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07 Oct 22. Supply chain woes delay KC-46 refueling vision system upgrade to 2025. Boeing says parts shortages worldwide have hurt the availability of some hardware.
The release of a redesigned refueling vision system for Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus will be delayed 19 months amid supply chain issues, the U.S. Air Force said.
In a statement provided to Defense News Friday, the Air Force said the remote vision system upgrade, RVS 2.0, will be released to the fleet in October 2025. It had been expected to be released March 2024.
Andrew Hunter, the Air Force’s acquisition chief, and Boeing said in separate statements that ongoing supply chain issues affecting subcontractors on the project were largely responsible for the more than year-and-a-half delay.
“Our defense industrial base continues to face supply chain issues and we’re seeing effects in the acquisition schedules of technically complex systems, such as the KC-46 Remote [Vision] System 2.0,” Hunter said in the statement. “We’ll continue to examine possible opportunities to accelerate the schedule to bring this increased operational capability to the tanker fleet.”
“KC-46s will continue to support worldwide deployments to meet the daily joint force air refueling demands,” he added.
A Boeing spokesperson said parts shortages worldwide have hurt the availability of some hardware, and resulted in longer lead times for the computing equipment and other technology needed to build RVS 2.0.
“We are committed to working with our suppliers and U.S. Air Force partners through the historical challenges that our industry has faced to deliver the unmatched capability of RVS 2.0 to the U.S. Air Force and allies,” Boeing said.
Bloomberg and Aviation Week first reported the delay.
RVS 2.0 is intended to replace the troubled, original Remote Vision System that boom operators on the KC-46 use to guide the boom into the aircraft being refueled.
The original vision system has a network of cameras and sensors to feed boom operators a picture of the refueling process, but under certain lighting conditions, the imagery can be distorted or difficult to see.
The Air Force has said the upgraded vision system will include several significant improvements over the original, including a full color display in 4K resolution. Other upgrades highlighted by the Air Force include improved visual and infrared cameras as well as redundant visual cameras, a redesigned aerial refueling operator station, redesigned image processors, and upgraded panoramic sensors.
Boeing said the long-wave infrared cameras planned for RVS 2.0 will provide better visibility at night, and the system will have three pairs of panoramic visual cameras for daytime operations.
Boeing and the Air Force also said that the FAA and Air Force’s airworthiness certification processes also played a part in the delay.
“The re-baselined schedule for RVS 2.0 certification is reflective of estimated timelines for the complete and thorough regulatory review and certification from both regulators, which are engaged throughout the laboratory and flight test processes,” Boeing said.
The Air Force said the design agreed upon in April has not changed, and the service will incur no direct cost due to the delay. There are at least 62 KC-46s in the Air Mobility Command fleet. (Source: Defense News)
06 Oct 22. US Army Piloting Pentagon’s Counter-UAS Efforts.
Once considered an everyday, low-risk hobby, small unmanned aircraft systems have become a key capability for militaries on modern battlefields. While the availability and technology of these systems advance at a rapid pace, the Pentagon wants to take an enterprise approach to defeat the growing threat.
The Army’s Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office, or the JCO, is leading a department-wide effort to address how the U.S. military will combat adversaries’ use of small drones both now and in the future.
Established in 2020, the office is collaborating with the services to develop and deploy multi-domain solutions through capability demonstrations, joint training plans and global partnerships.
Congress directed the Pentagon in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to create a plan to develop and field a counter-small UAS system. The budget request for fiscal year 2023 shows the department plans to spend at least $668 million for counter-drone research and development and $78 million for procurement.
Examples of how drones are being used in real-world conflicts today, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have reinforced the Pentagon’s decision to establish a joint strategy for counter-UAS, said the office’s director, Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey.
“I think it’s bringing more to light of what we already know — that when you scale this capability from a small quadcopter all the way up to a larger group 3 and are able to leverage [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] to put other effects of other systems to bear, it really shows the importance of having counter-UAS at scale,” he said.
