Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
02 Apr 20. Blighter Orbiter launched. Blighter Orbiter is a new product from the Blighter range of ground surveillance radars (GSRs) designed to address the growing requirement for low-cost and lightweight mobile radar surveillance. Blighter Orbiter builds on the reliability, low power consumption, and ground clutter rejection capabilities of the Blighter B400 series radars by incorporating an azimuth positioner unit.
Blighter Orbiter is based on Blighter Surveillance Systems’ (BSS) B402 ground surveillance radar system, fitted with W20S wide elevation beam antennas. This configuration offers maximum performance in the most compact size, with the 20° wide elevation beam being ideal for mobile deployment in hilly and mountainous areas.
The radar can detect a single walking person at distances of up to 7.4 km, over 360° (in four 90° quadrants). However, in typical deployments faster scanning modes may be used to reduce the target revisit time to a minimum. Operating in Vortex fastscan mode, Blighter Orbiter can achieve a full 360° ‘scan & pan’ surveillance in just 20 seconds. Blighter’s coactive FMCW Doppler fast-scan processing detects small and slow moving targets in a single 90° electronic-sweep, meaning that it can then immediately move onto the next 90° quadrant.
The positioner uses a compact yet high performance motor allowing the positioner and radar to be optimally accelerated and decelerated between surveillance quadrants. The positioner has four precisely defined set positions, each at 90° to one another so that the radar is precisely pointed in each one of its 90° ‘scan & pan’ surveillance quadrants.
For surveillance over a narrow sector of less than 90°, the positioner is made to stare at any azimuth angle so that the radar’s PESA e-scan beam is centred about the area of interest.
Blighter Orbiter actually rotates around its mast, allowing it to sit beneath an integrated electro-optic (EO) camera system without obstructing its view. Other long-range mast-mounted radars have to sit on top of the mast, thus creating a conflict with the EO system.
As standard, the ground surveillance radar is supplied with antennas that provide a 20° wide elevation beamwidth, which is ideal for most surveillance applications. A motorised, elevation control is included that allows a further ±18° of physical tilt for situations where the surveillance vehicle is high on a mountain top or deep in a valley.
The azimuth positioner is controlled directly by a serial port on the radar. This means that the entire Blighter Orbiter appears as a single integrated sensor with the new scan modes and 360° capability programmed into the radar unit. This makes it simple for both existing and new customers to integrate the Blighter Orbiter into their own command and control (C2) systems.
BlighterView HMI 2, BSS’s own C2 software platform, provides the additional controls for the new Blighter Orbiter scanning modes: ‘scan & pan’ and ‘stare’. BlighterView HMI 2 is designed to integrate with a wide range of 3rd party EO camera systems.
02 Apr 20. Axeon Optics continues to focus on bringing the sporting world tools that can be used to their advantage. With this in mind Axeon Optics is thrilled to announce the Axeon NightVue, a binocular mounted green laser illuminator that transforms the standard binocular from a daylight only tool into an optic that can be used around the clock.
The Axeon NightVue mounts to most porro and roof prism binoculars and beams a powerful 520 nm green laser out to distances up to 250 meters. The green color of the NightVue emitter cuts through haze and fog while also having a low effect on personal night-time vision and it doesn’t disturb any animals in its path. Once mounted onto the binoculars, use the beam adjustment wheel to adjust the angle of the light output to closely match the magnification range of the binoculars and distance of the subject from you.
Set up of the Axeon NightVue is a simple affair with the included mounting hardware. Once mounted to the optic, the locking knob on the mounting stem can be loosened so the green laser beam can be aligned with the line of sight of the binoculars. The Axeon NightVue has both a weather sealed body and USB charging port located on the bottom side of the back portion of the light. The powerful, yet eye safe, green laser illuminator of the Axeon NightVue is the ultimate night vision solution for just $149.99.
03 Apr 20. Negating The Night. The US Army begun introducing the head-mounted ENVG-Binocular and the FWS-I thermal sight (shown mounted on the M249 SAW) into service in November 2019. The variety of night vision systems for maritime and land forces is wider than ever.
Conducting military operations at night without any form of night vision system today is virtually unthinkable. Not so very long ago, Night Vision (NV) capability, be it Image Intensification (I2) or Thermal Imaging (TI), for maritime, ground or airborne applications, came as individual items of kit with the soldier, sailor or airman providing the interface with the weapon system, via the Mk1 Human Brain.
In today’s digital battle space, whether on a naval vessel, an airborne platform, a main battle tank (MBT) or armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) or just a four-man infantry unit on the ground, it seems everything comes with Night Vision.
Spurred on by the various regional conflicts of the last 30 years, NV capability is reaching new heights, or more accurately, distances and resolutions. The two main technology threads that power NV systems – I2 (the amplification of whatever light is available) or TI (the detection of radiant heat from infrared [IR] sources) – are bracketed within the category of EO/IR (electro-optic/infrared) sensors, which also includes laser products.
I2, now principally used for night-vision goggles (NVGs), involves the collection and conversion of ambient light photons from the visual and near infrared (V/NIR) part of the spectrum from 0.4 to ~0.9 microns, into electrons that are then multiplied by a cascading process before being reconverted back into visible light, within a small (usually 18mm-diameter) tube. As with all technology, I2 has evolved and today’s tubes are Gen3, with a thin barrier film on the microchannel plate (MCP) within the tube.
The down side of I2, as experienced by forces operating in open country or mountainous terrain (such as in Iraq and Afghanistan), is the lack of sufficient (usually urban) ambient light. Thus NVGs, powered by I2, were rendered almost ineffective on moonless nights or when occluded skies blanked out starlight.
The Dragon-C640 (Compact) thermal sight uses an uncooled LWIR 640×512 FPA, allowing a longer detection range.
TI is based on a photon detector made of an exotic material such as indium antimonide (InSb) or mercury cadmium telluride (MCT, CMT or HgCdTe) for the sensing detector’s focal plane array (FPA), and required cryogenic cooling to deliver the sensitivity required for imaging, as well as optics and processing elements. Such systems usually concentrate on either the mid-wave infrared (MWIR) spectrum of 3-5 microns or the long-wave infrared (LWIR) spectrum of 8-12/14 microns.
