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16 Jan 20. DISA Defending, Improving DOD Network, Director Says. The Defense Information Systems Agency’s mission is to provide, operate and defend global command and control and information-sharing capabilities for the entire Defense Department, national-level leaders and coalition partners, the agency’s director said.
Navy Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton, who also serves as commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, spoke at an AFCEA-sponsored network luncheon in Washington today.
DISA is eliminating obsolete technology, improving interoperability and transforming DOD full-spectrum operations in space and cyberspace and on land, in the air and at sea, she said, to help the department prepare for the next conflict.
Norton outlined DISA’s efforts at supporting business reform.
National Background Investigation Services provides clearances for those working in and for DOD, she said, noting that before, NBIS evaluated at periodic intervals. Today, she said, DISA is helping to provide continuous security evaluation of cleared personnel.
Industry partners helped DISA develop a secure, isolated cloud platform which denies adversaries the opportunity to introduce malware onto the network, the admiral said, noting the previous practice was for users to access the internet from traditional desktop browsers. If attackers try to introduce malware, she explained, the cloud quarantines malicious code and content.
To ensure people on the network are validated, users are required to use common access cards and multifactor authentication, Norton said. Furthermore, contextual and biometric information-gathering sensors help ensure that safe and authorized activity is taking place on the network.
DISA blocks about 1.5 billion attempts to attack DOD’s vast network occur each day, the admiral said. “It keeps us busy,” she added.
“Some organizations prioritize speed of delivery at deployment over cybersecurity,” she said. But for DISA, she said, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. “Industry must incorporate cybersecurity into every step of the development process,” she said, “as well as the supply-chain management.”
About 16,000 military, DOD civilian and contractors employees, work at DISA in locations around the world, including at all the combatant commands, Norton said. DISA’s total budget for fiscal year 2019 was $10.9bn, and for fiscal 2020, it increases to $11.8bn.
Norton said the next big step is to leverage artificial intelligence for network operations, an endeavor that’s already well underway. (Source: US DoD)
14 Jan 20. Amazon will seek to halt work on DoD’s JEDI cloud. Amazon Web Services will ask a federal court to block the Pentagon and Microsoft from beginning work on the Department of Defense’s controversial enterprise cloud, according to a Jan. 13 court filing.
The joint status report — filed by the DoD, Microsoft and AWS in the Court of Federal Claims — lays out a timeline for the next few weeks of Amazon’s court challenge of the DoD’s award of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud to Microsoft.
According to the document, AWS plans to file a motion for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order “to prevent the issuance of substantive task orders under the contract” on Jan. 24. The Defense Department has indicated that task orders for the unclassified portion of the cloud will go out Feb. 11.
A preliminary injunction would serve as yet another significant setback for the DoD, whose IT leadership over the last year have continuously indicated that any delay would negative impact the war fighter and lead DoD components to adopt their own solutions.
Deasy has said that there are 14 early adopters of the JEDI cloud, including the Navy, U.S. Transportation Command, Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command.
AWS alleged in a December complaint that the contract award to Microsoft was influenced by President Donald Trump, who has continuously expressed animosity for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. In the complaint, Amazon Web Services lawyers wrote that “basic justice requires reevaluation of proposals and a new award decision.”
As part of the court case, Amazon Web Services filed a CD-ROM containing videos of Trump bashing Amazon in a 2016 campaign rally and saying “we’re going to take a look at it [the contract]” in the Oval Office last summer.
At his confirmation hearing in October, DoD CIO Dana Deasy said no one on the source selection team was influenced by the White House. He didn’t deny that senior leadership at the DoD felt any external pressure. (Source: glstrade.com/Federal Times)
15 Jan 20. Masergy, the software-defined network and cloud platform for the digital enterprise today announced the launch of its Masergy Shadow IT Discovery solution. Shadow IT Discovery exposes enterprises to significant cybersecurity risks. Building on its mission to make security intrinsic to its SD-WAN platform and to offer the most robust real-time visibility and control, Masergy is empowering enterprises to immediately identify and appropriately address unauthorised SaaS applications.
