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14 Aug 20. Spain’s Indra gets a key role in new Eurofighter radar development. Spanish defense contractor Indra is joining Germany’s Hensoldt as a co-lead in the development of a new radar for the Eurofighter warplane, the company announced.
The news comes after the German parliament in June approved a contract award to aircraft manufacturer Airbus worth almost $3bn for a new version of the active electronically scanned array radar, dubbed Captor-E. More than half of that investment will go to sensor specialist Hensoldt, a former Airbus subsidiary. The contract is aimed at retrofitting roughly 130 German and Spanish aircraft in the mid-2020s, according to Hensoldt.
Officials in Europe have billed the radar upgrade as a key prerequisite for keeping the Eurofighter relevant for future missions and possible sales — including ongoing acquisition decisions in Finland and Switzerland.
Indra becoming the co-lead for the Captor-E’s follow-on generation, dubbed Eurofighter Common Radar System Mk1, represents a boost to the company’s prospects when it comes to developing a new generation of air warfare equipment.
“The contract will allow Indra to create long-term highly-skilled jobs, in addition to reinforcing its technological expertise and role as a key supplier in the field of airborne sensors, as well as the leader of the Sensors technological pillar within the FCAS program,” the company wrote in a statement, referring to the German-French-Spanish Future Combat Air System program.
The pairing of Hensoldt and Indra for the fully digitized Mk1 version of the radar represents something of a fork in the road for the aircraft’s radar developments. To date, the “Euroradar” consortium — made up of Leonardo’s British and Italian arms as well as Hensoldt and Indra — has overseen technology development for the multinational fighter program through the Captor-E, or Mk0, version.
Kuwait and Qatar also purchased Mk0 upgrades for their respective Eurofighter fleets, though the Mk1 version is slated to go only into Spanish and German planes.
The British military has said it wants its own sensor for the fleet of Royal Air Force Typhoons, reportedly with more specialized performance in the areas of air-to-ground and electronic warfare, as well as with an eye on connectivity to the American-made F-35 fighter jet.
Italy has yet to declare which way it wants to go, meaning Leonardo stands to lose a lead role in the Mk1 development.
The ongoing industrial teaming arrangements for the Eurofighter radar, complete with hedging and betting on political developments, can be seen as a precursor for a similar dynamic in Europe’s race for a next-generation air weapon. The United Kingdom is spearheading the development of the Tempest fighter jet as a competition to the mainland’s FCAS proposal.
For Airbus, a co-lead in the project with France’s Dassault, the Eurofighter is something of a test bed and bridging technology on the way toward more futuristic weaponry. (Source: Defense News)
13 Aug 20. US Army buys $189m counter drone system but already has plans to replace it. The U.S. Army has invested another $190m into a counter-small unmanned aircraft system (C-sUAS), but it’s determined that the system will need to be replaced by a U.S. Marine Corps alternative.
On July 20, the Army announced it was awarding DRS Sustainment Systems $190m to develop, produce and deploy the Mobile-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (M-LIDS). While the system will be deployed, it doesn’t have a long-term future with the military.
Despite the Army investing in the program for years, M-LIDS is a casualty of redundancy. As the Department of Defense has become more concerned by the threat posed by small drones in recent years, the services have each developed their own C-sUAS responses — mobile, stationary and dismounted.
Recognizing the redundancy in that approach, the defense secretary delegated the Army to lead the effort to narrow the number of C-sUAS solutions for use by the joint forces.
On June 25, the Army’s Joint C-sUAS announced it had selected eight C-sUAS for future investment and deployment by the joint forces. M-LIDS didn’t make the cut. But then, about a month later, the $190m M-LIDS contract was announced,
“Mobile-LIDS (M-LIDS) was not selected and will be replaced by the next generation mobile system,” said Jason Waggoner, an Army spokesman. In the meantime, “M-LIDS will be deployed with Army units to the CENTCOM area of operations.”
M-LIDS would likely be replaced by the Light-Mobile Air Defense Integrated System (L-MADIS), a C-sUAS developed by the U.S. Marine Corps and the only mobile solution approved by the Joint C-sUAS Office. L-MADIS has already been deployed for testing and was reportedly used to down a drone off the coast of Iran last year.
The Joint C-sUAS office told reporters in June that the services were conducting an analysis of how many systems would need to be replaced under the new arrangement. However, leaders were not able to provide a timeline for how quickly they expected to replace those systems.
The series of announcements in this market came quickly this summer.
Two days after the M-LIDS award, the Army announced a contract for one of the C-sUAS solutions that was included on the list for future investment: the Expeditionary-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (now known as FS-LIDS).
