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RADAR, EO/IR, C-UAS, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE

Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems

www.blighter.com

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10 Sep 20. US military trialling Israeli-made drone protection system. An operational pilot programme using Israeli-made mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to protect US military forces has been launched, the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) announced on 8 September.

The Skylord mini-UAV is produced by Israeli company Xtend. It was developed in conjunction with the IMOD’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) and the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) of the US Department of Defense.

Following a year of research and development and trials, the CTTSO is currently testing and validating the system’s capabilities in the field, meaning that US soldiers will receive dozens of Skylord systems.

The Skylord system works using a “remote immersive interface that protects troops from various inbound aerial threats – particularly drones”, the IMOD said in a statement. It relies on an augmented-reality (AR) headset and a single-handed controller, enabling a military operator to control the mini-UAV and command it to perform complex tasks – including capturing hostile UAVs with a net – with ease, according to the statement.

“Its interface enables the operator to immersively ‘step into’ a remote reality and engage targets effectively yet safely,” the statement added. “With minimal training and no expertise required, troops enjoy a full sensory situation assessment and may utilise C-UAV [counter-UAV] net payloads in the battlefield.”

Skylord has been field tested by the Israel Defense Forces, which have used it to conduct confirmed interceptions of incendiary devices (balloons and kites) flown into southern Israel from Gaza by operatives acting on behalf of Hamas.

Lieutenant Colonel Menachem Landau, Head of the UAV Branch in the DDR&D, told Janes. (Source: Jane’s)

10 Sep 20. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) has received funding from the United States Department of Defense (“DoD”) for targeted development of its DroneShieldCompleteTM Command-and-Control (“C2”) system. The section of the DoD, which has awarded the contract, is a new customer for DroneShied. The funding was awarded through a sole source contract.

DroneShieldCompleteTM is an intuitive and feature rich C2, providing real time alerting, tracking and reporting information for native DroneShield as well as third party sensors. The DoD is working with DroneShield, providing funding for an agreed list of feature enhancements, for a project expected to span over several months. Importantly, following that period, the DoD is expected to make multiple purchases of DroneShield’s C-UAS equipment, which would run on the enhanced DroneShieldCompleteTM C2.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, has commented, “We are proud to be working with the United States Department of Defense, one of most demanding defence customers globally, on this project to ensure our DroneShieldCompleteTM C2 stays at the cutting edge of customer requirements. Further, this project underscores our leadership not only as a product/sensor manufacturer, but also as an integrator of fixed site and mobile C-UAS systems. This contract is a material milestone in cementing our close working relationship with the largest defence customer globally. In addition to expected purchases associated with this paid development contract, further orders for other DroneShield solutions are expected as part of developing a trusted supplier relationship with this customer.”

Whilst the Company is unable to precisely quantify the follow up orders, it expects the orders to be material and will in due course provide an update on the dollar amounts to the market, when available.

10 Sep 20. US Military Tests VR-Controlled Drone-Intercepting Drones. Following a joint R&D program led by the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Israel Ministry of Defense, with drone developer, XTEND, and the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), of the U.S. Department of Defense, an operational pilot program has been launched employing Sparrowhawk drones in the defense of U.S. Special Forces.

The program has produced a drone system with a remote immersive interface that protects troops from various inbound aerial threats – particularly drones.

As a result of the close cooperation between the institutions involved, the system has been developed in accordance with concrete operational requirements. As such, following a year of R&D and various tests, the CTTSO decided to launch an operational pilot program, testing and validating the system’s capabilities in the field. As part of the pilot program, several dozen Sparrowhawk systems will be employed by U.S. troops.

Using an AR device and single-handed controller, a military operator may employ the Sparrowhawk system to control the drone and perform complex tasks remotely, with great ease and precision. Its interface enables the operator to immerse themselves or “step into” a remote reality and engage targets effectively yet safely. With minimal training and no expertise required, troops enjoy a full sensory situation assessment and may utilize C-UAV net payloads in the battlefield. The system’s capabilities have been demonstrated in Israel, with confirmed interceptions of incendiary devices flown over the Gaza border by terrorist organizations.

