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23 Jan 23. Airbus plans to spin off Zephyr drone programme -FT. Airbus (AIR.PA) is looking to spin off its high-altitude surveillance and communications drone programme Zephyr, with the aim of starting commercial operations by the end of next year, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
The French aircraft maker has tapped Morgan Stanley to find external partnerships to help accelerate the commercialisation of the business, which will operate under the brand name ‘Aalto,’ the FT reported.
The solar-powered Zephyr drone is designed to linger at an altitude of about 70,000 feet (21 kilometres) for months at a time for surveillance or to provide a temporary boost to communications.
Sameer Halawi who has been leading the programme since last summer told FT that the Zephyr was “at a final design stage.”
“The idea of the carve-out is to bring like-minded partners to the equation and to be able to scale this business,” said Halawi, adding Airbus does not offer telecom services.
Airbus did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. (Source: Reuters)
19 Jan 23. January Radio Roundup.
Inmarsat was recently awarded a contract to carry blue force tracking data for the US Army across its ELERA satellite communications network.
Armada’s monthly roundup of all the latest news in the military communications product, programme and operational domains.
BFT For All to See
Inmarsat has shared details with Armada on the company’s work supporting the US Army’s Blue Force Tracker (BFT). In early November the company’s Inmarsat Government division won a contract worth $410 m to carry BFT data across its ELERA Satellite Communications (SATCOM) network. Susan Miller, chief executive officer of Inmarsat Government, told Armada the company will carry this data across L-band channels. Specifically, these frequencies are 1.525 gigahertz/GHz to 1.559GHz for reception (Rx) and 1.6265GHz to 1.6605GHz for transmission (Tx). Extended L-band frequencies of 1.518GHz to 1.559GHz (Rx) plus 1.6265GHz and 1.6605GHz (Tx) and 1.668GHz to 1.675GHz (Tx) are also offered. This data will move from BFT systems equipping army assets like vehicles to satellite ground stations around the world. An army asset will thus be able to transmit its BFT information globally.
Ms. Miller continued that “Inmarsat’s ELERA network provides both government and commercial users across land, sea and air with L-band narrowband connectivity services through four geostationary satellites.” ELERA is also used for global Internet of Things (IOT) connectivity. IBM provides one of the most useful definitions of the IOT as “the concept of connecting any device … to the internet and to other connected devices.” The definition continues that “(t)he IOT is a giant network of connected things and people … all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them.” Another of ELERA’s useful attributes is that it provides near-global, sans extreme polar regions, coverage Ms. Miller adds. ELERA’s global network is “fully operational today.”
On 12th December, SAIC was awarded a five-year contract worth $349.5 m by the US Navy’s Pacific Naval Information Warfare Centre. Reports say the company will perform in-service engineering to sustain the operational effectiveness and peak capacity of the US Navy’s Tactical Networks (TACNET). TACNET is the umbrella term for several such networks used by the navy. These include the Automated Digital Network System (ADNS), the Consolidated Afloat Networks Enterprise Service (CANES), the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange (CENTRIX-M), Integrated Shipboard Networking System (ISNS) and Sensitive Compartmented Information Networks (SCI Networks). ADNS carries the US Department of Defence’s Global Information Grid (GIG). The GIG in turn is a global network transmitting and processing information for DOD users wherever they may be. CANES is the navy’s next-generation tactical afloat network consolidating and enhancing five shipboard legacy naval tactical networks. These include the ISNS and SCI Networks. CENTRIX-M is a secure US and allied information sharing system. It uses internet protocol standards to provide web services like email, chat and messaging.
The company told Armada via a written statement this latest contract covers “the sustainment of fielded systems through to end-of-life replacement, system upgrades, follow-on or interrelated systems, distance support, on-site repair, installations and systems analysis to ensure networks are performing within designed specifications.” The statement continued that “SAIC also provides the engineering review of documents in support of production and installation of programme-of-record systems.” SAIC says it expects to complete this contract by December 2027 if all options are exercised.
SAIC was awarded a contract in December 2022 to provide support for the US Navy’s TACNET tactical networks. TACNET encompasses a diverse array of networks used for afloat tactical communications.
