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

Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems

www.blighter.com

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12 Oct 20. Blighter presented surveillance capabilities at AUSA .Now 2020. Blighter Surveillance Systems (www.blighter.com), a world-leading provider of radar and surveillance equipment, was virtually exhibiting at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual exposition between 13-16 October 2020.

Blighter manufacture electronic-scanning radars, delivering round the clock all-weather security protection along borders, for coastal facilities, at military bases, and to guard critical national infrastructure such as airports, oil and gas facilities and palaces. Blighter radars are currently deployed in some 35 countries around the world, protecting military bases and securing land borders and coastlines.

The company recently launched its A800 radar, capable of performing air, ground and sea detection all simultaneously and able to detect and locate commercial “hobby” drones in 3D space. With small drones increasingly acknowledged as a key modern threat to secure locations from airports to military bases, Blighter is leading the market in advanced detection capabilities.

Blighter will use AUSA to demonstrate the A800 for the US audience, where there is significant demand for this capability, across valuable defence and national security sites.

Angus Hone, CEO, Blighter Surveillance Systems said: “Blighter products are proven to protect and secure a range of locations against intruders and threats, and we look forward to presenting our market-leading capabilities, such as the new A800 radar, to the United States’ military audience.”

Search ‘Blighter’ on the AUSA Now website (https://meetings.ausa.org/annual/exhibitor_exhibitor_list.cfm) to see the virtual stand.

16 Oct 20. Thales launches AirMaster C ultra-compact airborne surveillance radar.

  • The AirMaster C is the latest airborne surveillance radar from Thales and has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in its class.
  • The AirMaster C covers the full spectrum of land, air and maritime surveillance missions and offers state-of-the-art target detection capabilities; it is the subject of preliminary integration studies on joint light helicopter (Guépard) which are in progress.
  • Users benefit from innovative technologies, with a unique 2D AESA antenna based on SiGe (silicon-germanium) technology, and cognitive and predictive maintenance capabilities drawing on Thales’s and the French Armament General Directorate’s investments in artificial intelligence.

Threat detection, identification and surveillance missions depend on a force’s ability to operate in any type of environment and all weather conditions. Drawing on its experience with the successful Master series of radars, Thales has developed a new, ultra-compact surveillance radar with enhanced target detection capabilities for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. With its low integration and operating costs and high availability and performance, the AirMaster C sets a new standard for airborne radars.

The nature of armed confrontation is constantly evolving. From the intrastate conflicts of the post-Cold War period to the asymmetric threats of the early 21st century and, more recently, the resurgence of rivalries between major powers, armed forces around the world must constantly adapt as they face different types of adversaries in a diverse array of environments: open ocean, coastal areas, remote deserts and urban spaces.

Responding to these rapid changes, Thales has developed the AirMaster C, a new surveillance radar with an ultra-compact, programmable 2D active antenna based on SiGe (silicon-germanium) technology. SiGe is much more energy efficient than other technologies used for AESA radars, and allows the radar to self-cool. Weighing less than 20 kilograms and housed in a single unit design, the radar has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in this class.

In addition to this breakthrough SiGe technology, other innovations are deployed. Multi-polarisation (a capability displayed by many cameras) will allow the radar to automatically select the optimal settings to maximise detection performance on each mission. The radar also offers a simultaneous short-range and long-range detection capability, similar to the human eye, for instantaneous surveillance. With its 2D navigation and weather modes, the AirMaster C will also provide valuable navigation support in all types of environments and weather conditions.

The AirMaster C is a smart software-defined radar designed to reduce aircrew workload. With its autonomous sensors, self-learning functionality and the ability to analyse and classify huge volumes of data, the radar can automatically adapt to different uses, terrains and environments. The AirMaster C builds on the innovative design and proven success of the Master series.

Notified by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), preparatory studies are being carried out by Thales in collaboration with Airbus Helicopters for the integration of the AirMaster C on board the Guépard helicopter. This is the future light joint army helicopter, which will have to carry out a wide variety of missions for the three French armies.

“We’re proud to present the latest addition to the Thales family of airborne surveillance radars, the AirMaster C, which meets the full range of current and future operational requirements. With this new product, Thales offers an optimised surveillance solution for a broader array of platform types and operators, ensuring they benefit from the highest levels of mission performance as they face the new challenges ahead.” Hervé Hamy, Vice President for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Thales.

16 Oct 20. New Rafael system helps vehicles navigate in GPS-denied environments. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has created a system that combines vehicle-mounted cameras with 3D models and mapping algorithms to help manned and unmanned vehicles operate in GPS-denied environments.

Developed over the last several years, CT-MENTOR combines the Israeli company’s existing innovations for a vehicle suite as part of the Carmel program for an armored fighting vehicle of the future with its work on electro-optics for the Spike and Spice missiles.

Militaries are increasingly seeking ways to overcome adversarial jamming. The U.S. Army, for example, opened an office in September to study the challenge, but the service has been working on the issue for several years. The Defense Department further stressed this need for positioning, navigation and timing solutions in 2019. The year before, BAE Systems said it was developing ammunition that can operate in GPS-denied environments.

