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25 Nov 21. HP47 Handheld Jammer Combined with SkyWall Autonomous Optical Tracking at NATO Exercise. The SkyWall Patrol Net-Capture and HP47 handheld-jamming systems have been used together by leading specialist law enforcement across Europe since 2016. Combining electronic defeat and physical capture to provide a highly effective CUAS capability.
OpenWorks and HP are now combining forces to show a new track-defeat concept at the NATO Technical Interoperability Exercise, in VreDePeel Airbase in the Netherlands.
The HP47 system is attached to a quick-release mount on the SkyTrack positioner. Operators can position the SkyTrack-HP47 system in a fixed location for a temporary protective scenario, such as a roof top. The system can be operated remotely, with the operator receiving high-quality video of the tracked target and on-command precise jamming. The handheld jammer can be quickly disconnected when required and continue the mission in a handheld operation, while the SkyTrack system continues to provide overwatch.
The new concept provides a highly-flexible solution and provides an upgrade option to existing HP47 customers that would like to evolve their existing hardware into remotely operated and autonomous protective systems.
The SkyTrack ultra high-performance EO/IR target tracking system has the ability to network with other CUAS sensors such as radar or RF direction finding, fuses data using the SkyAI control module and scans the sky using AI neural networks to detect and classify UAS targets before tracking them with high accuracy. The SkyTrack system has an integral attachment point which allows additional 3rd party sensors and effectors to be mounted and remotely controlled.
The HP47 handheld jammer is a high-accuracy directional jamming system that allows an operator to halt and take control of any UAS that uses RF communications or GPS navigation. Recent upgrades allow the handheld system to be remotely activated by and external system, and this has enabled the new concept to be provided. (Source: UAS VISION)
29 Oct 21. Looking Down From On High. The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force is bringing in new platforms to continue its airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, a skill developed from rudimentary beginnings at the end of the First World War
One could easily write two quite different articles about British airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. One article would paint a very negative picture – describing sweeping cutbacks and the wholesale loss of capabilities – while the other would be more positive, highlighting some high-profile acquisitions and some promising new future technologies. The truth lies somewhere between the two.
Reconnaissance was one of the earliest roles for the military aeroplane, and the Royal Air Force (RAF) has been in the recce game since its formation in 1918, initially undertaking simple visual observation of enemy targets, and subsequently providing a primarily photographic reconnaissance product. The Second World War saw an expansion into various types of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) but the emphasis remained on photography – with tactical or fighter reconnaissance usually carried out at low level by armed aircraft, and with high altitude unarmed aircraft conducting more strategic operations.
During the Cold War, the Supermarine Spitfires used for tactical reconnaissance gave way to Gloster Meteor FR.Mk9s, Supermarine Swift FR.Mk5s, Hawker Hunter FR.Mk10s, augmented by tactically-configured English Electric Canberras, and later being replaced by recce-pod carrying McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantoms, SEPCAT Jaguars and latterly Panavia Tornados. The high altitude Spitfire PR.Mk19 and de Havilland Mosquito PR.Mk34 gave way to Canberras, Handley Page Valiants and Victors.
New Long Range Oblique Photography (LOROP) cameras allowed reconnaissance aircraft to ‘look’ far off track, allowing them to gather imagery of a target without directly over-flying it. This allowed aircraft to ‘look’ far over an enemy border, for example. The post war period also saw radar being used for reconnaissance, and especially for reconnoitring potential routes for the V-bombers, which would then use their own radar to find their way to the target.
But the reconnaissance role was not simply about the aircraft platforms, nor even about the long focal length lenses fitted to the cameras they carried, nor the new sensors deployed.
A whole infrastructure of processing and photographic interpretation was established and refined, such that after landing, film would be rushed to a waiting Air Transportable Reconnaissance Exploitation Laboratory (ATREL) complex of mobile cabins housing aircrew debriefing facilities, and equipment capable of very rapid wet processing of high-resolution film, with motorised light tables and imagery enhancement equipment to facilitate rapid imagery analysis. Such analysis could even be performed in a hostile NBC environment, producing ‘hot reports’ within 30 minutes of the pilot shutting down his engine(s).
By the end of the Cold War, traditional wet film cameras were increasingly being replaced by electro-optical and infra-red sensors, but great emphasis was still placed on gathering very high quality, high resolution imagery, and reconnaissance remained a largely specialised role.