This operational pilot program is the first step towards the widespread deployment of smart systems to Special Forces, enabling them to perform complex tasks in the modern battlefield, while minimizing risk. It is also one of the most significant and successful areas of cooperation between the DDR&D and its American partners, highlighting the crucial and extraordinary relations between our respective defense establishments.

“This joint activity implements novel technological capabilities taken from the field of AR (augmented reality), and the from world of gaming,” said Head of the UAV Branch in the DDR&D of the Ministry of Defense, Lt. Col. Menachem Landau. “It enables the troops of both nations to employ intuitive, battle-proven and precise systems follow a minimal training period, and to engage hostile flying objects such as drones. We look forward to expanding our collaboration with our partners in the CTTSO of the U.S. Department of Defense, in developing advanced technology protect troops and enhance operational capabilities.”

“We have established amazing partnerships in the development, and fielding this product for the operational end user,” said XTEND CEO, Aviv Shapira. “The Sparrowhawk is one of the world’s most advanced C-UAS Hard Kill solution, and the XTEND team is thrilled at the opportunity to deploy our systems in operational missions – and to protect the lives of both US & IDF combat soldiers.”

Xtend has recently reported over $10m in revenues since its launch. The company develops the software allowing remote control over the drones and the technology controlling the interface with the drones themselves. The firm produces the drones in Israeli factories, but will soon start producing them in the U.S. as well.

“The system’s capabilities have been demonstrated in Israel, with confirmed interceptions of incendiary devices flown over the Gaza border by terrorist organizations,” the company said in a press statement Tuesday. Israel’s Defense Ministry reported this in the past, writing that: “The interface allowed the user to feel the area through the ‘eyes’ of the drone, experiencing the event as if the operator was in the drone, without risking their life.”  (Source: UAS VISION/Haaretz)

10 Sep 20. Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking and recording sub-systems (www.cambridgepixel.com), has introduced the HPx-410 radar input card with a x4 PCI Express interface to support the new generation of high-resolution, high-throughput multi-channel radars.

With the wider x4 PCIe interface, the HPx-410 boasts significantly enhanced data rates to permit one or two radars with high-resolution videos to be sampled at up to 125 MHz with sustained transfer rates of up to 500 MB/sec.

The HPx-410 PCIe card is designed for use with new generation primary and IFF radars. The card accepts radar video, trigger and azimuth signals in the form of ACP/ARP or parallel data. On-board processing handles initial data capture, processing and correlation before transfer to the host PC for processing and display.

The HPx-410 card features two fully independent radar input channels allowing the card to be used by integrators in three discrete ways: for dual sampling of one radar at different sampling rates, for dual redundancy, or for dual-stream capture of two separate radars.

A wide variety of signal types and input voltages are supported, allowing connection to a diverse range of commercial and military radar types including those from Furuno, Hensoldt, JRC, Koden, Raytheon, Sperry, Terma, as well as specialist military radars.

The new card is software compatible with other HPx cards, allowing a smooth transition or upgrade path. It is supported by Cambridge Pixel’s SPx Server for radar tracking, RadarWatch for maritime security, ASD-100 for air defense and RadarView for radar video monitoring. A board-support package option is available for Windows or Linux for developers preferring to build their own server or display clients.

David Johnson, CEO, Cambridge Pixel, said: “The HPx-410 expands the HPx radar input range to now offer six different card options, covering all requirements for radar acquisition. The HPx-410 sits at the top-end of the family and addresses requirements for high sample rates and data throughput allowing us to expand the range of radars we support to include the new generation of high-resolution multi-channel radars.”

Cambridge Pixel’s HPx-410 is part of a family of radar acquisition and processing components that provide system integrators with a powerful toolkit to build server and client display systems. The company’s world-leading SPx suite of software libraries and applications provides highly flexible, ready-to-run software products or ‘modules-of-expertise’ for radar scan conversion, visualisation, radar video distribution, target tracking, sensor fusion, plot extraction and clutter processing.

Cambridge Pixel’s radar technology is used in naval, air traffic control, vessel traffic, commercial shipping, security, surveillance and airborne radar applications.

