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RADAR, C-UAS, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE

Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems

www.blighter.com

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25 Jun 20. Capella Space will share synthetic aperture radar imagery with NGA. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will have access to new synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data thanks to a new research agreement with Capella Space. Under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), NGA researchers will be able to access the company’s SAR data and analytics, while Capella will be able to work with NGA researchers “for deeper insight into problems,” according to the company’s June 25 press release.

SAR creates imagery using radar, giving it different capabilities than traditional electro-optical satellite imagery. In addition to being able to produce images regardless of inclement weather or poor lighting conditions, SAR can provide data on material properties, moisture content, precise movements and elevation. Capella has previously stated that its satellites will be able to collect sub-0.5 meter imagery, meaning it can be used to identify types of aircraft or vehicles at ground level.

“This is an exciting partnership that has the potential to yield new intelligence opportunities. Capella’s high temporal resolution SAR imagery will give intelligence professionals key insight and strategic advantage,” said Jarrett Adrian, NGA’s Principal Investigator for this CRADA, in a press release.

The CRADA is just the latest deal Capella Space has secured as it expands its footprint in the U.S. intelligence and defense communities.

In November, the U.S. Air Force awarded Capella Space a contract to use its SAR for virtual reality software, missile defense and developing predictive intelligence to foresee foreign threats. One month later, the National Reconnaissance Office issued the company a commercial study contract as the agency looks to diversify its commercial imagery intake. And in May, the company announced that it had signed a deal with the U.S. Navy.

Despite securing a number of deals for its SAR imagery, the company has yet to begin launching it’s new 36 satellite constellation. In an August interview with C4ISRNET, executives said they hoped to begin launching satellites by the end of the year. However, when Capella Space released the design for its new satellites in January, it had pushed back that launch until March. In it’s latest announcement, the company simply stated that it’s first launch is “on the near horizon.”

In the meantime, the company says it will collect imagery by flying its synthetic radar on a specially outfitted airplane. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

26 Jun 20. Russia Delivers Anti-Drone Systems to Central Asia. Avtomatika Group (part of Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec) has started the deliveries of anti-drone systems to Central Asia, the company’s press office told TASS. Avtomatika Group is also holding negotiations with five more countries on the deliveries of anti-drone systems. The prospective buyers include India and the states in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, it said.

“In June 2020, acceptance trials were successfully held for the systems of detecting and countering unmanned aerial vehicles that are being supplied in the interests of a customer in one of Central Asian countries,” the press office said.

In Russia, Avtomatika Group is holding negotiations with Rosneft, Gazprom, Unipro and other companies on the delivery of anti-drone systems, it said.

The company has also agreed on the delivery of these anti-drone systems to Slavneft-YANOS, a major oil refinery in Russia, and also to Tatneft. Airports, transport companies, various services and security agencies, including those responsible for holding mass public events, are displaying interest in the new anti-drone systems, the press office said.

In November last year, Rostec demonstrated the Pishchal-PRO, Taran-PRO, Sapsan-Bekas, Luch and Kupol anti-drone systems to potential customers, including Russia’s Defense Ministry, the National Guard, major airports, Rosneft, Transneft, Surgutneftegaz and others.

The anti-drone systems are capable of detecting, identifying and suppressing drones at a distance of up to 30 km. They are designed to monitor the radio situation, carry out digital processing and analyze signals, revealing the drones’ radio emissions, determine the location of an operator and detect the drones that fly in the radio silence mode or disguise their radio signal as other sources. (Source: UAS VISION/TASS)

24 Jun 20. Thales unveils new generation of optronic devices. With demand worldwide on the rise from armies for sensors that enhance situational awareness on the front line, Thales France has launched two new EO devices in its Sophie family.

The Nellie NVG (pictured above) and Optima camera/target locator were unveiled in a 26 June webinar. Company officials described these systems as a new generation of sensors with enhanced capabilities.

‘We put inside these products the state-of-the-art technologies in order to allow the user to face the challenges of the new operational paradigm and high-intensity combat,’ explained Pascal Secretin, Thales’ product director for imagers and sensors.

