Sponsored by Spectra Group
21 Nov 18. AOC 2018: BAE Systems focused on fifth generation fighter market. Electronic warfare developer BAE Systems will be primarily using this year’s AOC as an opportunity to speak with clients and potential customers about the company’s expertise across the fifth generation fighter jet market.
‘Our integrated EW systems for fifth-generation aircraft specifically include advanced avionics and sensors that provide a real-time, 360-degree view of the battlespace, helping to maximize detection ranges and provide pilots with options to evade, engage, counter, or jam threats,’ a BAE Systems spokesperson told Shephard, in a statement.
By offering its AN/ASQ-239 package, BAE Systems secured a five year contract with Lockheed Martin in May to become the EW prime contractor on the F-35 Lightning II. The system itself is designed specifically to function in operationally dense environments and protect against radio-frequency and infrared countermeasures, according to company literature.
The spokesperson explained that increasingly contested environments and the speed with which adversaries are fielding ‘sophisticated weapons’ is leading to customers having to accelerate their own procurement strategies to ensure they can continue to develop a ‘technical edge’ on the battlefield.
‘To help meet the demand for faster procurement, we provide rapid, cost-effective ways to explore advanced EW capabilities through the use of EW system prototypes that exploit emerging technologies, including hardware, algorithms, and techniques,’ he added.
More specifically, on the issue of what the US DoD is currently seeking from next generation EW programmes, the spokesperson mentioned that the organisation wants to acquire integrated solutions and mainly those that will ‘enable warfighter systems to rapidly and dynamically detect, characterize, and jam known and unknown threat signals – the first time they encounter them.’
The source didn’t disclose any direct company involvement in such competitions or systems likely to be put forward for them however, saying only that its research and design division is ‘working hard to solve future EW problems in the areas of distributed EW, anti-jamming capabilities, multispectral EW, cognitive EW, and EW demonstration systems.’ (Source: Shephard)
21 Nov 18. Austrade seeks applicants for US Cyber Security Mission. AusTrade, in partnership with AustCyber, is seeking applicants from cyber security firms to join a targeted mission to the US in February and March 2019. Firms will participate in an exclusive program of events, briefings and introductions to cyber security firms, investors and customers, and will have the opportunity to pitch, network and engage with local and international industry. The mission in San Francisco, running from Sunday, 3 – Friday, 8 March, has been designed to coincide with the RSA Conference, a leading information security conference and exposition.
In 2018, RSA attracted over 42,000 attendees to San Francisco. The four-day event consists of the conference, which hosts speakers on a variety of industry relevant topics, and a vender expo with more than 600 vendors. Australian companies and/or research institutions with capabilities across the following areas should apply to attend:
- Cyber security;
- Information security;
- Data analytics;
- Cloud security; and
- Mobile and IoT security.
Starting in the week prior to RSA, there will be two mission extension options in addition to the San Francisco program. On 25 and 26 February, a select group of delegates will have the opportunity to travel to New York and learn about the cyber security needs of the region’s financial services, healthcare, e-commerce and technology-driven sectors.
The program will provide Australian cyber security firms and academics with a variety of opportunities, including:
- Build relationships with leading cyber security, information security, technology stakeholders and government agencies;
- Showcase capabilities and technologies at dedicated events co-ordinated by Austrade;
- Participate in meetings with leading multinational corporations, universities and accelerators;
- Join exclusive networking functions, as a member of the official Australian delegation;
- Leverage Austrade’s networks and on-ground support in the US;
- Get to know a broad cross-section of Australia’s cyber security community; and
- Make arrangements to meet potential partners and customers in the ‘Australia House’ pop-up, located only two blocks from the conference centre.
From 27 February – 1 March, a small group will visit the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area to meet with a range of defence and national security-focused companies and government agencies with cyber security interests. Places for the New York and Washington DMV programs will be strictly limited. Applications close 23 November 2018. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Nov 18. The Czech tech to overcome Russian jammers. In a small city, just a few hours drive from the Czech Republic capital of Prague, a quiet revolution is brewing in the field of passive surveillance. The technology developed here in Pardubice gives NATO an edge when it comes to detecting aerial and naval threats and could help international forces overcome Russia’s powerful electronic warfare capabilities.
