Sponsored by Spectra Group
24 Oct 19. Motorola Solutions’ Next Generation APX NEXT Smart Radio Brings New Intelligence and Technology to Public Safety. Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) today announced the launch of APX NEXT™, its next-generation mission-critical Project 25 (P25) public safety radio with LTE for enhanced communications and data-centric application services. The company also announced ViQi™, a public safety virtual assistant that provides vital information to first responders in the field and allows users to operate APX NEXT via voice control.
“A radio is a first responder’s lifeline when 100% of their attention needs to be on the people and events around them,” said Collin Arnold, Director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security. “Motorola Solutions worked closely with our public safety team, who is nationally recognized for their technology leadership, to build a radio that goes far beyond what we thought possible. APX NEXT and ViQi allow our first responders to keep their eyes on what’s happening, while obtaining the critical information they need to help protect our community.”
APX NEXT is the newest mission-critical P25 radio offering in Motorola Solutions’ purpose-built APX portfolio. It’s FirstNet Ready™ and comes with embedded LTE connectivity enabled by the FirstNet communications platform to quickly deliver voice and data to first responders in the field. APX NEXT is Motorola Solutions’ first APX radio to feature a touchscreen with a user interface designed specifically for public safety. The touchscreen can be used in the rain and when wearing gloves. It offers one-touch access to radio controls, large touch targets and an optimized user interface for fast navigation. ViQi voice control enables users to quickly manage radio controls through simple and intuitive voice commands.
“APX NEXT was created after more than 2,000 hours of extensive field research and testing with numerous law enforcement agencies,” said Scott Mottonen, Motorola Solutions senior vice president of Products. “We know that first responders need technology to be intuitive and intelligent to allow them to remain eyes up, hands free and focused in any situation.”
APX NEXT APPLICATION SERVICES
This new radio uses LMR for mission-critical voice communications and LTE broadband to power new application services including:
- ViQi: With ViQi Virtual Partner, first responders can retrieve information from remote databases using natural language interactions, such as “ViQi, run a license plate.”
- SmartConnect: APX NEXT detects when an LMR signal is low and automatically switches to LTE broadband connectivity ensuring continuity of PTT voice communications. It then switches back to LMR when the signal returns with no user intervention required.
- SmartLocate: An officer’s location data is automatically sent over broadband to a dispatcher’s mapping console, providing dispatchers with up-to-date location information as fast as every 3 seconds. Leveraging broadband to send frequent location updates frees up your valuable LMR system resources.
- SmartProgramming: The radio’s software and configuration data can be rapidly updated over broadband, even when a police officer is using it. This means APX NEXT spends less time in radio shops and more time in the field.
MORE ABOUT ViQi
ViQi is an application service available on APX NEXT. It will be integrated into other solutions as the company continues to research, and collaborate with users, on new ways to streamline officer workflows and guide better decisions through artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Today, ViQi allows officers to quickly and discreetly retrieve critical information from remote databases through simple voice queries, including:
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license information
- Vehicle identification numbers (VIN)
Motorola Solutions is working on future iterations of ViQi, such as calling for vehicle assistance, taking statements and foreign language speech translation. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Oct 19. US Army AI task force looks for cyber project as industry day nears. The Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force is looking to start a cyber defense project this year, according to director Brig. Gen. Matt Easley.
“Our network defense piece, [artificial intelligence] is used to help us sort of do the situational awareness — to understand what the network is to start with,” Easley told reporters during an Oct. 14 briefing at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.
“Just understanding what that defense perimeter looks like is step one. Step two is how do you see attacks coming in and sift through those attacks faster.”
Easley said the task force is looking to expand its portfolio and has been in talks with Army Cyber Command and it’s been decided that the task force and its data scientists will lead the project, which is still in the formation phase.
While the final project problem hasn’t been settled, Easley said there are two options.
“It’s either going to be analyzing big streams of data to understand where a vulnerability is or even just sensing the network to understand what the current state of the network is right now,” he said.
“To do that at scale is still a challenge for our networks because our networks are so broad and diverse.”
Easley’s comments come as the Army plans on hosting its third annual AI industry day Nov. 13, courtesy of Army Research Lab, the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (known as Project Maven), and the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.
Easley mentioned the Army’s data challenge and the industry day seeks to help with that by focusing on key areas, such as training data, data and inference platforms, algorithms, user interface and experience, integration at the edge, and testing.