The proliferation of SaaS applications continues to compound each year, exposing businesses to ever-increasing cloud threats and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. According to one study, the average enterprise has more than 888 unauthorised SaaS applications running unbeknownst to IT departments. Furthermore, Gartner clients indicate that “shadow IT” investments can exceed 40% of the formal IT spend.1
“With more than half of all enterprise workloads now running in IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, securing enterprise access to multiple clouds is crucial,” according to Principal Research Analyst, John Burke, at Nemertes Research. “Shadow IT in the form of the proliferation of unsanctioned cloud solutions cannot be ignored, and integrating shadow IT discovery into a managed SD-WAN offering, as Masergy has done, gives crucial new visibility to IT teams with minimal added effort.”
Masergy Shadow IT Discovery immediately scans and identifies all applications, providing clients visibility through the SD-WAN management portal. Until now, IT departments have had to rely on a variety of endpoint security solutions and guesswork to access this information. The time savings and decreased threat exposure will help IT organisations increase their security posture and keep up with the blind spots created by unsanctioned usage.
“Masergy stands committed to helping global enterprises leverage the cloud with certainty, giving them the visibility they need to control access without disrupting the productivity benefits that cloud applications deliver,” said Terry Traina, Chief Digital Officer, Masergy.
This announcement comes just four months after the Masergy AIOps product launch, in which the company released the industry’s first SD-WAN-integrated digital assistant for network, security, and application optimisation.
1 Gartner, Integrate ‘Shadow IT’ and Business-Led IT Into the I&T Operating Model to Enable Enterprise Agility, August 2018.
14 Jan 20. US Army Chief Seeks ‘Minimally Manned’ Vehicles, Joint C2. Gen. James McConville wants to connect Army networks with the Air Force and replace some soldiers — not all — with automation.
The Army Chief of Staff is working with his Air Force counterpart to link the two services’ networks into a single joint command system for future conflicts.
“We are moving out on it. In fact, I’ve talked to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force [Gen. David Goldfein],” Gen. James McConville said at the Atlantic Council this morning. “Our staffs are meeting right now.”
“We’ve got a conference going on,” McConville told me after the event. “I’m surprised you’re not out at it.” (Well, we would be, but it turns out press isn’t allowed: Click here for more on the high-level meetings at Ellis Air Force Base).
“We know we need a joint command and control system; we’ve got to have that. We understand that,” McConville said. But, he went on, each service has already invested so heavily in its own networks that it can’t just set aside what it has while waiting for a future Joint All-Domain Command & Control (JADC2) system. To the contrary, McConville seems to see those service-unique systems as essential building blocks to be pieced together into a future all-service system.
In the Army, for instance, McConville said, “we’re very aggressive on [developing] the Integrated Tactical Network for our soldiers so they can operate in this contested environment” – that is, in the face of sophisticated jamming and hacking that would scramble current communications systems.
Further, he went on, “we have an Integrated Battle Command System that has been successful in recent tests and we’re excited about that.” That’s because IBCS will let any Army radar pass targeting data to any Army anti-aircraft or missile defense launcher – and recently it’s tested a link to an F-35 fighter as well. That’s a first step to the “any sensor, any shooter” capability JADC2 envisions linking all four services in all five domains – land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace.
The Air Force, likewise, is developing its Advanced Battle Management System. “We want to make sure we can all plug in,” McConville said, but the Air Force ABMS isn’t a universal solution: It’s “air-centric,” he said.
(Many in the Air Force might bristle at this description: They see ABMS as the backbone for the future joint command and control network, not just one component, and they’ve busily adding a host of data management and cloud computing systems to support it).
“So how do we bring those systems together so we can all talk … and pass data on a contested battlefield?” McConville asked. “That’s what we want to do.”
Multiple Dilemmas & Minimal Manning
Building better networks isn’t about IT efficiencies. It’s a military imperative for the services to share information so they defeat advanced adversaries like China and Russia.
