Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
19 Aug 20. The US Army is working to see across thousands of miles. The Army’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force is helping the service modernize its ability to see across huge ranges through a layered approach that includes ground, air and space.
As geographic boundaries will be blurred in future conflict with sophisticated adversaries, the Army is interrogating how it traditionally does everything from imagery collection, signals intelligence and electronic warfare, hoping to transcend current methods and create a battlefield picture that extends across these geographic divisions.
“If you look at how the [National Defense Strategy] describes what we’re supposed to do in competition and conflict, we really needed to have the ability to see deep, to look deep to be able to shape the environment for commanders, [and] the ability to sense the environment,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the Army’s director for ISR/G-2, told C4ISRNET in an Aug. 18 interview, adding that after the counterterrorism fight, he did not feel as though the Army’s sensors and platforms were in a great place for great power competition.
Berrier is departing his post in a few weeks to head the Defense Intelligence Agency, with Maj. Gen. Laura Potter set to pin on a third star and take over as the next G-2 and ISR task force. Under Berrier, the task force has focused on enhancing other Army missions, namely the service’s number one modernization priority: long range precision fires.
“We really see ourselves as enabling capability … when you talk about long range precision fires and the sensor to shooter, if you’re going to shoot a target at 1,000 miles, you certainly have to see it,” he said.
The task force works to corral all the ongoing modernization efforts conducted by Army Futures Command and its various cross functional teams, along with the acquisition community, to ensure they are all coordinated for an integrated, modernized ISR footprint. This means helping to advise on and shape requirements for future systems, while contributing in exercises that test new capabilities and concepts with forces across the world.
Other contributors include the Future Vertical Lift and Assured Position, Navigation and Timing teams.
The Task Force is also examining to what extent cyber capabilities can play a role in deep sensing, though details are scarce on this front. The Army’s Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors is contributing through offensive cyber, which officials in the past have said cyber is a collection mechanism.
A layered approach
The Army’s ISR modernization approach begins with the terrestrial or ground layer, Berrier said.
The Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca is taking the lead in this arena. The main capability is the forthcoming Terrestrial Layer System-Large, the Army’s first brigade-focused, integrated signals intelligence, electronic warfare and cyber platform.
Berrier explained that the Army is trying to regain capability it lost after the Cold War.
“What we need to have is a sensing platform that can really, really see in the electromagnetic spectrum very complicated signals; to be able to understand [and] perceive the environment; and then — if we want to make an effect inside that environment — [create an effect] with our electronic warfare operators but also … put an effect into cyberspace,” he said. “We think TLS, with our [brigade combat teams] and those formations, will have what I would call close access, perhaps, to adversary networks. And they’d be able to influence those networks in a number of different ways, as you can imagine.”
The Army awarded two prototypes for TLS — to Boeing subsidiary Digital Receiver Technology, Inc. and Lockheed Martin — for a roughly year long experiment with units, after which it will choose one vendor to move forward.
There are significant changes for the Army in the aerial layer, namely a new, first-of-its-kind jet the Army is experimenting with.
Intelligence and Security Command is heading the aerial layer for the Army currently and just deployed a commercial jet called the Airborne Reconnaissance and Targeting Multi-mission Intelligence System (ARTEMIS), made by Leidos and first reported by Aviation Week, to the Pacific.
ARTEMIS is the first step in something the Army is calling the Multidomain Sensing System, which will operate at higher altitudes than the Army has traditionally operated.
“Our sensors are flying between 22,000 and 24,000 feet today. We think they need to be much higher … think in the 40,000 range,” Berrier said.
He added there is an unmanned component that could potentially include gliders or balloons. However, he acknowledged the technology might not be ready yet.
Ultimately, the Army believes it will need signals intelligence, electronic intelligence, electronic warfare and cyber capabilities in the final Multidomain Sensing System, whatever that ends up being.
Berrier described a year long “campaign of learning” for the Multidomain Sensing System, which begins with ARTEMIS in the Pacific.
“That will take about a year before I think we’re ready to even make a decision. Do we stay sort of in this realm of assets that are around 20,000 feet or 22,000 feet? Or do we, should we go higher to be in that competition ISR fight?” he said, adding the Army will partner with other services on big wing ISR.
Finally, the third layer is the space layer, which manifests itself in the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN). TITAN is a ground station the Army is building to replace several existing ground stations.
