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10 Feb 23. US-UK: Sanctions on Moscow-linked ransomware group will likely trigger retaliation from RussiaIn a joint statement on 9 February, the US and the UK levied financial sanctions against seven men accused of operating the ransomware group, TrickBot. The US Department of the Treasury accused the Trickbot group of being associated with Russian intelligence services and that this partnership led to the targeting of many US companies and government entities throughout the years. The seven men included in the sanctions have had their assets frozen and have a travel ban from the US and the UK. This highlights the continued operation that the two countries are conducting to combat cyber crime, as it shortly follows the takedown of the leak site operations of ransomware group Hive. Due to the targeted individuals having close ties to Moscow, there is a likelihood that Russia will retaliate with its own sanctions against individuals who are active supporters of the West. Following this, there is a realistic possibility that threat groups with ties to Russian intelligence services, particularly other ransomware groups, will increase attacks against US and UK government entities. (Source: Sibylline)
10 Feb 23. Global: Spyware discovery on Chinese-made mobile phones underscores elevated surveillance, corporate espionage risks. On 3 February, university researchers disclosed that popular Android devices made in China and shipped globally contain pre-installed spyware. Android devices made by Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Oppo Realme were deemed to contain elevated privileges designed to exfiltrate user and device information in a stealthy way, including system information, geolocation, user profile, social relationships and call history. The devices sent this data to the specific device vendor and Chinese mobile network providers, even if the device did not have a Chinese SIM card and was operated in a different country. This revelation highlights the risk of surveillance on individuals who are not in China, underscoring the need for stricter user data privacy controls globally, especially for technology companies that are state-owned or partially state-owned. The research findings underline the disparity between how privacy regulations are enforced in different regions and elevate China-linked surveillance and corporate espionage risks to foreign businesses and individuals. (Source: Sibylline)
10 Feb 23. Israel Aerospace Industry and MBDA Germany to collaborate on electronic warfare. The cooperation will include promoting solutions for training in air defense and electronic warfare based on the ground-breaking “Scorpius” system produced by IAI.
Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) and MBDA Germany – a world leader in missile systems – announced a cooperation agreement to promote solutions in the fields of electronic warfare and to hold electronic warfare training in Germany on Thursday.
The cooperation will include promoting solutions for training in air defense and electronic warfare based on the ground-breaking “Scorpius” system produced by IAI. The electronic warfare systems from IAI will be integrated into the worlds of air defense and training systems of MBDA German.
IAI’s “Scorpius” is the first system in the world capable of dealing with numerous electronic threats at the same time and across a variety of frequencies and different directions. IAI will also offer the German armed forces a ground jamming system for use in electronic air defense based on the Scorpios systems developed by the company.
MBDA Germany aims to leverage its expertise in defense systems and training in order to ensure future integration and compatibility with the IAI systems to German and European training organizations.
IAI’s international collaborations
IAI has worked with defense organizations across the world – such as in India – since its inception in 1953. Germany received approval from Israel and the United States to purchase IAI’s “Arrow-3” missile defense system in April 2022 and signed a €200 m deal with German-based Hensoldt – a leading company in Europe’s defense industry – in 2021.