Optima is an IR camera/target locator designed for platoon leaders that can be operated by day and at night.

Thales product manager Pierre-Yves Guinet explained that this device was designed to ensure data protection, adding: ‘We are trying to provide the best of the new technology to our soldiers.’

Optima coordinates photo and video sharing and provides secure access that only allows use of the camera.

Authentication of shared data warns Optima users if an enemy attempts to manipulate data. In addition, software on the device provides integrity checks to protect against cyber threats; Guinet claimed it is ‘impossible for a cybercriminal to steal the information stored in the camera’.

Optima provides as standard a direct view optics (DVO) channel that augments the ability to detect and identify the enemy in daylight, as well as enhancing the range of observation of the camera.

‘Similar devices available in the market only have a TV channel, which the range of observation is typically 2km. Besides the TV channel, Optima also has the DVO, which the range is 7km,’ Guinet explained.

Thales unveiled its Optima camera/target locator on 26 June. (Credit: Thales)

The decision to add the DVO increased the overall size of Optima. Even so, Secretin noted it weighs 2.5kg and remains lighter in weight than similar devices available in the market and provides better images in daylight conditions.

Uncooled technology in the device generates benefits at long ranges compared with older cooled systems, including reliability, stealth and quick start.

‘It allows the faster access to its images and produces no “noise”, which gives the uset two advantages: reactivity and furtivity,’ Guinet stressed.

Optima is designed to give the user a wider FOV (up to 22°) than predecessor devices (12° to 13°), which allows this target locator detecting threats sooner.

Nellie is designed for use by ground forces and in land vehicles. It is an ultra-lightweight NVG that provides greater situational awareness and higher resolution than legacy systems, according to Thales.

Secretin claimed that the ruggedised mechanical design does not sacrifice stability and comfort, as Nellie weighs 460g. The NVG functions while immersed in water and it can operate in night mode with a lateral flip-up.

He added that the new NVG also has a wider FOV (47°) than any other device on the market, giving ‘the widest possible capabilities’ and increasing overall soldier situational awareness.

‘We have the best NVG existing in the market at this moment,’ Secretin argued.

Rémi De Besombes, services marketing manager at Thales, explained that both Optima and Nellie were developed using costumers feedback.

‘They have been designed in order to reduce the support cost, to improve the lifecycle of the equipment also to preserve its performance,’ he explained, adding that Thales is working to reduce intervention times for maintenance and repair of these devices. (Source: Shephard)

24 Jun 20. Collins Aerospace Helps US Navy and USMC Pilots Fly More Safely in Low-light Conditions With New Enhanced Visual Acuity System.

* Marks transition from analog to digital night vision systems

* First system to provide digital night vision capability for the pilot in low light conditions

* Development contract awarded for rotary-wing and tiltrotor aircraft

Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX), is helping the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps transition from analog to digital night vision systems with their new Enhanced Visual Acuity (EVA) system. The system, recently selected for use by rotary-wing and tiltrotor aircrews, is the first to provide advanced digital night vision and display technology that increases flight safety and mission effectiveness for the warfighter.

Currently in development, EVA is a digital day/night vision solution that will integrate a helmet-mounted binocular display to provide wider, higher-resolution imagery and improved night vision performance at Very-Low-Light-Levels (VLLL) – when the rotary-wing pilot needs it the most. In addition, the unique design will minimize head-borne weight to reduce pilot fatigue while increasing comfort and safety.

“Digital night vision is a big step forward in providing enhanced situational awareness to the warfighter, and is a foundation we’ll continually build on to ensure mission success,” said Dave Schreck, vice president and general manager for Military Avionics and Helicopters at Collins Aerospace. “Collins Aerospace is proud to deliver the capability provided by EVA as it will be a significant force multiplier for rotary-wing and tiltrotor aircrews.”

Work on the new developmental contract is taking place at Collins Aerospace facilities in Iowa, California and Massachusetts and will be completed by March 2023. (Source: ASD Network)

22 Jun 20. HASC TacAir Skeptical ABMS Can Replace ISR Aircraft. The HASC tactical air and land forces subcommittee wants the Air Force to explain “how ABMS intends to transition demonstrated capabilities into sustainable Programs of Record.”