09 Sep 20. GA-ASI Integrates SAGE 750 ESM Onto SEAGUARDIAN®. Leonardo’s SAGE 750 Provides Enhanced Electronic Support Capability General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) has integrated the Leonardo SAGE 750 Electronic Support Measure (ESM) system onto the MQ-9B SeaGuardian® Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). The SAGE 750 integration was performed by GA-ASI in partnership with Leonardo.  The SAGE 750 installed on SeaGuardian will provide intelligence information on maritime and terrestrial radar emitters over a wide area.

“This will be the first time that our aircraft has featured a fully-integrated, tactical ESM capability,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “SAGE ESM will improve our customer’s ability to make tactical decisions and allow collection of ISR data on selected emitters.” The system will help SeaGuardian operators locate and track surface radars.

“SAGE is a product of Leonardo’s decades of heritage in providing world-class electronic intelligence equipment,” said Mark Hamilton, SVP Electronic Warfare, Leonardo. “We’re proud that our SAGE ESM will be the off-the-shelf option for the SeaGuardian, providing a unique level of situational awareness to operators. We value our close partnership with GA-ASI and are pleased to be supporting the MQ-9B platform with our portfolio of advanced sensors.”

09 Sep 20. Safran’s new-generation EuroflirTM 410 observation system chosen for French Navy’s H160 helicopters. Babcock France, an engineering firm that provides support services for government strategic forces, has selected the new-generation Euroflir™410 optronic (electro-optical) system from Safran Electronics & Defense as part of the contract awarded by French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) to provide four H160 helicopters to the French Navy for a period of ten years.

These four H160 rotorcraft from Airbus Helicopters will be part of an interim fleet that includes a dozen Dauphin N3 helicopters also fitted with the Euroflir™410. The H160s will be modified by Babcock to meet the French Navy’s evolving operational needs. Furthermore, feedback from the navy’s operations will be used to help design the military version of the H160, dubbed Guépard (“Leopard”).

The Euroflir™410 NG is capable of detecting a ship’s registration number or a person in distress at a distance of several kilometers. It will boost the French Navy’s operational capabilities by enabling it to carry out at-sea Search & Rescue (SAR) missions from bases in Brittany (Lanvéoc-Poulmic) and along the English Channel (Cherbourg). The EuroflirTM 410 will provide unrivaled observation capability under any conditions of visibility, in large part due to its very-long-range multispectral telescope and high-performance line-of-sight stabilization. In addition to being fitted with a high-definition video camera (HDTV) and a medium-wave infrared (MWIR) imager, its multispectral architecture also includes supplementary cameras that are particularly well suited to severe maritime environments, namely near-infrared and shortwave infrared models.

This latest contract win confirms Safran’s European leadership in the highly demanding market segment for onboard optronics. The Euroflir™410 system is designed and produced in France by Safran. The first H160 helicopters outfitted with the Euroflir™410 will be delivered in 2022. Safran also supplies Arrano turboshaft engines for the H160, along with other major equipment items.

07 Sep 20. China’s New AWACS Ready for South China Sea Missions. A latest variation of China’s KJ-500 airborne early warning and control system (AWACS), equipped with a probe that can allow the plane to receive aerial refueling and greatly extend its range and endurance, was recently spotted at a naval aviation regiment base under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command.

Amid frequent US military provocations, including close-up reconnaissance operations by spy planes in the South China Sea, the new KJ-500 allows the PLA to maintain extended early warning missions and enhance its capability to safeguard China’s territorial waters and airspace, analysts said on Monday.

The plane was identified in the background of a photo recently published by China Military Online, the English website of the Chinese military, Weihutang, a military program under China Central Television (CCTV), reported last weekend.

Unlike previous KJ-500s, an aerial refueling probe can be seen above the new aircraft’s nose, Weihutang said, noting that becoming capable of receiving aerial refueling will effectively solve problems, like the lack of sufficient range and endurance, which will significantly boost its combat capability.

The KJ-500 is equipped with early warning radar systems superior to those of the US, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Monday.

