Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
08 Oct 20. Applied Technology Associates (ATA) Awarded Contract for Counter-UAS Directed Energy Weapon. A-Tech Corporation, doing business as Applied Technology Associates (ATA), has been awarded a $17,663,490 other transaction prototype project agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to obtain a ground-based Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) prototype for the purpose of fixed-site Air Force Air Base Air Defense against Group 1 and Group 2 unmanned aerospace system (UAS) threats. The Directed Energy Counter-UAS prototype project involves the development, assembly, and ultimately test of a prototype DEW in an operationally relevant environment. This prototype effort will be divided into two phases, with Phase 2 being an option. Phase 1 consists of prototype design, assembly, and contractor test. Work will be performed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is expected to be completed by September 10, 2021. This award is the result of a competition under the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Consortium Initiative umbrella agreement FA8604-19-9-4050. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8604-19-9-4050). “ATA is eager to utilize our extensive heritage in Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing applied to directed energy systems,” said Larry Lloyd, ATA’s Vice President for Business Development. “We look forward to building upon our LOCUST counter-UAS product portfolio with this key prototype project.” ATA is an advanced technology and engineering services company specializing in solutions and services for laser communications, acquisition, tracking, and pointing, small satellites, space situational awareness, and advanced radio frequency (RF) applications. For more information, please visit www.atacorp.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. (Source: PR Newswire)
08 Oct 20. FLIR Systems Announces Four New Exx-Series Handheld Thermal Imaging Cameras. The E96, E86, E76 and E54 feature Enhanced Thermal Resolution and Provide On-Camera Routing Capability for More Efficient Inspections.
FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced four new additions to its Exx-Series of advanced thermal imaging cameras: the E96, E86, E76 and E54. Compared to predecessor Exx-Series cameras, the new cameras offer enhanced thermal resolution for more vibrant, easy-to-read images and on-camera routing capability to improve field survey efficiency. The new Exx-Series cameras are designed to help professionals detect the early signs of building issues, identify hot spots, troubleshoot electrical and mechanical systems, and prevent problems before they cause damage that leads to expensive repairs.
The E96, with a 640×480 resolution and eight-times digital zoom, is the most advanced Exx-Series thermal camera to date. It delivers improved measurement results over the greatest distance to target, so professionals can safely diagnose electrical faults or locate hidden anomalies at very high temperatures up to 1500 degrees Celsius (2732 degrees Fahrenheit), including in harsh industrial environments such as steel mills or kilns, to help keep the workplace running smoothly.
For the first time, FLIR Inspection Route is now offered as a standard feature on every Exx-Series camera and is complemented by the FLIR Thermal Studio Pro software with Route Creator plugin, sold separately as an annual subscription. The complete routing bundle enables professionals to create and export custom inspection and pre-planned routes, ideal for large or multi-location electrical or mechanical projects.
“The new Exx-Series advanced thermal imaging cameras enable building professionals, inspectors, engineers, researchers, and facility maintenance personnel to do more than ever before with a handheld thermal camera,” said Rickard Lindvall, General Manager, Solutions Business at FLIR. “With improved thermal resolution and on-camera routing capabilities, the Exx Series can help our customers make better, informed decisions to complete the job more efficiently and effectively.”
The E96, E86, and E76 include UltraMax® high-definition image enhancement technology and improved contrast with one-touch level and spanning functions to view greater image details. In addition, interchangeable AutoCal™ lenses offer complete coverage of near and distance targets, with the built-in laser distance meter ensuring the crisp focus needed for accurate temperature measurement.
The new Exx-Series cameras are available globally starting today through authorized dealers and FLIR.com. To learn more about FLIR Systems’ entire Exx-Series line, visit: www.flir.com/exx-series.
Through March 31, 2021, customers who purchase an Exx-Series camera will receive a free three-month Thermal Studio Pro and Route Creator trial bundle. The FLIR Thermal Studio Suite is also available separately through an annual subscription in Standard and Pro versions, while the Starter version is offered at no charge. To learn more about FLIR Thermal Studio Suite, visit www.flir.com/thermal-studio-suite.
08 Oct 20. AeroDefense Solves Urban and Airport Drone Detection Challenges with Small, Discreet Antenna and Fiber Deployment.
AirWarden™ “Smart Drone Detection” Allows Placement of Sensor Electronics in A Data Center Up to 20 Kilometers Away from Detection Antenna.
AeroDefense announced a revolutionary “Smart Drone Detection” deployment option for their proven AirWarden™ system. AirWarden’s existing four-inch, four-ounce detection antenna can now connect back to sensor electronics in a central location or data center over a fiber connection up to 20 kilometers away. Given its small size and weight, the antenna offers multiple mounting options to complement AirWarden’s Smart Drone Detection deployment model.“
Urban environments challenge drone detection systems due to heavy radio frequency (RF) traffic. Complex structures that cause signal multipath and blockage issues necessitate high placement of equipment. Building owners may be reluctant to mount bulky hardware on their buildings. Similarly, airport runways cannot support bulky hardware mounting options. In both cases, aesthetics are important. While temporary deployments are sometimes considered a solution, this creates a gap in identifying nefarious actors who conduct test flights.
