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16 Feb 22. All Domain fever comes to Singapore Air Show. The F-35 “demonstrated its ability to pass data over various networks from aircraft that took off from Fort Worth, Texas, to other aircraft and bounced information through Hawaii to Australia to provide data to the exercise in Australia,” Lockheed’s Gary North noted. All Domain Operations have come full force to the international marketplace, with Lockheed Martin touting it here in an hour-long briefing as an important source of business in Asia, as well as a crucial operational tool for US and allied forces.
While the briefing was also designed to remind everyone of the F-35’s centrality to US war fighting because of its cyber, electronic warfare, sensor and data fusion capabilities, the focus was on elements that the US military has identified as key capabilities for All Domain Operations: the ability to collect, disseminate and make sense of huge amounts of data at speed so commanders can act quickly and get inside the enemy’s OODA Loop.
“It’s something that we see as the future of security in the world everywhere and is probably the thing we hear the most. As we are starting to travel the world, post-COVID, countries all over the planet are talking about this,” Tim Cahill, Lockheed’s senior vice president for global business development said. Cahill said he couldn’t put a dollar figure to the global or Asian market for All Domain-related work, but he said it will involve legacy systems, newer capabilities like the F-35 and a great deal of command and control software and hardware.
“So you have to have platforms that are capable of gathering the information that you need to gather, and then transmit that information to some other node in the network and then be able to take whatever information it receives and process it and act on it. We’ve got a lot of legacy systems out there in the world so there’s a little bit of retrofit that has to happen. But,” Cahill said, “fundamentally, there’s also a new generation of systems that are being deployed that already have that capability built in. And the F-35 is just a perfect example.”
Gary North, former Pacific Air Forces commander and now head of customer requirements for Lockheed, made the case for the F-35 as a keystone in the joint all domain operations architecture. He pointed to the 2021 Talisman Sabre exercise, the largest bilateral training activity between the Australian Defence Force and the US military designed to test the countries’ joint operations.
The Joint Strike Fighter, for example, “demonstrated its ability to pass data over various networks from aircraft that took off from Fort Worth, Texas, to other aircraft and bounced information through Hawaii to Australia to provide data to the exercise in Australia,” North said.
Thomas Rowden, vice president with Rotary and Mission Systems and former top surface warfare officer in the US Navy, pointed to Australia’s Air 6500 Joint Air Battle Management System effort as an example of “where it’s really coming together for us, not only in pulling the sensor together, pulling the decision makers together, working with the Australians Defense Force to tighten that loop.” Lockheed is in competition with Northrop Grumman for the program contract.
But while Australia and the United States both fly F-35s and are able to share top level intelligence and attendant data, Cahill said “its the legacy pieces that are going to be the challenge.” When All Domain Operations are built in the Pacific, If two weapon systems cannot communicate with each other “you’ve got to build the connectivity. If you do it from scratch you get the chance to apply some standards.”
So, Cahill and his colleagues said, software allowing legacy systems to connect may be the biggest challenge to building Joint All Domain Operations. And therein may lie a lucrative business opportunity throughout the Pacific. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
16 Feb 22. Epirus Unveils Portable HPM Leonidas Pod – High-Power Microwave for Drones. Epirus has announced the introduction of Leonidas Pod, a first-to-market, solid-state, multiple shot high-power microwave (HPM) system and the latest addition to the company’s suite of advanced electronic warfare (EW) solutions. Epirus’ Leonidas family of products utilize software-defined HPM technology to unlock unprecedented EW capabilities. Leonidas ground-based systems allow for defensive 360-degree forward operating base protection from incoming threats. The newly introduced Leonidas Pod enables a range of mission capabilities and, with multiple mount options to maximize portability, can advance directly to the threat environment. With Leonidas deployed alongside a drone-mounted Leonidas Pod, the systems work in unison to achieve greater power and range and create a layered defense forcefield.
Epirus’ Leonidas systems are not constrained by magazine depth nor capacity and offer a far more cost-effective solution to countering electronic threats as compared to kinetic approaches, which can cost millions for a single munition. Epirus HPM achieves rapid firing on any target with near-instant effects, without reloading or overheating. Both Leonidas and Leonidas Pod are interoperable by design and their scalability allows for seamless compatibility with partner systems in support of a fully integrated counter-electronics kill chain.
Leonidas Pod features a unique form factor – marked by its unprecedented size and portability – and is able to power up and down in minutes, not hours, to rapidly respond to evolving threat environments. In addition, the system’s extended battery life allows users to take Leonidas Pod directly to the threat area, no matter the domain, and safely return to base. When drone-mounted, for example, Leonidas Pod’s standby mode allows operators the flexibility to only activate the system when needed and further extend battery life.
“Epirus’ revolutionary approach to power management has ushered in breakthrough electronic warfare systems to fill immediate capability gaps. With the continued advancement of Leonidas and now with the rapid commercialization of Leonidas Pod, Epirus continues to prove that lasting innovation does not have to take decades,” said Andy Lowery, Chief Product Officer, Epirus. “We look forward to working with our partners as we continue to drive mission success, support critical national security efforts and expand into new markets.”