The HASC tactical air and land forces subcommittee is questioning the Air Force’s plans to shift 2021 funding to the high-priority Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) from legacy ISR systems. The HASC body has gone so far as to hold the ABMS budget as collateral against retirement of the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

UPDATE BEGINS. “This mark pays particular attention to the department’s development, sustainment, and management of manned and unmanned intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance aircraft and supporting systems,” Rep. Donald Norcross, subcommittee chair, said in his opening statement at the June 23 hearing. “Of increasing concern is how the service plans appear to increase risk for Combatant  Commanders, and their requirement for these systems — I have heard from so many of you on this issue.”

In its markup of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act released yesterday, the subcommittee expressed broad skepticism about the ABMS program, which is being designed as the service’s technological pillar upholding DoD’s high-priority Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept. The subcommittee’s concerns echo those recently aired by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its review of the program, including on costs and actual requirements for the technologies being planned. UPDATE ENDS.

The subcommittee language would block 50 percent of planned spending on ABMS if DoD fails to certify that the planned replacement for Global Hawk would cost less both to operate and sustain, as well as provide equal/better capability to Combatant Command commanders.

Besides demanding quarterly briefings on each ABMS “On-Ramp” exercise, the subcommittee also wants Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett to provide a detailed report on the “capabilities, technologies needed to implement and achieve these capabilities, and a timeline for technology maturation and notional fielding schedule across the future years defense program (FYDP),” according to the draft text. As Breaking D readers know, the next ABMS On-Ramp is planned for Aug. 31-Sept. 4, and will focus on bringing in commercial providers of artificial intelligence and data analytics capabilities, in a scenario focused on Space Command operations.

The committee further “expects this report to outline how ABMS intends to transition demonstrated capabilities into sustainable Programs of Record.” It also requires DoD’s internal watchdog Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office “to conduct an independent cost estimate of any ABMS cost estimate prepared by the Air Force.”

The subcommittee mark also requires certifications before the Air Force can retire the EQ-4 drone-based Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), which the service intends to replace with the ABMS gatewayONE.  GatewayONE, as Breaking D readers know, was demonstrated in the first ABMS exercise in December and allows legacy radios (such as those in the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets) to talk to each other.

While not linked to ABMS funding, the subcommittee also put its foot down on prohibiting the retirement of the RC-135 fleet, and demands that the Air Force provide a long-term modernization plan for its entire fleet (manned and unmanned) of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

UPDATE BEGINS. The markup also taps the Army to provide information on its long-term plans for ISR platforms — among a series of reporting requirements for Army modernization programs, including the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program’s sensor development efforts.

A committee staff member told the hearing that while the provisions were designed to “tackle similar issues,” the committee “has a lot of questions surrounding the Air Force programs and wanted to drive home the point that we need to see a comprehensive plan for them.” UPDATE ENDS.

Funding restrictions also are put into place until DoD can explain how the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) activities by the Navy and Air Force intersect, and are not duplicative. The Air Force’s NGAD approach is looking at a mix of sixth-generation fighters to replace the F-35 and autonomous drones. The Navy, on the other hand, is looking at a replacement for its F-18 Super Hornets under its NGAD effort, a program that previously was called the F/A-XX.

The draft NDAA would “limit the Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Navy from obligating more than 85 percent of funding authorized to be appropriated for fiscal year 2021 for the Next Generation Air Dominance capabilities” until the CAPE director “performs a non-advocate review and submits a report to the congressional defense committees that assesses the separate efforts of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy regarding the Next Generation Air Dominance portfolio of capabilities being developed by each Secretary.”

The subcommittee further threw a slew of reporting requirements at DoD and the various services. These include “new reporting requirements” on F-35 “software testing methodologies, mitigation of physiological episode occurrences, and pertinent issues approaching the full-rate production decision in early 2021,” according to the subcommittee’s summary.

“Regarding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the mark, through appropriate levels of oversight, builds off previous committee action and works to ensure the F-35 will have a successful full-rate production decision, as well as a fully reliable and affordable plane for the future,” Rep. Vickey Hartzler, ranking subcommittee member, told today’s hearing.