StreamCasters for Marines
On 12th December Silvus Technologies announced it had won a $5 m contract to provide the company’s StreamCaster 4400 mobile ad-hoc networking multiband radios to the United States Marine Corps. According to reports announcing the news these radios will provide mobile tactical communications for USMC vehicles. These include the corps’ Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle variants. The radios will also equip the corps’ Iveco/BAE Systems Amphibious Combat Vehicle. The radios form a key part of the USMC’s Networking on the Move (NOTM) system. NOTM provides mobile and stationary terrestrial and satellite communications using survivable, self-forming networks according to official documents.
Deployed from 2013, plans are afoot to furnish the USMC’s Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle with NOTM apparatus. An air variant of NOTM has also been developed to be deployed with Marine aviation assets. Chris Nigon, senior director of navy, marine and air force programmes at Silvus Technologies, told Armada that the Marine Corps’ StreamCaster 4400s will carry the company’s proprietary NM-MIMO waveform “with spectrum dominance features to enable operations in congested and contested environments.” Alongside the USMC, the StreamCaster 4400 is furnishing the US Army as the AN/PRC-169. It equips the force’s Integrated Tactical Network. (Source: Armada)
17 Jan 23. Talking the Talk.
Translated official Russian documents seen by Armada provide an insight into how tactical communications are deployed by Russia’s army on the battlefield.
In April 2022, just one month into Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine, Armada published details of the radios the Russian Army was using in the theatre of operations. Using social media sources corroborated by sources in theatre, we noted the army had deployed its latest R-187P Azart handheld radio. Members of the Azart radio family cover wavebands of 27 megahertz/MHz to 520MHz. Azart radios were deployed in Ukraine alongside the P-168 Akveduk multiband system. The P-168 provides high frequency (three megahertz to 30MHz) and Very/Ultra High Frequency (V/UHF: 30MHz to three gigahertz) communications. The latter radio is thought to be deployed with Russia’s airborne forces which are a separate service. Whether the P-168 and P-187 radios share interoperable waveforms is not detailed in the public domain.
The documents seen by Armada say that the Combined Arms Armies (CAAs) providing land forces operational command use static V/UHF links to connect with the division/brigade command. CAA command posts are notionally equipped with P-187BV V/UHF radios. Static masts at these posts typically provide V/UHF links at ranges of 40 kilometres/km (25 miles). These carry data at rates of between 2,048 kilobits-per-second/kbps and 8.192kbps. The documents mention that uninhabited aerial vehicles can provide radio relays at ranges of up to 54 nautical miles (100km).
Brigade and Battalion
A division/brigade command post will also have P-187BV radios and static masts. The division/brigade command uses these to link with subordinate battalion commanders also equipped with P-187BVs. These links have a similar performance to the CAA-to-brigade links. Roger McDermott’s seminal work Russia’s Path to the High Tech Battlespace says a typical motorised rifle brigade/division deployment area is circa 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 square miles).
Data rates reduce significantly to twelve kilometres (7.5 miles) when battalion commanders link to their subordinate platoons. This is the consequence of needing to remain mobile using vehicle-mounted antennas which lack the height to get similar lines-of-sight to brigade-CAA/brigade-to-battalion links. Likewise, data rates reduce to between 16kbps and 256kbps.
Platoon and Squad
The documents say that the handheld P-187P and P-187N radios are deployed at platoon and squad levels. It is possible that the P-187P is a multichannel system for commanders linking up to the battalion and downwards to squad commanders. The P-187N could be a single channel/single band radio for use by squad soldiers. Data rates reduce to between 16kbps and 32kbps at these echelons. All these radios are capable of mesh networking. This extends their ranges to 300km (186.5 miles) for the P-187P/N and 1,000km (623 miles) for the P-187BV.
On paper at least, the Russian Army’s manoeuvre force is promised a modern, standard tactical communications architecture courtesy of the Azart family. The reality seems different. President Vladimir Putin launched his second invasion in the midst of the Russian military’s overarching modernisation. As Armada chronicled in the past the result was the army going to war with a mix of new and legacy radios. These seemingly do not share common waveforms preventing them from securely communicating with each other. Unencrypted links are often the only way that intra- and inter-echelon communications can be performed, yielding the Ukrainians vital intelligence.
