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31 Aug 23. Lockheed Martin Delivers Initial 5G Testbed to U.S. Marine Corps and Begins Mobile Network Experimentation . Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered the final Phase 1 Initial Prototype 5G testbed variant for the Open Systems Interoperable and Reconfigurable Infrastructure Solution (OSIRIS) to the Marine Corps program management team aboard Marine Corps (USMC) Base Camp Pendleton, California, and will begin mobile network experimentation. OSIRIS is a 5G communications network infrastructure testbed for expeditionary operations experimentation for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s (OUSD R&E) FutureG & 5G Office and the USMC that was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2021.
Phase 2, experimentation, continues Lockheed Martin’s partnership with the USMC to integrate specific mission applications onto the OSIRIS 5G testbed for evaluation. In parallel, emerging wireless technology will be assessed and selected for use as part of the continued build out of the OSIRIS 5G testbed concluding with three distinct 5G standalone network configurations:
- Trailer-mounted 5G Nomadic Tower;
- ATV-mounted 5G Mobile Relay; and
- Transit case deployable 5G Operational Facility.
“The Lockheed Martin-led team, in close partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps has proven that quickly evolving 5G commercial technology can be leveraged in near real-time to solve current and emergent mission challenges,” said Deon Viergutz, vice president, Lockheed Martin Spectrum Convergence. “The OSIRIS program is leveraging Lockheed Martin’s experience maturing vendor-interoperable solutions based on open standards, which will enable a wide variety of composable 5G solutions tailored to any mission and platform.”
The Lockheed Martin-led team, with subcontractors Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC), Radisys Corporation (NASDAQ: RSYS) and Rampart Communications, Inc., has worked closely with the PM team aboard Camp Pendleton, and the team will continue their close collaboration with the USMC and OUSD R&E over the next 15 months to test, evaluate and ultimately demonstrate the technology as part of a Fleet Marine Force (FMF) event in the Southern California region.
Increased Bandwidth, Faster Speeds in Minutes Instead of Hours
To progress from phase 1 to the experimentation phase, the team successfully integrated an Open Radio Unit (O-RU) with Lockheed Martin’s hybrid base station running Intel’s FlexRAN reference software and hardware technology including Intel Xeon processors, ethernet adapters and accelerators. This integration makes the OSIRIS system one of the first tactical 5G standalone small cell systems compliant with the Open-Radio Access Network (O-RAN) 7.2 split architecture.
O-RAN 7.2 split architecture compliance optimizes the OSIRIS system to oversee increases in bandwidth while also maximizing virtualization of shared resources like radios.
This is crucial to supporting the USMC’s Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) goals, which involve Marines operating in contested environments with increased bandwidth requirements. Additionally, the OSIRIS system aims to reduce overall set-up time.
OSIRIS, a key initiative of Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL® programs, will help address the need for test facilities that enable rapid experimentation and dual-use application prototyping. Here is how:
- The testbed will identify areas for further synergy between 5G networks and DOD platforms that will enhance customer capabilities.
- The infrastructure will allow for the connection of various 5G-ready user devices, sensors, vehicles, and endpoints to explore the military utility of commercial 5G technologies and pave the way for onboarding of new technologies from other OUSD investments while simultaneously addressing cybersecurity requirements.
- This capability will further enable and advance DOD’s Joint All Domain Operations concept.
31 Aug 23. New cyber espionage group uses sophisticated methods to target government entities, tech firms. On 30 August, cyber security company Trend Micro released a report on a new threat group, ‘Earth Estries’, conducting sophisticated cyber espionage campaigns that target government and technology organisations globally. Organisations have been targeted in Germany, Malaysia, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan and the US. In April, Earth Estries was observed using compromised accounts with administrative privileges to obtain access to organisations’ networks. Subsequently, the group used DLL side-loading – a method to trick the operating system into executing malicious code, often for lateral movement and gaining persistence. Notably, the group was observed regularly cleaning the existing backdoor installed on a victim’s network after each round of an operation before then reinstalling a new piece of malware code. This was likely a manoeuvre to prolong its ability to evade detection. This indicates the group is sophisticated, operating with a high-level of resources and skillsets, on par with state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) groups. There is some overlap in toolset with another group, ‘FamousSparrow’, that shares similar tools to a subgroup of Chinese state-sponsored threat group, ‘Winnti’. Consequently, there is a realistic possibility that Earth Estries is of Chinese origin or has ties to the Chinese government. (Source: Sibylline)
30 Aug 23. DOD Focuses on Talent Pipeline, Career Paths to Attract AI Pros. Pentagon officials are focusing on ways to attract artificial intelligence experts as the Defense Department plots its course for leveraging the transformational technology to enable warfighters.