To create a more cohesive counter-drone effort in the department, the joint office first conducted an operational assessment of all the capabilities already fielded by each of the services.
“The services were already working on this problem set. Every service had a different capability fielded out there, mainly focused on joint, operational, urgent needs for [combatant commands],” he said during an Association of the United States Army event in August.
While it was important to quickly field capabilities to warfighters at the time in order to combat adversary drones in places like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the varying systems were customized for each service rather than the entire joint force, he said.
The office’s assessment found that when counter-UAS systems were employed as standalone capabilities, they weren’t as impactful against adversaries as they could be.
“What we’ve quickly realized is that you need a system-of-systems approach,” Gainey said. “Not one effector would be the be-all-end-all within the counter-UAS portfolio, but you had to have a common command-and-control system — same as we do in air defense — and then you needed to integrate the systems into that common command-and-control system.”
After the assessment, the counter-drone office created a joint requirements document to serve as its foundation for evolving counter-drone technologies for the future. The office is working closely with combatant commands, the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, also known as RCCTO, and each of the services to bring capabilities currently in use to full maturation, he said.
The office has since evaluated more than 40 fielded counter-UAS systems that were rapidly procured for conflicts in the Middle East, according to a May report from the Congressional Research Service, “Department of Defense Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems.” Ten of those systems have been selected for further development — including mounted, fixed and handheld technologies as well as both kinetic and electronic warfare options, the report said.
To demonstrate capabilities and inform future joint requirements, the JCO and RCCTO have been conducting exercises twice a year with the services and industry. Three multi-week exercises have been held so far and focused on a range of technology areas, including low-collateral interceptors that can neutralize small UAS, inexpensive ground-launched and hand-held capabilities and high-powered microwave technology.
“Once we narrowed down our systems, we funded the services and said ‘Hey, take this as far as you can to get after this expanded joint requirements document and see — from a technology standpoint — how far you can push the envelope with this current system,’” Gainey said.
A fourth demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, in September looked at both systems evaluated in past exercises and other fielded counter-UAS capabilities to reevaluate how the updated technology has improved, he said.
Once capability gaps have been identified, the office will work with industry technology available while also leveraging the services to build prototypes, he said. This will “eventually open up a vehicle for the services to procure those systems and make it part of their system-of-systems approach,” he added.
One of the technologies the military has decided to invest in and develop further is the Army’s Coyote drone which is part of the Howler counter-UAS system, he noted. Made by Raytheon Missiles and Defense, the system combines Raytheon’s Coyote small-UAS with the company’s Ku-band radio frequency multi-mission radar.
Coyote is a tube-launched drone that is deployable from the ground, air or on ships, according to Raytheon. It features a seeker and a warhead, making it able to identify and eliminate adversary drones in the Defense Department’s group 3 classification — which includes large systems designed as one-way explosive attack vehicles or others used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, Gainey said.
He noted the initial interceptor wasn’t as successful as the office expected for a first evaluation, but it is a promising technology. With investment from the office and continued tests, the Coyote is now in its third iteration and is “performing quite well in the air,” he said.
Another mounted system the joint office selected is the Marine Corps’ Marine Air Defense Integrated System, which uses both kinetic and electronic warfare “jamming” methods to block radio frequencies and neutralize enemy drones, according to the CRS report. The system can be attached to platforms like the MRZR all-terrain vehicle and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
The office is also interested in advancing emerging technologies coming from industry for counter-UAS efforts, Gainey noted. When drones first became a threat to warfighters, the department initially turned to electronic warfare-based solutions because it kept the cost of the system low, he added.
Now, the JCO is looking to incorporate directed energy lasers — which the office is seeing success with now — and high-powered microwave systems that disable drones by burning the electronics inside them, Gainey said.
The demonstrations are also helping the services understand how drone technology is evolving and how to match it as their speed, size and autonomy increase.