CT-MENTOR is based on a 3D model database that matches points with a “cloud” of points such that the vehicle on the ground, using cameras, matches the points it sees with those that correspond to those scanned from above.

The system takes its data from a variety of platforms, including UAVs, air surveillance and space assets, building the 3D model for the vehicle. Video of how the system works shows a vehicle moving through a neighborhood. Instead of just seeing a house and balconies, the cameras see points on the balcony that correspond to a 3D model.

Shmulik Olanski, who leads Rafael’s land warfare innovation center and spent three decades in the Israel Defense Forces’ Armored Corps, said the navigational challenge facing vehicles has to do with situational awareness.

“[The commander] needs to know where he is and what is around, and the commander in the command post needs to understand where the various forces are and do targeting procedures and lines of operation and to confront enemies in complex environments,” Olanski told Defense News. (Source: Defense News)

15 Oct 20. SEA, the UK’s defence and security electronic system specialist, has been selected to provide its acoustic sensor technology KraitArray™ to a major Australian Defence Innovation Hub Phase 3 contract for autonomous anti-submarine warfare (ASW). SEA’s low-profile towed array was chosen by Australian prime contractor BlueZone Group to form part of a fully autonomous persistent surveillance capability which will complement the Australian Defence Force’s existing and planned ASW force structure.

The overall system will comprise a Wave Glider equipped with a KraitArray™ thin line towed array sonar for detection of acoustic data. Onboard processing of the data will generate information that can be communicated to contribute to the overall ASW situational awareness.

Forming a key part of this, KraitArray™ is a thin 20mm diameter modular array that detects acoustic signatures from submarine contacts and enables long-range persistent ASW. Optimised for use with autonomous systems due to its low weight and minimal power requirements, the KraitArray™ consists of up to three 50m modules that can be tailored to meet the objectives of a specific mission.

Martin Kelly, Managing Director at SEA, said: “This world-leading research project will play a very important role in assessing the capabilities of autonomous ASW vehicles and the impact they can provide from an operational and reduced manpower perspective. Our technologies are specifically designed for lightweight and agile platforms, and this trial will provide further evidence of their performance, following successful trials with NATO last year. We are very proud to be involved with this Australian programme and look forward to our ongoing work with all partners involved.”

Darren Burrowes, Chief Technical Officer at BlueZone Group, said: “Unmanned Surface Vehicles can now be reliably deployed for many defence applications. Utilising innovative payloads such as SEA’s KraitArray™ enables us to provide new capability by integrating existing technologies. This collaboration has given us new tools for persistent naval surveillance and can provide a technology advantage for the Australian Navy.”

Initially intended as a proof-of-concept research project, the scope of the offboard DCL trial has been expanded by the Australian Navy to explore the potential to integrate autonomous ASW as part of its major defence programmes. Trials will involve in-water demonstration and development and will take place in 2021.

SEA’s selection for the programme extends its collaboration with the Australian defence sector, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Adelaide-based engineering SME Daronmont Technologies in late 2018.

15 Oct 20. Iceland to upgrade long-range air surveillance radars. Iceland is to upgrade its chain of long-range air surveillance radars, with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) announcing a multimillion dollar contract on 14 October.

Iceland Air Defence System’s AN/FPS-117 long-range air surveillance radars are to receive an upgrade managed by the NSPA. (NSPA)

Under the award, Iceland’s chain of Lockheed Martin AN/FPS-117 ground-based radars will undergo a technology insertion programme to improve their serviceability and to remove obsolescence issues.

The upgrade includes a technology update to the radar signal and data processing groups, extending the system’s lifespan by eliminating obsolescence and improving supportability. In addition, the capability of the radars is enhanced to meet the most current requirements for air surveillance systems in NATO air operations. The upgraded radars meet NATO’s Military Requirements for Surface-to-Air Identification,” the NSPA said.

According to the NSPA, the agency’s Communications, Air and Missile Defence programme provides life cycle management, technical and logistics support services for the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System’s (NATINAMDS) early warning sensors, which includes Iceland’s systems.

While the NSPA did not disclose the number of radars involved, Janes World Air Forces notes that Iceland fields four AN/FPS-117(V)5 systems located at Midnesheidi, Stokksnesi, Gunnolfsvíkurfjalli, and Bolafjalli. As Iceland does not have an air force, these systems are operated by the coastguard. (Source: Jane’s)

15 Oct 20. Northrop Grumman’s Radar Declared Operational for Air National Guard F-16s. AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) upgrades continue for Guard, reserve and active-duty fighters. The U.S. Air Force has met Full Operational Capability (FOC) readiness for Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) AN/APG-83 SABR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on Air National Guard F-16s to meet a U.S. Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need (JEON) for homeland defense.

On Sept. 7, the U.S. Air Force began installation of APG-83 radars on Air National Guard F-16s at Joe Foss Field, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the fourth U.S. Air Force base to receive AN/APG-83 SABR AESA radar upgrades.

The radar upgrade of Air National Guard F-16s extends the operational viability and reliability of the fleet while providing pilots with 5th-generation fighter radar capabilities to defend our nation’s airspace.

