Sponsored by Spectra Group
05 Sep 23. Spectra Group break into Asia with SlingShot sales to the Indonesian Army. Spectra Group, the specialist provider of secure voice, data and satellite communications systems is very pleased to announce that it has broken into the Asian Defence market by securing a significant order of their award-winning SlingShot satellite communications system for the Indonesian Army via its partner PT Mora Armamen Perkasa. Spectra Group will be at DSEi23 to discuss all their communication solutions on Stand H6-150.
Spectra Group and Mora Armamen have been in detailed discussions with specialist and regular forces of the Indonesian Army for some time, and this first purchase will equip KOSTRAD with Manpacks, vehicle fits and SlingShot Tactical Operations Centre systems (STOCS) plus a 2-year contract for the Inmarsat L-TAC service. With minimal training, this simple communication enhancement will revolutionise their tactical and strategic communication reach, enabling rapid reaction to a myriad of security scenarios on a global footprint.
Conceived and designed to meet the most demanding Special Forces requirements, and now in operation with regular forces globally too, Spectra’s SlingShot is a unique, low size, weight and power (SWaP) satellite communications system. It enables existing UHF and VHF tactical radios to extend their reach into the realm of strategic communications providing true Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) and Communications on the Move (COTM), without purchasing new radios.
By utilising Inmarsat’s commercial L-band Tactical Satellite (L-TAC), SlingShot allows a tactical net to be created over 1000s of kilometers and deliver a comprehensive range of tactical and operational network capabilities. SlingShot provides voice and data capability for Command and Control (C2), encrypted if required, and supports wide-ranging mission-critical applications, such as artillery fire missions, GPS tracking and biometric analysis, to mention a few. With greater utility compared to traditional TACSAT, increased and guaranteed channel availability and being plug and play with virtually no training burden, SlingShot has redefined tactical communications.
Cynthia Simarmora CEO Mora Armamen said: “The extensive global usage of successful trials conducted in Indonesia have paved the way for the realization of this project, The collaborative effort to introduce SlingShot products to the Indonesian Army fills us with great excitement. We look ahead with optimism to the possibility of this being the first of many purchases by the Indonesian Government.”
Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group said: “SlingShot has been operationally proven with a wide range of security forces across the world. However, this is the first time we have entered the Asian market and we are extremely excited to be working with Mora Armamen and with KOSTRAD, from the Indonesian Army, and we can see huge potential for the benefits of SlingShot with other key elements of their security forces.”
07 Sep 23. Cooperation Across DOD, Private Sector Critical Amid Emerging Cyber Threats. Maintaining a robust defense against emerging cyberthreats requires collaboration and cooperation throughout the Defense Department and across industry partners, a top Pentagon information security executive said today.
Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer Leslie A. Beavers warned emerging cybersecurity challenges pose a “whole of government, almost whole of society threat.”
“At the end of the day, security requires everyone to be a part of the solution,” she said during a FedTalks series of discussions with government and private sector technology executives in Washington.
That principle is especially important within the DOD “where our attack surface is everyone,” Beavers said, adding that “everyone has to be defensive when it comes to cyber.”
Spotlight: Science & Tech
Beavers outlined several key approaches underway within DOD to combat the threat including information technology architecture and user experience modernization efforts and the transition to the zero-trust security paradigm.
Once implemented, the zero-trust framework will move the DOD beyond traditional network security methods with capabilities designed to reduce exposure to cyberattacks, enable risk management and data sharing and quickly contain and remediate adversary activities.
The strategy unveiled last year outlined four high-level goals for achieving the DOD’s vision for a zero-trust architecture including cultural adoption, security and defense of DOD information systems, technology acceleration and zero trust enablement.
Beavers said she is also focused on recruiting and developing a workforce ready to tackle cybersecurity challenges into the future.
In accomplishing those key goals, she said close partnership with industry partners is critical.
“The Department of Defense, as large as it is, is heavily reliant on civilian infrastructure and companies as well as other government organizations,” Beavers said. “It’s a journey that we have to go on together.” (Source: U.S. DoD)
07 Sep 23. Poland to acquire new command posts for Pilica+ system. Poland will acquire 22 Zenit-MP+ Automated Command Posts (ZSD) for the Pilica+ air-defence system.
The PLN650 m (USD151 m) deal, signed between the Polish Armament Agency (AA), State Treasury, and PGZ-Pilica+ consortium, was announced at the MSPO 2023 defence exhibition held in Kielce from 5 to 8 September.
Deliveries are scheduled from 2025 to 2029, with training and service packages, as well as technical documentation being provided.
According to the AA, Zenit-MP+ is an automated command post that supports combat-related command-and-control.
The Pilica+ air-defence system, of which Zenit-MP+ will now be a part, encompasses MBDA short-range iLauncher rocket launchers and Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMM) as well as Bystra radars from the PGZ-Pilica+ consortium, 23 mm 2A14 guns, and anti-aircraft missiles. It also consists of elements from the earlier Pilica variant, such as command posts, short-range radars, communications subsystems, ammunition and transport vehicles, as well as fire units with artillery tractors. (Source: Janes)
07 Sep 23. Russian IADS Redux Part-7: The Effectors. In the next part of our series on Russia’s strategic integrated air defence system, we look at the kinetic ground-based air defence systems it deploys.