Traditional photographic reconnaissance reached its zenith in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The RAF’s small fleet of Canberra PR.Mk9s received the Goodrich Rapid Deployment Electro-Optical System (RADEOS), which was derived from the Senior Year Electro-Optical Relay System (SYERS) carried by the Lockheed U-2S, from 1997. The system saw operational service in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and proved capable of very high resolution at extreme range. In images of the Houses of Parliament taken from 47,000ft (14,300m) over the Isle of Wight, the time on Big Ben’s clock could be read clearly.
The Goodrich Reconnaissance Airborne Pod Tornado (RAPTOR) was a podded system based on the similar DB-110 EO sensor (dual-band 110-inch focal length) and was introduced into RAF service in 2002. This allowed images to be recorded for post-flight analysis, displayed in the cockpit or transmitted to a ground station via a data link. A total of eight RAPTOR pods were purchased by the RAF. RAPTOR made its operational debut during Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2003. RAPTOR was used to provide vital imagery over Iraq and Syria to the coalition partners engaged in Operation Inherent Resolve, and later on Operation Shader.
The Canberra PR.Mk9 was retired on 28 July 2006, and the RAPTOR pod followed when the Tornado was withdrawn from service on 1 April 2019.
UTC Aerospace Systems (which had acquired Goodrich in 2012) offered a similar pod for the Eurofighter Typhoon, using a multi-spectral MS110 sensor, but this was not ordered, and nor was Rafael’s Reccelite XR reconnaissance pod, though this did undergo some trials.
The DB110 was flown on a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, and some consideration was given to putting RAPTOR on Reaper or Protector UAVs, but this does not seem to be happening.
Senior RAF officers said that the capabilities provided by RAPTOR were being directly replaced by existing, in-service ISR capabilities, on a range of platforms – including an unidentified ‘wide body’ aircraft and space-based systems.
This does not mean the end of fast jet reconnaissance – the forthcoming Rafael Litening 5 targeting pod could provide the Typhoon with impressive ISR capabilities, while the Lockheed Martin F-35B also has formidable recce potential thanks to its EOTS system, its powerful Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 AESA radar, its sensor fusion and the high degree of embedded connectivity.
But the ISR emphasis certainly switched away from fast jets, and there was a growing concentration on those capabilities best suited to asymmetric warfare against non state actors like Daesh. This process has continued and intensified – changing the face of UK airborne ISR/ISTAR.
Although the role description of maritime reconnaissance includes the word reconnaissance, maritime patrol aircraft were not traditionally thought of as belonging to the reconnaissance community, since they used their capabilities simply to find their own targets. All that changed during the second Gulf War in 2003, when RAF Hawker Siddeley Nimrods were pressed into use in an overland reconnaissance and surveillance role, supporting land forces, and using their radar, newly fitted Wescam MX-15 electro-optical turrets and comprehensive communications capabilities to identify potential targets and locate and monitor enemy forces. Use of the Nimrod for overland ISR, using the MX-15, reflected the limitations of the Army’s Pilatus Britten Norman Defender, which had relatively poor hot-and-high performance, limited endurance, and which was still heavily tasked in Northern Ireland. Thereafter, the Nimrods were extensively used in the overland ISR role in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and their eventual replacement, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA.Mk1 is today viewed as an ISR aircraft as much as it is a maritime patrol and anti-submarine asset.
The loss of Nimrod XV230 after an inflight fire on 2 September 2006 led to the type’s early withdrawal, and to the introduction of new ISR aircraft types, offering capabilities more finely tuned to the type of operations being flown in the post-Cold War environment.
Raytheon’s Sentinel R.Mk1 was the end result of a long-running programme to field an Airborne Stand-off Radar (ASTOR) with moving target indication and high definition Synthetic Aperture Radar capabilities. Raytheon was eventually contracted to develop a five-aircraft ASTOR system, using Bombardier’s Global Express business jet as the airborne platform and initially basing the mission system on the U-2’s Hughes (now Raytheon) ASARS-2 radar. The Sentinel’s main radar was known as the Sentinel Dual Mode Radar Sensor (DMRS) and is a Raytheon dual-mode synthetic aperture radar/moving target indication (SAR/MTI) radar based on the ASARS-2, and using Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology. Service trials began in 2007 and an Operational Level Ground Station (OLGS) was deployed to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in mid-November 2008, with two Sentinel aircraft deploying to Seeb airbase in Oman, from where No. V(AC) Squadron flew the first operational Sentinel R.Mk1 mission on 15 November 2008.