Leonidas Pod marks the next chapter of Epirus innovation and adds to the company’s wide range of security solutions across government and commercial applications. In 2020, the company introduced its ground-based Leonidas system – the only counter-electronics weapon with proven counter-drone swarm and precision strike capabilities. Throughout three highly successful field demonstrations in 2021, Leonidas achieved positive effects on both rotary and fixed-wing drones across a number of real-time scenarios. At its most recent demonstration, Leonidas successfully disabled an outboard ship motor, cementing the system’s broader counter-electronics capabilities and accelerated vessel-stop effects for enhanced maritime support.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a number of recent wins for Epirus. In December 2021, the company was awarded a multi-million-dollar contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) to develop software that enables more accurate prediction of electromagnetic waveform behaviors. The next month, in January 2022, Epirus was one of four companies selected to the Army Application’s Laboratory Solider Power Cohort to develop intelligent power management solutions for the U.S. Army. (Source: UAS VISION)
17 Feb 22. Record levels of investment for UK’s £10.1bn cyber security sector. Britain’s tech sector continues to break records as new government data shows more than 1,800 cyber security firms generated a total of £10.1bn in revenue in the most recent financial year, a 14 per cent increase from the previous financial year. The DCMS Annual Cyber Sector Report, which tracks the growth and performance of the UK’s cyber security industry, reveals the sector contributed around £5.3 billion to the UK economy in 2021, rising by a third on the previous year from £4 billion – the largest increase since the report began in 2018. Employment across the industry rose by 13 per cent, with more than 6,000 new jobs created, opening up new opportunities for people up and down the UK to join the sector and share its wealth. This brings the total number of people working in cyber in the UK to 52,700. There were 1,838 active cyber security firms in the UK in 2021. More than half are based outside of London and the South East, with cyber security showing growth in the North East and East Midlands. The report highlights this move could be a result of remote working increasing regional opportunities.
UK-registered cyber security firms attracted record levels of external investment, with more than £1bn secured across 84 deals by companies including Bristol-based Immersive Labs, which raised £53.5m, and London-headquartered Tessian which secured more than £52m in funding.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Cyber security firms are major contributors to the UK’s incredible tech success story. Hundreds of British firms from Edinburgh to Bristol are developing and selling cutting-edge cyber tools around the world that make it safer for people to live and work online. We are investing in skills training and business initiatives to help the UK go from strength to strength as a global cyber power and open up the sector to people from all walks of life. Over the last decade, the UK has established itself as a leader in areas including network security, threat monitoring and professional services which has contributed to the sector’s double digit growth last year.”
Almost 300 UK-headquartered cyber security firms have offices in international markets, with 56 per cent offering their products and services in the United States and 46 per cent exporting to the European Union.
The UK attracted a number of foreign companies, with US-headquartered companies representing one in ten UK-based cyber companies, highlighting the importance of US-UK collaboration in this area to support the UK’s economic growth.
The findings come as Digital Minister Julia Lopez addresses the CyberASAP demo day today. The event gives UK academics the opportunity to showcase innovative new cyber security products to potential buyers.
Vicky Brock CEO and co-founder of Vistalworks said:
Vistalworks was originally founded in response to a Scottish government innovation challenge to find innovative technology solutions to online illicit trade.
As we’ve grown, working closely with our government agency and cyber security stakeholders has remained incredibly important.
The Cyber Runway Scale programme has enabled us to reach new public and private sector contacts, including contracts with banks and enforcement, and has helped us develop the skills and awareness we need to take our intelligence solutions to new markets and partners across the rest of the UK and beyond.
Lorna Armitage, co-founder, CAPSLOCK said: “The support of Plexal and government-funded programmes like Cyber Runway has enabled CAPSLOCK to accelerate our growth from a young startup in 2020 to the ‘most innovative cyber security SME of 2021’, as named by DCMS. Our relationship with Plexal has given us a great platform to talk about our commitment to promoting equality and diversity in the cyber security industry. For example, we spoke to fellow Cyber Runway members about the challenges faced by female co-founders and women in cyber.”
The government’s National Cyber Strategy is supporting UK firms to grow and scale up through a number of schemes including the National Cyber Security Centre Startups and CyberFirst bursary schemes, the London Office for Rapid Cyber security Advancement, and the Cyber Runway programme which helps entrepreneurs and businesses access a range of services to turn their ideas into commercial successes.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched a number of skills initiatives including the Cyber Explorers youth programme and skills bootcamps. It is boosting careers in the cyber workforce by supporting new apprenticeship standards and helping to standardise the professional cyber security landscape with the new UK Cyber Security Council.
Ipsos MORI, Perspective Economics and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast were jointly commissioned by DCMS to analyse the UK’s cyber security sector.
This latest analysis builds upon the baseline UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis which used data from 2020 and was published in February 2021. The Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2021 report can be found here.
For this year’s study, the methodology was refined to improve the identification of businesses offering cyber security products and services in the UK. The cyber security sector is fast-moving and always subject to changes in products, services and market approaches.
16 Feb 22. Lockheed to develop 5G testbed for Marine Corps. Lockheed Martin has secured a $19.3m contract with the Department of Defense to create a 5G communications infrastructure testbed in California for the U.S. Marine Corps and other players.
The expeditionary testbed, dubbed the Open Systems Interoperable and Reconfigurable Infrastructure Solution, or OSIRIS, is a key part of Lockheed’s 5G.MIL program, meant to proliferate and integrate fifth-generation tech across land, water, air, space and cyber.
