Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
25 Feb 21. Japan Ground Self Defense Force expands its Textron Aviation Special Missions King Air 350 fleet. Textron Aviation announced today it recently delivered a Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft equipped with multiple special mission modifications to Japcon Incorporated. The modifications include a removable, belly-mounted Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) installation, forward executive cabin, communications equipment and racks. After further modifications in Japan including a medical configuration, the King Air 350i will enter service as a liaison/reconnaissance (LR-2) aircraft, and will be owned and operated by the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF).
The Beechcraft King Air 350i is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.
“We are honored to expand our relationship with the JGSDF. This aircraft will join a fleet of seven other LR-2 King Air 350 turboprops, which has provided reliable service for more than 20 years,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation.
The LR-2 is the JGSDF’s only fleet of fixed-wing aircraft. The LR-2 provides transportation between airfields throughout Japan, especially when transporting emergency patients from remote islands. In addition to a reconnaissance camera, the new LR-2 aircraft is equipped with devices for video transmission and infrared night-vision to enhance its capacity to collect visual information. The aircraft will be operated by the Renraku Teisatsu Hikotai, a JGSDF Communication and Reconnaissance Squadron, based at Kisarazu Airfield in the Chiba Prefecture.
“The LR-2 fleet has been serving an enduring mission by providing transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation operations in Japan,” said Gibbs. “When the JGSDF needed a modern aircraft with low direct operating costs, it again chose the Beechcraft King Air 350 platform.”
24 Feb 21. New radar environment simulator simplifies system testing. Modular design with easy-to-use graphical interface minimizes radar testing time and cost. Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, today announced the ARES3100 Advanced Radar Environment Simulator (ARES), ideal for testing demanding radar applications ranging from anechoic chamber and open-air range (OAR) to laboratory-based production testing and comprehensive radar performance evaluation.
“New radar technologies, such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging, as well as increased agility and a wide spectral range – coupled with the introduction of cognitive electronic warfare (EW) jamming techniques – have dramatically increased the complexity of radar testing,” said Mark Bruington, vice president and general manager, Mercury Spectrum Systems. “Traditionally, these systems are tested on the range during flight tests, which can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars per hour. Security risks can also arise with open-air range testing, as the locations are generally not as secure as controlled laboratory locations. With Mercury’s radar environment simulator solutions, radar systems can be tested, validated and optimized in the safety and security of the lab, saving our customers money and time. Customers get more accurate results faster, which lowers cost and ensures aircrew safety.”
Unlike costly custom-designed solutions, ARES includes a high-performance open architecture, configurable with a variety of hardware and software options to provide a high degree of signal realism, modeling multiple targets, jamming threats and atmospheric effects. The easy-to-use graphical user interface offers an optimal out-of-the-box experience with minimal system setup. The ARES3100 includes an extensive library of waveforms to simulate real-world environments with proven technology to replicate field testing within a safer, more controlled environment. With 40 years of innovation in aerospace and defense, Mercury offers robust radar environment simulators that work better with less development time than custom systems built in-house.
24 Feb 21. For the first time on Feb. 3, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) flew a company-owned MQ-9A Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) equipped with a newly developed Centerline Avionics Bay (CAB). The CAB provides space to incorporate critical new capabilities for GA-ASI customers. Integration of the CAB began as GA-ASI needed space for new avionics on the MQ-9A, such as company-developed Detect and Avoid (DAA) system. In addition to the DAA system, GA-ASI will use the new avionics bay to pioneer Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) applications and establish an Ethernet network with the outer wing stations to enable government Open Mission Systems (OMS) protocols for rapid, flexible, and affordable integration of new mission capabilities. These upgrades will further expand an already broad menu of roles for the MQ-9A.
“The Centerline Avionics Bay was purpose-built to provide additional volume, platform infrastructure, and cooling provisions for integrating High Performance Computing (HPC) systems on MQ-9 Block 1 and Block 5 RPA,” said GA-ASI Vice President of Strategic Development J.R. Reid. “The CAB will enable the MQ-9 to host Government OMS-compliant Autonomy, Machine Learning and eventually, Artificial Intelligence algorithms and applications. In addition to the HPC, we can work with customers on a broad range of capabilities with the additional space we get with the CAB.”
One example of a customer application for the CAB is the Air National Guard’s Ghost Reaper concept, which establishes MQ-9A as a critical, multi-source correlation engine in a contested fight. The capabilities being developed and integrated onto MQ-9A will also become the catalyst for the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) construct.
23 Feb 21. Liteye Systems Launches SHIELD – Next Generation of Counter UAS Defense. Liteye Systems, Inc., a US leader in Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems, announces Liteye SHIELD, the next level in Multi-Mission, Multi-Domain systems and a true advancement in Counter UAS Defense.
Liteye SHIELD incorporates Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning techniques with a newly designed SPYGLASS 3D radar, EO and IR tracking to increase the speed and confidence of the system. The SHIELD Command and Control further ensures the full Detect, Track, ID Kill Chain is automated and conducted at machine speed. SHIELD is the next generation, cutting-edge technology required to defend against the rapid technology maturation and proliferation of small UAS threats worldwide.