There’s precedent for this kind of cooperation, just not on the scale a 21st-century great power conflict would require. McConville, a career helicopter pilot himself, noted that the first shots of the 1991 Gulf War were fired by Army AH-64 Apache gunships, slipping in at low altitude to destroy Iraqi radars and open a gap for Air Force strikes. For a further joint twist, the Apaches’ pre-GPS navigation systems couldn’t lead them to the target, so Air Force helicopters led the way. By contrast, in 2003, when Apaches tried a “deep strike” through the Karbala Gap without proper support from the Air Force or ground units, they were spotted by Iraqi ground troops and shot up so badly they had to break off.
The lesson? “If you just take a bunch of Apaches and you have them fly – charge in like the charge of the Light Brigade – you’re probably not going to be successful,” McConville said. “But if you have ground forces coming, and you have aerial forces coming, you have unmanned forces coming, and you have artillery, and you’ve got a combined-arms joint-type fight, it presents multiple dilemmas to the enemy, and they can’t be everywhere.”
Joint All-Domain Command & Control is all about achieving that kind of lethal synergy, he said. For instance, decades after scrapping its Pershing ballistic missiles under the now-defunct INF Treaty, the Army’s top investment priority is what it calls Long-Range Precision Fires, including new missiles with ranges in the hundreds or even thousands of miles. The service doesn’t promote these ground-launched long-range weapons as a substitute for jets and helicopters, but as a vital supplement, able to (say) destroy enemy radars to open a path for airstrikes.
It’s a 21st century version of the Apache strike that opened the Gulf War, McConville said. “You’re still going to have to penetrate,” he said, but you’d do it differently today.
“An integrated air defense system is not very good against long-range precision fires, because radars are very susceptible to being taken down,” he said. “That allows you to open up holes and then to exploit [them], whether you’re using maritime forces, you’re using air forces, you’re using ground forces, or a combination.”
But will those future forces be manned or unmanned? McConville said he doesn’t like that kind of “either-or.” Instead, he explained, “what I see, especially in the near term, is where we’re going to be able to go to more minimum manning, where we have less people in aircraft, less people in some of our Army vehicles” – but not none.
That’s why the Army’s top-priority aviation programs – the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft to scout, the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft to carry troops – are supposed to be “optionally manned,” able to fly with two pilots, one or none, depending on the complexity of the mission.
There is tremendous potential to use virtual and augmented reality to let humans remote-control unmanned vehicles as if they were on the scene themselves, McConville said. But no one’s yet built a machine equivalent for the sensory input a skilled pilot or driver gets from actually being in the vehicle, feeling the acceleration and resistance, able to see and hear in all directions, instead of just staring at a narrow screen.
“[With] drones, you’re looking through a soda straw, you’re only seeing what that camera’s seeing,” McConville told reporters. “There’s times when unmanned systems are good; there’s times when you want a person there, because you can’t feel it when you’re not there.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
14 Jan 20. USAF Wants Multi-Platform Jammers To Support MDO. The RFI is one of the first industry solicitations since the Air Force announced in April 2019 an overhaul of its EW operations to counter Russian and Chinese advances, and to enable multi-domain operations.
The Air Force wants to revamp its electronic warfare (EW) force structure and move beyond platform-centric systems to software-based defensive and offensive capabilities that allow coordination across multiple platforms.
In a request for information (RFI) released yesterday by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the service said it is looking to “assess industry capability to design, build, and demonstrate a rapidly configurable EW system to include both Electronic Attack (EA) and Electronic Support (ES) capabilities postured for responding to software-defined, highly agile 21st century EW enemy systems while still addressing all legacy threats.”
“The USAF future strategy for EW systems is for advanced, wideband EW systems incorporating a flexible architecture to enable multiple platform EW coordination for prosecuting diverse mission sets,” the RFI explains.
