Sponsored by Spectra Group
20 Sep 19. Thales and Oman’s Public Authority for Privatisation and Partnership to create Advanced Cybersecurity Academy.
Oman already ranks third in the world, next only to USA and Canada, in cyber-attack readiness according to the Global Cybersecurity Index. Armed with a high-level cybersecurity strategy, and a comprehensive roadmap, Oman is well placed with the best organizational practices to tackle threats. The country also ranked second in the Middle East, as per the latest International Telecommunications Union Global Cybersecurity Index, for protecting its national infrastructure.
The new partnership, signed by Dr. Dhafir bin Awadh Al Shanfari, PAPP CEO and Mr. Pierre JEANNE, Vice President of Thales Group for Cybersecurity Technologies and Solutions, will help further strengthen the cyber- preparedness of the nation. The new partnership builds on the long-term presence of Thales in Oman and its commitment to promoting localization and human capital development in line with the Oman 2040 vision
As part of its offset (Tawazun Oman) obligations in the country, Thales will provide Cyber Range Platforms (sophisticated cybersecurity training and testing facility) to the Advanced Cybersecurity Academy in addition to a complete cyber training program – from basic to expert level – led by Thales cyber experts who will be based in Oman for two years, and train 16 Omani trainers at the Academy.
The Advanced Cybersecurity Academy aims to train and qualify national cadres with high professional skills in accordance with the recognized professional standards at the level of the global training institutions and the cybersecurity organizations, as well as providing support to various governmental departments and the private sector, with specialized skills and expertise to deal with any cyber-attacks or electronic piracy to reduce the risks of electronic threats. Moreover, the Academy is equipped with the most advanced means and techniques.
Thales will provide Cyber Range Platforms, developed and powered by its partner DIATEAM, which will include their advanced training tools for the Academy. Trainees will learn how to protect and defend their networks against cyber-attacks with the Cyber Range Platforms, virtualizing all possible scenarios and solutions. The program will be implemented with the support of Thales experts whose mission is to enable the Academy’s trainers to deliver the courses autonomously.
20 Sep 19. AustCyber’s Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node officially launches. Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews and ACT Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries Mick Gentleman have jointly launched AustCyber’s Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node. The Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node (the Canberra Node) is a part of AustCyber’s National Network of Nodes, which fosters and accelerates cyber capability development, innovation and commercialisation across Australia.
“The Canberra Node – a partnership between the ACT government and AustCyber – is accelerating the growth of the ACT’s cyber security sector, aligned with AustCyber’s national mission,” said Michelle Price, CEO of AustCyber.
“AustCyber helps showcase local capability development and increases the benefits and reduces the costs of collaboration. We create new economic and innovation growth pathways, enabling growth in the cyber security industry across Australia.”
With global spending on cyber security products and services expected to increase by 88 per cent over the next eight years, from US$131bn to US$250bn, AustCyber and the federal government have recognised the need to improve cyber security measures for the country.
“ACT government’s partnership with AustCyber is an important step in the advancement of the cyber security industry in the ACT in many ways,” Linda Cavanagh, Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node manager, said.
“The Node is growing and creating jobs while strengthening Canberra’s knowledge economy – particularly around cyber security in the space, defence and education sectors.
“The establishment of the Canberra Node is also an acknowledgement by ACT government that to support cyber security innovation and growth, it needs to do business differently.
“The Canberra Node can test and challenge more readily, has more flexibility in developing capability, but more importantly, it can harness opportunities and partner with stakeholders to deliver results quickly. It leverages AustCyber’s brand and expertise from across AustCyber’s National Network of Nodes to help ACT-based cyber companies grow nationally and internationally.
“The Canberra narrative is changing on many levels and the cyber security sector has had an impact on this. The work of the Canberra Node has supported the growth, education and export of the Canberra region cyber security industry.”
