Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
14 Jan 22. Deal with Hensoldt expands Leonardo’s stake in Eurofighter radar business. Leonardo has won 260m euros ($296m) in Eurofighter radar work from Germany’s Hensoldt, meaning the Italian firm now has a major role in all three of the new e-scan radars being built for Typhoon customers.
The deal to work on radar upgrades for Spanish and German aircraft follows the closure of a Jan. 3 of a 606m euro ($691m) deal which handed Leonardo a 25.1% stake in Hensoldt, a move the firm said would help it achieve leadership in Europe’s defense-electronics market.
The new contracts from Hensoldt cover work on the European Common Radar System Mk1 E-scan radar ordered by Germany and Spain to retrofit roughly 130 Eurofighters in the mid-2020s.
“Leonardo will conduct development work on new wideband capabilities and provide core parts of the new radar’s antenna, APSC (Antenna Power Supply & Control) and its processor,” the firm said in a statement.
Hensoldt is design authority on the radar and has supplied transmit/receive modules built in Germany, while Airbus will integrate the systems.
Leonardo will seek to develop ways to better exploit the German transmit/receive modules to beef up the ECRS Mk1′s detection range and accuracy.
The deal reflects Leonardo’s record on e-scan work in Europe: It is already design authority for the so-called Mk 0 radar ordered for 28 Kuwaiti and 24 Qatari Typhoons, which are built by the Euroradar consortium led by Leonardo UK teamed with Leonardo Italy, Spain’s Indra and Hensoldt.
The German and Spanish Mk 1 is in part based on development work carried out for Mk 0 by Euroradar.
Leonardo is also design authority for the Mk 2 version being developed for RAF Typhoons, which will be a step ahead of the German and Spanish version by offering wideband electronic-attack and electronic-warfare features.
Also new will be the ability to passively register emissions from targets and threats providing data that can be fused with data received by the Typhoon’s Defensive Aid Sub-System (DASS) and Pirate infra-red sensor.
The UK version, which Italy has now signed up to acquire, will also be able to transmit data, while modules will be soldered not screwed in to the face of the antenna, a move engineers believe will improve performance.
Leonardo said its new work with Hensoldt on the Mk 1 would “bolster Germany’s onshore combat air capabilities.” (Source: Defense News)
14 Jan 22. U.S. FAA reviews FedEx proposal to install A321 laser-based missile-defense system. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Friday it is proposing conditions that would allow FedEx to install a laser-based missile-defense on Airbus (AIR.PA) A321-200 airplanes.
Delivery company FedEx Corp (FDX.N) in October 2019 applied for approval to use a feature that emits infrared laser energy outside the aircraft as a countermeasure against heat-seeking missiles, the FAA disclosed in a document.
A FedEx spokeswoman declined immediate comment about whether it is still pursuing approval for the application. FedEx does not currently operate any Airbus 321 planes.
The FAA said it is still reviewing the proposal and will consider public comments. Airbus did not immediately comment.
The airline industry and several governments have been grappling with the threat to airliners from shoulder-fired missiles known as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADs, for decades. Some use infrared systems to target an aircraft’s engines.
“The FedEx missile-defense system directs infrared laser energy toward an incoming missile, in an effort to interrupt
the missile’s tracking of the aircraft’s heat,” the FAA document said.
The FAA proposed conditions before it would consider approving the system, including ensuring it will prevent the inadvertent operation while on the ground, including during maintenance.
According to the U.S. State Department, more than 40 civil airplanes have been hit by MANPADs since the 1970s.
Efforts to combat the threat accelerated after two missiles narrowly missed an Arkia Israeli Airlines Boeing 757 passenger jet on take-off from Mombasa airport in November 2002.
Cargo planes have also been targeted.
In 2003, an Airbus A300 freighter flown by DHL was damaged by MANPADs and forced to make an emergency landing in Baghdad.
In 2007 and 2008, FedEx took part in a U.S. government trial of anti-missile technology for civil planes by installing Northrop Grumman’s (NOC.N) Guardian countermeasures system on some commercial cargo flights while BAE Systems (BAES.L) said it had installed its JetEye system on an American Airlines airplane. (Source: Reuters)
14 Jan 22. British threat detection specialist Silent Sentinel (www.silentsentinel.com) will be showcasing its range of innovative electro-optical threat detection systems at INTERSEC 2022. INTERSEC is taking place from Sunday 16th to Tuesday 18th January in the World Trade Center in Dubai, UAE. Silent Sentinel, exhibiting as Silent Sentinel DMCC, will be displaying its equipment on Stand SA-B42.
