Sponsored by Spectra Group
05 Mar 20. 5G to Aid Warfighters, Thwart Adversaries. The Defense Department is preparing to use 5G in its networks and prevent adversaries from hacking into it, a DOD official said. Dr. Michael D. Griffin, undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, spoke at the 11th annual McAleese Defense Programs Conference in Washington, D.C.
Regarding 5G, the department has put $484m in its fiscal year 2021 budget request, he said.
The DOD isn’t trying to develop 5G on its own, he clarified. “What we’re trying to do with 5G is help keep DOD up to where the commercial telecom providers are eventually going to go.”
The entire DOD budget is just a sliver of the many trillions of dollars being invested by the telecommunications industry worldwide and the department can’t possibly develop it on its own, he added.
The department wants to determine how 5G can be used for military advantage once it becomes available and how to protect that network from adversaries seeking to compromise it, he said.
“We cannot allow adversaries to have network superiority at the same time that we intend to use these networks to our advantage,” he said.
Some of that funding will go to setting up 5G utilization experiments at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, plus four other geographically dispersed DOD bases, he said.
There’s a need to understand how military training, logistics, warehouses, ports, depots and airfields will function in a future 5G environment, he said.
Griffin described some of the 5G challenges.
The military can’t bring its networks and spectrum allocation overseas when it deploys, he said. The military will have to use networks that are there and the assigned spectrums of those networks, which might differ from those in the U.S. “It’s a really challenging problem.”
The future is in 5G spectrum sharing, he said, noting that “DOD is constantly under pressure to make sure we’re not claiming a larger share of the spectrum than we actually have to have.
“In the future, there will be more operators rather than fewer so we’re going to have to figure out spectrum sharing,” he continued.
Operators will also need to figure out how to effectively do anti-jamming, he added.
Griffin concluded: “We need to make sure that we are in the lead in 5G and next G,” he said, meaning there will eventually be a 6G, a 7G and an 8G. (Source: US DoD)
04 Mar 20. The VAB Four. French Army VAB vehicles supporting the electronic warfare mission are seen here deployed in the field. Thoughts are now turning to the vehicles, which could replace these ageing platforms. The French Army operates several EW platforms to assist the manoeuvre force at the operational and tactical levels. These are ageing and could soon be in need of replacement.
Electronic Warfare (EW) platforms
These electronic warfare platforms are based upon the Renault VAB four-wheel drive armoured vehicle series, with four sub-variants developed to perform electronic attack and electronic support.
The primary electronic attack platform is the VAB VOBULE designed to provide jamming across Very High Frequency (VHF) wavebands of 30 megahertz/MHz to 300MHz. The VAB VOBULE is joined by the VAB LINX which collects Communications Intelligence (COMINT) on VHF signals, and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) signals transmitting in wavebands of 300MHz to three gigahertz.
Open sources state that the VAB LINX has been developed to collect COMINT on ‘exotic’ signals. This may refer to hostile radios and communications networks using transmission and communications security protocols such a frequency-hopping and encryption.
The VAB SAEC is thought to be tasked with collecting V/UHF COMINT in support of the manoeuvre forces at the tactical level, while the VAB CATIZ acts as the command and control centre to coordinate these assets.
The French Army
All these vehicles are deployed with the French Army’s 54e Régiment de Transmissions (54th Signals Regiment) based near the town of Haguenau in northeast France. The 54th Signals Regiment forms one part of the army’s Commandement du Renseignement (Intelligence Command).
Although no information appears to be in the public domain regarding the concept of operations for these vehicles, it seems certain that they would be deployed with the manoeuvre force at the operational and tactical levels.
For instance, the VAB SAEC may be collocated with manoeuvre units at the battalion and/or company levels and will feed tactical COMINT through to VAB CATIZ. Similarly, operational COMINT will be gathered by the VAB LINX and sent to the VAB CATIZ. There SIGINT operatives may perform further signals analysis before tasking the VAB VOBULE with specific operational or tactical jamming missions.
The French Army is thought to possess around 200 of these platforms to assist EW, with deliveries commencing in 1993.