Cooled detectors require an appropriate mechanism, which adds to its size and weight. However, the last decade has seen the rapid evolution of uncooled detectors for smaller TI-powered NV systems, notably hand-held fire-control systems (FCS), thermal weapon sights and head-mounted cameras.
As with I2, there is a drawback to TI. While it can produce an image in total darkness, the distance TI can ‘see’ depends on the atmospheric conditions across different parts of the spectrum: MWIR is generally considered applicable for hot and humid climates; while LWIR is more suitable to cooler, drier climates. Thus performance can depend on the climate in the combat zone and, of course, the ‘fog of war’.
The other element, when considering TI, is the resolution of the image, defined by the number of pixel elements in the detector’s FPA; and the number of pixels therein depends on their size (or pixel-pitch).
Some 17 years ago, the most common FPA format was 320×240, with a pixel pitch of 25 or 30 microns, depending on the detector material. Thus, the more pixels there are in an FPA, the better the image resolution and, depending on the optics, the longer the range. A reduction in pixel-pitch results in a higher pixel counts.
So, in 2002, a 640×480 FPA with a 20 micron pixel pitch was considered High Definition (HD); today it is considered as Standard Definition (SD). Production detectors with pixel pitches of 17, 15 or 12 microns are now commonplace, with 10 and seven microns emerging.
At the DSEI exhibition in September 2019, Leonardo displayed the SLX-Superhawk – an MWIR detector with a cooled FPA and pixel-pitch of just eight microns, providing a 1,280×1,024 pixels.
It is claimed that the SLX-SuperHawk is able to capture better than HD-quality images in total darkness by detecting temperature differences as small as 1/50th of a degree.
As a means of penetrating the dust, haze and smoke encountered on the battlefield, detectors tuned to the short-wave infrared (SWIR) spectrum (~0.9 to 3 microns) as well as the visible-to-near-infrared (V/NIR) spectrum (0.4 to ~0.9 microns) as used by daylight cameras, have been evolved.
These use reflected ‘light’ and are better able to penetrate atmospheric detritus, with the added advantage that bright light or flashes will not degrade performance.
In October 2019, Israel’s SCD (Semi Conductor Devices) announced orders worth in excess of $15 million for its InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide) SWIR-based solutions, including its in-production Cardinal 1280 detector (with a 10 micron pixel-pitch).
The company notes its SWIR technology includes low-light level capability for night vision, based on its advanced low-noise ROIC (Read-Out Integrated Circuit). Over the past two years, SDC reports an increased demand for EO/IR systems based on the SWIR spectrum.
An example of a V/NIR spectrum detector is in the Nocturn camera range from Photonis USA, using the company’s Lynx CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) solid-state imaging sensor with 1,280×1,024 resolution.
Driven by the need for improved NV capability and the spread of digital communications, allowing imagery to be transmitted electronically, the technology and application of both types of detecting systems has evolved. Over the past decade, the problem of bringing both image sources together in one picture, with the goal of a consolidated image that overcomes the drawbacks of the individual systems, has been addressed.
The combination of I2 visible imagery and thermal imagery into one complementary TV-like picture – known as image fusion or, more accurately, image blending – merges two different views of the world, to provide a tactically significant picture.
The visible image is most like what we are used to seeing with our eyes and provides higher resolution than current uncooled thermal imagers. This makes the overall picture ‘readily understandable’.
The thermal imager, however, is sensitive to differences in the temperature of objects in view, thus people (and other mammals) tend to stand out strongly in the picture due to their body warmth. This provides for very fast detection of individuals (and active objects such as military vehicles) that is not available in visible imagery.
However, the problem is that an I2 image is not electronic while TI, by the nature of its creation, is fully digital, allowing imagery to be displayed on any of a number of digital displays and transmitted into a network via wireless data links if required.
The initial response was to overlay a thermal image onto the I2 image, while developing an alternative fully-digital detector in place of the I2 source.
One emerging technology is that of the EBAPS (Electron Bombarded Active Pixel Sensor), pioneered by US manufacturer, Intevac. This takes the photons from the scene, focuses them onto a photocathode and the resulting photoelectrons are then accelerated across a vacuum gap and proximity-focused on the back-illuminated CMOS anode to produce digital image intensified (DI2) imagery with very little background noise.
As with all technological solutions to problems, the technology employed boils down to ‘horses-for-courses’: the application most suitable to the mission. So, having outlined the basic technology available for night vision systems, let us consider some examples of how it has been applied.
Maritime use of EO/IR night vision is widespread, covering command-and-control (including navigation) and weapon fire-control systems (FCS) for surface combatants; long-range and close-in surveillance for all sizes of warship, down to RIB-sized vessels; plus on-board monitoring of the immediate vicinity of the ship itself.
For surface combatants, a typical EO/IR fire-control director is the MSP500/600 series from Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence Electronics. It uses a Saphir LWIR 640×480 thermal imager, alongside a daylight camera and laser rangefinder. This has been adopted by the German Navy and exported to customers including Malaysia.
For longer-range surveillance, IRST (infrared search-and-track) systems are available. The VAMPIR family from Safran’s Sagem, operating in the MWIR spectrum, has been widely procured beyond France, with export customers including Australia and South Korea. Italy’s Leonardo (formerly Selex ES) offers its Silent Acquisition and Surveillance System (SASS) IRST, with both MWIR and LWIR channels, serving with the Italian and Turkish navies.
Typical of an on-board monitoring system is the Gatekeeper panoramic surveillance and alerting system from Thales Nederland, housed with other sensors in the I-Mast 400 integrated mast. It comprises three or four non-rotating sensor heads located around the vessel, each with three pairs of uncooled LWIR 320×240 FPA and HD TV cameras, offering 360deg coverage against asymmetric threats such as swimmers. It is in service on Holland-class OPVs of the Belgian and Netherlands navies.
For sub-surface vessels, pure optical periscope systems are being progressively replaced by optronic masts. L3 KEO (formerly Kollmorgen) has a TI variant of its Model 76 periscope using an MWIR 640×480 thermal imager, which has been widely exported; while the UK end of Thales produces the CM10 series of optronic masts, with an MWIR thermal imager (or image intensifier option) for the Astute-class of SSNs for the Royal Navy and the Soryu-class SSK boats for Japan.