In part-6 of our series on Russia’s strategic Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) we examined the command and control architecture it depends upon. The IADS’ role is ultimately to provide a response to air threats approaching or entering Russian airspace. In Russian air defence doctrine this response is provided using kinetic and/or electronic effects.
The kinetic side of the IADS depends on the Russian Aerospace Force’s (RASF’s) fighters and Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems. Sources have shared with Armada that both the fighter and SAM force would be deployed in wartime to protect key Russian strategic targets. Typically, these could include politico-military targets like the Kremlin, the seat of the Russian government in Moscow. Other potential strategic targets include hardened facilities believed to be earmarked for use by the Russian leadership in wartime. One of these facilities is thought to be located at Mount Yamantau, southwest Russia. A back-up facility may exist at Mount Kosvinsky Kaman, western Russia. Russia’s industrial city of Elektrostal, on the eastern outskirts of Moscow, was one of the first locations where the RASF deployed its S-400 (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler) high-altitude, long-range SAM systems in 2010.
The SAM Systems
Moscow itself is ring-fenced by the RASF’s 53T6 (ABM-3 Gazelle) anti-ballistic missile system. The 53T6 employs SAMs equipped with a ten kiloton (one kiloton is equal to 1,000 tonnes of conventional explosive) nuclear warhead. These missiles would detonate at altitude in proximity to incoming salvos of ballistic missile warheads or formations of hostile aircraft. The logic is that this ‘shotgun’ approach will vaporise, or at least badly damage, these targets.
The S-400 is the mainstay of the RASF SAM force. A typical S-400 battalion includes two batteries. A battery comprises between eight and twelve individual launch vehicles, each equipped with four missile tubes. Thus, an S-400 regiment could have between 56 and 84 individual missiles ready to launch if fully loaded. Each battery has a command post, a 91N6 (Big Bird) S-band (2.3 gigahertz/GHz to 2.5GHz/2.7GHz to 3.7GHz) 324 nautical mile/nm (600 kilometre/km) range surveillance and tracking radar. The 91N6 is joined by a 96L6E (Cheese Board) C-band (5.25GHz to 5.925GHz) early warning and target acquisition radar. This radar has a range of up to 162nm (300km). A plethora of SAMs can be launched by the S-400 with an array of engagement ranges from 21.6nm (40km) using the active radar homing 9M96E missile. Engagement ranges can reach up to 216nm (400km) using the 40N6E missile which has a reported engagement altitude of 98,425 feet/ft (30,000 metres/m).
Legacy systems used by the RASF include the S-300PS (SA-10B Grumble-B) and S-300PM (SA-10D/E Grumble) which have subtle differences. An S-300PS battery has three Maz-543 launch vehicles each with four launch tubes. The battery is also equipped with a single 5N63S (Flap Lid-B) X-band (8.5GHz to 10.68GHz) fire control radar. An S-300PM battery has a single 36N6E (Flap Lid) X-band/Ku-band (13.4GHz to 14GHz/15.7GHz to 17.7GHz) fire control radar with a 162nm (300km) range. Joining the 36N6E is a 76N6 (Clam Shell) X-band (8.5GHz to 10.68GHz) search and track radar with a 70nm (120km) range. The rest of the battery is comprised of up to eight Kraz-260 launch vehicles each with four tubes. Both the S-300PS/PM are thought to deploy 48N6/E SAMs which have a reported 81nm (150km) range. The S-300PS/PM’s 5V55R missile has an engagement range of up to 48.6nm (90km).
Sources have shared with Armada that RASF SAM batteries are not routinely deployed but may deploy from time-to-time to support exercises or training. The batteries would only be deployed in anger to protect key strategic targets like those discussed above. The sources continued that the task of the SAM units is to provide a protective ‘bubble’ above these targets. Air defence coverage up to 54 nautical miles/nm (100 kilometres/km) altitude and a range radius of 189nm (350km) around the target would be provided. The SAM units would work to attrit any incoming air attack as much as possible. Russian air defence doctrine focuses on safeguarding as many strategic targets as possible in anticipation of an eventual counterattack.
One crucial part of the RASF’s SAM force is its 96K6 Pantsir-S1 (SA-22 Greyhound) combined medium-range SAM and anti-aircraft artillery systems. 96K6 units would deploy with S-300 and S-400 batteries. Their role would be to destroy air-launched weapons like anti-radiation missiles or attack helicopters engaging the batteries Armada’s sources added.
Over the longer term, the RASF is looking to introduce new SAM systems to enhance the strategic IADS in the form of the S-350E and S-500 Prometey long-range, high-altitude SAM systems. The S-350E is mooted as a replacement for the RASF’s S-300PS/PM batteries. Open sources state that a S-350E battery has one 50N6A X-band ground-based air surveillance radar with a range of 215nm (400km). The 50N6A is joined by a single 50K6A mobile command post and up to eight 50P6 launch vehicles. Each launch vehicle can fire 9M96/E or 9M100 SAMs with engagement ranges and altitudes of up to 65nm (120km) and 98,000ft (30,000m) respectively. It was reported in January 2020 that the first S-350E battery had entered service, although a developmental system may have been deployed to support Russia’s military presence in Syria. The VKS could receive twelve S-350E batteries by 2027.