The launch of the Canberra Node also has helped bring together the Australian National University and the Canberra Institute of Technology to collaborate with industry and push forward cutting-edge research, as well as provide education and training to build a “highly capable and skilled workforce of the future”. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Sep 19. Ball Aerospace and Microsoft to demo Cloud-processing for US Air Force. The US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has chosen Ball Aerospace and Microsoft to develop a prototype that will demonstrate agile Cloud-processing capabilities. Ball Aerospace and Microsoft will present the capabilities in support of the US Air Force’s Commercially Augmented Space Inter-Networked Operations (CASINO) project. Using Microsoft’s Azure Cloud and Ball Aerospace algorithms, the companies will showcase the ability to process worldwide data streams from large, distributed constellations of small satellites. Ball Aerospace will use a phased array antenna to extract data from satellites directly into a Microsoft data centre. The project will test how effectively Ball Aerospace can use the Azure as the Cloud platform for the CASINO project.
Ball Aerospace systems engineering solutions vice-president and general manager Steve Smith said: “Together with Microsoft, we will show how this type of data processing system, which leverages Ball phased array technology and imagery exploitation algorithms in Azure, is flexible and scalable, designed to support additional satellites and processing capabilities in the future.
“Overall, this type of data processing in the Cloud can provide actionable, relevant information quickly and more cost-effectively to the end-user.”
The partnership will leverage the Azure platform’s features such as integrated Cloud services, data processing and advanced analytics and Microsoft’s expertise in data protection, security and privacy.
Microsoft Azure global corporate vice-president Tom Keane said: “Essentially, this is the ultimate intelligent edge scenario, where massive amounts of data must be processed at the edge, whether that edge is in space or on the ground.
“This partnership with Ball Aerospace enables us to bring satellite data to ground and cloud faster than ever, leapfrogging other solutions on the market.
“Our joint innovation in direct satellite-to-Cloud communication and accelerated data processing provides the Department of Defense, including the Air Force, with entirely new capabilities to explore as they continue to advance their mission.”
Microsoft noted that the tactical units in the field could potentially benefit from the availability of data in Azure, even in disconnected scenarios. Customers can direct the data to where it is needed. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Sep 19. Silvus completes MAN-CC work for US Army network modernisation. Silvus Technologies has completed work under a $3m Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) contract for network modernisation at the US Army. The contract was funded through the National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) and sponsored by the US Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).
Entitled ‘MANET for Congested and Contested Environments (MAN-CC)’, the 12-month effort enabled a targeted evolution of the StreamCaster software-defined radio and Mobile Networked MIMO (MN-MIMO) waveform.
It delivers mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) for congested and contested environments.
The commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) TRL9 radio StreamCaster combines networking, high throughput physical layer processing, intuitive user interface, and well-vetted hardware and software.
Silvus noted that the MAN-CC effort improved StreamCaster with three new features.
Features include Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) certified encryption for the protected transmission of secret information and anti-jam capabilities in the MANET waveform to conduct operations in a congested and contested electromagnetic spectrum.
A spectrum sensor application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) for radio frequency (RF) situational awareness also helped to improve StreamCaster.
MAN-CC aligns with the US Army’s overarching effort to incorporate commercial capabilities into its tactical network, which is in the process of covering gaps to enable a primary, alternate, contingency and emergency (PACE) plan for soldiers who face challenges with contested or congested environments.
The effort event included a field-based risk reduction (FBRR) for validating the contract deliverables and culminated in a technical feasibility assessment (TFA).
During the assessment, soldiers from the US Army’s 82nd Airborne deployed the equipment to support the Mobility Guardian Exercise at Yakima Training Center. In March last year, Harris selected Silvus for the delivery of its StreamCaster SC4200 radios to support the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Project Starter. (Source: army-technology.com)
18 Sep 19. USAF creates new information warfare organization, revamps Cyber Command teams. The Air Force announced Sept. 18 it will officially create a new information warfare command. While the project has been in the works for several months, Gen. James Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, told reporters at the annual Air, Space, Cyber Conference that the decision has been finalized and Maj. Gen. Timothy Haugh has been tapped to lead the new organization, pending Senate confirmation.