UPDATE BEGINS. Rep. Don Bacon chimed in to say that he will submit an amendment to the full House Armed Services Committee that will ask the Air Force to explain, in an unclassified manner, how much of its funding pot for intelligence-related programs actually is pass-through money —  that is, funding for other agencies, including the National Reconnaissance Office.

“We know about 25 percent of the Air Force’s top line goes to intelligence, other organizations, outside of the Air Force. And I just think it’s good to have more transparency on where your money’s going,” he said. UPDATE ENDS. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)

24 Jun 20. BIRD Aerosystems has Delivered its AMPS Anti-Missile Protection System to a VIP Customer in Africa. The system includes BIRD’s AeroShield POD with the MACS sensor, and will protect the Presidential Boeing 737 aircraft.

BIRD Aerosystems, the leading developer of Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS) and Airborne Surveillance, Information, and Observation (ASIO) solutions, has completed the delivery of its AMPS system, including the AeroShield POD and MACS sensor, to a VIP customer in Africa. The system will protect the presidential Boeing 737 aircraft during its international flights around the world.

Uniquely designed to protect VIP Aircraft, BIRD’s AMPS is already in operational use by several different customers in Africa, protecting Head of State aircraft and helicopters.

AeroShield POD is an all-in-one integrated solution that supports the installation of BIRD’s Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS) on VIP wide-body aircraft. Integrating the AMPS system which includes Missile Launch Detection Sensors (MILDS), Missile Approach Confirmation Sensor (MACS), Flare Dispensers and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), BIRD’s AeroShield POD is easily installed, provides Optimum platform protection with minimal interference to the aircraft, and can be easily transferred between different aircraft.

The AeroShield POD that has been delivered under the current contract includes BIRD’s patented Missile Approach Confirmation Sensor (MACS) sensor, which performs a unique confirmation of suspected incoming missile threats detected by the main electro-optical passive sensors, and practically eliminates any False Alarms. Upon receiving a pre-alarm warning from the electro-optical sensors, MACS slews to the direction of the incoming threat and verifies the threat’s validity. Concurrently, MACS also collects relevant information on the target (velocity and distance) and calculates its time-to-impact, enabling the most effective countermeasure response to the incoming missile. MACS ensures that only real missiles will be declared by the system and reacted upon.

Ronen Factor, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder at BIRD Aerosystems: “We are thrilled to complete another successful delivery of BIRD’s AMPS to a customer in Africa. This delivery, which was completed as planned despite the ongoing international Coronavirus crisis, follows previous deliveries and installations of BIRD’s AMPS and AeroShield POD on different military and civilian aircraft around the world. Small and lightweight, BIRD’s AeroShield POD is ideal for wide-body aircrafts such as the B737, and provides optimum platform protection against MANPADS with minimal interference to the aircraft. Integrating BIRD’s MACS sensor, the system ensures zero false alarms”.

22 Jun 20. House Wants to Keep JSTARS Flying for Foreseeable Future. House lawmakers want to ban the Air Force from retiring the E-8C Joint STARS fleet until the service finds a suitable replacement, while seeking more information on the complex network meant to take the jets’ place.

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill looks to amend Congress’s earlier views on the E-8C replacement. In 2019, lawmakers laid out a slew of guidelines the Air Force needed to follow as it moved away from using the JSTARS fleet to track and command forces.

If the service wanted to ditch the 16 jets, Congress said in 2019, it needed to show definitive progress toward the vast network of aircraft, sensors, weapons, and data analytics systems known as the Advanced Battle Management System. Capitol Hill has criticized the lack of transparency into ABMS, while the Air Force argues the nontraditional program will bear fruit over time.

Hoping to learn on the go, the Air Force is adding new communications, analysis, and targeting tools into periodic ABMS demonstrations. The first demo took place in December 2019; the second was pushed from April to September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, lawmakers want more details on what goes on during those exercises, including “objectives achieved, the realism of the exercise, including which portions were scripted and which were not, and the technical workarounds or substitute technologies employed.” They also ask for a breakdown of the costs of the technologies involved, ranges and test resources, personnel, and logistics.