“Liteye and our partners are able to present leading edge capability in advanced 3D radars, HD Cameras, and the only US company to provide both narrow band and directional wideband electronic attack for this threat” said Kenneth Allen Geyer, CEO Liteye Systems. “SHIELD operates as a self-contained system or links multiple SHIELD payloads, but more importantly, it seamlessly integrates into higher-level networks, can cue kinetic and non-kinetic effectors, and can be physically integrated into practically any platform. I’m proud of what Liteye and our teammates have achieved and confident we can continue to protect US interests around the world.”
Manufacturing and integration of SHIELD critical components are based at Liteye and partner locations in the United States. Success over the last five years with Liteye’s deployed combat proven Anti-UAS Defense System (AUDS), has earned Liteye unmatched technical experience in this market. It is this experience that has led to the development of Liteye SHIELD primarily for the C-UAS mission, but significant for additional surveillance and electronic attack missions. From first combat deployment in Iraq 2016 to today with systems deployed worldwide Liteye’s continually adding to our repertoire of experience with the rapidly evolving threat.
“Liteye has been protecting US Forces, our Allies and Critical Infrastructure for years, and we’ve listened closely to what the US DoD deems important,” said Ryan Hurt, Vice President of Business Development. “Constructing an autonomous kill chain with artificial intelligence and machine learning for detect, track and identification, so decisions can be made at machine speed, was the starting point for design of this new system. Seamless integration with existing Networks ensures Operators have access to the sensors and effectors they need, when they need them, and lessens the manpower footprint. This is next generation multi-mission, multi-domain performance.”
Key performance characteristics of SHIELD are:
Fully Autonomous Kill Chain: The Autonomous Kill Chain affords machine speed detect, track, identification and classification allowing an Operator to monitor the environment, manage multiple systems and only step in for final Positive ID and trigger pull to fulfill the mission. Key components: Spyglass 3D Radar for Detect & Track, AI based RF Detect, AI Target Prioritization, and Automated Video Track.
Dispersed, Networked Command and Control: SHIELD utilizes a Man-ON-the-Loop local C2, and is networked, requiring low manpower to operate any system from any console with a distributed common operation picture. The local C2 provides multi-sensor resource management & Sensor Fusion to an intuitive operating system with Machine Learning principles and 3D targeting for cueing networked effectors.
Multi Domain/Multi Mission with OEM Service and Support:
Multi-Domain – Operation across Air, Ground, Surface, and Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum, SHIELD effectively provides multi-domain critical infrastructure protection.
Multi-Mission – SHIELD provides platform agnostic (mobile, transportable, fixed/semi-fixed) mission essential service for: Integrated air and ground base defense, convoy protection, offensive electronic attack, wildland fires, space launch protection, event security and more.
OEM Service and Support – Liteye’s mature Service and Support program is operational today. Qualified and Certified by Liteye, our OEM Service and Support ensures the systems and Operators stay proficient and fully mission capable.
Liteye Systems, Inc, is a world leader in Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS), radar and surveillance sensor packages, ruggedized thermal cameras, and helmet mounted displays with over $100m in services and products provided to the US Government. (Source: UAS VISION)
23 Feb 21. US Army eyes THOR fielding by 2024. US Army officials are piggybacking off US Air Force (USAF) development of the Tactical High-Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR) and hoping their investment will provide soldiers with a new weapon to down swarms of aerial drones.
The two services announced the army’s new financial contribution to the programme on 19 February and said the ground service wants to use THOR as part of an Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Power Microwave (IFPC-HPM) prototype system that it plans to field by fiscal year 2024.
“The army’s directed energy capabilities will need to provide a layered defence with multiple ways to defeat incoming threats,” wrote Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood, the head of the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO). “High-energy lasers kill one target at a time and high-powered microwaves can kill groups or swarms, which is why we are pursuing a combination of both technologies for our IFPC rapid prototyping effort.”
The THOR prototype will undergo a series of risk reduction and system characterisation efforts by 2024 and then be the centrepiece of a soldier touchpoint to glean critical input from operational users.
Designed the USAF Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate, THOR is a directed-energy weapon that disables the electronics inside drones. The technology is housed in a 6 m (20 ft) shipping container that can be transported on military cargo planes and assembled by two people.
“The system output is powerful radio wave bursts, which offer a greater engagement range [compared to] bullets or nets and its effects are silent and instantaneous,” said THOR programme manager Amber Anderson. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Feb 21. US Department of Homeland Security Agreement. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) has entered into a new Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (“DHS S&T”). The research will involve DroneShield’s multi-sensor Unmanned Aerial System (“UAS”) detection and mitigation capabilities, with the primary focus on DroneSentryTM and DroneSentry-C2TM solutions for fixed and semi-fixed site applications.