The AirWarden Smart Drone Detection deployment model allows for low profile, aesthetically pleasing drone detection that effectively detects, classifies, tracks, and locates drones and their pilots in heavy RF environments.
Smart cities can deploy fiber connected permanent antennas in critical areas and equip mobile command vehicles and marine vessels with the same small antenna and easily portable sensor electronics. Individual property owners can deploy on ethernet or fiber or wireless. At a smart airport, antennas can be deployed along runways and around airport perimeters.
AirWarden has been deployed in the congested RF environment of MetLife Stadium since 2018 and was recently successfully tested in New York City’s Times Square. Earlier this year, the National Institute of Aerospace selected AeroDefense for their inaugural Smart Airport and Aviation Partnership flightPlan Accelerator program.
Linda Ziemba, Founder and CEO of AeroDefense, said, “Our ability to deploy over fiber connections is completely unique to the counter-UAS market and optimal for smart airports and cities and large areas in general. We are eager to help protect these critical sites where drone detection has either been unsuccessful or impossible.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
07 Oct 20. Super Hornets Are Flying Combat Missions Middle East With New Infrared Sensor Pod. The F/A-18F flew a sortie over the Middle East carrying the pod, which isn’t scheduled to be operational until late 2021. The Super Hornet is set to officially receive one of its biggest sensor upgrades ever next year with the addition of an infrared search and track pod. The system, which is integrated into the Super Hornet’s centerline fuel tank, will give the jet the ability to detect and engage low-observable (stealthy) and small radar cross-section targets at well beyond visual range, along with a slew of other capabilities. You can read all about the sensor and the Navy’s plans for it in more detail than anywhere else in this past War Zone interview with the head of the Navy’s Super Hornet program. Now, that system has appeared on deployment for the first time, over the tumultuous skies of the Middle East, a year before it is supposed to be operational.
The images below were posted by the Department of Defense. They show a pair of F/A-18F Super Hornets from VFA-94 “Mighty Strikes” flying over Central Command’s area of responsibility “in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.” The “Mighty Strikes” are attached to Carrier Air Wing 17, which is deployed aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68), which is presently plowing the waters of the Persian Gulf.
The jets are armed with live AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, ATFLIR targeting pods, and GBU-38/B JDAMs and GBU-54/B Laser JDAMs. As such, it is interesting to note that the IRST pod is being flown on these combat missions.
It isn’t clear what version of the Navy’s IRST pod we are seeing. The earlier Block I iteration of the system has been in testing for some time. It is likely that this is the version of the system shown in these photos. It would make some sense to deploy the earlier version of the pod on an operational cruise to better understand how the final production version will slot into the Air Wing when it comes online in about one year’s time. It would also give the Air Wing a capability it currently lacks, providing another tool to spot targets that are very hard to detect on radar, and an air-to-air sensor system that is not impacted by electronic warfare at all. Both attributes would be highly beneficial considering Iran is very active when it comes to both of these warfighting capabilities. In particular, the country’s rapid development and successful use of hard-to-detect low-flying cruise missiles and drones pose a major threat to American and allied assets in the region. Just ask Saudi Arabia.
It’s also worth mentioning that Nimitz got its own set of new long-range infrared ‘eyes’ for this deployment. That sensor, which you can read more about here, is more for general surveillance and target identification, not for detecting and engaging enemy aircraft over long distances.
Regardless, the Super Hornet’s IRST has officially hit the fleet, even in a limited operational test basis. It will be highly interesting to learn more about its deployment. We have already reached out to the Navy for more info on this historic deployment. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.thedrive.com/the-war zone)
07 Oct 20. Echodyne Expands Product Line to Meet Growing Demand. New Solutions Deliver Beam Steering Radar Technology for Close-Range 3D Security and Simplifying Scaled Radar Deployments.
Echodyne, the radar platform company, announced today the release of two products that broaden application for Echodyne radars – EchoGuard CR to provide high performance, active beam-steering, 3D radar capability in urban and dense environments or locations with reduced range requirements, and RadarHub to simplify multi-radar deployment and management. The products extend Echodyne’s unique ability to bring high performance beam steering radar capabilities to commercial markets.
“We’re excited to continue to add to our product stack. Our new beam-steering radar, EchoGuard CR, brings highly accurate ground and airspace perimeter surveillance within the budget of the vast majority of critical infrastructure customers,” said Eben Frankenberg, CEO of Echodyne. “In addition, RadarHub provides a platform to easily deploy and manage multi-radar installations through one central interface and is a strategic addition to our expanding product lineup.”
EchoGuard CR radar uses MESA radar technology to meet demand for high-performance radar for close range security within commercial budgets. The solution delivers advanced 3D perimeter surveillance for critical infrastructure with reduced energy output for greater accuracy in cluttered and busy semi-/urban environments.
EchoGuard CR’s ultra-low size, weight, and power (SWaP) is ideal for guarding ground and airspace perimeters of critical infrastructure and high-risk facilities in semi-/urban locations, and reliably identifies motionless or in-motion drones that may be spying from distance. A highly intuitive user interface allows configuration of the radar to site and mission requirements and offers options for integration into security platforms or as a stand-alone system. The lightweight solid-state hardware design simplifies mounting for fixed site deployments and offers rapid setup for portable or temporary needs.