Virtually every operational task conducted by ground forces now has an NV element: NVGs, hand-held targeting devices, night-vision binoculars (NVB), weapon FCS on MBTs and AFVs, reconnaissance and surveillance, and night driving/navigation.
I2-powered NVGs proliferate worldwide with US-developed goggles being predominate. The most numerous legacy products are probably the AN/PVS-7 and AN/PVS-14 NVGs, or derivatives thereof, produced by L3 Warrior Systems and L3 Harris (the night vision business of which [originally ITT] was acquired by Elbit Systems of America in September 2019, following the merger of L3 Communications and the Harris Corporation).
Speaking to Asian Military Review earlier this year, an L3Harris spokesman said that “our legacy PVS-14 is still a big seller”, noting that the company had recently received “a large foreign order” for this product.
In the United States, I2 tubes are manufactured by L3 Warrior Systems and Harris, although exportability of these tubes is restricted by Figure of Merit (FOM) regulations, as well as ITAR restrictions.
There are other non-US manufacturers, mainly in Europe, where the Franco-Dutch company Photonis has emerged as a principle developer and producer of a whole range of II tubes, adopted by many users, especially where ITAR-free products are required. By way of example, Germany has selected the company’s 4G high-FOM I2 tubes for the 1,700 Theon Sensors NYX NVBs being procured from Greece to improve night driving manoeuvrability.
Virtually all I2-powered night vision adjuncts to MBT/AFV gunfire FCS have now been replaced with TI technology.
Initially this was by retrofit to systems mounted ‘under armour’ but new generation FCS units use TI only. However, in recent years, ‘above armour’ systems have emerged, not only for main armament FCS applications but also for external weapon stations and the Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) role on lighter AFVs and recce vehicles.
Typical of current generation FCS systems on offer for MBT/AFV is the Commander’s Open Architecture Panoramic Sight (COAPS) day/night target acquisition and independent surveillance system from Elbit Systems of Israel.
This is a dual-axis sight with additional fire-control functions for stationary and mobile platforms. The 360° panoramic sight is synchronised with the gunner’s main sight and provides a hunter-killer capability. Sensors within COAPS include a continuous-zoom thermal imager (both MWIR and LWIR are both offered with a 640×512 FPA resolution, with a 1024×768 option for MWIR and 1280×1024 option for LWIR), a daylight colour CCD TV camera, and an eye-safe laser rangefinder.
Moving to the hand-held target acquisition sector, SAFRAN’s Sagem JIM (Jumelle Infrarouge Multifonction) range is typical. The long range JIM LR model features a cooled MWIR detector with a 320×240 FPA, while the JIM UC uses an uncooled LWIR detector with a 640×480 FPA. The former weighs some 2.8kg while the latter (somewhat smaller as a result of its uncooled detector) is 0.5kg lighter.
Slightly smaller are the thermal weapon sights (TWS), use of which is becoming more the rule than the exception. The US AN/PAS-13 TWS family, produced in several versions by several contractors (including BAE Systems, Leonardo DRS and Raytheon) has become ubiquitous around the world.
In Europe, Safran’s Sagem market the Sword range of thermal sights derived from the French Army FELIN project while the UK’s, Excelitas Qioptiq offers its Dragon thermal sight range. Both ranges use uncooled LWIR detectors.
As developments evolve, the US Army has been working on a new Family of Weapon Sights – Individual (FWS-I) for the M4 carbine and M249 squad automatic weapon. It produces IR imagery in all weather conditions, under all lighting conditions and has the ability to see through fog, dust and smoke.
US Army data indicates recognition of a man-sized target at night to have a 70 percent probability at 960 metres, and through smoke or other obscurants a 90 percent probability at 300m.
A screen image of the OMNI VIII standard of the green phosphor I2 tube, familiar to many users, which is giving way to a white phosphor tube in some applications.
Additionally, FWS-I can wirelessly transmits the weapon sight crosshair and thermal imagery to the new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B), providing a Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA) capability.
ENVG-B comprises a dual I2 tube binocular system for improved situational awareness and depth perception, using higher resolution, white phosphor tubes (replacing the traditional green phosphor) providing better contrast; plus a fused thermal imager for better target recognition in degraded visual environments (such as dust, smoke, zero illumination and subterranean).
The wireless interconnectivity with FWS-I, allows soldiers to accurately engage without shouldering the weapon and significantly reducing exposure to enemy fire.
Roll-out of the ENVG-B and FWS-I was announced on 1 November 2019, indicating that the 2nd Armoured Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) of the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division, had become the first unit equipped, fielding the equipment in September. The FWS-I is being produced by BAE Systems and Leonardo DRS; while the ENVG-B is produced by L3 Warrior Sensor Systems (part of L3Harris). (Source: AMR)
02 Apr 20. Fortem Technologies Announces Shipment of New DroneHunter F700 – World’s Only Radar-Based Autonomous Interceptor Drone For Tracking and Stopping Dangerous Drones.
New interchangeable countermeasure system can be customized on the fly for varied interdiction scenarios.
Fortem Technologies, Inc., a market leader of counter-drone security and defense solutions, announced today the shipment of the new AI-enabled F700 DroneHunter. In a world where jamming drones and drone swarms from the ground is no longer effective, the F700 stands alone as a safe, effective deterrent against the rising number of careless and criminal drones.
The ultimate advancements of the F700 are its new flexible undercarriage, which offers interchangeable counter measures for single, multiple or swarm-based threats and its new lightweight carbon fiber frame, enabling greater athleticism and speed. The F700 can carry multiple types of anti-drone countermeasures and deploy them in real-time, based on the dynamic threat that is detected miles beyond the protected area. The undercarriage features pogo pins and payload snaps that are integrated with AI-enabled firing and flight software.
The F700 offers significant payload capacity to handle situations over civilians where zero collateral damage is a requirement. AI decisions are now made in real-time to select the appropriate effectors for the detected threat. Complex algorithms for flying in urban areas are now supported. Heavier drones are tethered or parachuted with controlled descent into predetermined safe zones. The F700 is equipped with ground and airborne networked radar and corresponding optics giving our users total situational awareness and autonomous precision. F700 is custom designed and manufactured in the USA.
