stakeholders in major French and European programmes, including large companies and SMEs, government agencies such as the Ministry for the Armed Forces, and other customers, partners and providers, regularly work together on confidential subjects. Thales has developed TrustNest Restricted, an online platform designed to host highly secure and easy to use solutions and services, to interconnect all these stakeholders securely and allow them to share sensitive data.
TrustNest Restricted is France’s first and only private cloud platform approved to handle “restricted level” information. Developed by Thales in close cooperation with the French national agency for information system security (ANSSI) and the Ministry for the Armed Forces, the platform has now received official certification for “Country Eyes Only” and “Restricted” information. It is the only platform in France to have obtained this certification.
TrustNest Restricted will help ensure strategic independence and sovereignty by enabling partners to develop digital services collaboratively and securely. The platform is the first service aggregator for secure communication of restricted level information between partners. It provides a range of on-demand services and reduces infrastructure costs.
All the services can be networked with any restricted level information system using solutions such as Ercom’s Secure Collaboration Hub – Restricted (currently pending restricted level accreditation), which supports audioconferencing, videoconferencing, screen sharing, messaging and document sharing.
“As the threat of cyberattacks increasingly becomes part of the daily lives of businesses and organisations and their employees, the ability to protect sensitive data is more crucial than ever. Thales is a world leader in data protection and can now offer its customers the first all-French collaborative platform officially approved to handle restricted level information.” Marc Darmon, Executive Vice President, Secure Communications and Information Systems, Thales.
13 Jan 22. Thales to create highest ever Wi-Fi hotspot as it joins forces with Airbus Perlan Mission II stratospheric glider project. Thales announced today its partnership with Airbus Perlan Mission II, an internationally celebrated and world record setting climate and aerospace research project, aiming to fly Thales’ latest mobile Satellite communications system, FlytLink, in a zero-emission glider to more than twice the altitude of a commercial airline flight. Through this collaboration, the world will get a live, front row view of the stratosphere and hear from glider pilots as they soar to the edge of space via FlytLink. The Nevada-based Airbus Perlan Mission II team is planning for a possible return to flight this year in the U.S. and El Calafate, Argentina.
Airbus Perlan Mission II is an initiative of The Perlan Project, a non-profit, international team of scientists, engineers, and aviators. The group has already set aviation world altitude records in the experimental Perlan 2 glider, which was designed, built and deployed to fly to 90,000 feet without an engine. Originally launched in 2015, the Perlan 2 achieved its highest record-setting flight of above 76,000 feet in 2018. The organization’s mission is to conduct climate, atmospheric and aeronautical research at extreme high altitudes. Applications of their research include informing more accurate climate-change models, innovating fuel-efficient or zero-emission aviation, and even demonstrating the feasibility of using energy-efficient winged aircraft on Mars.
Soaring too high to use ground-based communications, the Perlan 2 glider will be fitted with the FlytLink Thales Iridium Certus based satellite communications (satcom) system. This means that for the first time it will be possible to make a live feed available to STEM students, researchers and aviation enthusiasts around the world while the aircraft is in flight, enabling access to real-time data downloads. FlytLink is the latest generation of Iridium-based satellite communications systems for cockpit and crew operations. Anywhere in the world, whether flying over the poles, the ocean or land, FlytLink offers coverage and connectivity for critical operations. Its resilience, high dependability and low size, weight and power make it adaptable to any aircraft, including gliders such as Perlan.
“We look forward to Perlan 2 carrying the Thales logo as well as one of the company’s most cutting-edge communication solutions to even greater heights,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project. “By exploring the stratosphere in an airborne research vehicle that creates zero pollution, we hope to unlock discoveries never possible before. Through this exciting partnership with Thales, we also look forward to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and pilots in environmentally conscious aviation.”
“We are delighted to support Airbus Perlan Mission II because we believe the project aligns with Thales’ own strategies for future, greener aviation and the environment,” said Marc Duval Destin, Vice-President Strategy, Product Policy and Innovation for Thales’ Flight Avionics activities. ”We hope that the live stream will encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in aerospace, science and engineering.”
When Perlan 2 reaches its next record-breaking target altitude of over 90,000 feet, it will be the highest a winged aircraft has ever flown in level flight. Equipped with cutting edge aviation technology and using spacecraft engineering, its glider wings can fly in less than 3% of normal air density at temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius approximating the atmospheric conditions on Mars.