“SABR enables F-16 pilots to detect, track, identify and target a greater number of threats faster and at longer ranges from outside the threat envelope,” said Mark Rossi, director, SABR programs, Northrop Grumman. “This upgrade will keep the multirole F-16 fighter relevant and capable for decades to come.”

The AN/APG-83 features all-weather, high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping to present the pilot with a large surface image for more precise target identification and strike compared to legacy systems. Its design incorporates proven hardware and advanced operating modes from Northrop Grumman’s fifth-generation F-35 and F-22 AESA radars. The high degree of commonality and shared manufacturing processes and infrastructure drives efficiencies and affordability improvements across all of Northrop Grumman’s AESA radar programs.

The AN/APG-83 AESA is now an official program of record for both the active and reserve U.S. Air Force as well as the Guard after the service procured units in February for Air Combat Command and Air Force Reserve F-16 aircraft.

16 Oct 20. Australian Defence partners with BAE Systems to enhance radar capability. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price have announced the signing of an agreement with BAE Systems and the University of Adelaide, which aims to bolster Australia’s high-frequency radar capability. Defence has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BAE Systems Australia and the University of Adelaide, in which the parties have committed to bolstering interest in the study of high-frequency radar technology.

Ultimately, the agreement aims to increase the number of specialist-trained engineers, equipped with the skills to enhance Australia’s high-frequency (HF) systems capability.

Accordingly, the parties have agreed to establish a Centre for High Frequency Technologies, to develop knowledge ad understanding of the domain in which Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) – an over the horizon high frequency radar – operates.

The MoU also involves:

  • An undergraduate and post-graduate teaching program covering ionospheric physics, electromagnetism, radio frequency engineering, signal processing and automation relevant to HF systems; and
  • Sponsorship and support of research in relevant disciplines through internships, undergraduate scholarships, cadetships, PhD projects and research contracts.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the agreement would harness resources, expertise and facilities of the respective parties to maintain Australia’s national security.

“This MoU formalises the JORN Open Innovation Network, which will promote innovation and cross-disciplinary research on the science and engineering of HF systems,” Minister Reynolds said.

“It is a significant step forward in growing and strengthening a highly skilled sovereign HF radar workforce and technology pipeline.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price highlighted the benefits of establishing the new Centre for High Frequency Technologies.

“The Centre will develop and commercialise new technologies that will benefit defence industry and Defence’s ability to transition innovation into capability,” Minister Price said.

“This key partnership comprises a five-year extendable program that will assist academia to provide undergraduate and post-graduate education in an area of critical importance to Defence.

“Ultimately, the program will also bolster employment opportunities in upper atmosphere physics and radio frequency engineering.”

BAE Systems chief technology officer Brad Yelland said it was “critically important” for Australia to maintains its leadership of the technologies that form part of JORN and other strategic defence assets.

“The partnership will focus on rapidly developing cutting edge technology to meet the future defence needs of the country to ensure Australia maintains superior situational awareness to keep our borders secure,” he said.

“In doing so, JORN will provide a catalyst for economic growth and will create a pipeline of talent that will be able to lead the continued evolution of critically important defence technologies well into the future.”

Professor Michael Webb, director of defence, cyber and space at the University of Adelaide, welcomed the new agreement, which he said would deepen the university’s relationship with the defence sector.

“Our partnership with Defence Science and Technology Group in ionospheric physics and radar systems research will deliver the insights necessary to enable BAE Systems and Defence to maximise the performance achievable through the JORN Phase 6 upgrade project,” Professor Webb said.

“Internships, cadetships, PhD projects and research contracts with our industry partners will provide students with real-world experience and connect them to future employers: they will learn from the best in the industry. In turn, industry will have access to a skilled workforce of the future ready to support major defence projects, including JORN.

“This collaboration is another outstanding example of industry, government and academia working together to create a pipeline of graduates and researchers with the expertise to support burgeoning industries and opportunities in South Australia.”

About JORN

JORN comprises three over-the-horizon radar (OTHR) systems, forming part of the layered surveillance network that provides coverage of Australia’s northern approaches.

The network is designed to provide wide-area surveillance at ranges of 1,000 to 3,000 kilometres from the radar sites, and is used to monitor the air and sea in support of Australia’s national surveillance effort.

JORN was specifically designed to detect air targets the same size as a BAE Hawk-127 aircraft or larger, as well as objects on the surface of the water at least the size of an Armidale Class patrol boat (56.8 metres long).

However, according to the Royal Australian Air Force, JORN’s radar coverage and system performance is highly variable and depends on the state of the ionosphere (a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere), environmental conditions, and an object’s size and construction. (Source: Defence Connect)

15 Oct 20. New US Counter Drone Strategy Hits Esper’s Desk. A parallel joint requirements document will be briefed to industry Oct. 30, Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, head of the Joint Counter Small Unmanned Aerial Systems office, says.

DoD’s first joint strategy to counter small drones is about to hit Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s desk, says Army Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, head of the Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aerial Systems Office (JCO).

The new strategy and a joint requirements document to guide service investment was signed on Sept. 28 by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Hyten, Army officials said today at the annual Association of the US Army show. The strategy is expected to be released early next month.