The task force, which was established under Army Futures Command in 2018 in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, is charged with leading and coordinating how the Army implements artificial intelligence, robotics, and other emerging tech tools.
With just about a year covered, the AI task force director said he’s looking for new projects despite not having any public wins to date. Easley said the task force has taken at least one of its prototype technologies to an Army program executive office, which garnered some interest for expanding.
Easley would not elaborate on which PEO was involved or give specifics on the technology beyond “we’re looking at images and looking for targets of interest for our peer competitor fight.” However, the Army plans to demo that technology at the Army-led joint, multinational training exercise, DEFENDER-Europe 20. (Source: Defense Systems)
23 Oct 19. CRFS Unveils RFeye AirDefense. Passive long-range 3D tracking of aircraft, UAS & missiles. CRFS, a global leader in RF spectrum monitoring, management and geolocation solutions, prepares to unveil its passive 3D airborne tracking system, RFeye AirDefense, at the 56th AOC Symposium in Washington DC, October 28-30.
Developed to passively detect and geolocate airborne targets using their RF transmissions, RFeye AirDefense provides militaries with covert surveillance of their airspace for situational awareness, silently augmenting existing Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS).
Both military and civilian aircraft transmit RF signals for voice communication, navigation, tactical data links and radar. The RFeye AirDefense system uses these transmissions to accurately detect the signal, locate its position in three dimensions and determine the probable flight path for individual aircraft, independent of the number that may be operating in the area.
“The practical advantage of RFeye AirDefense is its ability to detect hostile aircraft and UAS without them being aware they are being tracked,” said Marty Mosier, CRFS Inc. General Manager. “This can provide essential covert intelligence on enemy activity and also augment radar systems by providing a long-range warning of incoming threats to enable radar cuing or provide coverage overlap.”
Mosier continued, “The ability to derive course, speed, and altitude from a geolocated signal of interest is often considered the holy grail of the airborne SIGINT community. Just from these pieces of data, we can help analysts determine the origin, platform type, bearing to estimated target and even intent.”
RFeye AirDefense uses a ground-based network of intelligent RFeye receivers linked to management and geolocation software to enable real-time monitoring and tracking of airborne targets over an extremely wide airspace. The same network and sensors can also provide general RF environment situational awareness and terrestrial emitter geolocation.
“Using our four-sensor test network in Buffalo, New York, we can, accurately geolocate and track multiple aircraft simultaneously at distances of hundreds of kilometers. It can track aircraft from stationary to speeds in excess of Mach 1,” said Mosier. “The system is expandable to any number of sensors to cover as large a geographic area as desired and can be managed and monitored in real-time from anywhere in the world.”
The system can be used for standalone situational awareness or as an integrated element in a system of systems for complete air defense. Applications range from operational in-theatre use to training and testing. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Oct 19. CACI and BlackBerry Partner to Launch First Secure and Certified Government Mobile Communications App. CACI International Inc (NYSE: CACI) announced today it is partnering with BlackBerry Limited (NYSE: BB; TSX: BB) to provide the first secure and certified mobile communications app, which will enable government officials to use smartphones to text and make calls without fear of eavesdropping or data compromise. The commercially-available app, a new offering within CACI’s enterprise technology area of business, is easy to use. Government officials can simply download it – or agencies can push it via a Mobile Device Management platform – to their current government-issued iOS or Android devices.
CACI and BlackBerry will initially offer the app to meet the needs of more than 4 million government issued cell phones covered by Controlled Unclassified Information requirements. This app will eliminate the vulnerabilities prevalent in alternatives that don’t meet Federal security standards.
The core SecuSUITE for Government software exceeds Federal requirements. CACI and BlackBerry built the solution from the ground up to meet the National Security Agency’s Commercial Solution for Classified (CSfC) program requirements and has already premiered on the NSA-approved vendors list for certified mobile solutions. The NSA has also cleared the solution to its SECRET CSfC standards. Available through GSA-70, the solution is in the process of obtaining FedRAMP certification.
CACI’s Software-as-a-Service solution eliminates life-cycle costs, reduces government acquisition requirements, and integrates seamlessly with existing government requirements. CACI also provides training, system monitoring, and help-desk support for the software.