Haugh was nominated for his third star Sept. 18 and was tapped to lead the new organization, which combines 24th Air Force or Air Forces Cyber and 25th Air Force. The latter is responsible for global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Haugh, who took command of 25th Air Force less than three weeks ago, most recently led the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command, which defends the nation against malicious cyberattacks abroad. He also co-led Cyber Command’s Russia Small Group, which helped thwart potential election interference in the 2018 mid-term elections.
“Tim brings unique experience to us as both an intel professional and then he’s been working for Gen. [Paul] Nakasone as one of his task force commanders in USCYBERCOM,” Holmes said.
The new command will be known as 16th Air Force and provide cyber, electromagnetic spectrum operations, ISR and information operations to commanders. It will also have a director that oversees an operations center. It will activate upon Haugh’s confirmation.
In addition, Holmes said this combination will essentially revamp the offensive cyber teams the Air Force presents to U.S. Cyber Command.
“Cyber teams are dependent on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” Holmes said. “We think we can present more robust teams [to Cyber Command] with better intelligence support behind them and present some information ops options, which we have some game at already, but to improve that and be able to offer that to a larger scale.”
Air Force Cyber was already made up of personnel from 24th, who were the cyber personnel, and 25th, which provided the intel personnel, but Holmes indicated this integration will provide combatant commanders teams with a greater cyber capability.
The majority of these Air Force cyber teams support European Command, Transportation Command and Strategic Command, but a few teams work under the other services that support and conduct cyber operations in the other geographic commands.
Push to information warfare
Each of the services are pushing to better organize to provide a more robust information warfare capability that integrates cyber, electromagnetic spectrum, intelligence and information operations.
Adversaries have been organizing under this integrated approach and don’t see conflict under the binary war or peace but on a continuum. For the Air Force, this integration helps the Air Force to develop options.
“We have talked extensively about our contested information or influence operations or hybrid warfare or gray zone operations that our adversary or competitors are actually conducting every day,” said Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations. “We have to integrate ISR, cyber warfare, electronic warfare and information operations to actually identify and come up with what do we do, what do we need, how can we train and what tools are required for information warfare because out of all of the domains today, everyday around the globe, in cyberspace we are at conflict.”
Holmes echoed that sentiment, explaining that these capabilities help the Air Force. Moreover, he noted that the combined capabilities help attack more difficult targets such as air-gapped systems that aren’t connected to external networks.
“One of the challenges of cyber is how do you jump air gaps? We think about cyber as just being done on a keyboard and inside a network but how do you jump airgaps, how can you get into systems that are cut off,” he said. “There’s a great marriage there [in] capabilities that can be pulled together and if you bring all of those together under one ops center, then you’re able to coordinate it and make it all work in the same intent for the same objectives.”
Haugh said that one of the primary lessons being learned is that ISR can be used as an information operations tool to expose the enemy.
“How are we going to create multidomain dilemmas? To do that, you really have to really invest in the intelligence to be able to understand what will break the trust of the adversary,” he told Fifth Domain.
One example is Cyber Command’s posting of enemy malware discovered to a government site to not only expose and burn those tools, but help inform the private sector as a way to devise defenses.
Transferred to the intelligence realm, Haugh offered that the Air Force can attempt to expose adversary activity that has been observed through ISR platforms.
When asked how difficult this could be given the sensitivity of the target, such as a missile launch site, he said if they found a way to do it in the cyber realm regarding the VirusTotal releases, they can do it elsewhere.
