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30 Nov 20. Lightning Strikes Twice. The AGM-88E anti-radar missile will be integrated onboard the F-35A. This will further enhance the aircraft’s ability to support the SEAD mission. The Australian and Italian air forces may have their F-35As modified to deploy the AGM-88E anti-radar missile.
Lockheed Martin has won a contract worth $9.3m to integrate Northrop Grumman’s AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Mission-Extended Range weapon onto the F-35A. The enhancement of the aircraft with the AGM-88E represents the latest step in configuring the lpha variant of the F-35 to support the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenc (SEAD) mission.
This latest contract follows an earlier award on 2nd June worth $26.7m from the US Department of Defence to Lockheed Martin to configure the F-35A for SEAD. As Armada reported at the time, the upgrade was expected to enhance the aircraft’s BAE Systems’ AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare system with the necessary algorithms to detect, locate and extract the parameters of potentially hostile radars.
The AGM-88E is a greatly enhanced version of Raytheon’s AGM-88B/C HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile). Two new AGM-88 variants have been developed, the AGM-88E and Raytheon’s AGM-88F; the latter of which is expected to equip the US Air Force. The missiles have several important enhancements. These include a global positioning and inertial navigation system allowing the missile to target a radar based on its coordinates even if the radar’s transmissions are switched off to break the missile’s lock. A millimetric wave radar transmitting at frequencies above 30 gigahertz has been added to help battle damage assessment by gathering detailed imagery of the missile’s end game helping to ascertain the accuracy of the engagement.
While the June contract may cover the integration of the AGM-88F on the USAF’s F-35A jets, this latest contract will enable air forces which have ordered the F-35A deploy AGM-88E rounds they have also procured. To date two nations, namely Australia and Italy, have ordered the F-35A and AGM-88E. Jets that they are already flying; six in the Royal Australian Air Force out of an eventual total of 84 and nine out of an eventual total of 60 for the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) could be retrofitted with the necessary structural and software modifications to deploy the AGM-88E, with these enhancements fitted as standard on new-build aircraft. (Source: Armada)
03 Dec 20. Surveillance Camera Commissioner releases guidance for police on use of Live Facial Recognition. The guidance is for forces to follow when considering the deployment of Live Facial Recognition (LFR) surveillance camera technology.
Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC), has issued best practice guidance, ‘Facing the Camera’, to all police forces in England and Wales.
It is the first guidance to be released since the Court of Appeal handed down its judgement on Bridges v South Wales Police earlier this year – the SCC was an intervener in the case and a key contributor.
The High Court ruled that South Wales Police’s use of LFR was in accordance with the law, but this was later overturned by the Court of Appeal.
The SCC is the independent regulator of the overt use and public operation of surveillance camera systems by the police in England and Wales. This includes systems incorporating LFR. He supports the police having legitimate recourse to surveillance camera systems including LFR where they are necessary to keep us safe and secure, within the clear provisions of the law. Transparency of lawful use is essential to public trust and confidence in such matters.
Tony Porter said: Over the 7 years I have been Commissioner I have continually said that the police should be able to use technology to keep us safe and secure but this must be balanced against our civil liberties and the law.
The high court ruled that the deployment of LFR in South Wales was not in accordance with the law.
The guidance I’ve issued today will help forces who want to use LFR identify how to do so in accordance with the current legal framework.
Where there is a proportionate need to deploy intrusive technology, it is right that the police have the guidance to do that – Facing the Camera will go some way to help them before decisions are made to deploy. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
02 Dec 20. Italy lays out plans to buy up to eight new sensor-loaded Gulfstreams. Italy is planning to buy up to eight new Gulfstream signals intelligence aircraft and build a maintenance hub for similar aircraft operated by other nations around the Mediterranean.
The plans, which were outlined in documents supplied to the Italian parliament, would reinforce Italy’s signals intelligence capability as the Mediterranean becomes a flashpoint for regional tensions with neighbors like Turkey and Egypt tussling over the future of lawless Libya.
The Italian acquisition was first mentioned in this year’s budget document, released in October, which cited the need for ‘multi-mission, multi-sensor’ Gulfstream G-550 jets and listed an outlay of 1.23bn euros.
An illustration of the aircraft in the document resembled Israel’s ‘Shavit’ Signals Intelligence Gulfstream, while the required capabilities listed included command and control, “electronic superiority” and “electronic protection of forces.”
Now, the government has sent parliament a second document giving more details of the plan ahead of a vote by the parliamentary defense commission on the purchase.
The document calls for the purchase of two aircraft which have already been converted for Sigint missions and equipped with the required systems before the purchase of a further six G-550 jets ready for subsequent conversion.
Analysts have suggested the need to buy the unconverted aircraft quickly is due to the Gulftstream G550 going out of production.