Too little too late?
On 21st December, Mr. Putin gave a televised address from Moscow promising to give the military anything it needs to continue the war in Ukraine. This is an implicit admission that the military has not had everything it requires to date. Perhaps this promise may include the tactical communications networks promised on paper but seemingly impossible to deliver in theatre? (Source: Armada)
16 Jan 23. UK Roles with It. The British Army is acquiring AN/PRC-163 multichannel radios. These transceivers are already used extensively by the US military helping foster interoperability.
New tactical radios will soon be equipping the British Army and other UK forces replacing some of the radios in the Bowman tactical communications architecture.
In late November the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced a contract worth $109.4 m for new radios to equip the British Army contracting L3Harris to provide 1,300 MMRs (Multimode Radios). The MOD press release announcing the news said these will be used by mounted and dismounted troops. The first radios will be delivered by the end of 2022, the press release continued, the balance by the end of 2023.
Ian Blower, L3Harris’ UK regional managing director told Armada that two radios fulfil this contract, chiefly the company’s AN/PRC-163 and AN/PRC-167.
The AN/PRC-163 is a two-channel handheld radio covering frequencies of 30 megahertz/MHz to 2.6 gigahertz/GHz. Channel 1 carries standard Very/Ultra High Frequency (V/UHF: 30MHz to three gigahertz) Line-of-Sight (LOS) communications.
Waveforms carried on this channel include L3Harris’ proprietary Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform-2 (ANW-2). The channel hosts the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) ground-to-ground and ground-to-air/air-to-ground waveforms. The P25 waveform mainly used by the United States first responder community is also carried on Channel 1. Optional waveforms for Channel 1 include the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s SATURN (Second Generational Anti-Jam Tactical UHF Radio for NATO) waveform. Other options include the HPW (High Performance Waveform) for Satellite Communications (SATCOM).
Installation of the HAVEQUICK-I/II waveform for air-to-ground/ground-to-air communications is also possible. The company’s official literature says the AN/PRC-163’s growth potential includes the Mobile Objective User System (MUOS) SATCOM waveform. Channel 2 also carries ANW2 along with UHF LOS and UHF SATCOM. Optional waveforms include TrellisWare’s TSM-X waveform for Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking (MANET). Inmarsat’s L-band (1.3GHz to 1.7GHz) Tactical Satellite (L-TAC) waveform is also optional. Meanwhile, customers can integrate L3Harris’ Wraith wideband MANET waveform if they wish.
Like the AN/PRC-163 the AN/PRC-167 is a multichannel radio although in backpack form. L3Harris’ official literature says this radio covers similar wavebands to the former. It carries a variety of waveforms including SINCGARS, HAVEQUICK-I/II, SATURN, P25, TSM-X, HPW, L-TAC and has MUOS growth potential. These radios are procured off-the-shelf with “some minor modifications to the user interface requested by the UK MOD that L3Harris will introduce into the standard products,” Mr. Blower continued.
Both radios will be used by the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force (RAF). It is likely they will equip the Royal Marines and RAF Regiment. Both these latter forces provide land warfare components to the Royal Navy and RAF respectively and to joint UK forces. Mr. Blower says the radios will be used for ground-to-air communications and tactical SATCOM. “As the radios are deployed and used, it is likely their flexibility and adaptability, and ability to offer resilient communications will meet other needs leading to much wider usage.” It is unclear exactly which radios the MMRs will replace although it is most likely to be some of the transceivers deployed with the UK’s Bowman tactical communications architecture. Bowman backpack radios include the UK/PRC-355 five-watt/W system and UK/PRC-356 16W systems.