DroneSentryTM is a modular system that integrates multiple sensors – radiofrequency (RF), radar, EO/IR camera, and acoustic for layered detection, classification, identification, and tracking of UAS. DroneSentryTM leverages DroneShield’s latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) based RF detection, long-range sensing, and expanded multi-sensor data fusion capabilities.
DroneSentry-C2TM provides end users with an interoperable common operating picture for the counter-UAS mission. DroneSentry-C2TM’s pairing of advanced sensor fusion with an intuitive enterprise level visual platform, enables users to easily deploy a complete detection and threat assessment capability of unmanned systems for their critical infrastructure and base protection needs.
Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “We are excited to work closely with DHS S&T under this cooperative agreement to support end users throughout their agency and sub-agency partners. Our DroneSentry solution is at the forefront of fixed-site counter-UAS and partnerships like this one allow us to make further advancements that are most relevant to the end users and mission we serve.”
In addition to its cooperative agreement with DHS, DroneShield recently announced DroneSentry-C2’s U.S. Military Standard (“MIL-STD”) compliant version of the software platform. DroneSentry also supported the recent U.S. Army Defense in Depth Exercise (“DiDEX”), along with DroneShield’s dismounted and mounted C-sUAS solutions.
23 Feb 21. Bird Aerosystems close to delivering African ASIO aircraft. Israeli company Bird Aerosystems is close to delivering Cessna Citation CJ3 aircraft that it has converted into Airborne Surveillance, Information, and Observation (ASIO) platforms for an undisclosed African government that will use them for maritime surveillance.
Bird is currently simulating full-mission scenarios to test the aircraft’s onboard systems, Shaul Mazor, Bird’s vice-president for marketing and business development, told Janes. They have also undergone civilian flight certification by Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority, a process that was conducted over Zoom for the first time.
While Bird cannot identify the customer, Mazor said the aircraft will be used to defend its territorial waters, with an emphasis on detecting illegal fishing, oil theft, and smuggling, with counter-terrorism being a secondary mission.
The CJ3 modifications are now taking place at a company site in southern Israel after Bird’s maintenance and repair centre in Cyprus became temporarily off-limits due to Covid-19-related travel restrictions, forcing the aircraft and engineers to move to Israel.
The eight-month-long work includes structural changes to the aircraft and the installation of radars, electro-optical systems, communications, new avionics, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) for identifying ships, and crew workstations, as well as the new engines requested by the client.
The aircraft will share data and receive mission commands from a ground-based headquarters using a command-and-control (C2) system that will also be installed on naval vessels so they can respond quickly to any threats that are identified. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Feb 21. IGN4L introduces new counter drone technology for fixed or mobile applications. SIGN4L, a division of the Electronic Warfare & Intelligence cluster at EDGE, launched a radio frequency (RF) communication jamming system called V-Protect, and a specialised counter-drone device called NavControl-G, at the IDEX 2021 exhibition in Abu Dhabi this week.
V-Protect is an advanced mobile active and reactive high-power jammer system aimed at helping block common terrestrial RF signal technologies as well as portable satcom equipment, spanning radio, walkie-talkie, mobile and Wi-Fi frequencies. Boasting a counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) and counter-drone measures, the user-friendly model is to be installed in a standard SUV and offers automatic operability by utilizing 16 channels and high emitting power amplifiers to provide support in enhancing protection range and combatting various threats across the frequency domain.
NavControl-G is a sophisticated transmitter unit designed to help prevent unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from trespassing into specific locations. To help safeguard a sensitive area, the system can emulate GPS signals to generate position and timing inaccuracies, thereby taking control of non-cooperating unmanned vehicles. Encased in a shock-proof container, the system can be seamlessly integrated across multiple configurations – either in fixed locations or deployed on the field when required.
SIGN4L specialises in the desig and production of open-architecture digital and RF-based security products and services for governments and businesses in the Middle East.
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22 Feb 21. Israel’s IAI and Matrix partner for AI center focused on automatic target detection. Israel Aerospace Industries and Matrix Defense are partnering on an artificial intelligence center to develop automated target detection for future battlefields.
“The two companies will co-develop AI, machine learning (ML) and Big Data-driven solutions to be integrated into IAI’s satellite and space systems, defense and attack systems, missiles, homing heads, electro-optical payloads, and additional systems,” a Feb. 21 statement on the agreement said.
IAI sees the collaboration with Matrix Defense, an AI and machine learning application service, as part of the open innovation that state-owned IAI supports. In October, IAI selected five Israeli startups out of hundreds that expressed interest in the company’s accelerator and innovation center.
“The state-of-the-art technologies we develop and implement provide the business technological value and increase the effectiveness of our advanced systems for our customers,” said Inbal Kreiss, head of IAI’s Systems Missiles & Space Group Innovation Center. Expanding the existing AI capabilities will enhance performance on the future battlefield, making IAI systems more robust, she added.