In particular, enemy drones have used autonomy to avoid many of the counter-UAS systems that employ electronic warfare attacks. These platforms are able to autonomously disrupt the connection between drone and operator or the satellite systems they are using, he said.
But with the office’s system-of-systems approach to counter-drone efforts, an operator will have a range of tools — such as kinetic effectors and radars — to compensate for variations in drone types.
“I’m always going to look to integrate that EW capability into our system-of-systems approach, but I want to have the ability to have a kinetic solution in case … as they move to autonomy and find creative ways to mask themselves against our EW capability, our soldiers have a capability in the kit bag they can leverage,” Gainey said.
In addition, the office has selected Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control system — or FAAD C2 — as its battlefield management system for the Pentagon’s joint counter-drone effort. The platform, designed by Northrop Grumman, was the Army’s system for short-range air defense and counter-rocket, artillery and mortar missions, according to the service.
Gainey noted that prior to the JCO’s efforts, other services were also in the process of integrating their own short-range capabilities with their counter-UAS systems under a common command and control system.
Rather than adopting FAAD C2, some of those services are instead working to integrate their respective command-and-control systems with the Army’s chosen platform, he said. For example, the Air Force is working to make its Multi-Domain Control Station for Unmanned Systems interoperable with FAAD C2 for joint counter-drone operations.
“If you can leverage any C2 system to get that operational sight picture and be able to leverage the different systems, that’s how we want to move forward in the future where we’re not designating systems but designating how we want capability to integrate moving forward,” he explained.
Warfighters also must be trained on the systems. When seeking feedback from the services on current counter-UAS solutions, training was a resounding problem as warfighters were receiving on-the-job instructions, Gainey said.
“As you can imagine, a soldier at a location having 15 or 16 different systems and trying to be trained and proficient on all of these systems — it’s quite challenging,” he said.
In response, the office is standing up a Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft System academy at the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, by fiscal year 2024 to create more holistic training across the services. The plan is to create common training guidelines and qualification standards that are direct responses to emerging drone threats and evolving counter capabilities for the entire joint force, according to the Pentagon’s counter-small unmanned aircraft system strategy document.
Eventually, each service will use its own expertise to increase individualized training for specific units.
Until the academy is up and running, the JCO is hosting classes to train warfighters on counter-drone systems at Yuma Proving Ground, Gainey said. Units that are about to deploy can also train using mobile training teams organized by the office, he added.
Moving forward, the office will continue hosting demonstrations and working closely with industry and agencies across the department to synchronize counter-UAS solutions, Gainey said.
“At the end of the day, the technology that best delivers the best effect is what we’re going to put out there,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
06 Oct 22. The US Army’s mixed reality goggle is headed to soldiers in a three-step process in which developers expect two early versions released next year will help with redesigns for a third version to roll out across the Army.
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, is a nearly $22bn program that the Army is developing to bring night vision, thermal vision, tactical edge computing and the situational awareness of a fighter pilot down to the lowest-level infantry soldier. The device will likely be the most advanced single technology ever fielded exclusively to the close-combat, squad-level soldier in military history.
The Army will deliver 5,000 IVAS 1.0 versions and another 5,000 IVAS 1.1 versions this coming year, said Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider, the Program Executive Office-Soldier commanding general. Previous budget reports indicate the Army will purchase 40,000 devices or more.
The combined 1.0 and 1.1 fielding is a delay from the previous first unit equipped planned date of September 2022, which was delayed from another previous initial fielding planned for late 2021. But the short-term holdup is critical to ensure soldier acceptance of the device, according to Army officials.
Schneider spoke with Army Times about the IVAS program recently, noting the new rollout plan will field the two existing versions and begin developing the IVAS 1.2 version in parallel with those first fieldlings. IVAS 1.2, which will have a new low-light sensor and hardware redesign, is scheduled to field in the fiscal year 2025.