But it is based on the Y-9 medium-sized tactical transport aircraft, which has a limited operational radius and endurance compared to large, strategic transport aircraft, Fu said, noting that aerial refueling can make up for this shortcoming.

The main missions of the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy are focused on the South China Sea. The US has been repeatedly and increasingly conducting provocative military operations in the region, including sending spy planes for close-up reconnaissance operations. Some of them even attempted to fake their identity, according to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a Beijing based think tank, on Thursday.

Fu said that the KJ-500 without aerial refueling capability can also operate in the South China Sea, but cannot conduct extended missions. Land-based radars in the South China Sea can be deployed only on larger islands and reefs, and cannot cover the entire region.

The new variation, combined with aerial tankers, can cover hundreds of kilometers, and command and control other friendly aircraft in the region, Fu said, noting that it will become a “capability amplifier” that enhances China’s monitoring over aerial and maritime targets in the South China Sea.

The Weihutang report pointed out that the plane spotted at the naval base was painted yellow instead of naval gray, which analysts said is usually a sign the new aircraft is still undergoing tests.

Fu said that the plane is expected to be in test service, as PLA troops likely have started training, and experimenting with its new capabilities.

In addition to the aerial refueling probe, the plane should have other upgrades that have not yet been revealed, Fu said.

China recently reached another milestone in AWACS development. Media reported last week that China’s first aircraft carrier-based, fixed-wing early warning aircraft, reportedly called the KJ-600, successfully made its maiden flight in late August. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Global Times)

08 Sep 20. U.S. Marine Corps selects Elbit Systems of America’s ICATS solution. Multi-spectral weapon night sight to provide enhanced target acquisition, engagement at extended ranges.

The United States Marine Corps selected Kollsman, Inc.’s solution for a multispectral, clip-on weapon night sight, allowing Marines to engage in day and nighttime operations at extreme stand-off distances. The selection is part of Phase II of the Integrated Clip-on Advanced Targeting Sight (ICATS) program and will require the company to design, build and test two sophisticated ICATS prototypes for the USMC over the next year. Kollsman, Inc. is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems of America.

Elbit Systems of America’s ICATS solution is optimized for USMC scout snipers and reconnaissance Marines, so they may acquire targets and engage at extended ranges. The solution clips onto the Marine’s weapon and provides critical information to the user, even in low-light or inclement weather. The ICATS is configured to provide simultaneous imaging across extended ranges, without adding considerable weight to the Marine’s weapon.

“This selection by the U.S. Marine Corps shows the strong partnership we have with the Marines, as well as our expertise creating technology that benefits warfighters in the field,” said Ridge Sower, vice president of Ground Combat and Precision Targeting at Elbit Systems of America. “With our ICATS solution, Marines can successfully complete their missions – no matter the conditions – while remaining as safe as possible.”

The ICATS solution builds off the company’s successes offering the U.S. military other precision targeting capabilities, such as the Next Generation Hand-Held Targeting System for the USMC and the Multi-Domain User Sensor Architecture (MDUSA) targeting system for the U.S. Army. Work on ICATS will be designed and produced in Elbit Systems of America’s Merrimack, New Hampshire facility, which is known for its sophisticated electro-optics solutions.

08 Sep 20. Leonardo Delivers C-UAS Technology to Royal Air Force. Leonardo in the UK has delivered the first of four complete baseline counter-drone systems to the Royal Air Force in support of the next stage of its Counter-Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) research and development programme. The ORCUS system is now playing a key role in a wide-ranging testing and evaluation campaign which will improve the Air Force’s understanding of how it can employ technology in response to the threat posed by hostile drones.

The RAF will also maintain the ORCUS system as an upgraded national standby capability, to be rapidly deployed anywhere in the country in support of emergency services in the event of a drone-based crisis.

The threat posed by rogue drones is being taken extremely seriously by the Ministry of Defence and therefore the C-UAS study programme, managed by Defence Equipment & Support Future Capability Group, is considered highly important to the security of the nation. Leonardo is working hard to ensure that the programme continues to be delivered, despite the disruption caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The modular systems provided by Leonardo for the study will allow the RAF to evaluate a range of capabilities including advanced radar, electro-optic and radio frequency sensors and an electronic attack countermeasure. In due course, further systems will be integrated for testing and evaluation. Throughout, RAF Force Protection operators will be examining the most effective ways to detect, track, identify and defeat rogue drones. In the long-run, the research and development programme will inform the requirements for a core RAF counter-drone capability, intended to protect air bases around the UK.