As Armada has profiled in the past, the MOD is in the midst of the Project Morpheus overarching modernisation of British military communications. Mr. Blower says the MMRs “have not been procured as part of the Morpheus (programme).” Nonetheless he says both radios can integrate into the Bowman and future Morpheus architectures. Moreover, “once in the hands of the users, it is likely that many lessons will be learned that should have a positive influence on future (radio) procurements.” (Source: Armada)
09 Jan 23. NATO Sending a Clear Message. The CR-14 cyber range in Tallinn was established by the Estonian Ministry of Defence in January 2021. It a major centre of excellence in cyber defence and is used by NATO for cyberspace exercises. (NATO photo by DEU OR-5 Maiwald)
NATO is developing new messaging standards protocol for cyberspace operations which could soon complement the Alliance’s existing messaging formats.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) uses a variety of written standardised messaging formats to share tactical data within and between alliance and allied militaries. These messages are sent across Tactical Datalinks (TDLs) like Link-11. Link-11 is hosted on radio networks using frequencies of two megahertz/MHz to 29.9MHz and 225MHz to 399.975MHz. This TDL mainly supports naval operations and is gradually being replaced by Link-22. The latter uses the same frequencies but carries more data than Link-11 and hosts more participants on individual TDL networks. NATO’s Link-16 tactical datalink uses frequencies of 960MHz to 1.215 gigahertz/GHz and mainly supports air operations.
The formats of the messages shared around these networks is standardised. From an interoperability perspective this makes sense. It ensures everyone shares the same information in the same way reducing risks of confusion or ambiguity. Link-11/22 uses so-called ‘M-Series’ messages and Link-16 ‘J-Series’ messages. The technical specifications for these messages are stipulated in NATO’s APP-11 message catalogue. NATO’s Information Exchange Requirements Harmonisation Working Group is APP-11’s custodian.
Alliance cyber defence is one of NATO’s responsibilities. In 2014, alliance heads of state and government endorsed an enhanced cyber defence policy at the NATO Summit in Newport, south Wales. The summit saw NATO affirm a policy regarding cyberattacks and Article-5. This article of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty “commits each member state to consider an armed attack against one member state … to be an armed attack against them all.” NATO’s affirmed that Article 5 applies “in case of a cyberattack with effects comparable to those of a conventional armed attack.”
Part of NATO’s implementation of this policy is regular exercises refining and enhancing the alliance’s cyber defence posture. Between 28th November and 2nd December 2022 NATO held its Cyber Coalition exercise in Tallinn, Estonia. The week-long initiative involved 1,000 cyber defenders from 26 alliance members, according to a NATO press release. Future NATO members Finland and Sweden sent participants as did Georgia, the European Union, Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland. Cyber Coalition 2022 explored “emerging and disruptive technologies, in support of military operators and commanders,” the press release continued. These technologies included cyber messaging standardisation to ease information sharing.
Much as Link-11/22 and Link-16 does in the tactical world, NATO is working to define a standard to easily share cyber defence information within and between its members. Dr. Alberto Domingo, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation cyberspace technical director, told Armada during the exercise that this messaging standard will eventually be enshrined in APP-11. He expects it to start being used by NATO members and the alliance writ large before then with implementation taking around one year. Messaging will facilitate cyber information and intelligence sharing, and automated exploitation of that information.
NATO is developing a messaging standard for cyberspace operations similar to messaging protocols used for tactical datalinks like Link-11/22 and Link-16.
Dr. Domingo said the aspiration is for this cyber messaging standard to closely replicate the architecture of J- and M-Series messages. The goal he says is to develop the cyber messaging format to at least Technology Readiness Level-8 (TRL-8). Standard definitions stipulate TRL-8 as a system being qualified and its development complete. Dr. Domingo is hopeful the messaging standard can then be tested during NATO cyber exercises in 2023.
The expectation is that NATO will initially use this messaging format to move information easily between national cyber threat databases. Over time, the format could expand to include cyber defence command and control information, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) data, and response information. In this way, the messaging format will mimic the tactical information shared around existing NATO TDLs. Like these TDL standards, the cyber messaging format uses very little bandwidth, Dr. Domingo added. He said that the messaging standard is likely to support operational/tactical cyber missions on the battlefield. This is important given the convergence of cyber warfare and electronic warfare missions at these levels of war. These latter subjects are discussed on more detail in our Putting the C into CEMA article. (Source: Armada)
18 Jan 23. F-22 cut from US Air Force data-sharing prototype. The U.S. Air Force will drop the F-22 from a communications prototyping effort closely tied to its Advanced Battle Management System, as the service works to pare down inventory of the aging aircraft.