Margaret Palmieri, deputy chief digital and artificial intelligence officer, indicated on Wednesday that her office is taking targeted action to attract those with a passion for data analytics and artificial intelligence to apply their skills in service to their country.
“We know that DOD offers an incredible mission set for those who are interested in this field, and we want to attract people to the department to strengthen our efforts,” she said.
Palmieri previewed specific steps that the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office is taking to attract the right talent during the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies for Defense conference in Washington.
Among them is the recent addition of approximately 10 new work roles within the DOD’s cyber workforce framework that will better align critical skill sets with data and AI roles within the department.
“This is huge, because if you’re an individual inside of DOD who has a knack for data analytics and AI, or a passion for it, there’s no position coded specifically for you,” she said. “You have to look for a financial management position where you can apply those in the financial arena, or you have to look for a computer science position that has you working in a specific mission area or on a specific technology.”
Palmieri noted that by identifying specific roles that require data and AI expertise, the DOD will be able ensure the opportunities are more visible to those both inside and outside of the department.
The CDAO is also working to provide a defined career path and network for AI professionals in DOD and improving the department’s pipeline for tapping into new talent.
“We know that this field requires constant refresh and learning, and industry and academia are on the cutting edge of that learning,” she said. “We want to make it easier for people to come into government, serve some time, go back out into industry, learn something else come back in if they want to.”
“All of our retirement systems and processes inside of government are set up to do this,” she said. “We just have to take advantage of it, and we have to gain the muscle memory so that we can do it faster and better and at scale.”
Palmieri said talent is a key component of the CDAO’s strategy for delivering AI capabilities to the warfighter. Such expertise paves the way for emerging technology to offer potentially game-changing capabilities that will enable leaders to make the best decisions in defending the homeland, deterring aggression and prevailing in conflict when needed.
“Through the CDAO’s mission of accelerating DOD’s adoption of AI from the boardroom to the battlefield, we’re on a path to deliver decision advantage to DOD leaders and service members in a way they’ve really never experienced before,” she said. (Source: U.S. DoD)
31 Aug 23. MilDef launches new brand positioning platform and groundbreaking product advancements at DSEI 2023. At DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) MilDef will showcase rugged IT solutions for the digitalized battlefield as well as a series of advancements. A new brand platform, WE ARMOR IT, will be inaugurated as well as a range of product news for the modern defense arena, such as panel PC technology, miniaturized computers and switches and software deployment at the Tactical edge.
DSEI 2023, in the most significant and largest iteration of the show in its 24-year history, will tackle the theme of ‘Achieving an Integrated Force’. Highlighting the pertinence of integrating across the five operational domains of Air, Cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA), Land, Sea and Space. Among a wide array of rugged computers, servers, network products, tablets, displays and special electronics for modernizing the battlefield, MilDef in 2023 launch the next quantum leaps in technology advancements. For instance.
- The new generation of Panel PC technology, offering a significant advancement in rugged display, comprising a versatile ecosystem of detachable computers to be docked into screen modules.
- Launch of Android devices for Dismounted soldier systems.
- Newly developed miniseries of computers and switches.
- The launch of a brand new OneCIS battle station, presenting the unique software solution for rapid deployment of IT services at the Tactical Edge.
“Never before have we entered the DSEI stage with such a full spectrum of next level customer offerings, with product news that help our customers digitalize vital information streams in the most challenging environments. We are also excited to launch the next level of our costumer promise as we inaugurate our new brand platform, WE ARMOR IT. DSEI is simply the place to be to tap into a quickly evolving defense market and a perfect platform for MilDef to team up with customers and partners”, says Henning Linnebjerg, CSO MilDef Group.
DSEI takes place September 12-15 in London, ExCeL Convention Center, MilDef booth is H2-655.
30 Aug 23. Communication Upgrades for Anzac Frigates. Work is underway to build and install new communications systems on New Zealand’s two Anzac frigates, HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana.
“The project will deliver modern communications systems to meet the most recent international interoperability and security standards and to ensure secure communication with our partners. This includes upgraded radios and satellite communications across a wide spectrum, and sophisticated control systems,” Sarah Minson, Deputy Secretary Capability Delivery at the Ministry of Defence said.
UK supplier Systems Engineering and Assessments (SEA) is leading the build and installation on the NZ$52 m contract, working with New Zealand-based companies, Beca, Marops, and McKay. The three New Zealand companies were previously involved in the design phase of the project, also led by SEA.