The Israeli aerospace manufacturer released its quarterly report for Q3 2022 in November, reporting the most profitable period in the history of the aerospace industry with a 54% jump in net profit to approximately $202m. (Source: News Now/https://www.jpost.com/israel-news)
09 Feb 23. US-Germany: New threat actor targeting organisations to steal information for financial gain and suspected espionage purposes. Proofpoint researchers discovered a new financially-motivated threat actor, TA866. The group is suspected of having Russian origins and has targeted businesses mainly in the US and Germany to steal information. TA866’s operations began during October 2022 and have continued into 2023. The group hijacked legitimate email threads to send phishing emails that contained an attached Publisher files or URL requesting the user to look over a presentation. If the link is clicked, the malware (dubbed WasabiSeed) runs and installs a tool that screenshots a user’s device. The tool, Screenshotter, covertly tracks a user manually to find high-value targets, before conducting any information-stealing. Whilst the motivations mainly appear to be for financial gain, the malware contains Russian language in parts of the codebase. The actor appears most active during working hours consistent to time zones in Russia, and the WasabiSeed malware was used in the past by other threat groups that were for espionage purposes. Whilst this actor engages in campaigns that are industry agnostic, they appear to target businesses mainly in the US and Germany, therefore increasing the security and operational risk to organisations in these regions. (Source: Sibylline)
09 Feb 23. Comms in a Cold Climate. Dismounted Finnish Army soldiers are seen during an exercise. The force is receiving an overarching enhancement of its command and control systems. Recent purchases of new communications systems are one of several command and control modernisations ongoing in the Finnish Army. In early December 2022 Conlog announced it would supply containerised communications systems to the Puolustusvoimat/Försvarsmakten (Finnish Defence Force). A press release said these will be used “to maintain communications in challenging environments.” This is particularly apt given Finland’s location in Europe’s far north. Should all contract options be exercised, this could be worth up to $42.4m to the company.
Colonel Antti Tunkkari, inspector of signals for the Maavoimat/Armén (Finnish Army) told Armada these new containerised systems will form part of the force’s M18 Command and Control (C2) system. M18 transmits data and voice communications across the tactical manoeuvre force using wired and wireless links.
Conlog will begin deliveries this year concluding in 2024, Col. Tunkkari continued. The containerised systems will house Bittium tactical radios and routers. Several tactical radios used by the army are provided by the company along with the TAC WIN (Tactical Wireless Internet Protocol Network). TAC WIN is an innovative system providing broadband IP connections across the battlefield for mobile and fixed units. The company’s literature says TAC WIN can also be used by naval and air forces.
The TAC WIN architecture includes tactical routers, radio heads, a specific waveform and a tactical network management tool. The waveform carries traffic securely across an IP network which can comprise up to 1,000 nodes. Varying wavebands of five megahertz/MHz, ten megahertz or 20MHz let data be carried at rates up to 50 megabits-per-second. Transmission security is assured with the waveform’s AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard-256) encryption. Added security is provided through frequency hopping and mobile ad-hoc networking. T waveform carries voice traffic alongside data.
The radio heads send and receive traffic across the network. Three different heads are available carrying traffic on frequencies of 225MHz to 400MHz with a five-megahertz bandwidth. Alternatively, a radio head with bandwidths of either five megahertz or ten megahertz is available. This radio head uses frequencies of 1.350 gigahertz/GHz to 2.4GHz. Wider bandwidths are achievable with Bittium’s TAC WIN Radio Head-IV using 4.4GHz to five gigahertz frequencies providing five, ten and 20MHz channel bandwidths. Col. Tunkkari says that TAC WIN is now integrated into the M18 architecture: “This will enable extending the backbone network’s voice and data transmission capability to lower unit levels.”
Bittium also provides conventional tactical radios to the Finnish Army. These include its Tough SDR vehicular and Tough SDR handheld radios. Both use frequencies of 30MHz to 2.5GHz and can carry the TAC WIN waveform. Bittium is part of the pan-European Secure Software Defined Radio (ESSOR) programme developing a common high data rate waveform. ESSOR is managed by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement/Joint Armaments Cooperation Organisation). OCCAR is a multilateral European institution managing pan-European defence projects. The A4ESSOR consortium developing the waveform includes Bittium (Finland), Indra (Spain), Leonardo (Italy), Radmor (Poland), Rohde and Schwarz (Germany) and Thales (France).
ESSOR’s efforts will result in a ultra-high frequency waveform using frequencies of 225MHz to 400MHz. Up to 200 nodes can be housed on a single ESSOR network. The waveform can handle data rates of up to one megabit-per-second. The militaries of the ESSOR member states are expected to adopt the HDR waveform in the coming years. This will be an important step forward in enhancing pan-European communications interoperability.