Raytheon also provided six Shadow R.Mk1 ISR aircraft, based on the King Air 350 (and plans are underway to expand the fleet to eight aircraft upgraded to R.Mk2 standards). The RAF officially took delivery of the first of four initial Shadow R.Mk1s in 2009, and these initially operated as a flight of No.V (AC) Squadron, before becoming No.14 Squadron in 2011.
Though the RAF remains coy about the Shadow’s exact equipment fit and capabilities, its state of the art mission equipment was described as including “an under-fuselage electro-optical sensor turret, a variety of integrated sensors and extensive communications capability, managed from operator consoles in the cabin.” The EO sensor is thought to be the same as was fitted to the Nimrod, an L3 Wescam MX-15, an electro-optical/infra red (EO/IR) turret which also incorporates a laser designator. The aircraft also incorporates a forward-looking EO wide-area surveillance (WAS) sensor (which can be used for counter-improvised explosive device work and providing pattern-of-life intelligence).
The Shadow R.Mk1 is also reported to have a Communications Intelligence capability (COMINT) perhaps based on L3’s Spydr combined IMINT/COMINT system, with L3 Rio signals intelligence software, which can monitor a waveband of 20 MHz – 3 GHz, geo-locating emitters, and displaying them on a ‘Google Earth’ style map. Once an emitter has been located, the MX-15 can be used to gather IMINT on the emitter’s user. The Shadow is able to monitor and locate the kinds of communications equipment typically used by insurgent groups.
The concept of operations for the aircraft entails other UK ISR platforms making the initial detection of potential targets, with the Shadow then being tasked to investigate more closely, using its on-board COMINT equipment to detect the target’s emissions, and recording IMINT of the target using the MX-15.
Clarity in Afghanistan
The Shadow’s output was deemed “particularly valuable to ground commanders”, providing their forces with an unprecedented insight into the unique operating environment of Afghanistan. The type’s electro-optical and electronic capabilities were felt to complement those of the Sentinel R.Mk1, allowing analysts to prepare a more comprehensive intelligence product and permitting a more effective and efficient use of combat aircraft, Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), helicopter-borne forces, and armed reconnaissance vehicles.
It was originally planned that both the Sentinel and the Shadow would be withdrawn from service when operations in Afghanistan ended in 2015. Both aircraft had their service lives extended, and both proved invaluable on Operation Shader, providing ISR over Syria and Iraq. The Sentinel, however, was retired in February 2021, whereas the Shadow gained long term funding and its planned service life was extended, first to 2018 and then through to 2035.
Another ISR aircraft brought into RAF service as a result of the war in Afghanistan was the MQ-9A Reaper. The RAF’s Reaper operation built on the work of No.1115 Flight, which embedded UK personnel in the US Air Forces’s (USAF) Combined Joint Predator Task Force from January 2004, operating the MQ-1 Predator.
This gave the RAF invaluable experience when it began MQ-9A Reaper (Predator B) training in December 2006. No.39 Squadron began operations over Afghanistan in 2007, working out of Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, with an initial six aircraft. Five additional aircraft were procured in 2012 and No.XIII Sqn re-formed on 26 October 2020.
Like Sentinel and Shadow, Reaper had been due for retirement in 2015, but was retained and heavily committed to Operation Shader.
The premature retirement of the Nimrod, and the subsequent collapse of the replacement Nimrod MRA.Mk4 also meant that the options of running on the SIGINT-roled Nimrod R.Mk1s of No.51 Squadron, or replacing them with a derivative of the MRA.Mk4 became untenable.
Rebuilding Airborne ISR
The final BAE Nimrod R.Mk1 sortie was flown in June 2011, and the type was replaced by three Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft acquired under the Airseeker project. No.51 Squadron took delivery of the RAF’s first Rivet Joint On 12 November 2013, and flew the first operational sortie on 23 May 2014. Two more aircraft were delivered in August 2015 and June 2017. The aircraft are operated as an extension of the USAF Rivet Joint fleet, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of capability from the point of view of sensor and system upgrades, though some fear that it may lead to some loss of autonomous national capabilities.
With a more COMINT-heavy emphasis than the old Nimrod R.Mk1, the Rivet Joint is arguably better suited to current ongoing operations and the type has been deployed extensively for Operation Shader. There has been some criticism that some ELINT capabilities have been lost with the change of aircraft.