Some of these vehicles will now be almost thirty years old. Although the French government does not appear to have formally articulated any plans to replace them, it is a decision they will need to take soon.
There are two options open to the army regarding replacement:
- The first could see the adoption of an existing platform like the Nexter/Thales/Arquus VBMR six-wheel drive armoured vehicle. The VBMR is being delivered to the army as the replacement for the wider VAB family.
- An alternative is to use the Nexter/Renault VBCI eight-wheel drive infantry fighting vehicle for the mobile EW role, or the utilisation of the Nexter/Thales/Arquus EBRC Jaguar four-wheel drive armoured vehicle as a possible candidate.
The use of an existing vehicle being acquired by the army would save the cost of the force ordering a completely new ensemble of EW vehicles designed and built from scratch. Instead a selection of existing platforms could be upgraded to fulfil specific EW missions.
Should the army pursue this route it may cost the force between $1m to $1.5m per platform to configure an existing vehicle to provide the electronic attack or electronic support mission, according to Armada Analysis’ figures.
Presuming that the French Army upgrade around 150 of their vehicles for EW, suppliers could benefit from up to $150m of business. This could represent one of the largest ground electronic warfare acquisitions in Europe this decade. (Source: Armada)
04 Mar 20. Commtact Ltd. – a leading provider of advanced wireless communications solutions for manned and unmanned platforms on the ground, in the air or at sea ‒ announces a successful integration and demonstration recently conducted with a Central European UAV manufacturer. Commtact’s transceiver was easily integrated and quickly deployed. Using only OMNI antennas, Commtact’s system ‒ with its unique BLOS capabilities ‒ enabled the UAV to transmit telemetry and HD visual data at a remarkably long range, maintaining continuous communications at a distance of 16 km.
The Commtact system used in the integration was the Mini Micro Data Link System (M2DLS) ‒ an advanced single unit digital data link system specifically designed for micro and small size platforms that are sensitive to Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) demands. This cutting-edge system uses open architecture and enables full duplex wideband, digital link, error correction techniques and high-rate communication in the Uplink (UPL) and Downlink (DNL) channel from most available sensors, providing an effective solution for today’s requirements.
Commtact’s VP Marketing and Business Development, Asaf Choshniak, remarked, “We are very pleased that Commtact’s systems have again proven their advanced communications capabilities. We are especially proud of their BLOS capabilities. Using only two small OMNI antennas, our system enabled the UAV to sustain transmission of telemetry and visual data over a distance of 16 km, while maintaining very low SWaP. This successful cooperation with a Central European UAV manufacturer reflects our expanded and deepening operations in the European market.”
02 Mar 20. How the US Navy is building out its digital platform transformation. The US Navy will soon begin implementing a framework governing how it builds its network architectures, as well as how its forces operate in cyberspace.
While the Integrated Navy Operations Command and Control System (INOCCS) has been discussed internally for a few years, officials said it will now begin to be put into practice.
“This is, I would say, more than a vision; we’ve got a framework that’s been developed — we’re building out the architecture and design for the Navy digital platform transformation effort,” Manuel Hermosilla, executive director of 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command, said March 2 during a presentation at WEST 2020 in San Diego, California. “This is a system of systems. It’s basically the ability to operate, defend all of the different technologies and capabilities” from an information warfare perspective.
Hermosilla told C4ISRNET following his presentation that the framework is based upon an industry best practice called “operation system support.”
“If you own infrastructure and you deliver services, you need some sort of an OSS to deliver them,” he said.
It also works to monitor performance, pinpoint exactly where problems might be occurring on the network and, ultimately, provides a more holistic view of the network, its systems, layers and applications so that operators can make more informed decisions. Additionally, it allows for a level of automation that currently doesn’t exist.
According to a slide as part of the presentation, INOCCS defines integrated functions, processes and systems needed to operate, secure and defend information assets across the network. Specifically, it addresses the areas of DoD Information Network operations, defensive cyber operations, internal defense measures — specific actions taken on the network in response to either intelligence, a threat or an incident — and defensive cyber operations response actions — operations that take place off the DoD’s networks and are the same actions taken by offensive cyber teams for the purposes of defending against a particular threat.