Col. Tunkkari said the army typically uses Elbit’s CNR-9000 tactical radio series at the battalion level. The CNR-9000 family includes very high frequency PRC-930SW and PRC-930HP backpack radios. These use frequencies of 30MHz to 88MHz, although Elbit says customers can optionally extend this to 108MHz. Similar frequencies are used by the vehicular VRC-950 transceiver. Like TAC WIN, these radios link into the M18 architecture.
Beyond the new containerised communications systems and continued roll-out of M18, Col. Tunkkari says plans cover new High Frequency (HF: three megahertz to 30MHz) radios for the army. This will include “the testing and procurement of software-based HF radios” for the Finnish Defence Force. Moreover, the reach of the M18 system will be extended to the tactical level.
As Finland looks forward to joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the coming years, these modernisations will have added importance. Enhancing interoperability within and between forces is vital to ensuring manoeuvre is performed rapidly and efficiently across all domains. The Finnish Army’s ongoing communications modernisation will make an important contribution. (Source: Armada)
08 Feb 23. Heaven’s Above. Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado is the headquarters of the US Space Force’s Space Delta-8 which has responsibility for all US military satellite communications.
Late last year it was revealed that the US Space Force had taken over all the Department of Defence’s military satellite communications. What does this mean in practice?
The US Space Force (USSF) is America’s youngest armed service. Established in December 2019, it is also the smallest with 8,400 personnel according to the Department of Defence (DOD). Nonetheless, it is growing. In late December the USSF assumed responsibility for all DOD military Satellite Communications (SATCOM). This placed SATCOM training, operations, acquisition and accompanying tasks under one umbrella.
The move integrates communications satellites operated by the US Navy and US Army in the USSF order-of-battle. Space Force has several ‘deltas’ each of which assumes a specific command. SATCOM is the responsibility of Space Delta-8 headquartered at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. Several DOD SATCOM capabilities have already transitioned to Space Force. The US Air Force’s Extremely High Frequency constellation became Space Force’s responsibility in 2019, shortly after the service began. This was followed in June 2019 by the US Navy’s 10th Fleet Naval Operations Centre. This controlled all the US Navy’s SATCOM assets like Fleet SATCOM, Ultra High Frequency Follow-On and Mobile User Objective System. These were placed under Space Delta-8’s 10th Space Operations Squadron (SOPS) at Point Mugu naval airbase, California.
Two months later, army assets from the force’s 53rd Signal Battalion migrated into the 53rd SOPS. This formation operates army SATCOM capabilities. These include super high frequency payloads onboard the Wideband Global SATCOM constellation and the Defence Satellite Communications System. The 53rd SOPS has detachments at Schriever; Fort Detrick and Fort Meade, Maryland; Wahiawa, Hawaii; Landstuhl, southwest Germany and Fort Buckner, Okinawa, Japan.
In addition, the USSF assumed the SATCOM responsibilities of the US Army’s Space and Missile Defence Command, it told Armada in a written statement: “This cadre of primarily civilian experts is responsible for providing all DOD SATCOM system payload planning, management, and technical support across all military SATCOM and commercial SATCOM.”
The consolidation is the product of the 2020 US National Defence Authorisation Act: “Having all military SATCOM missions operating under the US Space Force allows for more efficient and succinct operations, reduces duplication of effort across the DOD, and provides for the centralisation of funding efforts to better support military SATCOM operations for US combatant commanders, services, agencies, and our international partners,” the statement continued: “Currently, all existing DOD military SATCOM capabilities reside within the US Space Force portfolio.”
This full transition has been achieved without any increases in personnel “above what was stipulated in service-level agreements,” the statement added. The past seven months has seen military and civilian personnel from the US Army and US Navy transition into Space Force, reflecting the reorganisation.
It will be interesting to see the effect of this consolidation as Space Force moves forward. Streamlining military SATCOM procurement, delivery, enhancement and operation should pay dividends. This will be vital as the DOD moves forward on networking efforts like the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system. (Source: Armada)
09 Feb 23. February Radio Roundup. US and Belgian signallers are seen here during a binational exercise. The communications of the Belgian armed forces have received a major enhancement via the recent award of a contract to Airbus to provide SATCOM.