The S-500 is mooted to have a longer engagement range than the S-350E. The S-500 ensemble includes a 91N6A(M) air surveillance and battle management radar. This radar is an enhanced version of the 91N6A radar accompanying the S-400. The S-500’s 96L6TSP target acquisition radar is an enhanced variant of the S-400’s 96L6E. These two systems are accompanied by the 76T6 multimode fire control radar, itself thought to be a derivative of the 92N6. Also forming part of the S-500 ensemble is the 77T6 anti-ballistic missile engagement radar the capabilities of which remain largely unknown in the public domain.
Open sources say that missiles equipping the S-500 could hit targets at ranges of up to 270nm (500km). Russian sources have claimed that the S-500 could engage targets at up to 656,168ft (200,000m) altitude. Russian media, seldom the most reliable source, claim that the first S-500 regiment went on combat duty in October 2021.
The long-term prognosis for the S-500 and S-350E systems remains uncertain. As documented by the Royal United Services Institute, a London-based thinktank, the Russian defence industry is dependent on clandestinely-sourced Western microelectronics for sophisticated weapons systems. Will Western efforts to clamp down on Russia’s access to such technology have an impact on the fortunes of the S-350E and S-500?
Stay tuned for more analysis on Russia’s strategic air defence capabilities in the next instalment of our Russian IADS Redux series.
07 Sep 23. Russian IADS Redux Part-8: Shocking Behaviour. Our Russian IADS Redux series examining the country’s strategic integrated air defence system comes to a close with a look at the electronic warfare capabilities it depends on.
Part-7 of our Russian IADS Redux series examined the ground-based air defence assets the country’s strategic Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) uses to prosecute air targets. Russia’s strategic IADS is unusual as it also deploys Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities. These capabilities are ground-based and intended to support Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) batteries and fighters providing the kinetic response.
The key mission of the IADS’ EW units is to deny hostile air assets radar coverage. Russian EW systems will work to jam airborne early warning radars managing strike packages of aircraft. The systems will also jam the fire control radars combat aircraft use to illuminate their targets for attack. Likewise, air-launched and surface-to-surface weapons maybe using radars to detect their targets. Russia’s strategic IADS therefore places a high premium on detecting and attacking these airborne radars.
The fact that aircraft make Radio Frequency (RF) emissions is something that can be exploited by the EW forces supporting the IADS. Alongside radar, aircraft transmit transponder information to identify themselves and use air traffic control radio. However, in wartime, any aircraft attacking targets in Russia would ‘go dark’ when approaching Russian airspace and perform RF emissions sparingly. Any emissions that are made from the aircraft’s radio or radar systems would be as secure as possible. These emissions would employ Low Probability or Interception/Detection (LPI/D) techniques making them hard to detect and attack.
Nonetheless, Russia’s IADS places a high premium on detecting any tell-tale RF emissions that may reveal an aircraft’s location using the 1L267 Moskva-1 passive radar to this end. Russian sources share that the 1L267 can detect airborne RF emissions at ranges of circa 216 nautical miles/nm (400 kilometres/km). The passive radar is thought capable of detecting emissions on frequencies of 300 megahertz/MHz to 18 gigahertz/GHz. Once a target is detected, the 1L267 will share data with the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) it reports to. This information will likely be moved across the OSNOD tactical datalink we examined in a previous article. Once at the CRC target information will probably be added to the local Recognised Air Picture (RAP) generated by the Fundament-M air operations battle management system.
Air defenders at the CRC will then decide how the target should be engaged. Target details could be sent back out to local SAM units via OSNOD. Alternatively, target details could be sent to local Aviation Guidance Points (AGPs). The AGPs are responsible for the command and control of fighter squadrons supporting the IADS. It is entirely possible that both electronic and kinetic effects would be used against targets. Electronic attack may be employed initially to jam the offending target’s radar and then followed shortly after by kinetic effects.
Armada has been informed that the 1L267 works closely with the 1L269 Krasukha-2 and IRL257E Krasukha-4 electronic attack systems. The primary targets of the 1L267 are airborne S-band (2.3GHz to 2.5GHz/2.7GHz to 3.7GHz) radars. S-band radars are routinely used by Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) aircraft. Attacking these radars would help deny command and control to strike packages of planes depending on AEWC platforms for coordination. Sources say that the 1L267 can engage targets at ranges of up to 135nm (250km). However, the same caveats will apply should the AEWC radar be transmitting LPI/D signals, which it most probably will.
While the 1L267 targets S-band radar, the 1RL257E engages radars transmitting on frequencies of eight gigahertz to 18GHz. Importantly, this covers combat aircraft fire control radars which tend to transmit in X-band and weapons guidance radars transmitting Ku-band (13.4GHz to 14GHz/15.7GHz to 17.7GHz) signals. The 1RL257E has an effective range of circa 162nm (300km).
It appears that each of Russia’s Military Districts (MD) has a single EW brigade. The brigade provides strategic/operational level electronic warfare and includes these 1L267, 1L269 and 1RL257E systems. It is likely that the systems would be allocated to the MD’s Air Force and Air Defence Army when necessary. If Russia’s politico-military command believed air attack to be likely, these EW units would be dispersed into the field to support SAM units and the IADS writ large. Likewise, it is possible that the 1L269 and 1RL257E apparatus could be deployed near potential strategic targets to provide a ‘bubble’ of protective jamming.