The push into artificial intelligence is part of a broader trend for Israeli defense giants. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has put AI on Spice bombs and incorporated it into numerous other technologies used for surveillance and digital networking on the battlefield. Elbit Systems has added AI to its HattoriX target acquisition system and its Condor MS imaging for strategic recon missions.
“The development center will seek to expand the capabilities and performance of existing systems and introduce innovative capabilities on automated systems,” IAI said in a statement.
Matrix has an AI research center that emphasizes deep learning, and the partnership will help the two companies create breakthroughs, said Ron Barak, head of AI research at Matrix Defense. “Matrix’s solutions are integrated into a broad range of information-generating channels and digital transformation, providing significant value to our civilian and defense customers.”
The new technology will be implemented in IAI’s satellite, space, homing, defense, assault and other systems, the company said. It noted that it has AI capabilities on various unspecified systems already. “At the center both companies will create innovative analytic engines and enhanced battlefield capabilities. The joint teams will work with experts in specific fields such as satellites, missiles, strategic systems, and more, as well as content experts on AI, analytical engines, and big data,” the IAI statement noted.
In the age of big data, IAI pointed out that operators grapple with a massive amount of information. Including tools that can sift through all the information being sponged up by modern electro-optics and defense systems with high reliability “will enhance the systems’ performance and provide a significant edge on the future battlefield.”
IAI subsidiary Elta Systems, which makes sensors and radar, uses software that employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to deal with big data challenges. AI contributes to more effective threat detection and classification, the company has said. In 2020, Elta offered participating startups in a partnership with Israel’s MassChallenge accelerator the chance to move toward a technology proof of concept.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
22 Feb 21. Saab inks deal with Tawazun to bolster sensor technology research in UAE. Swedish firm Saab will launch research and development efforts for sensor technology in the United Arab Emirates under multiple agreements it signed Sunday at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi.
Saab will also participate in the educational program Sustain and Enhance Emiratization in Defence and Security, or SEEDS, as part of the agreements it signed with the Tawazun Economic Council and the Tawazun Technology and Innovation business. The council is an organization focused on the defense and security industry, and is charged with developing a locally sustainable sector.
“The SEEDS program in particular offers UAE talent the opportunity to participate in international, value-driven internships and workshops and to positively contribute to their country. This partnership is directly aligned with Saab’s mission to become a vital contributor and partner to the UAE’s defense sector and economy,” a Saab official told Defense News.
The sensor systems would be used for both civil and military applications, according to Saab’s managing director, Anna-Karin Rosén, who was quoted in a company news release.
“Our partnership with Saab is an example of an international partnership that is beneficial for both parties,” Tareq Abdulraheem Al Hosani, the CEO of Tawazun Economic Council, said in the release. “Together, Tawazun and Saab will continue to develop and build up the UAE’s critical technical capabilities and national competencies and skills, fortifying our contribution to the UAE.”
The SEEDS program was launched in February 2019 to provide Emirati nationals at senior and mid-management levels as well as fresh graduates of certain specialties the opportunity to work alongside international defense and aerospace manufacturers.
In March 2020, Emirati defense industry conglomerate Edge Group joined the SEEDS program under a memorandum of understanding signed with the Tawazun Economic Council. Other program partners include Lockheed Martin of the United States; France’s Thales, Nexter Systems, and Naval Group; Canada’s CAE; and Germany’s Diehl Group. (Source: Defense News)
22 Feb 21. UAE receives third GlobalEye AEW&C aircraft. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has received its third Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, the manufacturer announced on 20 February. The delivery of the third of the five Bombardier Global 6000 business jet-based platforms that were contracted to the UAE Air Force and Defence (AF&D) under the Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSS) programme came about 10 months after the first was handed over in late April 2020 and five months after the second was delivered in September 2020.
Having signed for an initial three platforms in 2015, the UAE added two more to its SRSS requirement in late December 2020. All five aircraft are due to be with the UAE AF&D by the end of 2025.
The GlobalEye platform is built around the Saab Erieye Extended Range (ER) S-band (2–4 GHz) radar that is housed in the same external dorsal ‘plank’ as the company’s original Erieye system. Equipped with gallium nitride (GaN) and other technologies, the Erieye ER is an active electronically scanned-array (AESA) system that doubles the radar’s power efficiency compared with previous Erieye iterations. It has a range in excess of 650 km that, as with all AESA radars, can be dramatically extended by focusing the radar’s energy in a particular direction. Saab has said the Erieye ER is resistant to jamming and features all-weather functionality in all domains (air, sea, and land surveillance), as well as an “extremely high” tracking update rate against targets of interest.
19 Feb 21. Canadian defence department seeks proposals for fixed and mobile counter UAS capability. Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for technology solutions including Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) capability.
According to the RFI issued by Canada’s Public Works department, DND and the Canadian Armed Forces are looking for innovative science and technology solutions to address Canada’s classified defence and security challenges through a classified call for proposals process.