The JCO, in tandem with the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), will hold an “industry open house” on the requirements Oct. 30, Gainey said. The RCCTO serves as the materiel and acquisition lead in support of the JCO.

“The open house that we’re going to have with industry the 30th of October is really our first engagement forum where we’re bringing everybody together,” Gainey elaborated. “We’re at the point now where we can talk to industry about our requirements and lay out to industry: these are the requirements that weren’t part of the original set of equipment that we want your help with, and that we want you to bring to our test ranges and show us what you’re doing to get after this capability focus area.”

The plan is to hold a second industry day about six months later to hone in on more specific requirements, and to open up test ranges for demonstrations at around the same time.

The new counter-drone strategy will be implemented during the 2023 and 2027 budget cycle, said Nicole Thompson, JCO division chief for strategy and policy. “We’re doing things now and we do things next year, but we’re really focusing on kind of laying some of some of those things down across the POM and resourcing them,” she said.

The operational requirements document will lay out more specifically the capabilities needed by the joint forces and be updated over time to reflect evolving technology, said Marc Pelini, JCO division chief for

capabilities and requirements.

The plan, he explained, it to “refresh” the requirements every 18 to 24 months as new technologies mature. The JCO wants to be able to predict “where technology is going to go and providing industry with guidance on additional capabilities that need to come online,” he said, across any piece of the counter-drone mission, from initial detection to shoot down.

The requirements document will guide service acquisitions, Pelini said. “Our intent for the operational requirements is really kind of providing strategic guidance to the Department of Defense on how capabilities will be developed,” he explained. Each service will still develop specific requirements for their individual platforms as part of their acquisition plans, but in line with the joint requirements and the overarching strategy, he added.

The JCO serves as the Pentagon’s Counter Small Unmanned Aerial System (C-sUAS) Executive Agent (EA). The EA is charged with finding joint solutions to the threat caused by small drones, and to ensure that the services don’t duplicate each other’s efforts. Esper approved the EA implementation plan on Jan. 6. The JCO’s mandate covers Category 1, 2 and 3 drones, which range from those weighing less than 20 pounds to those weighing up to 1,320 pounds.

Gainey told AUSA last year that the JCO’s tasks for 2020 included: a DoD Directive; a Joint C-sUAS threat assessment; a DoD counter-drone strategy; down-select of Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) counter-drone systems; and a Joint Capability Development Document including delivering capabilities to the warfighter.

As Sydney reported in June, the office down-selected from some 40 efforts across the Army, Navy and Air Force to pick seven current counter-drone systems, each to be managed by an individual service. It also selected a single standard architecture for common-and-control, mandating the Army’s FAAD-C2,or a compatible C2 network such as the Air Force’s Multi-Environmental Domain Unmanned Systems Application (MEDUSA), to be used by all service programs.

“The department will continue to work with industry to bring these interim systems to full maturity, or to eventually replace them with follow-on enduring systems, and this is probably where our most of our effort is going right now,” Gainey said.

Gainey said one of the challenges in protecting both military installations in the United States and abroad is working with domestic authorities to ensure that any counter-drone activities — including efforts to detect airborne threats — don’t disrupt civilian air traffic and/or communications. (Counter-drone systems often rely  disrupt electro-magnetic signals or the use of directed-energy weapons, such as lasers or high-powered microwaves, that could have area-wide effects.)

“We have those hazard challenges, not only in CONUS, but also in our installations globally, where we work closely with the host nations, whether it’s in EUCOM or INDOPACOM, where we have to adhere to the host country’s authorities, and be able to balance the operational capabilities we have while working with their authorities in their local law enforcement to be able to get after this correctly,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)

15 Oct 20. HGH to Supply Panoramic Thermal Cameras to Shipyards in Middle East & Europe. HGH recently won contracts worth about €6m from world-leading shipyards in the Middle-East and in Europe, to equip new warships with SPYNEL panoramic thermal cameras and with their new IRST solution.

The rise of new technologies urges naval forces to adapt their defence, detection and threat-tracking capabilities; HGH took up the challenge to answer the growing needs in terms of embarked IRST systems, launching their new IRST solution based on the SPYNEL technology at Euronaval Online Digital Show to be held 19-25 October 2020.

SPYNEL-X is a sea-proven solution suited for self-protection of all surface vessels. It is a fully passive infrared surveillance technology, able to automatically and simultaneously detect, track and classify small size air and surface threats coming from opposite directions at long range.

HGH offers an IRST solution based on the SPYNEL-X technology: providing a full panoramic 3D defensive bubble, adapted to rough sea conditions thanks to an integrated gyrostabilization system. Fully passive and undetectable by the enemy, the IRST enables a quick reaction time, thanks to the automatic transmission of tracks into the vessel’s Combat Management System.

This enhanced situational awareness is provided by the combination of two SPYNEL-X sensors, fixed on either side of the mast, or on the bow and stern of the vessel, capturing videos with a resolution of up to 120 Mpix. Data is then collected and fused on a single workstation by HGH’s CYCLOPE Hypervisor processing software, and immediately transferred to the vessel’s Combat Management System.

Edouard Campana, Head of Security and Defence Optronics at HGH, said: ‘‘We have been equipping military ships for many years now, and these significant contracts demonstrate HGH’s commitment to continuous innovation to meet the evolving needs of the Maritime Defense industry.’’