Since the Army isn’t in the business of building and launching its own satellites, it wants to take advantage of the bevy of satellites already in existence by agencies such as the National Reconnaissance Office. And it believes TITAN will allow it to access these constellations better.
Berrier said there will be some processing and artificial intelligence that goes into the system, enabling it to identify targets sooner.
The Army is experimenting with TITAN “surrogates” in Europe, through the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, and in the Pacific through the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade.
The Army is also using exercises such as Defender Europe and Defender Pacific along with newer units to include the Multidomain Task Force and its Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space battalion to help prove out these intelligence concepts and capabilities. It is also working to modernize data standards and dissemination systems such as the Distributed Common Ground System, which is transitioning to the Command Post Computing Environment.
Ultimately, Berrier said these ISR modernization efforts are about helping the Army deter conflict. But if that fails, the service needs to be ready for the multidomain battlefield it expects to fight on in the future against near-peer powers.
“If you do competition effectively and if you do competition ISR in the right way, you’ll never get to conflict because you’ll always have a decision or an information advantage over our adversaries,” he said. “If we do transition to conflict, it is about reducing the sensor-to-shooter loop that’s going to be so key for multidomain operations. If you want to do MDO … the ISR Task Force is about bringing multidomain intelligence to competition and conflict.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
20 Aug 20. TMD introduces a drop-in replacement 6-18 GHz, 100 W MPM to support the US Military’s radar, EW and communications systems. TMD Technologies, a world leader in RF, microwave, and high-power amplifiers has introduced the PTXM9754, an ultra-compact, modular MPM (Microwave Power Module). This unit is ideally suited for high-performance military radar, EW/EA/ECM and communications systems. It utilizes a ‘super-mini’ TWT (travelling wave tube), a solid-state preamp, and an optimized high density switched-mode power supply to form a single ‘drop-in’ amplifier block. This design provides a FFF (form, fit, function) equivalent to existing 6-18 GHz MPMs installed across many shipboard, airborne, and ground-based systems.
Tom Curtin, VP Sales and Business Development, TMD Technologies, LLC said: “This advanced unit has been designed in direct response to unprecedented demand for a drop-in replacement as an alternative to existing 6-18 GHz 100 W (minimum) MPMs. Following a high-priority development project at our design facility in London, UK, TMD has produced a superior high-performance amplifier, built to stringent specifications, and readily available to support existing and new DoD programs.”
A host of features
The PTXM9754 features a broadband 6 to 18 GHz TWT capable of providing 100 W CW minimum across the band. It incorporates a high-speed focus electrode modulator to allow operation at high PRFs, making it ideal for pulsed applications such as in ECM and radars. A low gain TWT working with a low noise solid state preamplifier provides optimum noise performance.
Compact, lightweight, and high reliability
As well as being of low weight and small size, the PTXM9754 features excellent thermal management. Its high electrical efficiency means that the minimum of cooling is required – resulting in high reliability operation over a wide temperature range. Also, by virtue of its fully encapsulated HV section, the unit will operate at high altitudes and humidity.
Prime power requirement is 28 V DC.
Helping the system designer
Integration of the TWT and power supply simplifies the system designer’s task by eliminating TWT interconnections (and the associated reliability and safety hazards). Such integration also further reduces overall system size – making installation easier.
Furthermore, the MPM is factory-adjusted to optimise TWT performance, obviating the need for user adjustments and streamlining replacement logistics and reducing replacement times in the field.
A control interface is incorporated, allowing remote operation and status monitoring and providing diagnostic outputs for BIT purposes. The versatile PTXM series can also be configured to incorporate a number of TWT models – thus allowing the user to specify frequency and peak power parameters.
19 Aug 20. Japan Having Second Thoughts on Global Hawk. Two years ago Japan paid American Northrop Grumman nearly $500m for a trio of Global Hawk spy drones, with deliveries wrapping up in 2022. Now Tokyo reportedly is reconsidering the purchase. The review comes a year after Iranian forces shot down a U.S. Navy Global Hawk that was flying in international air space near Iran.
While it can fly as high as 65,000 feet, beyond the reach of many air-defense systems, the Global Hawk is subsonic and lacks stealth features, making it vulnerable to the most powerful surface-to-air missiles. Iranian forces claimed they used a version of the Buk M1 road-mobile SAM to shoot down the Navy Global Hawk.
The shoot-down of the high-flying, non-stealthy drone spooked American officials.