The RAF ordered nine Poseidon MRA Mk1, and five of these are now in service, operating with No.120 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. The first of these was delivered on 13 October 2020. But although the P-8 has formidable ISR capabilities, the fleet is small and heavily tasked, and is unlikely to have much capacity for overland ISR missions.
Three Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW.Mk1s will join the Poseidons at Lossiemouth, replacing the ageing Boeing E-3D Sentry, which flew its last operational mission on 30 July 2021. The Wedgetail promises to bring expanded ISR capabilities, though the tiny fleet size seems likely to be stretched carrying out its primary Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) tasking.
The final new addition to the RAF’s ISR fleet will be an unmanned platform. The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) confirmed that a replacement for the Reaper would be acquired, with more than 20 aircraft due to be delivered after 2018.
In April 2016 the MoD announced the selection of the General Atomics MQ-9B as the Protector RG Mk1, to replace the MQ-9A Reaper, for service entry in 2024. Protector represents the next generation of Medium-Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) remotely-piloted, armed, multi-spectral surveillance aircraft, flying for up to 40 hours.
The Protector was based on the Certifiable Predator B, and the US State Department approval covered the procurement of up to 26 airframes, (16 confirmed and ten options) together with a new Ground Control System (GCS).
Most of the RAF’s ISR aircraft will come under the control of the new RAF Waddington ISTAR Air Wing. Intelligence personnel from 1 ISR Wing are spilt into two flights: Apollo Flight and Crossbow Flight. Apollo Flight comprises intelligence analysts who conduct analysis of current intelligence, while Crossbow Flight comprises imagery analysts who directly support ISTAR aircraft.
The ISTAR Wing officially stood up on 17 May as part of the RAF Future Operating Model, an initiative steered by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, in an effort to create what he has referred to as the next generation Air Force. The ISTAR Air Wing will comprise the flying squadrons, Air Support Wing, Air Engineering Wing, No.1 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing and the ISTAR Operational Conversion Unit. (Source: Armada)
23 Nov 21. Saab Launches a New Mobile High-mast Solution for the Giraffe 4A Radar. Saab launches a new mobile high-mast solution with the Finnish partner Conlog Oy, for fast and efficient deployment in order to meet modern threats of low altitude such as cruise missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the battlefield of today. The new mobile high-mast solution for Giraffe 4A* is designed to meet customer needs and handle forest environments with high obstacles as well as urban surroundings with large buildings disrupting the radar’s line of sight.
“The unique combination of the system´s mobility, and the high-mast, gives the operators supreme capability and creates time to act,” says Markus Borgljung, Vice President, Head of Radar Solutions, Business area Surveillance, Saab.
The high-mast configuration is developed together with the Finnish partner Conlog Oy, a co-operation based on the companies’ respective expertise to create a unique capability for the global market.
The research and development as well as the production will be located in both Sweden and Finland.
“Conlog has over 30 years of experience in developing mobile solutions for challenging environments and are pleased to be a part of this co-development product”, says Markku Hellstén, Vice President Marketing, Conlog Oy.
*Giraffe 4A is a multifunctional medium to long-range AESA radar, fully adaptable for different missions with simultaneous capabilities. It provides an all-weather coverage against air targets from low, slow and small targets (UAVs), to fast moving fighters as well as hyper- and supersonic missiles, RAM targets and detection/tracking of jammer strobes. Giraffe 4A can support and designate a variety of GBAD solutions and missiles systems with its unique surveillance capabilities. With over 60 years of experience in building radars, this new solution will be a tactical benefit of flexibility for units in the field of operation. The system gives a high accuracy and update rate combined with 360° monitoring of the air volume as well as advanced stop and stare capabilities. (Source: ASD Network)
25 Nov 21. IAI signs a $350m Special Mission Aircraft related Contract with Major European Country. Special Mission Aircraft which are designed and developed in IAI are used primarily for collecting strategic intelligence.
Israel Aerospace Industries has received a $350$m Special Mission Aircraft related contract from a major European country. The Contract will be executed by IAI’s ELTA Systems, a global leader in the Special Mission Aircraft domain.
IAI delivered Special Mission Aircraft to Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and numerous countries worldwide, and are considered to be strategic assets. IAI is one of a select few companies which have these technology capabilities in-house. IAI achieved a major breakthrough in Special Mission Aircraft thanks to advanced sensor miniaturization technology coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning software applications, allowing high performance business jets to be used as Special Mission Aircraft. Previously, most of the Special Mission Aircraft in the world were based on converted cargo or passenger planes.