The $426m contract with SRC Inc. provides for the development, production, deployment and support of FS-LIDS, the only fixed-site solution approved for the joint forces by the Joint C-sUAS Office.
“Development of FS-LIDS is complete and systems are being deployed to U.S. forces globally, with a focus in the CENTCOM area of operations,” Waggoner said. “FS-LIDS will remain in use until replaced with newer technologies.”
C-sUAS spending hasn’t been limited to the Army in recent weeks. On Aug. 10, the U.S. Air Force issued Black River Systems Co. an $89m contract for an operational C-sUAS open systems architecture. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 Aug 20. Research to Neutralise Drone Operators. Israel scientists are developing systems to not only intercept a drone but also to kill its operator. Researchers at Ben Gurion University, led by Dr. Gera Weiss and conducted by lead researcher Eliyahu Mashhadi, are developing a unique system that according to them, will be capable of pinpointing the operator. Mashhadi told ESD that a realistic simulation environment is used at this stage of the research to collect the path of the drone when flown from launch point and along its flight path. “We insert all the points along the flight path into a deep neural network that was trained to be able to predict the exact launch point and the location of the drone operator.” The researcher explained that while testing the model with the flight simulator, a 78 per cent location accuracy was achieved.
Today, different sensors are used for the detection of drones and their operators, the most common are Radio Frequency (RF) Electro-Optical (EO), acoustic and radar.
Mashhadi explained there are automatic and semi-automatic methods for locating the operators based on the radio communication between the drone and its operator. “There are a number of problems with this approach. Firstly, such methods are usually tailored to a specific brand of drones. Furthermore, the radio signal can only be recorded near the drone. Finally, there are ways for malicious drone designers to apply cryptography and electronic warfare techniques to make localisation by analysis of radio signals very difficult.”
Mashhadi elaborated that experiments show that the reactions of the operator, due to environmental and physical conditions, give away enough information for obtaining substantial information about the location of the operator by analysing the path of the drone in the sky.
“To allow for a controlled environment, we conducted all our experiments with a flight simulator that provides a realistic flight experience for the operator that includes sun gazes, obstructions, and other visual effects that produce the reactions of the operators that allow us to identify their location.” He added that the research team used AirSim (Aerial Informatics and Robotics Simulation), an open-source, cross platform simulator for drones and ground vehicles such as cars in addition to other objects.
Israeli sources say that a system that will enable real time localisation of a drone operator is becoming critical because in most cases the operator has more than one drone. “To neutralise the operator is an essential requirement” one said.
The growing need to kill hostile drones using a kinetic system resulted recently in a cooperation agreement between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Israeli start up Iron Drone for the integration of interception capabilities into IAI’s advanced anti-drone system, DRONE GUARD. The intercepting drone can be launched during day or night from a docking station that hosts several ready-to-use drones with several being launched simultaneously to address multiple targets or swarms.
To date, IAI’s ELTA Systems, which develops and manufactures DRONE GUARD anti-drone systems has sold over 100 units that detect, identify, and disrupt the operation of malicious drones. ELTA’s collaboration with Iron Drone is part of its strategy to collaborate with startups to leverage their innovative technologies for their existing systems to improve performance. ELTA is a global leader in remote sensing and RADAR systems with a product portfolio including mission aircraft, national cybersecurity administration, ground robotic systems, anti-drone systems, homeland defence systems and more.
The advanced radar integrated with DRONE GUARD is capable of detecting drones as they enter the airspace. The intercepting drone is launched and steered to the target with the help of the radar, using sensors and computer vision to home and lock onto the target up to the physical hit of the attacker and its neutralisation. The entire process is autonomous, requiring no human intervention. According to IAI the new joint venture allows it to offer its customers the most effective technology for addressing future use cases, positioning the company at the forefront of technology. The solution can be used in areas where other defence systems cannot because of environmental factors like airports, populated areas, power plants, sensitive facilities, and other infrastructure.
The Israeli Defence Forces recently deployed a very advanced radar near the border with Gaza, to handle attacks by drones, while Israeli experts say that in any confrontation between U.S and Iranian forces, armed drones will be deployed en mass by Iran. The radar is the ELTA ELM-2084 Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) which fuses additional ELTA sensors to the main MMR system, thereby providing an active, passive, and combined Air Situational Picture. The deployment of this advanced radar reflects the growing threat from and drones. Israel has been following closely the Iranian effort and Israeli experts say that while in the past the Iranian UAS looked like cheap copies of UAVs operated by other countries, now they are “operational systems”.
Rafael has also developed a drone interception system called DRONE DOME, to which they have recently added a laser gun to the system for more kill options, having sold DRONE DOME to Israel and other countries. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
10 Aug 20. CACI’s CORIAN™ Selected for the Defense Department’s C-sUAS Mission. CACI International Inc (NYSE: CACI) announced today that the Army’s Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems office (C-sUAS) Office (JCO) has selected its CORIAN™ system to protect DoD personnel and facilities against threats from unmanned aircraft systems/drones.