RadarHub is a pre-engineered control cabinet solution that simplifies deployment, networking, and operations of multi-radar installations. The solution connects up to 5 radars and conveniently manages all key performance parameters, including power and network, through a single interface.
RadarHub is compatible with the growing EchoGuard family of radars and can be easily integrated with security system infrastructure or used to quickly deploy standalone hemispherical surveillance for temporary missions. Radar Hub provides flexible support for a variety of sensor fusion configurations such as radar + camera + additional sensors, e.g. RF or ADS-B, and has a UL-508A compliant design and construction. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
07 Oct 20. EU Buys Surveillance Drones for Belarus. The EU has bought 15 surveillance drones for Belarusian authorities, prompting alarm they could be used against pro-democracy protesters. Lithuanian police handed over the equipment to the Belarusian State Committee for Forensic Science on 16 September – in the middle of a brutal police crackdown, which has seen thousands of people snatched off the streets, beaten, and tortured.
And the EU foreign service paid for them out of an €850,000 neighbourhood project being handled by Latvia and Lithuania. The security cooperation appeared to go against the EU’s vocal support for the pro-democracy movement. And opposition activists feared the drones could be used against them, for instance, to identify individual protesters, leading to arrests.
They would be flown “not only in the capital, but also in the Minsk, Vitebsk, and Grodno regions”, the Belarusian forensic committee said on its website. And each one was “equipped with photo and video equipment that will allow you to qualitatively depict the scene and … significantly help in the investigation of criminal cases”, the Belarusian committee said.
For its part, Lithuania said the drones were delivered in September due to “contract procedures”. But Vilnius “suspended all payments to the Belarusian side related to joint EU-Belarus projects as of 9 August”, when the protests broke out.
The drones had not been used for anything yet, the EU foreign service added.
“According to information received from the Lithuanian programme authorities, the light drones were delivered but have not been put into operation,” it told EUobserver.
And they could not be used against protesters anyway, it said.
“Due to their technical characteristics, it is apparently not possible to use these drones to identify individuals as they are specialised in large crime scene investigation,” the EU foreign service said. Under “contractual obligations”, Belarusian authorities were meant to use them only for “project objectives”, the EU also said. It mentioned “catastrophes, natural disasters, ecological disasters”.
But Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus highlighted different applications.
The drones were to be used for “border protection, help during disasters and accidents”, a Latvian diplomat said. They would be used for “surveillance of border-line areas and providing forensic expertise in criminal investigations,” a Lithuanian diplomat said. And they would “help during the inspection of man-made and natural accidents, traffic accidents, search for people in the woods”, the Belarusian forensic committee said.
“Of course … that equipment needs to be used only for the reasons it has been provided”, the Latvian diplomat said. “We do hope that the drones will be used according to their purpose,” the Lithuanian diplomat said. “The European Commission … will keep closely monitoring the programme and the project’s implementation,” the EU foreign service added.
But for one Belarusian activist, who asked not to be named for security reasons, the EU words provided little comfort.
“Who can prevent the use of these drones to disperse protests?”, he told EUobserver when the project came to light. “The excuses that it’s not the police, but forensic experts look pathetic … Do they [the EU] have any conscience or brains?”, he said.
Lithuania has clarified its role in the purchase of surveillance drones for Belarusian authorities. Lithuanian authorities wired the funds for the 15 drones to Belarusian ones under an EU programme, a Lithuanian diplomat said. But Lithuania did so on 8 May, well before the eruption of pro-democracy protests in Belarus on 9 August.
“There was no physical launching of the project and the Belarus counterparts of the project bought the drones themselves,” the diplomat said.”Lithuanian police did not take part in buying and delivering the drones to Belarus and they did not provide any training or guidance”, she added.
Lithuanian police also told national media Belarus had spent €40,000 on the equipment and had received them on 28 August.
But when asked which firms supplied the drones, neither the Lithuanian diplomat nor the police were in a position to say.
EUobserver’s original enquiries about the project had indicated that Lithuanian police handed over the drones in September, after the pro-democracy protests in Belarus had begun, despite a risk they could be used against demonstrators.
And the report caused recriminations in Lithuania, which is preparing for elections this weekend and where the incumbent prime minister is an ex-police chief.
For its part, the EU foreign service, whose money paid for the drones, declined to give further details.
And the Lithuanian diplomat noted that “already a month ago, the Lithuanian ministry of interior has addressed the [European] Commission for more information and more details concerning cooperation with Belarus and application of EU rules. As far as we know, the answer is due on 8 October”. (Source: UAS VISION/euobserver)
06 Oct 20. Unmanned Aerial Systems Battle at Apollyon Exercise.
Military members on and around Eglin Air Force Base went to war Aug. 10 through 24 against a fleet of unmanned aerial systems during the large-scale Apollyon exercise.
“The small UAS problem is just one example of a disruptive technology which is effective and economical for our adversaries and the DoD has yet to counter it confidently. said Capt. Joseph Haggberg, Apollyon Planning Team Flight Commander. “Not only did our team test new counter-UAS technology, but we had to consider the safety of both travellers and the community during a pandemic, which is unprecedented.”
The 96th Test Wing’s groups and squadrons played a lead role in supporting this exercise from planning and logistics to equipment and analysis.