The idea is to move to a system-of-systems, rather than the myriad platform-centric EW systems the Air Force now operates. These include, among others, the Compass Call aircraft now being upgraded to be carried on a EC-37B jet by BAE Systems; the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) EW suite for the F-15E (currently being upgraded by Boeing through 2021 under an on-again/off again program as cogently explained by colleague John Tirpak back in October); the ALQ-131 jamming pod; and the highly classified EW systems embedded in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“Current EW systems can and do work together, but many are federated and not integrated,” Glenn “Powder” Carlson, president elect of the Association of Old Crows (AOC), told Breaking D today. The AOC is the venerable industry organization that brings together EW operators and companies.
The RFI is one of the first industry solicitations since the Air Force announced in April 2019 an overhaul of its organizational structure for EW operations to to fight back against Russian and Chinese information warfare, and to enable multi-domain operations.
As Breaking D readers know, the reorganization consolidated the 24th Air Force, which provided the Air Force’s contribution to Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and the 25 Air Force, which provided mobile integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to all of the component commands, under a single commander. The new organization, called the 16th Air Force, is headquartered in San Antonio and is led by Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, who was confirmed in his new position by the Senate in late September. Haugh previously lead the 25th Air Force.
The changes were the result of two years of study by the EW Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team (ECCT, designed to make recommendations for how the Air Force can “ensure electromagnetic spectrum superiority” in the future, according to the Air Force. The team was led by Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, director, Cyberspace Operations and Warfighter Communications, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations.
Meanwhile, at the insistence of Congress in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon has stood up an Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Cross Functional Team led by Joint Chiefs Vice Chair Gen. John Hyten, that includes all four services; the Joint Staff; the Pentagon’s Chief Information Officer; the undersecretariats for acquisition, research, and intelligence; Cyber Command; and Strategic Command.
The planned prototype demonstration “will consist of 6 notion signals with 3 generic (unclassified) jamming techniques. The participants systems being demonstrated shall be able to correctly identify the threat and provide the correct jamming technique,” according to the RFI. It is tentatively slated to take place sometime in June, with industry responses to the RFI due on Feb. 28.
In particular, the Air Force is seeking capabilities based on open standards so it can modify or update the hardware and software to meet future requirements.
The service “is looking at adaptable, scalable, government-owned, modular system architecture with common interfaces. Incorporation of the latest Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA), Open Mission Systems (OMS), Universal Command and Control Interface (UCI) standards is a must. Implementation of these standards permits multi-domain coordinated non-platform specific capabilities with an adaptable hardware and software upgrade path,” the RFI states.
“Open architecture should enable more efficient and faster upgrades, and the opportunity to insert ‘best of breed’ capability into systems after they are fielded, to adapt to the changing EMS and ensuring effective Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO),” Carlson explained. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Jan 20. Northrop Demos Radio, Possible Multi Domain Key. The Northrop Grumman radio will provide one-stop access to four types of radio communications widely used by all services for air-to-air and air-to-ground communications.
Northrop Grumman has won a $14.5m chance to prove to the Air Force that its design for a new radio would allow operators to use multiple US and allied data links and help the service realize its plans for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).
Importantly, the new Software Programmable Open Mission Systems (OMS) Compliant (known as SPOC) radio terminal will allow the Air Force to rapidly develop and prototype upgrades or change or to third-party contractors to do so. In other words, the software code is not proprietary to Northrop Grumman.
“Our solution for SPOC provides a mature hardware and software development kit that allows the Air Force to rapidly develop and prototype innovative communications solutions from any provider on an open architecture networking terminal that can be quickly taken into flight test and production,” Roshan Roeder, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s communications, airborne sensors and networks division, said in a company release.
“With the Air Force taking responsibility for developing the airborne communications network infrastructure for the Advanced Battle Management System, SPOC radio will allow the Air Force to rapidly develop, test, fly and iterate,” she added.