Armada’s monthly round-up of all the latest electronic warfare news in the product, programme and operational domains.
Doodle Labs has announced that its Helix Smart Radio meets the US Defence Innovation Unit’s (DIU) Blue Uninhabited Aerial Systems (UAS) Framework 2.0 requirement. A statement provided to Armada by the company said that the Blue UAS Framework 2.0’s “line of effort is to support the development and availability of interoperable NDAA (National Defence Authorisation Act) compliant UAS components and software for use by government agencies and industry partners.” As part of this framework the DIU is looking for a new datalink to meet requirements pertaining to coverage of multiple frequency bands; low size, weight and power; long range, encryption, standards-based development and integration with other Blue vendors and components, Doodle Labs added. Helix Smart Radio development was sponsored by the DIU and “meets all six of the main requirements.” The multiband radio covers frequencies of 1.6 gigahertz/GHz to 2.5GHz: “This allows government and defence groups to deploy UAS platforms to different geographic locations and seamlessly operate without having to swap out equipment. Helix is the only mesh radio able to cover this wide range of frequencies in a single radio.” The company added that the radio is used on several UAS including those produced by Teal, Vantage Robotics and PDW.
Doodle Labs’ Helix Smart Radio meets the requirements of the US Defence Innovation Unit’s Blue Uninhabited Aerial Systems (UAS) Framework 2.0. The radio covers frequencies of 1.6GHz to 2.5GHz.
SPOT the difference
On 17th January, Boston Dynamics announced it had joined Persistent Systems’ Wave Relay Ecosystem. A press release detailing the news described the ecosystem as an industry alliance of uninhabited system and sensor producers all using Persistent Systems’ Wave Relay Mobile Ad Hoc Networking (MANET). The company’s MPU5 MANET radios have proved popular in the US uninhabited vehicles and systems community. Persistent Systems will supply these radios to Boston Dynamics for use with the company’s robots. A statement provided to Armada by Persistent Systems said Boston Dynamics has been a Persistent Systems customer for six years. “By now joining the ecosystem, the company is making Wave Relay the preferred network for SPOT, their robotic quadruped.” This “also signals to customers operating other systems on the Wave Relay network that SPOT is compatible with their platforms.” The statement continued that “a few dozen” MPU5s using the Wave Relay network have already been purchased “for use on SPOT platforms. These robotic quadrupeds will be employed in (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive, and weapons of mass destruction) detection missions by a federal customer.”
08 Feb 23. Boeing, BMT conduct successful test of locally developed maritime communications system.
The Maritime Warfighter Network, developed from Boeing’s integrated battlespace telecommunication network, is expected to enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet connectivity and joint force capabilities.
The recent test served to validate the MWN’s networking and management software, which Boeing explains includes meshed broadband line-of-sight radios and both wired and wireless connectivity to shore, dubbed NINShore.
It further trialled the system’s strategic connectivity and resilience as required by the ADF’s Joint Black Core Network.
“Together, we demonstrated the system’s high-level technical and operational capabilities, designed to provide scalable, distributed data services to the Australian Defence Force (ADF),” Murray Brabrook, director Joint Systems, Boeing Defence Australia, said.
“The maturity of our technology will ensure the shortest path to a minimal viable product and provide sovereign control to evolve the network in line with Navy’s emerging needs.”
Under the partnership, BMT utilised its pedigree in the maritime domain to assess hardware suitability and provide essential operator feedback.
“Having supported similar projects across the entire Australian naval fleet, we are experts at integrating complex systems into maritime platforms that will stand up to the rigours of sea deployment,” said Graeme Nayler, regional business director, APAC, BMT.
“Our work in supporting the capability life cycle and managing system integration across the maritime domain is absolutely critical to ensuring we provide a resilient, evolvable communications system that supports the Navy’s ability to maintain a warfighting edge.”
Additional test and integration trials are scheduled for the coming year, with the companies hoping to continue maturing and de-risking the system.
