Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
21 May 20. AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced the availability of Quantix™ Recon, a lightweight, rapidly deployable, fully-automated reconnaissance solution that delivers high resolution, georeferenced terrain, vegetation and infrastructure imagery, providing ground forces with on-demand actionable intelligence.
With its unique hybrid VTOL design, Quantix Recon combines the vertical takeoff and landing advantages of a multirotor drone with the range, speed and efficiency of a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft. Featuring fully-automated flight operation, Quantix Recon surveys up to 1.6 square kilometers (0.6 square miles), or 20 linear kilometers (12.4 miles) per 45-minute single battery flight. Multiple automated reconnaissance mode options allow users to choose between line (route), area and waypoint targeted data capture. Collected aerial imagery data is compatible with a wide range of available geographic information system (GIS) analytical tools to facilitate further analysis.
“AeroVironment’s Quantix Recon is a low-cost reconnaissance solution that can be in the air within minutes, capturing high-resolution georeferenced imagery of hard to access areas or dynamically changing environments.” said Rick Pedigo, vice president of sales and business development for AeroVironment. “Because it does not rely on radio signals during flight, Quantix Recon offers greater stealth for concealed operations and is unaffected by radio frequency jammers, providing greater protection for frontline troops while reducing cognitive load.”
Powerfully simple to use, Quantix Recon is fully-automated and hands-free with five optional flight altitudes, ranging from 150 feet to 800 feet. Simple, automated operation makes Quantix Recon easy for users to vary the coverage area and image resolution to suit their aerial reconnaissance needs.
Quantix Recon is equipped with dual 18-megapixel cameras that can capture both high resolution true color and multispectral georeferenced imagery. Powerful, on-board processing allows users to immediately view the high-resolution geospatial imagery on the included operating tablet as soon as the aircraft lands, requiring no other devices, internet or software. And, through the operating tablet’s Quick-Looko HD app feature, users can pinch and zoom navigation down to centimeter-level ground sampling distance, enabling them to pinpoint and react to critical issues with precision and speed.
20 May 20. RAFAEL awarded international contract to supply Litening 5 and RecceLite airborne EO systems. RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems announced today that it has been awarded a contract to supply 5th generation Litening and RecceLite airborne electro-optical systems for installation on a combat platform of an undisclosed air force. Integrated with RAFAEL’s pods, the jet will now have combat-proven, stand-off capabilities using the Litening 5 multi-spectral airborne targeting pod. The Litening pod is in use by 27 air forces and carried by over 25 platforms globally, including F-16, F-15, AV8B, F-18, F-4, F-5, A-10, B-52, Jaguar, LCA, AMX, Mirage 2000, Tornado, Typhoon, MiG21, MiG27, M346, KC390, Gripen, and Sukhoi 27 & Sukhoi 30, and others. Litening 5 delivers real-time, forward-looking infrared (FLIR+SWIR) and day HD color camera imagery. Its high-resolution sensors and effective EO/IR design ensure reliable operation at significant stand-off ranges. Litening 5 allows the operation of all types of air-to-surface smart weaponry, such as laser-guided, GPS-guided and EO/IR imaging-guided munition. Litening pods have logged over 2 million flight hours, with more than two-thirds in contingency operations worldwide. With the RecceLite ISR system, the attack aircraft will be able to perform target search, using advanced tools and other smart algorithms at the interpretation ground station, for efficient detection, tracking and sensor-to-shooter closure. Using its advanced ISR, image processing, and artificial intelligence, the system achieves optimal data-exploitation at the ground station, of intelligence data relayed in real-time and mission execution in near-real-time. RecceLite has been delivered to 13 customers world-wide and integrated onto various aircraft, including the F-16, F-18, Jaguar, AMX, Tornado, Typhoon, Gripen, M-346 and others. It is used by air forces in Europe, the Far East and South America.
Guy Oren, VP, Head of RAFAEL’s Electro-optical systems directorate: “We are proud of this contract and we look forward to cooperating with our customer to provide them with a significant force-multiplier for cutting-edge mission performance. Our EO/IR systems are part of a comprehensive aerial package spanning from air-to-air missiles, to EW, air-to-surface munition, communication and more.”
20 May 20. Octopus ISR Systems Launches Epsilon 180 Multi-Mission Surveillance System. Octopus ISR Systems has released the Epsilon 180, a more technologically advanced Full HD electro-optical, Mid-wave infrared, Laser Range Finder and Laser Pointer (EO/MWIR/LRF/LP) ISR payload providing exceptional daylight imaging, improved MWIR performance and extended LRF range.