As Breaking D readers know, the Air Force — and DoD writ large — continues to struggle to allow myriad communications terminals designed for one platform (i.e., the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) to talk to other weapon systems. A major obstacle with most systems is that the software code is owned by the company that developed it. This is a particular problem for satellite communications terminals and ground stations because, while the Air Force is responsible for satellite acquisition and operating the networks, the other services — especially the Army — actually buy the terminals and antennas that allow troops on the ground and at sea to use the networks.
While already acute, this problem is looming even larger as the Air Force pushes development of ABMS as a key node in DoD’s effort to solidify plans for the development of a Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system. JADC2, if successful, will link all sensors and shooters at all levels of military operations (from troops in the field to four-stars at combatant command headquarters) to underpin multi-domain operations (MDO).
The Northrop Grumman radio will provide one-stop access to four types of radio frequency communications widely used by all services and some allies for air-to-air and air-to-ground communications:
- Link-16 CMN-4, an upgrade to the ubiquitous communications link used by military aircraft, ships, and ground forces to exchange tactical information in near-real time, developed by Naval Information Warfare Systems Command;
- Common Data Link (CDL), one of the oldest (dating from the 1990s) secure military communications protocols that serves as a primary link for sharing imagery and signals intelligence;
- Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), which Breaking D readers know is the hard-to-detect waveform used by the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which can unfortunately only talk to other F-35s; and,
- Multi User Objective System (MUOS), the narrowband, ultra-high frequency satellite communications network developed by the Navy, but used by all the services for mobile communications.
The “open architecture networking terminal offers numerous benefits” to the Air Force, according to Northrop Grumman, “including opening the F-35 communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to third-party developers; ownership of Link 16 development; sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information over a common data link; and Mobile User Objective System beyond line of sight capability.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Jan 20. US Army’s increases ‘GAIT’ to improve network connectivity. The US Army is undertaking a multiyear effort to improve and modernize its tactical battlefield network. However, up to this point, tactical networks were relatively stovepipped and the process of connecting networks — whether in the same theater or across the world — required an extremely laborious process.
Enter the Global Agile Integrated Transport, or GAIT. GAIT is essentially a router that allows equipped units the ability to connect point to point with each other across the world without having to go through the enterprise.
“The beauty of GAIT is it doesn’t really carry data that you can use; it’s a transport,” Joe Vano, Tactical Network Transport at The Halt product line manager at Product Manager Mission Network, Project Manager Tactical Network, told C4ISRNET during a Dec. 19 trip to the GAIT network operations center at Fort Detrick, Maryland. “You can’t take anything out of there. Everything has to be encrypted.”
Under the old network architecture, if a unit in the United States wanted to see into the network of its subordinate unit deployed overseas — or if that deployed unit wanted to connect to another tactically deployed unit — they would have to go into the Army enterprise, up through the Defense Information Systems Agency infrastructure and all the way back down. This process had a litany of technical and bureaucratic hurdles and could sometimes take weeks or longer, Vano said.
With GAIT, it’s like these units are sitting in the same parking lot, he added.
GAIT will also be playing a big role in the upcoming Defender 2020 exercise in Europe in the spring — a massive exercise testing how the Army will conduct a large-scale deployment to the continent in a crisis if needed. GAIT will help connect coalitions together improving interoperability and providing valuable data to inform in what the military is calling the Mission Partner Environment.
The Army, in particular, has been working to make information sharing between coalition partners easier. In the past, restrictions to network access and classified information has prevented timely sharing of data. Or, nations are forced to share information through “swivel chairing,” the act by which units in a command post all operating on their separate networks turn to each other and pass the information orally or by hand.
As long as other nations have a GAIT router and are allowed into U.S. networks, they can connect and seamlessly share data remotely.
“Never before have we had a network where we said, here’s my coalition network, it has an authorization and an executive agent that now comes in and could be distributed to an American commander and vice versa,” Vano said. “But now we can do that. Now we are doing that.”