“This section would also require the [Air Force] Secretary to report on planned ABMS capabilities, technologies needed to implement and achieve these capabilities, and a timeline for technology maturation and notional fielding schedule across the future years defense program,” lawmakers wrote. “The committee expects this report to outline how ABMS intends to transition demonstrated capabilities into sustainable programs of record.”

That report is due by Dec. 20.

If the bill is signed into law, the Pentagon’s independent cost evaluation office would vet the Air Force’s price tag for ABMS. The Air Force expects ABMS will cost $3.3bn through 2025, compared to the approximately $7bn it planned to spend on a new JSTARS platform.

The service asked for $302.3m to continue work on joint all-domain command and control in fiscal 2021.

Congress has floated various ideas of how many JSTARS aircraft the Air Force should be allowed to keep in the inventory. It previously said retirement should wait until the second phase of ABMS is ready for operations, potentially in the mid-2030s. Lawmakers seem to be backing off of that timeline.

The Air Force previously said that middle phase of ABMS would entail adding “advanced sensors and open mission systems into ground and airborne [battle management and command and control] platforms, including fifth-generation sensors that can track targets in highly contested environments.”

ABMS may not be fully ready until the 2040s, about a decade after the E-8Cs are expected to run out of service life. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.airforcemag.com/)

22 Jun 20. Argentina develops helmet-mounted display for military pilots. The Cordoba campus of the Argentine Defence University, which belongs to the Defence Ministry, has developed a prototype helmet-mounted display (HMD) for military pilots.

The Cordoba campus of the Argentine Defence University, which belongs to the Defence Ministry, has developed a prototype of helmet-mounted display for Argentina’s military pilots (Argentine Defence University)

The project has been in development since 2017 by the research and development group of the Department of Basic Sciences, and is geared at developing national technologies to enhance pilot situational awareness. The prototype HMD is fitted to an HGU-55P that is the standard type worn by pilots of the Argentine Air Force (FAA).

As told to Janes, the objectives set for this prototype were to achieve a technological demonstrator capable of superimposing a virtual image that appears to be located more than 4m away from the user. (Source: Jane’s)

22 Jun 20. USAF contracts cockpit sensor suite to safeguard pilot physiology. The US Air Force (USAF) has launched an effort to develop and integrate a suite of cockpit sensors to safeguard pilots against physiological events which, if unchecked, could result in the loss of the aircraft.

With pilots having reported a series of physiological events over recent years, the USAF is now looking to equip cockpits with a sensor suite designed to identify such occurrences before they become serious enough to incapacitate the crew and potentially result in the loss of the aircraft. (DVIDS)

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 19 June that the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (AFB) in Ohio has contracted Ohio-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation to develop, prototype, and demonstrate an integrated sensor suite capability for effective cockpit sensing, including pilot physiology and cockpit environments.

Valued at USD12.6m and running through to 21 November 2023, the effort will result in a standalone prototype system ready for transition to platform programme offices for acquisition and fitting to aircraft.

The contract follows an investigation lasting more than two years into the issue of pilot disorientation by the USAF’s Unexplained Physiologic Events (UPE) team, which was formed in January 2018 following a spate of such incidents.

As noted by the air force, a physiological event occurs when aircrew experience symptoms that can result from a variety of factors, including hypoxia (oxygen deficiency to the brain), hypocapnia (reduced carbon dioxide in the blood), hypercapnia (elevated carbon dioxide in the blood), or disorientation. (Source: Jane’s)

16 Jun 20. ALADDIN counter drone demo to include SkyWall Patrol net capture solution. OpenWorks Engineering is integrating its SkyWall Patrol drone capture solution to provide neutralisation capability for the ALADDIN project at a demonstration in Greece later in 2020 in the final phase of the programme. ALADDIN received co-funding in 2017 under Europe’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and first demonstrated a beta version in Spain in early 2019. The ALADDIN consortium consists of 18 partners comprising both technical partners, end-user representatives and critical infrastructure operators.

The ALADDIN platform will be made up of three core systems: detection, classification & localisation, neutralisation and Command & Control (C2). SkyWall Patrol will provide long-range net capture and will connect to the Aladdin system using SkyLink module. The project aims to develop a seamless, tightly integrated system for countering malicious drones.