“We have advanced the DroneHunter F700 so that it can deliver any ordinance necessary to stop drones and to protect stadiums, refineries, campuses and entire metro regions,” said Fortem Technologies CEO, Timothy Bean. “It is the premiere AI-enabled interceptor drone in the world.”
Fortem is developing several DroneHunter mitigation types including directed energy. (Source: PR Newswire)
02 Apr 20. GeoSpectrum launches scaled down TRAPS sonar for USVs. Canadian marine acoustics house GeoSpectrum Technologies has launched a compact version of its Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar (TRAPS) designed specifically for unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and other small craft. The scaled down system, known as TRAPS-USV, retains the low frequency active sonar capability of its progenitor, but is re-engineered to enable integration on unmanned and manned vessels down to 12 m in length. GeoSpectrum, a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has developed the TRAPS system to meet requirements for a compact, lightweight and low-cost active/passive variable depth sonar that can be accommodated on smaller ships. At-sea testing of a containerised TRAPS system was performed using Royal Canadian Navy Kingston-class coastal defence vessels in 2018 and 2019.
According to the company, the TRAPS system is innovative because it uses a 2 kHz active sound source that operates as a vertical projector array, but stows on a single winch drum with the receive array and tow cable. This configuration allows for a single tow, thus negating the need for a complex launch and recovery system, and so reducing footprint weight and cost.
While TRAPS-USV shares significant commonality with TRAPS, overall system weight is reduced to approximately 40% of the full TRAPS installation. This is achieved by the use of a reduced weight winch and handling system developed by Curtiss-Wright/Indal. Sonar processing for TRAPS-USV is performed by GeoSpectrum’s sensor-agnostic RecView processing capability, which was specifically designed for remote/distributed operation. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Apr 20. South Korea adopts new locally developed port surveillance system. South Korea has begun adopting a new locally developed port surveillance system that can “more effectively” detect, identify, and respond to low-noise underwater objects, including divers and increasingly quiet submarines, approaching its ports, the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 1 April.
Already installed at major ports across the country, the system, which was developed by the Agency for Defense Development in co-operation with defence company LIG Nex1 for KRW130bn (USD105m), uses locally designed parts and components that “have significantly improved the detection performance and operational effectiveness over existing systems, and facilitated logistics support”, said the DAPA.
In particular, “by applying state-of-the-art locally developed underwater acoustic sensors, it is now possible to not only detect the low noise of a submarine, but also to detect and analyse the magnetic and acoustic signatures from its hull, which greatly improves our capability to monitor underwater objects” approaching ports, it added. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Apr 20. Russia to deploy Konteyner OTHR to Kaliningrad. Russia will deploy the second Konteyner (Container) over-the-horizon radar (OTHR), which is capable of detecting mass take-offs of aircraft and launches of cruise missiles and hypersonic vehicles 3,000 km away, in the Kaliningrad region. The station will be able to monitor airspace over all European countries, including the United Kingdom, a defence industry source told the TASS news agency on 19 March.
“The radar will be deployed shortly; several sites are now being surveyed,” he said.
The first Konteyner OTHR became operational with the 1st Air and Missile Defence Army (AMDA) on 1 December 2019 in Kovylkino, Republic of Mordovia. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Apr 20. FLIR Launches Smart Thermal Sensor Solution for Industrial Monitoring and Elevated Skin Temperature Screening. Initial Shipments of New FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Sensor Solution to be Prioritized for Entities Working to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 Virus.
FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced the FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor and Thermal Image Streaming fixed camera solutions for monitoring equipment, production lines, critical infrastructure, and screening for elevated skin temperatures. These highly configurable smart camera systems provide accurate, non-contact temperature monitoring across a wide range of disciplines: manufacturing process control, product development, emissions monitoring, waste management, facilities maintenance, and Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) improvements. The FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor solution initially will be prioritized for those responding to COVID-19. For all applications, the series offers multi-image streaming, edge computing, and Wi-Fi connectivity to help speed data flow and enable faster decisions, improving productivity and safety for professionals.
FLIR designed the A400/A700 cameras with two configurations to better meet application-specific needs. The Thermal Smart Sensor configuration, recommended for measuring elevated skin temperatures, incorporates advanced measurement tools and alarms with edge computing to enable faster critical decisions. The Image Streaming configuration provides multiple thermal streaming capabilities to help optimize process control, improve quality assurance, or identify potential failures that could shut down a production line.
Users design their systems by choosing either the Smart Sensor or Imaging Streaming configurations, selecting either the A400 or A700 camera body based on the resolutions they need, and then adding lenses and a range of optional features to fit their application.
“For more than 40 years, FLIR thermal imaging has provided technologies for professionals to improve not only their capabilities, but also their safety on the job,” says Jim Cannon, President and CEO at FLIR. “As the world works together to face the global COVID-19 pandemic, given the need for this technology, FLIR will prioritize initial deliveries of this new A-series camera to professionals using it in elevated skin temperature screening as an adjunct to other elevated body temperature screening tools to help to fight the spread of the virus.”
Also, FLIR currently is in beta testing for an automated elevated skin temperature screening software solution that is fully integrated with its United States Food and Drug Administration-certified thermal cameras. The solution is designed to rapidly increase the accuracy, ease-of-use, and speed of existing screening procedures. FLIR will share an announcement about its solution in Q2 2020.
FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor and Thermal Image Streaming cameras are available for purchase today globally from FLIR distributor partners. To learn more, please visit www.flir.com/A400-A700-Series.
31 Mar 20. Saab markets new ARTHUR Mod D radar, showcases Boxer-mounted concept. Saab has completed the development and is now awaiting contracts for its latest generation ARTHUR (ARTillery HUnting Radar) Mod D weapon locating radar (WLR), which the company established using internal funding.
In a statement, Saab said ARTHUR Mod D was its “answer to the requirements for a highly mobile, agile, and long range WLR, supporting high tempo brigade and divisional manoeuvre operations. The technology is drawing on [both] existing and evolutions of Saab in-house sensor technologies”, and can be seen “as a spiral development” of ARTHUR.
The company on 10-11 March, at the Omega Future Indirect Fires/Mortar Systems conference in Bristol, showcased a concept idea based on the rear mission module of the ARTEC Boxer 8×8 multi-role armoured vehicle – which is deployed by Estonia, Germany, and the Netherlands; is entering service with Australia; and has been ordered by the United Kingdom to meet its Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement.