Built up to withstand the harshest conditions, the SPYNEL technology was already chosen by several Navies and installed on multiple warships around the world. Always focused on being one step ahead in panoramic thermal imaging technology, HGH is now committed to serving the naval industry with their advanced 360° IRST system.

HGH has been an expert in infrared technology for over 35 years. Since 1982, HGH designs, develops, assembles and sells electro-optics systems and software for security, defence, oil & gas, energy and various industrial applications. The company has established itself as an international reference in terms of innovation in infrared technology, through the development of multiple advanced sensors, systems and proprietary software. (Source: Al Defaiya)

15 Oct 20. Iranian Defense Ministry Unveils Ultrasound Screening Device. The Iranian Defense Ministry unveiled the first ultrasound screening device that has been designed and made by Iranian specialists and scientists.

The device was unveiled in a ceremony attended by Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Qassem Taqizadeh at Tehran’s Chamran Hospital, Fars News Agency (FNA) reported.

Taqizadeh said that the machine is equipped with the state-of-the-art software with menus for measuring and estimating gestational age, advanced imaging and image processing technology, remote management and data transmission software, color Doppler and power Doppler system, 15-inch LED display with high resolution, and a frequency range from 2.5 to 14 MHz.

Unlimited storage of images on a USB hard disk, various working modes, portable and fixed modes, capability of connection to a printer as well as the light weight and high image resolution are the other features of the new apparatus.

Taqizadeh added that it can be used in field hospitals and in critical and emergency situations.

Noting that the ultrasound screening machine has obtained the necessary approvals from the Ministry of Health, he said: “The Defense Ministry is ready to mass-produce the device at the request of health officials to meet the needs of the country’s healthcare section.”

In a similar breakthrough, a member of Iran’s Arak University scientific board Mohammad Velasjerdi said on Sunday that the researchers of the University in collaboration with the researchers of the Malaysian Industrial University (UTM) manufactured a special sensor that is able to diagnose COVID-19 within a few seconds.

Velasjerdi said that a joint research between the scholars of Arak University and UTM resulted in diagnosing coronavirus in a few seconds through examination of the patient’s saliva as a relatively safe and sure method to control the epidemic.

“To Diagnose the coronavirus, we have used light fiber sensor with golden and graphene oxide coating. This sensor is able to diagnose the virus in the patient’s saliva via changing the length and intensity of the wave obtained by optic analyzer,” he further said.

He went on to say that, during the research, the saliva of patients aged 34-72 were examined with the sensor, showing significant changes in the length and intensity of the obtained wave in proportion with the number of the viruses in different phases of the disease.

Research results have been published on highly credited Chemical Engineering Journal, FNA added. (Source: Al Defaiya)

15 Oct 20. Futuristic radar for the UK’s future combat aircraft will capture the equivalent of a ‘city’s worth of data’ every second

  • Latest UK technology revealed for a ground-breaking combat aircraft due in service by 2035
  • New radar technology delivers unparalleled data processing capability on the battlespace, equivalent to nine hours of HD video or the internet traffic of a large city every second
  • ‘Wearable cockpit’ of the future with aircraft controls projected via Virtual and Augmented Reality

British engineers have today revealed some of the latest concepts under development for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) next generation combat air system. The pioneering technology is being delivered by Team Tempest, a UK technology and defence partnership formed by BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and the RAF, and involving hundreds of high-tech companies, SMEs and academia across the UK.

Tempest is one of the UK’s most ambitious technological endeavours and designed to deliver a highly advanced, adaptable combat air system to come into service from the mid-2030s. This next generation combat aircraft, which forms part of a wider combat air system, will exploit new technologies as they evolve to respond to the changing nature of the battlespace, addressing increasingly high-tech and complex threats and conflict.

Among the key insights released today:

  • Experts from the Team Tempest electronics lead, Leonardo UK, are developing new radar technology capable of providing over 10,000 times more data than existing systems. The new sensor, called the ‘Multi-Function Radio Frequency System’, will collect and process unprecedented amounts of data on the battlespace – equivalent to the internet traffic of a large city such as Edinburgh, every second. This huge volume of information, processed on-board, will give Tempest a battle winning edge in combat situations, with the ability to locate and target enemies well before they are targeted themselves.
  • The brand new sensor will provide a wide range of abilities beyond traditional radar, with all-digital technology providing the operator with an exceptionally clear view of the battlespace and of potential targets. Leonardo has already built complete sub-systems using the new technology and successfully tested them at the company’s site in Edinburgh with a path to airborne demonstrations in the coming years.
  • Separately, engineers at BAE Systems have begun flight testing cutting-edge concepts for Tempest’s ‘wearable cockpit’ technologies, designed to provide pilots in the cockpit or operators on the ground with split-second advantage. The concept sees the physical controls seen in current aircraft cockpits replaced with Augmented and Virtual Reality displays projected directly inside the visor of a helmet, which can be instantly configured to suit any mission. Concepts including human-autonomy teaming are also being developed, where a ‘virtual co-pilot’ could take on some of the pilot’s responsibilities. The virtual co-pilot concept is still being developed, but could for example, take the form of an ‘avatar’ built into the cockpit to interact with the pilot.
  • BAE Systems has also been trialing ‘psycho-physiological’ technologies, including eye-tracking, to study the operator’s physical and cognitive processes to better understand increasing exertion, stress, workload and fatigue. BAE Systems test pilots are now trialling these psycho-physiological technologies in controlled test flight conditions in a Typhoon aircraft. The results of the trials will inform further development to better understand a pilot’s cognitive behaviour and processes relating to brain activity, psychological rhythms and eye movement to inform further development.
  • MBDA UK has also embedded one of its Human Factors engineers within this wearable cockpit team, ensuring early introduction of weapons concepts that exploit these future technologies. This close partnership approach between MBDA UK and BAE Systems will allow the companies to help to collaborate at an early stage of the programme, shaping how weapons systems information and operation is optimised for the pilot.
  • At the same time, Rolls-Royce engineers have been developing advanced combustion system technology as part of the company’s power and propulsion work. The combustion system is where fuel is introduced and burned to release energy into the gas stream. A next generation system will need to be hotter than any previous platform, increasing the efficiency of the engine and meaning it can go further, faster, or produce less carbon dioxide. Rolls-Royce has been exploring advanced composite materials and additive manufacturing as part of this work, producing lightweight, more power-dense components capable of operating at these higher temperatures.

These concepts are part of a wider research effort to develop technologies that could be used to create a next generation combat air system for the UK. Collectively, the Team Tempest partners are developing more than 60 technology demonstrations in the fields of sensing, data management and autonomy to prove world-leading processes and technologies on the programme.

Iain Bancroft, Director of Major Air Programmes at Leonardo in the UK, said: “The collaborative relationship between Team Tempest and our network of academic and SME partners enables us to bring together the ‘best of the best’ engineering talent from across the UK. Crucially, we are embracing new ways of working as an integrated team to dramatically improve efficiency and pace – sharing intelligence and refining our concepts digitally to deliver innovations that will shape the next generation combat air system. Our new radar technology is a concrete example of the gains this approach has already brought, costing 25% less to develop while providing over 10,000 times more data than existing systems.”

Tempest is an ambitious military programme that is expected to deliver significant benefits to the UK over the full lifetime of the programme. It is a critical programme to ensure the UK is able to sustain its world-leading Combat Air Sector; preserving its sovereign capability and critical skills needed to deliver independent military ‘freedom of action’ and ensuring national security. It will also bring benefits through investment in people, early careers, technology and infrastructure, supporting the economy and long term prosperity of the nation.

Today’s announcements demonstrate further momentum on Tempest, with Team Tempest companies drawing on wider UK skills and innovation. In July seven further companies signed agreements to progress opportunities to work on future combat air concepts and underpinning technologies across Team Tempest including Bombardier Belfast, Collins Aerospace in the UK, GE Aviation UK, GKN Aerospace, Martin-Baker, QinetiQ, and Thales UK.

12 Oct 20. NESIS4000, a newly developed secondary radar by HENSOLDT, demonstrated its performance live for the first time at our site in Thalfingen, Germany, in a series of tests. NESIS 4000 allows to double the sensor range of the IFF systems on ships. The secondary radar can identify and track targets up to a range of 256 NM. Previous passive antenna systems only achieve a range of approximately 110 NM.

In addition, the design of the antenna allows the IFF system to be integrated at any position on the mast. This minimizes the potential conflict about the best exposed position on a ship’s mast, necessary for various sensors and a mechanically rotating antenna.

In future, NESIS 4000 could also be used in ground-based ATC systems.

12 Oct 20. US Army solidifies requirements to counter small drones. Pentagon leaders approved in late September a set of requirements to help counter small drones, laying a path for how industry can develop technology to plug into a single command-and-control system, according to the general in charge of the effort.

The defense secretary delegated the Army in November 2019 to lead the effort to take a petting zoo of counter-small unmanned aircraft systems, or C-sUAS, many of which were rooted in urgent needs from Middle East conflicts, and to consolidate capability into a select group of interim systems. Army Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, who is leading the effort through the Joint C-sUAS Office, spoke to Defense News on Oct. 2 ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

That part of his project would be followed by the development and fielding of a long-term system.

The office has already taken 40-plus systems and whittled the selection down to three systems-of-systems approaches — one from each service — for fixed and semi-fixed sites. The office also settled on the Light-Mobile Air Defense Integrated System from the Marine Corps as a mounted or mobile system; Bal Chatri, Dronebuster and Smart Shooter for dismounted, hand-held systems; and one command-and-control system.

The C2 system is called Forward Area Air Defense C2 and is sponsored by the Army, but it does include interoperable systems from the Air Force and the Marine Corps.

The threat is changing, according to Gainey, as the use of signals evolves. What this means is the long-term solution must bring in new technology and easily swap out old capabilities.

“It’s how rapidly we can integrate it, and by writing those requirements standards, it’s a big win for us because now if you’re building to that, then we allow industry to compete in this process by building component technology that can integrate into this open architecture,” Gainey said.

The Army will host a virtual industry day at the end of the month to share its requirements.