The newly launched imaging technology includes a Full HD 30x optical zoom, global shutter EO sensor, a state-of-the-art 15x optical zoom MWIR sensor, laser range finder with up to 20km measuring range, and a laser pointer, making this airborne surveillance camera system an ideal choice for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and small manned aviation platforms used for border control, military purposes, and a variety of civil applications.
The multi-mission Epsilon 180 surveillance system features the most powerful onboard processor in its class, with a variety of software features including software image stabilization in three axes, automatic target tracking, and moving target indicator.
The Epsilon 180 offers superior image quality with outstanding image stabilization performance of less than <50 uRad RMS. The ISR payload also integrates high-performance Inertial Navigation System (INS), a high-precision, fully-integrated solution for geopointing and real-time target geolocation.
The Epsilon 180’s rugged and lightweight design is optimized for demanding applications. The system features a sealed structure filled with dry gas, enabling it to operate in any weather conditions. The Epsilon 180’s advanced magnesium structure without any 3D parts is optimized to handle harsh conditions including shock and rapid acceleration. The payload can be installed in either nose- or belly-mounted positions, offering installation design flexibility for the integrators. (Source: UAS VISION)
20 May 20. RADA USA Receives AS9100 Certification. RADA USA recently received the AS9100 certification for its engineering and manufacturing facility in Germantown, Maryland. RADA Technologies, LLC (RADA USA), a leading provider of advanced tactical radars for land applications, announced recently that it has achieved the AS9100 certification. AS9100 is an aerospace standard based on the ISO 9001 quality system requirements. A standard that benefits the aviation, space and defense industries. The AS9100 certification signifies RADA USA’s commitment to meeting the stringent industry requirements to produce products for the defense industry.
“This certification validates the integrity of RADA USA’s processes that are utilized to advance our technology, build quality into our manufacturing, and ultimately provide superior products in timely deliveries to our US customers,” said Bill Watson, CEO, RADA USA. “I am proud of the entire team here at RADA USA as they played a large role in implementing systems essential to the certification process.”
RADA USA underwent an extensive audit and qualification process of its quality and management systems. This consisted of providing documentation and assessments to an onsite auditor. This ensures that RADA USA customers will continue to receive high level products and support.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 May 20. Boeing expands Wedgetail team for UK. Boeing has expanded its industry team for the UK’s E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning Mk1 (AEW1) procurement programme, with a national conversion supplier and a defensive-aids system (DAS) provider both being announced on 20 May.
An artist’s impression of how the E-7 AEW&C aircraft will appear in UK service. The RAF is acquiring five such aircraft to replace its current E-3D Sentry platforms.
The prime contractor for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) procurement of five Wedgetail AEW1 aircraft said that it has now signed up STS Aviation Services and Leonardo as the latest companies to be involved in the UK programme.
STS Aviation Services will be responsible for converting ‘green’ 737 Next-Generation (NG) airliners into Wedgetails at its site in Birmingham (this work had previously been earmarked for Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group before the switch for unspecified reasons). Leonardo will be responsible for delivering the aircraft’s DAS, part of which it will subcontract to Thales UK for its Elix-IR threat warning system and Vicon XF ‘intelligent’ countermeasures dispensing system.
For STS Aviation Services, the announcement will create about 90 high-skilled jobs at the site formerly operated by Monarch Aircraft Engineering at Birmingham Airport. A further 30 Boeing UK positions will also be created for this particular aspect of the programme, in addition to the 50 already working on the project. (Source: Jane’s)
BATTLESPACE spoke to Marshall’s and they gave us the statement herein: Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group can confirm that it has not been able to reach agreement with Boeing for the conversion work on the RAF’s new fleet of Airborne Early Warning and Control Fleet E-7 Wedgetail aircraft.
MADG Chief Executive Alistair McPhee explains: “Naturally we are very disappointed that, despite the very best efforts of all parties, we have not been able to find a way to make the programme commercially viable for our business.
“We did not expect to find ourselves in these circumstances however it is important now that Boeing are able to concentrate on progressing with an alternative supplier. As a UK business we would have been incredibly proud to partner with Boeing to play our part in delivering such an important new platform for the RAF, however we have to balance that against what is right for the long term future and financial security of our independent, private company. Our absolute priority now is to continue to support Boeing and the RAF over the coming weeks and months to ensure that the programme remains on track. We will, of course, collaborate closely with all parties and do whatever we can to affect a smooth and efficient transition. The E-7 Wedgetail will ultimately be a hugely valuable asset to the RAF over the decades ahead and I would like to go on record to thank the team here at MADG, our colleagues at MoD and Boeing along with the many different elements of our supply chain who have been working so hard to try to find a way forward.”