“We found our way through that in cyberspace … Got great support from our interagency partners, great support from the intelligence community to make sure that we had good deconfliction processes. We should be able to work our way through it in other domains,” he said. (Source: Fifth Domain)
19 Sep 19. L3Harris TRL Technology adds CEMA capability to CORVUS. UK-based L3Harris TRL Technology has further developed its CORVUS open standards platform for cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA) and revealed the latest improvements at the 2019 Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition (DSEI 2019) in London from 10 to 13 September. CORVUS is a single platform software architecture supporting a variety of individual mission solutions that can be replaced or upgraded without requiring wholesale changes to the base platform. It provides a family of capabilities with the same underlying common software architecture and framework. CORVUS was first launched in 2018 with the body-worn personal electronic countermeasures (PECM) system, which has since been renamed the Individual CEMA Node (ICN). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Sep 19. First Advanced Battle Management System demo set for December. Key Points:
- The US Air Force expects to perform its first Advanced Battle Management System demonstration in December
- ABMS is the USAF’s new approach to warfare that revolves around seamlessly and ubiquitously sharing information in a robust and reliable fashion
The US Air Force (USAF) will carry out its first demonstration of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) system-of-systems networking concept in December, according to the service’s top acquisition official.
Will Roper, assistant secretary of the USAF for acquisition, technology, and logistics (AT&L), told reporters on 17 September at the Air Force Association’s (AFA’s) annual conference that this demonstration, which he said would be ABMS Step 1, will use a Skyborg low-cost unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) to connect a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) through cloud-based networking and data sharing. It will also connect a handset on the ground such as a computer tablet where a ground operator could interface with the same systems in the sky.
Roper said the USAF wants to carry out this demonstration quickly because it will network high-end and attritable systems with ground operators. He said it is imperative for the USAF to learn how to use these new attritable systems, which are generally lower-cost systems that could be used for a variety of missions and capabilities and that the USAF would be comfortable losing in combat.
The USAF calls Skyborg a vessel for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that could range from rather simple algorithms to fly the aircraft and control them in airspace to the introduction of more complicated levels of AI to accomplish certain tasks or subtasks of the mission. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Sep 19. Rohde & Schwarz and MESIT established a new joint venture to further develop the SOVERON product portfolio for secure armed forces communications. Rohde & Schwarz and MESIT have established a new joint venture (JV) with MESIT as the majority shareholder. The strategic purpose is to further enhance the trusted, interoperable SOVERON communications system. SOVERON stands for fully integrated, high-performance and scalable trusted communications solutions for all branches of the armed forces. SOVERON strengthens customers digital sovereignty and gives them the greatest possible independence from manufacturers.
The JV is named DICOM, s.r.o. and has commercial operations in Uherské Hradiště in the Czech Republic. DICOM will perform advanced research and development (R&D). It will initially focus on the new SOVERON lightweight handheld software-defined radio (SDR) with networking and multiband capability in the UHF/VHF frequency range.
“We are delighted with this joint investment. The creation of DICOM allows both partner companies to accelerate the development and production of the SOVERON product portfolio. With this JV, the Czech Republic becomes the fourth country in which Rohde & Schwarz is represented in sales, service (Prague), manufacturing (Vimperk) and R&D (Uherské Hradiště),” explains Pavel Šalanda, Managing Director at DICOM.
“MESIT and Rohde & Schwarz have already successfully co-operated in the past. Now we are taking the next logical step by joining forces in R&D to take full advantage of our joint capacities. Together we will be able to successfully address new markets,” adds Igor Gerek, Managing Director at DICOM and Deputy Charmain of the Board at MESIT.
“Many defense forces around the world use cutting-edge solutions from Rohde & Schwarz. We are looking forward to expanding our presence in the Czech Republic. This new JV will create new technological advances, allowing us to provide digital sovereignty to our customers,” concludes Bosco Novak, Executive Vice President Secure Communications Division at Rohde & Schwarz.
17 Sep 19. PacStar® Delivers Powerful NSA Registered Secure, Modular, Agile, Ruggedized Tactical (SMART) Gateway. First Ever Registered CSfC Tactical Solution Combining Wi-Fi and Mobility Capability Packages in a Single Environment. PacStar®, a leading developer and supplier of advanced communications solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), announced today an NSA CSfC registered, integrated, commercial off the shelf (COTS), small form factor, tactical wireless gateway based on PacStar technologies. PacStar and Oceus Networks teamed to provide the solution enabling wireless dissemination through both Wi-Fi and LTE of classified data, up to Top Secret – including operational data such as targeting information, full motion video, position/location information, and common tactical picture.
