Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
04 Mar 21. Photonics spin-out to defend against battlefield laser threats awarded funding. A new photonics spin-out company that provides novel laser detection and protection products for military users has been awarded funding from the UK Government Using research undertaken by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Sentinel Photonics offers a unique range of laser detection and protection products. For the first time, protection from laser-based threats for dismounted soldiers is possible, potentially saving lives and improving survivability.
The technology detects and analyses invisible lasers used ahead of weapon systems to provide advance warning of attacks. Over time a bank of laser ‘signatures’ will be created that will identify and distinguish individual threat systems, enabling dismounted troops to take appropriate protective measures.
This disruptive technology not only offers a step change in size, weight, power, and cost, but also enhanced detection capabilities against laser threats on the battlefield.
This capability has attracted the attention of the UK Government and has resulted in 2 successful applications for development contract funding from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).
Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Sentinel’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “I would like to thank DASA for their support. These two grants, totalling £232,000, will help Sentinel accelerate its product development programme and will see demonstrator products in the hands of our end users by the end of the year. By the end of the summer, I’m also pleased to announce that we will be seeking to launch a Venture Funding round and would welcome preliminary discussions with interested parties.
A wide range of military and homeland security users will soon benefit from the assurance of having agile, next generation laser detection and protection in place. In addition to dismounted operators, a wide variety of land, sea and air platforms could be equipped with this capability.
Sentinel’s first product will be a novel camera-based Laser Event Recorder (LER) to detect both pulsed and continuous wave (CW) lasers. In due course it also plans to develop a range of optical filters to provide protection against laser threats to complement the LER detection capability.
Sean Tipper, Sentinel’s Chief Technology Officer, said, “I have been working in the electro-optics field at Dstl for more than 5 years and am excited to continue this journey as part of Sentinel Photonics. The cutting-edge work undertaken at Dstl to not only reduce the Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) of these technologies but also create entirely new capabilities and overcome existing limitations, is what makes Sentinel’s products unique and will help to prevent loss of life and improve mission effectiveness.”
Sentinel Photonics was established in 2019 by Ploughshare Innovations, the technology transfer office of Dstl. Ploughshare commercialises innovations from across UK Government by either licensing to industry or creating spin-out companies. Sentinel Photonics is it latest novel spin-out and interested parties are invited to contact us about future seed round investment opportunities. For more information about Sentinel’s products visit http://sentinelphotonics.co.uk (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
03 Mar 21. New Compact Infrared Hyperspectral Camera Promises Easier Airborne Surveys. Building on the world-renowned Hyper-Cam – the gold-standard in standoff hyperspectral imaging – Canadian infrared camera manufacturer Telops has developed a new compact hyperspectral imaging system: the Hyper-Cam Airborne Mini, paving the way to a striking revolution in infrared hyperspectral imaging.
At just 50 pounds and with a volume of roughly one cubic foot, the Hyper-Cam Airborne Mini can be installed into small aircrafts in minutes, allowing for increased efficiency at reduced operational cost, and without compromising performance.
New Compact Infrared Hyperspectral Camera Promises Easier Airborne Surveys
This is crucial, since airborne hyperspectral surveys are notoriously challenging: complex measurement devices and cumbersome support equipment need to be installed aboard aircrafts while massive amounts of collected data require heavy post-processing to generate meaningful results.
“In the past, we needed two strong people to raise the airborne platform, and it took at least a couple of hours to install. It was not a small feat! Now the Hyper-Cam Airborne Mini is so small it could fit in your backpack. Installation is easier, and smaller aircrafts can be used,” says Philippe Lagueux, scientific product line manager.
The Hyper-Cam Airborne Mini uses the spectral signal measured in the longwave infrared to detect and identify gases and minerals. It can be used to spot indicator minerals during geological exploration missions, to provide true signature measurement of military targets, to detect gas leaks at an oil plant, or to quantify VOC emissions to support environmental compliance efforts.
INNOVATIVE IMAGE CONTROL TECHNOLOGY
In-flight operation of the Hyper-Cam Airborne Mini is simple: the software continuously adapts system parameters to the everchanging flight conditions, and a state-of-the-art active stabilization platform coupled with a re-engineered Image Motion Compensation system brings unprecedented mapping and targeting capabilities.