While Gainey was careful to avoid divulging classified requirements, he said the initial C-sUAS systems focused on Group 1 drones (such as Raven and Wasp) and Group 2 drones (such as ScanEagle). The program will also focus on Group 3 drones (such as Shadow), he added.

“We have a capability out there that can get after Group 3,” Gainey said, “but we know we need more focus in this area.”

Overcoming the threat of drone swarms will also receive increased attention, he added.

The plan is to test available capabilities at common ranges twice a year, he explained.

Meanwhile, industry is conducting several demonstrations a year, “so we have a good pulse of what technology they’re working on,” Gainey said. “What our efforts are doing is trying to help focus them in.”

Because the Joint C-sUAS Office was established in the middle of a budget cycle, Gainey said, the Army is working through the funding aspects; not just to keep interim systems funded, but to ensure there’s enough to develop a long-term capability.

The Army wants to get the first set of possible capabilities out to a test range in February or March, Gainey said. “We’ll see how quickly we can pull it together,” he added.

Additionally, the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, or RCCTO, is helping the Joint C-sUAS Office by leveraging directed-energy and high-power microwave pursuits into a C-sUAS solution.

Lt. Gen. James Thurgood, the RCCTO’s director, told Defense News ahead of the AUSA conference, that it would field a high-power microwave capability developed by the Air Force in February 2021 to perform operational tests on it.

“It will be the first of its type that we put in theater,” he said, adding that it would likely go into the Central Command or U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.

The high-power microwave will be fielded along with a directed-energy capability as part of the Army’s Indirect Fires Protection Capability Increment 2 in fiscal 2024, which is designed to defend fixed sites from rockets, artillery and mortars as well as drones and cruise missiles. (Source: Defense News)

13 Oct 20. Northrop Grumman’s Next Generation Digital Antenna Passes Key Milestone. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is moving into the design phase of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Aether Spy next-generation multifunction radar program after successfully completing the System Requirements Review (SRR).

Northrop Grumman’s multifunction software will become foundational building blocks for the next generation of multifunction radio frequency (RF) systems.

Aether Spy advances multifunction wideband digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology based on the advanced microelectronics created on the DARPA Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) program. It will develop the next generation of integrated circuits that include additional processing and key design features that enable the Department of Defense trusted microelectronics strategy. The advanced devices will be fabricated and integrated into an advanced digital AESA to demonstrate a multifunction system capable of simultaneously performing multiple sensing, communication and electronic warfare functions.

“We look forward to demonstrating how the advanced digital AESA technology enables unmatched system agility that will meet the challenging mission requirements of advanced platforms,” said William Phillips, director, multifunction systems, Northrop Grumman. “The advanced integrated circuits, digital AESA architecture and multifunction software developed on Aether Spy will become foundational building blocks for the next generation of multifunction radio frequency (RF) systems supporting the future mission needs of the DoD.”

“This transition of digital AESA technology aligns well with the Air Force’s digital engineering initiatives,” said Thomas Dalrymple, technical advisor for Sensor Subsystems at the AFRL Sensors Directorate. “Aether Spy will enable significant improvements in surveillance and battle management missions in the future battlespace. The multifunction aspects are enabled by both software and hardware reprogrammability that will ensure this sensor will have operational impact for years to come.”

13 Oct 20. More details emerge about detection capabilities of Type 055 destroyer’s radar. The radar system on China’s Type 055 (Renhai)-class destroyers has the ability to track satellites in low-Earth orbits, according to a report broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) that led the state-owned Global Times newspaper to claim that the vessels also have an anti-satellite capability.

The CCTV report did not confirm that the HHQ-9B extended-range surface-to-air missiles carried by the Type 055 could be used against satellites, although Wang Ya’nan, editor of the Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told Global Times that if the radar system had the capability to detect and track a satellite, it would also be able to guide a missile to intercept it.

The CCTV report confirmed that the Type 055 is equipped with a dual-band radar system, with four flat planar phased arrays embedded in the superstructure – likely designated H/LJG-346B – and four smaller panels mounted on the integrated mast.

The four larger arrays are similar to those on the ‘Dragon Eye’ radar of the Type 052D destroyers but are assessed to be around 40% larger. This would enable the overall transmitted power to be increased, as well as providing increased sensitivity. (Source: Jane’s)

12 Oct 20. Senop to supply night vision devices to the Finnish Defence Forces. The Finnish Defence Forces will improve its night fighting capability by procuring new image intensifiers for soldiers and hand-held multipurpose observation and surveillance systems for mortar units. Antti Kaikkonen, the Minister of Defence of Finland, has authorized the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command to sign a contract with Senop Oy for the procurement of night vision devices. The procurement is based on a Letter of Intent signed on 22 May 2019 and Senop will deliver the systems by the end of 2021.

The contract, with a total value of more than 13m euros, includes a 209m euro option for the next five years. The option includes image intensifiers, observation and surveillance systems and laser aiming devices.

Senop´s new NVG is a small and lightweight night vision device (FDF: Night vision device M20), designed as a soldier’s personal night vision device to be used in demanding military environments. NVG utilizes latest aspheric and composite technologies, which enable high performance and low over all system weight.