“We don’t want to rush IVAS to the field until it’s ready,” Schneider said.
The Army will send 5,000 IVAS 1.0 devices to units in Training and Doctrine Command, such as the Maneuver Center of Excellence, for use in training, schoolhouses and experimentation.
The 5,000 IVAS 1.1 devices will go to not-yet-identified operational units and can be used in garrison, field training and on combat deployments. Units such as the 82nd Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment and 101st Airborne Division often receive such technology first, due to their unique missions.
The 1.0 and 1.1 versions look similar from the outside. Both have night vision as good or better than most fielded systems. Both also have thermal sights in the same device, present only in one other goggle that’s had limited fielding to a select group of close combat forces, the Enhanced Night Vision Device-Binocular.
Both versions also allow for “passive targeting.” This lets users identify aiming points and targets without being seen by other night vision users.
“If we have to plan to fight a near peer threat, they’re going to be equipped with night vision, too. And if you use a laser, they see a laser too,” Schneider said.
With passive targeting, that’s not a concern.
“They have no idea you’re targeting them until a bullet hits them,” Schneider said.
The challenge is that the IVAS is expected to be more than a night vision goggle. It’s designed to provide mixed reality, information sharing, situational awareness tools and a host of other capabilities to the individual soldier.
“People think of IVAS as a night vision goggle,” Schneider said. But it’s more about learning “how to use the cloud at the tactical edge. How to train with the device, execute missions and mission planning.”
What the Army wants
IVAS is a standalone system that contains situational awareness tools in one package, beyond any of the Army’s current systems, including Nett Warrior, a long-running soldier-borne computer in a smartphone or tablet.
The device also works as a vehicle, ground or air integration tool for dismounted soldiers.
That’s part of ongoing work with soldiers integrating the IVAS with helicopters, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Stryker, Brig. Gen. Larry Burris, Cross Functional Team-Soldier Lethality director and Infantry School commandant told Army Times recently.
Soldiers using wireless routers in the Bradley were able to see the same view as the vehicle commander, driver or gunner through their optics, Burris said. But the most success so far, he added, has come with the Stryker. (Source: Army Times)
06 Oct 22. Norway and Denmark Protect Offshore Oil and Gas Platforms from Drones. Norwegian police have placed drone detection systems on offshore oil and gas platforms to investigate recent safety breaches,as part of a wider security ramp-up following damage last week to the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
Oil companies in recent weeks have reported a jump in sightings of unidentified drones, and Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) on Sept. 26 warned of risks of accidents or even deliberate attacks.
Benedicte Bjoernland, the head of Norway’s police directorate, told VG the sensors were deployed to identify any illegal drones and also as a deterrent against anyone seeking to use them in the first place.
The police directorate declined to say how many of the more than 90 Norwegian oil and gas fields had been equipped with drone detectors.
“We do not want to say more about this because we do not want to reveal our capacity to potential opponents,”
Tone Vangen, head of emergency preparedness at the police directorate told Reuters in an emailed statement.
Norway, Europe’s number one gas supplier and a major global oil producer, in the last week deployed its navy, air force and soldiers to patrol offshore petroleum fields and onshore terminals in response to the Nord Stream leaks, which some countries have blamed on sabotage.
Oslo announced on Friday it would also receive assistance from Britain, Germany and France in offshore patrols.
Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines burst on Sept. 26, draining gas into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark and Sweden. Seismologists registered explosions in the area, and police in several countries have launched investigations.
Asked about drone activity spotted close to one of its gas fields in the North Sea, TotalEnergies on Tuesday told Reuters it was in touch with Danish police and military as well as the country’s energy agency on the matter.
Danish police have over the weekend received reports of drone activity near the Roar gas field in the North Sea, a police spokesperson said on Tuesday.
“We have taken the necessary steps”, the French company said in a statement. (Source: UAS VISION/Reuters; yahoo! finance)
05 Oct 22. Let the Games Begin! This year’s EW Live event in Tartu, Estonia included a demonstration of CUAV systems pitting their wits against real uninhabited aerial vehicle targets.