Czech company Era is relatively unknown outside of the electronic surveillance community and civil aerospace sector, but along with its home city of Pardubice, it has a rich history in passive sensor technology. While Era was established in the 1990s, its lineage can be traced back to the Soviet era when it was part of the massive Czech conglomerate Tesla (unrelated to Elon Musk’s company of the same name).
Today, Era is supplying at least 20 nations with passive miltiary surveillance sensors and it supplies the NATO alliance for its deployable air command and control system.
“The countries around Russia, for example, are already equipped mostly with our technologies,” said Ondřej Chlost, Era’s commercial director.
During a recent visit to the company’s new Pardubice headquarters, officials told C4ISRNET that there is now such significant demand for its fifth-generation passive sensor – known as VERA-NG – that the company can produce the technology without specific orders in place.
“In the military field, these technologies are usually more customized solutions,” Chlost, said. “But now we are even producing the military technologies on stock because there is such big demand from the market.”
VERA-NG works by detecting radiofrequency (RF) signals being emitted from aircraft or naval vessels, and unlike traditional sensors, such as radars, they do not emit any radio-frequecy itself. Over the years, traditional radar sensors within air defense networks have become far more vulnerable to countermeasures including electronic jamming and anti-radiation missiles.
Chlost told C4ISRNET that active radars have a survivability rate of around 20 to 30 minutes in real combat, owing to advanced suppression of enemy air defense technologies. VERA-NG is designed to add another sensor layer to an air defence infrastructure, sniffing out RF sources across a significant bandwidth range and reducing the times an active surveillance radar needs to be switched on.
The technology is so sensitive that the sensors – usually three remote stations and a central processing station – can detect, and pinpoint, signals to 400 kilometers and possibly beyond. These signals can be anything from radars, data links, as well as identification friend or foe (IFF) transponders – meaning even stealth aircraft are visible.
“Even when there are 200 targets in the air, we are able to identify each aircraft and send the information to a command-and-control system,” said Chlost. “If your database is good enough, and your operators are good enough, you can even determine the tail number of the aircraft.”
This level of accuracy means it can directly interface and cue surface-to-air missiles, or cue an active radar to ensure it is only turned on for limited periods so as to not give away its position or electronic signature. If an adversary chooses to use RF jammers, as is a favored tactic by Russia, then the passive sensor will also be able to pinpoint the source.
Because the technology is deemed sensitive, likely classified, most countries do not disclose they have acquired it and Era does not talk about customers, apart from its domestic customer, the Czech Army, and NATO.
The technology is able to be “hidden in plain sight” usually on cell phone towers or atop high buildings, as well as be mast-mounted on forward-deployed military trucks. The latter will be the configuration utilised by the NATO alliance, which ordered the technology in 2014 as part of a multi-million dollar contract.
A common question for Era is, what happens if there are no emissions from aircraft? Officials say it’s very rare that today’s networked aircraft or vessels will not have some kind of RF being beamed off the platform, especially as net-centric warfare expands within and between domains.
“This is a beneficial environment for us,” Chlost said. “Data link systems are used on all aircraft and ships, and they are serving as a relay to have that over the horizon information sharing and networking.”
Earlier this year, Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) announced that it had also been trialling the technology as part of studies to upgrade its air defence network. “The special thing about passive systems is that they are difficult to detect for the opponent,” said an FMV official in a statement. “They only listen, while radar systems send out signals that are reflected against the object, making them easier to knock out.”
Sweden is just one country that is looking to bolster its conventional warfare capabilities as a result of Russian aggression in recent years, especially in the air defence realm with a purchase of the US Patriot system also announced.
Russia is understood to still possess some of its own passive sensor technology, mainly the “Ramona” second-generation ESM system acquired from Czechoslovakia during the Soviet era, although this is mainly obsolete now compared with the likes of VERA. “These systems are probably not even maintainable any more,” explained Chlost.
As part of its passive sensor roadmap, Era has unveiled a new Multistatic Primary Tracking Radar – known as SICORRA (Silent Correlation Radar) – that receives ambient signals that bounce off an aircraft but, again, does not emit itself. The signals received do not have to be from the aircraft, like VERA, but can be reflected FM signals from sources such as cellphone or television towers.