Elements of Leonardo’s C-UAS equipment were previously operated by the RAF Force Protection Force in 2018 and 2019, following drone sightings at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, allowing airport operations to resume.

The ORCUS system is designed to jam radio signals from UAS and has been successfully deployed during drone sightings at civilian airports.

Commenting on the development at DPRTE Quinn said:

“It is vital that our armed forces are equipped with the latest technology to counter emerging threats from our adversaries.

“Today we announce the investment in the latest in radar technology for our fighter jets and pioneering new defence systems to counter threats from drones. This demonstrates our commitment to maintaining security in the air whilst supporting highly-skilled jobs across the UK.”

ORCUS was developed as part of the RAF’s SYNERGIA counter-drone research and development programme in partnership with Leonardo. (Source: UAS VISION)

04 Sep 20. Morocco, Netherlands, and India to Gain LONGBOW Fire Control Radar for AH-64E Apache Helicopters. Contract adds capability for new customers and upgrades for UAE. The U.S. Army recently awarded LONGBOW Limited Liability Company (LBL), a joint venture of Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), four Foreign Military Sales contracts to provide the AH-64E Apache helicopter AN/APG-78 LONGBOW Fire Control Radar (FCR) to Morocco, Netherlands, UAE and India Army.

“The LBL team is excited to bring Morocco, Netherlands and India Army into the LONGBOW FCR user community, and to update UAE with new capabilities, as the ever-evolving missions of our U.S. allies will benefit from our precision engagement capabilities,” said Jim Messina, LBL president and Lockheed Martin program director. “The LONGBOW radar remains a relevant and important system for the missions Apache aircrews fly.”

The addition of Morocco, the Netherlands and India Army expands the LONGBOW customer base to include 16 foreign militaries and 14 nations. UAE is updating from the AH-64D to the AH-64E aircraft. These contracts are a direct result of the five-year production requirements contract the U.S. Department of Defense awarded to LBL in 2016.

“As LONGBOW Joint Venture marks 35 years of successful partnership, the addition of these customers is a testament to the deep experience and dedication the team brings to advance the FCR system to support our customer’s missions,” said Shalini Gupta, LBL vice president and Northrop Grumman director for LONGBOW programs.

When coupled with the Apache’s unique system of sensors approach, LONGBOW FCR gives aircrews the capability to scan large areas at long ranges to identify threats and targets for prosecution with a low probability of being detected. If a target is identified, the data can be handed off to a missile and launch system, or if a target needs further identification and classification, the data is handed off to the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight (M-TADS) system for increased visual identification.

LBL is now providing increased FCR capabilities with the Apache AH-64E Version 6 helicopter. Version 6 FCR software enhancements provide new operational modes and capabilities, including maritime, single target track, and 360-degree surveillance mode, as well as extended detection range against land, air and sea targets. LBL celebrated 35 years of successful partnership in August. (Source: ASD Network)

08 Sep 20. CONTROP is to supply surveillance and observation systems for new ships currently being built for the Vietnamese Border  Guard.

The contracts are for the supply of the iSea-25HD system – a lightweight, high-performance EO / IR payload for maritime surveillance and observation missions, suitable for use on medium size boats.

CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd. – a company specializing in the field of electro-optics and IR defense and homeland security solutions – has been selected to supply iSea-25HD observation systems for installation on the new ships under construction at L&T’s shipyards in India, and vessels being built for the Vietnamese Border  Guard, by Hong Ha shipyards in Vietnam. The systems will be delivered during 2020 and 2021.

Easily interfaced with other onboard systems, the iSea-25HD offers a full solution for naval and maritime operations. Featuring a unique, cutting-edge gyro-stabilized system, it enables a stable, continuous and uninterrupted line-of-sight (LOS) view, ensuring a very clear picture, even in the roughest of seas, and is robust enough to withstand even the harshest environmental conditions including fog, moisture, salinity and excessive splashing.