DoD designated the Army JCO as the executive agent for C-sUAS to identify and prioritize shared gaps in technology and plans, and to work with industry to discern emerging technologies, address challenges, increase efficiencies, and promote competition in future technology development and procurement activities.
Out of the 40+ systems under consideration, DoD leadership selected CORIAN as one of three fixed/semi-fixed systems approved for use by the Department. The selection reaffirms CACI’s position as a leader in the delivery of C-sUAS systems and solutions for the DoD.
The Department identified CACI’s CORIAN C-sUAS solution as one of the fixed/Semi-fixed systems that provided “the best performance and capability mix during the assessment.” DoD’s criteria for selecting systems for current use and future research and testing included system effectiveness, usability, sustainment, and integration.
CORIAN is a modular, scalable mission technology system which detects, identifies, tracks, and mitigates UAS threats using precision-neutralization techniques that ensure little to no collateral damage to the surrounding radio frequency (RF) spectrum and existing communications. CORIAN combines the industry’s leading group 1-3 drone detection and mitigation ranges with DoD’s most comprehensive, up-to-date C-sUAS signal library to keep pace with the growing and ever-changing threat.
John Mengucci, CACI President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “CACI looks forward to expanding our base of installed systems worldwide and continuing our support to the Defense Department with CORIAN for immediate use, future research and testing to counter UAS threats. As a market leader in counter-UAS, we are significantly expanding CACI’s critical mission UAS technologies to best meet the ever-evolving operational needs of the DoD.”
CACI Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board Dr. J.P. (Jack) London, said, “As a national security company, CACI continues to bring innovation and expertise to advance the military’s critical C-sUAS capabilities and to equip and protect our warfighters around the world.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
10 Aug 20. Logos Technologies Gets $6.7m US Navy Contract for Infrared Wide-Area Sensor. Logos Technologies recently received approval to disclose that it has been awarded a $6.7m contract from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to develop, deliver, and perform proof-of-concept flight tests on a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) sensor.
The sensor system will be called Cardcounter and is being developed to integrate onto the Navy and Marine Corps RQ-21A small tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
Cardcounter will be a missionized capability derived from Logos Technologies’ BlackKite sensor. BlackKite is an ultra-lightweight WAMI prototype with infrared capability.
“We see this contract as a major step for us, the Navy/Marines, and the warfighter in general,” said Doug Rombough, VP for Business Development at Logos Technologies. “In embracing miniaturized wide-area motion imagery systems for tactical UAS, the Department of Defense is taking a technology that has already proven itself on the battlefield with aerostats and providing the tactical commander with guardian angel-like overwatch.”
BlackKite, upon which Cardcounter will be based, weighs fewer than 28 pounds, yet is powerful enough to image an area of more than 12 square kilometers (about 5 square miles) in coverage. Within that vast coverage area, sensor operators can detect and track all vehicles in real time.
“There’s nothing like BlackKite out there in the market today,” said Rombough. “It is a force multiplier in terms of enhanced situational awareness. The system catches and records the entire area in real time and streams multiple video ‘chip-outs’ down to handheld devices on the ground.”
Cardcounter will leverage BlackKite’s high-performance, multi-modal edge processor, which can store six or more hours of mission data. With this technology, users can forensically analyze the recorded imagery to better contextualize what is currently unfolding in the real-time imagery, drawing connections between people, places and events.
The initial $6.7m award from NAVAIR will cover the development of two Cardcounter prototypes, with a planned delivery by the end of September 2020 and ready to begin flight testing on the RQ-21A Blackjack.
Blackjacks are used by the Navy to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance coverage day or night. Able to launch without a runway, the Blackjack has a range of about 50 kilometers and can stay in the air for up to 16 hours. Blackjack drones already host a number of sophisticated sensors, including full-motion video, infrared marker, laser range finder and a communications relay package, but Cardcounter offers a new capability: the ability to view a city-sized area.
“What really makes WAMI special is the fact that it can monitor all of the movement — both dismount and vehicles — in a city-sized area. You can kind of think of it like live Google Earth with [digital video recorder] capability,” Doug Rombough, vice president for business development at Logos Technologies, told C4ISRNET. “Prior to WAMI, you had simply the full-motion video sensors; and obviously full-motion videos are awesome because they are very high resolution. They can zoom in on an area. The challenge with FMV is you’ve got that very narrow field of view, kind of like looking through a soda straw.”