The C-UAS capability includes: ‘Approaches and systems for countering UAS that are capable of detecting, tracking, identifying, and/or neutralizing the UAS from as far away from the device as possible, and able to perform these functions from either fixed installations or in a moving vehicle. The Canadian Armed Forces needs systems which can deploy easily and readily, and automate these tasks to the extent possible (to minimize training, user input and level of effort in performing these functions)’
C-UAS is one of seven areas currently included in the RFI:
Anti-drone systems (C-UAS); combating the Threat of Explosives (LME); defeat Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (DEI-RC); fusion and automation of data in the cloud; integration of soldier’s systems; space sensor payloads; and underwater warfare.
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Services and Technology Acquisition Management Sector
Innovation Procurement Directorate
Solicitation No: W7714-217834/A
GETS ref No: PW-21-00945859
The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) programme was announced in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged and launched in 2018 to invest CAD1.6bn over the next 20 years to access the expertise and solutions from the Canadian innovation ecosystem. The program provides Canadian innovators (from small to large enterprises, academia, not-for profit organisation, Universities, etc.) with a structure and support to encourage solutions for Canada’s toughest defence and security challenges.
IDEaS supports the development of solutions from their conceptual stage, through prototype testing and capability development. The program’s goal is to access new defence and security solutions from Canadian innovators for the benefit of the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). To date, more than CAS140m have been invested in solutions through the programme.
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19 Feb 21. Russian steel plant tests counter drone system supplied by Kaspersky and Rohde & Schwarz. The Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant, part of the Chelyabinsk Pipe Plant, has carried out pilot tests using a counter drone system supplied by Kapersky and Rohde & Schwarz. Hardware and software was tested over critical infrastructure to develop possible scenarios for protection against drone attacks, according to the Russian industry publication Steelland. Kapersky’s counter drone solution is designed to detect Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as a distance of 4,000m, determine its model, localise the pilot’s location and transmit data to the interface. The newest version features an integrated RFID module from Rohde & Schwarz. During the tests, the solution detected drones crossing the plant’s protected perimeter and re-routed them back to their take-off point. The system works autonomously and starts detecting from the moment the drone is turned on. When a drone tries to cross the protective perimeter, no harm is done to the device: the radio signal neutralization module blocks the drone’s communication with the control panel and forces it to return to the starting point or make a soft landing at the point where communication with the operator is lost.
According to the newspaper report, Vladimir Turov, Kaspersky project manager said: “I believe that the system successfully completed its tasks within the framework of a pilot project at the Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant. We demonstrated the capabilities of the hardware and the flexibility of our software. The process of detecting objects in the air, their classification and neutralization of drones were at a high level, despite the low temperature and snow. The solution has once again proved its effectiveness at facilities of any scale and in any weather conditions.”
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21 Feb 21. US Border Patrol issues RFI for nationwide C-UAS concept whitepaper. The United States Border Patrol (USBP), as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and on behalf of all of CBP, is conducting market research through a Request for Information (RFI) on the current availability and technological capabilities of a Counter Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) to address current and future threats and gaps regarding unmanned aircraft systems.
According to the RFI:
“THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTEND TO AWARD A CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF THIS RFI OR OTHERWISE PAY FOR INFORMATION RECEIVED. This RFI is issued solely for information, planning purposes, and market research only; it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP….CBP is interested in learning about the availability of systems to counter the threat of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, which includes the capability to detect, identify, classify, track, and/or mitigate these threats. CBP has an operational need for rapidly deployable, mobile and agent-portable, and fixed assets to provide situational awareness for CBP personnel in the field. Current surveillance capabilities lack the ability to adjust to counter surveillance efforts. As advanced UAS technology has become available to the public, Transnational Criminal Organizations now use UASs for smuggling activities and for monitoring CBP operations. In addition, UASs pose security threats due to the potential for an attack. C-UAS detection and mitigation technology will provide CBP with better situational and air domain awareness, improve agent safety, and increase national security….
“C-UASs will be responsible for countering the threat of UASs. Each C-UAS will be responsible for monitoring its Area of Coverage. The number of C-UAS deployed across CBP locations will vary based on geography, availability of equipment and trained operators, and operational need. When deployed, the system will provide the C-UAS operator with information regarding detection, tracking/classifying/identifying, and mitigation of UAS threats. These UASs typically consist of a UAV (drone), a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The drones can be of varying sizes and weights, as well as varying configurations such as fixed-wing, vertical takeoff and landing, and hybrid. In addition, the sensor and payload capabilities vary between drones, as well do the data collection and transmission capabilities.
“One example of an operational scenario includes a fixed C-UAS deployed to a CBP operating area of interest. Upon detecting drone threats, the system logs the information and notifies the operator of a threat (either locally on the system interface, or remotely via connection to an information network). Next, the system begins to track the drone (determines location and flight path) and attempts to classify and identify drones in terms of known characteristics (e.g., model, weight, payload, frequency, and launch location). In addition, the information collected in real-time will allow operators to take appropriate action given the drones known location. If deemed necessary and in accordance with policy, the system will enable operators to disrupt or deny further operation of the drone. Throughout the scenario, the system data and intelligence are logged in order to increase awareness to the current and future drone threat.