The 96th Cyber Test Group provided all logistical support for the exercise and the overall planning and execution of the event. The 46th Test Squadron’s Apollyon Test Team demonstrated evaluation of mature, integrated cUAS systems-of-systems on their ability to counter small UAS in theater-representative scenarios. A successful medium-risk live fire of an air defense missile was also incorporated led by the 780th Test Squadron.
Over 20 c-UAS sensor and negation systems, integrated with the MEDUSA Command and Control network, were evaluated. The MEDUSA integration across multiple service domains highlighted another Apollyon outcome: increased tester experience with a Joint All-Domain Command and Control approach to negating small UAS.
“I believe this was just a sampler of what’s coming for the test community once we start integration into a JADC2 environment,” said Capt Haggberg. “It was fantastic seeing nearly every sensor connected to any shooter through a common interface and C2 network which created multiple layers and options for sensing and protection.”
Additionally, elements of an agile test process came together in the form of simultaneous data collection in a relevant environment and building operator experience with engineers and programmers nearby to incorporate operator feedback into their systems, according to Haggberg.
During the event, Apollyon teams formulated c-UAS concepts of operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures to benefit all Department of Defense branches. The test team directed 431 UAS sorties employing two operational and tactical level command and control venues.
The teams made 240 kinetic and non-kinetic negations in operationally representative unmanned aerial system environments. The planning team also overcame extraordinary challenges to develop a comprehensive COVID risk mitigation plan, which gave decision-makers confidence in authorizing over 300 visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 96 TW team ensured participants followed all safety protocols, resulting in the first successful, large scale test event conducted at Eglin Test and Training Range since February 2020.
Both the 96th Range Group and the 96th Communications Squadron lent crucial communications support for Apollyon as well.
The Joint Assessment Division, based here, was responsible for the development of threat flight profiles and the reduction and analysis of all gathered data.
“The team knew COVID-19 wouldn’t stop our adversaries from using UASs so we couldn’t stop either,” said Haggberg. “The success of this event is a testament to all participants’ unshakable resolve to protect our service members.” (Source: UAS VISION/dvids)
06 Oct 20. BIRD Aerosystems, the leading developer of Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS) and Airborne Surveillance, Information, and Observation (ASIO) solutions, Unveils the ASIO Holistic Solution: a complete end-to-end special mission task force solution tailored for maritime and ground surveillance missions.
ASIO Holistic Solution is an advanced multi-layered solution that provides a multidimensional approach to combat diverse security threats within the maritime and ground domain. It is managed from a unified Command & Control (C&C) center that operates BIRD’s advanced Intelligence Analysis systems 24/7. Whether it is Maritime Surveillance or Ground Surveillance, the operator in the C&C will automatically receive a risk-based assessment on each target operating within and around the country’s borders.
After assessing the targets, the operator designates the high-risk targets, and the ASIO C&C system effectively tailors the required operations using the wide range of surface and air assets that are part of the ASIO task force, including the ASIO special mission aircraft, advanced UAV, ground vehicles, naval vessels, and others.
All of the ASIO assets are equipped with BIRD’s advanced Mission Management system (MSIS) used to share the unified situational awareness picture and to ensure effective coordination between the assets through real-time connectivity and continuous data exchange.
Highly customizable, ASIO Holistic Solution can be tailored to specific customer requirements, providing a true flexible force multiplier solution. Modular and scalable, it can be provided and implemented gradually or as a complete solution.
Ronen Factor, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder at BIRD Aerosystems: “After years of research and development, and based on BIRD Aerosystems’ combat-proven ASIO task-force, we are happy to introduce the ASIO Holistic Solution – a complete ISR solution that connects airborne, naval, and ground units using BIRD’s MSIS, and effectively controls surveillance missions. With BIRD’s ASIO Holistic Solution, the appropriate assets are provided with an automatically generated mission plan, prioritized and optimized for the assets, and the entire team shares a unified real-time situational awareness overview and actionable intelligence.”
05 Oct 20. XTEND Showcases HUNTER Platform at Europe’s Largest Evaluation of Counter Drone Systems.
XTEND, the world-leading provider of innovative XR human telepresence technology for Defense, National Security, Public Safety, and Industrial Inspection markets, recently participated in a national evaluation event hosted by the Spanish Ministries of Interior and Defense in Asturias Airport, Spain. The event featured 16 state-of-the-art counter drone technology companies to showcase and deploy their product’s compatibility with existing airport technologies.
Recognizing that counter-unmanned aircraft systems (c-UAS) are crucial for national security, the event sought solutions to prevent drone interference and other threats that endanger airports and flights.
XTEND’s SKYLORD HUNTER system, is an aerial defense platform adopted by the U.S. DoD and other world defense agencies to support military and civilian operations. The platform’s XR capabilities fuse edge technology with cognitive skills to safely perform dangerous missions on the battlefield both in the US and abroad.
“Safety is our mission, no matter the scenario. In this instance, our SKYLORD HUNTER system features air-to-air interception capabilities and instant GPS acquisition to target threatening UAS,” said Aviv Shapira, CEO, and Co-founder of XTEND. “The success of our evaluation here shows how we can revolutionize how airports across the globe are able to surveille and protect their airspace from drones and other aerial threats that endanger flights.”