Used together, WAMI and full-motion video allow operators to take in the big picture of what’s happening on the ground and zoom in on areas of interest. Cardcounter will be able to store six hours or more of that data for later analysis, but it will also be able to transmit portions of that imagery to users on the ground in real time.
Logos Technologies, a company that specializes in WAMI, has worked to miniaturize that capability, making it as lightweight as possible for any manned or unmanned aircraft.
“There are very few WAMI sensors that have been developed that can fly on unmanned aircraft,” said Rombough, noting that the only other one he knows of in use today is carried by the relatively massive MQ-9 Reaper. A Reaper has a wingspan of 66 feet. A Blackjack has a wingspan of 15.7 feet.
Flight testing of Cardcounter wrapped up July 31 in North Carolina, said Rombough. A demonstration of the new sensor for the U.S. government is slated for next summer, followed by a field-user evaluation.
“I will tell you that we are waiting on the next delivery order — they’ve already told us that they want to build an additional two for a total of four because they want to send four of them out on a [field-user evaluation],” Rombough said.
He added that the Army, Special Operations Command and the Air Force expressed interest in adapting the BlackKite/Cardcounter sensor for their platforms, and Logos Technologies could be demonstrating their sensors to SOCOM around the fall/winter time frame. (Source: UAS VISION/ C4ISRNET)
10 Aug 20. Support to pursue Hawaii-based missile defense radar continues after DoD drops funding. Support is growing both in Congress and in the Pentagon to pursue a Hawaii-based ballistic missile defense radar that the Missile Defense Agency did not include in its fiscal 2021 funding request.
Previous MDA budget requests in FY19 and FY20 asked for funding for the discriminating radar as well as another somewhere else in the Pacific. The plan in FY19 was to field the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, or HDR-H, by FY23, which meant military construction would have taken place beginning in FY21. Then in FY20, MDA requested $247.7m for the radar. Lockheed Martin received an award to develop the radar in December 2018.
But in FY21, funding for both the Hawaiian radar and the Pacific radar was missing in the request. MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said in February, when the request was released, that the agency decided to hit the brakes on its plans to set up the radars in the Pacific, instead planning to take a new look at the sensor architecture in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command region to figure out what is necessary to handle emerging threats.
Hill noted that the area is covered by a forward-deployed AN/TPY-2 radar in Hawaii as well as the deployable Sea-Based X-Band radar. Additionally, Aegis ships with their radars are mobile and can be repositioned as needed to address threats in the near term, he added.
Yet, over the summer, the Hawaiian radar gained traction in Congress via funding support in the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee’s version of the FY21 defense spending bill and the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the defense policy bill.
The House subcommittee injected $133m to pursue the homeland defense radar in Hawaii, and the SASC added in $162m to continue HDR-H development. The SASC also included language that essentially reminded the Pentagon that HDR-H was a response to a mandate in the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act to improve coverage for the threat of ballistic missiles in Hawaii.
The HDR-H was also listed as an unfunded requirement for FY21 by Indo-Pacific Command.
The SASC also directed the MDA to provide an updated plan that accounts for delays related to finding a site in Hawaii, noting it expects the Pentagon to fund the program in subsequent budget requests.
During a presentation at the virtually held Space and Missile Defense Symposium on Aug. 4, Hill showed a slide listing focus areas for the agency in FY21. The presentation included the currently unfunded radar, third from the top of the list.
“The potential for getting a radar onto Hawaii as part of another major sensor allows us to have that launch-all-the-way-to-intercept view out in a very large ocean area in the Pacific,” Hill said.
The HDR-H is categorized as a focus area for the MDA “because if the [Defense] Department decides to move forward with HDR-H, then the HDR-H will be deployed as part of the U.S. homeland defense architecture against long-range threats,” Mark Wright, MDA spokesman, told Defense News in an Aug. 6 statement.
The missile defense architecture “must evolve with advancements of the threat,” he added. “Space sensors do not replace but complement ground-based radars by providing track custody during radar coverage gaps. Having both terrestrial radar and space sensors provides dual phenomenology to accurately track and discriminate the threat as it continues to become more complex.” (Source: Defense News)
07 Aug 20. Germany starts drone detection tests at Frankfurt and Munich airports. German air navigation service provider DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), and the airport operators of Frankfurt and Munich, Fraport and FMG (Flughafen München GmbH), start to test drone detection systems at Frankfurt and Munich airports this month (August 2020). The results of these test operations are important for the systematic detection of drones at and around German airports. Reliable detection of unmanned aircraft systems flying without permission is necessary to ensure targeted drone defence.
According to a DFS press release, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure tasked DFS with the preparation of a concept for drone detection at German airports in mid-2019. As a first step, DFS experts identified the size of the areas to be covered for safety reasons. In the scheduled tests, the current state of technology will be investigated within the framework of a feasibility study on the available systems, focusing on the potential detection range and general performance.
