Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
17 Mar 21. RfPatrol and MPU5 Create Integrated Soldier System. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) announced the integration of its body-worn UAS passive detection device RfPatrol with the Persistent Systems MPU5 – the worlds most advanced, scalable, and efficient Mobile Ad Hoc Networking (MANET) soldier radio system. The MPU5 is offered in Australia by CISTECH Solutions, the premier Radio over IP and Network Services integrator.
Together, RfPatrol™ and the MPU5 offer a body-worn passive detection capability, with RfPatrol™ output via its Battle Management System securely relayed in real time to a central command point via the MPU5, for a common operating picture showing location of the dismounted forces carrying the RfPatrol devices, displaying UAS and other threat alerts in real time and locations.
Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “This is world’s first capability of its kind, enabling a common operating picture of C-UAS and other improvised threat detection from dismounted units in the field. We are excited to partner with CISTECH Solutions and Persistent Systems to deliver this solution to our customers.”
16 Mar 21. Raytheon Readies LTAMDS Radar For Tests. Raytheon’s currently on contract for six of the Army’s next-gen radars, but just replacing every US Army Patriot radar — the current plan — would be 80-plus sales. Raytheon will soon deliver the Army’s first “production readiness” model of the new LTAMDS radar, in time for key tests this summer. By next September (2022), the first six early-model LTAMDS should have passed initial Army testing. That will allow the Lower-Tier Air & Missile Defense Sensor, to use its formal name, to be approved for “Urgent Materiel Release” to Army missile defense units.
If Raytheon makes that deadline, it’ll have gone from initial contract award – in Oct. 2019 – to operational fielding in less than three years. That’s a remarkable pace for the Pentagon, made possible in large part by using the streamlined Other Transaction Authority process instead of traditional contracting regulations.
Now, the initial contract only covers six radars, all technically “production readiness” models rather than the final version. Raytheon is in fact still tweaking the design, based on soldier feedback on the prototype. They’re even redesigning the handles on access doors so they’re less likely to poke someone in the eye.
Ultimately, though, the Army wants to replace every radar in its Patriot force, including training and testing radars as well as combat units. Raytheon Missiles & Defense exec Bob Kelley, a Patriot veteran himself, estimated that as 80-plus radars.
What’s more, because of Patriot’s international sales success, “There’s more than 220 Patriot firing units in the world today [across] 17 partner nations,” Kelley told me. “There is significant international interest in LTAMDS.”
But it doesn’t stop there, because LTAMDS is not just a replacement radar for Patriot. It’s also the first radar built from the start to be compatible with IBCS, the Army’s new network – being built by Northrop Grumman – to connect all air and missile defense systems, from radars to launchers to command posts. Formally called the Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System, IBCS passed a major field test last August, passing target data from both Patriot and Sentinel radars to Patriot launchers.
While Patriot, Sentinel, and other existing Army systems must be modified to work with IBCS, LTAMDS is IBCS-compatible out of the box. That means it could be bought for use outside Patriot units. For example, through IBCS, the Army could connect LTAMDS to batteries of the new Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC), which is meant to combine interceptors, lasers, and potentially high-powered microwaves to down everything from drones to cruise missiles. Or it could be bought as a free-standing system and pass data to any other IBCS-compliant equipment a nation decided to buy.
IBCS-compatibility is far from Raytheon’s only selling point for LTAMDS, however. Distilled to a number, their pitch is this: LTAMDS can detect and start tracking potential targets about two and a half times further away than Patriot.
How’s that possible? Because electronics have come a long way since Patriot entered service in the 1980s, and there are some things you can’t just add as upgrades to a 1980s-vintage core design. In particular, there’s Gallium Nitride (GaN), which transmits electricity much more efficiently, with much less lost and wasted as heat, than traditional gallium arsenide (GaAs). That lets LTAMDS spend more of each watt on radar transmissions, and much less on cooling itself, than previous radars.
GaN electronics have exploded in the civilian sector, Kelley said, where they power the tiny sensors that warn you when your car’s strayed from your lane or there’s another vehicle in your blindspot. But Raytheon has invested heavily in “military-grade” GaN circuitry, built at its own foundry in Andover, Mass.
Unlike the Patriot radar, LTAMDS is also capable of looking in all directions at once: a pair of small secondary arrays – less powerful than the main array, but each still more potent than Patriot – lets it detect threats from the side and rear.