Once in the air, the control and processing unit can automate the data acquisition process or allow the user to retain full control over acquisition parameters.
“The Hyper-Cam Airborne Mini offers the best sensitivity and spectral resolution available, and is user-selectable up to 0.5 cm-1. This, coupled with swappable fore-optics, maximizes measurement flexibility and ensures optimal ground coverage at all times,” says Lagueux.
With an optional plug-in, the control and processing unit can run powerful data analysis algorithms to present gas detection, identification, and quantification results in real-time, allowing the user to make fast and informed decisions.
“We are proud and very excited about the launch of this new generation of the Hyper-Cam after years of intense development engineering. The Hyper-Cam Airborne Mini is tailored to the requirements of modern remote sensing and will without a doubt contribute to the success of our scientific customers in the field of remote sensing,” says Lagueux.
Telops is a leading supplier of high-performance infrared cameras for defence, industrial, and academic research applications. Telops also offers R&D services for optical systems technology development to respond to the specific needs of its customers. All Telops thermal infrared imaging systems offer exceptional accuracy and sensitivity and come in a fully ruggedized enclosure. (Source: PR Newswire)
03 Mar 21. DroneShield AI System Detects New Potential Threats. On 8 February 2021, DroneShield has unveiled its new, world leading, C-UAS AI-enabled software, running on all of its devices enrolled into regular updates. The system utilises proprietary techniques in signal processing and Machine Learning/AI to do near-real time detection and identification of unmanned robotic systems and, more broadly, other potential threats in the Electronic Warfare fields. The result was a dramatic increase in detection responsiveness, lower false positives and a significant increase in the speed at which new threats are detected, classified and tracked by the DroneShield systems. As an example of the system’s capabilities to detect never-seen-before threats, it has successfully detected, a new UAS protocol OcuSync 3 (O3), released by DJI on its First Person View (FPV) Drone, released this week. Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “Our AI engine has been designed to both detect never-seen-before threats and learn at a superior rate to adapt to new Signals of Interest. Having the system recognise a new threat platform
03 Mar 21. Cohort has become aware of press speculation that ELAC SONAR, a subsidiary of Cohort, has been selected to provide submarine sonar systems to an export customer. The Company can confirm that ELAC SONAR is in discussions with an export customer about the provision of such systems. If these discussions are successful, the resulting contract would be significant in relation to the Group’s order book and would enhance the visibility of future revenues, though it would not materially affect current market expectations of the Group’s performance. There is no guarantee the contract will be awarded to ELAC SONAR and the Company will provide a further update in due course.
03 Mar 21. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) has been accepted into two key US Department of Defense (DoD) consortiums – System of Systems Consortium (SOSSEC) and Sensors, Communications, and Electronics Consortium (SCEC).
SOSSEC focuses on collaboration, innovation, and cooperation among its partners focussed on DoD mission sets, including areas highly relevant to DroneShield, including Electronic Warfare, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance and Targeting, and Intelligence Analysis Exploitation and Dissemination.
SCEC conducts research, development, and testing in cooperation with the US Government, leading to technology demonstrations and prototype projects in the sensors, communications and electronics sciences and other related fields to maintain and improve warfighter capabilities in complex environments.Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “Enabling the US warfighter is our key priority. SCEC and SOSSEC, as two Other Transaction Authority (OTA) consortia, enable streamlined access to U.S. federal agency awards, and are an important step in our growing engagement with the US Government customers.”
02 Mar 21. Canadian Fisheries launches new patrol aircraft fitted with Australian Optical Radar. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s ViDAR-equipped Dash 8 maritime patrol aircraft. ViDAR will augment the Dash 8’s onboard EO/IR sensor suite. Photo: via PAL Aerospace
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has unveiled a new fleet of four surveillance aircraft. They include two long-range De Havilland Canada Dash 8 maritime patrol aircraft which will be equipped with ViDAR, an Australian-developed Optical Radar system.