07 Sep 23. Assertiveness Training. In early July the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began soliciting proposals for is Advanced Single-Event Radiation Testing Programme, better known as ASSERT. Proposals for the ASSERT programme are due by 15th September, DARPA says. Dr. David Abe, the agency’s microsystems technology office programme manager told Armada that it expects “to have performers under contract and work to begin in February 2024.” He said that ASSERT is expected to have a 54-month duration with work due to conclude by late 2028.
Dr. Abe says that ASSERT “is a technology development programme that aims to design and experimentally demonstrate proof-of-concept prototype sources to simulate the effects of ionizing radiation on advanced microelectronics.” Key to this effort is the development of capabilities to explore the effects of “radiation-induced single-events” on Three-Dimensional Heterogeneously Integrated (3DHI) components.
Definitions differ but 3DHI refers to several integrated circuits which are stacked and connected vertically. The rationale is to get these disparate circuits to behave as a single device. The 3DHI approach can yield power and space savings compared to conventional circuit designs. The radiation induced single events Dr. Abe talks about include the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) accompanying a nuclear explosion. An EMP can enter electronic systems via cables of antennas. Once inside the pulse can wreck circuitry if these systems do not have any anti-EMP safeguards. More details on the effects of the EMP, and the efforts taken to reduce them, can be found in this Radioflash! podcast.
ASSERT’s deliverables include techniques and technologies to generate radiation effects data for specific electronic devices. Plans are afoot to transition ASSERT’s deliverables into the microelectronics industry to aid single-event effects radiation testing and characterisation. Academia may also make use of ASSERT technology “to explore new physics and to validate new theory and computational models.”
Dr. Abe said that ASSERT’s deliverables will be developed to Technology Readiness Level-4 (TRL-4). According to US Department of Defence definitions this means the technology has been validated in a laboratory environment. One of ASSERT’s outputs include engineering design packages that will enable ASSERT technologies to be manufactured by commercial vendors and suppliers.
Ultimately, the “ASSERT programme goal is to reduce by a factor of ten the time to design, test, and deploy radiation-qualified components,” says Dr. Abe. “To accomplish this goal, ASSERT aims to create single-event effects source technologies that are compact, have precise beam energy and spatial controls, and can be readily installed in laboratory and industrial spaces.” A key goal of ASSERT is to perform early radiation testing and characterisation during the integrated circuit development process. This approach “will provide insights into fault mechanisms and inform rapid design optimisation and accelerate deployment of mission-critical capabilities.”
Applications for ASSERT’s technologies include commercial satellites, the automotive industry and server farms. In fact, the technology could have relevance for any industry or organisation which must keep its microelectronics safe from dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation. ASSERT will not replace standard EMP shielding apparatus like Farraday Cages. Instead, “it will inform the design of more robust microelectronic circuits to improve reliability and reduce the amount of ionizing radiation shielding required to protect the system,” Dr. Abe concludes.
07 Sep 23. September Spectrum SitRep. Allen-Vanguard recently donated training versions of the company’s Scorpion backpack electronic countermeasures to the International Peace Support Training Centre in Nairobi. Armada’s monthly round-up of all the latest electronic warfare news in the product, programme and operational domains.
Taming the Scorpion
Allen-Vanguard announced in late July it had donated training versions of the company’s Scorpion backpack Electronic Countermeasure (ECM) system to the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC). The IPSTC is based in Nairobi, Kenya. The systems will be used by the IPSTC to help train United Nations and African Union forces supporting peacekeeping operations, said an Allen-Vanguard press release. The company told Armada in a written statement it donated two Scorpion ESMs. Specifically, these ESMs will be used by the centre’s Humanitarian Peace Support School. The statement continued these several countries which are trained at the IPSTC and which support AU and UN operations, already use Scorpion. In addition to providing the system, instructors at the centre have received Scorpion ESM training.
MAPS Moves Forward
Collins Aerospace is continuing delivery of the company’s MAPS Gen.2 navigation system to the US Army. The company told Armada via a written statement that the MAPS Gen.2 system, which is equipping army land vehicles, “provides significantly more anti-jam and anti-spoof capabilities” compared to the earlier MAPS Gen.1 equipment. Both MAPS versions are intended to reduce the effects of electronic attack against global navigation satellite system Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) signals. MAPS Gen.2 comprises Collins Aerospace’s NavHub-100 navigation system and MSAS-100 multi-sensor antenna system. The apparatus uses the company’s NavFusion technology “which fuses data from multiple sensors, along with M-code Global Positioning System signals with advanced anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technology.” The statement added that MAPS Gen.2 can be integrated with Collins Aerospace’s AN/PRC-162 backpack/vehicular radio. The AN/PRC-162 is a multiband system covering frequencies of 30 megahertz to 1.850 gigahertz/GHz, extendable to 2.5GHz. The company continued that MAPS Gen.2 “brings the highest level of protection against the most severe and evolving PNT threats to support multi-domain operations and mitigate the evolving electronic threats that operators are facing today and will face in the future.”
Comtech’s new BME69189-100 solid state power amplifier module can support several applications including electronic warfare, communications and radar.