The exclusion of the F-22 from the so-called ABMS Capability Release 1, meant to enable the secure transfer of data between aircraft and systems on the ground, was included in an analysis published this month by the Government Accountability Office.
The federal watchdog examined the Air Force’s contributions to the Pentagon’s connect-everything campaign, or Joint All-Domain Command and Control, at the behest of Congress, which has in the past slashed funding.
Initially, Capability Release 1 was designed to link and provide real-time sensor feedback to KC-46 refueling tankers, F-35s and F-22s, and separate command-and-control systems. The fifth-generation fighters cannot share information with one another, the GAO noted, due to differences in communications design and development.
Air Force officials told the watchdog the decision to dismiss the F-22 from preliminary Capability Release 1 work stems from its “reduced role in the future force structure,” among other factors. The combined fiscal 2023 budget request for the Air and Space forces, some $194 bn, called for cutting 150 aircraft, including older A-10s, KC-135s and F-22s.
Linking the F-35 has since taken precedence, the GAO said. F-22 connections may be revisited in the future.
“Historically, when DOD and the military departments acquired weapons systems, they generally prioritized individual system capabilities over connectivity, data interoperability, and functional compatibility across systems,” the report reads. “DOD recognizes that its systems now need to operate in battle environments that are more complex and demand greater connectivity.”
Capability Release 1 prototypes are expected to be installed on two KC-46 tankers in fiscal 2024, following roughly one year of setbacks tied to what the report described as “technical issues.” The tech builds on successes struck during a December 2019 exercise, at which the Air Force logged data transmission between F-35s and other aircraft.
Capability Release 1, more broadly, is a key project under the umbrella of ABMS, the Air Force’s JADC2 candidate. The Army and Navy likewise have their own candidates: Project Convergence, a weekslong tech crucible, and Project Overmatch, an advanced-networking endeavor rarely discussed in public.
Overall, JADC2 embodies how the U.S. wants to fight its future wars, with long-standing walls between air, land, sea, space and cyber demolished and forces across each domain reacting quicker and more efficiently than ever before.
Such an approach is necessary, defense officials say, to maintain an edge on China or Russia, which they describe as the nation’s top two national security threats. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
18 Jan 23. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), AT&T* and Fujitsu recently demonstrated 5G-enabled intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in Northrop Grumman’s new 5G lab. The demonstration integrated radios with Northrop Grumman’s tactical data links, AT&T’s private 5G network and Fujitsu’s Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) to transmit ISR data and video, proving our strength in connecting the battlespace. This is a critical step in building the digital battle network to support multi-domain operations.
“This critical capability will bring together the high speeds, low latency and cybersecurity protections of private 5G networks with the flexibility and scalability of commercial 5G capabilities,” said Ben Davies, vice president and general manager networked information solutions division, Northrop Grumman. “Enabling 5G connectivity for our warfighters across domains will help realize a connected battlespace for the joint force.”
Last spring, Northrop Grumman and AT&T established a joint research and development agreement to build a digital battle network powered by AT&T’s commercial 5G network and Northrop Grumman’s robust portfolio of capabilities that are at the forefront of military technological advancement to enable the joint force.
“This demonstration showcased the benefits of commercially available 5G for the Department of Defense and the open, standards-based technologies that we’re exploring and developing as leaders in the O-RAN Alliance,” said Lance Spencer, client executive vice president, defense, public sector, AT&T.
“Open RAN is accelerating 5G innovations to deliver high-speed, low-latency requirements for mission-critical applications,” said Greg Manganello, senior vice president and vice head of the 5G mobile systems business unit at Fujitsu. “Our collaboration with Northrop Grumman and AT&T highlights the benefits of the ecosystem underpinning of Open RAN, enabling new configurations of mission-critical communications networks.”
The collaboration between Northrop Grumman, AT&T and Fujitsu is designed to drive innovation at speed to deliver a cost-effective, scalable, open architecture solution for the DoD. This approach can enable rapid deployment of new capabilities and shorten the decision-making timeline in a multi-domain, contested environment – a key component in laying the foundation for Joint All-Domain Command and Control.
About Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with the capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ most challenging problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.
We help more than 100m U.S. families, friends and neighbors connect in meaningful ways every day. From the first phone call 140+ years ago to our 5G wireless and multi-gig internet offerings today, we @ATT innovate to improve lives. For more information about AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), please visit us at about.att.com. Investors can learn more at investors.att.com.
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Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc. is a leading provider of digital transformation solutions for network operators, service providers and content providers worldwide. We combine best-in-class hardware, software and services with multi-vendor expertise to enable cost savings, faster services delivery and improved network performance. Working closely with our customers and ecosystem partners, we design, build, operate and maintain better networks for the connected world. For more information, please visit our website or connect with us on LinkedIn.
17 Jan 23. Nordic states to develop common cybersecurity strategy. Norway is taking the lead to develop a defense-focused common cybersecurity strategy for the Nordic region.
The multinational agreement to develop the strategy followed a meeting of the Nordic Council’s executive committee in December. The council functions as the official organization for formal interparliamentary cooperation between the Nordic states. Formed in 1952, it includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands.
Norway currently holds the 12-month rotating presidency of the Nordic Council for 2023, having taken over from Finland in December.
The council outsourced the cybersecurity development project to the Nordic Defense Cooperation group, which consists of Denmark, Finalnd, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The effort will serve as part of NORDEFCO’s Vision 2025 initiative.
In the long term, the military-influenced strategy is to enhance intelligence sharing between countries, giving the Nordic nations a heightened capacity to defend against threats emanating from the cyber domain.
“Cybersecurity issues are more relevant than ever. In recent years, the number of serious cyberattacks has grown. Additionally, the war in Ukraine has a direct effect on the Nordic region on many different levels. All these factors serve the need to have a common Nordic cybersecurity strategy,” said Erkki Tuomioja, the Nordic Council’s president for 2022.
The Nordic states have explored the potential for a common cybersecurity strategy since 2016. But Russia’s war in Ukraine and the potential resulting destabalization of the High North and Baltic Sea regions drove a sharper focus on collaboration.
NORDEFCO’s Vision 2025 initiative will now accommodate this new mission to develop a cybersecurity framework that strengthens Nordic resilience against cyberthreats. NORDEFCO will liaise with military cyberthreat units and national cybersecurity agencies across Nordic nations.
Individually, Nordic states continue to bolster their cyber capacities and make capital investments in new projects. Sweden is investing an additional $130m in its military budget for 2023-2024 to bolster cyber capabilities. And Finland’s cybersecurity budget during the same period is being doubled to $80m.
For its part, Iceland launched a national cybersecurity development strategy in 2022 that will run to 2037. The initiative will include joint exercises with Nordic partners to test defensive and offensive cyberthreat solutions.
“Cybersecurity isn’t just a security issue. We also need it to fully harness the power of Nordic innovation. We need greater awareness, expertise and regulations covering cybersecurity to enable us to future-proof our society,” said Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Iceland’s minister of higher education, science and innovation. (Source: Defense News)
13 Jan 23. Pivoting to multi-vendor approach, US Army eyes data platform awards in late 2023. Army Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo told reporters the service plans to award contracts for the Vantage re-compete towards the end of this year.
The Army this year is planning to award multiple vendors a spot on its largest data analytics platform used across the entire service enterprise, a break from the single-vendor approach the service has used in the past and an attempt to be more IT agile.
Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo said on Thursday at the AFCEA Army IT Day that the service is “currently working through” a request for information and draft requirements for the re-compete of the decision-making platform, called Vantage.
“First, continued progress on the data products and support for soldiers,” Camarillo said of his priorities this year. “You know, we’re not taking a step back in any way on our push for unlocking our data and data-driven decision making. We’re going to pursue a multi-vendor approach that allows for best-in-breed industry approaches, and allows us to tailor the products for the specific use cases.