The German Air Force will test similar technology from domestic manufacturer Hensoldt. C4ISRNET reported last month that the Air Force would test the TwInvis system in southern Germany later this month.
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
17 Nov 18. Russian drones can jam cellphones 60 miles away. Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Nov. 6 that the nation had extended the range on its drone-carried jammers to 100 km, or over 60 miles. Drones as a platform for, and not just the target of, electronic warfare means that the sight of a flying robot overhead could signal incoming strikes as well as a sudden inability to call for help.
“Russia has been using a UAV-mounted cellphone jammer for a number of years now,” said Samuel Bendett, a research analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses. The drones operate in a two- or three-vehicle pod with a ground station, collectively grouped as a “Leer-3” system.
“When these UAVs fly in teams, one acts as a signal-and-comms relay while another acts as a jammer,” Bendett said. “These Leer-3 systems have been around for about two years at this point.”
What is changed is the range of the jammer. The Orlan-10 drones already have a range of 75 miles, which means that, with the latest update on the jammer, the drone pod can interfere with signals up to 135 miles away from where the drone was launched. TASS reports that the 60-mile range is a 3.5 times increase in distance from the initial range.
In addition, Bendett said there’s a chance this capability, or an earlier version of it, has already been witnessed in conflict.
“Ukrainian forces claim to spot Leer-3 systems in eastern Ukraine, while there is potential evidence that Leer-3 was used in Syria as well,” Bendett said. “Russian forces are constantly training with Leer-3 UAVs as they practice adversary signal and cell comms suppression, identification and eventual destruction of the enemy force. In fact, this kind of training is part of the official [tactics, techniques and procedures] in electronic warfare and other forces across the Russian military.”
Advancements in electronic warfare are one of the key components guiding the development of autonomous systems for the military. For now, drones are conducting electronic warfare against cellular communications, but it’s not hard to imagine the same doctrines applied with new technology. In that scenario, it easy to picture other vehicles transforming into jamming machines on future battlefields … and maybe even present ones. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Nov 18. Thales and Nettitude announce teaming agreement to provide combined cyber threat intelligence and monitoring.
- Nettitude and Thales have announced a teaming agreement to deliver cyber resiliency services in the UK.
- The organisations have complementary experience and skills sets, allowing the partnership to deliver high trust and assurance, fit for purpose services for a range of markets and customers
- The organisations will collaborate on threat led, red teaming exercises and sharing of threat intelligence/information within critical national infrastructure markets, matching with the Thales cybersecurity global offer.
Announced today at the Cyber Security Summit in London, Thales and Nettitude, part of the Lloyd’s Register (LR) Group, have signed a teaming agreement to work together to provide enhanced cyber threat intelligence and monitoring across critical national infrastructure markets and financial services.
Offering complementary experience sets and market knowledge, Thales and Nettitude will deliver unrivalled cyber resiliency across information technology (IT) and operating technology (OT) environments. As the threat is becoming more global, cyber capabilities can benefit from international cooperation between global leaders in cybersecurity, especially in the field of cyber threat intelligence, to deliver trust to better protect our clients from threats to their infrastructure.
Thales’s strong pedigree in delivering high assurance services for critical operating technology across the globe, combined with Nettitude’s expertise in threat intelligence will create an unparalleled force in delivering cyber resiliency across IT and OT environments.
Nettitude and Thales will be principally collaborating on threat-led Red Teaming exercises in critical infrastructures; the timely sharing of threat information gathered through Thales and Nettitude’s threat feeds, Incident Response and Reverse Engineering of malware between both parties.
LR, which acquired Nettitude in March this year, is a professional services company specialising in engineering and technology solutions that improve the safety and performance of complex, critical infrastructure. Operating across multiple industry sectors in over 75 countries, LR employs over 7,000 permanent employees.
The relationship will result in clients being offered increased technical assurance with focused vulnerability research on key operating technologies, will help them maintain the highest level of security and protection for their business and technologies.