John Mengucci, CACI President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our client base is increasingly mobile. We believe that U.S. Government employees, Chief Information Officers, and Chief Information Security Officers should have confidence their cell phone calls and text messages are secure and protected to the same standard as government email. CACI and BlackBerry developed this capability to mitigate evolving threats and meet our customer’s needs.”
John Chen, BlackBerry Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “BlackBerry is trusted by all seven of the G7 governments and has received some of the highest scores in the industry. We look forward to offering our secure communications solutions to even more government users that need to meet or exceed the most stringent regulation requirements.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Oct 19. DOD Announces Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for 5G Technology. The Department of Defense today announced that in November it will issue a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) focused on large-scale experimentation and prototyping of 5G technologies. The draft RFP will include a description of four U.S. military installations where initial 5G experimentation will take place and will give industry an opportunity to provide feedback before the final RFP is issued.
“History is replete with examples of the DoD partnering with the private sector to foster innovation and collaboratively bring leap-ahead technology to the forefront,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Lisa Porter during remarks at Mobile World Congress 19 in Los Angeles. “The DoD wants our American industry to lead in 5G. A strong American economy is vital to our national security.We will never let up on our commitment to continuously innovate with our partners in the private sector, as well as with our partners across the Government.”
Porter shared the stage with Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai and National Telecommunications and Information Administration administrator Diane Rinaldo.
Information gathered from responses to the draft RFP will factor into the creation of a final RFP planned for December, though the timing will depend on passage of a 2020 defense appropriations bill.
The first round of opportunities will focus on three areas.
- Establishing a dynamic spectrum sharing testbed to demonstrate the capability to use 5G in congested environments with high-power, mid-band radars.
- Integrating Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality into mission planning and training in both virtual and live environments on training ranges.
- Smart Warehouses to leverage 5G’s ability to enhance logistics operations and maximize throughput.
Installations selected for testing and experimentation will provide streamlined access to site spectrum bands, mature fiber and wireless infrastructure, access to key facilities, support for new or improved infrastructure requirements, and the ability to conduct controlled experimentation with dynamic spectrum sharing.
Proposed projects should demonstrate innovative prototypes and approaches to employing new commercial technologies that enhance military capabilities and speed 5G deployment. DoD plans to add new opportunities roughly every quarter, pending funds availability, and will hold an Industry Day prior to issuing the final RFP. (Source: US DoD)
22 Oct 19. Statement from Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Rath Hoffman on DoD Cloud Update.
“As you all know, soon after becoming Secretary of Defense in July, Secretary Esper initiated a review of the Department’s cloud computing plans and to the JEDI procurement program. As part of this review process he attended informational briefings to ensure he had a full understanding of the JEDI program and the universe of options available to DoD to meet its cloud computing needs. Although not legally required to, he has removed himself from participating in any decision making following the information meetings, due to his adult son’s employment with one of the original contract applicants. Out of an abundance of caution to avoid any concerns regarding his impartiality, Secretary Esper has delegated decision making concerning the JEDI Cloud program to Deputy Secretary Norquist. The JEDI procurement will continue to move to selection through the normal acquisition process run by career acquisition professionals.” (Source: US DoD)
23 Oct 19. US defence secretary recuses himself from $10bn cloud contract. Microsoft and Amazon have been battling for politically sensitive Jedi contract. Whichever company wins the Pentagon’s Jedi contract will control vast swathes of the defence department’s data and communications. The US defence secretary has recused himself from one of the most politically sensitive decisions he faces, handing over responsibility for awarding a $10bn cloud computing contract to his deputy. Mark Esper has instructed his deputy, David Norquist, to decide whether Amazon or Microsoft should win the contract, known as Jedi, which would give one technology company control over vast swaths of the defence department’s data and communications. Donald Trump has previously expressed concern that Amazon might win the contract, having clashed on several occasions with its chief executive Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post newspaper. The Pentagon said Mr Esper was making the move out of an “abundance of caution regarding his impartiality” because his son worked for one of the companies originally involved in the bidding process — though it did not say which one. Jonathan Raff Hoffman, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense, said: “Although not legally required to, he has removed himself from participating in any decision making . . . due to his adult son’s employment with one of the original contract applicants.” The Jedi contract was due to be announced by the end of August, but Mr Esper launched a last-minute review into the bidding process soon after Mr Trump raised his concerns.