Putting all these improvements together, Kelley claimed, “what this allows the operator to do is see farther higher and more precisely, and to do so in 360 degrees.”
At the same time, Raytheon is paying attention to mundane details, like door handles. It’s had soldiers from Patriot units come in twice to check out its prototype, Kelley said, and it’s harvesting their feedback for changes to the design, even as the soldiers thrash out how to train up on, maintain, and operate LTAMDS. One unclassified observation Kelley could share was that the door handles on various access bays were just the right height and shape to jab the average male soldier in the eye if they swung open, so the company is replacing them.
Formal testing, however, begins after the first “production readiness” model of LTAMDS is delivered to the Army this summer. That radar – and two more arriving by the end of this year – will go into an official Developmental Test this summer. If it’s successful, it will allow the Army to approve an Urgent Materiel Release in 2022 to send LTAMDS to combat units.
There’ll have to be a further round of testing, including by the Pentagon’s independent Director of Operational Test & Evaluation (DOTE), before the Army – and foreign customers – start buying LTAMDS in bulk. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
16 Mar 21. Ultra invests in Nova Scotia based Canadian sonar centre of excellence. Following the recent announcements by Ultra of contract awards for the Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS) and Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) subsystems on the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program, the Ultra Group has confirmed a significant additional strategic commitment to Canada, committing potentially in excess of $20m of new investment to transform its Dartmouth NS site into a global sonar centre of excellence. The Dartmouth facility will be significantly modernized, reconfigured for expanded capacity, and networked to Ultra’s other sonar sites in the United Kingdom and Australia. These enhancements will provide for the world-class sonar capability being delivered to CSC, as well as sonar systems on other Canadian naval programs. They will also provide the necessary infrastructure for further growth of sonar exports to Ultra’s core five-eyes markets, leveraging Ultra’s already significant successes in providing sonar capabilities to major international navies. As part of this investment, Ultra will also be upgrading areas of its facility involved in sonobuoy production – an activity which commenced in Nova Scotia in 1947. Ultra is Canada’s sovereign sonobuoy supplier, and also exports sonobuoys to a number of allied nations, and is expecting increased demand and staffing levels in this area. Most importantly, Ultra’s investment in its Canadian sonar infrastructure will provide the modern, high-performing workplace that underpins the company’s dedication to Canadian high-tech job creation. In the two years since having been originally awarded program definition studies for CSC, working in close partnership with Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding Inc, Ultra’s Canadian team has grown by over 150 employees, with another 80 high-tech roles expected to be made available in 2021 alone. Ultra is immensely proud that new employees – often graduates of Canada’s universities and technical colleges – will enjoy high-value roles conducted in a world-class facility based in Atlantic Canada.
Simon Pryce, Ultra Chief Executive, noted: “Ultra’s mission is to innovate today for a safer tomorrow. Our investment into a new sonar centre of excellence is a key part of supporting the important Canadian Surface Combatant program and preparing our business for further growth in international sonar systems well into the future. We are very proud to be investing further into Canada and Canadian innovation, and are excited at how this will drive future value for all our stakeholders.”
Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, stated “The National Shipbuilding Strategy is providing good jobs in Nova Scotia, and companies like Ultra are playing a significant role. I welcome Ultra’s continued commitment and investment in Nova Scotia. This investment will transform their Dartmouth facility into a global sonar centre of excellence, providing even more skilled jobs here at home.”
16 Mar 21. TMD extends its position as leader in Electronic Warfare power amplifiers with the introduction of two NEW compact Ka band MPMs for use in high-performance radar and ECM systems.
TMD Technologies Limited (TMD), independent, world class, West London based manufacturer in the professional microwave and RF field, has introduced two new products to its advanced PTX range of Microwave Power Modules (MPMs).
Improved frequency range
The new PTX8808 and PTX8811 operate in the technically challenging Ka band and are designed to meet the exacting needs of today’s Electronic Warfare (EW) and high-performance radar systems. Replacing the earlier PTX8807, the new MPMs between them cover the extended frequency range of 26.5 to 40 GHz, with power outputs of 60 to 160 W (CW/pulsed, 100% duty cycle). The PTX8811 employs a narrower bandwidth, allowing it to be optimised to provide a higher power.