STS Aviation Services website states that it is a Florida, US-based business, so what this announcement signals is that Boeing may be retaining vital IP in the USA and the Birmingham plant slated to carry out the fitting work by the STS teams my be a semi-permanent facility with future support work being carried out in the USA? Once again the MoD has managed to blind side the system and make out that Wedgetail has UK content when the reverse is actually true and the continued drain of work out of the UK continues, just when it is vitally required to reboot the economy. Boeing and the MoD are obviously looking for savings given that the current estimate is £3bn on a budget of £1.8bn.
The Jane’s story states that STS is going to handle the three green aircraft, not the two converted freighters. It is unlikely that STS will train the new workforce to do the complex installations on three aircraft, including the radars so what this suggests is that the STS Birmingham facility may be just a reception centre for all the 5 aircraft where a minimum of UK content will be added and a ‘made in UK’ sticker applied to prove UK content?
20 May 20. EU seeks single airborne system for communications, radar and electronic defence. Indra has been selected to lead a European R&D project to combine radar, communications and electromagnetic (EM) spectrum defence in a single system for fighters and other military aircraft. The CROWN project was created by the EU within its Preparatory Action for Defence Research (PADR) initiative.
The Indra-led team, comprising research institutes and companies from seven EU member states, will integrate radar, electronic defence and communications equipment into a single lightweight AESA-based system that can be installed in the aircraft nose cone, camouflaged in the fuselage, or in an underwing pod on multiple platforms (including UAVs).
‘No other country as yet possesses this capability so it will bring a major advantage to whoever acquires it first,’ Indra claimed in a 20 May statement.
Possessing this technology is key for knowing how and why the EM spectrum is used in a combat, ensuring that European militaries can use it as they need it and deny it to adversaries.
According to Indra, deliverables from CROWN could eventually be adapted for use on equipment in the land and naval domains. (Source: Jane’s)
20 May 20. Pulsar Digex N450 & N455 are available for purchase. The leader in thermal and digital technology is excited to announce the release of the Digex digital riflescopes. These high-end optics can detect adult-sized objects over 500 yards away, and their 1024×768 display resolution show images with stunning clarity. The Digex riflescopes also have 30mm tubes, so they can fit virtually any traditional rifle. Equipped with the latest technology, the Digex have built-in recording with sound, Picture-in-Picture mode, Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with the Stream Vision App for iOS and Android devices.
20 May 20. USMC seeks BLOS upgrade for Harvest HAWK gunships. The US Marine Corps (USMC) is looking to upgrade the Harvest Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) mission package for its Lockheed Martin KC-130J tanker-transport aircraft with a beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) capability. An airman poses next to the operational ‘kill’ markings stencilled onto the fuselage of a Harvest HAWK in Afghanistan during the war fighting stage of the conflict, giving an indication of the type’s work rate in the CAS role. The USMC is now looking to enhance the aircraft’s capability with a BLOS capability.
The request for information (RFI), issued by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 19 May, covers the design, manufacture, test, integration, and installation of a new Harvest HAWK Plus (HH+) BLOS standard.
“The BLOS upgrade addresses the void of battlespace commanders’ situational awareness by providing full-motion video and enhanced communications capability within the HH+ Mission Operator Pallet (MOP) via hardware and [Sierra Nevada Corporation] Burma software modifications,” the RFI said, noting that responses are due by 17:00 EST on 30 May.
Originally developed to fulfil an urgent operational requirement in Afghanistan, the Harvest HAWK conversion programme equipped the KC-130J with a roll-on/roll-off, dual-screen, fire-control console mounted in a removable cargo platform in the aircraft’s cargo compartment, a Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight Sensor mounted under the port-side wing fuel tank, and a Common Data Link. The aircraft’s weapons fit comprises four AGM-114P Hellfire II laser-guided, air-to-surface missiles mounted on the port-side refuelling pylon, and MBDA GBU-44/E Viper Strike and Raytheon Griffin A air-to-surface missiles launched from a ramp-mounted 10-round rack and a pressurised dispenser dubbed the ‘Derringer Door’. A sideways-firing Mk 44 30 mm cannon has been deferred to a later Block III upgrade set to be implemented from fiscal year 2023. (Source: Jane’s)
13 May 20. US military updates CUxS application process in response to “overwhelming” interest. The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has updated the Request for Information (RFI) issued last month for white papers from industry regarding its Counter Unmanned Systems (CUxS) Systems Integration Partner (SIP).
The purpose of the Request for Information (RFI) is to conduct market research, which will be used to plan and implement an acquisition strategy to procure supplies/services related to integration of a CUxS Family of Systems (FoS) with the initial focus being Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS). USSOCOM is seeking interested vendors, or teaming ventures, which have the ability to serve as the CUxS SIP. The Government is particularly interested in Industry recommendations and feedback to improve contract requirements, contract structure/type, and performance incentives.