The testbed will help identify areas of compatibility between 5G networks and defense platforms, the company said Feb. 16, and advance the Joint All-Domain Operations concept.
“We are integrating the technical capabilities of 5G waveforms, software and hardware with higher bandwidth and low-latency data rates into our defense products to enhance their performance for our warfighters,” Deon Viergutz, vice president of spectrum convergence at Lockheed, told reporters. “We want to ensure that warfighters operating in communications contested and denied environments have resilient access to data to perform their missions anywhere in the world.”
The testbed will be stood up at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the Corps’ largest western expeditionary training ground.
Teams from Lockheed and subcontractors DISH Wireless, Intel Corporation, Radisys Corporation and Rampart Communications will be involved in the effort, which begins immediately and will wrap in September 2024.
“This is a three-phase contract, if you will, that focuses on, first, developing a testbed,” Viergutz said. “And once it’s developed, then to be able to do experimentation of 5G capabilities and applications. And then, thirdly, is to actually deploy it for certain mission applications with the Marine Corps.”
Fifth-generation wireless technology boasts boosted bandwidth, reduced latency and exponentially faster speeds — attributes critical to communication and data handling in a military environment. The jump in quality from 4G is expected to improve intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, as well as empower new methods of command and control, among other things.
Lockheed and Verizon — two Goliaths in their respective industries — last year partnered to develop 5G systems for battlefield use.
The Defense Department’s 5G strategy published in 2020 suggested the tech would revolutionize how things are done, but warned of implementation challenges and other risks.
“The United States and its global partners are able to provide the most advanced and highest quality 5G products in the world,” the Pentagon document reads. “DoD must develop and employ new concepts of operation that use the ubiquitous connectivity that 5G capabilities offer to increase the effectiveness, resilience, speed, and lethality of our forces.”
In 2020, the Defense Department announced it would invest $600 million in 5G testbeds at five military installations across the U.S. Additional contracts were awarded in 2021. (Source: Defense News)
16 Feb 22. A cyber criminal group is seeking to compromise the defence and aerospace industries through the use of Trojan malware, new research has revealed. Researchers from cyber security company Proofpoint have identified a persistent cyber crime threat actor targeting aviation, aerospace, transportation, manufacturing, and defence industries. The malicious actor, dubbed TA2541, is known to deploy remote access Trojans (RATs), including AsyncRAT and vjw0rm, which can be used to remotely control compromised infrastructure. According to Proofpoint, which has tracked TA2541 since 2017, the actor has used consistent tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). Proofpoint has urged entities, particularly those operating in at-risk industries to learn the TTPs to hunt and detect the threat. TA2541 has used themes relating to aviation, transportation and travel.
When Proofpoint first commenced tracking TA2541, the group was sending macro-laden Microsoft Word attachments that downloaded the RAT payload.
However, TA2541 has since pivoted, and now frequently sends messages with links to cloud services such as Google Drive hosting the payload.
TA2541 was categorised as a cyber criminal threat actor in response to its use of specific commodity malware, broad targeting with high volume messages, and command and control infrastructure.
This is the first time Proofpoint has shared comprehensive details linking public and private data under one threat activity cluster.
“TA2541 remains a consistent, active cyber crime threat, especially to entities in its most frequently targeted sectors,” Proofpoint noted in a threat report.
“Proofpoint assesses with high confidence this threat actor will continue using the same TTPs observed in historic activity with minimal change to its lure themes, delivery, and installation.
“It is likely TA2541 will continue using AsyncRAT and vjw0rm in future campaigns and will likely use other commodity malware to support its objectives.” (Source: https://www.cybersecurityconnect.com.au/)
15 Feb 22. Lockheed Martin Wants to Take JADC2 Global. Technologies that link sensors to shooters — known in the U.S. military as JADC2 — will be a growing international market for defense contractors, Lockheed Martin executives said. Joint all domain command and control— known by different acronyms depending on country — is a concept resonating “all over the planet,” Tim Cahill, senior vice president of global business development and strategy for Lockheed, said Feb. 15.
“It’s something that we see as the future of security in the world everywhere,” he said during a briefing at the Singapore Airshow. Lockheed Martin does not currently have an estimate for the growing market but “it’s going to be a relatively large segment of the market at some point in the future,” Cahill said.
Even within the U.S. military, the concept has several names. In the Air Force, the program is known as the Advanced Battle Management System. The Army calls its part of the concept Project Convergence and the Navy, Project Overmatch. JADC2 calls for sensors to autonomously transmit data to weapon systems without humans being in the loop, although current Defense Department policy demands that a human operator ultimately pulls the trigger. Seamlessly linking sensors to shooters will dramatically speed up the kill chain, advocates say.
While the JADC2 market provides opportunities, industry still faces obstacles linking legacy systems and varying standards for networked operations, Cahill said.
Having a working relationship between industry will be critical to building the network of sensors and shooters militaries need, said Gary North, vice president of customer requirements.
“The ability from a service or a department to define requirements specifically — such that industry can refine the input to industry and then deliver capability that meets the exact need — is really important,” North said.
Cahill added the Air Force and the Defense Department more broadly has spent “a lot” of money and time building a framework for networked security. “I do think they have advanced this cause significantly over the last few years,” Cahill said.
Another complicating factor for broader JADC2 applications remains fitting legacy platforms into the new framework, Cahill noted. It’s simpler to integrate platforms into a network from scratch than it is to retrofit enabling technologies onto older systems, he said.