(Source: Defence Connect)
08 Feb 23. Sensor solution provider HENSOLDT has proven the effectiveness of its jamming system “Kalaetron Attack” against air defence radars of various types for the first time in extended flight tests. In challenging near-mission scenarios, a demonstrator system on board a PC-12 test aircraft proved that it can detect even the latest air defence radars in flight and interfere with them by means of precisely directed jamming signals.
“Neutralising enemy air defence radars is an essential prerequisite for the deployment of own air forces on the modern battlefield,” says Christoph Ruffner, head of the Spectrum Dominance & Airborne Solutions Division at HENSOLDT. “Our flight tests proved that Kalaetron Attack can combat ground-based threats to our air force and protect aircrews.”
The flight tests followed immediately after successful laboratory and ground tests, so that the effectiveness in the so-called “Airborne Electronic Attack” (AEA) mission has now been comprehensively proven. The verification flights from Augsburg airport followed scenarios of increasing complexity against various radars. They demonstrated the effectiveness of the latest technologies employed, as well as the ability to engage multiple targets and the use of various jamming techniques.
The “Kalaetron Attack” jamming system is part of HENSOLDT’s fully digital ‘Kalaetron’ product family, which is used in various forms in self-protection and signal reconnaissance systems by the German Armed Forces. In addition to cognitive elements of artificial intelligence, the core components are a fully digitalised, broadband sensor and an electronically controllable jammer. Metallic 3D printing has enabled a condensed design of the electronic components so that the jammer can be easily integrated into pod formats commonly used worldwide or directly into various flying platforms. Kalaetron Attack, as an escort jammer on board the Eurofighter, can significantly increase the Eurofighter’s assertiveness against highly integrated air defence clusters. Due to its scalability, the system can also be used in land- or ship-based applications.
07 Feb 23. Comtech Receives Additional Funding for U.S. Army Communications. Comtech (NASDAQ: CMTL) announced today that it was awarded four Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) III Satellite Systems and Services task order modifications exceeding $20m dollars, under the Global Tactical Advanced Communication Systems (GTACS) IDIQ award, to support global U.S. Army operations.
“With the convergence of space and terrestrial communications, the seamless mobility of information is paramount to maintaining strategic advantage across today’s information dominant battlespace,” said Ken Peterman, President and CEO, Comtech. “Current events illustrate the significant advantage communications technologies provide to warfighters operating across all domains. As the United States Department of Defense (DOD) continues to allocate technology resources to deter adversaries and address a wide range of geopolitical challenges, Comtech is uniquely positioned to deliver resilient, battle-proven communications capabilities that will significantly enhance information dominance, and mission effectiveness in all domain operations.”
Comtech’s portfolio of defense and security technologies are uniquely positioned to deliver capabilities that will enhance Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) operations. The company has extensive experience developing and deploying customized, interoperable, robust, and resilient communications systems for all branches of the DOD and coalition forces. Comtech’s expansive portfolio of defense and security technologies is designed to continuously evolve over time to meet emerging Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) use cases and enhance mission effectiveness in future all domain command and control operations.
Comtech Telecommunications Corp. is a leading global technology company providing terrestrial and wireless network solutions, next-generation 9-1-1 emergency services, satellite and space communications technologies, and cloud native capabilities to commercial and government customers around the world. Our unique culture of innovation and employee empowerment unleashes a relentless passion for customer success. With multiple facilities located in technology corridors throughout the United States and around the world, Comtech leverages our global presence, technology leadership, and decades of experience to create the world’s most innovative communications solutions. For more information, please visit www.comtech.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
07 Feb 23. The 7th UK-Japan Cyber Dialogue. The seventh UK-Japan Cyber Dialogue took place on Tuesday, 7 February in Tokyo, Japan.
The meeting was co-chaired by Will Middleton, Cyber Director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Hideo Ishizuki, Cyber Policy Ambassador at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Representatives attended from the UK’s FCDO, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and from Japan’s MOFA, National Security Secretariat (NSS), National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC), National Police Agency (NPA), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of Defense (MOD).
Officials exchanged views on a range of topics related to cyber security, including app security and privacy, the security of smart cities, the cyber industry and digital supply chains. The two sides also spoke about cooperation in the international fora including the UN, 5G and Open RAN technologies and capacity building in cybersecurity.