Counter-Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle systems are put through their paces in Tartu, southern Estonia as part of this year’s EW Live event.
Imagine an Olympic Games for Counter-Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (CUAV) systems and you get the idea. Hosted on a picturesque yet windswept small airfield in eastern Estonia, CUAV manufacturers were invited to test their wares against their flying adversaries as part of this year’s TangentLink EW Live event. Combining a conference, exhibition, demonstrations and workshops EW Live is a must-attend electronic warfare event.
The delightful city of Tartu, eastern Estonia was the venue for the show held between 19th and 22nd September. This year’s event had added resonance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24th February. Estonia, along with her Baltic and Scandinavian counterparts, is now very much a ‘frontline state’. Free countries in this part of the world are bulwarks against further acts of aggression by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.
Over six months of war in Ukraine has underscored both the prevalence of UAVs over the battlefield and the dangers they pose. As a result, this year’s demonstrations of counter-UAV systems were notably apropos. Delegates attending the CUAV demonstrations were reminded that electronic warfare remains front and centre of the counter-UAV mission. Electronic Support Measures (ESMs) and electronic attack systems play key roles in detecting Radio Frequency (RF) emissions from UAVs and jamming their RF links. These links convey commands from the UAV’s Ground Control System (GCS) to the aircraft. They also carry data between the GCS and UAV and are used for satellite navigation. As a result, UAVs depend on a plethora of frequencies that can be detected by an ESM and attacked with a jammer. The goal is to force the UAV to return to its point of origin, land harmlessly, leave a particular area or immediately fall from the sky.
One Drone In, No Drones Out
Several companies including Kirintec, Flexforce and TRD stepped up to the mantle and showcased the acumen of their CUAV systems against different aircraft types flown over Ridali airfield in the east of the country. The challenge was for the company’s systems to intercept the aircraft and jam their RF links. During these demonstrations, the electronic warriors enjoyed resounding success. Good news for the CUAV community. Bad news for the UAV world.
Kirintec showed that their K-CEMA Jupiter could make light work of UAVs. The company has evolved its expertise in the counter-improvised explosive device arena into a potent CUAV capability. Covering a 20 megahertz to six gigahertz waveband, K-CEMA Jupiter unleashes 450 watts of power. One demonstration saw the equipment successfully jam the video feed from a UAV 630-metres/m (2,066-feet/ft) from the GCS. Jamming of the UAV-GCS link was successful at just over 50m (164ft) from the GCS. Jamming of the aircraft’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) link was achieved at 180m (590ft).
After a handsome lunch of fine Estonian cuisine, it was time to see Flexforce’s DroneBuster Block-3 CUAV system in action. The company revealed it has sold over 1,000 of these to the US military which uses them for the point defence of static targets like forward operating bases. Weighing in at two kilograms (4.4 pounds) the system could easily equip a section of infantry troops given its light weight. The small size is deceptive. DroneBuster has a kick. Demonstrations showed it can be used to jam the UAV’s GNSS link, its GCS link or both simultaneously at ranges of between 400m (1,312ft) and 800m (2,624ft). Another success for the jammers.
FlexForce’s DroneBuster CUAV apparatus is very portable and can target a UAV’s command and control and satellite navigation links.
Not to be outdone, TRD’s avuncular managing director Sam Ong took the stage taking the audience through his company’s Orion family of jammers and ESMs. TRD took a slightly different approach demonstrating a federated system incorporating radars, optronics and accompanying command and control system. This was alongside jammers and ESMs. Retia’s ReGuard and Robin’s Iris pulse doppler and continuous wave X-band (8.5GHz to 10.68GHz) radars helped detect the UAV. Additional tracking was provided using a camera from DAT-CON. TRD’s systems showed they could detect the UAV via its electronic emissions and as well as using the radar and optronics. Several mock drone attacks were repelled at ranges of between 700m (2,296ft) and two kilometres (1.2 miles). One aircraft ended up in tree. A welcome addition to TRD’s presentation was a chance for delegates to use the company’s handheld jammers against UAVs flown over the airfield. Your correspondent even scored their first ‘kill’ against a UAV target.