Notice ID: CBP_C-UAS_RFI
Responsible agency: Department of Homeland Security
Deadline: 5 March 2021
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16 Feb 21. US government funds research to track drone flights in border area with Canada. The US government has started an initiative between 10 agencies including the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), US Customs and Border Protection, Department of Defense (DoD) and others in “quickly and accurately detect, track, and identify” slow-flying aircraft, both manned and unmanned, at the northern border with Canada.
According to an article published by the DHS, the northern border between the US and Canada serves as an important conduit for trade and travel into the country. However, safeguarding and securing this vital point of entry presents unique challenges.
“Air domain awareness is the ability to be cognizant of everything that travels through the airspace of a specific geographic region—in our case, the northern border,” explained Teddy Damour, engineer for DHS S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL). “For DHS, air domain awareness is essential for a wide range of security and defense activities, especially prevention of and responses to potential illegal activities at various points of entry into the US.”
With support from Congress, S&T is working with partners and select vendors on an initiative to test and implement state-of-the-art aerial surveillance technologies, sensors, and capabilities at the northern border.
“Over the next two years, we will be hosting demonstrations and test events in four different geographical regions on the northern border—flat lowland plains, an urban setting, a mountainous region, and a maritime environment” said Damour. “We will develop a test plan utilizing a standardized testing procedure and protocols established by DoD and DHS to assess and test cutting-edge air domain awareness technologies, such as radar systems, cameras, radio frequency detection systems, acoustic devices, and other selected electronic capture equipment to determine how effectively they can provide surveillance capabilities in these diverse environments and terrains.
These air domain awareness demonstrations will utilize multiple small UAS and manned aircraft targets such as DJI Phantom drones, unmanned commercial fixed-wing aircrafts, and small ultralight manned aircrafts—all of which represent common threats in the Homeland.
“These demonstrations and evaluations will be very different from the ones we’ve conducted in the past, where air domain awareness and Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems were tested in controlled settings such as airports, cities, and desert environments,” explained Tim Bennett, DHS manager of the Air Domain Awareness (ADA) programme. “This is the real deal. We have no way of knowing how these technologies will perform in these settings—but that’s also why these demonstrations are so important to carry out.”
Because of the impact of COVID-19 on the ADA program schedule, the first round of air domain awareness demonstrations will now take place this spring at Camp Grafton, North Dakota, to assess selected sensors and systems and measure how well they perform in a flat lowland plains environment. This demonstration will consist of four sessions—each 1-week long, with three-to-four vendors participating in each session. Throughout the demonstrations, vendors’ air domain awareness technologies will be scrutinized using S&T’s comprehensive test plan.
“Their performance during the tests and assessments, and the resulting data will be crucial in informing us and our stakeholders on how effectively these surveillance systems will be able to detect, identify, and track relevant threats along this particular section of the northern border,” explained Damour.
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16 Feb 21. Russian Army Special Forces to acquire more Arbalet-DM C-UAS units for armoured vehicles. Russian Army Special Forces will soon be equipped with Tiger-M armored vehicles with Arbalet-DM combat modules capable of fighting drones, reports Russia’s Izvestia news service.
“The armored vehicles have been successfully tested in the army special forces in southern Russia. Now a decision has been made in principle to arm “Tigers” with combat modules Arbalet-DM and other units of special purpose and intelligence, sources in the Ministry of Defense told Izvestia. This year they will enter the Central and Western military districts. In 2020, the military department reported on the use by a special forces group in the Krasnodar Territory of such armored vehicles against drones from a distance of up to 1.5 km. The exercise was held in July during a large-scale surprise inspection of the troops of the Southern Military District. After the completion of the strategic exercises Kavkaz-2020, the head of the Main Armored Directorate, Major General Sergei Bibik, said that in 2021 it is planned to supply the Armed Forces with additional multipurpose vehicles “Tiger-M” with remotely controlled combat modules “Arbalet-DM”.
The new agency reports that the special forces of the Southern Military District were the first to receive in 2017 a new version of the AMN 233114 “Tiger-M” armored vehicles with the Arbalet-DM remote-controlled combat module.
According to the Army Guide website (http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product5291.html) “The Arbalet-DM (Arbalet – Crossbow) – remote controlled weapon station (RCWS), armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun was developed by a private firm Oruzhejnye Masterskie in conjunction with the Kovrov electromechanical plant. It was shown at the RAE-2015 exhibition. (The) Arbalet-DM gross weight is about 250 kg. The main armament – a 6P49 12.7-mm machine gun, which has a rate of fire up to 600 rounds per minute. Sighting range at ground targets and objectives reached – 2,000 m in the daytime and 1,500 m in the night. Ammunition – up to 450 shots. Additionally, to enhance the security of the vehicle…the Arbalet-DM RCWS can be mounted four smoke grenade launchers. The fire control system includes a gunner sighting system PC-SU IPTSYU.201219.026 with low-level TV camera that provides a range of detection and identification of the target sample with a narrow field of vision – not less than 2500 m. The laser rangefinder has a range of measuring ranges: 100-3000 m.