ViDAR, for Visual Detection And Ranging, is an imagery analysis system developed by Melbourne-based Sentient Vision Systems. ViDAR is the world’s first passive, persistent Optical Radar with a proven detection rate for human head-size objects in the water of 96%, even in Sea State 6. That makes it extremely useful for fisheries patrol missions; ViDAR will augment the Dash 8s’ suite of onboard sensors.
The aircraft are being acquired under a C$128m contract with PAL Aerospace based in St Johns, Newfoundland. When operational, they will fly out of bases in St Johns, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Campbell River, British Columbia.
The ViDAR-equipped Dash-8 aircraft will allow Canadian fishery officers to expand their range of operations, providing them with essential tools to combat illegal fishing and enhance Canada’s maritime security.
This new fleet of aerial surveillance aircraft will also be a crucial tool for the enforcement of measures put in place by the Government of Canada to protect endangered whales. This includes monitoring the Gulf of St. Lawrence for compliance to fisheries management measures for North Atlantic right whales, as well as monitoring critical habitat areas for Southern Resident killer whales.
The contract includes two King Air 200 and two Dash-8-100 maritime patrol aircraft, and three bases of operation: St. John’s, NL; Halifax, NS; and Campbell River, BC.
The new base of operations in Campbell River, BC became operational in September 2020.
The King Air aircraft—one based in Halifax, NS and another based in St. John’s, NL—became operational in September 2020.
Fishery officers flew over 700 hours in 2020 patrolling the Gulf of St. Lawrence to enforce fishery management measures designed to protect North Atlantic right whales. (Source: http://rumourcontrol.com.au/)
01 Mar 21. OSCE identifies Russian 51U6 Kasta 2E1 radar in Ukraine. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported on 17 February that it had identified a 51U6 Kasta-2E1 target acquisition radar at a non-government-controlled training ground in Ukraine, which violates the 2015 Minsk agreement on weapon withdrawal.
The system, which consists of two vehicles mounted on a KamAZ-43114 6×6 off-road chassis, was observed at a training area near Buhaivka, 37 km southwest of Luhansk, by an OSCE mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Open source investigative website InformNapalm on 24 February also reported the discovery with an image appearing to show the system being covered with a large tarpaulin in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
The OSCE also identified a 9K35 Strela-10 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system at the same training ground, which was beyond the Minsk withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage.
The 51U6 Kasta-2E1 is a C-band ultra-high frequency (300 MHz-1 GHz) 2D target acquisition radar designed to acquire the range and heading of small targets flying at low altitudes against high background clutter. Its radar apparatus can be elevated up to 50 m using a mast, enabling the system to clear any local features that might block its signal.
Russian sources state that its power output is just 1 kW and that it has a viewing range of 150 km up to altitudes of 6 km. It can detect a target with a radar cross-section of 0.3 m2 flying at an altitude of 60 m from a range of 24km using its standard mast, but this can be extended to 42 km with the 50m mast. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Mar 21. Russian system “uses passive signals to provide almost undetectable C-UAS capability.” Russian technology company Roselektronika has developed a system for deactivating drones by radio waves, according to a report by Sputnik News. The Zaschita (Protection) system consists of passive sensors that do not emit any radiation and, to detect the target, uses external signals such as those of digital television that bounce off the drone. Passive sensors make the equipment practically undetectable. In addition, permission is not required for the use of radio frequencies, which facilitates its civilian use.
For more information visit:
28 Feb 21. RAF SENTINEL R1 Conducts Last Operational Flight. On Thursday an RAF Sentinel R1 aircraft carried out the last operational flight of the type from RAF Waddington after 14 years of service. The Sentinel R1 aircraft of V (Army Cooperation) Squadron have flown circa 32,300 hours conducting approximately 4,870 sorties during its service life. The withdrawal from service was first announced as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. The surveillance role of the Sentinel will now be carried out by other aircraft in RAF service including the newly introduced Poseidon and Protector amongst others.
Commenting on the Sentinel and its role within V (AC) Squadron, the Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Dominic ‘Dutch’ Holland said: “It has been an absolute privilege to have commanded V (AC) Squadron. It is a fantastic Squadron, with wonderful people, that has delivered exceptional results on multiple operations across the globe. Pivotal to that success has been the fantastic effort and support from across the whole of the Sentinel enterprise.”