“Our equipment will be in an unpressurised environment,” added Duval Destin. “So, this is a great opportunity for us to validate the design and performance of our solution in such extremely non-benign conditions.”
Designed to support a wide range of use cases in maritime, land mobile and aviation markets, Thales Iridium Certus based satcom solutions are already used widely among vessels and land/mobile applications to keep critical communications when it is needed at all times, anywhere on the planet.
13 Jan 22. Geofencing technology trialled with Defence Digital. District Defend® secure mobility software enables flexible working whilst managing security threats. In an increasingly digital world, the demand for a more flexible workforce is growing; with more and more people choosing to work remotely. Although the benefits of a mobile workforce are well documented, it also presents many security risks. A key challenge faced by both industry and government employers is to find a way to facilitate a mobile workforce whilst maintaining control over security threats. TriCIS, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, received support from DASA to provide proof of concept of District Defend® software to Defence Digital for use within the within the Ministry of Defence. District Defend® is an advanced endpoint security system which automatically reconfigures security permissions based on the location of the device. It uses contextual triggers such as location and user behaviours to automatically adjust mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets to the appropriate security settings.
The project included a 90 day trial, during which the software was tested and scrutinised by a multidisciplinary team of experts from Defence Digital, Dstl and the British Army in three separate scenarios:
- An open plan workspace which challenged the software to deactivate features such as microphone and webcam, but be able to detect a move into a private, secure office, and reactivate those features in order to conduct a video conference.
- A deployed location where the software was challenged to recognise when it was in a secured tent or in an open environment where it could interact with other technology.
- Inside and outside a secured vehicle, to test District Defend’s capability to recognise its surroundings even in a small physical distance.
Paul Varcoe, Innovation Lead at Defence Digital said, “There was a positive ‘can-do’ approach that enabled three scenarios to be tested during the difficult COVID-19 lockdown period. All parties worked well together and DASA ensured this was a straightforward experience.”
District Defend is a mature product which is already in use in the USA. TriCIS did not require funding for product development, but instead needed an introduction to UK Defence users and the opportunity to provide proof of concept. In this circumstance, DASA provided added value by bridging the gap between Science and Technology and Defence Equipment by facilitating a joint-funded project that could have otherwise fallen between the gaps.
Following the initial trials, the team have recognised a need to integrate the District Defend software with MOD hardware and systems for further testing. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
12 Jan 22. Honeywell Expands OT Cybersecurity Portfolio With Active Defense And Deception Technology Solution.
- The Honeywell Threat Defense Platform (HTDP) features autonomous deception technology from Acalvio, which helps thwart threat actors and provide accurate threat detection for buildings’ operational technology environments
- Acalvio is backed by a Honeywell Ventures investment; new product expands Honeywell’s relationship with Acalvio
Honeywell and Acalvio Technologies announced today the launch of a new solution designed to detect known and unknown (zero-day) attacks across the operational technology (OT) environments in commercial buildings. Honeywell Threat Defense Platform (HTDP) powered by Acalvio® employs sophisticated active defense – featuring autonomous deception tactics to outsmart attackers – and provides high fidelity threat detection. Honeywell’s technology features an approach recommended by governments and cybersecurity standard bodies because of its ability to detect and control attacks.1
Traditionally, building OT environments rely on prevention technology and passive detection such as perimeter security and network traffic analysis to secure systems. Yet, more than 1 in 4 (27%) surveyed facility managers experienced a cyber breach of their OT systems in the last 12 months, according to a recent survey conducted by Honeywell Building Technologies. Threat actors continue to target building systems with both targeted attacks and ransomware attacks. These attacks can go beyond accessing private customer data and may potentially impair the operations for critical organizations that keep society running such as utilities, data centers, hospitals and airports.
HTDP uses deception tactics to confuse and mislead threats away from critical assets and devices, resulting in low false alerts and a high rate of detection. The solution leads threat actors to decoy assets, which appear to be valuable OT and IT devices; however, none of the devices are real and there is no access to the enterprise assets. The solution makes real, critical operational devices harder to find, slowing down adversaries and helping security teams capture them faster.