GAIT could also have wide application for humanitarian assistance, as officials explained that it can also connect to non-military domains, such as .com or .org, as long as other have a GAIT router. This could also delivery medical expertise to the battlefield as remote doctors could be patched right into tactical units’ networks. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
14 Jan 20. Thales and Dassault Aviation win contract for France’s new strategic airborne intelligence programme.
- The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) has awarded Thales and Dassault Aviation the ARCHANGE programme to strengthen France’s signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities.
- Thales will work with Dassault Aviation on behalf of the DGA and the armed forces to integrate the CUGE electronic warfare system on board Dassault’s Falcon 8X aircraft.
- The ARCHANGE programme will be conducted in accordance with a new government directive on defence programmes (Ministerial Instruction 1618), which places added emphasis on agile, collaborative working methods.
On 30 December 2019, the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) awarded Thales and Dassault Aviation the contract to equip the French Army’s future strategic intelligence aircraft with the CUGE universal electronic warfare capability. The contract covers the first two aircraft on the programme. CUGE will ultimately be deployed by three Falcon X aircraft, built by Dassault Aviation, to replace the two Transall C-160 Gabriel aircraft in service with the French Air Force from 2025.
With the ongoing development of digital technologies for the battlefield of the future, the armed forces are in the process of enhancing their intelligence capabilities. In the theatre of operations, they need to manage ever more complex tactical situations in real time, deploying surveillance systems that enable the intelligence services to make the best decisions in a timely fashion.
Thales, in partnership with Dassault Aviation, the DGA and the armed forces, has developed a new generation of signals intelligence (SIGINT) technologies under several advanced study programmes. Thales will produce all the sensors for the SIGINT payload and integrate the overall system on board Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 8X aircraft.
These new technologies will enable the system to detect and analyse radar and radar signals simultaneously for the first time, in particular thanks to Thales’s multi-polarisation antennas and the use of its artificial intelligence technologies to automate data processing.
The information collected by the systems will then be analysed by monitoring and intelligence specialists and fed into armed forces databases. The programme also includes a ground-based training platform. Through this new programme, the French armed forces will once again rely on Thales expertise to significantly enhance their SIGINT capabilities, and will gain a crucial advantage through a better understanding of the strategic environment.
“The ability to anticipate developments is key to national security, and reliable intelligence is therefore a critical requirement to understand the risks and inform operational decisions. Thales, in partnership with Dassault Aviation, is proud to support the French armed forces on this strategic programme, which will bring the country new intelligence capabilities by developing the successor to the Transall Gabriel as part of Europe’s defences.” Nadim Traboulsi, ARCHANGE programme director for Thales.
 Avion de Renseignement à CHArge utile de Nouvelle Genération / Intelligence aircraft with new-generation payload
 Capacité universelle de guerre électronique / Universal electronic warfare capability
10 Jan 20. Russian Airborne Troops to receive new C4 system in 2021. Russian Airborne Troops (VDV) are completing development of a new command, control, communications and computer (C4) system in 2021 for their BTR-MDM, BMD-4M, and KamAZ-63968 armoured fighting vehicles, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) reported on its website on 4 January.
The system will include a “basic communications and automated control system”, reducing the time taken to communicate and share information at all decision-making levels by a factor of at least two, the ministry said. It added that the system will also improve the stability of the VDV’s C4 by improving jamming resistance, survivability, and reliability by a factor of 1.5. (Source: Jane’s)
10 Jan 20. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a contract to develop and demonstrate a Software Programmable Open Mission Systems (OMS) Compliant (SPOC) radio terminal for the U.S. Air Force.
Northrop Grumman’s SPOC solution will provide the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center with an air-to-ground and air-to-air communications capability across four radio frequency waveforms: Link-16 CMN-4, Common Data Link (CDL), Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) and Multi User Objective System (MUOS).
This development defines the Air Force’s next generation radio approach.