SEA Managing Director Richard Flitton said the company is fully focused on bringing the communications system in to service over the coming years, and on developing in-country training, skills and expertise through local partners. “Engagement with New Zealand industry commenced in 2016, and relationships had matured with our Anzac partners by 2019 for what was our first in-country project. Through the design phase of the project, Beca, McKay and Marops have offered invaluable support and insight that will greatly benefit the build and install phase of the programme,” he said.
Beca will test and validate the upgraded capability, Marops will develop and supply computer-based training packages for the maintainers and operators, while McKay will undertake the installation.
“It is great to see these companies working together through to the second phase of this important project – bringing benefits to New Zealand industry and strengthening regional supply chains,” Sarah Minson said.
The two Anzac-class frigates are high-end capabilities capable of undertaking a wide range of operations in support of New Zealand’s interests, ranging from Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to combat roles as part of a multinational coalition.
The frigates were commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy in the late 1990s. In combination with the recent systems upgrade to their combat, surveillance and counter measures, their sustainment programme and this communications upgrade, the Anzac frigates will provide the Royal New Zealand Navy with a proven and reliable combat capability out to the mid-2030s.
Work on the new system for each frigate is expected to take place during scheduled maintenance.
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ New Zealand Ministry of Defence)
30 Aug 23. Taiwan: Use of legitimate tools by APTs increases China-linked cyber espionage risks. On 24 August, Microsoft released a report on Chinese state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) group ‘Flax Typhoon’ which has been targeting Taiwanese organisations in a cyber espionage campaign since mid-2021. The APT group uses legitimate tools built into a machine’s operating system, as well as other benign tools, to gain persistence on targeted networks. This highlights the group’s evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) which have shifted away from a heavy reliance on malware as part of the infection chain. The operation has included a variety of activities during infection in addition to espionage, such as credential access and other discovery activities to regain access to networks. Therefore, it is likely that Flax Typhoon is planning future exploitation campaigns in addition to the continued espionage operations. Targeted organisations belong to a wide range of sectors, indicating the campaign will possibly result in widespread data exfiltration. Such a broad-based espionage campaign is likely driven by the ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan, as well as greater co-operation between Taiwan and the US. Due to the group’s use of legitimate tools and utilities built into Windows devices, there is a realistic possibility that Flax Typhoon will target organisations outside Taiwan in the future. (Source: Sibylline)
29 Aug 23. Ciphertex Launches SecureNAS FIPS Rack Up To 737 TB at The Department of Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower Education & Training Event (DAFTIC).
Ciphertex Data Security®, a GSA contract holder (GS-35-487DA), introduces the new durable, portable SecureNAS® FIPS Rack CX-2400K NVMe-R to contribute to the advancement of data security for our national defense. Ciphertex joins over 200 exhibitors in public IT and the federal cybersecurity community at DAFITC in Montgomery, Alabama, from August 28th to the 30th at Booth 506.
The Ciphertex SecureNAS® FIPS Rack CX-2400K NVMe-R rackmount server and storage device
Ciphertex Data Security is a GSA contract holder (GS-35-487DA)
The rackmount server and storage device offer a unique portability feature, FIPS architecture, and has AMD EPYC 7003 series (ROME) processors with 24-core (up to 64) in addition to storing data up to 737TB. It also includes the option to add an NVIDIA A2 GPU. The system meets the maximum security standards of the US government. The drives offer a low latency with an average of 2.8 microseconds. With read and write speeds of around 3GB/s and 1.5-2 GB/s respectively, the NVMe drives can achieve significantly higher transfer speeds than any other drives in the market.
Features (Ciphertex Advantage)
- AMD EPYC 7003 series (ROME) processors
- Optional NVIDIA A2 GPU
- Complementary dual 10G for highly-efficient virtualization and intensive data transmission
- ZFS RAIDZ configurable: Mirror, Stripe Set, RAIDZ1, RAIDZ2, RAIDZ3
- Compartmentalized smart cooling: detects CPU and drive temperatures to dynamically control fan speeds for ultra-quiet operation
- Supports DDR4 RDIMM (3200MHz), LRRDIMM (2666MHz), NV DIMM (2666MHz)
- Centralized storage, backup, sharing for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Optional 5 year warranty (3 years included)
- Maximum data security through FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified and Hardware Encryption
- 2 Ciphertex-Protect® Key (Hardware encryption key, the system volumes are only accessible when encryption key is utilized)
- NIST 800-88 Compliance
- AES-256 Encryption
- Each key serial number syncs with the SecureRack® Serial number and customizable password
- Key Lifecycle Management
- Instant Secure Erase (ISE) Enabled
- Rsync Supported
- USB blocker for enhanced security
- 2 Enclosure Keys
- Length: 20 inches
- Width: 19 inches
- Height: 5 inches
- Weight: 42 lbs. w/ NVMe drives
- Power: 110V-240V/1300 Watts Power Supply
- Portable encrypted rugged rackmount
- Provides forensic professionals with the right equipment to observe strict protocols in collecting and preserving forensics data to facilitate ﬁeld investigations, no matter where they take place
- Meets all military guidelines and standards for data encryption, security, and data storage
- Durable metal chassis to handle any missions in the most challenging environments
- Provides all the tools needed to protect highly confidential and proprietary digital data, including documents, videos, emails, applications and mission briefs/electronics warfare
- PCI compliance protects any and all financial records
- Conquer any common virtualization woes with more than 100TB of storage that can grow as your data needs
DAFITC is where Ciphertex exhibits its contribution to the digital transformation of cyber security, where customers network and showcase their enterprise solutions to pressing issues of digital security. DAFITC had its first convention in 2022 when thousands of Air Force and Space Force members and leaders from the public and private sectors came together to connect and learn about the latest emerging cybertech in the global networks, including AI and encryption that helps with strategic missions.