Drone experts of DFS, Fraport and FMG prepared the tests and conducted a comprehensive safety assessment of the planned procedures. The test project has been coordinated with the aeronautical authorities of the relevant Federal German States, the Darmstadt Administrative District Board and the Southern Bavaria Aviation Office. The test runs will be accompanied by the Federal and State police forces.
The insights gained from the test project will form the basis for deciding which technology seems suitable for future drone detection at airports.
There have been repeated drone sightings in airspaces across Germany where drone flights are prohibited. In spring 2019 as well as in February and March 2020, flight operations at Frankfurt Airport had to be discontinued for safety reasons for a while after one or more drones had been sighted. Periods in which it is impossible to take off or land have significant economic consequences for airports and airlines. In addition, drones flying in the vicinity of airports without an air traffic control clearance are a hazard to passengers and crews of manned aviation. Drone flights in these areas may be assessed as dangerous interference in air traffic and can be punished with imprisonment of up to ten years.
For more information visit:
www.dfs.de (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
03 Aug 20. Chess Dynamics wins multimillion Euro contract for AirGuard Counter-sUAS.
- Unrivalled, operationally robust solution to be utilised for air base and critical infrastructure protection
- Four combat-proven, advanced technology AirGuard systems to be provided
- Technically mature system offers a high level of automation resulting in low cost of operation
Chess Dynamics, leading British surveillance, tracking and gunfire control specialist, today announced it has beaten strong international competition to be awarded a multimillion Euro contract for its AirGuard Counter Unmanned Air System (C-UAS).
The scope of the project is to provide four AirGuard C-UAS to be utilised by an international customer in its protection from and defeat of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS). The systems include multi-sensor detection via passive Radio Frequency Direction Finding (R/F D/F), active 3D radar, coupled with HD Electro Optic sensors. The AirGuard systems will also include combat-proven Electronic Disruptors for complete protection of air base and critical infrastructure. The project is expected to be delivered throughout 2020 and 2021.
Graham Beall, Chess Group CEO commented: ‘The threat from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is increasing across all environments. It is essential that those who are responsible for safeguarding against such threats have access to complete integrated solutions, providing accurate and precise information. Our AirGuard C-UAS provides this, and by way of its advanced AI assisted operator user interface, allows them to quickly take the right course of action.
‘With this project, a leading solution for air base and critical infrastructure protection was required, and our engineering excellence delivered. We are proud to have the strongest operational pedigree of any C-UAS system in service today, having been on continuous, uninterrupted combat operations since November 2016’, Beall continued.
Comprehensive and robust Counter-Unmanned Air System
The Chess Dynamics’ AirGuard C-UAS is designed to disrupt and neutralise UAVs engaged in hostile airborne surveillance and potentially malicious activity. It is a fully compliant, immediately deployable, operationally robust, and reliable solution to counter sUAS threats.
As a technically mature COTS system it also requires no further development and thereby offers customers a fully integrated, easy to operate system. The automated alert system further reduces manpower requirements and enhances timely decision making.
The multimillion-euro project awarded to Chess Dynamics will include the testing and installation of four AirGuard systems which are fully integrated with a powerful automated alert Command and Control (C2) system and comprise of:
- Multi-sensor Detection of Active 3D Radar
- Passive Radio Frequency Direction Finding (R/F D/F)
- HD Electro Optic Thermal and Day sensors for 24-hour operation
- Combat proven Electronic Disruptor
- Easy to use AI assisted user interface C2 system
Powerful protection, Easy integration
With UAV technology changing constantly with increased sophistication, it is vital to have a system that can cover large areas and even create a 3D detection and protection ‘bubble’ around a specified area.
Chess Dynamics’ AirGuard is a TRL Level 9 solution that comprehensively meets strict customer requirements. In terms of deployment, the capability is fully integrated and self-contained. It can also be easily integrated into existing video management systems and security infrastructure.
The AirGuard system is IP rated at 65, making it suitable to be deployed in any nominated site and is scalable, reconfigurable, and has its own integral power if required. The AirGuard crew stations are ergonomically designed to reduce operator fatigue and the system is easy to learn. Chess Dynamics’ AirGuard can be easily networked and if necessary, brought into action within hours of being deployed.
Chess Dynamics’ AirGuard C-UAS can be installed and operated from fixed locations and from mobile platforms and is scalable to the requirements and desired level of security for each situation.