Today’s warfighters require new levels of mobility and access to information in order to ensure mission success in an increasing information-enabled battlespace. By enabling mobile technologies such as Wi-Fi and LTE, warfighters gain the benefits of modern mobile devices with command post set up and tear down times reduced by hours. Tactical communications teams save the time and expense of transporting and installing thousands of feet of cabling for every move, and soldiers can operate untethered from their workstations for improved collaboration. Most importantly, by going wireless, this capability reduces network setup time, speeding tactical decision making.
PacStar SMART Gateway is based on PacStar Secure Wireless Command Post (SWCP), which comprises small form factor, modular, rugged networking equipment and servers running best-in-class network infrastructure technology configured to meet CSfC requirements. The PacStar modules inside the solution save up to 10 times the size and weight, and up to 18 times the power of comparable datacenter class equipment – while meeting MIL-STD environmental requirements.
PacStar’s IQ-Core Crypto Manager manages the provisioning of the CSfC network nodes while Oceus Networks’ SMP VPN manager manages the end user experience by providing seamless roaming between security enclaves. The combined solution provides the end user/warfighter access to the applications and data they need without the complexity of multiple end user device interactions to gain access.
Oceus completed integration and testing of the solution, and Joint Staff J6 C5AD registered the solution with the NSA CSfC program office, ensuring the solution is approved for fielding. Key warfighter benefits of the solution include:
- Capable of protecting wireless communications up to Top Secret
- Uses COTS technology, eliminating Type 1 hardware encryption devices that require special handling
- Integrated Wi-Fi and LTE technology, for high performance and long-distance wireless
- Transport independence, compatible with other radio types such as MANET
- Minimized size, weight and power – including airline carry-on sized packaging
- Capable of transmitting information from multiple domains
- Integrated and streamlined system management with PacStar IQ-Core® Crypto Manager.
“PacStar SWCP small form factor delivers the benefit of classified mobility to DoD communications programs in a dramatically smaller form factor than prior solutions,” said Peggy Miller, chief executive officer, PacStar. “The SMART Gateway packs more capability into our system than ever before, further delivering on our mission to enhance warfighter mission success.”
The SMART Gateway submitted for NSA approval by the Joint Staff J6 C5AD adds to the growing number of DoD organizations standardizing on PacStar SWCP for CSfC wireless solutions including US Army PM Tactical Networks and US Marine Corps MARCORSYSCOM.
PacStar SMART Gateway is managed by PacStar IQ-Core Crypto Manager, designed to overcome the added complexity and training burden imposed by the two layers CSfC encryption – by simplifying the setup, configuration, and management of the underlying equipment used in CSfC solutions.
PacStar’s SWCP on which the SMART Gateway is based was recently granted Washington Technology’s Industry Innovation Award for 2019. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
17 Sep 19. Elistair Integrates Silvus Ad-Hoc Networking to Tethered UAV. Elistair and Silvus Technologies united their expertise to provide mobile-networked multiple input and multiple output (MN-MIMO) networking by embedding a Silvus Streamcaster 4200 MIMO radio into an Elistair ORION tethered UAS. The tethered UAs provides ad-hoc networking for the battlefield, to enhance situational awareness and facilitate communications and surveillance missions. With the integration of Silvus MANET technology, Elistair tethered drones will help create rapidly deployable C3 networks, enabling users to share voice and data over greater distances and obstacles. Powered from the ground and flying at up to 100 meters, the ORION tethered drone now provides a combination of persistent ISR and tactical communications to increase situational awareness and connectivity.
Automated, secure and with a small logistical footprint, Elistair’s ORION tethered UAS is designed for extended flight times and austere environments
Silvus Technologies Mesh technology provide wireless communications systems that work in challenging conditions for military and law enforcement and help with video and data transmission in urban, remote, mobile and high-scatter environments.