The updated request states:
“Due to overwhelming interest in One-on-One meetings, the Government has changed and expanded the meeting dates. Due to this vast interest, the Government may not be able to accommodate all requests for a One-on-One at this time. Please understand that a request for One-on-One or white paper submission does not guarantee a One-on-One. The Government reserves the right to conduct informal Q&As through email based on your white paper responses and available timeslots.”
The results of the RFI will be used to create an overview of vendor capabilities and experience in the field of FoS integration and related disciplines. The Government is anticipating a contract comprised of a one-year base period, with four one-year optional periods, and five one-year incentive option term periods. This anticipated contract would comprise a total of ten (10) years if all incentive option terms are earned and exercised. The Government anticipates contract award late 1st QTR CY 2021.
Point of contact: Chris Paitson
Contracting Office: SOF ATL-KP 7701 TAMPA POINT BOULEVARD, TAMPA FL 33621-5323
NAICS Code: 334511
Original Published Date: Apr 17
Updated Published Date: May 11
Original Response Date: May 13
Updated Response Date: May 13
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15 May 20. VAW-117 Carrier Qualifies on Ford, Transitions to E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The Navy’s newest and most technologically-advanced aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), contributed to another milestone for naval aviation during carrier qualifications (CQ) for the “Wallbangers” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW-117) May 12.
Ten VAW-117 pilots successfully completed CQ with assistance from the “Greyhawks” of VAW-120 in the operation of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. VAW-117 completed 151 catapults and 158 traps over the course of three days. The completion of the CQ prepares VAW-117 for the finalization of their transition between aircraft.
Lt. Cmdr. Jeremiah Caldwell, from Loudoun County, Virginia, a pilot assigned to VAW-117, explained some of the differences between the E-2C Hawkeye and the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, and how his squadron is making the transition between aircraft.
“The E-2D is our latest and greatest aircraft that has a lot of good equipment and a really good radar that’s going to allow us to see our enemies at distances that we really haven’t seen before,” said Caldwell. “The training process for us is about three years just to get to the fleet, so we are here aboard Ford training fleet aviators that are making the transition from the Charlie to the Delta.”
Lt. j.g. Nick Neighbors, from Johns Creek, Georgia, a junior pilot assigned to VAW-117, is one of the squadron’s newest pilots and said that he wanted to be a naval aviator since he was young and enjoys every aspect of his job.
“I got picked up for the E-2 community for my initial squadron,” said Neighbors. “As I go through the pipeline and learn more and more about the aircraft, it’s a great crew to be a part of with a good mission, and it’s something that I really enjoy doing.”
With the completion of their CQ, VAW-117 is one step closer to being a fully-designated E-2D Advance Hawkeye squadron.
Lt. Cmdr. Justin Porter, from Crowley, Texas, a Naval Flight Officer assigned to VAW-117, said the success of the mission is not just attributed to the pilots who completed the CQ, but also the Ford Sailors who work on the flight deck.
“We’ve been surprised at the overall efficiency of CQ on the Ford, and because of that we are able to get our CQ done faster and get back to the west coast to finish the next steps for our squadron,” said Porter. “This is a new ship, but the deck crew has been awesome getting us around the flight deck very efficiently.”
Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new carrier designed in more than 40 years. With more than 2,300 catapult launches and advanced arresting gear landings since commissioning, her tested and proven technology is delivering many improvements to the naval aviation enterprise.
VAW-117 will return to their home station, and begin training and integrating with their air wing for future missions and deployments. The squadron is on track to receive their “Safe for Flight” designation for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in July. (Source: ASD Network/USN)
Blighter® Surveillance Systems (BSS) is a UK-based electronic-scanning radar and sensor solution provider delivering an integrated multi-sensor package to systems integrators comprising the Blighter electronic-scanning radars, cameras, thermal imagers, trackers and software solutions. Blighter radars combine patented solid-state Passive Electronic Scanning Array (PESA) technology with advanced Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) and Doppler processing to provide a robust and persistent surveillance capability. Blighter Surveillance Systems is a Plextek Group company, a leading British design house and technology innovator, and is based at Great Chesterford on the outskirts of Cambridge, England.
The Blighter electronic-scanning (e-scan) FMCW Doppler ground surveillance radar (GSR) is a unique patented product that provides robust intruder detection capabilities under the most difficult terrain and weather conditions. With no mechanical moving parts and 100% solid-state design, the Blighter radar family of products are extremely reliable and robust and require no routine maintenance for five years. The Blighter radar can operate over land and water rapidly searching for intruders as small a crawling person, kayaks and even low-flying objects. In its long-range modes the Blighter radar can rapidly scan an area in excess of 3,000km² to ensure that intruders are detected, identified and intercepted before they reach critical areas.