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21 Sep 22. BAE Systems makes milestone delivery for inaugural EC-37B Compass Call. BAE Systems has designed, tested, and delivered key components for the U.S. Air Force’s first EC-37B Compass Call aircraft. The delivery paves the way for developmental and operational flight testing of the Baseline 3 configuration of Compass Call in January 2023. Baseline 3 offers additional electronic warfare capabilities. Interim fielding is expected to follow the completion of testing by mid-2024.
“Since the program’s inception, BAE Systems has consistently delivered advanced capabilities for Compass Call,” said Jared Belinsky, director of Electronic Attack Solutions at BAE Systems. “This final hardware delivery for the first EC-37B aircraft ensures an upgrade that will continue to outpace our adversaries.”
Compass Call is being redesigned from the current EC-130H airframe model to the enhanced flight performance of a commercial business jet airframe known as the EC-37B. It is the Department of Defense’s only long range, full-spectrum stand-off electronic warfare jamming platform.
Compass Call disrupts enemy command and control communications, radar, and navigation systems to restrict battlespace coordination. It suppresses air defenses by preventing the transmission of essential information between adversaries, their weapon systems, and control networks.
BAE Systems also recently successfully tested three third-party applications on Compass Call’s Small Adaptive Bank of Electronic Resource (SABER) technology. The hallmark of SABER is its open system architecture that enables the rapid integration of new technology through software updates instead of hardware reconfiguration. This allows for the rapid insertion of new capabilities to keep pace with emerging technologies.
Work on Compass Call is being conducted at BAE Systems’ state-of-the-art facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire; Hudson, New Hampshire; and San Diego, California. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Sep 22. Northrop Grumman, U.S. Air Force enter into industry-first data rights agreement and prove operations and sustainment data migration to the cloud. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force signed an industry-first data rights agreement recently, opening B-21 data access and collaboration across the program, including the launch of a shared environment for the B-21 digital twin.
The agreement establishes a level of access to common data and data environments that had not yet been accomplished on a program of this scale or this early in the lifecycle. It creates greater transparency and collaboration between Northrop Grumman and the Air Force, helping to deliver greater affordability and rapid upgradability throughout the program lifecycle. Northrop Grumman has placed a high priority on driving digital engineering further into the B-21 enterprise.
Also earlier this year, Northrop Grumman and the Air Force successfully demonstrated the migration of B-21 ground systems data to a cloud environment. This demonstration included the development, deployment and test of a suite of B-21 data, including the B-21 digital twin, that will support B-21 operations and sustainment. This successful test proved the ground systems footprint can be significantly reduced at main operating bases and in deployment packages. This approach will drive affordability and readiness advantages in operations and sustainment.
The B-21 program’s achievements in data access and data management are best practices Northrop Grumman is using to benefit other programs across the company.
“The B-21 Raider is a true digital native, and this data rights agreement coupled with the cloud based digital twin allow us to drive down risk in the EMD phase, will enable rapid capability upgrades and lowers sustainment cost over the life of the program,” said Doug Young, sector vice president and general manager, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems.
As the B-21 continues its ground test phase, the team will power up the aircraft, test its subsystems, and apply coatings and paint. The next steps will include carrying out engine runs as well as low-speed and high-speed taxi tests, and then on to first flight.
Northrop Grumman has invested in a robust production program — one that is foundational to the National Defense Strategy — to deliver the B-21 at a rate that will have a real effect for the Air Force in meeting evolving threats. Innovative application of digital engineering and commercial off-the-shelf digital tools continue to deliver an advanced degree of precision and efficiency in the build process, with production risk reduction progressing every day as B-21 test aircraft move down the actual production line.
On September 20, 2022, Northrop Grumman announced it will unveil the B-21 Raider during the first week of December at the company’s Palmdale, California facility, in partnership with the Air Force. The first flight projection of 2023, as has been reported by the Air Force, is aligned with the information communicated during the company’s 2022 earnings calls and remains on-schedule to the government Acquisition Program Baseline.
As the Air Force has indicated, the focus is on a safe first flight of a production representative aircraft. With six aircraft in various stages of production and test, Northrop Grumman is progressing toward that objective as it continues to reduce risk, refine the building process, and mature the test fleet ahead of first flight.