The Test Card of Death unequivocally reveals a UAV’s video link has been jammed courtesy of TRD’s counter-UAV ensemble.
Onwards and Upwards
This year’s EW Live eclipsed last year’s in size and scope while retaining the event’s consistent high quality. Seeing equipment demonstrated against UAV ‘threats’ is a welcome unique selling point for the show. EW Live is a firm fixture of the global electronic warfare calendar. Armada looks forward to next year’s event. (Source: Armada)
05 Oct 22. Launch of Regional NSW Testing Facility. DroneShield is pleased to advise that it has launched a dedicated testing facility in regional New South Wales. The facility will significantly streamline the testing and release of advanced drone detection technologies in development by the Company.
This is DroneShield’s first dedicated testing facility in both New South Wales and Australia.
Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented “As we continue to grow our advanced drone detection and defeat technologies, there is an increasing need for a locally based test site, that meets our operational requirements as well as being compliant with Government regulations.”
“This permanent facility enables fully remote testing by our engineering team, with real time data shared with our engineering headquarters in Sydney. This enables faster development cycles of our AI-enabled radiofrequency, image recognition, and sensorfusion technologies, which are pushed out to our subscribed customers on a quarterly release cycle.”
“Importantly, Australia is a key customer market for DroneShield, and having a dedicated local facility is expected to further enhance our work with Australian customers, both from a sovereign capability perspective and a way to conduct customer demonstrations.”
04 Oct 22. Hensoldt South Africa introduces new radar electronic surveillance solution. Hensoldt South Africa has introduced its new RES9000 radar electronic surveillance solution for the detection, location and analysis of modern radar emitters.
The RES9000 from the company’s GEW business unit was launched at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition on 22 September, and complements the company’s extensive tactical electronic warfare portfolio.
The RES9000’s objective is the interception of modern radar signals for precision direction finding (DF), tactical visualisation of gathered emitter information, emitter classification and matching of intercepted emissions to an emitter library, and reporting and tracking of radar threats in the 0.5 GHz to 40 GHz frequency range, GEW explained.
Artificial intelligence is used to match signals to a user-populated threat library. Electronic intelligence (ELINT) processing and analysis is available with the addition of analysis software.
“Collected information on surface-based and airborne search and targeting radars can now be fused together with intercepted electronic communications information to provide a collated and concise overview of the electronic order-of-battle (EOB) to battlefield commanders for decisive operational command and control”, said Wimpie van den Berg, Portfolio Management Executive of GEW.
“Being well known in the spectrum dominance field, GEW has recognized the boundaries between the communications domain and the radar domain are fusing and our customers no longer focus on each domain separately. We have invested heavily over the past few years in the development of a modern and compact radar electronic surveillance solution closely integrated with our tactical EW systems to create a complete electromagnetic intelligence solution, which we believe will offer significant value to our customers in dealing with their electromagnetic threats,” said Christo Fouché, the Chief Executive Sales and Marking of GEW.
“GEW is well-known in the field of spectrum dominance for its specialisation in communications intelligence and jamming solutions. However, we recognised that with the continuous evolvement of technologies in the communications domain and in the radar domain, the lines in the spectrum between the two domains are becoming blurred and our customers can no longer focus on each domain separately. We want to provide our customers with the ability to see a total electromagnetic intelligence picture that fully integrates intelligence of communications and of radar threats. So we have invested heavily over the last few years in the expansion of our capabilities with the development of a modern and compact Radar ES solution, closely integrated in our tactical EW systems, which we believe will offer significant value to our customers in dealing with their electromagnetic threats,” he concluded.