Gideon Landa, ELTA VP and GM Airborne Systems: “As part of IAI’s strategy, we are bolstering our presence in Europe for leveraging our business and extending cooperation. IAI’s Special Mission Aircraft offer advanced and unique technological capabilities to meet a broad range of most demanding intelligence missions. Europe represents a strategic business region for IAI, and we will continue to broaden our products and services to bring our unique technologies to the benefit of our customer’s evolving operational requirements.”
IAI/ELTA offers four lines of Special Mission Aircraft:
- AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning & Control) Aircraft utilizing AESA radar and IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe), SIGINT and Communication systems to generate and disseminate an Air and Maritime Situational Picture. It also contains an Air Battle Management and Strike Aircraft Guidance System. ELTA’s CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft is fitted with a dual band AESA radar providing complete uncompromised 360° azimuthal coverage and is an example of a leading in the class system based on a business jet. IAI has entered into cooperation agreements with Airbus and Embraer to develop and market additional AEW&C aircraft variants.
- AGS (Air to Ground Surveillance) aircraft using advanced AESA SAR/GMTI radar, SIGINT and EO/IR sensors and an Intelligence Management System to cover large areas, providing Real-time detection, identification, tracking and distribution of surface targets from standoff range in all weather and visibility conditions. A leading product in this category is the IAI MARS2 that includes a breakthrough Digital AESA SAR/GMTI radar and latest generation SIGINT integrated with an advanced Multi-INT system, carried by a high performance business jet.
- MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) equipped with high performance AESA radar, SIGINT and EO/IR sensors to create an up-to-date maritime picture during Search And Rescue missions, Maritime policing, Environmental Monitoring, Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) in support of Naval and Coast Guard operations. ELTA’s MPAs are based on business jets and turboprop platforms featuring the world leader combat proven ELM-2022 radar family, serving in many countries on all continents.
- SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) aircraft monitoring the electromagnetic spectrum to detect and accurately locate emitter arrays and communication networks, creating a complete Electromagnetic Order of Battle over the entire large arena of interest. ELTA has developed and provided most advanced SIGINT aircraft to the IDF on business jet platform and supplied airborne SIGINT systems to many Special Mission Aircraft worldwide. (Source: News Now/AMR)
24 Nov 21. HENSOLDT is expanding the performance of its MUSS (= Multifunctional Self-Protection System) self-protection system for armoured vehicles in order to detect and ward off additional, newly emerging threats. With the further development commissioned by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), the “MUSS 2.0” is to be optimised in size, weight and number of assemblies. At the same time, the capabilities in the area of missile, projectile and laser detection are to be doubled.
In future, “MUSS 2.0” will also detect second-generation laser rangefinders. The sensor heads also detect laser beam riders, which are used to control guided missiles. With the help of the new laser rider, not only the directional resolution but also the threat identification capability is increased. Due to the increased computing power of the central unit, additional missile and projectile threats can be detected as well as new applications such as HFI (Hostile Fire Indication) can be implemented. In addition, the interfaces were expanded to include the NATO Generic Vehicle Architecture (NGVA) in order to be able to port “MUSS 2.0” to other platforms in a short time.
With the second generation “MUSS”, HENSOLDT intends to open up the market for medium armoured troop vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles and battle tanks as a pure soft kill or so-called layered system both nationally and internationally. Over the past eight years, more than 350 assembly kits for the first batch of the “PUMA” infantry fighting vehicle have already been delivered from the first-generation MUSS. This makes “MUSS” the only active soft kill protection system for ground vehicles in operational use that has been delivered in series worldwide.
The use of MUSS drastically reduces the probability of being hit by an anti-tank guided missile or a laser-guided weapon. A “MUSS” system comprises four warning sensors, a central unit, an IR jammer and a directional smoke launcher with control electronics. The warning sensor detects approaching missiles and laser beams directed at the vehicle. The central unit then triggers infrared measures to interfere with the missile control and/or pyrotechnical countermeasures.
23 Nov 21. Lockheed Martin Successfully Conducts Missile Warning System’s Critical Design Review, Marking Significant Progress Toward 2025 Launch. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the U.S. Space Force conducted the system level Critical Design Review (CDR) for the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (NGG) Block 0 space program. This marks another significant step toward the first NGG satellite launch in 2025.