05 Aug 20. Israeli Army examines SKYLOCK wearable drone detect and defeat solution. Israeli manufacturer of drone detection and defeat solutions SKYLOCK reports strong interest from Israel Defense Forces in the company’s wearable drone protection equipment to mitigate all types of malicious drone threats, according to its LinkedIn post. The rugged unit weighs only 775 kg and features internal antenna and jamming capability. The equipment is designed to provide dismounted soldiers with full protection against commercial drones used by unfriendly forces for reconnaissance or as a weapon delivery system, allowing dismounted soldiers to focus on their mission.
(Image: SKYLOCK wearable drone detect and defeat equipment)
For more information visit:
www.skylock1.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
06 Aug 20. DroneWISE leads EU project to develop counter drone command, control and coordination station and online portal. DroneWISE is leading a European two-year project valued at EUR1.3m, funded with an EU contribution of 90%, in the specific context of counter terrorism. Running from June 2020 to June 2022 the ISFP-2019-AG-PROTECT project is coordinated by the University of Applied Sciences for Public Service in Bavaria.
DroneWISE intends to develop a holistic first-responder agency command, control and coordination strategy, underpinned by evidence-based training for the counter-terrorism protection of public spaces. The company plans to provide tactical options and decision-making frameworks, underpinned by a counter Unmaned Aircraft Vehicle (C-UAV) command training handbook, all accessible via a C-UAV online training portal.
According to a company release, DroneWISE aims to increase the preparedness of first-responder agencies to better coordinate their efforts, significantly improving the protection of public spaces and coordinated response to a terrorist attack using UAVs.
DroneWISE recognises that the illegal use of UAVs is now a serious security concern across the world as terrorists, activists and criminals are adopting drone technology and developing new, creative and sophisticated ways in which to commit crime, terrorism and invade the privacy of citizens. The adoption of drones as a tactical attack planning option for terrorists to cause mass disruption, damage economic stability and directly threaten EU security and the safety of its citizens is a chilling reminder of the clear and present danger from contemporary terrorism. Reinforcing this new and emerging threat, during August 2019, EU Security Commissioner Julian King warned that drones could be used for acts of terrorism stating that: “Drones are becoming more and more powerful and smarter which makes them more and more attractive for legitimate use, but also for hostile acts.” The warning followed the publication of a secret report issued in December 2018 from France’s Anti-Terrorism Unit (UCLAT) to the country’s Special Committee on Terrorism. The report warned of “a possible terrorist attack on a football stadium by means of an unmanned drone that could be equipped with biological warfare agents.”
To address these current vulnerabilities, DroneWISE lists seven objectives:
- To conduct a thorough analysis of end-user requirements from use-cases to assess first-responder operational challenges in responding to threats from UAVs and terrorist attacks on public spaces
- To conduct a thorough analysis of UAV and UAV detection technology capacity and capability
- To conduct a thorough analysis of the terrorist threat to public spaces and the terrorist use of UAVs
- To develop a counter-UAV training programme to improve first-responder agencies coordination in response to UAV terrorist attacks in public spaces
- To provide ready access to authoritative counter-UAV training tools for first responders to improve their coordinated response to UAV terrorist attacks at public spaces
- To develop first-responder agencies coordinated strategic and tactical response to terrorist attacks using UAVs at public spaces
- To achieve high levels of end-user engagement, collaboration and long-term sustainability of DroneWISE outputs preparing current and future generations of first responders.
For more information visit:
07 Aug 20. US Air Force tests ‘four ship’ formation of F-16s with AESA radars. The US Air Force (USAF) on 2 July for the first time flew advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars on four fighter aircraft in a ‘four-ship’ formation.
A combined development and operational test team successfully tested the new radar capability on four Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons, according to a 3 August service statement. The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam (SABR) AESA radar equips the F-16s with fifth-generation radar capabilities similar to those found in Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs).
The US Air Force on 2 July tested next-generation AESA radars flying in a ‘four-ship’ formation of F-16s for the first time. The goal was to see if the radar signals improved or degraded while operating together. (US Air Force)
The radar is used in the suppression or destruction of enemy air defences, including targeting radars and surface-to-air missiles. It also improves existing air-to-air capabilities and enhances air-to-ground mapping.
“This capability allows us to target the northwest corner of a small building or the cockpit of an aircraft from several miles way, beyond line-of-sight,” Jack Harman, 40th Flight Test Squadron F-16 fighter test pilot, was quoted by the USAF as saying. “[The radar] improves our ability to identify the threat prior to us being targeted. We no longer have to be inside a threat envelope in order to detect it”.
By testing four AESA radars at the same time, the team assessed whether the aircraft experienced interference and evaluated if the signal improved or degraded while operating together. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Aug 20. South Korea unveils indigenous AESA radar prototype for KF-X fighter. South Korea has unveiled an indigenous active electronically scanned-array (AESA) radar prototype for use by the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) next-generation multirole fighter aircraft, which is being developed under the Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) programme.