The aircraft would be based at the Italian Air Force’s Pratica di Mare base south of Rome, which is already home to the two Gulfstream 550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning aircraft Italy purchased from Israel’s IAI in 2012.
With up to 10 G-550s in its fleet, Italy would build up a maintenance operation which would not only serve its own aircraft but be able to “offer services to the Gulfstream fleet operating in Europe and the Middle East, with about 200 jobs created,” the document stated.
No indication was given about which company would be contracted to supply the two converted jets or carry out the conversion work on the other six, but the document stated that “given the complexity” of the program, a non-Italian contractor would be brought in. National offset work would be sought the document stated.
Funding for the buy is due to kick off next year and will stretch out to 2056 stated the document, which has been seen by Defense News. (Source: Defense News)
01 Dec 20. Silent Sentinel extends Mission Master UGV vision with Jaeger EO/IR suite. British company Silent Sentinel won its first unmanned sector contract to supply a bespoke multi-sensor electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) system for Rheinmetall’s Mission Master unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).
The company’s EO/IR system will equip Rheinmetall’s new Mission Master Armed Reconnaissance Autonomous-UGV (A-UGV), which was unveiled on 19 November.
The programme, which has already begun, is likely to require further deliveries from Silent Sentinel by the end of 2021. Silent Sentinel will provide through-life support for the payload, manufactured in Hertfordshire.
Mounted to a 3.5 m telescopic mast, the reconnaissance payload fuses various sensors to extend the line of sight whilst the Mission Master is concealed. The mast suite is modular in design and can accommodate a range of EO/IR systems depending on the mission.
The mast-mounted payload consists of a Jaegar integrated, modular pan and tilt (PT) platform that mounts a variety of sensors including a dual EO/IR long-range camera payload, laser rangefinder, laser designator, ground surveillance radar, and a panoramic, full ring, octagonal camera that provides stitched together 360° surveillance. The Jaegar PT platform features an aluminium housing and can rotate 360° with a tilt range of between -90 and +90°.
“Benefiting from a through shaft, fixed payloads can be mounting directly above the Jaegar PT platform, which helps maintain uninterrupted 360° visibility whilst reducing the need for multiple masts on the vehicle,” James Longcroft, sales director at Silent Sentinel, told Janes.
The telescopic mast is integrated into the UGV’s payload bay and features a tilting mechanism that allows the Mission Master Armed Reconnaissance A-UGV to fit into a CH-47 or CH-53 helicopter. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Dec 20. Raytheon awarded $235.6m for production of Silent Knight Radar. Raytheon has been awarded a $235.6m multi-year contract for production and delivery of the Silent Knight Radar for U.S. Special Operations Command, according to the Pentagon.
Work on this contract will be performed in McKinney and Forest, Miss., and is expected to be completed by July 2025, the Pentagon said.
The Silent Knight radar is designed to be outfitted on the MH-47G Chinook and MH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, MC-130 transports and CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
The Silent Knight is built for safe navigation through low altitudes at night or in bad weather.
In June 2019 Raytheon was awarded a $96.6m contract for the initial production of the Silent Knight system for Special Operations Command.
This summer tilt and rotary wing test squadron pilots at Eglin Air Force base logged their first CV-22 Osprey flight using the Silent Knight system, which the Air Force intends to continue testing for the next two years. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/UPI.com)
30 Nov 20. European Union’s defense arm urges work on common counter-drone weapon. The European Defence Agency has completed its first-ever deep dive into member nations’ defense plans, recommending that the bloc invest in six capabilities, including weaponry for fighting aerial drones.
The finding is wrapped up in the agency’s “Coordinated Annual Review on Defence” submitted to defense ministers Nov. 20. The report represents the first time analysts went through national defense programs in search of gaps in the European Union’s overall military capability.
The document “recommends developing a European capability to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to improve force protection, as well as contributing to establish a European standard for Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD),” according to a summary released by the European Defence Agency. The analysis “concludes that European capability approaches towards A2/AD are clearly at a crossroads, whereby the capability is either developed in a collaborative manner or the capability will not be developed for European forces,” the summary read.
Recent combat operations in the Middle East, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh have shown an advantage for forces employing sophisticated aerial drones. In those conflicts, drones were used to spy on enemy formations and destroy tanks and vehicles with such precision that defense analysts have called them gamechangers in modern warfare.
The EDA report also recommends member states band together on a new main battle tank that could enter service in the 2030s. The call speaks to the much-cited finding that European nations operate too many different models of tanks and other combat equipment.
“If member states cooperate in upgrading or collaborate when introducing new ones, a 30 percent reduction of types and variants can be obtained by the mid-2030s,” the document stated. Eleven countries have already expressed an interest in cooperating, it added.