“The quantity and complexity of cyberattacks unfortunately are increasing every day, reinforcing the need for building owners and operators to rigorously monitor, maintain and protect their OT environments,” said Mirel Sehic, global director of cybersecurity, Honeywell Building Technologies. “Incorporating Acalvio’s autonomous deception technology into our OT cybersecurity toolbelt provides a highly effective solution to help protect our customers’ buildings from increasingly sophisticated attacks.”
Powered by Acalvio’s breakthrough deception technology, HTDP incorporates design-, intent- and industry-specific knowledge into a seamless workflow to deploy effective deception across distributed enterprise OT networks. Using specially crafted deception elements, HTDP also helps detect ransomware and even zero-day variants with precision and speed. HTDP uses advanced analytics to confirm and investigate threats.
“We’re excited to work with Honeywell to secure and keep building OT systems properly operating while also protecting the people and data throughout an organization,” said Ram Varadarajan, co-founder and CEO, Acalvio Technologies. “Importantly, this technology is something that can benefit every building and facility – especially those that do not have teams of cyber experts. It requires no prior knowledge of attacker tactics and can be deployed without special training or modifications to existing OT environments.”
The HTDP solution includes deployment and ongoing monitoring, freeing up internal security team resources. Advanced artificial intelligence makes the service easy to use and scalable. HTDP is well-suited for organizations that desire advanced intrusion detection in their building network without having to install or operate complex technology. HTDP can be deployed across both IT and OT environments as either an on-premises offering or cloud service.
Honeywell is committed to simplifying the cybersecurity equation for customers. This new offering also helps customers improve their resilience and business continuity efforts to help meet their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Honeywell’s relationship with Acalvio includes investment by Honeywell Ventures to further support the development of the latest cybersecurity solutions and disruptive technologies. (Source: ASD Network)
12 Jan 22. New UK initiative to shape global standards for Artificial Intelligence. The Alan Turing Institute, supported by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), will pilot a new UK government initiative to lead in shaping global technical standards for Artificial Intelligence.
- The Alan Turing Institute selected to lead pilot of a new AI Standards Hub supported by the British Standards Institution and National Physical Laboratory
- Hub is part of the National AI Strategy and will aim to increase UK contribution to development of global AI technical standards
- Comes as new research finds more than 1.3 million UK businesses will use AI by 2040 and spending on AI is expected to reach more than £200bn by the same date
The new AI Standard Hub will create practical tools for businesses, bring the UK’s AI community together through a new online platform, and develop educational materials to help organisations develop and benefit from global standards. This will help put the UK at the forefront of this rapidly developing area.
The Hub will work to improve the governance of AI, complement pro-innovation regulation and unlock the huge economic potential of these technologies to boost investment and employment now the UK has left the European Union.
BSI, the UK National Standards Body, and NPL, the country’s national metrology institute, will share their world-class expertise in developing standards and research to deliver the pilot with The Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and AI. The hub is backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office for AI (OAI).
The move kicks off one part of the UK’s new National AI Strategy, a ten-year plan to strengthen the country’s position as a global science superpower and “harness AI to transform the economy and society while leading governance and standards to ensure everyone benefits”.
DCMS Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy Chris Philp said: “It’s imperative the UK remains at the forefront of this transformative technology which is already improving our lives and has huge potential to create new jobs and wealth. Today I’m confirming that the renowned Alan Turing Institute will lead the trial of a new UK programme with support from the British Standards Institution and National Physical Laboratory to help shape and improve the global standards for artificial intelligence.”
It marks the first step in delivering our new National AI Strategy and will develop the tools needed so organisations and consumers can benefit from all the opportunities of AI. We want the UK to lead the world in developing AI standards.
New research published today predicts that the use of AI by businesses will more than double in the next twenty years, with more than 1.3 million UK businesses using artificial intelligence by 2040.
It shows that in 2020, UK businesses spent around £63bn on AI technology and AI related-labour and this is expected to reach more than £200bn by 2040.
The UK is already successful in this field. According to Tech Nation, the UK now has more than 1,300 AI companies – a 600 per cent increase in the number of firms over the last decade. In the same period, venture capital investment rocketed from $120m to more than $3.4on in 2020. The huge potential of AI technologies to power new firms and revolutionise old ones with improved productivity and more flexible ways of working demonstrates the need for tools to govern its development, ethics and use, including through globally developed technical standards.