“It’s the legacy pieces that are going to be the challenge because you’ve got to build the new conductivity if they don’t have it,” Cahill said. Each country will likely have to have a customized network because of their differing infrastructures, he added.
One upcoming international networked security opportunity for Lockheed Martin is the competition for the AIR6500 program in Australia. Tom Rowden, vice president of international strategy and business development, said the Australian Defence Forces’ requirements are clearly defined in addition to the open dialogue with industry about what the military wants.
“We’ve had good give and take with them, just as I’m sure that our competition has, and I think that that’s one of the important aspects,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
15 Feb 22. US DoD Accredits Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) for Top Secret Missions. Oracle today announced the US Department of Defense (DoD) has authorized Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to host Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS/SCI) and Special Access Program (SAP) missions. This expands on Oracle’s growing number of accreditations, currently serving government workloads up to FedRAMP High and DoD Impact Level 5. The DoD will use Oracle National Security Regions (ONSR), which are dedicated Oracle Cloud Infrastructure regions isolated from the internet and connected to only government-specified networks that meet requisite security classifications. DoD assessors granted the Authority to Operate (ATO) which will enable secure processing of some of the Air Force’s most sensitive data. The Air Force uses a broad array of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services, such as OCI Container Engine for Kubernetes and Oracle Database Cloud Service. This includes using the spatial and graph functions within Oracle Exadata Cloud Service to accelerate data analysis.
Oracle has multiple National Security Regions, in addition to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s global network of US DoD, US FedRAMP, and commercial cloud regions. National Security Regions meet both ICD 705 and ICD 503 standards and are engineered to host missions at DISA Impact Level 6/Secret and Top-Secret security levels, with capabilities including strong encryption and security controls and in-depth auditing. The National Security Regions are designed to deliver identical cloud services to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure commercial regions.
“Oracle has long provided high performance, high availability, and open computing to the DoD and Intelligence Community to securely run their most-demanding, mission-critical classified workloads,” said Glen Dodson, senior vice president, National Security Group, Oracle. “Oracle’s broad data management services and analytics, including built-in AI, are immensely valuable additions to the DoD’s multi-cloud strategy.”
Oracle is a long-standing strategic technology partner of the US Government. With a full range of data management services, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure supports the DoD data decrees and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Acceleration Initiative (ADA) with open data standards and an architecture powered by embedded machine learning. Many federal, state and local customers are using Oracle to deliver critical government services. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is used across the Department of Defense, including the US Army, Navy and Air Force, multiple defense agencies, as well as the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Globally, more than 1,000 public sector organizations are benefitting from Oracle’s industry-leading technologies and superior performance. (Source: PR Newswire)
10 Feb 22. US Army improving how it tests its tactical network. Learning from the fielding of the first iteration of its modernized network kit, the U.S. Army is maturing the way it tests its tactical network. The Army has adopted an incremental, multiyear strategy to modernize its network and deliver new capabilities to soldiers. These service plans to field new “capability sets” with upgraded technologies every two years, each one building on the last. Capability Set ‘21 focused on infantry brigades, with Capability Set ‘23 focusing on Stryker brigades and Capability Set ‘25 focused on armored brigades. Capability Set ‘23 is expected to reach critical design review this April, which will lead to a procurement decision. To get there, the Army needs to conduct a series of tests to ensure the technologies are ready, and it’s tweaking those tests based on the lessons learned from testing and fielding Capability Set ‘21, Maj. Gen. Robert Collins, program executive officer for command, control, communications-tactical, told C4ISRNET during a visit to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland Feb. 2.
One of the biggest lessons learned from the Capability Set ‘21 effort was how to set up the test in order to get better data.
“How do we instrument each one of these nodes, collect the types of traffic, whether it’s message completion, whether its demands and really characterize that,” Collins said.
The instrumentation tools will allow the Army to harvest data, synthesize it and see how it performed.
New instrumentation tools were built by the Army Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center that allowed testers to see the entire network, which didn’t exist for Capability Set ‘21. That data allows the Army to do proper analysis and demonstration, ensuring what they’re building fits the Army’s needs.
The Army also built out robust mission threads for the technical test to see if a piece of equipment would deliver the needed network capabilities in multiple operational scenarios. Mission threads focused on the following capabilities:
- Voice, which focused on analog and digital voice communication;
- Situational awareness and command and control data exchange, which focused on messages and location information exchanged by various platforms;
- Data exchanges between electronic warfare and signals intelligence tools that focused on how they pass data of various classifications across the network;
- Call for fires, which focused on passing data from dismounted and mounted fires platforms across aspects of the network, and;
- Point to point data exchanges;
Officials said the scenarios were critical to helping get the analysis they needed, allowing them to see how a unit fights with the network over multiple types of events from a threat perspective. Given that it was a technical test, they could inject a simulated threat, which is more difficult during an operational test where soldiers are conducting an exercise.
Officials said that following the critical design review, they will undertake a series of operational tests and experiments with units to inform a fielding decision involving what capabilities go to what units at what echelons. This is part of a multifaceted codified test strategy the Army is developing for its network, something it’s been criticized for not having already. While a multifaceted testing approach was used during the Capability Set ‘21 process, it’s been enhanced for Capability Set ‘23 based upon feedback from around the military, new tools and more mature technology.