“Ciphertex has been our go-to company for encrypted storage for nearly two decades,” said Joseph Greenfield, Ph.D., VP and Chief Forensic Examiner of Maryman. “Jerry Kaner and the Ciphertex team were able to get us the equipment needed in a very short amount of time.”
Ciphertex Data Security® is a leading provider in data security solutions trusted by the US Military, FBI, government agencies, hospitals, forensic, media, and entertainment companies. Learn more at https://ciphertex.com/ as well as on YouTube and LinkedIn. (Source: PR Newswire)
29 Aug 23. U.S. Army Selects BackBox to Automate Multi-Vendor Network Environment. BackBox, the world’s most trusted network automation company, today announced the U.S. Army selected BackBox’s Network Automation Platform to automate Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) compliance of their multivendor network environment. BackBox integrates with all major network monitoring platforms and has added new features to enable customers to easily migrate from less sophisticated network automation tools to BackBox.
“BackBox was specifically engineered for the most complex, secure environments, like those in use by Department of Defense organizations around the world,” said Andrew Kahl, CEO of BackBox. “It is highly secure, reliable, and greatly reduces manual labor for netops teams.”
BackBox automates DISA STIG compliance, saving network administrators from more than 90 manual configuration steps
Automation of critical network tasks is a must-have as hybrid, multi-domain networks add complexity, and network operations teams are increasingly resource-constrained. BackBox provides device backups with one-click restore, simplified OS updates and vulnerability patching, and compliance remediation to prevent configuration drift.
The BackBox Network Automation Platform supports centralized automation of firewalls and network devices from hundreds of vendors. It includes a library of over 3,000 pre-built automations for network and security devices including CIS Benchmark compliance automation templates and support for DISA STIGs. BackBox adds new pre-built automations every month, many to specifically mitigate the increase in network infrastructure vulnerabilities and breaches.
“These automations will not only keep you in compliance with regulatory requirements, best practices, and standards but will also help you enforce your Golden Configs,” said Josh Stephens, CTO of BackBox and former Network Engineer and Cybersecurity Specialist for the U.S. Air Force. “This becomes increasingly important when managing multiple network types, such as SIPR and NIPR networks.”
BackBox was named Best Network Automation Solution in the Centralized Multi Vendor category in the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards. American Security Today’s ‘ASTORS” is specifically designed to honor distinguished government and vendor solutions that deliver enhanced value, benefit, and intelligence to end-users in a variety of government, homeland security, enterprise, and public safety vertical markets.
BackBox is a Network Automation Platform that supports network and security device automation of over 180 vendors, with thousands of pre-built automations and a scripting-free way to build new ones. Enterprises and managed service providers worldwide trust BackBox to automate and audit anything an admin could do manually, with reliable automations that are flexible, scalable, and contextually aware. From backups and OS updates to configuration compliance, BackBox gives you confidence that your automations will deliver the expected outcome every time. To learn more, visit www.backbox.com/product. (Source: PR Newswire)
29 Aug 23. Balloon-tracker Synthetaic partners with Microsoft for cloud power. Microsoft will supply Synthetaic, a startup that used artificial intelligence to track the Chinese spy balloon that zigzagged across the U.S. earlier this year, with digital resources that executives said will fuel advancements in computer vision and imagery analysis.