In its pilot phase, the new hub will focus on:
- Growing UK engagement to develop global AI standards by bringing together information about technical standards and development initiatives in an accessible, user-friendly and inclusive way.
- Bringing the AI community together through workshops, events and a new online platform to encourage more coordinated engagement in the development of standards around the world.
- Creating tools and guidance for education, training and professional development to help businesses and other organisations engage with creating AI technical standards, and collaborate globally to develop these standards.
- Exploring international collaboration with similar initiatives to ensure the development of technical standards are shaped by a wide range of AI experts, in line with shared values.
Ahead of the pilot’s launch, there will be a series of roundtables with a wide range of organisations led by The Alan Turing Institute to shape the Hub’s activities.
The move follows the launch of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation’s (CDEI) ‘roadmap to an effective AI assurance ecosystem’, which is also part of the National AI Strategy. The roadmap sets out the steps needed to develop world-leading products and services to verify AI systems and accelerate AI adoption. Technical standards are vital for enabling effective AI assurance because they give organisations a common basis for verifying AI.
George Freeman, BEIS Minister for Science, Research and Innovation said:
The transformative impact of AI is quickly becoming central to our economy and society, already playing a key role in everything from climate science and medical diagnostics to factory robotics and climate change mapping.
The UK is one of the world’s most advanced developers and users of AI.
The key to building on this is maintaining public trust through leading in global regulation and standards. That’s why I am thrilled to see the esteemed Alan Turing Institute selected to lead the pilot of our AI Standards Hub, helping to shape and strengthen the governance of AI globally while reinforcing the UK’s position at the forefront of AI technology.
Adrian Smith, Director and Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute said, “International standards are set to play an increasingly crucial enabling role in the adoption and effective governance of AI technologies. Given our place at the heart of the UK’s thriving AI ecosystem, I am delighted to see the Turing identified as the home of this important new initiative.”
We look forward to working closely with our partners in establishing the AI Standards Hub, leveraging our expertise and networks to build and engage an inclusive, multi-stakeholder community around AI standardisation.
Scott Steedman, Director-General, Standards at BSI said:
International standards are a vital tool to help unlock the economic potential of AI, including establishing a common language for all to use. BSI, as the National Standards Body is ideally placed to convene the AI community in the UK to identify and develop good practices for the development, governance and use of AI technologies that will be internationally recognized.
We look forward to working closely with government, industry, academia, consumer interest groups and our international standards network to ensure that UK-led, globally relevant standards, will underpin and foster the future of AI.
Dr Peter Thompson FREng, CEO, NPL said, “I am delighted that, following the recommendations made in the National AI Strategy last year, we are now launching the UK’s International AI Standards hub pilot. This coordinated UK effort will strengthen our world leading position and is an important step in supporting research and innovators in this area as well as providing a layer of confidence to those using and interacting with AI.”
As digital technology standards develop at pace it is critical that NPL, as the UK’s National Metrology Institute, applies its expertise to ensure confidence across technologies and the associated data to support a safe and secure digital world. We look forward to working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Office for AI (OAI), BSI and the Alan Turing Institute, to accomplish this.
- More information on how organisations and interested parties can get involved with, and join the AI Standards Hub pilot will be released in due course.
- The Office for AI (OAI) worked with Capital Economics to survey how 2,000 UK businesses use AI. The research shows currently 432,000 businesses have adopted at least one AI technology. Read the research in full.
- The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence, apply its research to real-world problems, driving economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists, and shape the public conversation around data and algorithms. turing.ac.uk
- The British Standards Institution (BSI) is appointed by the UK Government as the National Standards Body and represents UK interests at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI). Formed in 1901, BSI is the world’s first National Standards Body. Its role is to help improve the quality and safety of products, services and systems. BSI publishes more than 2,700 standards annually. To learn more about standards visit www.bsigroup.com/standards and for the National Standards Body visit www.bsigroup.com/nsb.
- NPL is the UK’s National Metrology Institute, providing the measurement capability that underpins the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. From new antibiotics to tackle resistance and more effective cancer treatments, to secure quantum communications and superfast 5G, technological advances must be built on a foundation of reliable measurement to succeed. Building on over a century’s worth of expertise, our science, engineering and technology provides this foundation.