“The overall strategy … is a series of operational activities that will lead up in support of the procurement and the fielding decision,” Collins said.
Developmental tests will be conducted on specific components with an eye toward interoperability and integration. Then there will be threat-based tests that include cyber and electronic warfare. These will be phased operational readiness assessments and exercises that will take place in Europe allowing the Army to understand if Capability Set ‘23 is ready to physically give to units. A fielding decision is expected in March 2023.
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Feb 22. France opens new business campus to tackle cyberattacks. France is grouping the country’s top cybersecurity experts in Paris’ business district of La Defense, bringing together startups and household names to tackle the scourge of hacking, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday.
Cyberattacks have become the number one worry of the world’s top company executives, according to a survey by PwC, and their growing number and sophistication could undermine the country’s sovereignty, French leaders say.
“France … doesn’t want to depend on foreigners,” Le Maire said at the inauguration of the venue. “It wants to be independent in advanced technologies.”
The project has drawn inspiration from a similar set up in Israel, CyberSpark, which has served as a model for Michel Van Den Berghe, the head of France’s Campus Cyber.
The campus will be a base for cyber startups and experts from some of country’s biggest listed companies such as LVMH, L’Oreal and largest banks.
“For a startup, to be in the same building as the biggest companies that could put their solutions in their catalogue, it’s a great accelerator,” Van Den Berghe said.
Campus Cyber can host 1,800 people. It is run by a company that is 44% owned and funded by the French state, with the rest of the capital divided among about 90 organisations, including country’s leading companies in the field: Orange, defence company Thales , software maker Sopra Steria (SOPR.PA) and IT consulting firms Atos (ATOS.PA) and Capgemini (CAPP.PA). (Source: Reuters)
11 Feb 22. F-35 program seeks cyber reinforcements. To improve the joint strike fighters’ defenses against cyber attacks, the program office responsible for it wants an open system design solution.
The Defense Department is looking for new ways to gird the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter against cyber attacks and improve the systems’ ability to detect and respond to threats.
According to a recent contracting notice, the program office responsible for the aircraft is looking to create a multi-phased process that would enhance the security of F-35’s – and supporting ground systems – through newly developed or integrated technologies, such as real-time, automated in-flight detection, response and recovery.
“Defending against advanced cyber threats is critical for all modern military systems. Adversary methods and techniques continue to evolve thus the ability to adapt and minimize impacts is crucial,” the notice states.
The F-35’s joint program office wants to use “new advances in cyber protection capabilities into the F-35 architecture” using “open system design and cyber resiliency principles” so that hardware, software, and firmware can be integrated from different sources and seamlessly updated.
The solution, according to the notice, could include alerts before, during, or after a flight, as well as “isolating or preventing various attack attempts” without compromising flight safety.
The F-35 has long suffered from software and cybersecurity problems from the code to IT logistics infrastructure. A 2021 Government Accountability Office report advised DOD to update the fighter jet’s modernization schedule to accommodate software needs and automatically collect data on software development quality and performance. The notice for cyber solutions also comes as the Defense Department issues guidance on how to best navigate open source software and systems, while adhering to strict cybersecurity standards.
Future versions of the ongoing F-35 challenge could include a live test demonstration or pilot of the technology on “actual aviation platforms,” according to the notice. Submissions are being accepted through March 3. (Source: Defense Systems)
15 Feb 22. Russia and China devote more cyber forces to offensive operations than US, says new report. Russia and China have each dedicated significantly more military cyber forces to conducting cyber effects than the United States, according to research by a London-based think tank. The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance+ database, which evaluates global military trends, sought to provide a breakdown assessing the military cyber capabilities of these nations based mostly on active duty military forces with a responsibility for cyberspace operations (though some data was gathered on reservist units). According to the report, 33% of Russia’s military cyber forces are focused on effects, compared to 18.2% of Chinese military forces and 2.8% of U.S. forces. This data was derived from the composition of principal cyber forces according to roles assigned to individual units. Authors of the report clarified that “effects” generally refers to actions to deny, degrade, disrupt or destroy as well as those conducted by proxies in conjunction with a government actor. It can also include a range of other capabilities such as the ability to research vulnerabilities, write or use malware, and maintain command and control through exploits.
“Russia is a highly capable cyber power. Cyber capabilities are part of a broader framework of information operations, and strategic documents generally refer to cyber security under the rubric of ‘information security,’ ” the Military Balance report read.
In July 2021, Russia released an update to its National Security Strategy, devoting a section to information security and stressing the further development of military cyber forces and capabilities.
The IISS report noted that China has also shown significant improvements in its military cyber capabilities over the last decade, integrating offensive cyber operations into recent military exercises.
Russia also allots a significant amount of personnel to incident response, the report noted, with 80% of its forces dedicated to the mission. That is compared with 29% on the U.S. side and 9.1% on the Chinese side.
All three nations dedicated roughly the same proportion of forces to conducting cyber intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, hovering between 50% and 54%. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
14 Feb 22. Beyond command posts: Army completes pilot for armored on-the-move networking. In the Georgia woods, Army tests combinations of line-of-sight and satellite links to keep in constant contact, but it’s not perfect, or cheap. Tucked inside the heavy woods of southern Georgia, Vietnam-era M1068s are positioned across the muddy swampland, transmitting invisible digital information between the thick tree trunks and through the canopy of the forest. Soldiers here are experimenting with on-the-move communications for its armored formations, sending battlefield data to inform fires missions between dispersed platforms, the latest exercise for an Army learning to fight a digitally infused next-generation war. Ultimately, the service wants its soldiers in different platforms to have common situational awareness as it prepares to eliminate its easily-targetable command posts in the future.