Under the five-year partnership, announced Aug. 29, Synthetaic will have access to nearly 1 m hours of cloud-computing power. The Wisconsin-based company said it will buttress its Rapid Automatic Image Categorization software, or RAIC, which lets users mine vast collections of photos and other visuals for specific items. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Using AI to extract insights from image data is like building a fire: you need heat (AI algorithm), fuel (data), and oxygen (compute),” Corey Jaskolski, the Synthetaic founder and CEO, said in a statement. “This partnership allows us to combine Azure’s GPU compute and fast data storage running next to our algorithms, which enables our customers to process massive quantities of visual data into actionable insights and models in minutes.”
RAIC was built on the Azure cloud. Jaskolski in a May interview told C4ISRNET that Synthetaic had several government customers and was in talks with the Air Force “on an effort to use RAIC on things like MQ-9 drone data.”
“It’s image recognition, but it’s done differently,” he said at the time. “When we tracked the balloon, we had just come up with this new feature that we call ‘geospatial object detect mode.’ So instead of just finding an area of a map that looked like other things, we could find discrete objects in satellite data.”
Overhead imagery is a resource of increasing importance, with governments, analysts and hobbyists tapping in to monitor their respective surroundings. Photos were used to expose Russia’s materiel buildup ahead of the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and, more recently, have shown the scale of devastation
Synthetaic previously partnered with Planet Labs, a provider of Earth-observation imagery.
“We’ll be working with Planet to run this across Planet data, going forward and backward,” Jaskolski said. “It’s actually a really cool use case of RAIC because Planet has a six-year archive going back across the Earth. And, with RAIC, now we can search that archive and find anything.”
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
30 Aug 23. Bittium’s Next-Generation Products and Systems Enabling Tactical and Secure Communications Showcased at DSEI.
Bittium’s Next-Generation Products and Systems Enabling Tactical and Secure Communications Showcased at DSEI
Bittium Corporation press release on August 30th, 2023, at 10.00 a.m. (CEST +1)
Bittium joins the defense and security exhibition DSEI from 12 – 15 September 2023, in London, UK, and showcases its products and solutions enabling next-generation tactical and secure communications. DSEI is one of the world’s biggest events in its industry. It brings together over 2,800 companies, defense forces and governments, authorities, as well as other actors of the industry.
The tactical communications products and systems on exhibit at the event enable broadband IP-based data transfer and voice across the battlefield. For example, the software-defined radio based Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ system and Bittium Tough SDR™ radios can be used to form survivable, modular, and scalable tactical communications networks that enable real-time situational awareness from frontline troops to brigade level.
The Tough SDR radios use three different waveforms for communications: Bittium TAC WIN Waveform, Bittium Narrowband Waveform, and ESSOR High Data Rate Waveform (EHDRWF). The EHDRWF ensures communications interoperability amongst defense forces, and the NATO military alliance has decided to adopt it as a coalition waveform “STANAG 5651”. The ratification process was started this spring. The waveform has been developed by a4ESSOR consortium, consisting of Bittium, Indra, Leonardo, Radmor, Rohde & Schwarz, and Thales.
Products and systems for tactical communications:
- Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) is a high-performance, broadband communications system meant for different use cases of defense forces.
- Bittium Tough SDR Handheld™ and Bittium Tough SDR Vehicular™ tactical radios enable excellent performance for tactical communications for both soldiers and vehicles.
- Bittium Tough Comnode™ fulfils the data transfer needs of troops for example as a VoIP phone, IP router, and field wire repeater.
- Bittium Tough VoIP Field Phone™ 2 is a next-generation VoIP phone, which, thanks to its features, accessories, and powering options, is the optimal solution for battlefield, vehicles, and command posts.
- Distributed and survivable Bittium Tough VoIP Service™ complements the offering by connecting users of the communication networks to the same voice service.
The products and solutions that enable secure communications include the ultra secure and rugged Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 C smartphone and the related Bittium Secure Suite™ back-end system. Together they form a smartphone solution that has received official Confidential level encryption product classification (NCSA-FI). Bittium has also applied for NATO military alliance’s information security listing for the solution.
- Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 C is a smartphone designed for demanding ultra secure mobile communications and it is a combination of unparalleled hardware- and software-based information security features as well as durability, and two completely separate and hardened operating systems.
- Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 Tactical is a complete solution that enables soldier mobile communications. It is based on the secure and rugged Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 smartphone that can be connected with either Bittium Tough SDR Handheld radio or third-party tactical radios.
- Bittium Secure Suite™ device management and encryption software product enables efficient utilization of the information security features of the Tough Mobile smartphones as well as reliable mobile device management, remote attestation, and secures the data transmission of the device.
- Bittium Secure Call™ application’s information security covers end-to-end encrypted voice and video calls, group calls, messages with attachments, group messaging, push-to-talk voice messages, and a feature that destroys messages after a predefined time.