”The new partnership with Nettitude and Lloyds Register allows Thales to provide complementary experience across a wider range of threat surfaces. Their experience in assuring regulated markets and understanding the threat vectors will form a tremendous synergy with our capabilities in cyber threat intelligence and our experience securing the operating technology across our markets of Defence, Government & Critical National Infrastructure.” Gareth Williams, VP Secure Communications & Information Systems, UK, Thales
“We believe this is a key strategic partnership for Nettitude, Lloyds Register and Thales which will result in improved and market leading capabilities for the IT/OT industries. Thales’ advanced capability in delivering Operating Technology Assurance within critical infrastructures combined with Nettitude’s best in class, threat-led Red Teaming and Lloyd’s Register’s reputation and experience in the global assurance market makes this a unique and exciting collaboration for our industries.” Rowland Johnson, CEO, Nettitude. (Source: ASD Network)
15 Nov 18. Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge. Scientists from Bradford warn of increased chemical weapons risk during a period of very rapid scientific change. Alarming examples of the dangers from chemical weapons have been seen recently in the use of industrial chemicals and the nerve agent sarin against civilians in Syria, and in the targeted assassination operations using VX nerve agent in Malaysia and novichok nerve agent in the UK.
The threat of future chemical attacks is exacerbated by the current unstable international system and also by the potential misuse of developments in science and technology. The States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention gathering in the Hague on 21st November for their 4th Review Conference must ensure the prohibition regime is fit to meet these challenges.
This argument is set out by three academics from the University of Bradford in a Policy Forum article titled ‘Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge’ in the present issue of the internationally recognised journal Science Volume 362, Issue 6416 (copy of paper available). In the article Dr Michael Crowley, Dr Lijun Shang and Professor Malcolm Dando address key scientific aspects of the issues that the Conference will have to address to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons during this period of very rapid scientific change.
Dr Michael Crowley said: “The unstable international security environment and the changing nature of armed conflict could fuel a desire by certain States to retain and use existing chemical weapons, as well as increase interest in creating new weapons. These groups may well seek to harness the revolutionary advances in the chemical and life sciences and associated disciplines such as nanoscience and neuroscience for their malign ends. The international governmental and scientific communities must collectively review, update and strengthen the global measures in place to protect us all from chemical attack.”
Professor Malcolm Dando said: “One area of growing concern has been State interest in the aerosolised application of a range of toxic chemical agents potentially including pharmaceutical chemicals, bioregulators, and toxins that attack the central nervous system of those targeted. Ostensibly promoted for use in extreme law enforcement scenarios, such as large scale hostage situations, to incapacitate an individual or a group rapidly and completely without causing permanent disability or fatality, their use in practice poses grave dangers to health and well-being of all those affected. Furthermore, research and development in this area potentially opens up the door to new forms of chemical weapon and warfare.”
Dr Lijun Shang said “It is important to emphasise that scientists’ work on the detection, protection and treatment of chemical weapons is important in the overall effort to prevent the misuse of toxic chemicals, but scientists also need to be more aware of the possible misuse of their benignly-intended work.”
In their article the authors conclude that chemical and life scientists, health professionals and wider informed activist civil society need to play their part in protecting the prohibition of poison and chemical weapons. They must work with States to build effective and responsive measures to ensure that the rapid scientific and technological advances are safeguarded from hostile use and are instead employed for the benefit of all.
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra has a proven record of accomplishment – with over 15 years of experience in delivering secure communications and cybersecurity solutions for governments around the globe; elite militaries; and private enterprises of all sizes.
As a dynamic, agile, security accredited organisation, Spectra can leverage this experience to deliver Cyber Advisory and secure Hosted and Managed Solutions on time, to spec and on budget, ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices.
Spectra’s SlingShot® is a unique low SWaP system that enables in-service U/VHF tactical radios to utilise Inmarsat’s commercial satellite network for BLOS COTM. Including omnidirectional antenna for the man, vehicle, maritime and aviation platforms, the tactical net can broadcast over 1000s miles between forward units and a rear HQ, no matter how or where the deployment. Unlike many BLOS options, SlingShot maintains full COTM (Communications On The Move) capability and low size and weight
On 23 November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced that it had recently been listed as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier for 2015-2016 by the UK Crown Commercial Services
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 BATTLESPACE Businessman of the Year by BATTLESPACE magazine and is a finalist in the inaugural British Ex-Forces In Business Awards in the Innovator Of The Year category.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.