The concept incorporates all basic technologies that can be used for locating enemy artillery, including long-range and short-range WLR, sound ranging, and a telescopic mast-mounted sensor pod that includes day and thermal (infra-red) sensors. Radars included the latest ARTHUR Mod D WLR and the Giraffe 1X, with the latter being a 3D air surveillance radar operating in the X-band and having a typical maximum range of up to 75km.
The concept includes capabilities for passive sensor cueing, 360° sense and warn, and counter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities.
Saab said the concept is meant to demonstrate “the possibilities opened by the smaller volume and weight of the latest ARTHUR Mod D to implement dedicated high-performance sensors in a multi-sensor platform to get maximum performance with minimum manpower and cost. It should be considered just one possible configuration and can be adapted depending on customer requirements.” (Source: Jane’s)
01 Apr 20. $2m SME contract to support warfighter operational security. Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has announced a $2m contract with Silentium Defence and the Defence Innovation Hub to continue the development of its MAVERICK M-Series ground-based passive surveillance technology for land tactical situational awareness.
The contract, which is an extension of Silentium Defence’s successful Phase 1 Army Innovation Day contract for research and development of passive radar systems for land tactical environments, will see the company deploy its GEN-3 ‘MAVERICK M-series’ passive radar system in the field to provide base situational awareness and support capability for dismounted operation.
Passive radar uses existing energy in an environment as its transmission source, for example, FM radio or broadcast television signals.
Dr James Palmer, Silentium Defence chief executive, welcomed the announcement, saying, “We have harnessed the power of passive radar to develop that capability for Defence. Our MAVERICK M-series passive radar delivers reliable, persistent situational awareness in any weather and varying terrain, without advertising the user’s presence.”
As it does not emit, it does not create a radiation hazard, making it deployable in even the most densely populated environments.
“The ability to detect, track and make informed decisions about those objects in real-time is critical to help mitigate risk and increase troop survivability. This is a game-changer for Defence as it allows the Australian Defence Force and its allies to see without being seen,” Dr Palmer explained.
Unlike traditional active radar systems, passive radar does not require spectrum allocation to operate which makes it quicker and more cost-effective to deploy in a world where spectrum is increasingly expensive and elusive to secure.
Minister Price said, “Under this contract, Silentium Defence will continue to advance its land-tactical passive radar technology expected to enhance situational awareness for our troops when deployed on operations.”
The contract follows on from a previous Defence Innovation Hub contract, and will allow Silentium Defence to demonstrate the technology that it has developed to date.
“It is great to see small organisations like Silentium Defence developing their ideas and technology with assistance from the Defence Innovation Hub,” Minister Price said.
The government is investing approximately $640m in Australian industry through the Defence Innovation Hub to develop innovative technology with Defence applications.
Silentium Defence is a global leader in the design and deployment of complex passive radar surveillance systems for high-end customers. An Australian owned and operated SME we provide the products and solutions that deliver improved situational awareness and increase survivability for Australia’s defence forces, its allies and civil surveillance customers. (Source: Defence Connect)
30 Mar 20. DroneGuns delivered to Middle East. The Australian company DroneShield has revealed that it has delivered its DroneGun unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) countermeasures system to a Middle Eastern military.
“Following a request by its governmental customer, it has shipped the remainder of the DroneGun Middle Eastern Ministry of Defence order,” the company said in a statement released on 30 March.
It did not identify the military that received the system, but quoted its CEO as saying, “Middle Eastern customer order flow processes are often less structured than those involving their Western counterparts. However, DroneShield has a close relationship with this governmental customer and has received multiple payments from this governmental customer before, and therefore has a high degree of confidence in the process.” (Source: Jane’s)
31 Mar 20. Qinetiq demonstrates its counter drone system. Small drones are increasing concern for militaries and security forces across the world, as their low altitude and small size makes them hard to track or see. Obsidian is being trialed at Ottawa International Airport. Small drones are increasing concern for militaries and security forces across the world, as their low altitude and small size makes them hard to track or see. After the Gatwick Airport incident in the UK in 2019, it became clear that these systems, although cheap, can wreak havoc on infrastructure. Much counter-drone technology has been developed in response to the incident, including Qinetiq’s Obsidian system.
As this video from the company demonstrates, the system uses low-cost 3D radar to track and discern between threats so they can be either engaged if they present a risk, or ignored if they do not. The technology for the system derives from the ALARM system used by the British Army to provide warning of impending aerial attacks.
A chief function of the system is the ability to maintain tracking while a target is stationery or hovering by detecting the rotation of a small UAV’s rotor blades, reducing the chances of classifying another object as a drone.
The system has already been deployed in a commercial capacity, and last October, Qinetiq began trials with the system in Canada.
QinetiQ Canada managing director Robert Aubé said: “Obsidian counter UAS is specifically designed to meet the current and forecast threat of drone incursion upon critical national infrastructure, including daily operations in complex environments such as the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
31 Mar 20. First Order for FLIR Black Hornet Vehicle Reconnaissance System. FLIR Systems, Inc. announced that the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment has procured one of the company’s Black Hornet Vehicle Reconnaissance Systems (VRS) as part of an innovative base protection program. The order represents the first sale of an integrated VRS system for FLIR.
The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) is the prime institution responsible for defence-related research and development in Norway. Its ICE worx department is overseeing this technology-driven effort that includes live testing new concepts for base protection involving multiple active and passive sensors, command and control systems, as well as threat mitigation and defeat capabilities.
FLIR Black Hornet VRS equips armoured or mechanized vehicles with an immediate, self-contained surveillance and reconnaissance system. Adapted from the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS), VRS extends the capabilities of the award-winning Black Hornet nano-UAV. The launch unit, with fully integrated controls inside the vehicle, mounts externally and can deploy up to four Black Hornet drones. The result is a remotely operated UAV system that delivers real-time situational awareness while crews stay protected inside their vehicle.
“Among their many missions, our Black Hornet PRS and VRS systems can help reduce the manpower needed to secure base camps, protect forces, or gather actionable intel on the battlefield,” said Roger Wells, VP and general manager of the Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business line at FLIR. “FFI’s program is a good model of collaboration between Norwegian defense and industry to develop innovative, cost-effective solutions that can save lives. We’re proud to be playing a role.”