“And I think this is really important… [there will be] a new governance process to ensure that we allow both bottom-up, as I said, use cases to flow up, but also top-down direction on some of the most critical strategic priorities across the Army that allows us to make sure that we balance the need for direction on what priorities are the most relevant to also supporting local innovation in terms of unlocking data,” he added. “So this is going to be our approach.”
Vantage is a cloud-based platform used across the enterprise to help users make decisions by “joining and enriching ms of data points into Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) capable applications” and has the authority to operate on both unclassified and classified Army networks, according to the service. The platform has been powered by Palantir’s software since December 2019, when the Army awarded the company a production agreement worth up to $458 m, according to a Palantir press release.
Following his remarks, Camarillo noted specific use cases for Vantage, including “unliquidated obligations in our audit efforts” and helping with logistics and supply chain issues.
“So it is, you know, the part of the work that involves developing a data platform, working with the specific Army users to ingest unstructured and structured data that’s in legacy systems into a new visualization platform, and then developing it in a way that can work,” Camarillo said. “That’s what Vantage does.”
He added that the service plans to make awards for Vantage toward the end of this calendar year. According to the RFI, a contract award is currently planned for the second quarter of fiscal year 2024.
Meanwhile, Camarillo told reporters that after two of the Army’s top modernization officials have left their roles, it’s not going to “slow us down in terms of our efforts to make sure that we digitally transform the Army.” The service is searching for replacements for Paul Puckett, the Army’s cloud executive, and Raj Iyer, the service’s first chief information officer.
“So no, there’s no concern, no issue,” he said. “We’ll work through the deliberate process to find the right replacements and in the meantime we just want to make sure that A: we’re not losing momentum and B: we want to continue to thank both of those great leaders for their support.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Jan 23. Thales and NukkAI to Develop AI-based Data Fusion Solution for Military Applications. Military analysts in operations centres face significant challenges in extracting relevant information from the huge volumes of data generated by multiple sources such as video and audio streams, websites, Twitter feeds, satellite imagery, social media and telephone conversations. Real-time data analytics will enable them to develop advanced military strategies with greater efficiency.
Thales, an expert in artificial intelligence, plans to implement NukkAI’s solution in a number of its military data processing programmes. When operators are swamped by information, the solution will use real-time data exploitation and fusion methods to automatically review the knowledge available so that analysts can focus on elements of interest.
The explainable AI technology developed by NukkAI was put to the test during the world bridge tournament in March 2022, successfully beating eight human world champions at the well-known card game. The demonstration confirmed the potential of this approach for the development of innovative applications in various sectors of industry.
David Sadek, Vice President for Research, Technology & Innovation, who is in charge of AI projects at Thales, said: “This pilot project represents a real technological milestone for military applications of AI, enabling analysts to focus on the tasks where human beings can provide the most added value. The partnership with NukkAI is fully in line with our Thales TrUE AI approach, which favours the use of AI solutions that are trusted, safe, secure, explainable and responsible.”
Jean-Baptiste Fantun, co-founder and CEO of NukkAI, added: “There are multiple use cases for our solution in cybersecurity, education, industry, banking and insurance and in any other area where data from multiple sources needs to be combined, where outcomes need to be explainable and where human operators need to retain control at all times.”
NukkAI’s solution relies on the use of hybrid, explainable, collaborative and energy-efficient artificial intelligence methods, unlike the “black box” algorithms in widespread use today, which lack transparency and raise issues of human-machine interaction and high energy consumption.
Hybrid: NukkAI’s AI uses a combination of modules relying on different paradigms of artificial intelligence, symbolic AI and digital intelligence.
Explainability: For the bridge tournament, NukkAI developed a tool to analyse game play and explain the strategy used, making it possible to transfer the robot’s skills to the human or show human how their strategy was inferior to that of the robot.
Collaboration: While “black box” AI is not designed for human-machine interaction, NukkAI’s solution can interact with humans and explain the reasons behind its choices and decisions. And it is the human who makes the decision, following suggestions made by the machine.
Energy efficiency: Developed with the support of the CNRS, which provided access to the Jean Zay – the most powerful supercomputer in France – the NukkAI solution that won the bridge tournament in March 2022 consumed 200,000 times less energy than the AI used to beat the world Go champion. (Source: ASD Network)
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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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Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.