The Sentinel aircraft was commissioned through engineering firm Raytheon to provide an Airborne Stand-off Radar (ASTOR) system and first saw service during Operation HERRICK in 2008. Five aircraft were acquired and V(AC) Sqn was reformed to operate the aircraft. The squadron has been committed since then to numerous operations around the world, notably Op SHADER and Op TELIC, whilst closer to home they provided support to the Civil Authorities during the UK’s flood emergency in southern England in 2014. Raytheon have worked closely with the RAF in maintaining this capability and were a very welcome part of the whole force at RAF Waddington. On the squadron’s recent return from Op SHADER, the UK Commander of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said: “Right to the end of its commission, V(AC) Squadron has been a constant among my deployed Force Elements. It is a record to be proud of.” (Source: joint-forces.com)
BATTLESPACE Comment: The demise of Sentinel leaves a big hole in the MoD’s surveillance capability. Th next question to ask is whether the MoD now is shut out of access to NATO AGS Capability. The UK decided not to become a partner in NATO AGS but said that the Sentinel capability would be added to allow access to NATO AGS for the UK. With Sentinel gone, what now for UK involvement in NATO AGS?
25 Feb 21. IDEX 2021 – UAE HALCON launches SkyKnight C-UAS missile, part of Rheinmetall’s air defence system. HALCON of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched its SkyKnight air defence missile at the International Defence and Exhibition Conference (IDEX) 2021 and announced it had been chosen by Rheinmetall AG to provide the missile component of Rheinmetall’s next air defence system.
According to a HALCON press release: “HALCON’s SkyKnight was purposely designed to counter the full spectrum of modern threats, providing early warning signals and precise surface-to-air intercept capabilities targeting of rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) rockets, artillery, mortar, and other fixed-wing aircraft at a range of up to 10 km.”
H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, EDGE Group – HALCON’s parent company – CEO and Managing Director said: “SkyKnight is the UAE’s first, but will not be the last air defence missile developed by HALCON. It is one of several tremendous achievements announced as part of the nation’s aim to establish sovereign defence capabilities, and with the goal to address ever-evolving threats that are not well covered by many players in the market. We are pleased to team up with Rheinmetall, a leading player in the defence industry, for us to jointly offer the world’s most advanced and comprehensive C-RAM solution leveraging our SkyKnight missile and Rheinmetall’s Skynex solution. This collaboration is a clear message that EDGE is open to teaming up with various players to offer joint advance solutions.”
The Oerlikon Skynex air defence system comprises the Oerlikon Skynex control node, multi-sensor units (MSU) featuring active electronically scanned multi-mode radars (AMMR), multiple 35mm revolver guns RG Mk3 and HALCON’s SkyKnight C-RAM missiles and missile launchers, each of which has a capacity of 60 missiles. HALCON’s C-RAM missile is capable of tracking and neutralising numerous, multi-directional incoming targets at one time, providing protection for static assets, as well as for mobile and mechanised forces. Transportable and mobile, the system can be deployed fixed on land, sea and moving land platform.
Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall AG said: “Rheinmetall Air Defence’s technologies are well suited to cover the recently shown gaps in ground-based air defence against very challenging new threats. Combined with Rheinmetall Denel Munitions capabilities in missile technology the cooperation of Rheinmetall and HALCON offers exciting new potential and a bright future.”
“Rheinmetall AG, through its Swiss subsidiary, Rheinmetall Air Defence, has deployed the Skyguard system in numerous countries, which can bring down fast, small targets, and is used as the inner tier of layered air defence of vital points and critical military infrastructure. Countries that have rolled out Skyguard systems will ultimately upgrade to Skynex, placing HALCON, its SkyKnight C-RAM missile system, and the UAE at the forefront of air defence system innovation.”