New Comtech Products
Comtech has released its new BME69189-100 solid state power amplifier module. A company press release announcing the news said the new product overs a six gigahertz/GHz to 18GHz waveband. The BME69189-100 produces 100 watts of output power. It uses Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology and has a compact and lightweight configuration, according to the press release. The document continued that the BME69189-100 employs a rugged and reliable design. Comtech told Armada via a written statement that the “BME69189-100 is a wideband solid-state amplifier utilising GaN technology that is well suited for the electronic countermeasures market because of the wide frequency range and high output power.”
07 Sep 23. US: Product flaws will sustain elevated security risks for sensitive sectors via software supply chains. On 6 September, Microsoft released a post-mortem report examining how Chinese threat actors were able to use a stolen signing key to access US government emails in July. The report stated that a crash dump from April 2021 contained a Microsoft account signing key that was then used by Chinese threat actors to create tokens to break into Outlook accounts. A crash dump (a snapshot of a system crash containing information on why the crash occurred) typically redacts sensitive information, including the signing key. However, the key was accessible on this occasion due to a flaw. The failure by Microsoft’s internal systems to detect sensitive information leaking from crash dumps and the failure to detect the presence of a key during their credential scanning processes were largely responsible for the hack. The incident underscores the detrimental impact of software errors on sensitive sectors, even if these entities follow correct security procedures. Strategic sectors’ supply chains will remain attractive targets for state-sponsored threat actors looking to obtain access to sensitive systems; this will sustain long-term security risks for sensitive sectors such as government and defence. (Source: Sibylline)
06 Sep 23. UK: Recent cyber attack underscores vulnerabilities associated with high-value security contractors . On 1 September, the British manufacturer Zaun Ltd. disclosed that it was the victim of a ransomware attack carried out in August by the Russian threat actor ‘Lockbit’. Zaun is a contractor for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD); it provides perimeter fencing, security gates, bollards and other physical barriers. Zaun reported that Lockbit breached a computer used to control a manufacturing machine and was able to steal around 10GB of data. While Zaun did not disclose how the group obtained initial access to the device, it stated that the machine was running Windows 7 (a legacy operating system that was depreciated in early 2020). Zaun also said that the stolen data was not encrypted as the company’s cyber security systems prevent encryption, highlighting the impact caused by security shortfalls in legacy systems. The incident underscores the vulnerabilities associated with third-party contractors, as well as the second-order impacts which cyber attacks are able to inflict on organisations. High-value entities such as military and government contractors remain an attractive target for politically motivated threat actors, particularly contractors who lack adequate cyber security training or awareness. (Source: Sibylline)
05 Sep 23. NDA hosts competition to find cyber experts of the future.
The NDA is hosting Cumbria’s first ever cyber security “Capture the Flag” competition for secondary schools across the county.
Cumbria Crak23 cyber security competition
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is hosting Cumbria’s first ever cyber security “Capture the Flag” competition for secondary schools across the county, during Cyber Awareness Month.
The innovative two-day event hosted at Energus across the 12-13 October, in partnership with Hack the Box, will see teams of pupils compete against each other using cyber techniques and tactics to be the fastest to solve puzzles.
The competition aims to educate young learners about how to be more cyber aware and encourage them to consider pursuing a career in cyber security as part of the NDA’s commitment to develop a pipeline of future experts to deliver its decommissioning mission.
Neil Kendall, NDA Cyber Threat Intelligence and Adversary Simulation Manager, said:
Protecting our businesses and keeping our information secure is vital to ensure we can decommission the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely and securely, so we’re invested in developing the cyber pioneers of the future.
We’re excited to host this event, the first of its kind in Cumbria, and teach our young people about how to keep themselves cyber safe while also showing them the wealth of opportunities there are for a career in cyber – and where better to pursue them than the NDA.
Pupils will also have the opportunity to hear from cyber experts at the NDA and the Group Industrial Cyberspace Centre and engage with former apprentices and graduates who started their careers in cyber in the NDA group.
Each school across Cumbria can submit a team of six players, who must be between 13-18 years old. Pupils of all backgrounds and capabilities are encouraged to enter and will be taught everything they need to know to take part.
Teachers and/or accompanying adults will be required to attend and teams will need to make their own way to and from Energus.
Allocation will be on a first come first served basis, schools interested in participating should liaise with their school career officer and can register interest at: Hack the Box or email .
05 Sep 23. £880k available for proposals to help reduce cyber risk across defence.
DASA has launched a new Themed Competition to help quantify and reduce cyber risk across defence and enhance digital resilience.
- DASA has launched a new Themed Competition: Reducing Cyber Risk Across Defence
- Funding provided by the Cyber Resilience Programme (CRP) in Defence Digital, a part of Strategic Command
- Up to £880k is available (excluding VAT)
- This competition is looking to fund up to 5 proposals
- Additional funding for further phases to increase TRL may be available
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Themed Competition Reducing Cyber Risk Across Defence. Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, with potentially more impact on military operations. This Themed Competition seeks proposals that will help to quantify and reduce the cyber risk across Defence, enhance digital resilience and enable Defence to be secure by default.
The risk of cyber attack is amongst the highest that is managed by the Defence Board and it requires a collective response to address it. Becoming cyber resilient is the first challenging milestone. Remaining resilient will require constant appraisal of our adversaries and ourselves. We are not alone in developing and exploiting technologies and will need to work together across industry, Government, Allies and Partners to maximise our collective capabilities.