Each company had to overcome two types of tests to demonstrate why their technologies are compatible with current airport communication systems and navigation. They also had to demonstrate the effectiveness of their capacities to fight against hostile drones and guarantee their designated area’s security.
XTEND had successfully intercepted a target drone on the move before allowing it to enter into the aerial area of the airport. The tests were organized and conducted by the Spanish Ministries of Interior, Defense, Transportation and the National Police and Civil Guard. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
05 Oct 20. From ‘Frankengoggle’ To Battle-Ready: US Army IVAS. The experimental targeting goggles field-tested last fall didn’t work in the rain. The ruggedized version to be tested this month will fix that flaw – and more, the Army says. In the face of cutbacks from Congress and skepticism from Pentagon testers, the Army will roll out an improved version of its IVAS augmented-reality goggles at next week’s AUSA conference and start field-testing days later. The goal: prove that the ambitious Integrated Visual Augmentation System can combine night vision, targeting assistance, and tactical updates on a Heads Up Display – a technology historically reserved for the cockpits of multi-million-dollar fighter jets – and make it light and rugged enough for soldiers to wear into the mud, dust and chaos of infantry combat.
While Congress hasn’t voted on final funding levels for 2021, House authorizers and appropriators proposed both cutting IVAS by up to $235m. (HASC and HAC suggested slightly different figures). A big part of the reason? Decades of painful past experience with failed high-tech projects – including a conceptually similar system called Land Warrior – and a deep skepticism that the Army could get the technology and cost under control to start fielding to troops on schedule in 2021.
In particular, the Pentagon’s independent testing arm, the Director of Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), reported that many troops who tried out an early model last fall – especially elite Rangers and Special Forces – gave it poor ratings. Reliability and ruggedness were a particular concern at the November 2019 field-test, called Soldier Touchpoint 2, where IVAS was not even able to function properly in rainy weather.
But those problems were an expected consequence of getting a proto-prototype into soldiers’ and testers’ hands for feedback as soon as possible, Army officials told me. They will be fixed in the militarized version, headed for Soldier Touchpoint 3 later this month.
The difference is “night and day,” said Col. Brad Winn, who’s leading the IVAS effort for Army Futures Command. “The military one, it’s ballistic, it’s ruggedized.” By contrast, the initial Soldier Touchpoint 1 last spring used the civilian Microsoft HoloLens. Then Soldier Touchpoint 2 festooned the HoloLens with low-light sensors, infrared cameras, and other military-specific tech, he said: “We sometimes refer to the STP-2 one as a ‘Frankengoggle.’”
“You were welding and soldering and attaching things to an existing commercial system,” added his civilian deputy, Thomas Travis. “We weren’t spending our time trying to make it look pretty and be balanced [or] to minimize the size and the power and all of that” – including making it waterproof.
“We told everybody that from the very beginning,” he said. The goal was to kludge all the components together, see if the system could work at all and get feedback on what to fix before trying to come up with a final design.
Historically, Army development programs waited to get outside input until they had a polished product, which often made changes difficult or impossible to implement. The two-year-old Army Futures Command is built on the opposite philosophy, getting what Silicon Valley calls a “Minimum Viable Product” in users’ hands as early as possible and then evolving it with their constant feedback.
No effort in Futures Command has embraced this model more completely than IVAS. “The amount of soldier involvement from the beginning has been astronomically more than anything we’ve ever done on any program we’ve ever had,” Travis told me.
Counting both the major field exercises with soldiers – the two Solder Touchpoints so far – and about two dozen smaller hands-on events focused on specific aspects of the technology, IVAS now has over 20,000 hours of feedback from more than 1,000 soldiers, Marines, and special operators, Winn told me. That’s already driven the evolution of “dozens of hardware prototypes and thousands of software developments,” he said.
Many of these are minor tweaks to make a particular feature work better (or at all). But others include major changes, like adding the ability to see live drone feeds on the goggles and reducing the sensor range in order to improve peripheral vision.
“What we envisioned IVAS to be and what it looks like in this first military form factor are not the same,” Travis said. “If we had gone off of the requirement that my team wrote — because I was responsible for it – we would never have gotten what we have today.”
It wasn’t just actual soldiers getting an early look, either: It was also professional testers from the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test & Evaluation and Army Test & Evaluation Command. “DOT&E’s involvement and ATEC’s involvement never would have been in this stage of a program,” he said, but getting their feedback early also improves the final product.
Soldiers and Marines will start arriving for Soldier Touchpoint 3, featuring the militarized and ruggedized IVAS, on Oct. 17. After a couple days of basic training on the new technology, the troops will use IVAS in mock night patrols, assaults, and other field maneuvers for most of the next two weeks.
They’ll also test IVAS on a larger scale. While the first two STPs involved squads and platoons, STP-3 will have roughly a company of troops, with their IVAS systems sharing data over a new tactical cloud computing network. (Extending cloud access to the “tactical edge” is a top DoD priority).
A fourth Soldier Touch Point planned for spring will involve nearly battalion of troops, Winn told me, using a further refinement of the militarized IVAS.