The radar, which has been under development since 2016 by South Korean company Hanwha Systems and the country’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD), was unveiled in a ceremony held on 7 August, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The radar will now undergo further ground performance and installation tests before being integrated with the first KF-X prototype for further testing, said South Korean officials, adding that Elta Systems – a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) – has collaborated on the programme and is assisting with the testing phase.
Very few details have emerged about the AESA radar, which officials have described as a “state-of-the-art system capable of detecting and tracking more than 1,000 targets simultaneously”.
The latest developments come after South Korean aerospace and defence company Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) revealed in July that it plans to roll out the first KF-X prototype in April 2021. No further details were provided about the programme but Janes understands that the prototype is expected to conduct its first flight in 2022. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Aug 20. Alaska-based long-range ballistic missile defense radar fielding delayed by a year. The fielding of a U.S. Air Force radar to detect ballistic missile threats, currently being installed at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, is delayed by roughly a year, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.
Information provided by the Missile Defense Agency in June to the GAO indicated all construction and integration activities for the Long Range Discrimination Radar had stopped in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While initial fielding was planned for fiscal 2021 and transfer to the Air Force was planned for fiscal 2022, the service is now expected to take ownership of the operational radar in late fiscal 2023.
“We did have some fallback in developing and delivery of systems because it requires people to be in close, confined spaces and sitting at computer terminals working through really tough problems like the development of an algorithm,” MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said at the virtually held Space and Missile Defense Symposium on Aug. 4.
MDA shut down radar installation efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, entering a “caretaker status,” Hill said. “That requires additional work. I mean, you’ve got a radar that is being built in a tough environment like Alaska — you can’t just stop. You have to go in and make sure the radar arrays are protected,” he added.
The LRDR is an S-band radar that will not only be able to track incoming missiles but also discriminate the warhead-carrying vehicle from decoys and other nonlethal objects for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System, which is designed to protect the continental U.S. from possible intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran.
Lockheed Martin is LRDR’s manufacturer.
The program, according to the GAO report, wrapped up its system prototype assessment in an operational environment in FY19, which showed the hardware and software was mature ahead of full-rate manufacturing. That assessment was delayed from FY18, the report noted, after testing took longer due to “required antenna reconfigurations and software fixes to complete.”
The fixes resulted in a cost overrun of $25m and caused a delay in completing a developmental step associated with satellite tracking expected in FY18, according to the report.
“While construction was ongoing in [FY19], the program was monitoring risks that could threaten the upcoming transfer of LRDR custody and ownership to the government,” the report stateed. “Specifically the program was focusing on manufacturing of the Array Panels, Sub Array Assembly Suite modules, and Auxiliary Power Group cabinets, as well as ensuring integration on site.”
Those issues “depleted schedule margin on the path towards the transfer,” which was scheduled for the fourth quarter of FY20, according to the GAO, and the transfer of LRDR custody to the government was pushed back to the first quarter of FY21 due to radar component production issues.
“The good news is construction is back up and running,” Hill said, “and we are delivering those arrays that are going into low-power and high-power testing later this year, so we are pretty excited about that.”
According to the GAO, the current test plan for LRDR has just one flight test scheduled in the third quarter of FY21, after two ground tests. The report does not clarify if the pandemic has caused a delay in these tests.
The GAO indicated concern about conducting two ground tests before the program’s only flight test, as it “increases the likelihood that the models will not be accredited when testing is complete.”
As a result, “the performance analysis and the majority of the model validation and accreditation will have to be made concurrently, just prior to the LRDR Technical Capability Declaration,” scheduled for the third quarter of FY21, the report stated. “This increases the risk of discovering issues late in development, which could result in performance reductions or delivery delays.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Aug 20. First Operation for RAF Poseidon tracking Russian Warship. A Royal Air Force P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) completed its first operational mission this week shadowing a Russian warship in the North Sea near to UK waters. On Monday morning, a P-8A Poseidon from 120 Squadron based at Kinloss Barracks demonstrated its speed and readiness by completing a prolonged overwatch of the Russian warship, Vasily Bykov, as it passed through the North Sea. It did so with support from Typhoon fighters, based at RAF Lossiemouth and the VIP Voyager refuelling aircraft, stationed at RAF Brize Norton.
“In an increasingly unstable world of persistent challenge and competition, it is important that the UK Armed Forces possess cutting edge technology to meet threats wherever they emerge.