NGG is the Space Force’s new, advanced space-based missile warning system that incorporates improved warning capabilities as well as enhanced resiliency and cyber hardening. Dubbed by the U.S. Department of Defense as a “Go Fast” acquisition program – meaning a quicker delivery timeline – NGG will provide early warning for the defensive “kill chain” that protects our nation and armed forces from missile threats. The new system responds to challenges from rival nations that increasingly seek to erode space advantages held by the United States.
“Our adversaries are finding ways to make missile warning more difficult. They are also posing threats to space assets themselves,” said Joseph Rickers, Lockheed Martin vice president and program manager for NGG Block 0. “NGG was specifically designed as a ‘Go Fast’ program to maintain and grow our nation’s advanced technology edge ahead of the threat.”
The NGG Block 0 program held the system level CDR on October 28, maintaining the program’s accelerated pace. The CDR specifically addressed the integration between the space and ground segments in addition to the integration of the Next Generation Interim Operations Ground System with the legacy Missile Warning system, enabling the enhanced missile warning capabilities following launch.
A Race Against the Threat
Under the NGG Block 0 program, Lockheed Martin in partnership with the U.S. Space Force is developing and building three satellites that provide improved missile warning capabilities and are even more resilient against emerging threats. Carrying new advanced infrared sensors that can detect dimmer and faster targets, the first satellite is racing to launch in 2025.
The system level CDR is the latest milestone the program has met since the 2018 contract award. Earlier this year, under Lockheed Martin’s prime contractor leadership, NGG completed CDRs for two mission payloads being competitively developed by subcontractor teams Raytheon and a Northrop Grumman/Ball team. One of the two mission payloads will each fly on the first two NGG space vehicles. The team completed a separate space vehicle CDR, which aggregated numerous subsystem and payload reviews, and locked in the satellite’s technical baseline.
“A space program of this size, which includes developing two entirely new missile warning payloads, has never moved this fast,” added Rickers. “The program is on schedule due to using proven technologies and risk mitigation tools like subsystem prototypes for early design verification and interface integration to ensure we remain on track.”
Digitally Transforming for Speed
Lockheed Martin’s NGG program is embracing digital transformation as a way to deliver next generation capabilities quicker and faster. The company is using digital engineering capabilities including digital twin, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, along with augmented reality to speed production, integration and test and enabling the rapid transition to operations.
For even more speed, greater resiliency and cyber-hardening, NGG is being built on Lockheed Martin’s LM 2100 Combat Bus. This modernized space vehicle provides enhanced spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics, as well as common components and procedures to streamline manufacturing. It features a flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites or other mission augmentation capabilities.
23 Nov 21. Morocco Buys Israel’s Skylock Dome System. Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces have purchased Israel’s Skylock Dome System to strengthen FAR’s defensive and territory control capabilities and preserve the country’s national and strategic stability. Designed and developed by the Israeli company Skylock Systems, a subsidiary of the Avnon Group, Skylock Dome detects, verifies, and neutralizes unauthorized drones. Morocco acquired five anti-drone defense systems from the Israeli company, the Royal Armed Forces announced in a Facebook post.
“This acquisition is part of the strengthening of the far’s capacities to protect the Kingdom’s critical and sensitive facilities, whether civilian or military,” Far-Maroc Forum said in a post.
“The Kingdom is intensifying its purchases of unmanned anti-aircraft systems or drones, which have become a threat in terms of their ability to recognize or attack with the difficulty of targeting them by conventional defense systems,” it added.
According to Israeli news outlet Globes, the system was first unveiled in February, in the United Arab Emirates at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), the largest public security and weapons show in the Middle East held every two years in Abu Dhabi.
During the event, several deals were signed and 27 countries, including Morocco, the UAE and some East Asian countries, purchased the Skylock-made anti-drone system.
“Unlike the very large companies, Skylock specializes in simple and relatively cheap defense systems that are extremely effective and provide individual as well as broad protection against the growing threat of attack drones,” Itzik Huber, CEO of Skylock, said at IDEX.
The news comes as Israel and Morocco continue to further cement their growing relationship on multiple fronts.
According to official reports, the two countries will sign a defense cooperation agreement covering the manufacture of drones in Morocco upon Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz’s arrival in Morocco next week for a two-day official visit on November 24-25.