The Army still plans to start fielding IVAS to combat troops in fall 2021. (Specifically, the last quarter of federal FY21). It’s still negotiating the final price for the complete package of IVAS, spare batteries, cloud server, and other accessories a unit will need, Travis said. As for any potential cuts from Congress, he said, “we will rapidly procure to whatever we’re resourced at.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
06 Oct 20. L3Harris Technologies Introduces New ISR Technology Solution. L3Harris Technologies is introducing a new technology solution to enhance ISR capability to aircraft previously only available through major airplane modifications. RASISR™ (Rapid, Adaptable, Smart, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) is the new universal signals intelligence (SIGINT) pod.
RASISR is the only pod with the capacity to host L3Harris’ full-spectrum SIGINT capability and other high-performance sensors for multiple platform types including high-speed aircraft and business jets. The new pod also enables increased ISR capacity and agility by adding sensor capability to non-ISR platforms such as transport, tanker and maritime aircraft.
“We designed RASISR to accommodate a range of sensors and payloads,” said Bill Irby, President, Reconnaissance Mission Systems, L3Harris. “We’re pleased to offer this solution that can be swapped between aircraft platforms, while also providing a low-cost, low-risk means to provide additional sensors and field capabilities to keep pace with requirements.”
The RASISR pod hosts a full-spectrum signals intelligence capability including communications intelligence, electronic intelligence and special signals. These capabilities perform in both strategic and tactical missions. L3Harris, a leading provider of ISR solutions, is leveraging decades of investment in SIGINT technologies.
The RASISR pod is proven within SIGINT applications in which the payload have been tested on unmanned aircraft systems. (Source: News Now/Armada)
02 Oct 20. EUROCAE releases first counter UAS standards document for open consultation in collaboration with RTCA. European standards agency EUROCAE has released the draft document relating to ‘Operational Services and Environment Definition for Counter-UAS in controlled airspace’ ED-286, the first of three documents due release in the next eight months. Eurocae WG-115 (C-UAS) and US standards agency RTCA SC-238 are working jointly to develop standards applicable to Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS).
Comments are invited by 16 November 2020.
For more information visit:
05 Oct 20. Drone Defence releases portable electronic countermeasure system, the Paladyne E1000MP.
Drone Defence has released a compact fully man-portable drone countermeasure system – the Paladyne E1000MP. According to the company, the development is the ‘first of many’ upcoming product announcements following recent seed funding from US-based Scientel Solutions.
The Paladyne E1000MP is designed to protect organisations of all sizes against an emerging threat from drones.
Richard Gill, founder and CEO of Drone Defence said: “Our latest, industry-leading drone countermeasure system will go a long way to ensuring an increasing threat from illicit drones is minimised, whilst helping to enable the drone industry for legitimate drone operators.”
For more information visit:
02 Oct 20. Standards agencies on track to deliver C-UAS standards by mid-2021. “In a short period, we’ve made a lot of progress,” said Max Fenkell, chair of the RTCA Special Committee SC-238 established in December 2019 to develop minimum operational performance standards around Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS). Less than a year later, RTCA is ready to publish its first deliverable.
The committee operates as a joint committee with European counterparts represented by EUROCAE Working Group WG 115, chaired by Jorge El Malek Vazquez, Head of C-UAS at Indra. The first rule becomes available later this year and “by mid-2021 we expect to publish C-UAS operational standards for stakeholders,” says Jorge El Malek.
The joint committee is producing harmonised documents that are technically identical covering three areas of operation. The first of these – due release this year – is an Operational Services and Environment Definition (OSED) for C-UAS in controlled airspace. This is aimed at airports and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and provides an operational description of where C-UAS systems operate in controlled airspace. The draft OSED moved to final review and comment phase in September 2020.
“We have started work on the next two documents which focus on system performance requirements of detection systems and data interoperability requirements,” said Jorge El Malek. The system performance requirements relate to non-cooperative UAS detection systems and are due to be delivered in June 2021. The third document, also due delivery next June, relates to interoperability requirements for C-UAS systems.
US standards development was prompted by the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 which expanded the authority of government agencies to mitigate threats caused by unmanned vehicles. Subsequently the Department of Justice issued guidance on how to protect facilities from drones in April 2020; and departments including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an advisory on C-UAS in August 2020.
In a webinar hosted by RTCA on 16 September 2020, members of the joint committee identified the key issues behind C-UAS rule making.
US drone manufacturer Skydio believes the first and most important priority is to promote responsible use of drones by operators, backed by the company’s ethical policy framework to inform users about the safe use of the technology. Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs Bendan Groves said: “C-UAS measures should supplement but not supplant other measures to mitigate risk. C-UAS is a tool in the tool kit. Educating operators is absolutely fundamental to airspace security.”
Skydio also supports remote identification of autonomous systems, due to be subject to a new rule in the US from the end of 2020. “There is a lot of focus on mitigation technology, but this is misplaced.” Said Brendan Groves. “Appropriate authorities need the authority to deal with malicious actor, granted – we spent 2 years getting that authority in Congress – but you can’t stop what you can’t see. It all comes down to detection. So the most important thing in the field is to find the malicious drone, then you can determine how to deal with it.” He added remote identification is 80-90% of the solution and enables authorities to work with local law enforcement agencies.
This was demonstrated when a rogue drone was detected during the 2019 Super Bowl – attended by 70,000 spectators – moments ahead of a fly past by the Thunderbirds. The operator was contacted in under two minutes, removing the threat, while simultaneously talking with air traffic control and the Thunderbirds.