The Cyber Resilience Programme seeks to address the need to build a cyber resilient Defence, in accordance with the Cyber Resilience Strategy for Defence, and comprises four themes:
- Awareness, Behaviour and Culture
- Resilient by Design
- Secure Digital Foundations
- Cyber Vulnerability Fixes
This competition is part of a broader suite of activity undertaken by the Cyber Resilience Programme that engages industry, academia, partners and allies, to build military capabilities with inherent resilience.
This competition seeks:
- novel tools that strengthen digital resilience across defence
- novel approaches that enable security by default
- novel ways to quantify Operational Technology risk
This competition is interested in support innovation projects that will deliver outputs at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 – technology model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment.
Challenge 1: Digital Resilience
This competition is seeking innovative ways to strengthen digital resilience across Defence.
Challenge 2: Secure by Default
This competition is seeking to develop capability to enable Secure by Default approaches to be implemented in the future, for Defence and its industry partners. We are looking for research activities that will investigate tools and approaches which support the implementation of a Secure by Default approach.
Challenge 3: Quantifying Operational Technology Risk
This competition is seeking innovative ways to quantify OT cyber risk across Defence. Proposals need to be able to work in an operational environment or in some way take operational scenarios into account.
Key Dates and Funding
- Up to £880k is available for this competition, and DASA expects to fund up to 5 proposals.
- Submission deadline: midday on Tuesday 31 October 2023
Do you have a novel approach that could help reduce cyber risk across Defence? Read the full competition document and submit a proposal: Reducing Cyber Risk Across Defence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
19 September 11:00 -12:00pm
This dial-in session will provide further detail on the problem space and a chance to ask questions in an open forum. If you would like to participate, please register on the Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reducing-cyber-risk-across-defence-launch-webinar-tickets-3817281
1 – 2 – 1 Sessions
A series of 20 minute 1-2-1 teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions. If you would like to participate, please register on the links below. Booking is on a first come first served basis.
20 September 1-2-1 Sessions | 21 September 1-2-1 Sessions
Submit a proposal
Do you have an innovation that may help reduce cyber risk and increase cyber resilience across Defence? Read the full competition document to learn more and submit a proposal. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
05 Sep 23. Thales and Kyndryl Announce Partnership for Comprehensive Response to Cybersecurity Incidents.
- This strategic partnership will combibine cybersecurity capabilities of Thales and Kyndryl to offer French customers a complete security incident management solution.
- This alliance will enable Kyndryl customers to benefit from Thales’ Rapid Response Force and Kyndryl’s expertise in consulting and remediation.
- In an increasingly interconnected digital world, cyberattacks are among the main threats to the survival and health of businesses. Ensuring continuity of service, from threat detection to remediation, guarantees an organization’s long-term resilience.
As part of this strategic alliance, Thales’ Rapid Intervention Force, will now be made available to Kyndryl customers, reinforcing their security capabilities. The Rapid Intervention Force is recognized for its expertise and response capacity with organizations of vital importance.
At the same time, Thales will be able to draw on Kyndryl’s recognized experience in cyber resilience and incident recovery, helping organizations recover effectively after cyber incidents or attacks. Kyndryl’s cyber resilience solutions such as incident recovery, managed backup services, hybrid platform recovery and data center services mitigate the impact of an outage and ensure fast, reliable and scalable recovery in hybrid multi-cloud environments.
Unrivalled benefits for Thales and Kyndryl customers
This unique alliance ensures continuity between cyber threat prevention and remediation, providing companies with an agile response tailored to each situation.
In the event of an incident, the Thales Rapid Response Force enables an immediate, coordinated response with Kyndryl’s post-incident management teams, minimizing business downtime and disruption, with an accelerated return to normal operations.
Based in France and benefiting from the highest levels of certification, the Thales ? Rapid Intervention Force meets the needs of companies that expect ? their information systems to operate smoothly and securely.
Thanks to the expertise of Kyndryl, a specialist in IT solutions and cloud managementband its sector-specific knowledge of the economy, companies can recover more quickly from an incident allowing business continuity.
“At a time when cybersecurity has become a central element of corporate strategy, this partnership reflects our commitment to offer the best solutions to our customers. We are convinced that this collaboration will bring unrivalled added value, helping businesses to navigate today’s digital landscape with confidence,” said Philippe Roncati, President of Kyndryl France.
“This partnership is the fruit of a strategic convergence between Kyndryl and Thales in the field of cybersecurity, combining the remediation expertise of the leading IT infrastructure provider ? with the cyber threat detection and rapid response capabilities of the leader in data protection and cybersecurity. Our customers, both enterprises and public bodies, will benefit from state-of-the-art incident response for enhanced cyber resilience,” said Pierre-Yves Jolivet, VP Cyber Solutions, Thales.