21 Sep 22. Safran unveils NGDS contender for UK EWCM competition. Safran Electronics & Defense has revealed details of a new variant of its New Generation Dagaie System (NGDS) trainable decoy launcher engineered for compatibility with NATO standard 130 mm countermeasures rounds.
The system, known internally as NGDS Configuration D, is being bid for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Electronic Warfare Counter Measures (EWCM) Increment 1a requirement. EWCM forms part of the RN’s overarching Maritime Electronic Warfare Programme (MEWP), which is intended to recapitalise surface ship electronic surveillance, electronic warfare command-and-control, and soft-kill anti-ship missile defence.
NGDS uses a two-axis launcher capable of training in both azimuth and elevation to achieve optimum placement of the soft-kill decoy payload effect. The original 12-round launcher developed by Safran for the French Navy is compatible with Lacroix Defense 150 mm calibre SEALEM and SEALIR decoy rockets, respectively, deploying advanced radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) payloads. (Source: Janes)
21 Sep 22. Spectrum Sharing is Way Ahead to Maintain Economic Dominance, Defense Official Says. The Defense Department is, perhaps, the biggest user of the spectrum within the United States. But for the U.S. to remain economically competitive, the DOD must share the spectrum. The DOD’s chief information officer said it’s possible to do that without compromising national security.
“As the DOD CIO, we absolutely get it at the Department of Defense that we need to balance our economic advantage by maximizing spectrum, as well as being able to preserve our national security responsibilities,” said John Sherman, during a keynote address recently at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Spectrum Policy Symposium. “We have to be able to balance that.”
China, named by the Defense Department as a pacing challenge, is moving along technologically, economically and militarily “at a very fast clip,” Sherman said.
“I would say they’re challenging us in many spaces — not just with defense and military, but in economic, technology, spectrum and otherwise,” he said. “We all better be able to rise to the challenge of what they’re presenting; finding the spectrum way ahead is critical to our nation.”
Already, Sherman said, the DOD has had success in sharing spectrum with industry and doing it in a way that balances the Nation’s defense and the needs of industry.
“Most recently, there was ‘America’s Mid-Band Initiative Team,’ or AMBIT, making available spectrum to industry between the 3.45 to 3.55 part of the spectrum, which raised in an auction last fall, $21 bn,” he said. “That took a lot of work and a sprint by our collective team at DOD and working with the interagency to make that happen.”
In August 2022, AMBIT identified a segment of spectrum from 3450-3550 MHz as available for sharing. Coupled with already available spectrum from 3550-3980 MHz, the effort created a contiguous 530 MHz band for use by the U.S. technology sector. The DOD was also part of establishing the sharing framework in the Citizens Band Radio Service, or CBRS, in the 3550-3650 MHz band.
Today, Sherman said, the DOD is working with partners, including NTIA, on finding ways to share the 3100-3450 MHz portion of the spectrum. The effort is called Emerging Mid-Band Radar Spectrum Sharing, or EMBRSS. The effort, he said, is built on the successes and lessons learned from other spectrum-sharing activities.
As part of EMBRSS, Sherman said, it’s critical that DOD share, rather than give up entirely, access to the 3100-3450 MHz portion of the spectrum, considering the use of that spectrum by critical U.S. military radar systems.
“We have many radars … land, air and sea-based, that are critical for our service members to train on before they deploy into harm’s way overseas, and also to protect our homeland, day in and day out, both against threats such as Russian ‘Bear’ bombers flying off our coastline, to emerging threats from our pacing challenge that can reach out and touch our homeland in a conflict situation, as well as border security and other very important missions,” Sherman said. “As I said during my confirmation hearing last fall, sharing of the spectrum space must be our watchword.”
Vacating the 3100-3450 MHz band would take decades and would cost the DOD billions of dollars, Sherman said.
“But sharing offers us a way ahead out of this and we’ve proven we can do this with the other initiatives I’ve talked about,” he said. “We can make sharing work in collaboration with you all in industry and with our interagency partners.”
Sherman said the DOD has already held ten meetings as part of the Partnering on Advanced and Holistic Spectrum Solution, or PATHSS, task group established last year with the National Spectrum Consortium to bring together DOD, interagency partners, industry and academia to work through how the department can do spectrum sharing in the 3100-3450 MHz spectrum band.