Last year, Morocco spent an estimated $48m to purchase from Israel three Heron drones, a type of reconnaissance military equipment, to combat extremist or insurgent groups in Western Sahara.
The reconnaissance drones are equipped with surveillance cameras, video recording systems, and electro-optical systems for day-night vision. (Source: UAS VISION/Morocco World News)
17 Nov 21. Meteksan Defense to develop counter drone electronic warfare system for Turkish military. The Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries has signed an agreement with Meteksan Defense to develop a new electronic warfare (EW) system that can detect and combat rogue drone threats as well as manned aircraft, helicopters and missiles, according to a report by Unmanned Systems Technology. The system will be able to apply methods of electronic attack to the GPS and command and control (C2) systems used in many land, air and sea platforms.
Meteksan’s SEYMEN system will be used to jam or deceive a variety of threats, keeping friendly forces safe from harm. It will be composed of radar, electro-optic and electronic warfare elements integrated together on a military tactical vehicle.
SEYMEN will be able to jam and deceive navigational systems, including targets in multiple directions simultaneously and targets that use different types of GPS. It will also be able to record and analyse GPS signals, and link multiple systems together to perform co-ordinated tasks. For more information visit:: www.unmannedsystemstechnology.com, www.meteksan.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
11 Nov 21. Rohde & Schwarz and OpenWorks “prove new counter UAS technology at NATO TIE exercise.” Counter drone companies Rohde & Schwarz and OpenWorks have collaborated to prove a new high performance and autonomous 3D detection and tracking system for use in counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) missions. Integrated through the new SAPIENT standard protocol and tested at the NATO Technical Interoperability Exercise (TIE) event in De Peel Airbase in the Netherlands, the solution combines the proven R&S ARDRONIS drone detection solution with the recently released SkyAI Autonomous Optical technology, says a joint press release.
NATO TIE will evaluate how the latest autonomous C-UAS sensors interact, using a new “plug and play” standard called SAPIENT (Sensing for Asset Protection with Integrated Electronic Networked Technology), with the latest command and control systems and decision engines; ultimately testing performance against escalating UAS threats. The technology from Rohde & Schwarz and OpenWorks are individually or combined autonomous sensing modules (ASM), and fused with the network data.
R&S ARDRONIS provides a primary detection capability to locate unmanned aircraft and remote controller (pilot) using a very reliable spectrum analysis approach. SkyAI takes the 2D data from the ARDRONIS output and combines it with data being provided through the SAPIENT network from other sensors. It then takes control of any EO/IR camera system to search for the UAS autonomously using real-time advanced AI target classification, locking on to the target UAS and streaming high-quality video to the system operator for further threat analysis. SkyAI fuses data from the EO/IR and R&S ARDRONIS sensors to provide a full 3D location of the UAS being tracked back to the command-and-control system. All of this was successfully tested during the NATO TIE exercise.
“It is really exciting to collaborate with Rohde & Schwarz on this exercise and the combination of our technology. We share the same enthusiasm and drive to develop the best performing systems. I know there will be more to come from this partnership,” Chris Down, OpenWorks Managing Director, said.
“The joined C-UAS solution deployed at the NATO TIE exercise met all expectations, thanks to the great collaboration we have with OpenWorks,” said Frank Mayer, Vice President Spectrum Monitoring and C-UAS, Rohde & Schwarz. For more information visit: www.rohde-schwarz.com, www.openworksengineering.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
Blighter Surveillance Systems is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of best-in-class electronic-scanning ground-based radars, surveillance solutions and Counter-UAS systems. Blighter’s solid-state micro-Doppler products are deployed in more than 35 countries across the globe, delivering consistent all-weather security protection and wide area surveillance along borders, coastlines, at military bases and across critical infrastructure such as airports, oil and gas facilities and palaces. Blighter radars are also used to protect manoeuvre force missions when deployed on military land vehicles and trailers, and its world-beating multi-mode radar represents a great leap in threat detection technology and affordability for use in a variety of scenarios.
The Blighter range of radar products are used for detecting a variety of threats, from individuals on foot to land vehicles, boats, drones and low-flying aircraft at ranges of up to 32 km. Blighter Surveillance Systems employs 40 people and is located near Cambridge, UK, where it designs, produces and markets its range of unique patented solid-state radars. Blighter prides itself on being an engineer-led business committed to providing cost-effective and flexible solutions across the defence, critical infrastructure and national security markets.