Silent Sentinel DMCC, the Dubai-based division of the company, was established in January 2020 to solidify Silent Sentinel’s ties to the region and cement its commitment to the market, with which it has already had numerous engagements.
Featured on the stand will be the Storm 450 platform produced for Silent Sentinel’s local Technical Partner, Passive Force Security Devices. The Storm platform is comprised of a Jaegar pan-and-tilt unit (PTU) upon which is mounted an LRAD acoustic hailer, laser dazzler, illuminator and HD visible camera. The Jaegar’s PTU features a unique through-shaft which enables payloads such as radar to be mounted directly above it, demonstrating that Silent Sentinel products are designed with flexibility and ease of integration in mind.
Silent Sentinel’s appearance at INTERSEC marks a strong start for the year following an eventful 2021, which saw the launch of several new platforms and product ranges, such as the Jaegar Sonus, the Aeron Laser Range Finder and the Rapid Deployment Kit. Silent Sentinel was also awarded a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, and in August launched the EVO2 range of uncooled Long-Wave Infrared (LWIR) thermal sensors which utilize the latest in both thermal core and lens technology in order to provide advanced detection capabilities in the most extreme conditions.
These new products added to an already impressive roster of platforms and technologies, ranging from fever-detection thermal sensors to fixed OGI (Optical Gas Imaging) cameras capable of detecting and visualising gas leaks.
Silent Sentinel also demonstrated its engineering agility, combating the COVID pandemic by developing its Modum body temperature detection cameras, which were delivered rapidly and ordered in vast quantities for use in transport hubs, industrial facilities and workplaces.
James Longcroft, Sales Director at Silent Sentinel said: “We are excited to showcase our best-in-class electro-optical platforms at INTERSEC this year. Our mission is to provide cutting-edge new technologies as standard in our products, and we are looking forward to engaging with industry and customers in Dubai, where we will be on-hand to brief stakeholders and attendees on the capabilities of our equipment.”
13 Jan 22. iRayUSA, a Texas-based designer, manufacturer and distributor of premium thermal night vision devices is proud to announce the US availability of a new series of thermal imaging devices, the ZOOM SERIES, from InfiRay Outdoor. InfiRay Outdoor’s latest offering, the ZOOM, brings multiple exciting new technologies to the commercial thermal market; 2X optical zoom lens, an algorithm based shutterless non-uniformity correction feature and a full HD 1440×1080 resolution AMOLED display.
Featuring InfiRay’s patented dual-field-of-view design, the ZOOM’s lens allows the user to seamlessly switch between a wide field-of-view (FOV) for detection, and a narrow FOV for target identification. This 2X increase in magnification occurs optically with an intuitive twist of the objective focus ring and maintains 100 percent of the sensor’s native 640×512 resolution.
The ZOOM also features a software based non-uniformity correction (NUC) feature. Unlike a standard NUC, which uses a shutter or lens cap, the ZOOM features InfiRay’s shutterless NUC algorithm, which is completely silent, requires no user input and allows for unmatched battery life.
The ZOOM’s viewing display features a full HD 1440×1080 resolution AMOLED display and is coupled with an 20X magnification eyepiece to provide the most clarity possible. Additionally, images and live video can be transferred wirelessly via the ultra-fast InfiRay Outdoor app, or can be recorded onboard with ZOOM’s 32gb of internal storage.
“Being able to offer optical zoom in a commercial thermal imager is going to change the industry” stated Angelo Brewer, Director of Operations, iRayUSA. “Industry leading optical performance paired with a full HD display is something every predator hunter needs to experience” continued Brewer.
In addition to the ZOOM’s combination of sensor performance, optical magnification, display resolution, and battery life, other features include multiple color options, picture in picture mode, digital zoom, hot spot tracking, and stadiametric rangefinding.
The ZOOM is available for purchase now through the authorized iRayUSA dealer network with a suggested price point of $3,999. As with all iRayUSA products, the ZOOM SERIES thermal imagers come with a 5-year warranty, with a 1-week turnaround process. A full list of ZOOM SERIES specifications and an authorized dealer locator can be found on the iRayUSA website, www.irayusa.com.