Both sides affirmed that the two countries will continue to meet under the Cyber Dialogue. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 Feb 23. PacStar® Radio Chassis Deploy Wide Range of Radio Types to Eliminate Communications Gaps in Military and Civil Operations.
Tactical, mobile PacStar Radio Chassis speed and simplify the bridging of analog radio and IP communications at the edge of the battlefield
– Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division, a leading developer and supplier of advanced Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) communications solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), has expanded its support for deployed DoD, civilian, and coalition partner radio systems with a rugged chassis family designed to speed and simplify the integration and deployment of heterogeneous radio types. Available in three- and four-radio configurations, the new PacStar Radio Chassis are COTS-based, modular, tactical and expeditionary, rugged radio, voice, and IP integrated solutions. The chassis use radio brackets, (available off the shelf or custom designed if required), to support a wide array of radio integration use cases, including legacy Radio Over Internet Protocol (RoIP) integration, mobile ad hoc network (MANET) integration, and tactical data link interoperability. PacStar Radio Chassis can be used in conjunction with the PacStar 463 RoIP module to cross-band radios to eliminate communications gaps caused by the use of disparate radio systems in military and homeland defense operations.
“A common hurdle, whether in the battlefield or during first responder civil operations, is the communications gap that results from the use of multiple different radio types in the field,” said Chris Wiltsey, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions division. “Our new PacStar Radio Chassis expands the existing PacStar Modular Radio Center to solve that problem by easing and speeding the deployment of disparate radio types in a compact, rugged common enclosure, with support for the most popular DoD and civilian radios. Whether a public emergency where police, fire, and other services need to talk with each other, or at the tactical edge where our warfighters need to communicate with coalition forces, radio interoperability helps to ensure mission success.”
The new PacStar Radio Chassis share the same external dimensions as Curtiss-Wright’s popular PacStar 400-Series Smart Chassis and can populate one half of a PacStar Standardized A-Kit/Vehicle Envelope (SAVE)-compatible enclosure or any of the other PacStar 400-Series mounting and transport solutions for person-carry, vehicle mount, or tactical semi-fixed applications. The chassis can be used standalone or to extend the capabilities of a PacStar Modular Radio Center (MRC) system, leveraging the PacStar MRC’s PacStar 463 RoIP/Voice module to translate disparate radio types and provide voice gateway services to tactical IP networks.
Curtiss-Wright has established partnerships with leading suppliers to further extend the capability of its deployed radio solutions. For example, a PacStar Radio Chassis can leverage a PacStar 463 running SCI TOCNET inside of the PacStar MRC or can pair with a PacStar 451 server running REDCOM Sigma, or Motorola WAVE. Applications include analog-to-RoIP use cases such as voice convergence, network extension, and radio cross-banding. The PacStar Radio Chassis can also integrate MANET radios, for inter-team and WAN access, into tactical IP networks. The chassis can also support the translation of multiple tactical data link (TDL) formats between ground/air/sea assets.
Wide Range of Configuration Options
Three variants of the compact PacStar Radio Chassis are currently available, and include the PacStar Powered 4-Radio Chassis, PacStar Powered 3-Radio Chassis, and PacStar Unpowered 4-Radio Chassis. Powered chassis include a single-slot integrated power system. The rugged, high-capacity power supply runs on a wide range of worldwide AC power, or DC power, providing power to radios via user accessible rugged cabling in the rear of each chassis. PacStar Unpowered Radio Chassis are intended to host additional radios while receiving their power from a powered PacStar Radio Chassis or PacStar MRC system.
PacStar Radio Brackets
PacStar Radio Brackets are custom-designed to mount compatible tactical or civilian radios and include backup batteries and connectors for voice and data ports. PacStar Radio Backets are removable from the PacStar Radio Chassis while radios are in operation, utilizing integrated backup batteries. Brackets, sold separately and now available, include the ViaSat BATS-D AN/PRC-161 handheld Link 16 radio, the Persistent Systems MPU5 handheld Radio, and the L3Harris AN-PRC-163 handheld radio. PacStar Radio Brackets are currently in development for a wide variety of additional radio types, including the AN/PRC-167, AN/PRC-148C, Silvus StreamCaster, DTC SDR-H2, and TrellisWare TW-900. For information on availability, please contact your account manager or .