“This is our effort to reach out hear other voices — not just look at it through a defense prism, but try to balance all the different equities there,” Sherman said.
A subset of the PATHSS task group, the PATHSS-C, he said, where the “C” is for “classified,” is working at a classified level to get into the details of how DOD can share the spectrum used by military radars and still defend the nation.
“We’re going to figure this out together,” Sherman told industry attendees at the symposium. “I need your help as the DOD CIO to continue to get through this. And I don’t say this with hyperbole about what it would take for us to move these radars. I want us to be successful economically, but I also want to work with you to ensure we can keep this nation safe, and our women and men safe downrange wherever they have to deploy now or in the future. And that is a sacred obligation I have as DOD CIO.” (Source: US DoD)
19 Sep 22. SAIC Named to Advanced Battle Management System Digital Infrastructure Consortium. Company to develop digital and data-centric capabilities for the Department of the Air Force.
Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) has been named to the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) Digital Infrastructure Consortium developing digital capabilities that enable multi-domain operations for the Air Force, Space Force, and Joint Force.
“SAIC is one of five companies selected to serve a vital role in realizing the joint all domain Command and Control (C2) vision for the Department of Defense,” stated Michael LaRouche, president, National Security and Space Sector at SAIC. “We are prepared and ready to support our nation’s warfighters and provide them with a secure architecture that accelerates decision making and amplifies mission success.”
ABMS will accelerate the fielding of new battle management capabilities, utilizing the best industry has to offer to enable our joint and coalition forces to counter the evolving threat.
As part of the Digital Infrastructure Consortium, SAIC will collaborate with other members to integrate modern capabilities leveraging digital engineering. These modern capabilities will become the foundation for the Department of the Air Force’s contribution to the JADC2 concept.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
16 Sep 22. USAF to provide industry with test model for JADC2 development. The U.S. Air Force will provide the defense industry with a test model to help speed development of the service’s Advanced Battle Management System, a critical contribution to the Pentagon’s vision of a seamlessly connected military.
The model, to be released next week, will “allow us to perform repeatable experimentations against proposed solutions, defining measures of effectiveness and measures of performance, that would allow objective evaluation,” Deputy Chief Information Officer Winston Beauchamp said Sept. 15 at a DefenseScoop event in Arlington, Virginia.
The industry guidance is an outgrowth of work done by an Air Force-Space Force cross-functional team, which identified four areas for advancing the next-generation command and control concept, including “coming up with a model-based approach,” said Beauchamp, who oversees the Air Force IT portfolio.
The Advanced Battle Management System is the Air Force’s contribution to what is known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, a multibn-dollar Defense Department push to better link battlefield forces and a wealth of disparate data systems.
The interconnectedness is necessary, officials say, to stay ahead of advanced adversaries such as China and Russia.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall “declared that the period of experimentation for ABMS was over, that we’re moving into operational definition and deployment,” Beauchamp said.
“Last fall, the secretary of the Air Force laid out a series of seven operational imperatives, actions that would be necessary to pursue in order to counter threats from potential peer adversaries around the world,” he said. “ABMS is one of those operational imperatives.”
Pushing ABMS along requires more real-world successes and less experimentation, according to Kendall, who has said that spending should focus on products and services that have clear benefits.
The ever-evolving status of JADC2, Beauchamp said, will likely be measured across a few metrics, including speed, agility and resilience. Lawmakers included a review of JADC2 implementation in a draft of the annual defense bill. It has yet to become law.
“In a modern battlefield,” Beauchamp said, “the side that is able to react more quickly, respond to information in the environment and turn more quickly, it has the advantage, a decision advantage and an information advantage.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Sep 22. Pentagon experimenting with 5G at Idaho National Laboratory test range. The U.S. Department of Defense is using a new open-air test range in Idaho to study 5G networking and its potential applications in overseas operations.
The facility, located within the 890-square-mile Idaho National Laboratory complex, is the first of its kind and is outfitted with fifth-generation radios, antennas and base stations.
“This premier, state-of-the-art standalone and non-standalone 5G network test bed will allow U.S forces, the combatant commands, and other U.S. government agencies the ability to test, train, assess and understand how to securely operate through an ever-changing global telecommunications environment,” Tom Dekeyser, director of the Defense Department’s Operate Through program, said in a statement.
Fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless technology promises exponentially faster speeds and the ability to accommodate more and more-advanced devices compared with its predecessors. The technology also has its risks: additional pathways for digital intrusions, aggravated privacy concerns and expensive infrastructure costs, among others.
The Defense Department has for years eyed 5G, writing in a 2020 strategy that the nations “that master advanced communications technologies and ubiquitous connectivity will have a long-term economic and military advantage.” It has since pursued testbeds at a dozen military installations, including sites in California, Nevada, Utah and Washington.
The national lab said it secured funding from the Defense Department and partnered with Mavenir Systems, a Texas-based company dedicated to networks and cloud technologies, to furnish the test range. Engineers installed the equipment over the summer.
Amanda Toman, the principal director for 5G in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, at a Sept. 15 DefenseScoop event said the Idaho facility will help break apart “that 5G stack,” providing critical insights about operational uses and vulnerabilities.
“Think about all the devices we have out there, think about the need to get information to move quickly,” Toman said. “I think 5G really provides that promise and that capability to the department.”
Academia and industry are also expected to use the test range in the near future, the lab said in an announcement.
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Sep 22. L3Harris Selected As Member of Air Force Advanced Battle Management System Digital Infrastructure. Consortium.
- Will design, develop and deploy Advanced Battle Management System Digital Infrastructure
- Defines design criteria to lay foundation to enable Air Force’s contribution to JADC2
- Provides backbone for distributed battle management in multi-domain battlespace
The U.S. Department of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office selected L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) as one of five industry partners chartered to design, develop and deploy the digital infrastructure that will enable advanced battle management and command-and-control capabilities for the Air Force and Space Force.
@L3HarrisTech selected as a member of the Air Force Advanced Battle Management System Digital Infrastructure Consortium
The newly formed Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) Digital Infrastructure Consortium, comprising L3Harris and other competitively selected industry partners, will define requirements and standards to inform the development of the Air Force’s ABMS Digital Infrastructure to realize the DoD’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) vision.
“To embolden commanders with information and decision advantage, they need interoperability, which is a priority outcome for the collaborative consortium,” said Ross Niebergall, L3Harris Vice President and Chief Technical Officer.
The consortium will address the secure processing, resilient communications, data management and open-architecture design criteria that lays the foundation for enabling the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System.
Operationalizing the U.S. Air Force’s vision for JADC2, ABMS will provide the backbone for distributed battle management in a multi-domain battlespace, bringing advanced capabilities to, and creating a decision advantage over, peer threats for the Air Force and Space Force. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
16 Sep 22. Bombardier’s Learjet delivers first Global 6000 BACN aircraft to USAF. The first mission-configured aircraft has been delivered under USAF’s contract to support BACN programme. Bombardier’s US-based subsidiary Learjet and its Defence division have delivered the first Global 6000 aircraft in special mission configuration to the US Air Force (USAF).
This delivery falls under the USAF’s battlefield airborne communications node (BACN) programme, based at Hanscom Air Force Base (AFB) in Massachusetts, US.
This is the first mission-configured Global aircraft delivered under
With a ceiling value of around $464.8m, this contract involves up to six modified Global 6000s.
Deliveries of the next two aircraft are expected later this year and in 2023.
Work is being performed by Bombardier’s engineers and technicians from its Wichita site in the US.
BACN installation on the aircraft is also performed at the company’s Kansas site.
Bombardier’s teams at its Tucson and Arizona facilities complete the final interiors and exterior painting work.
Bombardier Defence vice-president Steve Patrick said: “Our best-in-class Global aircraft platform offers the complete package: proven reliability, significant payload capacity, ample available power, and the highest degree of stability to support sensitive equipment.”
The special configuration BACN-equipped Global aircraft is part of the E-11A fleet and is also called ‘Wi-Fi in the Sky’ by the USAF.
It acts as a high-altitude communications gateway for the BACN programme by conveying voice and data between the air and land forces.
USAF BACN Material Leader lieutenant colonel Eric Inkenbrandt said: “The BACN programme reduces communication issues associated with incompatible systems, adverse terrain and distance.
“BACN increases interoperability which results in forces that execute faster, more reliably, and with less risk to the warfighters.”
Apart from the 2021 contract, Bombardier has also supplied four Global aircraft for the BACN programme, as part of another previously awarded agreement. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
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