13 Jan 22. DARPA selects research teams to develop NVGs under ENVision programme. The agency has selected five teams in each of the two technical areas. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). has chosen research teams for the enhanced night vision in eyeglass form (ENVision) programme. Of the ten industry and university teams that were selected, five teams were picked for the two technical areas. The ENVision programme will use recent advances in planar optics and transduction materials to develop new direct-view night-vision (NV) systems.
These systems showcase an increased field of view (FOV) and improved visual access across infrared (IR) bands, all contained in a low-torque eyeglass form factor.
According to DARPA, current NV systems are heavy, which burden the user and limit the wearer’s agility, as well as lead to chronic injury due to prolonged use.
Physical Sciences, Raytheon Technologies Research Center, SRI International, the University of California-San Diego, and the University of Washington are the five teams selected for the first technical area.
Performers under the first technical area will develop multi-band, wide FOV planar optics and planar image intensifiers to showcase advanced NV systems, imposing near-zero torque on the wearer.
In the second technical area, teams from Raytheon BBN, Stanford University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Pennsylvania were selected.
These teams will explore new methods to amplify photonic up-conversion processes from any IR band to visible light, to allow for future ‘intensifier-free’ NV systems.
DARPA Defense Sciences Office ENVision programme manager Rohith Chandrasekar said: “The teams in the first technical area are developing technologies that could drastically reduce the bulk and volume of objective, intensifier, and eyepieces of night-vision systems.
“Teams in the second technical area are exploring ways to directly upconvert and amplify light, from the infrared to the visible, using new materials and up-conversion processes.
“These efforts could potentially lead to all-optical night vision systems in the future, without the need for image intensifiers.”
In December 2021, DARPA’s OFFSET programme conducted its final field experiments, which involved deploying autonomous air and ground vehicles to test mission capabilities. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 Jan 22. South Korea develops DIRCM system. South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) announced on 12 January that it had successfully tested a locally developed directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system for military aircraft self-protection. The agency said that the DIRCM system, which is meant to protect aircraft from incoming portable infrared guided missiles (also known as manportable air-defence systems – MANPADS), was flight tested on a military helicopter during an initial operational test and evaluation phase carried out in co-operation with Hanwha System in 2020–21. The ADD noted that the tests confirmed that the system’s response time to deflect close range attack from MANPADS has been drastically shortened. A DIRCM system, cued by a missile warning receiver (MWR) which detects the incoming threat, enables the aircraft to avoid missiles by emitting a laser beam that ‘blinds’ missiles that rely on heat to track targets. (Source: Janes)
13 Jan 22. Brazil’s Radaz and SkyDrones Integrate their Products. Brazilian companies Radaz and SkyDrones are finalizing the integration of their products. Radaz is the developer and producer of the tri-band radar system called Explorer and Keeper RD 350, and SkyDrones develops and produces the Pelicano R3 RPAS. Explorer and Keeper RD350 are the only “small drone” airborne tri-band radars in the world with applicability in several segments, including R&D. The Pelicano R3 is a 25kg class RPAS, adapted to carry and operate the 5kg radar array for automated survey missions.
Radaz and SkyDrone’s goal is to make the first fully integrated commercial systems available to the market as early as January 2022.
Radaz is a Brazilian technology company, founded in 2017, and has since been working with SkyDrones on the development of radar flight plan applications. This long alliance will ensure the success of this newest development.
SkyDrones is Brazilian´s first multirotor RPAS developing company founded 2008. Since 2017 focussed on crop spraying UAVs, is now using its experience to make special product developments.
The Pelicano R3 RPAS, originally aimed at agricultural and industrial forest application, was modified to meet the requirements of the RD350 radars regarding items as mechanical integration, balance, electromagnetic requirements of the radar with its 6 antennas, communication, and flight programming.
This new system will guarantee a flight autonomy of the Explorer and Keeper radars greater than 80% when compared to DJI´s Matrice 600, being able to reach daily measurements that go beyond 500 hectares. The Explorer and Keeper radars do not depend on sunlight for their measurements.
The 25kg Pelicano Crop Spraying RPAS in operation since 2019 with over 4.000 flight hours, is the base of the Pelicano R3 platform making it an excellent choice for airborne sensors like this specific application. It is a water-resistant platform able to fly day and night.
The R&D Explorer RD350 product family was developed as a working tool for universities and research centers. It is a turn-key system that operates with P, L and C bands simultaneously. In addition, it allows the operator to make his own data acquisition and processing.