All Bittium’s products are compatible with each other, are based on the latest software and device technologies, and offer diverse connectivity options also to third-party equipment and systems.
29 Aug 23. USAF requests $5.8bn for AI-driven combat aircraft. The US Air Force’s request for funding would see the AI-driven Valkyrie model developed and tested later this year.
The US Air Force has called for a multibn-dollar budget to build more than 1,000 pilotless combat aircraft, known as the XQ-58A Valkyrie model, US Department of Defense (DOD) service plans reveal.
Amounting to $5.8bn in total, the investment would be one of the largest in autonomous aerial weaponry. The Valkyrie aircraft is reportedly well-suited to ‘suicide’ missions and providing cover to flesh-and-blood pilots. It boasts a top speed of 700mph, cruise speed of 550mph and a range of 3,000 nautical miles.
Human rights organisations have expressed concerns. New York City-based Human Rights Watch released a report earlier this year that said the US policy of autonomous weaponry is “flawed” and a “recipe for disaster”, while the non-profit Future of Life Institute calls these developments “slaughterbots”.
The Valkyrie will be tested in a simulation over the Gulf of Mexico later this year, where it will invent its own strategy to chase and kill an enemy target, according to the New York Times.
The AI-military trend
The push for Valkyrie funding represents a wider push from the US weapons business and military institutions to rapidly evolve army technology in competition with rival states.
Mentions of artificial intelligence (AI) in defence company filings have increased by 182% from July to August, GlobalData research shows, reaching the same levels as previous spikes in March and May. AI has cemented itself as the leading thematic factor across the defence industry.
On 28 August, the US DOD announced its deployment of an AI-powered detection system to monitor airspace around Washington D.C. The system represents a “tenfold increase” in functionality over the 9/11-era version it replaces, according to Air Force Lt Col Kurtis Engelson.
AI’s emergence – and increasing prominence – across the US defence market is now giving rise to a new group of Pentagon contractors aiming to disrupt the longstanding monopoly of the ‘Big Five’: Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Aug 23. Japan: Prolonged breach of national cyber defence agency highlights persistent risk of cyber threats. On 28 August, three government and private sector sources stated that cyber operatives had infiltrated Japan’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) nine months prior to the identification of the cyber attack in June 2023. The attack, believed to have been conducted by Chinese state-backed hackers, exposed personal data contained in NISC emails sent to domestic and overseas government and private sector partners between October 2022 and June 2023. The infiltration comes amid attacks against national infrastructure, such as the port of Nagoya in July (also believed to have been undertaken by Chinese threat actors), and elevated tensions vis-à-vis China over Tokyo’s growing defence ties with partners like the US, UK and Italy. Beijing’s opposition to growing ties between Japan and its Western partners, alongside efforts to test Japan’s national cyber and infrastructural defences, will sustain the risk of further attacks against Japan’s public and private sectors. As Japanese military cyber units remain greatly outnumbered by China’s, Chinese state-backed hackers will likely continue to stress Japan’s cyber defences, national infrastructure and entities associated with the Japanese government, sustaining further risks of infiltration over the long term. (Source: Sibylline)
29 Aug 23. Kromek, the radiation and biological detection specialists headquartered in Sedgefield, County Durham, are returning to DSEI, Europe’s largest security and defence exhibition with over 2800 exhibitors, at London’s ExCel Centre from 12-15 September 2023. Government, military, and civilian personnel from the UK and more than 150 countries are expected to attend. The company will be part of the Make UK Defence pavilion, alongside some of the UK’s most innovative security and defence manufacturers. (H2-250).
Kromek will be featuring its suite of radiological detectors, including the full range of the “D family” hand-held radioisotope detection devices, including the D3M, D3S and D5 RIID. These devices are known for their networked capability to integrate with local, national, and international systems; their noted accuracy and ability to rapidly identify even the smallest samples and lowest dose rates; and their endurance, portability, and ease of use.
The company will also be debuting its two revolutionary standalone static node detectors, the Static Node D and Static Node R. These detectors were designed for unattended, continuous spectroscopic radiation monitoring via satellite communication. They combine the compatibility and sensitivity of the existing suite of Kromek detectors with satellite connectivity, ruggedised casing, with the Static Node R encompassing an enhanced power pack to enable the device to be used for up to 7 days in a higher activity environment.
Kromek will also be featuring their biological detection capability at DSEI. The integrated environmental monitoring systems allow the early, agnostic detection of biological threats across large areas, with minimal user interaction. Kromek’s novel autonomous biosensing system – “a lab in a box” – detects the presence of airborne or waterborne pathogens. Kromek offers a revolutionary capability to understand and control the spread of diseases..