Senop´s laser aiming devices (FDF: Tactical laser aiming device M20 and Soldier´s laser aiming device) are developed to be used as a soldier´s weapon sight and as a target designator for troop leaders. Laser aiming devices are designed for seamless integration with FDF´s existing weapons and are also usable in other weapons / systems.

Senop LILLY target acquisition device (FDF: Target acquisition device MPL21) is an extremely light weight device with versatile functions for target acquisition, observation and different types of measuring applications. LILLY is based on high performance thermal imaging, combined with direct view optical channel. This combination enables high performance at all times of day.

New image intensifier, laser aiming devices and Senop LILLY sensor have been developed in close cooperation with the Finnish army. “The development work has also required intensive field tests and environmental tests to ensure that the devices are easy to use and stand the strain of hard military operations. I can proudly say that Image intensifier, laser aiming devices and LILLY-sensor have been developed for infantry soldiers with the guidance of real end users”, says Aki Korhonen, Managing Director of Senop.

Effective night fighting capability requires overarching capabilities. Senop is developing holistic solutions for networked military environments. Senop has for example delivered Senop VV3X night sights, VVLite night vision devices, and LISA target acquisition systems (FDF: MPL15) for the Finnish Army. All these devices support the capability to fight during the night and in difficult weather conditions. In addition, these systems are networked to modern C2I -systems to support situational awareness.

“Our mission is to help customers to build new capabilities by tailoring solutions according to their specific needs and requirements. Our priority customers are armies and soldiers. Our development work with the Finnish Army has shown the agility of our company to support the customers”, Aki Korhonen points out. The development of the Image Intensifier and laser aiming devices was finalised from concept to qualified product within one year.

Senop´s Defence & Security portfolio consists of high-performance image intensifiers, night sights, intelligent thermal weapon sights, handheld target acquisition and observation systems, vehicle camera systems, hyperspectral cameras, and multipurpose container-based system platform solutions.

12 Oct 20. MARSS adds kinetic denial function to its NiDAR C2 C-UAS unit. The UK’s MARSS Group has announced it has enhanced its NiDAR C2 counter-UAS system “with a kinetic denial function, able to detect, jam and if necessary, destroy life-threatening unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in seconds,” said the company. It will be demonstrating this world’s first turnkey solution with effectors throughout October.

According to the company, “with a multi-layered approach, the NiDAR system is capable of detecting tactical UAS from distances of over 15km, combining radar, radio frequency (RF) detection and EO cameras to identify threats and trigger responses while also learning from events and actions thanks to its powerful AI integration. MARSS has worked alongside industry leaders in countermeasure design, to introduce multiple levels of kinetic denial into an intuitive C2 system that saves lives. From standard targeted radio frequency and GPS jamming, to the latest in long range effectors rendering incapable the threat, NiDAR disrupts UAS operations and eliminates verified threats in seconds, protecting lives and property.”

For more information

https://marss.com/news/networked-tactical-command-and-control

(Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

08 Oct 20. AeroDefense develops “smart” drone detection AirWarden system for cities and airports. AeroDefense has announced a new “Smart Drone Detection” deployment option for the company’s AirWarden™ system. AirWarden’s existing four-inch, four-ounce detection antenna can now connect back to sensor electronics in a central location or data centre over a fibre 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.”

The company says 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.”

For more information

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201008005182/en/AeroDefense-Solves-Urban-and-Airport-Drone-Detection-Challenges-with-Small-Discreet-Antenna-and-Fiber-Deployment. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

07 Oct 20. Counter drone evaluation in Spain showcases XTEND’s counter drone capability. Technology company XTEND 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.

According to an XTEND press release, the event recognised that counter-unmanned aircraft systems (c-UAS) are crucial for national security and sought solutions to prevent drone interference and other threats that endanger airports and 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.

XTEND’s SKYLORD HUNTER system, is an aerial defense platform adapted by the US 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 survey and protect their airspace from drones and other aerial threats that endanger flights.”

For more information visit:

www.extend.me

(Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

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Blighter® Surveillance Systems (BSS) is a UK-based electronic-scanning radar and sensor solution provider delivering an integrated multi-sensor package to systems integrators comprising the Blighter electronic-scanning radars, cameras, thermal imagers, trackers and software solutions. Blighter radars combine patented solid-state Passive Electronic Scanning Array (PESA) technology with advanced Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) and Doppler processing to provide a robust and persistent surveillance capability. Blighter Surveillance Systems is a Plextek Group company, a leading British design house and technology innovator, and is based at Great Chesterford on the outskirts of Cambridge, England.

The Blighter electronic-scanning (e-scan) FMCW Doppler ground surveillance radar (GSR) is a unique patented product that provides robust intruder detection capabilities under the most difficult terrain and weather conditions. With no mechanical moving parts and 100% solid-state design, the Blighter radar family of products are extremely reliable and robust and require no routine maintenance for five years. The Blighter radar can operate over land and water rapidly searching for intruders as small a crawling person, kayaks and even low-flying objects. In its long-range modes the Blighter radar can rapidly scan an area in excess of 3,000 km² to ensure that intruders are detected, identified and intercepted before they reach critical areas.

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