“The days of us probably doing this, setting up this big tent and standing around a map are probably going away,” said Col. Terry Tillis, the commander of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division, while standing in a brigade tactical operations center. “How would I have this same dialogue that I would here [with] all these people who run up and brief me every hour or two hours, [saying] ‘This is what’s changed on the battlefield,’ versus what we would actually do [when] distributed in a vehicle and how we still have that dialogue.”
For the last several weeks in the woods of Ft. Stewart, the Army held a pilot with elements of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division, testing three different “equipment sets” of on-the-move networking tools. The technical data and soldier feedback collected will inform the planning of Capability Set ‘25, the third iteration of network modernization tools that will focus on armored formation.
The Army is modernizing its network through a series of new capabilities every two years to enable multi-domain operations and prepare for the Pentagon’s future warfighting concept, Joint All-Domain Command and Control, known as JADC2.
One of the primary goals of the pilot was to test the highly-mobile armored formations’ ability to maintain situational awareness while constantly maneuvering on the battlefield. As the service prepares for the near-peer fight, it must reduce the physical size of its large, bulky command posts, which are slow to stand up and tear down, to protect the lives of soldiers and commanders inside.
“We know on the future battlefield you got to fight dispersed and distributed,” Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, told reporters. Referring to typical tactical operations centers on the battlefield, the two-star said, “It’s just too big. And so this capability would allow us, enable us to fight a little bit more distributed and dispersed.”
For the pilot, each group of four 1068s functioned as an S6 vehicle (network manager), S2 (intelligence), S3 (operations) and fires support, and was outfitted with one of three equipment sets, integrated by General Dynamics Mission Systems. (Breaking Defense, like other outlets, accepted travel accommodations from GDMS for this visit.)
“Putting comms on-the-move kit onto a mechanized platform is one of the hardest things we do in the United States Army,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Collins, head of Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical.
Trying Combinations Of Line-Of-Sight And Satellite Comms
Each vehicle in the first equipment set carried a satellite connection and mesh line-of-sight communication, making it the most capable and resilient set. The second set gave flat panel SATCOM antennas to the S2, S3 and fires vehicles, but withheld the line-of-sight mesh. The third equipment set had line-of-sight capabilities but no SATCOM. In each set, the S6 vehicle had SATCOM and line-of-sight.
Across the three equipment sets, scenarios included movement to contact with the enemy, and offensive and defensive operations, while testing the ability to retain command and control and perform fires missions. Collins said the technical data collected at the pilot would be provided to the service’s centers of excellence to help inform future requirements documents, give feedback to the more than 20 industry partners that provided capabilities, and help shape the service’s acquisition strategy.
Intelligence and fires soldiers with the brigade’s 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, which operates close to the enemy and is responsible for tracking their units, was outfitted with the SATCOM-heavy equipment set two. Soldiers with that unit said that the SATCOM capability improved their speed when communicating with the brigade.
“The ability to process orders and … that information that we owe to our higher echelon, in order to process those, we can do those on the move without having to stop and set up,” said Lt. TJ Angevine. He added that the capability allowed the fires operators to process three fires missions in 10 minutes on the move, an “unheard of” speed.
The downside, however, was that the satellite connection sometimes failed, a real possibility in the disconnected and interference-afflicted conflict zones expected in a near-peer fight. In the event of failure, the unit would fall over to their traditional line-of-sight communications that require vehicles to be close enough together that their antennas see each other.
“There needs to be some more refinement with it,” Angevine said. “When we need it to work, we need it to work right then and there.”
Soldiers equipped with equipment set one, the most resilient set, also found their network gear to be an improvement. The issue they shared, aside from the extensive cabling, was a slight delay as the network switched between SATCOM and mesh line-of-sight.
“We found [it] to be extremely resilient when we went out to the field last week, so we’re very impressed with that,” said Maj. Brandon Pasko.
Soldiers with equipment set three told reporters that the mesh line-of-sight network provided them clear communications, but had some interference from the foliage. Users of all the equipment sets said that the new tools provided them with greater situational awareness, was easier to set up and tear down when the armored units were at-the-quick-halt, and easy to use.
“This is a perfect example of how soldiers can help inform future capabilities and systems and improve upon them,” Costanza said.
As the Army collects more feedback from the pilot, the challenge it faces is finding the right balance between capability and affordability. While it would be ideal to outfit every vehicle with a mesh line-of-sight capability and a SATCOM link, it’s also the most expensive option. As the network leaders design Capability Set ’25, still in the early stages, the focus will be finding the right balance to provide the commanders with flexibility.
“In the old school days, [the commander] may have to say ‘No, we’re going to stay where we’re at,’ and he’ll accept the risk as the commander because the juice ain’t worth the squeeze operationally,” said Col. Greg Napoli, unified network lead at the Network Cross-Functional Team. “But now he has the additional flexibility to move.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
14 Feb 22. ViaLite’s New Monitoring & Control Module is the Simple Choice for Single Site Monitoring. ViaLite’s new HRC-5 rack chassis based Monitoring and Control (M&C) module is designed to fully monitor and control ViaLiteHD RF over Fiber systems in a single chassis. The module provides similar features to the company’s top-of-the-range HRC-3, but without the optical fiber connections, making it an ideal cost effective option for monitoring local systems. Compatible with ViaLiteHD 1U and 3U rack chassis units and cards, it provides alarm monitoring and event logging. Connectivity includes a 10/100/1000 MB/s RJ45 connection and a micro-USB control port.