The threat of the threat of cyberattacks also remains high. According to the latest Thales Cloud Security Report, since 2022, 39% of companies have suffered a data breach in their cloud environment, up 4 points from the previous year. Finally, based on a Thales survey of nearly 3,000 information systems and security professionals in 18 countries, 48% of these professionals reported an increase in ransomware attacks, with 22% of organizations having suffered a ransomware attack in the last 12 months. (Source: ASD Network)
05 Sep 23. Trial to Establish the Benefits of Airborne Rebroadcasting with a Tethered Drone System 1. Objective While MANET radios can provide an effective and secure communications network for operations, blackspots can still occur, particularly in a challenging urban environment. The purpose of this trial was to understand if the raising of a radio to a greater height using a tethered drone (to operate as a MANET rebroadcasting node) would overcome this problem, effectively wiping out blackspots entirely. 2. Elements and Assets The trial took place on 30th May 2023 and utilised Drone Evolution’s SENTINEL tethered drone system with the Persistent Systems MPU5 MANET radio, as supplied by Steatite, deployed in an urban location in Redditch. SENTINEL was tethered to Drone Evolution’s Freedom patented power supply, using the Drone Evolution hand reel. This robust and durable tethered drone system is capable of handling data at 10mb per second and operates with a breaking strain of over 65 Kg. The straight-line distance from SENTINEL to a known blackspot was measured as 1.8 Km. From zero communication to full coverage took approximately five minutes. 3. Operation With both SENTINEL and a secondary radio operating at ground level, a baseline range was established to determine the range and throughput of a Wave Relay point-to-point network in an urban environment. Figure 1 shows the relative positions of each testsite and the approximate communications range from SENTINEL when communicating to units on the ground, prior to lifting the Sentinel unit into the air. Figure 1 – Communications range with the radio on the ground 2 The secondary radio node was taken a distance of approximately 340 metres from SENTINEL, at which point the datalink was lost, due to the large steel building surrounding the drone. Figure 2 below shows the communications range once the drone was raised to 25 metres. 4. Summary With SENTINEL operating at an altitude of 25 metres and equipped with a Wave Relay MPU5 radio, comms range was extended to a significantly greater range. The SENTINEL system, designed and built entirely in the UK, is flexible and can carry payloads of different kinds including radios, cameras and thermal imaging systems. Its durability and high wind resistance allows for long endurance in challenging environments. SENTINEL can reach heights of over 50 metres for extended periods of time. SENTINEL is the only system capable of running directly from a 12v or 24v power supply, such as a vehicle or batteries (with no inverter or generator required) as well as mains power. Operating from ground power means the drone can stay in the air for extended periods of time, unlike a battery-powered drone which can typically only remain airborne for around 20- 40 minutes. Tethering also limits some risks associated with drones, such as flyaway or interception. 5. Conclusion This exercise demonstrated conclusively the significant benefits of elevating the height of antennas to overcome obstacles in an urban environment. SENTINEL proved to be a valuable asset on the network, providing a unique tethered drone solution designed to support a range of applications requiring a persistent capability for situational awareness, making it ideal for increased Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Electronic Warfare (EW) and Communications Rebroadcast for extended periods of flight. https://www.dronevolution.co.uk/ https://steatite.co.uk
05 Sep 23. UK: Ransomware will sustain pervasive operational security risks for financial, technology sectors. In an updated report released on 4 September, the cyber security firm JUMPSEC stated that reported ransomware attacks in the UK increased by 87% in H1 2023 compared with H2 2022. This follows reports that ransomware growth slowed at the end of 2022 due to more victims refusing to pay ransoms, as well as increased cyber security budgets for firms and the war in Ukraine having diverted the attention of ransomware threat actors. The recent shift in ransomware operations is almost certainly due to ransomware actors’ growing sophistication and their ability to exploit software vulnerabilities (including pre-existing weaknesses and zero-days). It also highlights the wider risks for companies which stem from the commercialisation and out-sourcing of business operations to external vendors. In terms of ransomware operations, the UK is the second-most targeted country in the world after the US; it was targeted by 20% of all attacks in H1 2023. This trend is likely to continue throughout H2 2023, sustaining elevated operational and security risks for the UK’s financial services, insurance and IT sectors. (Source: Sibylline)
04 Sep 23. Allen-Vanguard deepens its ECM support to Somalia with an 18-month contract extension for its Field Service Representative (FSR) Team. Allen-Vanguard, a global leader in providing customized solutions for defeating Radio Frequency (RF) based terrorist and extremist threats, has a long-established relationship of providing vital ECM and counter explosive threat support to Security Forces across Somalia. This support has recently been increased with the provision of additional ECM hardware to the region and the formal 18-month extension of the in-country Field Service Representative (FSR) team based in Mogadishu. Allen-Vanguard will be at DSEi 23 on stand H2-820 to discuss all their RF dominance solutions.
Since 1991, the civil war and related power struggles between warring factions and various extremist groups has created one of the highest risk areas of operation for government security forces and international peacekeeping troops in the world. For those required to operate in the region, either military or diplomatic, the risk of injury or death from explosive related devices either intentionally detonated or accidentally triggered remains significant and therefore it is essential, in order to protect those trying to bring peace to the region, to have access to the necessary ECM hardware, training and in-country support.
Allen-Vanguard has been working in Somalia supporting national Security Forces and working with other peace keeping nations since 2018, helping to defeat the RF threat by supplying high quality but cost-effective ECM protection, such as our SCORPION and 3XXX suite of protection. The 3XXX offers an internally modular and easily upgradeable architecture with a raft of protection measures. The 3XXX series is robust, simple to operate and maintain, and can be vehicle mounted or used at a static location so is perfect for use in the region. The SCORPION has similar technology and capability but in a highly flexible manpack form, maximising its utility. These features combined with their outstanding performance make both ideal for security forces but also major Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Other Government Departments (OGDs).
