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20 Nov 13. Cassidian has unveiled a new radar designed for surveillance of critical infrastructure. The Spexer 500, which was introduced during the Milipol exhibition in Paris, is optimized for protection of installations such as military bases, oil fields and power plants. The radar has an instrumented range of 0.1 to 9 kilometers and an update rate of less than 1.5 seconds for a 120-degree sector.
“Our new radar uses the latest digital beam forming (DBF) technology, which enables the early detection even of single pedestrians in all weather conditions,” said Elmar Compans, head of Cassidian’s Sensors & Electronic Warfare division, in a company announcement. “Spexer 500 gives police or security forces additional reaction time in order to deal with illegal intruders.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
25 Nov 13. Boeing’s Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) development program has completed the functional qualification testing phase for the protected wideband satellite communications system. FAB-T will be used in the command and control of U.S. nuclear forces. Boeing’s tests verified operational capabilities required for the ground and airborne terminal types specified in the U.S. Air Force FAB-T development contract. FAB-T command post terminals will be installed in fixed and mobile ground installations as well as aboard E-4B airborne operations center and E-6 airborne command post aircraft. Advanced wideband terminals will be installed on B-2 and B-52 bombers and RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft. Flight tests using a Boeing 707 test aircraft based at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., have also validated the FAB-T command post terminal’s performance under realistic flight conditions. The tests involved multiple terminals and orbiting Advanced Extremely High Frequency and Milstar satellites, which will carry FAB-T communications. Flight tests for the advanced wideband terminals are expected to conclude this fall. Boeing is finishing work under its current FAB-T development contract. Key upcoming milestones include the completion of functional and physical configuration audits, information security certification and an extended battery of tests to verify the system’s reliability. Boeing also is participating in a limited competition to produce FAB-T. The Air Force is expected to award the production contract early next year.
20 Nov 13. It just might be iPhone time for the world’s most
powerful army. As defense budgets shrink and commercial networks grow, top brass from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on down are questioning the service’s current plan to keep developing custom-built, military-specific, and extremely expensive communications networks. If groups like al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hezbollah can coordinate their operations over civilian cellphone and computer networks — networks they don’t have to pay for — why can’t the Army? I can pull out my iPhone, said one visibly frustrated four-star general at an Army conclave here today, text friends around the world from Afghanistan to Hawaii, and “get an answer back in about a minute.” “Yet,” he went on, “when we deploy now, we’ve still got to put 100 trucks on the ground” full of Army-specific “command, control, communications, and computers” (C4) to set up a military-only network. That doesn’t just take a lot of money. It requires limited space on Air Force and Navy transports that could be used to move combat troops, weapons, and supplies. It takes precious time to set up before the command post is ready to command troops in the fight. “Why?” asked the general. “Why can’t I leverage the worldwide network that’s been established for command and control?” “I don’t want to throw what we’re doing under the bus,” he said, “[but] we get so involved with our own networks that we’re not leveraging other capabilities.” Yes, a c