The US president claimed “great companies are complaining about it”. The Financial Times reported in August that as part of his review, Mr Esper had not asked for any additional information from either of the remaining bidders, prompting accusations that it was a politically motivated exercise to remove some of the heat from the decision. The Pentagon said on Tuesday he had now completed his “informational briefings”, but would not make the final decision on which company should get the contract. Mr Hoffman said: “The Jedi procurement will continue to move to selection through the normal acquisition process run by career acquisition professionals.” Neither Amazon nor Microsoft responded to a request to comment. (Source: FT.com)
22 Oct 19. Commtact launches HiveComm SDR datalink. Israel’s Commtact has developed a new software defined radio (SDR) datalink and launched it at the Association of the United States Army 2019 (AUSA 2019) annual conference in Washington in October. The HiveComm system provides full duplex data transmissions in the L, S, and C radio frequency (RF) bands.
Asaf Choshniak, Commtact vice-president, marketing and business development, told Jane’s that the new HiveComm datalink family was focused principally on the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and maritime markets. It includes proprietary HiveNet multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) IP mesh technology to provide a mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) capability and offers a claimed throughput of up to 40 Mbit/s.
Choshniak said the system includes a new integrated high-definition (HD) video encoder, Amadeus. This enables low-latency concurrent encoding, decoding, and transmission of multiple HD video streams in a wireless environment. Although Amadeus is integrated into HiveComm, Chosniak noted that it can be offered as a stand-alone capability. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Oct 19. Raytheon reveals new Cyber Anomaly Detection System. Raytheon has developed a Cyber Anomaly Detection System (CADS) that can detect the presence of a cyber threat to a platform and warn the user.
The system, which was showcased at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting in Washington in October, sits on the MIL-STD-1533 or ARINC-429 communications bus of an aircraft or vehicle, and detects anomalies that warn when a cyber threat may have been introduced into the platform. The warning then allows the pilot or operator to take the appropriate action, such as closing down an affected sub-system.
A Raytheon representative told Jane’s that the system requires a human-in-the-loop to respond to the detection and warning, and that increased automation work was in progress, although it was unlikely that a fully automated system would be acceptable to users who would want to be able to respond manually with different options. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Oct 19. USN’s new narrowband network ready for combat. The Navy’s new secure narrowband communications satellite system is ready for full operational use after passing a major development milestone.
The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) successfully completed its months-long multiservice operational test and evaluation over the summer and has been deemed operationally effective by the Navy, meaning that it is suitable for operations and cyber survivable, the Navy announced Oct. 16. With the testing completed, the new system is ready to be used in unrestricted operation.
Developed by the Navy, MUOS provides voice, video and mission data over a narrowband network using five satellites in geosynchronous orbit. MUOS is designed to both continue and eventually replace the legacy UHF system for military narrowband communications. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for MUOS, while the ground system is being built by General Dynamics.
“MUOS is a game changer for our troops, providing incredible new voice and data capabilities with near global coverage from satellites that act like cell towers 22,000 miles above the Earth,” said Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s military space line of business. “Imagine leaping in technology from a walkie-talkie to a modern cellular phone with global reach. This is what MUOS is for our troops and its network technology will provide more than 10 times the communications capacity the legacy UHF SATCOM system can provide.”
At least one company has been able to test its own radios on the live MUOS network already. At the annual Association of the United States Army convention Oct. 14, Collins Aerospace Systems announced that it had successfully completed voice checks over the network, making it the first to do so with its own equipment.
The MUOS satellites each contain two payloads: One maintaining the legacy UHF network and a second that provides the new Wideband Code Division Multiple Access capability. While MUOS has continued to make the legacy network available, it has also slowly enabled transition to the newer, more secure system.
In July 2016, US Strategic Command approved WCDMA for Early Combatant Command use, allowing for testing, training and more. Then in July 2018 the command expanded WCDMA to all noncombat operations.
While MUOS was already being used for limited missions and training, the successful completion of the tests make it available for a wider range of missions, including in the tactical warfare environment.
“Sailors and Marines can already use MUOS in situations like humanitarian response, disaster assistance and training,” said John Pope, who leads the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence and Space Systems . “Now, these same advanced communications capabilities will be available in the tactical warfare environment. The advantages MUOS provides will help the warfighter compete, deter and win on the battlefield.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
22 Oct 19. US Army unit receives at-the-halt network prototypes. The US Army has delivered upgraded at-the-halt tactical network prototypes to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart in Georgia, US.