Craig Duff, Kromek’s CBRN Business Manager, said “With the ever-present threat of a radiological or biological incident, given current international events, our detection capabilities are more necessary than ever. We are looking forward to returning to DSEI and demonstrating our range of radiological and biological detectors to many of our existing and prospective customers from the global CBRN community as well as infrastructure and platform providers and integrators.”
28 Aug 23. US Army aerial jammer ‘in pretty good shape’ following soldier testing. The U.S. Army subjected an in-the-works aerial jammer to testing and soldier scrutiny, with initial feedback proving positive, according to one acquisition official.
The Multi-Function Electronic Warfare-Air Large, or MFEW-AL, is part of the Army’s reinvestment in sophisticated electronic warfare technologies after years of neglect. Lockheed Martin is spearheading development of the self-contained pod, which was initially intended for mounting aboard an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, made by General Atomics, but is now being considered for wider use.
Brig. Gen. Ed Barker, the program executive officer for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors, or PEO IEW&S, on Aug. 15 told C4ISRNET a developmental test was conducted at the China Lake weapons range in California and that the service is “getting MFEW in the hands” of troops.
“We’ve had soldiers both at China Lake and then up at 10th Mountain Division,” Barker said in an interview on the sidelines of the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Georgia. “The software and hardware is stable. I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
Electronic warfare is a high-stakes game of cat and mouse tethered to the electromagnetic spectrum. Militaries rely upon the spectrum — and its manipulation — for weapons guidance, navigation and communication, among other vital tasks.
The Army and other services are reprioritizing electronic warfare as the Pentagon prepares for potential conflict with Russia or China. The spectrum would be hotly contested in a fight with either. The targeting of military chatter, networks and drones in Eastern Europe is adding to the urgency.
Barker and others are awaiting formal feedback from the Army Test and Evaluation Command. The info will help “inform the next phase, when it comes to a procurement decision for MFEW,” he said.
Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo last year expressed excitement about MFEW-AL after viewing a prototype in the field.
“What concerned me, always, is that we’ve got to keep pace with the threat over time,” Camarillo told reporters at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, at the time. “I’m really impressed with the MFEW program that the Army has, its different configurations and where it’s going.”
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
29 Aug 23. Interoperability in military systems: ODU AMC® Series T – Key to efficient networking and innovation. The interoperability of systems in the military sphere plays a crucial role during modern military operations. It allows different armed forces and units to work together seamlessly, exchange information and use resources efficiently. Inadequate communication and data exchange between the different systems leads to malfunctions, inefficiencies and security risks.
Interoperability drives development at ODU
It is precisely these requirements that have a major influence on product development. The current geo-political situation shows how important it is that Allies must be able to support each other quickly with defense systems. Crews and maintenance and aftercare logistics must also be able to adapt to the new systems without much preparation time. ODU is looking for holistic solutions with various approaches. Be it with adapter solutions, as a partner in the development of comprehensive solutions or with innovative connectivity solutions such as the ODU AMC® Series T.
The ODU AMC® Series T offers a miniature 38999 connector, which offers maximum flexibility in field assembly due to the 3 on 1 locking mechanism and meets the environmental requirements for an innovative connector. Depending on the application, a Thread-Lock, Push-Pull or Break-Away connector can be connected to a universal socket. This reduces the number of different connectors and improves the emergency running properties. The advantage for the user is enormous. Easy handling in dangerous situations, even when restricted by protective equipment such as gloves, night vision devices or thermal imaging devices, is essential.
Stronger networking and higher data rates
In the future, both emergency services and vehicles will be even more closely networked to enable a seamless exchange of information. Advanced communication systems allow information to be shared in real time. State-of-the-art technologies increase data transfer speeds. This requires scalable connection technology solutions that guarantee data, signal and power transmissions – the ideal field of application for the ODU AMC® Series T with Expanded Beam Performance. It combines the advantages of a classic expanded beam solution, such as insensitivity to dirt, scratches and vibrations, with the high-performance attenuation values of a physical contact (< 0.3 dB). Compared to conventional expanded beam lens technology, 3 to 4 times the amount of glass fibers can be integrated in an identical installation space. Accordingly, the interfaces and space requirements are reduced, while the transmission capacity increases significantly over longer distances while adhering to the attenuation budget.
Tomorrow’s challenges already thought through today
ODU is already facing up to the technical and ecological challenges today in order to have solutions for tomorrow’s applications in the future. Be it to transfer even higher data rates or to expand the existing portfolio. The miniaturization of communication systems and the use of lighter materials to improve mobility and maneuverability while reducing weight are just a few topics.