Representing the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), C-sUAS Technical Integration Lead Philip Zaleski said testing the technology is challenging and involves multiple solutions. “We work across all the modalities in the C-UAS kill-chain to detect quicker, track better, and provide the C-UAS operator with the best system so they can take actions quickly. Detection is a challenge when we are dealing with small vehicles that look like birds operating below 50ft and moving at 70 mph.”
Philip Zaleski said the biggest challenge is staying ahead of the technology. “We continue to leverage our defense industrial base and we are making strides but there is always a danger that the threat moves on.” AFRL is working with partners in NATO to acquire and test different technology. “We share the science and technology to accelerate development and reduce cost. This is moving slower than we’d like.”
Trying to collaborate and align objectives is important in identifying ways to mitigate the global threat, and standardisation is expected to go a long way towards easing this process. This approach is especially relevant to command and control technology given that spectrum jamming is illegal in the commercial sector.
Progress at international level started with the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) established in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in the US. Some 40 states endorsed the Berlin Memorandum on Good Practices for Countering Terrorist Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems in mid-2019 which documents good practise for C-UAS measures. It supports a strategic, rather than combative, approach to drone security and encourages governments to work with the drone industry to develop solutions.
Similarly, the US defense department is working with the federal sector to develop strategic solutions that operate seamlessly with Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM). Philip Zaleski said: “We share our library system and knowledge base, and we support exercises and events. We have demonstrated communication exchange between ATC, UTM and air operations to prove we can cue a C-UAS system and have shown this capability. UTM is still a moving target, led by FAA and NASA, which makes it a challenge. We are working in parallel to prepare for when UTM goes live.”
European states are also engaged in collaborative exercises, for example in Spain where Indra completed a week of demonstrations in September working with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence, ANSPs, and airports. “We need to understand compatibility of systems, their effectiveness, and how the different entities interact,” said Jorge El Malek.
Looking ahead to the next phase of policy development, Brendan Groves said there are three concepts that need to be in place to ensure airspace safety and security. The three A’s include:
- Airspace awareness. A framework for remote Identification is taking shape in response to this.
- Authority to address malicious actors. State and local actors do not have tools just now and there are calls from the airport community for a reasonable and tailored extension of the authority to mitigate against drone threats by state and local actors provided appropriate protections are in place for security and privacy, and access to airspace. Proposals include a pilot programme to protect airports and public events.
- Airspace limitations. Protection is still lacking for critical infrastructure sites, although this aspect is on the FAA rule-making calendar.
For more information visit:
https://www.thegctf.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=j5gj4fSJ4fI%3D&portalid=1 (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
05 Oct 20. European Maritime Safety Agency Tests RPAS in Mediterranean. Aiming to test the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in enhancing the maritime awareness picture in the French Mediterranean Sea, Secrétariat Général de la Mer requested the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to set-up a multipurpose maritime surveillance operation, having the Navy (Marine Nationale) and customs (Douanes) as the strategic and tactical leaders of the operation. Operational missions started on 23 September for an initial period of three months.
The RPAS service will consist of general maritime surveillance over waters under French sovereignty and jurisdiction in the Mediterranean Sea, more specifically, encompassing:
- maritime monitoring and surveillance in support of coast-guard functions – maritime safety and security, supporting further maritime domain situational awareness, fisheries control and law enforcement; and
- maritime environmental protection, namely oil spill detection and characterisation, identification of targets possibly connected and where needed offering support to oil spill response. Marine Nationale and Douanes will command and monitor the missions remotely from Toulon and Marseille respectively and the RPAS will be operated from the French Air Force Base (BA125) of Istres.
The contractor operating the RPAS is the consortium REACT (with partners CLS and TEKEVER) and the aircraft to be used is the AR-5 unmanned fixed wing aircraft. This asset has a payload comprising a maritime radar, electro-optical and infra-red cameras, AIS receiver and EPIRB antenna. It is ready to fly under SATCOM and can perform night and day operations. (Source: UAS VISION)
01 Oct 20. Egypt – Maritime Domain Awareness System. The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Egypt of a Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) system and related equipment for an estimated cost of $417m. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today. The Government of Egypt has requested a possible sale of a Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) system that includes multi-site Acquisition Radars (fixed and mobile) with supporting facilities, ElectroOptical/Infrared Sensors (fixed, mobile, airborne), Radio Communications suites, Hybrid Power Generation Systems, Closed Circuit Television, Power and Data Distribution Units, Automatic Identification System, and various other surveillance and communications systems; and other related elements of logistical and program support.
— thirty-four (34) Integrated Fixed Towers with supporting equipment;
— twenty-eight (28) Communication Towers with supporting equipment;
— twelve (12) Relay Towers with supporting equipment;
— six (6) Naval Base Operations Rooms,
— two (2) regional Operations Centers, and one (1) Strategic Operation Center all with supporting equipment;
— six (6) Harbor Protection Systems with supporting equipment;
— Intelligent Fiber Intrusion Detection System;
— twelve (12) Vertical Take Off and Landing UAV with six (6) Ground Stations;
— fourteen (14) Mobile Maritime Surveillance Vehicles; and
— three (3) Aerostat ISR Integrated Platform with supporting equipment.
The estimated total program cost is $417m.
This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally country that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East.