The recommendation raises the question of how — and if — EU officials plan to consider existing industrial partnerships in judging progress on defense cooperation. For example, France’s Nexter as well as Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall are working together on a Main Ground Combat System that would eventually replace the two countries’ Leclerc and Leopard fleets.
In addition, there is a project involving France, Italy, Spain and Greece to build a European patrol corvette that could count toward another recommendation of the new EDA report: development of a “European Patrol Class Surface Ship.”
Jií Šedivý, the agency’s chief executive, told reporters he expects to see clusters of member states form around each of the six recommended focus areas — which also include soldier systems, defense in space and enhanced military mobility — following a series of workshop meetings early next year.
Existing cooperative projects, including those toward a new battle tank and tank modernization more broadly, would be taken into account, Šedivý told reporters.
Some of the review’s findings are simply reiterations of known truths that have animated attempts at defense cooperation across the continent for years. “The review also finds that the European defense landscape is characterized by high levels of fragmentation and low investment in cooperation,” the document read, reflecting more or less a diagnosis of the status quo that has plagued the bloc for years.
Šedivý said the development of new capabilities and improved cooperation aims to influence the member nations’ 2025 budget cycle, as most countries’ near-term spending plans are already too far along in their implementation. French officials, however, have offered to incorporate EDA recommendations sooner, he added. (Source: Defense News)
27 Nov 20. ‘There are potential gains for the military’ – NATO plans for U-space. Against the backdrop of rising use of unmanned vehicles in all areas of the military, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is engaged with U-space partners to ensure it can continue its defence mission within whatever constraints arise from U-space; identify potential benefits and costs of U-space for military applications; and engage with the civil sector in the deployment of counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS).
Outlining the agency’s policy initiatives at the European Network of U-space Demonstrators webinar on 19 November 2020, NATO Staff Officer UAS Ross McKenzie said: “safety, security and interoperability” are guiding principles going forward.
McKenzie highlighted military priorities, the first of which was the IFF/verification service to enable safe unmanned and counter unmanned activity. This aspect also brings potential national air defence benefits as a result of the additional feed to the recognised air picture. He identified opportunities for the military to learn from U-space: “The recent SESAR JU report outlines potential applications and services where I can definitely see potential gains for military”. Clarification is needed to determine to what extent the military ATM community needs to engage with UTM and the interface between U-space and air defence. “We need a set of agreed standards, including service APIs and data exchange. We also need requirements between UTM, integration with ATM and C-UAS, as well as corresponding testing tools and reference implementations.”
C-UAS raises many questions: “Where is overlap of responsibility between military deployment of directed power weapons to remove UAS from the sky? This is easy to understand in the deployed context, but where does that fit in the national context, such as airports, and where is the overlap with civil? In the case of a military aerodrome, is the airspace above it the responsibility of the civil or military?”
NATO policy is determined by the Joint Capability Group UAS which addresses issues including airworthiness, standards and UAS integration, and recently released the NATO Policy document for Unmanned Aircraft Systems which “promotes a coherent and consistent approach to UAS across the Alliance,” explained McKenzie. In addition, the NATO/Eurocontrol ATM Security Coordinating Group (NEASCOG) is working closely with the European Defence Agency (EDA) to understand safety, security & financial implications of U-space. A stakeholder consultation group in January 2021 will be followed by publication of the EDA U-space impact study.
NATO is focused on ensuring safe operations in low-level airspace where fast jets and rotorcraft potentially operate alongside domestic users. “The F35 will be the last manned fighter. By 2030, UAS may constitute 50% of military aircraft in some nations,” says McKenzie.
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30 Nov 20. DroneShield releases latest edition of its C-UAS counter drone factbook. Australian counter drone manufacturer DroneShield has released the fifth edition of its C-UAS Factbook. The report provides an overview of available C-UAS technologies. This includes the review of the emerging UAS threat and its key categories, UAS types and capabilities.
Key threat categories include:
- Nuisance Activity
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Recognisance (ISR)
- Payload Delivery
The UAS types include Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs).
UAS types range from group 1 (consumer and commercial UAS), all the way to group 5 (Reaper, Global Hawk, and other large sovereign UAS).
The Factbook considers various types of UAS detection sensors, including radiofrequency (RF) sensors, radars, acoustics, optics, and multi-sensor systems. It also reviews and compares various UAS effectors, including jammers (control link and GNSS jamming), spoofing, directed energy, counterdrone drones, other kinetic solutions, and layered C-UAS defeat options.
The Factbook finally reviews types of counter-UAS providers, ranging from start-ups and project companies, across to prime contractors, to established small businesses.