Capable of maintaining boresight even in conditions where there are shocks and vibrations, the iSea-25HD incorporates digital and mechanical compensatory mechanisms developed by CONTROP to significantly enhance image quality.

The iSea-25HD lightweight system provides maximum range surveillance using highly sensitive sensors, including a high-performance thermal imaging (TI) camera using 3-5µ IR detector with a continuous zoom lens, a high-sensitivity color day camera, and an eye-safe laser range finder (LRF). Among its additional features are advanced image processing and video enhancement algorithms. Applications include search & rescue, law/coast guard enforcement, EEZ protection, counter piracy, illegal fishing and special ops.

“The iSea-25HD system was launched only last year, and has already been operationally proven by the company’s customers around the world,” says Hagai Azani, CEO of CONTROP’s. “We consider our selection by L&T in India and Hong Ha in Vietnam to be another important show of trust in us by our customers, as suppliers of electro-optical systems for observation and surveillance missions. Specially developed in response to customer demand for a system that can withstand harsh marine environmental conditions”

04 Sep 20. RAF counter-UAS system achieves initial operating capability.  The UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) ORCUS counter unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capability has achieved initial operating capability (IOC) following a series of successful tests. Orcus’ IOC was announced yesterday by defence minister Jeremy Quinn at the Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2020 event.

The ORCUS system is designed to jam radio signals from UAS and has been successfully deployed during drone sightings at civilian airports.

Commenting on the development at DPRTE Quinn said: “It is vital that our armed forces are equipped with the latest technology to counter emerging threats from our adversaries.

“Today we announce the investment in the latest in radar technology for our fighter jets and pioneering new defence systems to counter threats from drones. This demonstrates our commitment to maintaining security in the air whilst supporting highly-skilled jobs across the UK.”

ORCUS was developed as part of the RAF’s SYNERGIA counter-drone research and development programme in partnership with Leonardo.

In a press release, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said: “Vital to protecting UK airbases from hostile drone activity, ORCUS will enable the RAF to evaluate a range of capabilities including advanced radar, electro-optic and radio frequency sensors, plus an electronic attack countermeasure.

“The device looks similar to a camera module placed on top of a tripod, allowing for unparalleled versatility in operations.”

Unlike some counter-drone systems, ORCUS relies on an electronic-attack countermeasure to intercept hostile drones rather than a kinetic interceptor.

Aspects of Leonardo’s C-UAS technology have in the past been used following UAS sightings at airports including Gatwick and Heathrow.

In its press release, Leonardo said: “The threat posed by rogue drones is being taken extremely seriously by the Ministry of Defence and therefore the C-UAS study programme, managed by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Future Capability Group, is considered highly important to the security of the nation.

“Leonardo is working hard to ensure that the programme continues to be delivered, despite the disruption caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)

07 Sep 20. Avtomatika Group promotes light and powerful anti-drone gun. Avtomatika Group (part of the state tech corporation Rostec) claims its Pishchal-PRO is among the world’s most powerful hand-held systems to fight unmanned aerial vehicles, According to a report in UAS Vision. The company says the The Pishchal-PRO is distinguished by its optimal weight/efficiency ratio and poses no health risk for an operator.

Avtomatika CEO Vladimir Kabanov told TASS news agency: “The Pischchal-PRO anti-drone system is positioned on the market as the lightest although a powerful hand-held system for its individual employment and its use as part of other platforms. Indeed, there are a lot of manual systems on the market but our Pishchal-PRO is the best in its class.” It weighs 4kg and achieves 2000m range. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

03 Sep 20. NATO develops “in-house” counter-UAS technology for dissemination across member nations. The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has built an experimental prototype system to detect, identify and localize small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUASs) using low-cost commercial devices and machine learning.

According to an NCI press release: “The ARTEMIS system (Advanced Recognition Tool using Electromagnetic (EM) waves for Identifying unmanned aerial Systems) uses advanced techniques to detect and classify Radio Frequency (RF) signals. The system can classify what type of signal it is by processing only 40 milliseconds of data, with a probability of correct classification above 90 percent. The system continuously monitors the bandwidth where drones normally operate and automatically detects any RF emissions.”