Long history, wide portfolio
GEW is one of the leading players in the spectrum dominance industry in South Africa, having been active in the COMINT (communications intelligence) field since the 1960s. The company develops and manufactures strategic, semi-mobile and tactical systems, as well as airborne and ship-mounted systems, some of which include sophisticated electronic attack capability in addition to search, direction-finding and basic jamming capability. GEW’s signal intelligence and spectrum monitoring systems have been sold and are in operation in more than 30 countries worldwide, including with the South African Air Force, Army and Navy, and the spectrum regulatory body ICASA.
A more recent development has been jamming systems to protect fixed targets, convoys, individual vehicles and foot patrols (manpack system) against remotely controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs), such as the roadside bombs encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq. GEW recently launched two new jammers: the GRJ8500 and GRJ6000 jammers covering the V/U/SHF and HF frequencies. The two new jammers join the existing GMJ9 multirole jammer, and GMJ900 and GMJ9000 man-portable multirole jammers. The GMJ9 has been designed for counter-remotely controlled improvised explosive device and tactical communications jamming and is ideal for convoy protection. The GMJ900 specialised jammer system is specifically designed to counter new-generation targets, such as cellular networks, satellite phones, commercial drones, GNSS and Wi-Fi.
GEW is also active in the fields of airspace surveillance and security systems, particularly perimeter and border fencing systems with integrated alerting systems to localise a breach. Such systems have been successfully used to counter wildlife poaching, amongst others.
Hensoldt South Africa/GEW is increasing its involvement in the radar, data link, identification friend or foe (IFF), customer services and business development fields, among many others, and this has been helped by the recent acquisition of Tellumat’s air traffic management and defence business units, which now form part of the company’s new Radar Business Unit. This offers 3D radar, synthetic aperture radar, radar for counter-UAV operations and passive radar. One of the biggest radar projects in South Africa in recent years is Hensoldt South Africa’s Quadome dual-mode, three-dimensional (3D), multi-mission naval radar for air and surface surveillance as well as target acquisition. It was launched in 2021 and the land version in September this year.
04 Oct 22. French Navy boosts ISTAR with Aliaca UAV. The French Navy is boosting its ability to conduct airborne day-and-night intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions from surface ships thanks to the Survey Copter Aliaca fixed-wing tactical mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The electrically powered UAV was deployed from the PHM Commandant Ducuing (F795) patrol ship during NATO’s maritime unmanned systems exercise ‘Dynamic Messenger 22′ that took place in Portugal in late September.
In all, 22 UAVs, ground control stations, training, and a 10-year support package were purchased in the last quarter of 2020 by the French defence procurement agency (Direction générale de l’armement: DGA) for EUR19.7 m (USD19.5 m) to meet the requirements of the Système de Mini Drones aériens embarqués de la Marine (SMDM) programme.
Each SMDM system is made of two UAVs. The initial three systems were received in June, with deliveries to be complete at the beginning of 2023. (Source: Janes)
30 Sep 22. European border control agency hosted counter drone industry day 6 October. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex hosted an online Industry Day on 6 October 2022 for commercial operators offering services in the area of adversarial testing and evaluation of counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) and low-flying object (LFO) detection systems.
The Industry Day will allow industry representatives to share their latest portfolio of products and services with the Agency and Member States through live virtual meetings.
Low-flying objects include a broad set of aerial systems such ultra-light aircraft, paragliders, balloons or any other aerial apparatus used on low-level airspace. The illegal use of these systems, especially drones, has become a pressing security concern across the world in the recent years. Criminals and terrorists are adopting these technologies and developing new creative ways to commit crimes and conduct illicit activities, such as hostile reconnaissance, smuggling of drugs, currency, weapons, and documents and facilitating irregular migration.