The Black Hornet is designed and built by FLIR in Norway. FLIR also has supplied unmanned ground systems to Norwegian military and law enforcement for more than 10 years, including a contract last fall to provide more than 20 of its PackBot robots to Norway’s Ministry of Defense and the Oslo Police. (Source: UAS VISION)
31 Mar 20. TerraView Introduces its Second All-American UAV. TerraView, a California-based unmanned aircraft system (UAS) development and manufacturing company, has unveiled the RangePro X8P – Pixhawk, a follow-up model to last year’s RangePro X8, now with system components and options that meet federal government and Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines.
Like its predecessor, the RangePro X8P is an enterprise unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to fly for more than 70 minutes in real-world conditions with a standard sensor payload. Proudly engineered and manufactured in the USA, the RangePro X8P is designed specifically for industrial, first responder, and government enterprise data capture.
“We designed the RangePro X8P based on U.S. market and federal government demand, aligning with the pending U.S. Senate bill, S.2502, the American Security Drone Act of 2019. If this bill is passed it will ban federal departments and agencies from purchasing any commercial off-the-shelf drone or unmanned aircraft system manufactured or assembled in China or other countries identified for national security concerns,” said Bruce Myers, president of TerraView.
“We have been working with suppliers in the U.S. and other U.S. partner countries to provide best-in-class technical solutions and components that allow us to manufacture one of the highest-performing commercial drones in the market today.”
“As a follow-up to the RangePro X8 that we launched last year, the RangePro X8P still employs the same airframe and military-grade technologies that provide for its extended flight time but now with a US made flight control system (FCS) and other non-Chinese system components and data capture options,” added Myers. “The new model includes a ground control station (GCS) option with encrypted radio/data, US made FLIR, non-Chinese RGB and mapping camera options at this time. The RangePro X8P ensures the competitive advantages of extended flight time with the reassurance of complete safety and security of valuable data.”
Compared with competitors, RangePro X8P offers:
- Customization Options: The unique capabilities of the RangePro Pixhawk can be customized to work in industries such as energy, agriculture, construction, first responders, mining, and government, to name a few.
- Longer Flight Times: Its highly efficient design coupled with higher power density batteries result in flight times that are on average two and a half times longer than the competition, allowing users to accomplish more work with fewer batteries and less time spent on battery swaps and maintenance.
- Longer Service Life: Not only does the RangePro Pixhawk fly longer, each battery can support over 500 charging cycles over its useful lifespan.
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership: Longer flight times, longer service life, and efficient design combine to provide the lowest cost per flight hour, keeping a low total cost of ownership and increasing overall ROI.
The RangePro Pixhawk has data capture capabilities that include:
- Structural Integrity Surveys
- Terrain Mapping and Modeling
- Construction Site Planning
- Solar Panel Inspections
- Pipeline Inspection
- Tower Inspections
- Power Line Inspections (Source: UAS VISION)
29 Mar 20. South Korean MND eyes KUS-FS UAV for RoKA Ground Operations Command. The South Korean Minstry of National Defense (MND) is planning to procure a new reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) Ground Operations Command (GOC), MND officials said in early March.
According to the MND, between two and three complete systems comprising a total of about 10 Mid-Altitude UAVs (MUAVs) and associated ground support equipment will be introduced to boost the RoKA’s long-range airborne surveillance capabilities.
The MUAV is based the Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD)’s KUS-FS medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV design and is being developed for the RoK Air Force (RoKAF) at a cost of KRW488.4bn (USD402.7m) under the supervision of the MND’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD).
According to official specifications released by KAL-ASD, the baseline KUS-FS design has a length of 13 m and a wingspan of 25 m. The company declined to provide details of its performance but the air vehicle is understood to be powered by a 1,200hp turboprop engine that enables it to reach a service ceiling of 13,000 m (42,650 ft) and stay aloft for periods in excess of 24 hours.
KAL-ASD is responsible for the MUAV programme’s platform development and production, while Hanwha Corporation is developing its electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) system. LIG Nex1 is developing a new synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and is also partnering with KAL-ASD on the air vehicle’s avionics systems. According a KAL-ASD official, the MUAV was able to accurately identify a specific seat within the Seoul Sports Complex from a distance of about 130km.
Defence minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said during the MND operation review at Gyeryong city on 21 January that the MUAV development has been completed and is ready for mass production following extensive operational test and evaluation (OT&E) with the RoKAF since 2019. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Mar 20. Northrop Grumman moves to LW30 PROX qualification, M-ACE CUAS testing. Northrop Grumman Defense Systems has completed US government testing of its programmable Light Weight 30 mm Proximity Sensing Ammunition (LW30 PROX) round, and is moving towards qualification and fielding of the round to US Army and US Marine Corps air defence echelons within the year.
A company-funded development, which draws on legacy Orbital ATK sensor fuzed weapons technologies, the LW30 PROX is a 30×113 mm radio frequency (RF) proximity-fuzed, high explosive/fragmentation round intended for use with Northrop Grumman M230 Bushmaster variant chain guns (M230, M230 Link Fed, and XM914). Weighing 350 g, including a 245 g projectile, the LW30 PROX round features a PA520 electric primer, a Northrop Grumman-developed programmable proximity sensor, and double base propellant delivering a muzzle velocity of 1,105 m/s.
LW30 PROX can be programmed for proximity, point detonate (PD), and PD-delay (PDD) modes, and includes a self-destruct feature. The round is designed to defeat unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and light armoured vehicle threat, as well as troops in the open and targets in defilade. Northrop Grumman is now working to evolve a new radio frequency (RF)-guided 30 mm proximity sensing round from the LW30 PROX development to augment the CUAS mission.