SkyLink wirelessly joins the mobile SkyWall Patrol launcher with the rest of the technology in the system. Detection data can be sent directly to the launcher and the operator can then be directed to find the threat in the sky. SkyLink returns information to the C2, such as the location of the SkyWall launcher and its status.

SkyWall Patrol gives a mobile operator the ability to physically capture a drone in a net, used in conjunction with electronic countermeasures for a layered defence, or in environments where electronic attack cannot be deployed. The system can be networked through command and control systems to enhanced situational awareness and gives a tactical advantage to mission commanders.

(Image: SkyWall Patrol and SkyLink)

For more information visit:

www.openworksengineering.com

www.aladdin2020.eu

(Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

18 Jun 20. Germany plans national drone detection trials at selected airports later this year. Germany’s national Drone Detection System (DDS) programme to develop an integrated drone detection system at the country’s largest airports expects first prototype tests in August 2020. The Ministry of Transport (MoT) launched the initiative in July 2019 in collaboration with Germany’s air navigation service provider DFS and the regulatory authority BAF. Originally planned to begin in April 2020, COVID-19 caused a four-month delay.

Germany is unusual is adopting a national strategy; many European states rely on individual airports to implement drone detection and counter drone measures. DFS contributes to the counter drone task force established by the European Aviation Safety Agency and standards agency activities by EUROCAE.

The MoT directive aims to provide systematic drone detection at 15 airports in the vicinity of the aerodrome. DFS Head of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Angela Kies said: “The detection area is under definition and may depend upon local conditions,” during a presentation at a webinar hosted by DFS on 16 June 2020. It is likely to extend up to 10 nautical miles (18 km) from the runway and up to 4000 ft (1,300 m) altitude. “Analysis of prototype solutions will begin in August this year at “different airports” before sharing the findings with the MoT. Subsequently, “a large tender process will be launched at the start of 2021,” as set out in the DDS roadmap drawn up in August 2019. With more than 30 airport incidents reported already this year, Kies said there is “growing demand for a solution”.

“An important aspect is the interaction between DDS and Unmanned Air Traffic Management (UTM),” said Kies. “Drones already operate legally on the airfield so all these systems need to work together. We urgently need a drone registration system – expected to be introduced in 2021 – so that a non-cooperative drone can be immediately reported to law enforcement agencies.”

DDS is likely to make use of a range of sensors, including ground radar, RF sensors, and cameras. A central processor will fuse data and support information exchange with UTM and ATM systems. Tower controllers will be able to access data via DFS’ Phoenix controller working position.

DDS is considering many different counter drone technologies including RF, netting devices, jamming and signal disruption. This work is conducted in close liaison with law enforcement agencies. “The work involves DFS, airlines, airports, enforcement agencies on and off the airport, and regulators,” said Kies. “We are examining different operating models and investigating costs.”

For more information visit:

www.dfs.de (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

16 Jun 20. Drone surveillance trials by Singapore Maritime and Port Authority using 5G network. Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority MPA) is using standalone 5G networks to test coastal drone flights. The trials are being conducted in partnership with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), M1 Ltd and Airbus at the Singapore Maritime Drone Estate. This continues Singapore’s efforts to build an open and inclusive 5G innovative ecosystem around the use cases of port operations, and incident management and response.

According to a joint press release: IMDA, M1, MPA and Airbus plan to conduct 5G SA trials in real-world environments to ensure unmanned aerial vehicles can operate safely and efficiently during all phases of their flights, including operations in the designated drone-fly zones. The year-long trial extends up to 3km out to sea.

M1 will also be collaborating with TeamOne Technologies Pte Ltd, a local enterprise, to support the development of local capabilities within Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises. TeamOne aims to design and develop the world’s first aeronautical certified 5G SA communication modem for urban air mobility (UAM) operations. This 5G modem will be tested and optimised during the trials.

In addition to the coastal trials, M1 and Airbus have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct connectivity trials for in-land areas. This will enable M1 and Airbus to address the growing interest in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for UAM for other industries. All necessary permits and approvals will be sought from relevant agencies prior to the conduct of any flight trials.