Member States and experts from the European Border and Coast Guard community have pointed out the need for effective, cost-efficient technical systems that can detect, track and identify these types of objects. To identify the best, technology-agnostic solutions, this complex technical and operational challenge requires comprehensive testing and evaluation that simulates real-world threats.
The Agency is seeking comprehensive information from service providers on their C-UAS / LFOs testing and evaluation capabilities.
Capabilities of interest include:
- Provision of C-UAS / LFOs adversarial testing and evaluation turn-key services in real-world conditions.
- Diverse portfolio of threat-emulating aerial platforms (commercial off-the-shelf UAS, DIY UAS with FPV or autonomous capabilities, biomimetic aircraft, ultra-light aircraft, paragliders, autogyros, balloons, etc).
- Experienced professionals on operating UAS and LFOs in adversarial T&E sorties
– Able to simulate the threat spectrum of clueless/careless/criminal modus operandi
– E.g. scenarios: hostile reconnaissance, support to irregular migration, payload smuggling (contraband), deception, cyber/data exploitation, and CBRNE.
- Modelling, Simulation and Analysis (MS&A) with data collection
– This may include independent TSPI (Time, Space, Position Information) tracking devices
– EM spectrum monitoring
- Experience with threat vulnerabilities and risk assessment (TVRA) frameworks
– Including experience with organizing penetration/exploitation testing under Red and Blue teaming. For more information visit: www.frontex.europa.eu (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
27 Sep 22. Israel’s transport ministry tests Robotican’s drone interceptor to safeguard safe zone. Robotican reports successful execution of an interception scenario together with Matrix, the Yeruham municipality, and Ayalon Highways on behalf of the Israel Ministry of Transport. The test was based on a scenario in which a drone deviates from its approved flightpath from the Snir national UAV & drone test range while threatening to penetrate Yeruham’s airspace and endanger innocent bystanders. Robotican’s Goshawk intercepted a simulated “out-of-control” drone that flew towards the city. The Goshawk drone was launched and autonomously intercepted the drone before it reached the city’s limits.
The Goshawk system is designed to prevent drones displaying irregular flight behaviour from reaching a predefined safe zone and created a “safety shield” between the test grounds and Yeruham – or any other location the test drone was not intended to reach.
Hagay Balashi, Robtican CEO, said “The success of the test is an important milestone for the safety of a drone’s nonlight-zone concept using intercepting drones to prevent uncontrolled “leakage” and collateral damage.”
Robotican’s Goshawk system is an autonomous system developed to intercept and capture hostile or unrecognized drones. The Omer-based company’s system reduces collateral and peripheral damage by capturing and diverting the aircraft to a predefined location. The computer-operated system launches from its mobile launch pad, which enables 24/7 operational capabilities and enforcement of drone traffic laws in future air spaces. For more information visit: www.robotican.co (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
27 Sep 22. NATO tests counter drone technology to demonstrate interoperability between different systems. The recent Technical Interoperability Exercise (TIE22) by members of NATO carried out in the Netherlands and supported by the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) demonstrated Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) to test whether systems from industry within NATO can work together to counter the threats posed by drones.
The NCI Agency supports the development of interoperability between NATO counter-drone systems and seeks standardisation. Interoperability ensures that NATO can use the best technologies from across the alliance together to resist the threats posed by drones.
Among participants, OpenWorks Engineering demonstrated its net capture capability SkyWall Patrol and autonomous optics SkyTrack at the NATO exercise in Vredepeel. Both systems are designed to be easy to integrate and SAPIENT compliant. For more information visit: www.openworksengineering.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
30 Sep 22. KME announces a new Strategic partnership with Getac. KME is going to be working as close as ever with our customers alongside Getac to make any customisations needed to meet Airworthiness standards or safety integrity levels in order to deliver fully compliant custom tablets and laptop solutions to the end user. KME will also be offering Getac’s current standard products along with ours, providing a Turnkey solution for all our customer’s Rugged Laptop, Tablet and Display needs.
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