- The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) leads the UK government’s work on trustworthy innovation in data and AI. Its multidisciplinary team of specialists, supported by an advisory board of world-leading experts, work in partnership with organisations to deliver, test and refine trustworthy approaches to data and AI governance. The CDEI is part of DCMS. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
06 Jan 22. The Pentagon wants to broaden data partnerships with allies. The Defense Department’s chief data officer, David Spirk, talked about the growing community of data leaders among allies and how the partnerships can pay off.
The Defense Department is looking to expand its data partnerships with international allies to improve military operations.
“It’s about speed. And if you don’t organize your data, if you can’t create repeatable, testable and trusted data workflows from the tactical edge all the way up to your senior most decision-making boardroom activities, then you will just lag behind,” the Pentagon’s chief data officer, David Spirk, told reporters at a Defense Writers Group event on Jan. 5.
“We’ve seen this in industry, it’s really no different in the strategic competition with other nation-states who have an ability to harness their data, and can access the compute required to actually do something with it.”
Spirk said it’s been a year since the stand up of an international council of chief data officers’ first meeting, part of an intelligence alliance with representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand called the Five Eyes.
The partnership allows for collaboration between the countries in developing data management practices, policies and strategies. Spirk said he’s watched allies’ data organizations mature and has encouraged them to join the Defense Department chief data officers council meetings with its more than 300 data leaders. Additionally, the group plans to have an in-person meeting in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s headquarters in February, he said.
Spirk also noted that he was having conversations with some of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s CIOs around expanding DOD’s data management partnerships.
“NATO is beginning to explore establishing their own formal CDO. They’ve had the activity being conducted from portions of the CIO before, but they’re starting to look at what does that formal organization look like, how does it interact with the other counterparts,” he said.
“And I think in establishing that what you’ll see across the NATO partners is everybody getting in line and understanding how they’re going to go ahead and formalize what we have in the U.S. and across some of our partners.”
Retired Gen. James Cartwright, the Atlantic Council’s board director and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said improving U.S. data sharing with allies should be a priority.
“If we can start to share unprocessed, sensor data with all of our friends and allies…then we bring to the table one thing that our adversaries can’t: diversity. Diversity in scale,” Cartwright said during a Jan. 5 event on the next National Defense Strategy and cooperating with allies. “Our allies are our diversity intellectually and in capability.”
But expanding those partnerships with allies may also require bolstering the tech industry base. Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s former top weapons buyer, said improving data sharing with allies would require expanding the National Technology Industrial Base (NTIB).
“I think what we need to do is take that NTIB framework and build it out a bit so that we can, much more easily, export data and technology so that we can build interoperable systems so that we can sell a lot of the systems that we now use in the U.S.,” Lord said during an Atlantic Council event on Jan. 5, noting that the U.S. and its allies use different systems often in conjunction with outdated policy laws.
Lord, who served in the Trump administration, believes that could change in the next two years, especially if there’s a call for an expanded framework in the Biden administration’s first National Defense Strategy expected early this year.
“I think there could be specific direction given there, it’s very actionable,” Lord said. “What I’m concerned about is that we’re a year into this administration, we all know the second six months of the fourth year of an administration not much is getting done. So the time is now to really lean forward because the rest of the world isn’t waiting for us.” (Source: Defense Systems)
12 Jan 22. Surface Navy 2022: Tactical focus driving AI development. US Navy (USN) leaders are looking to leverage advanced technological capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the tactical and operational realm, with combat requirements in those areas driving much of the research and development efforts for those technologies.
“It [has] already helped us in [fleet] readiness [because] it is predictive,” US Navy Vice Admiral Roy Kitchener, commander of both the Naval Surface Forces and the Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet, told reporters on 7 January, about the development of AI and ML capabilities within the service. His comments came during a media roundtable prior to the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, which began on 11 January in Arlington, Virginia. (Source: Janes)
10 Jan 22. Inspector General criticizes documentation on Pentagon’s artificial intelligence project. The Pentagon did not adequately document work on its flagship artificial intelligence effort according to a government watchdog report, increasing the risks of lapses in the future. The Department of Defense’s inspector general evaluated whether the government monitored contacts in accordance with federal laws and policy for Project Maven, which aimed to accelerate the integration of big data and machine learning. It is frequently held up as the poster child for how DoD is using AI. US Army Contracting Command and the Army Research Laboratory partnered with the Pentagon’s Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team to support AI development and award four contracts and a cooperative agreement for Project Maven. ECS Federal scored three of the contracts, with Morse Corporation securing the fourth and Carnegie Mellon University receiving a cooperative agreement. These contracts were awarded between September 2018 and February 2020 to address a problem set related to Project Maven’s objectives.