“We need to balance our [surveillance] portfolio to meet the challenges of a highly-contested environment,” said Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson, then the U.S. Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Officials in Tokyo reportedly came to the same conclusion.
“We can’t put such expensive planes at risk of being shot down,” a source told the wire service Jiji Press.
There’s another factor. The U.S. Air Force as part of its 2021 budget proposal asked Congress to let it retire all 20 of its older camera-equipped Block 30 Global Hawks, leaving just 10 newer, radar-fitted Block 40s in service. The Navy has not altered its own plan to acquire 68 Global Hawks with cameras and electronic sniffing gear.
Lawmakers have put the retirements on hold for now. But the Japanese defense ministry is worried that, if Congress approves the cuts, the cost of supporting its own three Block 30s will rise. The only other operator of older Global Hawks, besides the U.S. Air Force, is the South Korean air force.
“Fewer aircraft obviously means higher maintenance costs,” a source told Jiji Press.
With thousands of islands and vast territorial waters—not to mention a belligerent neighbor in the form of China—Japan has enormous appetite for surveillance. Tokyo’s surveillance portfolio includes sea- and land-based radars, manned patrol planes and reconnaissance pods on supersonic fighters.
But arguably the Japanese military’s most important surveillance systems are in orbit. Tokyo since 2003 has launched 18 so-called “information-gathering satellites.” A launch accident destroyed two of the sats. Others have aged out.
The government’s goal is for 10 surveillance spacecraft to be in operation at any given time, in theory providing around-the-clock, global coverage. Satellites could feed targeting data to forces firing long-range missiles.
Some of the satellites carry cameras. Others pack radars for surveillance at night and in bad weather. While a satellite isn’t invulnerable to attack—China does operate space weaponry, after all—it should be harder to knock out than a drone is. (Source: UAS VISION/ Forbes)
19 Aug 20. Liteye Launches On-the-Move (OTM) C-UAS Solution. Liteye Systems Inc. has announced the Trailer Anti-UAS Defense System (T-AUDS), with an On-the-Move and Fixed-Site Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) Solution. T-AUDS, is a Multi-Domain Awareness and Protection package, capable of detecting and defeating RF controlled and silent flight drones while mobile, then transiting from on-the-move to static in less than two minutes, with full capabilities being brought to bear in defense of a location.
Liteye has integrated AUDS and Citadel’s Titan 3 radio frequency detection into the T-AUDS for enhanced Detection, Identification, and Defeat methods across the full C-UAS mission. T-AUDS provides a robust On-The-Move and Static C-UAS capability that includes physical stand-off when necessary and minimizes vulnerabilities during the most Strategic Mission sets.
The integration of these key sensors and effectors on a T-AUDS provide:
- C-UAS protection during On-the-Move operations, Transition to Fixed Site security, and during Sustained Fix Site or Operating Base Protection Missions.
- Detect, Track, ID and Defeat of both RF Controlled and “Silent Flight” Threats
- Compatibility with the C-AUDS & MEDUSA Command and Control.
- Vehicle On-The-Move C-UAS protection (Max speed is determined by Vehicle towing T-AUDS; the system can detect and defeat RF Controlled threats at any speed)
- Minimized vulnerability when transitioning from on-the-move to at-the-halt operations.
- Radar, camera detection, tracking and positive ID occurs quickly with robust directional jamming
- Remote or wireless operation along with the easily maneuvered trailer provides physical stand-off of T-AUDS from the operator and/or protected areas when necessary.
T-AUDS consists of Combat Proven Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 9 components currently operational in the USAF Containerized-AUDS systems and also incorporates the Combat Proven Citadel Titan 3 radio frequency detection and defeat system as an added layer of capability. T-AUDS is available now and can be rapidly fielded.
Liteye’s US based AUDS design is a backbone for Counter UAS solutions and layered with multiple capabilities to Detect, Track, Identify and Defeat malicious threats. Citadel’s Titan 3 technology applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to reliably detect, identify and defeat unauthorized drones operating across the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Together, these companies are leaders in the US Counter Drone market. Liteye has delivered over $100M in services and products to the US Government and was recently honored on INC.’s 5000 list of fastest growing companies.