06 Feb 23. UK MoD introduces new Cloud Strategic Roadmap for Defence.
The roadmap presents the MoD’s intent to expedite plans for hyperscale Cloud adoption.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched a new policy paper ‘Cloud Strategic Roadmap for Defence’, which is designed to help drive and accelerate a digital future.
The roadmap outlines the ways and means to adopt advanced Cloud platforms and realise the Digital Backbone and Data Strategy for Defence.
According to the paper, the Cloud will provide the foundation to develop and deliver the future digital capability required for defence users. It will improve user experience both within the enterprise and at the tactical edge.
The paper is aimed at a broader audience and offers intent, direction, and guidance for all defence functions, commands, and enabling organisations to better compete in the digital age.
MoD chief information officer, digital functional lead Charlie ForTe said: “A critical component of our Digital Backbone is hyperscale Cloud capabilities across all classifications. Our roadmap sets out our explicit intent to coordinate and accelerate the most ambitious plans for hyperscale Cloud adoption across defence.
“Our future is one that realises data as a strategic asset, that enables us to move faster than our adversaries. Defence will have the unsurpassed ability to consume, aggregate, analyse, and exploit data at orders of magnitude more than ever before, and it will be fit for our future of integrated global warfighting across all domains.
“We are setting out a powerful vision with supporting plans and programmes to cohere and mandate consumption of radically advanced Cloud services.”
The paper noted that the MoD has already started working on the commitment towards the Digital Backbone realisation.
It has already introduced hyperscale Cloud services at OFFICIAL and launched CIRRUS and the Digital Foundry.
The MoD will focus on collaborating with industry and providers to form a strategic ecosystem of Cloud service providers. This is to gain access to the necessary hyperscale Cloud services at all classifications.
Forte added: “We will consolidate and rationalise existing capabilities, alongside designing and delivering new capabilities to offer a single service across defence, through the delivery vehicle, the Cirrus Portfolio. We will work with the world’s leading suppliers, and those who have delivered these capabilities in the US military.
“We look forward to realising this vision together, with modern, fast, coherent, and secure Cloud services that enable the true value of our data to be exploited throughout defence.” (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Feb 23. British Army troops test new MMRs in Belizean jungle.
The new MMRs will replace the British Army’s Bowman tactical communications systems. Airborne signallers from The British Army’s 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron, Royal Corps of Signals have started testing the new multi-mode radios (MMR) in forest environments. The MMR capability test is being conducted as part of an exercise, Mercury Canopy, in the jungles of Belize. According to the army, dense jungles are one of the most challenging environments for conducting radio communications activities, as the moist and dense vegetation absorbs all the radio waves and hinders the line-of-sight transmission.
The Belizean jungle’s hot and humid conditions also pose radio handling and maintenance issues for the troops.
Information systems engineer sergeant Tom Gale said: “MMR has performed very well out in the jungle. It’s been a real challenge for us to learn how to use equipment that’s new to the army, with new capabilities. We’ve hit speed bumps but worked out how to use the equipment to get around them every time, and that’s been very rewarding.”
In November last year, the UK Government awarded a £90m contract to L3 Harris Communications Systems to deliver over 1,300 units of MMRs for the UK Armed Forces.
The MMRs will replace the British Army’s Bowman tactical radio systems. They will be used by the country’s multi-domain ground military forces, or will be mounted onto different land platforms and vehicles.
Furthermore, the new dual-channel radios will provide both voice and data communication capabilities over alternative networks.
216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron officer commanding major Liam Crane said: “The mesh networking capabilities mean that we can run applications so troops out in the Belizean jungle and back at our headquarters in Colchester are working off the same information at the same time.”