The more expeditionary and capable tactical network transport at-the-halt equipment was delivered last month by Project Manager (PM) Tactical Network under a pilot effort, known as the 5th Generation Technical Insertion (5th Gen TI).
5th Gen TI is part of the US Army’s Tactical Network Transport At The Halt (TNT ATH) Modernization in Service (MIS) efforts to upgrade the at-the-halt tactical network transport equipment.
Through the TNT ATH MIS, the army is fielding unified network transport across the service.
The unit will test new network equipment during training exercises and provide feedback from the pilot deployment to enable further system enhancements.
The upgrade will result in a smaller footprint and reduce the weight, power, and setup time. Enhancements will make the equipment easier to operate and deliver enhanced mobility. In addition, the new network improvements, driven by hardware, software and virtualisation technologies, will provide more computing power.
1st ABCT 3rd ID communications officer major Tomas Allen said: “It’s all about taking hardware and making it software; that means less physical equipment and more virtual machines, more software-based infrastructure.
“These improvements are expected to provide a more expeditionary upper tactical internet, which enhances the movement and manoeuvre of elements and organisations on the ground.”
Equipment provided in the pilot effort includes modernised Joint Network Nodes (JNNs), Command Post Nodes (CPNs), and software-based virtual server stacks.
PM Tactical Network Mission Network assistant product manager captain Ryan Nehus said: “The significantly increased computing power provided by these new systems enables more soldiers to conduct mission command and exchange more data, faster and at the same time, without lag in the network.
“The technology increases network efficiency, so we can accomplish more with the same amount of bandwidth.” (Source: army-technology.com)
23 Oct 19. Collins Aerospace completes US Navy Tactical Combat Training Systems Increment II CDR. Key Points:
- Collins Aerospace recently completed its critical design review (CDR) for the Tactical Combat Training Systems Increment II programme
- CDR ensures a system can proceed into fabrication and test and can meet stated performance requirements within cost, schedule, and risk
Collins Aerospace successfully completed the critical design review (CDR) for the US Navy’s (USN’s) Tactical Combat Training Systems Increment II (TCTS II) programme, according to a company statement.
TCTS II, originally awarded to Collins Aerospace in 2017, enables the rapid adaptation of new missions and threats into training. Clay Stephens, Collins Aerospace’s blended live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) training systems business development director, said on 22 October that the company is providing a new open architecture (OA), open standards, cyber-secure air combat training system that blends LVC participants into one high-fidelity, high-density training mission. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Oct 19. Here’s what’s promising from the US Army’s first jamming pod. The Multi-Functional Electronic Warfare Air Large pod, the Army’s first organic brigade electronic attack asset that’s now mounted on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle, flew for the first time in an Army exercise this summer.
The program, known as MFEW Air Large, was awarded to Lockheed Martin last year. The defense contractor has been running test flights of the pod, as part of the Army’s Cyber Blitz exercise in September.
The platform is not slated for delivery to units until 2022, but in the meantime the Army is continuing to test the new system from a technology and concepts perspective.
While the Army learned about the pod during the Cyber Blitz exercise — and is awaiting more results from the demonstration — the Army’s electronic warfare program manager described one promising area for future operations.
“The air pod solutions are very important, especially when you start going against a near peer competitor. The main reason why is because you start now dealing with more of an [electronic intelligence] ELINT threat than with a strictly commercial threat,” Col. Kevin Finch, program manager for electronic warfare and cyber within Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. Finch spoke about the system to C4ISRNET during an interview Oct. 15 at the annual AUSA conference.
“The ability to see radar systems … or artillery type radar systems, we need to be able to see that. Obviously, EW, you have to have some height to the antennas to be able to see a lot of that. If it’s on a pod solution, that’s a lot easier.”
These systems are similar to the types of threats brigades will face in conflict. Finch said the technology will help support the service’s No. 1 modernization priority: long range precision fires.
As part of the improvement effort, the Army created an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance task force, aimed, in part, at determining how the Army will be able to see 1,000 in order to shoot 1,000 miles.
In many cases, non-kinetic capabilities will make that possible.
“You might not be able to see the radar, use the full motion video or other techniques, but you can definitely see it in the [electromagnetic spectrum]. From that perspective, it brings a long of capability to the force and we’re very interested in getting it into the hands of tactical commanders,” he said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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.