“We developed the HRC-5 to maintain all the local functionality of our existing Monitoring and Control modules, but with an entry level price. This will be great news for customers who only need single chassis access to their equipment,” said ViaLite Product Manager, Edward Levack.
The M&C module uses the company’s Horizons software with integrated web GUI and SNMP protocol, which provides standalone control without requiring Java, Windows drivers or a separate web browser. A maintenance mode enables modifications to be carried out offline.
The auto card configuration function means that new RF over fiber link cards can be automatically reprogramed with the parameters of the previous card. The HRC-5 is available as an embedded option in a range of ViaLite’s outdoor enclosures, including the best-selling Satcom6.
11 Feb 22. Pentagon’s AI center awards contracts to 79 companies in new test and evaluation agreement. The Department of Defense’s artificial intelligence organization has awarded contracts 79 vendors to streamline the procurement and delivery of test and evaluation tools, with each contract worth up to $15m. While companies began announcing their individual contracts in January, the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center only confirmed the awards in a Feb. 10 statement to reporters. The test and evaluation blanket purchase agreement on behalf of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is intended to establish a decentralized mechanism for artificial intelligence test and evaluation, creating criteria, performance metrics, standards and best practices for automated testing of artificial intelligence-enabled systems. Moreover, the agreement will focus on ensuring compatibility and standards for AI testing efforts across DoD.
Specific categories under the agreement include:
- Test technology and tools;
- Data set development/curation;
- Test harness development;
- Model output analysis;
- Test planning;
- Testing Services;
- Targeted test and evaluation and independent verification and validation;
- Algorithm test and evaluation;
- System test and evaluation;
- Operational test and evaluation;
- Human factors/user acceptance test and evaluation, and;
- Project management
Of the 79 companies awarded under the agreement, 44 are small businesses and 35 are large businesses, according to a spokesperson. They added that the agreement will foster competition in which both the government and private industry partners will mutually benefit from the streamlined methodologies implemented during this acquisition strategy.
The JAIC was created in 2018 to serve as a clearinghouse for all the DoD’s artificial intelligence efforts. In a December reorganization, the DoD created a chief digital and artificial intelligence officer to oversee the JAIC as well as the Defense Digital Service and the DoD’s chief data officer in an effort to better streamline digital efforts. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
11 Feb 22. Israel unveils artificial intelligence strategy for armed forces. Israel has adopted a new strategy for the incorporation and use of artificial intelligence across the branches of its armed forces, according to a senior Israel Defense Forces official.
The new strategy was unveiled amid the AI Week 2022 three-day event at The Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center and Tel Aviv Center for AI and Data Science at Tel Aviv University. The event included a session on the IDF’s new information and AI strategy.
A senior Israel Defense Forces official, whose name could not be used due to the sensitivity of their position, noted that the IDF is undergoing a digital transformation in dealing with AI in all its branches and the commands. This will be the first time the IDF has a multi-branch and multi-command plan for use of AI.
For the IDF, the strategy is part of a belief that data and AI has a major role for winning future conflicts, processing the vast amount of data being generated by various sensors, transforming it into intelligible information and delivering it where it needs to go.
“[It enables the IDF to be] more effective, faster and more efficient. Data is the dimension that is most flexible and adaptable. We fight in many arenas with new threats and challenges and this allows us great flexibility,” the official said.
Reports indicate artificial intelligence played a key role in the Israel conflict with Hamas in Gaza in May 2021, and artificial intelligence is increasingly being incorporated into systems developed by Israeli defense companies, such as rifles, bombs and other systems, meaning the IDF now has an increasing array of platforms that use AI.
The IDF opted to release an unclassified version to foster engagement with its partners.
“It was cleared by the general staff and it was very important for us to create an unclassified version; this allows us to have this kind of conversation with industry, academy and partners overseas. This is important for us,” the official said.
The strategy will be carried out through a new centralized AI department that was established as part of an overall digital transformation of the IDF pushed by Israel Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi over the last several years. Digital transformation is a centerpiece of Israel’s multi-year Momentum plan that was announced in 2020, and it’s involved pushing information to units on the front lines and developing new units such as the Multi-Dimensional unit.
The IDF’s goal is not just to have some systems that use artificial intelligence, but rather to have it be systematically incorporated across the military. The senior officer says that the deeper transformation impacts both the way the IDF is fighting in different domains in the field, as well as pushing technology to the edge of the front line, whether in the navy, air force or ground forces. For individual soldiers, that means potentially using augmented reality technologies that have been available to pilots for many years. That enables the IDF to push relevant knowledge to the field in real time.
“To reach every person, you have to simplify all this data and knowledge, even if it comes in real time. If I give you 1,000 points of interest as a person [i.e a soldier at the frontline], it won’t make sense to you. We put a lot of effort to simplifying that picture, when it comes to its version for the single soldier or small unit somewhere out there, explained the official. “Of course for the general staff, you have a lot more data available and you have experts explaining that to commanders, which you don’t have in the field.”