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17 Feb 21. USAF tests high energy laser system as part of wider programme to deploy counter drone technology. The US Air Force reports tests using the High Energy Laser Weapon System 2, also known as HELWS2 or H2, a counter-Unmanned Aerial System (c-UAS) directed energy weapon (DEW). The tests are part of the Directed Energy Combined Test Force, or DE CTF, which is focused on testing weapons designed to prevent adversarial drone observation and assault.
H2 was tested as part of a directed energy experiment that began in the spring of 2020 and was managed by the Strategic Development Planning & Experimentation, or SDPE, office. This experiment has involved taking commercial off the shelf systems and deploying them to several Combatant Commands, or COCOMs, for training, testing and evaluation for a one-year period.
“This experiment has many notable U.S. Air Force firsts, including the complete training of and operation of the system by Security Forces Airmen, the first directed energy c-UAS capability, and the first integration with a base,” said DE CTF Director Lt. Col. Jared Rupp. “Additionally, these locations were selected as to significantly enhance c-UAS capability through the use of these DEWs, helping to prevent enemy airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and attacks.”
Raytheon Intelligence & Space developed the H2 with lessons learned from the deployment of its first HELWS, referred to as H1 and deployed in early 2020. The H2 system features a number of improvements, including ruggedized enhancements to ensure transportability and survivability in a wide range of operational environments, a new beam director for more accurate targeting, and a robust power system for additional magazine depth.
The DE CTF is a combination of Air Force Research Laboratory DE Directorate (AFRL/RD), 704th Test Group Operation Location AA and Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) personnel co-located at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 704th Test Group is an operating unit of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee.
The DE CTF is uniquely postured to accelerate fledgling systems to the warfighters through its three members by leveraging decades of directed energy lab experience and resources; developmental test planning, execution and reporting; and operational insight and relevancy.
Since it was formed in 2018, the DE CTF has been engaged in multiple experiments and will lead the directed energy c-UAS prototype testing and other program of record efforts in the near future.
The first phase of H2 testing, which took place at the end of July, was a limited weeklong test to ensure basic functionality and lethality and to determine whether the system was ready to enter the second phase of testing.
This second phase involved deployment to a COCOM base and included H2 setup, operator training and an initial performance assessment. The system and team, consisting of members from AFRL/RD, 704th Test Group, AFOTEC, SDPE and Raytheon, were overseas for this phase at the beginning of September.
“The first phase proved that H2 was capable of integrating with a fielded radar and fielded command and control system, and it completed the kill chain by shooting down UASs at operationally-relevant ranges,” Rupp said. “It was then successfully deployed and integrated overseas.”
Because the HELWS systems represent a new class of weapons, there was not yet official training, concept of operations or tactics, techniques or procedures for the H2. Rupp said those involved in its testing developed guidance for utilization of the weapon.
“This experiment has gained knowledge to build a basis of integrating DEWs through U.S. Air Force operations,” Rupp said. “The DE CTF and SDPE created the training for the first-ever Security Forces operators to operate this highly-technical DEW. We educated base leadership of the capabilities and limitations of these weapons to enable them to make proper decisions, such as engagement authorities. We also assessed the performance of the system after overseas transport and setup and monitored the daily operation of the system to determine what factors impact operations the most and what parts of the system were most vulnerable to reliability problems.”
More work involving the H2 is upcoming for the DE CTF. Another assessment of the system will be conducted around six to 12 months after the initial assessment.
“At the end of the one year evaluation period, the COCOMs decide whether they will take ownership of the sustainability of the system or whether they want us to take the system back,” Rupp said.
The experimentation campaign initiated this past spring is ongoing. Five DEWs were to be tested throughout the effort – three versions of the HELWS and two different high-power microwave systems. Four systems were tested in 2020, three of which have been deployed.
(Image: Raytheon HELWS)
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21 Feb 21. MBDA launches Sky Warden C-UAS system. MBDA, a world leader in air defence solutions, is launching Sky Warden – the new flagship system to counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS).
Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “As Europe’s leading air defence provider, MBDA is uniquely able to offer customers a proven, flexible andintegrated C-UAS system. One that is available today, and can evolve into the future. Sky Warden embodies MBDA’s deep knowledge of the engagement process, systems integration, of all categories of effectors and their next evolutions, and of effects management in the air defence domain.”
The Sky Warden system manages the full C-UAS kill chain from detection to neutralisation and is designed to operate both as an integrated component in a layered air defence architecture, or in a stand-alone configuration. Sky Warden can be vehicle mounted or dismounted.