“Once detected, a process entirely based on machine learning and pattern recognition will allow us to classify and identify the emission,” said Franco Fois, Senior Scientist and ARTEMIS Lead Engineer. “And this emission could be an emission from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, because they are entitled to work in the same band, but it could also be a drone emission.”

The NCI reports that if the signal is found to be from a drone, the system will also try to calculate the direction of arrival of the signal to localize the drone. The system can also localize the person who is controlling the drone from the ground.

“The identification of the type of drone was a key driver of this work, since that information determines the threat response, “ says NCI. “Very high percentages of correct classification were achieved in experiments using up to 10 different drones.

“ARTEMIS serves to prove that it is possible, with low-cost equipment, to counter the threat posed by commercial drones,” said Edison Cristofani, Radar and Signal Processing Engineer at the Agency.

In particular, the system uses software-defined radios and virtual instrumentation, which Cristofani said is “a game changer.”

“These tools made possible fast prototyping – implementing changes or updates in a matter of hours,” Cristofani said. “They provided us with a great degree of flexibility.”

ARTEMIS was sponsored by the NATO HQ C3 Board Navigation and Identification Programme of Work. It belongs to a wider family of sensors designed and built by NCI Agency in the past decade.

“The really cool thing of this work is that it’s all done in-house inside the Agency,” said Principal Scientist René van der Heiden, Project Manager of the work. “And I say ‘in-house’ but much of it was done in attics and gardens during the recent COVID-19 lockdown.”

The Agency developed the prototype in-house to help the Agency continue to remain a ‘smart buyer’.

“We did this so we can better understand the ‘state of the art’ in drone detection/identification/localisation,” Van der Heiden said. “Once we start buying equipment from industry we know what is technically possible, we know what is available and we are able to separate the scientific truth from fiction.”

When this work is done by NATO, says the NCI, another added benefit is that it then becomes available to all NATO nations. “All of the Nations practically can have access to this information and that can help their own research establishments or their own industries to develop suitable systems,” Van der Heiden said. “This system will give us very good opportunities also to cooperate with other Nations,” Fois said.

Other agencies and Nations have prototype systems that are likely complementary to this one.

“The work of NATO on countering the threat posed by small drones is benefitting from these developments. As the threat is rapidly evolving, so the countermeasures shall be innovative and merge different domains: from classical radio frequency and signal processing techniques, to sensor fusion and machine learning. This prototype opens new avenues for research, development and finally deployment,” said Dr Claudio Palestini, Officer in NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division.

For more information

https://www.ncia.nato.int/about-us/newsroom/nato-experts-build-prototype-to-detect–identify-and-localize-small-drones.html (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

04 Sep 20. Department 13 International and Nightingale Security bring Blackbird C-UAS drone to Australia. C-UAS company Department 13 International and drone manufacturer Nightingale Security have partnered to introduce the Blackbird aerial robotic security (RAS) system to Australia.

According to Department 13, the Blackbird “uses cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to deploy autonomous drones that run perimeter patrols of critical infrastructure and automatically respond to emergencies in a matter of seconds providing live-stream video to a security team anywhere in the world. It can also be used manually to respond to major events such as an oil spill, chemical leak or fire to help monitor and provide intelligence of the situation as it happens.”

According to a company press release, Nightingale’s system has both RGB-visible light and thermal capabilities and can be programmed to conduct scheduled autonomous patrols based on day, time, path, altitude, hover duration or camera direction. The drones operate from extra-strength covered base stations installed on rooftops and other secure locations. Base stations can be networked to work together, are always mission-ready to deploy drones in a matter of seconds and provide real-time situational awareness.

Features include precision landing, self-charging, US Army-vetted end-to-end encryption for secure data transmission. The Blackbird integrates with Department 13’s DIAL and Atlas software and programming to provide remote situational awareness and operations, which incorporates drone software and patent technology to detect, identify, locate and manage response and monitoring services. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

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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.

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