Allen-Vanguard is committed to providing the best possible service and outcomes for their customers and they aspire to create indigenous force protection capability through comprehensive training (recently they provided additional Explosive Threat Reduction Training in Somalia) and through their dedicated in-country FSR team. This team has the necessary Allen-Vanguard specialists to provide a tailored mission support service for all their ECM systems updating and testing. They offer a range of support options to optimize algorithms specific for every user’s needs and to combat threats specific to the region of operations. The Somali team have been in Mogadishu since August 2021, and has just been extended for a further 18-months.
Bobby Strawbridge, Director Business Development for Allen-Vanguard said “We at Allen-Vanguard are very conscious that ECM equipment alone does not defeat the threat. Our vision is to create local capability, share knowledge, provide training and help to develop regional expertise so that those facing the greatest risk in peace keeping operations get the maximum possible protection. As one of the highest risk operational theatres in the world and building on a decade’s worth of supporting peacekeeping operations in Somalia, Allen-Vanguard’s footprint has recently grown considerably, reinforced with a permanent presence on the ground delivering OEM support at the ‘sharp end’ of operations.”
04 Sep 23. Open-source malware raises likelihood of attacks by rudimentary actors, sustaining risks. On 31 August, the cyber security firm Cisco Talos released a report on a new open-source malware, ‘SapphireStealer’, that is being used by a wide range of threat actors to steal information. The malware first emerged in December 2022 and is designed to gather information from infected devices. It can take screenshots, harvest cached browser credentials and collect files from targeted systems. In January, several new variants of the malware were observed; they were likely created by numerous threat actors to improve the malware’s data exfiltration processes. Open-source malware is increasingly used by a variety of distinct threat actors, making attribution and tracking malign operations much more difficult for cyber security researchers. Due to the malware’s proliferation and accessibility, there is a broad attack landscape. As a result, organisations will possibly be susceptible to threat actors who are less sophisticated and skilled, increasing the likelihood of exploitation and infection for businesses. As open-source malware continues to spread among threat actors, there remains a sustained cyber security risk for global organisations. (Source: Sibylline)
01 Sep 23. Allied Command Transformation Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Latvian Ministry of Defence, Prepares to Hold Operational 5G Technology Event at Latvia’s 5G Test Site. Supreme Headquarters Allied Commander Transformation and the Latvian Ministry of Defence signed a memorandum of understanding to allow NATO to use the Latvian National Armed Forces’ state-of-the art 5G test site. During the signing of the Memorandum, Vice Admiral Guy Robinson remarked, “In signing this agreement, NATO will have the opportunity to validate new concepts and develop requirements in an operational environment that will support NATO’s Digital Transformation and Multi-Domain Operations ambitions”
ACT is planning to conduct an operational technology exploration event at the test site in Ādaži, Latvia, in later part of October 2023 that will explore the potential of the Alliance’s Research and Development initiatives as well Ādaži’s tactical 5G capabilities. In doing so, this event will see the use of virtual and augmented reality, unmanned vehicles, sensors, and applications within a tactical 5G bubble. It will also see the Alliance test the ability of 5G technologies to enhance the delivery of telehealth services to NATO and national military personnel.
By testing the novel capabilities of the next-generation of telecommunications networks, Allied Command Transformation will demonstrate how 5G’s ability to provide ultra-reliable and low latency connections can provide additive capabilities to NATO Communication and Information Systems. It will also demonstrate the use and benefit of 5G technologies in enhancing the awareness, agility, and lethality of NATO’s forces in future conflicts, driving the Alliance’s Digital Transformation and transition to Multi-Domain Operations.
Latvia is uniquely situated to enable the testing of operational 5G technology, having hosted Allied Command Transformation’s first operational 5G experiment in November 2022. This experiment saw augmented and virtual reality software be integrated with 5G mobile telecommunications technologies, and concluded with a test at Ādaži. As noted by the Latvian Minister of Defence Ms Ināra Mūrniece, “Latvia has developed great innovation capabilities. We accommodate globally recognized expert teams with a wide spectrum of competencies, as well as highly developed infrastructure for testing future command and control solutions. By combining our expertise with NATO’s vision, I am convinced that we can demonstrate the transformative power of 5G technology in enhancing both military and civilian operations.”
In preparation for the event this fall, the NATO Next Generation Communications Technologies Event Planning Session was held in Riga, Latvia, from June 27-29, 2023. Organized by the Latvian Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with Latvia’s National Armed Forces and Latvian Mobile Telephone, the planning session gathered an extensive team of experts to refine the upcoming technology event’s scenario and technical execution.
They also met with Allied Command Transformation’s event lead and technical team, visited the Ādaži 5G military testbed to inspect the physical infrastructure available for the experiment, and conducted system interconnectivity tests.
The planning event took place at the headquarters of LMT – a Latvian mobile operator and 5G innovator. Ministry of Defence has partnered with LMT for the development of a 5G test environment for military applications. It has already been reported that in 2022 a cooperation agreement on the development of “5G technology for military applications” was signed between the Ministry of Defence and LMT. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Latvia Ministry of Defence)
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd
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.