“We are pleased to be working with Citadel and believe the combination of sensors and effectors, especially when integrated into higher level C2 system like MEDUSA, provide the most comprehensive on-the-move and fixed site protection capability against UAS threats available today” said Ryan Hurt, Vice President of Business Development. “The Liteye AUDS system is Multi-Domain and Multi-Mission. Using this system, operators can detect more than just small UAS, they can positively I.D. air and ground targets, classify and track their RF signature, pass this positively identified target data to other weapon systems, C2 systems, or simply defeat or deny the target with an on-board Electronic Attack capability.”
“By combining the technologies of both companies, our customers get access to some of the deepest and strongest capabilities in the industry,” said Chris Williams, CEO Citadel Defense. “We have coalesced our efforts for efficiency and effectiveness to get a superior suite of counter-UAS capabilities downrange.”
The combined system provides an on-the-move 360-degree defensive capability, while multiple layers of detection, classification and positive identification provide unmatched situational awareness and protection. The combination of Electronic Attack options for the operator provides both a sophisticated machine learning high fidelity frequency defeat and a robust directional broad-band defeat to ensure protection from the most serious threats. (Source: UAS VISION/https://www.uasvision.com/)
18 Aug 20. SMART SHOOTER has been Considered as a Potential Solution-Provider for a NATO Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work.
SMART SHOOTER’s technology has been selected for a NATO Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work (DAT PoW) exercise in the domain of the fight against small UAVs.
[SMART SHOOTER, a world-class designer, developer, and manufacturer of innovative fire control systems that significantly increase the accuracy and lethality of small arms, announced that the company has been considered as a potential solution-provider and its technology has been selected for a NATO Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work (DAT PoW) exercise in the domain of the fight against small UAVs. Smart Shooter’s SMASH Fire Control Solution will be tested and evaluated on the engagement part of the UAV kill chain.
SMASH is a combat-proven Fire Control solution for small arms that ensures each round finds its target. With a unique “One Shot – One Hit” capability, SMASH allows the operator to quickly and effectively neutralize any ground or airborne target, manned or unmanned. It is a cost-effective solution that can be integrated onto any type of assault rifle, as well as combined with other C-UAS systems, to provide an effective multi-layer defense solution suitable for the modern battlefield.
SMASH’s proprietary target acquisition and tracking algorithms are integrated with sophisticated image-processing software into a rugged hardware solution that enables automatic detection, tracking, and effective engagement of UAVs. Bringing precision-missile targeting algorithms and advanced electro-optical processing capabilities into standard infantry, SMASH enables the creation of a micro-tactical network between deployed SMASH units, allowing the entire platoon to be smart, precise, and connected.
Michal Mor, SMART SHOOTER CEO, noted: “SMART SHOOTER’s SMASH solution is a proven and reliable hard-kill solution against UAVs, and we are honored that the NATO Defense Against Terrorism PoW has selected it for consideration in the domain of the fight against small UAVs. SMASH fire control system put a precision anti-UAV capability at the fingertips of its users, maximizing operational effectiveness while keeping the force safe and minimizing collateral damage.”
About SMART SHOOTER
SMART SHOOTER is a world-class designer, developer, and manufacturer of innovative fire control systems that significantly increase the accuracy and lethality of small arms. With a rich record in designing unique solutions for the warfighter, SMART SHOOTER technology enhances mission effectiveness through the ability to accurately engage and eliminate ground, aerial, static or moving targets during both day and night operations.
Designed to help military and law enforcement professionals swiftly and accurately neutralize their targets, the company’s combat-proven SMASH Family of Fire Control Systems increase assault rifle lethality while keeping friendly forces safe and reducing collateral damage. With a unique technology that makes it possible for every battlefield element to be connected with every other battlefield element, SMASH creates a micro-tactical network that dramatically enhances real-time situational awareness and ensures that the entire platoon shares a common operational picture.
The company’s experienced team of engineers combine electro-optics, computer vision technologies, real-time embedded software, ergonomics, and system engineering to provide cost-effective and easy-to-use solutions for modern conflicts.
Fielded and operational, Smart Shooter SMASH family of solutions provides end-users with a “One Shot – One Hit” capability across multiple mission areas, creating a significant advantage for the infantry soldier and ultimately revolutionizing the world of small arms and optics.
SMART SHOOTER’s headquarters are based in Yagur, Israel, and its American subsidiary, Smart shooter Inc., is located in Maryland. Smart Shooter also has an office in Düsseldorf, Germany.
17 Aug 20. Icarus Aerospace reveals clean sheet light attack and ISR designs. Icarus Aerospace has revealed a clean sheet design for an optionally-piloted armed overwatch and light strike aircraft that can also be adapted into mid/high-altitude long-endurance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platform.