- C-band 1-pass interferometry for surface model calculation;
- 1-pass interferometry in the P-band for terrain model calculation;
- Differential interferometry in the P, L and C bands to measure subsidence even with vegetation cover;
- Classification of targets and ground using polarimetric P, C and L bands;
- Helical flights in P, L and C bands for tomography.
With only 2 operators it is possible to deploy it without requiring prior technical knowledge of radar, neither flight execution nor processing. Data collected during day flights can be processed at night.
For the forest industry, Forest Keeper RD350 determines the volume, DBH (diameter at breast height), forest height, basal area maps and dominant tree heights, in addition to automatically issuing the inventory report. This is a green technology that will significantly increase the productivity of forests and, consequently, will also contribute to CO2equi¹ absorption. In addition to these attributes, Forest Keeper RD350 mitigates the risk of accidents within forests, by optimizing the resources used in the current inventory methodologies.
(Source: UAS VISION)
12 Jan 22. Rafael’s RecceLite XR Completes Development of 3rd Generation Model & Successful Live Test. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has completed development of its RecceLite XR, the third and latest model of the advanced, state-of-the-art reconnaissance system. This newest version is supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and enhanced sensors which were put to the test in a live test in late 2021.
Rafael demonstrated the third-generation model of the RecceLite XR and its new capabilities for the first time to an international delegation including over twenty industry partners and customers from several different countries. The simulation involved a series of operational tasks and successful execution by the third generation RecceLite XR which was supported by other Rafael systems.
Rafael’s RecceLite provides multi-spectral, multi-role, real-time stand-off and stand-in reconnaissance, consisting of an airborne pod, a wide digital D/L, and a ground exploitation station. It is part of Rafael’s family of advanced aerial and ground Electro-Optical (EO) systems that also includes the LITENING targeting pod, the Toplite EO/Infrared pod, the Sky Spotter ground early warning system, among others.
The third generation RecceLite XR pod builds on its operational predecessor with extended ranges over 80 km, and stand-in and standoff operation. It has an enhanced sensor suite with four different wavelengths: VIS, Near Infrared (NIR), Medium Wavelength Infrared (MWIR), and Short Wavelength Infrared (SWIR). This latest RecceLite XR model also includes enhanced image resolution, real-time video, and advanced Line of Sight stabilization, with extended area coverage, advanced image algorithms, and AI, each enabling Wide Area Persistent Surveillance (WAPS).
Ofer Weinberg, VP, BD and Marketing at Rafael’s Air and C4ISR Systems division: “This demo illustrated part of Rafael’s spectrum of combat-proven intelligence capabilities which are critical in today’s asymmetric, urban-warfare environments. In these arenas, detecting and classifying elusive enemies presents a significant challenge that air forces around the world must successfully overcome. We thank our industry partners and our customers for coming to get a first-hand look at the latest model of our RecceLite XR in action and for sharing their feedback as well as their operational experience.”
11 Jan 22. UK receives final Poseidon MMA. The United Kingdom has received its ninth and final Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA), with ZP809 arriving at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lossiemouth in Scotland on 11 January. The milestone brings to an end a two-year delivery run that began with the arrival of ZP801 Pride of Moray in February 2020. Since then, ZP802 City of Elgin, ZP803 Terence Bulloch DSO DFC, ZP804 Spirit of Reykjavik, ZP805 Fulmar, ZP806 Guernsey’s Reply, ZP807 William Barker VC, and ZP808 have all been received. The names for ZP808 and ZP809 have not yet been announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In UK service, the Poseidon is operated by 201 and 120 squadrons, with 54 Squadron serving as the operational conversion unit. Delivery of all nine Poseidon MRA1s is a major milestone in the reconstitution of the UK’s airborne maritime patrol capability, which was put on hold in 2010 with the retirement of BAE Systems’ Nimrod MR2 and the cancellation of its Nimrod MRA4 replacement. (Source: Janes)
10 Jan 22. US Soldiers ‘seeing’ outside the Bradley with Army high-tech goggle. The Army’s upcoming “do-it-all” goggle could turn soldiers in the back of fighting vehicles from passive passengers to plugged-in fighters.
Soldiers with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, traveled to Camp Roberts, California, to match test the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, inside and outside of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
The IVAS has been under development in recent years and has been hailed as the next “game-changing” tech for the dismounted soldier. The device is based off of the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality goggle.