Egypt intends to use this Maritime Domain Awareness system to provide the Egyptian Armed Forces with a maritime surveillance capability with real-time situational awareness in the defense of Egypt maritime boundary, natural resources, and ports. Egypt will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be the Advanced Technology Systems Company (ATSC), McLean, VA. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Egypt involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews, support, and oversight for approximately five years.
(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Defense Security Cooperation Agency)
01 Oct 20. Raytheon Intelligence & Space to Produce Radar for F-15EX. Raytheon Intelligence & Space was selected by the Boeing Company to provide the APG-82(V)1 active electronically scanned array radar for the F-15EX.
“The most advanced F-15 ever built demands the most advanced AESA radar available,” said Michelle Styczynski, F-15 Senior Product Line Director for Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “Not only is the APG-82(V)1 radar more capable than ever, it’s combat proven – having flown in multiple theaters around the world. Our production line is up and running, and we’re ready to deliver this revolutionary capability today.”
The APG-82(V)1 radar can simultaneously detect, identify and track multiple air and surface targets at longer ranges than ever before. This constant target observation allows pilots to make smarter decisions faster and further from the threat; enabling them to keep their edge in the skies and achieve air dominance.
To date, Raytheon Intelligence & Space has delivered more than 150 APG-82s to U.S. and international customers. Under the contract with Boeing, RI&S will deliver eight systems beginning this year and concluding in 2022. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Raytheon Intelligence & Space generated $14bn in pro forma annual revenue in 2019 and has 35,700 employees worldwide. Raytheon Intelligence & Space is one of four businesses that form Raytheon Technologies Corporation. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Raytheon Intelligence & Space)
05 Oct 20. EUROCAE expands participation in counter UAS working group WG-115. European standards agency EUROCAE has launched a Call for Participation to inform interested parties about activities undertaken by WG-115.
EUROCAE Working Group 115 was created end of 2019 to address the capability of countering unauthorized UAS operations around airports, focusing on the development of performance and interoperability requirements for Counter UAS systems. WG-115 is working jointly with RTCA Special Committee 238.
During plenary meeting held 22, 23 and 29 September 2020, WG-115 reached two great achievements, considering the urgent need by airport and airlines:
- First, the plenary approved the Operational Services and Environment Definition (OSED) for Counter-UAS in controlled airspace to enter Open Consultation. Draft ED-286 is now available for comments until 16 November 2020. Link
- Second, the joint activity is entering a next phase that will see the development of 2 standards: a Safety and Performance Requirements (SPR) and an Interoperability Requirements (INTEROP).
The SPR will define the minimum requirements for non-cooperative UAS detection systems. The INTEROP will specify the interface within a C-UAS System and for connecting with external systems (e.g. ATM, ATC, UTM/U-space) and actors (such as Airport authorities, Law Enforcement). It will also provide requirements regarding the impact on CNS and ANSP capabilities.
On the last day of the plenary, the committee developed a workplan to finalise this phase before the end of next year.
To achive this ambitious objective, WG-115 is seeking for additional expertise and active contribution in the following fields: System Engineering, C-UAS systems manufacturer, Airport operators, ATM/UTM system manufacturers, etc. Links with the following EUROCAE Working Groups seem also essential: WG-41, WG-103, WG-105 and WG-111.
If your company is interested in a contribution to these activities, please complete the Registration form available here Link.
Deadline 2 November 2020
A working session (Webex) is planned on 10 November 2020 to share experience and start the work on those standards. Additional information will be provided in due time to registered experts and WG members.
For additional information contact: email@example.com
For more information visit:
www.eurocae.net (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
29 Sep 20. DroneShield launches DroneSentry-C2 security dashboard to manage counter UAS activity. DroneShield has introduced a security dashboard, called DroneSentry-C2, for counter unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) missions. According to a video summary released by the company, the software features a browser-based login to support a range of devices. It includes a range of sensor options including:
RfOne direction finders offering 8km range
Third party surveillance radars at a range of budgets
DroneCannon automatic or manual defeat with dome protection against a range of drone frequencies
Plus-and-play RfZero drone detectors
Optics/thermal camera options with DroneOptID drone and payload ID and tracking engine
Real-time alerts and tracking notifications delivered via email, SMS, and websockets API
Multiple installation nodes operating together
Hosted on a server or a secure cloud
Designed to integrate with third party broader surveillance systems via common APIs
Intuitive analytics with data exporting functionality
Picture of drone situational awareness.
For more information visit:
01 Oct 20. Australia’s drone registration and operator accreditation system goes live.
Drone registration and operator accreditation is now open for drones or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flown for business in Australia – no matter how much it weighs.
Registration is free and valid for 12 months.
Some drones don’t need to be registered. This applies if:
- you don’t intend to fly your drone
- you’re only flying for sport or recreation, including model aircraft at CAA-approved model airfields.
Operator accreditation is free and valid for three years.
You do not need an operator accreditation if:
- you have a remote pilot licence RePL
- you’re only flying for sport or recreation, including model aircraft at CAA-approved model airfields.
Australia’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) recently consulted on proposed charges for other drone regulatory services and recently published its response online. As a result, CASA has made some minor amendments to Part 101 Manual of Standards (Miscellaneous Amendments) Instrument and has also issued a new Direction for drone operators.
For more information visit:
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