Single drop-in unit
TMD’s PTX8808 and PTX8811 employ a Ka band helix, mini–Travelling Wave Tube (TWT) and a matched, high density switched mode power supply to form a single drop-in microwave amplifier unit.
This arrangement not only eliminates potentially hazardous high voltage TWT interconnections but also, by reducing overall system size, simplifies platform integration procedures. Moreover, replacing a separate TWT and power supply with one MPM eases maintainability logistics and reduces spares holdings.
User adjustments are not required because the units are already factory adjusted for optimal TWT performance. Also, they can be configured to incorporate a variety of TWT models to meet different user specifications. High electrical efficiency is designed-in, allowing a minimum of cooling and reliable operation over a wide temperature range.
Because the high voltage section is fully encapsulated, the PTX8808 and PTX8811 are able operate at high altitudes and in high humidity, thereby simplifying integration into a variety of platforms, including airborne applications. Both of these Ka band units offer remote operation and status monitoring. Weight is just 8.5 kg (19 lbs) maximum.
15 Mar 21. Israel, South Korea to co-operate on unmanned airborne ISTAR. Israel and South Korea are to co-operate in the field of unmanned airborne intelligence, surveillance, targeting and reconnaissance (ISTAR), with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on 15 March.
The MOU between Elbit Systems and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is geared at developing future unmanned airborne ISTAR capabilities for the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces and potential international customers.
“Elbit Systems is a leading [unmanned aircraft system] UAS manufacturer with a portfolio of more than 10 different unmanned platforms, from tactical drones up to 1.5 tonne medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS. Elbit Systems’ UAS are in operational service for decades and have been selected by more than 30 different customers in five continents, among them Israel, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, France, Brazil, Chile, and others,” the Israeli manufacturer said.
While no particular platform solutions were touted in the announcement, KAI is developing a suite of UAS capabilities for the RoK Armed Forces, to be used primarily for ISTAR purposes. KAI programmes and platforms revealed over recent years comprise the Next Corps UAS, Tactical UAS, and ‘stealth’ unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).
The RoK in general and the Rok Air Force (RoKAF) in particular already fields a strong ISR and ISTAR capability, with four Boeing E-737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Peace Eye platforms, two Dassault Falcon 2000 ISR platforms, eight Hawker 800 Peace Krypton signals intelligence, and ISR platforms. Further to these already established airframes, the RoKAF is seeking a business jet-based multiple-intelligence surveillance aircraft. With this requirement first reported by Janes. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Mar 21. Israel starts research into long-range counter-UAS drone-based lasers. The Israeli Ministry of Defence has launched a research programme to develop long-range ground-based and airborne lasers to shoot down drones.
The ministry has not revealed any details but sources say the airborne laser “canon” is designed to operate from a long endurance UAV.
The growing danger of suicide drones – such as those used by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, mainly against Saudi Arabia – have prompted the research. Sources in Israel are concerned that the same Iranian-designed drones used by Houthi forces may be transferred to other parts of the world, such as Lebanon and Syria. The Houthi rebels launched more than 40 drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in February alone, a senior US defense official told NBC News.
“We’re certainly aware of a troubling increase in Houthi cross-border attacks from a variety of systems, including cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and UAVs,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has managed to shoot down many of the incoming drones and missiles.
Israeli sources told Unmanned Airspace that while current operational anti-drone systems can intercept drones when they approach their designated targets, this capability must be upgraded so that the explosive-carrying drone is intercepted and destroyed far from its target. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
15 Mar 21. The U.S. Army has declared the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) system operationally suitable, effective and ready for full-rate production following a successful six-month initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) activity.
“Through our partnership with the U.S. Army and our suppliers, we have already delivered over 100 production systems,” said Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. “The successful completion of IOT&E confirms CIRCM’s readiness for full-rate production.”
CIRCM’s dual-jammer configuration helps to protect aircrews while providing the highest level of aircraft survivability. The CIRCM system provides protection against a wide range of infrared-guided anti-aircraft missile threats, including shoulder-fired and vehicle-launched.
During the rigorous testing, the system was flown through a multitude of scenarios and environments to assess CIRCM’s ability to detect, engage and defeat threats. The system rapidly defeated all threats during IOT&E, proving it is ready to support the complex missions of the U.S. Army.
In addition to baseline performance, the system’s next-generation open architecture design will enable rapid and timely capability enhancements to keep pace with changing mission needs.
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.