A ruggedized military prototype has undergone a host of tests. Some moisture issues and field-of-view distortion has added another round of testing, expected to conclude in early 2022, with a fielding date set for late 2022.
The goggle overlays navigational aids, markers, target acquisition and a host of other data, essentially giving grunts the tech that fighter pilots have long had in their helmets.
One promise of the device is to allow it to wirelessly plug into a vehicle system such as the Bradley. The device would allow soldier data to be uploaded into a shared cloud at the company level and above.
But while in the vehicle, the goggle, for the first time, would let the now mounted soldiers see what the driver and gunner see from their perches.
The key to the tech is two-fold, according to Army Maj. Shawn Jones, who is involved with the IVAS project: first, soldiers don’t lose situational awareness; second, those same dismounted soldiers can use on-board vehicle sensors to see what the vehicle sees.
“The IVAS augmented reality system integrates communications, thermals, and night vision to enhance our situational awareness and lethality from within the Bradley,” said Pfc. Benjamin Franke. “It allows everyone to see what the driver, commander, and gunner are seeing outside, which gets more eyes-on and increases situational awareness immediately for when we dismount.”
Some of the exercises that soldiers did at Camp Roberts included helping the vehicle crew scan for improvised explosive devices, Franke added.
Simple things, such as sitting a little taller, can add a lot of awareness for soldiers. Sgt. 1st Class Darrell Borgic noted that the taller height of the Bradley alone gives soldiers a better line-of-sight across the battlespace.
Don Aldea, lead engineer for IVAS integration, laid out what the goggle can do with the vehicle, in the release.
There are three main options, he said: SEE, World View and power up.
Power up is what it sounds like. Soldiers can recharge their equipment while inside the vehicle and on-the-move. The hope is that the power up option will reduce the need for additional batteries to power devices in the field.
SEE is a program that clones feeds from three vehicle sensors: the front Drivers Vision Enhancer, the driver’s Commander’s Independent Viewer and the gunner’s Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem. Inside the soldier’s heads up display they’ll have a variety of views to see what’s going on outside the vehicle.
Soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division test the Integrated Visual Augmentation System use the device with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Camp Roberts, California. (Courtney Bacon/Army)
World View shows the other platforms and units on the network. That way soldiers can know where the friendlies are.
“When soldiers come up to a position where they are getting ready to deploy outside of the vehicle – as of today they are going in mostly dark and blind,” Aldea explained. “With this integrated technology, they can get map, mission, and intel updates enroute. They can see what is around them to strategically position the Bradley and then drop the ramp where they are not in direct fire and execute immediately.”
Oh, and of course, they’ll have access to drone feeds from above.
Dr. Navin Mathur, lead engineer for IVAS platform integration, said this tool will give soldiers better decision making as they exit the vehicle and enter the dismounted portion of their mission.
“There are no longer gaps in information between mounting, transit, and dismounting, which will increase the survivability and lethality for both the platform and the soldiers,” Mathur said.
The platform integration work continues with plans for a user study on IVAS and the Stryker in August. (Source: Defense News)
11 Jan 22. Aimpoint, the leading manufacturer and innovator in red dot sighting technology has announced another revolutionary product with the release of the all new Aimpoint® Duty RDS™ sight. Built to meet the demands of today’s law enforcement agencies, this high-grade reflex optic offers Aimpoints’ premium product quality in a compact package at a budget friendly price point.
The Duty RDS™ offers a bright, crisp 2 MOA dot that’s ideal for short to medium range target engagements. The windage and elevation adjustments are flush mounted and waterproof, eliminating the need for protective caps. The turret adjustments provide audible “clicks” to aid in zeroing the optic. The brightness intensity switch is a new digital keypad designed for ease of use even while wearing gloves.
A pressure forged aluminum alloy housing provides durability against extreme abuse and drastic temperature changes. The sight is vibration and shock resistant, and submersible up to 25 meters. Powered by a single CR2032 battery, the ACET technology provides over 3 years of constant-on use at daylight position 7 and even longer on the night vision compatible settings.
The Duty RDS comes with a one-piece torsion nut mount that attaches to MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails, providing absolute co-witness with standard height iron sights. The optic features flip-up lens covers that allow the user to engage targets with the lens caps closed in an emergency, or to aim into direct sunlight. The sight is fully compatible with all generations of night vision devices.