The inspector general found that all government organizations involved successfully monitored and managed Project Maven’s cooperative agreement and four contracts, using reporting, metrics, processes and procedures to ensure companies met pre-determined deliverables set by the cross-functional team.
However, the cross functional team did not document its approach formalizing those efforts, which the inspector general said could lead to an increased risk of lapses in the monitoring and management of contracts as the program grows and personnel change. Furthermore, lack of documentation could negatively impact long-term success and growth of the project, especially as the DoD looks to expand its AI and machine learning efforts to compete with sophisticated nation states. These future efforts might not benefit from lessons learned if they aren’t documented, the redacted report stated.
Project Maven had already suffered a high profile controversy early on, when Google dropped out of the project following backlash from employees who did not want to be associated with warfare technology. The issue became a larger problem for DoD as it sought to woo tech firms in Silicon Valley to help it leverage the latest and most advanced technology.
The DoD’s inspector general’s office offered two recommendations:
- The chief of the cross-functional team formalize Project Maven’s processes and procedures for monitoring and managing AI development contracts to ensure efficiency when the project is transferred to a mission owner;
- The assistant secretary of defense for acquisition conduct a review of the cross-functional team’s emerging technology acquisition processes and procedures to evaluate if any of them used should be further formalized in acquisition policies for other programs.
The IG’s office noted that throughout its evaluation of the program, it discussed recommendations with the cross-functional team. Following an October 2021 discussion, the cross-functional team provided evidence of actions taken to address recommendations in the report to include a description of roles and responsibilities, standard operating procedure and a Maven acquisition guide.
Furthermore, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition concurred with the recommendation to review the cross-functional team’s emerging technology process. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
10 Jan 22. On November 18, 2021, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) used two company-owned Avenger® Unmanned Aircraft Systems, each equipped with a Lockheed Martin Legion Pod®, to send long-range air threat data captured passively and fused by an advanced sensor algorithm to a Command Center.
“This first-time, industry-funded flight test demonstrates the maturing capabilities of UAS platforms and sensors to deliver fused sensor data,” said GA-ASI Senior Director of Advanced Programs Michael Atwood. “Avenger with Legion Pod demonstrates how collaborative autonomous platforms with advanced sensing can deliver persistent, shared air domain awareness.”
In the two-hour flight, the Avengers flew over the high desert of southern California. During the flight, Legion Pod’s IRST21® infrared search and track system detected multiple fast-moving aircraft operating in the area. On-pod Lockheed Martin fusion software blended the sensor data from both pods in real time and the Avengers streamed it to the ground station.
“This is the first time IRST systems on multiple autonomous aircraft have delivered merged air threat data to users on the ground,” said Scott Roberson, director of Sensors and Global Sustainment Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin. “It’s a big step in developing a common operating picture that boosts situational awareness across domains in joint operations.”
This fusion technology was previously tested in F-15-equipped Legion Pods and datalinks at the Northern Edge operational exercise earlier this year. Legion Pod is a proven long-range passive IRST sensor on multiple platforms including two types of Avenger UAVs. Since Legion Pod is in production, it could fly real-world missions as soon as U.S. Government customers would like if there was an urgent need.
The fusion engine’s ability to take in multiple sensor sources makes it a central node that connects Legion Pods on manned and unmanned platforms. Lockheed Martin has plans to test the Legion Pod with datalink capability among F-16s as well as F-15-to-F-16 sensor fusion. The sensor’s open design readily supports Joint All Domain Operations requirements for alternative datalink architectures.
The Open Mission System (OMS) architecture of the Legion Pod sensor allows for rapid integration, making the technology transportable among aircraft platforms and reducing the timeline and complexity to integrate on new platforms.
10 Jan 22. DOD Launches New University Consortium for Cybersecurity. Senior cyber leaders from across the Defense Department, and beyond, recently gathered at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, to mark the establishment of a new effort.