The modern C-UAS threat is varied, rapidly evolving, and poses a multiplying number of complex scenarios that require defending against. This means there is no single sensor or effector that can meet the modern or future C-UAS requirement. Instead Sky Warden utilises a networked eco-system of constantly evolving sensors and effectors, drawn from MBDA’s wide experience in air defence and effects management, to match the UAS threat.
Being modular, scaleable, and evolvable, Sky Warden is able to effectively and appropriately neutralise all classes of UAV, from small Class 1 micro-UAVs to large tactical UAVs, as well as other traditional air threats.
At its core is a command and control (C2) system that performs effects management – co-ordinating this eco-system of sensors, soft-kill effectors, and hard-kill effectors to defend armed forces units or sensitive sites across a large protection perimeter.
Sky Warden utilises operationally-proven building blocks within a modular open architecture that can be adapted to end-user requirements or to plug and play emerging and future novel sensing and effector technologies. MBDA C-UAS solutions have already been successfully demonstrated to customers.
19 Feb 21. Thales to provide new-generation sonar suite for French Navy’s nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs).
- Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly on Friday 19 February announced the launch of the full-scale development phase of the SNLE 3G programme to build France’s third-generation nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs).
- As part of the SNLE 3G programme, the French defence procurement agency (DGA) has signed an MoU with Thales for the development of a complete sonar suite including a broad range of sonar arrays and associated processing systems.
- The technological innovations planned for the various sonars will lead to order-of-magnitude increases in data volumes compared to current systems, which will require the use of artificial intelligence and Big Data algorithms.
With the launch of full-scale development of France’s third generation of nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SNLE 3G), Thales is developing a new sonar suite based on disruptive technologies that represent a significant break from the systems in service today.
Thales will provide new-generation flank arrays and bow-mounted sonars, a towed linear array based on optical technology (ALRO), and all the other equipment making up the sonar suite (intercept arrays, echo-sounders, underwater telephones). The size of the arrays and the frequency bands they use will deliver unparalleled performance in terms of 3D (azimuth, elevation, range) detection precision.
The ALICIA sensor data processing system (Analyse, Localisation, Identification, Classification Intégrées et Alertes), with a user interface designed to handle the diversity and volume of available data, will optimise operator workload and provide decision support.
The new sonar suite will be deployed incrementally, with the first technological building blocks and system versions due to be installed on second-generation SSBNs (SNLE 2G) from 2025, and on the third-generation submarines (SNLE 3G) from 2035.
“Thales teams have been especially focused on the SNLE 3G project to ensure that it benefits from our very best sonar innovations, which have been taking shape over the last five years as part of nearly 50 years of consistent investments in sovereign R&D to guarantee the invulnerability of France’s SSBNs. New sovereign sonar array, processing and Big Data technologies will deliver unparalleled performance for the third-generation SSBNs and will also be of benefit to the modernised Triomphant-class second-generation SSBNs. We thank the Ministry for the Armed Forces for the trust they have place in us, and we are happy to be working hand in hand with Naval Group on this major national project.” Alexis Morel, Vice President, Underwater Systems, Thales.
23 Feb 21. Sky Warden offers flexible C-UAS with sensor fusion. MBDA solution combines sensors, soft-kill effectors and hard-kill effectors.
The recent success of UCAVs in conflicts such as the ongoing Syrian Civil War and the September-November 2020 conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh means that close attention is being paid to battlefield counter-UAS (C-UAS) solutions.
In this context, the launch of the Sky Warden system by MBDA during the IDEX 2021 defence exhibition assumes some significance.
The system, which can be vehicle-mounted or dismounted, includes multiple components to detect and neutralise enemy UAVs.
An MBDA official provided Shephard with some details about the system: it simultaneously employs a Saab-developed radar, a remote EO sensor and a Cerbair passive RF sensor to detect targets.
At the core of Sky Warden is a C2 system for effects management – coordinating the eco-system of sensors, soft-kill effectors, and hard-kill effectors to defend military units or sensitive sites across a long perimeter.
Soft-kill effectors include an RF/microwave directed-energy weapon (DEW) developed by Teledyne e2v which is used at very short range; an RF jammer developed by KEAS Group; and a laser DEW developed by CILAS Ariane Group.
Hard-kill effectors include very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) missiles, a VSHORAD automatic gun (pictured) developed by OpenWorks Engineering and a hunter-killer UAV.
Sky Warden has a modular open architecture that can be adapted to end-user requirements or to ‘plug and play’ sensing and effector technologies in future.
In general, the system reflects current approaches to countering UAVs — only integrated solutions are workable. This is primarily due to the huge variety of UAVs that can be used by adversaries, from small and cheap multicopters to MALE- and HALE-class vehicles, which can be countered by fighters and long-range SAMs.
On the other hand, having so many components in a single system also demonstrates that there is no clear answer to the question how best to deal with UAVs. In fact, within a single system, one has to integrate an layered air defence system that has components for detecting and engaging targets at different ranges.
There are even ‘last hope’ assets such as the RF DEW, which cannot be effective at ranges beyond 500m. (Source: Shephard)
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