“Law enforcement agencies face many challenges on and off the streets.” said Jonas Ardemalm, Director of Professional Sales for Aimpoint AB. “Aimpoint created the Duty RDS as a sighting solution that law enforcement agencies can rely on to provide top performance with very little maintenance. A sight that is always ready, always on, easy to use, accurate, fast on target, and at an accessible price point.”
For over 45 years, Aimpoint has been the trusted choice of military and law enforcement end users worldwide. We maintain this position by listening to the needs of these end users and creating products that can be trusted to perform under the most demanding conditions imaginable. Aimpoint is proud to stand with the men and women who serve and protect our communities.
A video of the Aimpoint® Duty RDS™ sight is on the BATTLESPACE web site.
10 Jan 22. The USAF and Boeing haven’t yet fixed the troubled KC-46 Pegasus vision system. The Air Force and Boeing are still working on fixing a problem with the next version of the KC-46A Pegasus tanker’s Remote Vision System ― and its redesign has yet to be locked down.
Air Mobility Command spokeswoman Maj. Hope Cronin said in an email Monday the Air Force has not yet accepted the completed design of the proposed replacement for the system, RVS 2.0, or closed its preliminary design review. AMC originally expected that review, held in May 2021, to close in fall 2021, Cronin said.
The delay in closing the review was first reported by Aviation Week.
The RVS, a network of cameras and sensors KC-46 boom operators use to guide its refueling boom into the aircraft being refueled, has been plagued by issues that have hindered the tanker from being ready to fly in combat operations. The Air Force and Boeing in April 2020 decided to replace the original RVS with a redesigned version, which is expected to be fielded in 2023.
The original RVS system has problems in certain lighting conditions in which the imagery is sometimes difficult to see or is distorted, increasing the risk of boom operators scraping the receiving aircraft. Vision system problems are some of the most serious issues, deemed category 1 deficiencies, remaining with the aircraft.
Boeing referred questions to the Air Force and declined to comment beyond citing the KC-46 program’s positive momentum over the past year, such as delivering the 50th Pegasus to the Air Force in November and the first international delivery to Japan in October.
Cronin said overall development of RVS 2.0 remains on schedule.
But AMC recommended the review remain open beyond fall 2021 “until resolution is reached to address deficiencies with the panoramic visual system that detects, recognizes and identifies receiver aircraft during aerial refueling rendezvous procedures,” Cronin said.
She said the Air Force held the preliminary design review open while deciding the best way to move forward on the technical risks associated with the panoramic display system.
The design of RVS 2.0 will be incorporated into its contract, and will become a government-furnished design specification when the review is closed, Cronin said.
“Despite the delay with PDR closure, we remain confident in the ongoing efforts of the joint USAF-Boeing technical team to identify and address deficiencies so as to ensure the KC-46 can safely perform its primary aerial refueling mission,” Cronin said.
AMC commander Gen. Mike Minihan on Dec. 6 also approved the Pegasus’ fourth interim capability release mission set, authorizing it to refuel the AC-130J Ghostrider, HC-130J Combat King II, MC-130J Commando II, C-5M Super Galaxy and E-3G Sentry during U.S. Transportation Command missions. AMC said that means the KC-46 is now able to refuel nearly 70% of aircraft requesting aerial refueling from TRANSCOM. (Source: Defense News)
10 Jan 22. Raytheon releases footage of explosive power of Coyote counter drone technology against multiple drone types. Raytheon has released footage of its counter drone Coyote Block 2+ with KRFS radar destroying a number of drones during a demonstration at the US Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona using both fixed and mobile LIDS in counter Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations in November 2021.
According to a report in The Drive, the demonstrations took place in cooperation with the US Army’s Integrated Fires and Rapid Capabilities Office (IF/RCO) during a 10-day summer test period. Raytheon stated the Coyotes’ palletized launcher system seen in the footage featured a KuRFS precision targeting radar, while the launcher seen aboard an Army M-ATV-based M-LIDS launcher used a Ku-720 mobile sensing radar system. These fire control systems cue the drones to intercept their targets.
The palletized version seen in the footage would be able to be transported and deployed in forward operating areas or even aboard large ground vehicles or surface vessels, enabling a wide variety of platforms to have their own short-range air defenses.
The footage led industry observers to comment on the vulnerability of unmanned military weapons to high-end counter drone devices.