In a parallel development, Northrop Grumman is also conducting final validation testing of its new Mobile Acquisition and Cueing Effector (M-ACE) hunter/killer counter-UAS (CUAS) concept, and is expected to field a prototype demonstrator capability in the immediate future. US Army Col (retd) Rob Menti, Business Development, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems, told Jane’s that the company intends to conduct live-fire CUAS prove out testing with the M230 Bushmaster/LW30 PROX round remotely cued from an M-ACE platform as soon as testing is permitted within the framework of current COVID-19 safety restrictions. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Mar 20. US Space Force declares space surveillance radar site as operational. US Space Force (USSF) has declared the space surveillance radar site Space Fence radar system as operational. The declaration affirms initial operational capability and operational acceptance of the site. Located on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Space Fence is built to improve space surveillance capabilities. It will help in tracking commercial and military satellites, depleted rocket boosters, as well as space debris primarily across the low earth orbit. Space Fence will also help in maintaining operational safety of the satellites as well as trigger alerts to warn about potential threats.
USSF Chief of Space Operations and US Space Command Commander General Jay Raymond said: “Space Fence is revolutionising the way we view space by providing timely, precise orbital data on objects that threaten both manned and unmanned military and commercial space assets.
“Our space capabilities are critical to our national defence and way of life, which is why Space Fence is so important to enhance our ability to identify, characterise and track threats to those systems.”
The site became operational nearly six years after Lockheed Martin was contracted to build Space Fence.
The data procured by Space Fence will be fed into the Space Surveillance Network (SSN), which used to track more than 26,000 objects.
Space Fence, as the most sensitive search radar in the SSN, will be operated by the 20th Space Control Squadron (SPCS), Detachment 4, at the Space Fence Operations Center in Alabama.
Subsequently, it will transmit the data to the 18 SPCS located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, which will leverage the information to maintain the space object catalogue and screen operational satellites.
20th SPCS commander Lt Col David Tipton said: “Space is now recognised as a congested and contested domain and Space Fence is the next evolution in our efforts to maintain space superiority.”
The 18th SPCS and 20th SPCS are part of the 21st Space Wing, which offers ground-based missile warning, missile defence and space surveillance data to the US and allies. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
30 Mar 20. US AFLCMC delivers C-37B aircraft ahead of schedule. The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) has delivered the latest C-37B special air mission aircraft one week ahead of schedule. The mission aircraft was delivered to the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. As reported by Daryl Mayer from AFLCMC Public Affairs, the programme is managed by the Presidential and Executive Airlift Division and involved the delivery of tail #1947. Under the programme, two additional C-37Bs will be delivered by end of FY21, bringing the fleet to 16 aircraft. The next delivery is expected during the third quarter.
Air Force Presidential and Executive Airlift programme executive officer Ryan Britton said: “I’m proud our team is showing the airforce stands ready to meet our mission. We are taking care of our people, doing all we can to flatten the Covid-19 curve while maintaining our mission focus on delivering capability to the warfighter.”
The twin-engine, turbofan aircraft C-37B is based upon the high-altitude, intercontinental Gulfstream 550 aircraft.
It will fill the worldwide special air missions for government and US Defense Department officials. With a crew of five, it is capable of carrying 12 passengers, with a range of 6750nm.
In a separate announcement, the AFLCMC said it awarded contracts worth $3.2bn to small businesses across the US in fiscal year (FY) 2019.
The awards were aimed at attracting and engaging the innovation and skillsets of small businesses. The efforts to optimise the innovation and skills include matchmaker-type events, industry days and pitch days.
Contracts were awarded following the successful pitch of a number of products and services. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
29 Mar 20. Update: Pentagon evaluating extending F-35 OLED helmet-mounted display life expectancy. Key Points:
- The Pentagon wants to extend the life expectancy of its F-35 OLED helmet-mounted display to reduce sustainment costs
- A former programme official believes that Lockheed Martin paid at least a share for the HMD redesign so it could meet the SDD requirement
The Pentagon is investigating how to extend the life expectancy of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter’s (JSF’s) organic light-emitting diode (OLED) helmet-mounted display (HMD), according to a Pentagon spokesman.
F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) spokesman Lieutenant Commander Keith Goodsell said on 13 March that extending the life expectancy of the HMD beyond its projected four years would reduce sustainment costs, a major focus for the Pentagon. The JPO completed a redesign of the OLED HMD in 2019 after pilots using the Generation 3 HMD reported a green glow, or a condition where light leakage around the edge of the display during low light conditions made reading the projected information difficult.
The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) said in his fiscal year 2016 (FY 2016) report released in December 2016 that the green glow issue, at the time, had two open “Category 1 High” deficiency reports with the most significant safety concerns pertaining to night-time carrier operations. Lt Cmdr Goodsell said that the OLED HMD redesign has been released for production and that initial deliveries from the first lot have been delivered to the US Navy (USN), operator of the F-35C aircraft carrier variant, and the US Marine Corps (USMC), which operates the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) model. The F-35 helmet joint contract specification requirements have been met, Lt Cmdr Goodsell said.
Jane’s reported on 23 March that the F-35 programme had closed out all but six remaining system development and design (SDD) capability requirements and that these remaining requirements had to do with the aircraft’s bulkheads cracking, especially on the F-35B. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Mar 20. Raytheon, Quantum Imaging sign deal on SWIR capability for ISR. Quantum Imaging, a subsidiary of Israel-based infrared sensing and imaging company Semi Conductor Devices (SCD), has finalised a deal to supply Raytheon with short-wave infrared (SWIR) cameras and optical sensor packages for use on the company’s product line of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.
The USD13.5m deal, announced by Quantum Imaging on 25 March, will finance the procurement of SCD’s Cardinal 1280 SWIR platform for integration on ISR products developed under Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems directorate. All work on that system and the Cardinal 1280 platforms under contract to Raytheon and the US Department of Defense (DoD) will continue to be conducted inside the United States, at Quantum Imaging’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Mar 20. ICEYE Sees Big USG Market For Commercial SAR Imagery.
“We think there is a tremendous demand within the US government for this type of high quality SAR data, so we’re eager to broaden and deepen those engagements,” says ICEYE US CEO Mark Matossian.
ICEYE, a small Finish startup operating a constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) micro-satellites, has big hopes for sales of high-resolution Earth images to the Defense Department and other federal government customers.
The firm announced today it is now selling 25cm resolution SAR images, Until recently, only much larger SAR satellites operated by prime contractors for government customers could provide such resolution. ICEYEs micro-satellites weigh in at under 100 kilograms. The company was the first to launch a SAR micro-sat, in January 2018.