Hermosilla said that the first two areas of implementation of the framework will be on DoDIN operations and defensive cyber operations, adding that Fleet Cyber signed out a fleet design for DoDIN operations recently, which lays out the requirements for various program offices. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
28 Feb 20. TP Group to support British Army HQ’s communication programme. Mission-critical solutions provider TP Group has won a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide customer support to the army HQ’s communication programme. Under the two-year contract, the company will provide multi-disciplinary support to the Army HQ’s Land Environment Tactical Communication and Information Services & Systems (LE TacCIS) Programme. Worth around £5m, the contract has an option for a six-month extension, worth an additional £1m.
TP Group CEO Phil Cartmell said: “The renewal of this contract is an excellent return on all the hard work and technical support provided by the TP Group team over the last three years.
“Army HQ have become a major customer for the group and this work has been at the centre of significant growth in our consulting business.”
TP Group’s Consulting and Programme Services business will deliver a range of technical, transformation and programme management activities.
Cartmell further added: “We are very pleased to work with the army in building a technically sophisticated communications and information service that supports their operations from personnel in the field to decision-making at the command centre.”
The MoD initiated the £3.2bn LE TacCIS programme to replace the British Army’s existing Bowman land communication and information system (CIS) as it is approaching obsolescence.
Jointly funded by the UK’s Joint Forces Command (JFC) and by army HQ, the programme comprises five projects and will address critical system obsolescence, as well as introduce a more agile TacCIS solution.
The solution will be designed to provide information superiority’ to UK commanders. (Source: army-technology.com)
25 Feb 20. Japan passes bill to support development of 5G and drone technologies. The Japanese government has passed a bill supporting 5G developing across Japan. The government will submit the bill to the parliament and aims to bring it to effect in mid-2020.
According to a report by Reuters (Tokyo):
“Japan’s cabinet approved a bill to support companies to develop secure 5G mobile networks and drone technologies amid growing alarm among Tokyo policymakers over the increasing influence of China’s 5G technology. The bill will give companies which develop such technologies access to low-interest rate loans from government-affiliated financial institutions if their plans fulfill standards on cyber security.
“Companies that adopt 5G technologies can also get tax incentives if they meet standards set by the government, according to the bill.
“In December 2019, Japan unveiled tax measures aimed at encouraging companies to spend their cash piles on start-ups and other investments and stimulating a slowing economy, while also helping firms to compete with China’s advance in 5G technology.” For more information visit:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-tech/japan-approves-bill-to-help-firms-to-develop-5g-drone-technologies-idUSKBN20C0A7 (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
27 Feb 20. US Defense Department selects D-Fend’s EnforceAir counter drone system. The US Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has selected D-Fend’s EnforceAir c-UAS system as the sole Radio Frequency system for integration into a counter drone system. According to D-Fend Enforce was selected as a best-in-its-class RF system for follow-on integration and operational assessment from a field of 16 companies in 2019. A D-Fend press report says DIU evaluated EnforceAir’s ability to integrate into a system of systems at a government test facility during a counter drone event in November 2019, with lessons learned informing the Department’s approach to integration of capability. This led to its selection in 2020.
EnforceAir c-UAS is an advanced autonomous system that automatically and passively detects, locates and identifies rogue drones as well as mitigates risk by taking control over (takeover) them and landing them safely at a predefined safe zone, applying a non-jamming & non-kinetic technology which does not require line-of-sight, and is suited to all complex environments, whether urban or rural.
EnforceAir was rapidly co-developed with the US Assistant Secretary of Defense Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC) Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) to support DoD and shared with US Law Enforcement Agencies. In 2019, EnforceAir has been deployed by more than 20 US DOD, DHS, and DOJ units and agencies, helping to enhance US national security against hostile commercial drones. Among the agencies currently operating D-Fend’s EnforceAir are the US Special Operations Forces, US Army, FBI, and US Customs and Borders Patrol. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
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.