“Our solution for SPOC provides a mature hardware and software development kit that allows the Air Force to rapidly develop and prototype innovative communications solutions from any provider on an open architecture networking terminal that can be quickly taken into flight test and production,” said Roshan Roeder, vice president, communications, airborne sensors and networks division, Northrop Grumman. “With the Air Force taking responsibility for developing the airborne communications network infrastructure for the Advanced Battle Management System, SPOC radio will allow the Air Force to rapidly develop, test, fly and iterate.”
Northrop Grumman’s SPOC open architecture networking terminal offers numerous benefits to the Air Force customer, including opening the F-35 communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to third-party developers, ownership of Link 16 development, sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information over a common data link, and Mobile User Objective System beyond line of sight capability.
10 Jan 20. Rohde & Schwarz achieves R&S M3SR SDR delivery milestone. Germany-headquartered international electronics group Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) has achieved R&S M3SR software-defined radios (SDR) delivery milestone. The company has delivered more than 10,000 R&S M3SR SDRs to date. Most of the units delivered so far include the R&S M3SR Series 4400 VHF / UHF radios used for line of sight (LOS) communications.
The company’s SDR is highly modular and suitable for stationary and shipborne communications. They offer secure transmission of military voice and data and support LINK11 and LINK22 transmission methods.
Designed to comply with Nato standards, it provides various system interfaces and waveforms such as standard and proprietary frequency hopping waveforms.
To keep the existing LOS communication systems up to date, it comes with an enhanced successive software update. Additionally, updates can be carried out through new hardware modules.
Rohde & Schwarz Secure Communications Division executive vice-president Hartmut Jäschke said: “By making targeted technical adjustments and enhancements, we have been able to continuously meet our customers’ needs and improve our market position.
“Our professional production and manufacturing help ensure quality at the highest level. The high reliability and technical performance of the radio is a decisive reason why our customers choose our SDRs.”
The device, which is manufactured and assembled in a facility in Memmingen, Germany, is currently in use with international navies, mobile military and civil air traffic control tower.
The Memmingen production plant has a calibrated laboratory and an antenna test chamber. (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Jan 20. Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) released Firmware Version 19.5.3 for the MPU5 and Embedded Module. This firmware addresses feedback from a readiness exercise conducted by the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division.
“Thank you to the Rakkasan’s for the in-depth after-action report. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and helps Persistent continue to improve the MPU5 in ways that are most beneficial to the warfighter,” said Eric Stern, Director of Engineering at Persistent.
Firmware Version 19.5.3 contains significant performance improvements specifically intended to benefit dismounted end users. Improvements include:
- Improved Battery Life: about 3-hours increase in MPU5 runtime on a standard 6.8 Ah battery pack reduces the number of batteries soldiers must carry to support their mission duration. Power consumption improvements also benefit Embedded Module users.
- Improved Audio Quality: new Opus audio codec implementation, delivers crystal clear audio and an 8x reduction in network utilization for voice traffic. Improved audio clarity further reduces the cognitive load on the soldier.
- Rotary Knob implementation: users can now modify Audio Volume or select their Intercom Talk Group via the 8-position knob on the MPU5.
- LED Blackout Mode: users can now disable the status LED to support low-visibility operations.
- Simplified Web Management: Web interface is now streamlined based on the cables currently connected to the radio and displays only relevant settings to the user, improving ease of use and ensuring users are maximizing the capabilities of the MPU5.
- Multicast Firmware Upgrade: firmware upgrades to large MPU5 networks now occur via multicast, enabling a rapid upgrade of a large number of nodes.
- Rapid Configuration Tool: implementation of a tool to help automate the mass configuration of MPU5s. As users continue to create larger networks, rapid configuration becomes even more critical.
“We want to empower warfighters with industry-leading capabilities, and receiving direct user feedback from operational units is extremely beneficial. Their feedback allows us to focus on improving existing capabilities and developing new ones to address capability gaps that can only be discovered in real-world deployments of the network,” Stern added.
Firmware Version 19.5.3 is immediately available. Existing customers will receive an email notification and can download the firmware from the new Persistent Customer Support Portal. All customers are encouraged to upgrade.
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.