SAR satellites provide the ability to see through clouds, day and night — a capability much desired by intelligence agencies, as well as civil space agencies. As Breaking D readers know, the US for several years has been grappling with how to handle the proliferation of commercially available SAR imagery. It’s been an especially difficult issue because most of the imagery emanates from non-US providers. In the US, there have been long-standing sales restrictions due to concerns about undercutting the National Reconnaissance Office’s technology edge. As I reported, the NRO in December awarded its first contract to study the possibility of using commercial SAR imagery to US start-up Capella Space.
Learn more about Raytheon’s Joint Strike Missile. Click here.
ICEYE’s CEO for its US arm, ICEYE US Inc., Mark Matossian answered Breaking D’s questions via email this morning about the new imagery, its customers and its plans.
Do any other company’s sell 25cm SAR images?
“There are traditional, over 10-times larger SAR spacecraft that have achieved this type of data, including TerraSAR-X from Europe. Commercial availability worldwide for this type of fine resolution data is very limited.”
Do you have any contracts with DoD or other USG agencies? If not, do you see NRO or NGA or Space Force as customers, or are US regulatory issues a problem?
“We do have partnerships with USG agencies, but as with most commercial and government data customers, we don’t typically disclose further information about these relationships. One publicly disclosed data customer has been DIU [DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit] already in 2017, so ICEYE has been active on this front for a long time.
“We think there is a tremendous demand within the US government for this type of high quality SAR data, so we’re eager to broaden and deepen those engagements. There are needs related to tipping & queuing capabilities to combine the efforts of commercial and national assets, as well as needs for sensor fusion with other data types. What’s important for ICEYE is to provide our customers a data-rich environment, for them to then be able to make more informed decisions when it matters most.
“ICEYE is deeply committed to the US SAR market. We are continuing our active work towards FOCI Mitigation, potential US manufacturing, and deepening our processes in alignment with US cybersecurity standards, and other USG customer needs. For clarity, plenty of ground has already been covered, as ICEYE has had commercial SAR data globally available since 2018.”
(FOCI Mitigation is the process by which a foreign owned or controlled firm can be awarded a security clearance.)
How many satellites are in your current constellation, and how many are planned in full constellation by when?
“We have three commercially available SAR satellites in-orbit, with further multi-satellite launches manifested for this year, which will more-than-double the commercial constellation during 2020. ICEYE will continue to fill out the constellation for both capacity and high revisit times as the commercial and government markets require.
“As ICEYE controls the full chain from instrument design, to manufacturing, to operating satellites, to processing data, we can — and do launch — new spacecraft to support large customers based on their requirements. The main driver for how many spacecraft would be in a full constellation is based on the customer need. We’ve brought down the manufacturing timescales of these units from years to months, and are currently serving operational customers with a three spacecraft SAR satellite constellation.”
(While Matossian was loathe to lock the company down on the ultimate size of its constellation, the European Space Agency, which since 2019 has been studying possible acquisition of ICEYE imagery, reported that at that time the firm intended to have at least 18 satellites by the end of 2020.)
Besides the US, which other governments are looking at using your imagery for national defense purposes?
“[W]e’ve been very pleased with the response from multiple governments on a global basis. Some of those are commercial in nature or even environmentally focused. Of course, there are several types of needs from government agencies that we serve based on the exceptional resolution, and day/night, all weather capability of SAR.”
Are you selling just imagery or analytics as well?
“We are selling imagery, ground station services including immediate data processing, value-added analytics, and full spacecraft missions. As an analytics example, we service customers with AI-powered maritime vessel detection on ICEYE SAR data, which is then combined with commercial AIS [automatic identification system] data, to identify so-called “dark vessels” that do not have their AIS transponders turned on. This is done for the appropriate agencies to then secure the safety of their coastal areas, and beyond.
“Importantly, we are building a rich ecosystem of US analytics partners that are extending the power of our imagery data with their own excellent analytics capabilities. These already include excellent work from Ursa Space and RS Metrics. In the long run, it’s the partner ecosystem that will provide a deep and diverse suite of analytic options for the US market, powered by ICEYE SAR data.”
NOTE: The National Geospatial-Information Agency (NGA) has been under an exploratory agreement for analytic services with Ursa Space, which is positioning itself as an analytics provider and middleman between SAR satellite operators and customers. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
26 Mar 20. USMC begins AESA upgrade for ‘classic’ Hornets. The US Marine Corps (USMC) has begun the process of replacing the radars of some its Boeing F/A-18 legacy Hornet combat aircraft with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system, with the first procurement contract awarded on 26 March. The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded Raytheon USD30.2m to procure AN/APG-79(V)4 AESA radar systems for the first nine USMC F/A-18C/D Hornets, with deliveries to be completed by May 2022. This first contract comes 14 months after Raytheon announced that it had been selected to fit the AN/APG-79(V)4 AESA radar to 98 of the USMC’s F/A-18C/D fleet, replacing its own AN/APG-73 mechanically scanned radar. According to the company’s statement at the time, deliveries will run from 2020 through to 2022. No contract value was disclosed. Jane’s first reported the USMC’s plans to upgrade the radar on its Hornets when the NAVAIR issued a request for information (RFI) in March 2018. At that time it was noted that the change to an AESA system was needed due to the increased reliability and sustainability requirements, as well as the associated capability improvements. The 98 AESAs and 14 spare systems are being procured to cover seven fleet squadrons of 12 aircraft each. The AN/APG-79(V)4 is a scaled version of the AN/APG-79 AESA radar already fitted to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and shares 90% commonality for synergies in maintenance and support. The USMC will benefit from the same global sustainment and upgrade path already in place for the AN/APG-79. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Mar 20. US Air Force sets April deadline for 3DELRR replacement. US Air Force officials want defence companies to submit prototype proposals for the revamped Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) system by April, as part of the service’s effort to get the beleaguered programme back on track. The industry proposals for the 3DELRR effort will be evaluated under the air service’s “Speed Dealer” acquisition strategy, designed to fast-track evaluation and selection of radar prototypes, which could lay the groundwork for a follow-on production deal for 35 radar platforms, a 23 March air force solicitation states. Issued by the Theater Battle Control Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, service officials expect to award up to three Other Transactional Agreements (OTAs) for prototype variants of the 3DELRR system via the Speed Dealer programme. (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.