For more information
10 Feb 21. Elettronica (stand 06-B15) showcases the company’s ADRIAN counter drone system at this year’s IDEX exhibition. The Middle East is no stranger to the threat posed by drones in the wrong hands. These aircraft are cheap to buy and easy to fly. Yet they can be used for a range of illegal activities. A drone’s camera can photograph or film a sensitive site. They can deliver contraband behind prison walls and, in the worst case, be used as flying bombs for a terrorist attack. Protecting potential targets such as an airport or an important international meeting with VIPs against drones can be difficult. The aircraft are small and hard to detect. It may not be possible to use live ammunition to engage the drone particularly if it is flying in an urban area. Help is at hand from Elettronica’s ADRIAN (Anti-Drone Interception Acquisition Neutralisation) counter-drone system. ADRIAN is one of the most advanced and cost-effective counter-drone systems available. It takes care of drone detection and interception using a single system which can be deployed at a fixed site or mounted on a vehicle.
ADRIAN uses a combination of radar, optronics, acoustic sensors and an Electronic Support Measure (ESM) to detect the drone visually, via its radar signature and the noise of its engines and by using the drone’s radio transmissions. ADRIAN fuses this information, determines the drone type and its location and presents this information to the operator. Using four different sensors to find the drone means that the aircraft can still be detected if one or more of the sensors is having difficulty; for example, if tall buildings block the radar or optronics line-of-sight or if a loud environment makes it hard to hear the drone’s engines. This combination of sensors ensures a low false alarm rate.
With the drone detected, ADRIAN intercepts the radio signals the drone uses to communicate with its pilot and the satellite signals it needs for navigation. ADRIAN uses an electronic countermeasure to jam these links forcing the drone to land safely or return to its starting point. An added benefit is that ADRIAN can discern the drone pilot’s location which is useful for police and law enforcement.
ADRIAN can record missions for later analysis and debriefing. It is easy to use, ITAR-free and competitively priced. If you have a drone problem, call ADRIAN!
23 Feb 21. IDEX 2021: Rosoboronexport unveils integrated counter UAV system combining multiple devices. Rosoboronexport, part of Rostec State Corporation, held a public presentation entitled ‘New Approaches to Building an Integrated Counter UAV System’ at its stand in Hall 12. The technology was also exhibited the Almaz-Atey stand. The new package solution is designed to counter attacks by unmanned aerial vehicles and combines electronic warfare and air defense systems of various classes.
The package of capabilities, described in the Rosoboronexport press release, includes the following:
UAV jamming systems are most effective against light- and partly medium-class drones. These assets are capable of countering a massive air raid by unmanned aerial vehicles by suppressing their command/telemetry and navigation channels.
The Repellent-Patrol EW system developed and manufactured by JSC Defense Systems provides zone coverage of the territories. The Repellant-Patrol is a long-range system capable of jamming drones at a range of up to 20km.
The Kupol and Rubezh-Avtomatika systems developed by Avtomatika Concern, part of Rostec State Corporation, carry out continuous radio surveillance and create a protective dome over the installation. This is an impenetrable barrier capable of repelling attacks not only by single drones, but also their massive use from different directions and altitudes within a radius of at least 3 km.
The Pishchal electromagnetic gun is one of the lightest handheld jammers on the market, weighing a mere about 3.5 kg. It can jam UAV control/navigation channels at a range of 2 km.
As a hard-kill component of its counter UAV system, Rosoboronexport offers short-range air defense systems, in particular, KBP’s Pantsir-S1M self-propelled anti-aircraft gun/missile (SPAAGM) system or Almaz-Antey’s Tor-type SAM system.
These systems are capable of effectively engaging a variety of air attack weapons, including UAVs. The Pantsir-S1M SPAAGM has missile and gun armament and destroys air targets at up to 30 km in range and up to 18 km in altitude. The Tor-M2E’s engagement envelope against air targets is 15 km in range and 10 km in altitude.
The ‘last-ditch’ air defense will be best provided by the Verba or Igla-S MANPADS, as well as the Gibka-S MANPADS squad combat vehicles, capable of firing Verba or Igla-S MANPADS. These MANPADS can destroy targets at a maximum range of 6 km and at a maximum altitude of 3.5 km.
The integrated use of the proposed electronic warfare and air defense assets will enable effective countermeasures against UAVs of any class provided air enemy reconnaissance and automated control systems are in place.
Rosoboronexport says it optimises configuration of the system components for countering UAV threats depending on the customer’s needs and its vision of security threats to its infrastructure, transport, energy and military installations.
For more information visit:
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.