5G trial objectives

As a communications company, M1 will provide 4G and 5G network planning, including data collection for performance and coverage analysis of mobile network in the operating areas, network parameter optimisation and implementation of interference minimisation methods. M1 will assess the use of 4G and 5G technologies to provide enhanced geo-location positioning information for all phases of UAS flight using network-based information, which is more precise than the current Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) technologies. Additionally, M1 will assess the network performance enhancement in connection stability, uptime and data throughput by aggregating seamlessly both 4G and 5G networks.

Previously, M1 and the Nanyang Technological University had conducted numerous successful trials to provide command, control and communication capabilities required for the safe and efficient drone operations using M1’s 4.5G networks. With the advent of 5G SA network supporting low-latency, responsive, secured and high-throughput mobile connectivity, cellular networks are expected to be able to provide even more precise, safe and reliable communications for the unmanned aircrafts.

Airbus, on its part, will provide a fleet of UAS for safe-flight testing and commit its expertise in the integration of the unmanned aircraft for the trials, ensuring that the UAS flight operations meet safety and regulatory requirements. The findings from these trials will help form a better understanding of evolving 5G standards, their feasibility and requirements for UAM applications, and future citywide UAS operations in Singapore’s urban and coastal environment. The establishment of a standard will open up the possibility for safe adoption of 5G as a core technology used in unmanned aircraft designs and operations.

“Given the growing need to create more efficient and sustainable solutions for the maritime industry, MPA supported the world’s first ship-to-shore drone delivery trial by Airbus and Wilhelmsen last year. We look forward to deepening the collaboration with Airbus and M1 to pilot innovative use cases for 5G technology in the maritime industry,” said Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, MPA.

“We are excited to partner with M1, IMDA and MPA to accelerate the development and adoption of UAM and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM). This collaboration will establish key cellular 5G performance metrics and requirements to enable UAS to safely integrate and fly in national airspace systems. We look forward to combining our aerospace and UTM knowledge with M1’s technical expertise in the cellular industry, to enable the next age of aviation,” said Isabel Del Pozo De Poza, Head of UTM, Airbus.

For more information visit:

www.mpa.gov.sg

www.imda.gov.sg

www.m1.com.sg

www.airbus.com

(Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

22 Jun 20. Fortem demonstrates automated drone capture system in flight. Fortem Technologies completed a live demonstration on 20 May 2020 at its test flight facility outside Slat Lake City, Utah US, to show its AI-driven SkyDome system, powered by TrueView radar, detect and track objects in the airspace in 3D. The company demonstrated how the system cues the DroneHunter when a threatening drone enters the airspace, and how the DroneHunter hunts, pursues and captures offending drones, removing them safely.

Fortem is applying for phase two of the xTechSearch 5 selection process by the US Army. The programme explores novel science and technology solutions to tackle challenges to our national security, defense, and public safety, using innovative technologies developed within the private sector.

As part of this phase, Fortem will present its technology concept directly with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from the Army research and development, acquisition, and user communities. Up to 20 participating companies will move into the semi-finals, scheduled at the 2020 AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC from October 12-14, 2020.

For more information visit:

www.fortemtech.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

22 Jun 20. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) announced the upcoming 2Q2020 software release of its RF-based threat detector for its various counterdrone products, including body-worn RfPatrol MKIITM platform. The software upgrade will be available for all customers and fielded devices starting 1 July 2020. RfPatrol MKIITM is a body-worn passive (non-emitting) drone detection device. As the drone threat rapidly evolves, DroneShield provides quarterly updates to ensure its customers receive continuous counterdrone protection.

2Q2020 quarter update includes a number of new drone models from multiple manufacturers, as well as performance enhancements and general firmware updates. In addition, this update includes detection and identification of signatures commonly associated with First Person View (FPV), hobbyist and homemade drones.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “DroneShield is committed to keeping users of our products ahead of the quickly evolving drone threat. Rapidly adapting software is a key feature of our solutions.”

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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 3,000 km² to ensure that intruders are detected, identified and intercepted before they reach critical areas.

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