The Coyote is a small, tube-launched UAV with a flexible launch system capable of being installed on a wide variety of platforms including unmanned surface vehicles. Earlier versions of the Coyotes were propeller-powered and resembled fixed-wing aircraft with pop-out wings and twin tails. These types were intended primarily for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles.
The Block 2 and Block 3 Coyotes have a much more missile-like configuration and feature four manoeuvrable control surfaces in their tail sections. A rocket motor gives these newer Coyotes their initial thrust, after which a small jet turbine takes over. This particular propulsion and control scheme is said to give the Coyote 2s and 3s a dogfight-type of capability according to Raytheon, making it capable of engaging highly manoeuvrable targets.
According to The Drive, the Army was planning to send its own M-LIDS featuring the Raytheon Coyote to an unnamed forward location in the US Central Command area of responsibility. This is interesting given that separate video footage appeared online earlier this week that shows two ‘suicide drones’ being shot down as they approach Ain Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, which hosts US forces. A Centurion Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM) system, which is armed with a 20mm Vulcan cannon, brings down one of the explosive-laden unmanned aircraft. An unknown physical interceptor explodes near the other drone. For more information visit: www.raytheonmissilesanddefese.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
07 Jan 22. US military expands counter drone measures in response to attacks against coalition forces. The US Central Command has increased training for US forces against drone attacks in response to the threat of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) attacks in the Middle East, says a press release. US Air Force and US Army assets have been bolstering their c-SUAS efforts, which has helped develop seminars to provide leadership with guidance on how to counter drone threats.
Airmen at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, have continued this ongoing effort to protect and defend the installation from UAS threats. “We take care of the airspace for our area,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Butts, 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of counter-small unmanned aerial systems. “So we’re here to detect, track, identify and then, if need be, defeat.”
The seminars are a one-on-one opportunity for general leadership to understand what our capabilities are, said Butts. “These systems provide real time video or a picture and now leadership has a better understanding of what others could use it for.”
US Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F McKenzie Jr, US Central Command commander told a US Senate Committee earlier this year that UAS is “the most concerning tactical development in the CENTCOM area of operations since the rise of the improvised explosive device.”
Attacks occurring in 2021 against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria have prompted others in the area of responsibility to ramp up their c-SUAS and c-UAS programs.
This unconventional base defense has driven the mindset for security forces that are protecting against UAS attacks.
“We call it the kill chain….detect, track, identify and defeat,” explained Butts. “The main thing is detecting so we’re able to see it and track it. Once we’re able to track it, we’re going to identify it, which is key to helping us understand if it’s hostile or not and to what extent. Then we can defeat it.” For more information visit: https://www.af.mil (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
10 Jan 22. Smart Shooter’s SMASH technology, now also in UAV configuration: the company reveals the SMASH Dragon. Presented by the company for the first time, SMASH Dragon is an integration of Smart Shooter’s combat-proven SMASH Technology that ensures precise target elimination on a drone system. SMART SHOOTER, a world-class designer, developer, and manufacturer of innovative fire control systems that significantly increase the accuracy and lethality of small arms, reveals the SMASH Dragon: an armed drone system incorporating Smart Shooter’s combat-proven SMASH Technology that ensures precise target elimination.
Presented by the company for the first time, SMASH Dragon is an advanced robotic weaponry payload that can be mounted on different drones and other unmanned aerial platforms. It can incorporate various types of assault rifles, sniper rifles, 40mm, and other ammunition with great precision. Extremely lightweight and therefore allowing long mission endurance, SMASH Dragon integrates a unique stabilization concept with the SMASH technology that enables the system to accurately hit static and moving targets while flying.
Featuring SMASH’s proprietary target acquisition and tracking algorithms as well as sophisticated computer vision capabilities, the remotely operated SMASH Dragon Offers the SMASH technology’s fast and precise hit capabilities and other exclusive benefits while engaging targets from the air.
The system successfully completed live firing tests and is currently under advanced stages of development.
Michal Mor, SMART SHOOTER CEO: “Smart Shooter’s SMASH technology offers precise elimination of threats at ground, air and sea. We are now happy to offer the same precise, combat-proven target engagement technology mounted on an unmanned aerial platform that can be controlled from a distance. When it comes to drones, platform weight is a critical factor as it impacts mission endurance and cost, and we are proud to announce that the extremely lightweight SMASH Dragon meets this criterion”.
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.