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25 Nov 20. ARTsys360 low-weight, affordable C-UAS radar “can also provide urban drone traffic surveillance.” Israeli company ARTsys360, manufacturer of a hemispheric low-price, low-weight drone detection radar, reports it has sold its systems as part of wider counter-UAS purchases to clients in the USA, Mexico and Israel and is negotiating with several other customers. The size and coverage of the radar means it can also be used for the coordination of drone traffic over urban areas, according to Meir Zorea, chairman of ArtSys 360. “In such a situation you need a great number of radars to overcome ‘dead sections’ created by high buildings, “ he said. “Because of the low price of our radar, this is starting to become more reasonable price wise.”
The company says that its innovative radar technology provides coverage of 360° in azimuth and up to 45° above and below the horizon with no mechanical moving parts. The RS-400 radar is a light, low-cost, compact, and reliable micro-radar system with low energy consumption, says the company. The system detects human targets, flying drones, and vehicles within a 360º radius and up to 700-800m away.
Meir Zorea said that the system costs less than USD50,000 – which compares to USD150,000 to USD300,000 for phased array radars. The company can also install a special camera for positive threat identification and the 100 milliwatt output means it is safe for human exposure and FCC compliance.
The company’s chairman told Unmanned Airspace that the radar is based on three registered patents “Phased array radars used in other anti drone systems normally have a maximum 100 degrees coverage when using one antenna and require four antennas for full coverage, which is translated to the systems’ price”.
The company is developing a new version of the radar that weighs only 1kg and can serve as a drone based sense-and-avoid sensor.
30 Nov 20. Carolina UV Delivers Aerostats for Defence Programme. Carolina Unmanned Vehicles (CUV) has successfully completed delivery of two 45 cubic meter (45M3) model Allsopp Helikite aerostats to support a defense developmental program. The aerostats will be used to lift various electronic system to altitude.
Helikites are particularly well suited for this due to their inherent stability and ability to operate in high winds, exceeding most other aerostats.
The Helikite is the same aerostat used in CUV’s Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System (STMPAS) (Fig.1). STMPAS is a mobile trailer mounted tactical aerostat suitable for 24/7 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) military operations, as well as border surveillance and post- disaster emergency communications. CUV is a small Woman-Owned company focused on small aerostats and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In addition to this delivery CUV has previously provided aerostat systems for the Army, USAF, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin. CUV provides complete aerostat systems, components, and payload testing services. (Source: UAS VISION)
26 Nov 20. Rosoboronexport Offers Mobile Radar to Detect Stealth Aircraft. Rosoboronexport (part of the Rostec State Corporation) has started promoting the P-18-2 Prima high-mobility 2D surveillance and acquisition radar, developed and manufactured by PJSC NITEL and PJSC NPO Almaz, to the foreign market.
“Rosoboronexport adds dozens of weapon and military equipment models to its export catalog every year. They acquire unique characteristics and set new trends in their segments of the global arms market through the efforts made by Russian scientists, engineers and designers. We are starting to promote the Prima mobile radar, which offers a unique capability to effectively detect current and emerging low-visibility targets, including any stealth aircraft,” said Alexander Mikheev, General Director of Rosoboronexport and Deputy Chairman of the Russian Engineering Union.
The Prima solid-state radar is based on modern hardware components and digital signal processing and generation technology. It features high energy potential and increased immunity. The radar is designed to detect, track, locate and identify air targets of various classes and types as friend or foe in both jamming and clutter environments, take the bearing of jammers, and feed radar data to users’ automated command-and-control systems.
The P-18-2 is distinguished from most other radars available on the market by its high mobility achieved through the installation of all equipment and antenna post on one vehicle. At the same time, its crew consists of only two people who can operate both from the equipped cabin and remote workstations. The radar features a high level of automation and can be deployed and stowed within about 5 minutes.
The Prima radar operates in the VHF band and is capable of detecting any aircraft, including stealth ones. Its range coverage exceeds 320 km and elevation coverage is up to 45 deg. The minimum detection range is 500 meters. The developers have introduced a number of technology solutions to ensure the radar’s operation in a jamming environment, difficult terrain and in adverse weather conditions. The radar automatically detects and tracks low-speed and low-visibility targets in a clutter environment.
The radar is equipped with advanced satellite navigation equipment exploiting GLONASS/GPS signals that provide automatic positioning. It has a built-in diesel power plant and a power take-off generator, and can also be connected to a three-phase general-purpose electrical network. At the customer request, the standard diesel generating set can be replaced with a similar, including foreign-made, one. The radar’s base vehicle chassis can also be replaced with a similar one.
“Russian electronics and air defense systems offer unique technical capabilities for integration into existing customer’s national air defense systems, thereby significantly improving their effectiveness, which had also been taken into account in developing the Prima radar. I’m sure that a unique set of features will ensure the excellent export capacity of the radar and bring it to the leading positions in Southeast Asian, African and the Middle East markets,” Alexander Mikheev added. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Rosoboronexport)
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.