“The sight of our new Poseidon aircraft, working in concert with the Royal Navy has showcased the UK’s readiness to defend its waters from any incursion.” Baroness Goldie, Minister of State for Defence
The Poseidon’s operational debut follows shortly after the Prime Minister’s visit to Kinloss Barracks last month and heralds a significant development in the UK’s Maritime offensive and defensive capabilities. The P-8 offers a potent blend of tracking options and associated weapons able to find surface and sub-surface vessels, once more allowing the RAF to complete effective joint maritime operations with the Royal Navy.
“The RAF continues to evolve and develop as the Next Generation RAF becomes a reality. The Poseidon aircraft is a key part of that development and evidence of the hard work performed by all those involved. This mission by the Poseidon, to monitor Russian naval activity, shows how the RAF will now be able to contribute to Maritime Security alongside the Royal Navy and our NATO allies, to secure the seas and skies.” Air Vice Marshal Ian Duguid, Air Officer Commanding 11 Group.
Monitoring and tracking all activity in the airspace and seas around the United Kingdom is paramount to our security, with aircraft from the RAF and vessels from the Royal Navy ensuring our skies and seas are constantly patrolled and defended. RAF Voyager aircraft was used to refuel the Typhoons. Working with the aerospace and construction industries £470m is being invested by the UK Government at RAF Lossiemouth to provide a state-of-the-art home for the Fleet of nine aircraft in Scotland. (Source: warfare Today/RAF)
06 Aug 20. The race is on to replace NATO’s early-warning aircraft fleet. On June 29, a solicitation titled, “NATO International Competitive Bidding (ICB): Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) Project-Risk Reduction and Feasibility Study,” popped up on Beta.Sam.Gov, a U.S. government contracting site.
The appearance of the notice represented an early, but important, step in a long process of finding a replacement for NATO’s fleet of airborne early warning and control AWACS planes, which have seen increased usage over the past five years.
“What you’ve spotted online is the U.S. government preparing U.S. companies for this upcoming call for bids,” a NATO official, speaking on background, explained to Defense News. “Allies will then need to decide what form [the new design] should take.”
Currently, 18 nations participate in NATO’s early-warning-and-control force, which operates 14 E-3As: Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The planes are based at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany.
NATO plans to spend $1bn for a final service life extension of the aircraft, which would keep it flying until 2035. Any delays in the decision-making process will likely increase the cost for the fleet, meaning there is heavy pressure to hit key milestones for an alliance that rarely buys military gear as collective.
As of July, six consortia from across the alliance have delivered concept studies to NATO leadership; Brussels is “currently assessing” those concepts with the goal of defining a “more narrow scope” for requirements before the end of 2020, per the NATO official. That will be followed in 2021 by another round of responses from industry, and a 2023 deep dive by NATO which is likely to set up the final requirements. Overall, the development stage through 2023 has a budget of EUR 118.2m ($139m).
In the U.S., expect Boeing and Northrop Grumman to be in the running, while the likely European contenders would be Saab and Airbus, according to Doug Barrie, senior military air analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank in London. “With all the usual caveats, the most likely outcome is that it is U.S., perhaps with some European add-ons,”
Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, agrees that a “U.S. prime, and lots of European mandates for local sustainment, support, and upgrade work” is a likely outcome.
“The European industrial role is a bit complicated by the fact that Airbus has zero experience here,” Aboulafia argued. “Saab certainly can do the job, but GlobalEye simply doesn’t have the capabilities of a higher-end system, which means Boeing, or, just conceivably, Northrop Grumman/Lockheed Martin.”
Firms that end up as second-tier suppliers may still end up with a strong work share, depending on how the project shapes up. The official NATO line on the program follows the “system of systems” approach currently popular inside the U.S. Air Force, with the idea that a single platform may not be the optimal solution.
“The replacement for the AWACS aircraft could include different combinations of systems in the air, on land, at sea, in space and in cyberspace,” the NATO official said. “The aim is for the solution to be ready by 2035, when the AWACS aircraft reach the end of their service life.”
Barrie sees costs and benefits to either approach, noting that a distributed system “is less vulnerable overall to kinetic attack but is heavily reliant on connectivity,” while a traditional setup “is more vulnerable to physical attack, but if there is onboard command and control less reliant overall on wider connectivity and off-board analysis.”
Adds Aboulafia, “That system-of-systems approach is a good talking point, but creating the broader architecture is quite complicated. Also, creating a system is kind of a given for airborne early warning, but there needs to be a central platform doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. Thus, the teams will need to revolve around a platform prime.”
While the overall price of the program will depend on the final design, Aboulafia predicts everything put together could cost in the $10bn range to buy an equivalent of the original 17-aircraft NATO purchase. And that money may well be worth it for the alliance, according to Barrie.
“It’s been a practical and a symbolic asset,” he said, “and in the current European security environment air surveillance and C2 isn’t becoming any less important.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
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