06 Feb 23. Commonwealth to invest $2bn upgrading Growlers. Included in the investment is $277m to upgrade the training ranges flown over by Growler pilots, as well as upgraded sensor and jamming capabilities.
The deal with CEA Technologies will see advanced radar capabilities installed at RAAF Base Amberley and the Delamere Air Training Area.
It will form part of a larger $2bn program that will also see the aircraft itself upgraded with sensor and jammer upgrades and new longer-range missiles.
The EA-18G Growler is an electronic attack aircraft, designed to jam or destroy military electronic systems — including radars and communications — to curtail enemy operations.
Australia has a fleet of 11 and is the only country outside the US to operate the aircraft, which is effectively a variant of the Super Hornet.
“The Albanese government is working closely with defence industry partners, and Australian companies will be involved as much as possible throughout the life of this project,” Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said.
“I’m proud that this project will continue to develop Australia’s own CEA Technologies, a world-leading radar technology company.
“We are delivering leading-edge technology the RAAF needs to face an increasingly complex and uncertain strategic environment.”
It follows Raytheon last year agreeing to a new five-year, $110m deal to deliver training support services for the RAAF’s Super Hornets and Growlers. The contract involves upgrading and extending air combat training support at Base Amberley in Queensland through the provision of ground simulator training support. This is expected to include maintenance and engineering services, as well as aircrew training such as instruction courseware development and force generation tasks. The work is tipped to employ approximately 49 personnel from Raytheon Australia and local pilot training provider Milskil. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Feb 23. L3Harris’ ICI team chosen to showcase capabilities during AWE 22. The team demonstrated their technology to prepare the armed forces for future conflicts in an urban EME. L3Harris Technologies has announced that its Intelligence and Cyber International (ICI) team was selected for the UK’s Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) – Urban Series 2022-24.
Based in Tewkesbury, UK, the ICI team, as one of the participating companies, demonstrated their technology that aims to prepare the UK Armed Forces for various future conflicts in an urban electromagnetic environment (EME).
The company said an urban EME has ever-changing physical characteristics that hamper overall threat detection.
The demonstration was conducted over a period of two weeks.
AWE is a series of annual events conducted by The British Army to provide an opportunity to various industry partners, academics, and organisations to assess and demonstrate their new military capabilities and technologies.
The prototype systems provided by participating stakeholders are used by the armed forces in a realistic scenario to provide their final feedback.
According to the British Army, this Urban Series 2022-24 has been designed to combine experimentation with tactical functions by facilitating year-on-year development for each focus area, resulting in the final integration experiment.
The AWE features three annually held series, of which first was conducted in November 2022 and the remaining two will be held in autumn 2023 and 2024.
Last year’s series, titled Sustain and Protect, aimed to evaluate how the armed forces can ‘sustain and protect’ themselves in an urban warfare environment. The 2023 series, according to the British Army, will now evaluate how the forces ‘shape’ their allies, adversaries, and enemies to ‘defend’ themselves on the urban battlefield. Titled AWE Shape & Defend, the series will focus on both information and outreach activities, as well as precision strike and physical and non-physical offensive capabilities. (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Feb 23. Europe: Ransomware group exploiting unpatched vulnerability poses heightened threat to national systems. On 3 February, the French CERT released an alert regarding ransomware threat groups exploiting a VMware vulnerability, CVE-2021-21974, to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable devices. The campaign targets vulnerable VMware ESXi hypervisors, which have had a patch available since February 2021. According to researchers, some attacks deliver the Nevada ransomware, although it is also suspected the ransomware delivered could be a new family, tracked as ESXiArgs. The Italian CERT is aware that several national systems in the country are vulnerable and it is likely that those will be targeted by threat actors. Most of the ransomware attacks targeted systems in France, as well as Canada, Finland, and the United States. Vulnerabilities that have unapplied patches available leave organisations susceptible to targeting, which could be avoided with adequate security patching policies. The recent rise in ransomware attacks, combined with unpatched existing vulnerabilities, pose an elevated security, operational, and financial risk to organisations in Europe. (Source: Sibylline)
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.