The Canadian company revealed designs for the Tactical Air Vehicle (TAV) light strike and derived Branta ISR platform in August, with the former described as “a force multiplier for the world’s security and armed forces”, and the latter as “the next logical step in [the] evolution of modern drones and reconnaissance aircraft”.
In terms of the twin-turboprop TAV (named Wasp in its full-up military guise), Icarus boasts a mission-specialised swing-role platform that will be capable of operating in austere locations with 90% of the mission capability rate of a modern combat jet with just 15% of the costs.
Limited details revealed to date show the platform has up to three times the electrical-power generation capabilities as its contemporaries, is capable of aerial refuelling, has the highest payload and fastest cruise speed in its class, an optional 360° active electronically scanned-array (AESA) radar provided by Leonardo, as well as a network centric capability that enables a swarming capability.
“[The TAV is] a perfect and affordable plug-and-play solution, replacing and outperforming ageing and near obsolete fleets of more expensive helicopters, aircraft, and drones,” the company said. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Aug 20. U-2 receives ISR track data from F-35 in recent Orange Flag Evaluation. A Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft receives intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) track data from a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) during a recent Pentagon Orange Flag Evaluation (OFE).
The OFE, which took place on 1-2 July and included the US Army and US Air Force (USAF), demonstrated the ability to integrate F-35 ISR track data with a surrogate of the US Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS). Lockheed Martin spokesman Brett Ashworth said on 12 August that F-35 data collected from the U-2 will serve to validate that a single IBCS Airborne Sensor Adaptation Kit (A-Kit) can serve multiple pathways to get data from F-35 and ISR assets.
“This evaluation demonstrated the technology and concept is mature to support a planned demonstration with live targets and simulated [Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3)] fly-outs,” Ashworth said.
This evaluation expanded on the capability for F-35 ISR data to track and take action on an identified threat. This has been demonstrated across multiple Pentagon services and organisations to demonstrate Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO), according to a Lockheed Martin statement. It was also the first time a U-2 participated in the OFE.
Ashworth said on 11 August that the F-35 provides IBCS with an elevated sensor that can identify, track, and provide fire control quality data to cue US Army integrated air and missile defence assets at extended ranges. Connected sensor information between aircraft can queue existing missile defence systems to engage an incoming threat. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Aug 20. Aveillant examines best practice in counter drone systems in latest whitepaper. Surveillance specialist Aveillant, a Thales company, has released a whitepaper that examines best practice in counter drone systems. In a press release the company says rapidly increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or drones, has seen several high profile airport closures due to drone activity, and a heightened interest in methods for the timely detection, tracking, classification and mitigation of non-cooperative and potentially harmful flights. This Aveillant whitepaper explores some of the data relating to this risk for an airport – what are the risk areas, what is the likelihood of an incident, and what could be the impact of an incident (in financial and safety terms)? The paper then outlines current industry best practice in Counter-Drone solutions, based on the experiences of some of the world’s leading airports. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
18 Aug 20. Fortem Technologies takes aim at ‘dark’ UASs with SkyDome. Counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) specialist Fortem Technologies has seen a growing military interest in its systems, the company told Janes , with the US-based firm emphasising an interception approach to tackling potential UAS threats.
Fortem Technologies’ SkyDome is an end-to-end system encompassing several elements that can be operated separately or as part of an integrated approach. This comprises artificial intelligence (AI)-based software SkyDome Manager that includes ThreatAware, a capability that can analyse input from several sources and sensors.
These sources include the company’s TrueView radar, which can help to detect ‘dark’ UASs that do not emit radio frequency (RF) or other signals. The overarching system also includes DroneHunter, a multirotor UAS that can intercept rogue UASs using a net tether.
Adam Robertson, Fortem’s co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO), said the company opted for the DroneHunter approach for several reasons. First, it can help to avoid collateral damage. Second, it means that the targeted UAV can be brought back for forensic analysis.
”That allows us to figure out where the source is – really we’re interested in stopping the source of the threats, not the object that was threatening us,” said Robertson.
The company sees potential for the systems in both fixed installations and mobile platforms, as well as on temporary sites, he noted.
Robertson added that Fortem has been working to increase the autonomy of the system. While it still requires human supervision, the system can function independently to varying degrees depending on the rules of engagement. (Source: Jane’s)
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.