ODU Group: global representation with perfect connections
The ODU Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of connector systems, employing 2,600 people around the world. In addition to its company headquarters in Muehldorf a. Inn (Germany), ODU also has an international distribution network and production sites in Sibiu/Romania, Shanghai/China, and Tijuana/Mexico. ODU combines all relevant areas of expertise and key technologies including design and development, machine tooling and special machine construction, injection, stamping, turning, surface technology, assembly and cable assembly. The ODU Group sells its products globally through its sales offices in China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Austria, Romania, Sweden, UK and the US, as well as through numerous international sales partners. ODU connectors ensure a reliable transmission of power, signals, data and media for a variety of demanding applications including medical technology, military and security, automotive, industrial electronics, and test and measurement.
29 Aug 23. Reutech announces ‘new dawn’ in HF radio communications. Reutech Communications has introduced a novel method of using legacy technology to create a ‘resilient’ or reliable radio network capable of not only sending voice communications but also data.
Addressing the Military Information and Communications Symposium of South Africa (MICSSA) in Pretoria last week, Dr James Whitehead, manager of engineering at Reutech Communications, announced that he had “exciting results” to share.
By digitally upgrading an old technology — HF radio – he said Reutech had inaugurated a ‘new dawn’ in military radio communications.
High Frequency (HF) radio operates in the 3 o 30 MHz frequency band and is a form of beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communication due to the radio waves being bounced off the ionosphere, giving coverage halfway around the world, making it a low-cost alternative to satellite communications.
He pointing out that HF communications are one of the oldest electronic military communications mediums, and that HF has both disadvantages and advantages. Among the ‘downsides’ are the narrow band, the complexity of the equipment and aerials used, plus an experienced, skilled operator needed to make HF radio viable. In addition, the time of day and weather conditions affect communication. The narrow bandwidth also limits sending text or images as well as making some types of communications, such as streaming video, impossible. Another difficulty is the congested and contested bandwidth and the area where the radio operator or the receiver is located, which is especially problematic in built-up areas.
On the positive side, HF communications do not require complex technology such as satellite downlinks, for example, and can be carried by a single soldier or a vehicle and yet reach thousands of kilometres. HF has long been used in strategic military communications; therefore, it is familiar and is very difficult to jam, disrupt or turn off.
According to Whitehead, there has been a ‘renaissance’ in this old technology. Third generation (3G) digital technology adds a layer to the HF band, revolutionising HF communications, resulting in an increased bandwidth up to STANAG 4538 level, a NATO standard available to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Automated Link Establishment (ALE) have combined to make HF radio simpler to use and able to transmit both text and images, as well as reliable voice transmission. This gives an advantage of locational diversity, but also frequency diversity.
For example, Whitehead suggested that four fixed stations working on ten frequencies made 40 possible combinations, so the Resilient Network/ALE can decide which frequency is optimal for the communication.
While HF radio is widespread at sea, landward applications that were discussed would be in Command and Control (C2) and border security.
The essence of the new HF technology is its network function, which replaces the old point-to-point form, where, for instance, an area commander might talk to a specific armoured vehicle or radio operator – now communication is possible across a network.
A key new element is ‘resilience’, where a ‘resilient’ network would be one that the soldier or sub-unit could rely on to send and receive voice and text reliably and ‘get comfort from the continuous connectivity.’ This includes an ‘almost WhatsApp connectivity’ which, like the cell phone app, preserves earlier messages.
The landward network was tested over much of South Africa, with nodes being in built-up areas, and the results were positive, Reutech said. The advantage of networks is that communications can happen from fixed-point nodes to moving ones (a command point to a vehicle or multiple vehicles) or back from them, or to each other, or to dismounted personnel using manpacks.
Tests were also done to send data, such as email, over HF nets, with success. Whitehead added that with the new digital-supported HF network system, the radio operator did not need to have a complex understanding of weather or HF radio, and that deployed signals members would have a much easier time than their earlier counterparts. It should be added that these HF sets are considerably smaller than earlier sets.
A cell phone end-to-end encrypted messaging app has been tested by Reutech’s sister company, Nanotech, and this opens the possibilities for tactical military BLOS communications to be paired with civilian communications, which is a real leap ahead, according to Whitehead.
He said: “It’s more important to know that you can communicate than to know you can communicate sometimes at a very high speed.” Reutech’s aim is to provide reliable communications to troops. He stressed that the new network could not only hop frequencies but prevent jamming, because jamming is very directional, so the network could select an alternate fixed point to receive communications.
Whitehead summarised his presentation by saying South Africa was at the forefront of HF communications with the new waveform ability and the networking capability creating a ‘new dawn’. “We’re there, we’re ready”, Whitehead said. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
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