The Department of Defense University Consortium for Cybersecurity, or UC2, exists to facilitate two-way communication between the Secretary of Defense and academia across the United States, according to the UC2 information site.
The event was hosted by the National Defense University’s College of Information and Cyberspace, or CIC, which serves as the coordination center for the consortium.
The senior leaders providing remarks and insights to the discussion included David Frederick, executive director of Cyber Command, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, Joint Staff J6, and Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and the chief technology officer for DOD.
Frederick discussed the emerging role of UC2 in a recent informational webinar about the Command’s Academic Engagement Strategy.
“Diversity of ideas will create the best innovation,” Shyu stated in her remarks, as she explained the importance of UC2 working with community colleges and historically Black universities and colleges, as well as well-known universities.
“As part of both DOD and academia, CIC is a natural hub for thought leadership on strategic cyber issues, and we’re so happy to serve as the UC2 coordination center,” Cassandra C. Lewis, CIC chancellor said.
In addition to sharing insights and recommendations for UC2, Crall expressed his support for the CIC program, “I hire everyone I can get out of CIC. They’re ready as soon as they walk in the door.” These comments echoed his Senate testimony earlier this year, “I’m a big believer in that college.”
Jim Alves-Foss, director of the Center for Secure and Dependable Systems at the University of Idaho, provided remarks and represented universities across the nation at the kickoff event. His organization, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, was selected to serve as the UC support center.
Floss coordinates directly withJim Chen, director of the UC2 Coordination Center, to pursue the goals of the consortium. “UC2 will meet the intent of the law,” Chen stated at the event, referring to Section 1659 of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which set in motion the establishment of UC2.
Other organizations represented at the event included the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, and the House Armed Services Committee. (Source: US DoD)
10 Jan 22. Northrop looks to adapt electronic attack system for smaller ships. Northrop Grumman is conducting research and development to adapt its electronic attack platform — built for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer — to fit on smaller ships, a company official said.
“We’re also looking at opportunities to scale down the system for smaller ship classes — frigates and smaller — and looking at ways to make a scaled-down version of SEWIP that can be effectively employed and rapidly installed on the smaller ship classes,” Mike Meaney, vice president of land and maritime sensors at Northrop, told C4ISRNET.
SEWIP is the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program Block 3. This version provides ships with a non-kinetic, electronic attack capability, enabling them an “unlimited volley of bullets” to knock down incoming missiles.
Meaney previously stated the company was working on a contract to develop a technology data package based on SEWIP technology for larger-deck ships such as aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.
The design activity for that effort is expected to wrap up this year. Once done, the U.S. Navy will have the opportunity to buy them, but Meaney wasn’t sure what the Navy has planned.
Now, Northrop is working on its own to adapt the system based on inklings the Navy would like this type of soft-kill capability on smaller ships.
“On smaller ships sizes, we know it’s of great interest to the Navy to put this soft-kill capability with unlimited bullets on almost every ship that they have because the incredible protection electronic warfare offers you,” Meaney said. “We know that they’re interested in doing that, so we’re off on our own trying to develop what we think would make sense to go do in anticipation of the Navy having a requirement to do a scaled-down version of it.”
Meaney said the hope is the Navy will release a requirement for this capability in the coming year. He couldn’t offer specifics regarding how they are looking to scale the system, given Northrop is in the middle of that effort, but he did note that smaller ships don’t have as much cooling or power available and don’t need as much radio-frequency energy to effectively jam. The company, he added, is trying to find the right balance of radio frequency versus available power and cooling.
Northrop is focused on frigates for this smaller capability, but Meaney said the firm is taking a broad approach to figure out an easy configuration for installation on a wide variety of ships.
Block 3 integration
Meaney also said Northrop has ongoing production contracts for the SEWIP Block 3 system with a limited-rate initial production contract to complete two systems. The company has shipped one and is beginning installation aboard an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer on the West Coast, although due to sensitivities, he declined to name a specific ship. There also isn’t an exact date set for competition of the installation or sea trials. The second ship planned for integration won’t happen for some time due to when the ship will be available for retrofit activity. There are three systems under contract for follow-on production. Moreover, Meaney said, Northrop is anticipating an order for about four more systems in the current fiscal year, bringing the total number of Block 3 systems under contract to nine in the next few months. (Source: Defense News)
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.