The IDF strategy spells out multiple scenarios that involve using sensors from various platforms to gather data on potential threats and send that information to systems that can respond. Data collected from the air, ground or sea can be brought together and fused with AI, creating a common operating picture for the armed forces.
“All the forces work on same data set; from one war room and one true picture as much as possible, [even] if you have communication lag, eventually it is one picture,” the official said.
The IDF also said that using AI will help avoid collateral damage.
“We always aim for low collateral damage. That is our assumption. Keeping that as a constant, and doing a lot more, means you have to be using advanced algorithms,” said the official. “It’s a major guideline for us as we go about it [incorporating AI].”
Part of that means keeping a human-in-the-loop. While algorithm’s can do much of the work humans had to do in the past, officials still want a human observing and approving any decisions.
“The human part of the circle is more the decision making and supervision, than data preparation,” said the official. “Where we are at this moment, we always have a person supervising. It’s hard to speculate about the future.” (Source: Defense News)
10 Feb 22. US Army preparing for ITN Capability Set 2023 critical design review. The US Army is moving closer to providing soldiers inside Stryker formations with the ability to operate over its Integrated Tactical Network (ITN), both inside vehicles and on foot, and recently completed a technical test with its Capability Set 2023 (CS23) insertion ahead of a critical design review scheduled for April 2022.
This technical test took place during the week of 31 January, and early, “high-level” observations indicate that this version of the ITN kit, which includes the radios, Android applications, and mission command applications, “enhanced” Stryker manoeuvre, Paul Mehney, the director of public communications at Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), told reporters on 8 February.
“We were able to successfully import the electronic warfare feed out of Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT) programmes … and we were able to populate that on to common operational picture through the Command Post Computing Environment,” he added. (Source: Janes)
10 Jan 22. EDA, project manager of CBRN RSS. EDA has taken over the role of project manager of the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Surveillance Reconnaissance Surveillance System (CBRN RSS) project which is being funded and implemented under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). The decision was made following a request by Austria on behalf of the four Member States participating in a related PESCO project, the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Surveillance as a Service (CBRN SaaS) project, which is already supported by EDA since 2019. In this new role, the Agency will not only manage all CBRN RSS implementation activities with the consortium, but also interact with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS) in relation to this project.
With the aim of targeting capability development through the support of innovation and competitiveness of the Union’s defence industry, the EDIDP 2020 calls for proposals, of which CBRN RSS was part of, sought to fund 26 projects from an array of defence domains with a broad geographical coverage. Since the first call in 2019, the EDIDP has shown its success becoming a strategic enabler for Europe’s defence.
From PESCO to Category B CBRN SaaS project
The CBRN project area can be traced back to 2019 when, for this first time, EDA was chosen to support the CBRN SaaS PESCO project. This decision resulted in the establishment of a so-called ‘Category B’ project within the Agency with four Member States participating (Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia). Under this new establishment, and as requested by the participants EDA further developed the project with the signature of a contract with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) as the consortium leader. The aim of the CBRN SaaS project, within the EDA framework, is to develop a technological demonstrator to deliver a recognised CBRN picture that will enhance knowledge-based decision-making for operations. The main deliverable will achieve the Initial Operational Capability of the PESCO project, which is aimed to be attained by the mid-2024.
From CBRN SaaS to CBRN RSS
In the meantime, a new opportunity arose to even further develop the CBRN SaaS. Indeed, in 2020, AIT used the EDIDP calls to submit a proposal for expanding the project into a Reconnaissance Surveillance System. With success, because in July 2021, the CBRN RSS proposal was accepted as eligible. In addition, an EDIDIP Grant Agreement was signed in December 2021 between DG DEFIS and the respective industry consortium – represented by AIT as the consortium leader. Even though CBRN SaaS and CBRN RSS are implemented through different channels (EDIDP and EDA respectively), they are complementary and aligned in such a way that the contract under EDA’s Category B project is set to deliver a basic version of the technological demonstrator, while an enhanced version will be provided by the EDIDP project. In practice, this means that at the end, only one single technological demonstrator will be assembled. The main difference between both projects is therefore the funding schemes under which they fall. Timewise, both projects aim at achieving their expected results by mid- 2024.
EDA as project manager
The fact that EDA has been tasked to also manage the CBRN RSS project is testament to the participating Member States’ confidence in the Agency, but it also reflects EDA’s commitment and persistence to further support Member States in developing their capability spectrum. The RSS project will take its first step with the kick-off meeting between the European Commission, Industry Consortium, Member States, and EDA on 13 January.
EDA’s role as project manager of the CBRN RSS EDIDP project is envisaged within two different spheres. On the one hand, and within the EDIDP overall project, EDA will act as the primary interface between Member States, the industry consortium, the European Commission, and third parties. This task will also see EDA overseeing the implementation of the project on behalf of the participating Member States, including the supervision and validation of work packages as well as the management of schedules. On the other hand, EDA has also been tasked to act as the Programme Security Instruction (PSI) custodian within the security framework of the EDIDP project, which requires not only the coordination of requests by Member States, but also ensuring the compliance of the PSI provisions. The new project manager role confirms EDA’s willingness to break new ground and take on new functions and responsibilities wherever it helps to bring forward collaborative European defence capability development. (Source: EDA)
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