MN-MIMO is an RF waveform that operates in limited-range, poor-performance outdoor- and interference-laden environments. It is a blend of coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (COFDM), MIMO antenna techniques, and mobile ad-hoc networking (MANET) for digital communications.
During recent trials and demonstrations, the Streamcaster equipped Orion was critical in connecting dismounted troops, vehicles, air assets and waterborne assets together over distance. This enabled voice, body cam video and asset trackers to be fed into a single control room during the scenario. (Source: UAS VISION)
16 Sep 19. Interoperability between Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and UK Armed Forces guaranteed. In this day and age, continuous improvements and interoperability are key to success in multinational operations. For decades, the tactical forces of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and the United Kingdom Royal Marines have successfully operated together. The New Integrated Marines Communications and Information System (NIMCIS) 4.0 programme will deliver improvements that contribute highly to this ambition and moreover, take user experience and ease of use to the next level. The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and General Dynamics UK will continue their collaboration on the NIMCIS 4.0 programme, with improvements focused on user experience, training and hardware upgrades. The programme equips the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps with the Bowman 5.6 system, which is currently being rolled out to the UK Armed Forces by General Dynamics UK.
NIMCIS 4.0 provides upgraded technology that aligns with that used by the UK armed forces, to deliver a low risk solution for tactical communication and faster information transfer. The NIMCIS tactical communications equipment receives a series of enhancements and upgrades, including the roll-out of new data terminals and an updated version of the Battle Management System.
Major of Marines Menno van der Schaaf, representing the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps users emphasises “It is key for us to continuously improve and develop in order to stay in line with the latest technologies and that is what NIMCIS 4.0 will enable. We’ll be able to act faster and fully integrate with our colleagues in the United Kingdom, whilst evolving our current system and providing an easy-to-use system.”
The improvements take user experience and ease of use to a next level, with the soldier at the centre of these developments able to act faster and collaborate more efficiently, to ensure that they are able to be effective and fulfil their complex and difficult tasks in a secure, interoperable manner. The General Dynamics UK system will be at the heart of interoperability between the UK and Netherlands armed forces.
“Secure interoperability and acting swiftly is a key success factor for the missions of our men and women at the tactical edge“ confirms Lt Col of Marines Robert Langeveld responsible for operations in the German-Dutch TEN programme and initiator of the NIMCIS upgrade.
Craig Jansen, Vice President of UK TacCIS at General Dynamics, commented: “With this continued collaboration the Netherlands Marines have access to the best tactical communications. Building on our partnership, first established in 2005, we are delighted to continue to work together, delivering world-class secure tactical communications to the Netherlands Armed Forces.”
General Dynamics UK has provided the NIMCIS system to Royal Netherland Marine Corps for the past 14 years. The system provides a secure voice and data communications infrastructure capable of supporting a range of network-enabled command, control, communications, computing and intelligence systems.
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra has a proven record of accomplishment – with over 15 years of experience in delivering secure communications and cybersecurity solutions for governments around the globe; elite militaries; and private enterprises of all sizes.
As a dynamic, agile, security accredited organisation, Spectra can leverage this experience to deliver Cyber Advisory and secure Hosted and Managed Solutions on time, to spec and on budget, ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices.
Spectra’s SlingShot® is a unique low SWaP system that enables in-service U/VHF tactical radios to utilise Inmarsat’s commercial satellite network for BLOS COTM. Including omnidirectional antenna for the man, vehicle, maritime and aviation platforms, the tactical net can broadcast over 1000s miles between forward units and a rear HQ, no matter how or where the deployment. Unlike many BLOS options, SlingShot maintains full COTM (Communications On The Move) capability and low size and weight
On 23 November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced that it had recently been listed as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier for 2015-2016 by the UK Crown Commercial Services
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 BATTLESPACE Businessman of the Year by BATTLESPACE magazine and is a finalist in the inaugural British Ex-Forces In Business Awards in the Innovator Of The Year category.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.