Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
24 Mar 22. Thales onboard the Greek Navy Defence and Intervention Frigates.
- The Greek Navy will receive two Belh@rra® type frigates in 2025 and a third in 2026, becoming the first export customer to select the new defence and intervention frigate (FDI) built by French industry.
- The frigates will be equipped with the Sea Fire radar in the first export success for this new digital radar system.
- The contract extends a long-standing partnership with the Greek armed forces.
Thales welcomes Greece’s decision to acquire the Belh@rra® export variant of Naval Group’s FDI defence and intervention frigate for the Hellenic Armed Forces. A firm order for three frigates, with another one on option, has been signed by the Greek authorities.
Designed to conduct a broad range of naval missions and to adapt to new technology and changes in the operational context, Greece’s Belh@rra® frigates will be equipped with a complete set of primary sensors developed by Thales and integrated with the warship’s combat system.
Thales will provide its Sea Fire radar, a fully solid-state multifunction radar with a fixed, four-panel antenna that simultaneously performs long-range air and surface surveillance as well as guidance for anti-air missiles. This is the first export success for the Sea Fire radar, which is designed to deliver outstanding performance in high-intensity combat situations. The frigates will also be equipped with an IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) solution and fire control radar.
In addition, Greece’s FDI frigates will rely on a complete Thales sonar suite comprising the Kingklip MK2 hull-mounted sonar and the Captas-4 Compact towed-array sonar, as well as a digital electronic warfare suite and a full range of integrated naval communication systems to guarantee interoperability and seamless connectivity for the frigates and their crews.
The contract will sustain employment at Thales’s industrial facilities, particularly in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Greece.
“Thales thanks the Greek authorities for the trust they have placed in us by selecting our state-of-the-art naval systems. The new contract further strengthens the strategic ties between Greece and France.” Patrice Caine, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Thales
22 Mar 22. Thales Demonstrates C-UAS System, Horus Shield, to Defence Organizations. A few weeks ago, a demonstration of the operation of the anti-drone system (C-UAS or Counter Unmanned Aerial System), from Thales, Horus Shield (part of Eagle Shield Thales’ solution), took place at the airfield of the Segovia town of Marugán.
This demonstration is part of the tests approved by the Spanish Army as part of the Fuerza 2035/BRIEX 2035 initiative, which aims to adapt the Spanish Army to the operational environment foreseen for that year.
The event, coordinated and supervised by the Spanish Army’s Head of Information Systems, Telecommunications and Technical Assistance (JCISAT), was also attended by personnel from other Army units and from the Spanish General Directorate of Armament and Material (DGAM), which reports to the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defense.
Capable of protecting vulnerable infrastructures from the unauthorized presence of any type of drone, Horus Shield stands out for being a very versatile anti-drone system; offering numerous information to the user on a single screen; and having a surprising capacity to integrate sensors from different manufacturers, which makes it a very interesting C-UAS for different organizations. For example, for the Army, with whose Command and Control systems BMS-ET and PROMETEO it is prepared to be interoperable, although this functionality was not the subject of the demonstration.
C-UAS systems must detect drones at long distances, in order to have sufficient reaction time; identify and track them, in order to determine whether or not they pose a threat and, finally, have the ability to neutralize them in case they pose a real risk. Horus meets all these requirements, as could be seen in the demonstration in Marugán (Segovia), where a drone traveled distances of more than 2 km, despite which the Thales anti-drone system detected and classified it by radar and direction finder, optronic tracking and neutralization by frequency jamming.
The Horus-Shield demonstration included the Thales GECKO optronic system, which has extensive experience in use in border surveillance tasks both in our country and internationally. The Thales Horus-Shield anti-drone system has been deployed for more than three years in different customers monitoring critical infrastructures both in urbanized areas with disadvantaged populations and hostile groups with high technological level, as well as being used in the protection of major sporting events. (Source: UAS VISION)
23 Mar 22. IEE Exhibiting Lineup of Avionics Display Products at Quad A Summit 2022.
Focus on Avionics Open Systems Approaches.
Industrial Electronic Engineers, IEE, manufacturer of military avionicsdisplays, will be exhibiting their product line at the Army Aviation Missions Solutions Summit (Quad A) in Nashville, Tennessee, April 3rd-5th. IEE will highlight the new 6”x8” Rotorcraft Multi-Function Display (MFD), along with a range of proven displays for fixed and rotary-wing applications.
“IEE’s MFD products continue to advance the latest avionics open systems approaches through the integration of multiple, redundant digital video and communication interfaces,” said Steve Motter, V.P. of Business Development for IEE. “Our Rotorcraft MFD is an excellent example of a display with superior performance that focuses on reliability and affordability as core to our customer’s needs.”
6”x8” Rotorcraft Multi-Function Display (MFD)
This dual-mode, high-bright and NVIS 10.4” LCD display is lightweight, and has a rugged sealed enclosure fit for airborne applications. With its redundant digital video and ARINC-429 communication interfaces, along with its extensive built-in test, this display provides the rugged performance necessary for demanding environments. The field-replaceable bezel assists the warfighter in maximizing operational availability for improved readiness.
- Enhanced, High Bright 10.4” XGA (1024×768) LCD Display
- Chemically strengthened cover glass with EMI Filter and anti-reflective/glare (AR/AG) treatments
- Dual-mode LED backlight with selectable high-bright day (sunlight readable) and night (NVIS compliant) modes
- Sealed NVIS Backlit Bezel with 24 Push Buttons and 4 Rocker Switches
- Video Inputs: 2x DVI-D
- Control Interface: 3x ARINC-429, RS-232/422
IEE is exhibiting in booth #701 at the Quad-A Summit, April 3rd-5th. Stop by or make an appointment with Steve Motter by calling 1-800-422-0867, ext. 327, or mailto:.
For over 75 years, IEE has been a trusted provider of enhanced displays for military and industrial applications. From rapid prototyping of custom designs to full-scale production runs, IEE’s factory in Van Nuys, CA produces innovative displays with advanced features like low-latency video processing, high-bright and NVIS backlighting, and lightweight, ruggedized enclosures. IEE’s direct control of critical process steps reduces costs, decreases production lead times and improves lifecycle management. IEE display products are distributed worldwide. IEE is ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certified. For more information: visit ieeinc.com
23 Mar 22. DroneShield Limited (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) has strengthened its relationship with Thales, a world leader in the aerospace, defence, and security markets, as drone threats continue to rise globally.
Thales and DroneShield commenced their working relationship approximately 3 years ago through the Global Supply Chain (GSC) Program, with Thales having integrated DroneShield sensors into its military and aerospace broader systems over that time. More recently, DroneShield’s RfOne long range AI-enabled drone detection sensor has been subjected to extensive testing over a 6-month period by the Thales Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) teams in Northern France, with the measured detection ranges exceeding nominal specifications by 25%, demonstrating world leading capability.
Thales now has active tenders including DroneShield sensors, which are a key part of the overall solution, on multiple global opportunities. Accordingly, Thales has placed a further order for DroneShield equipment this week for an undisclosed value, for its own and customer deployments.
Younes Fada, Thales Surveillance System Architect Manager, commented, “As drone threats escalate, Thales has been searching for a global “best of breed” combination for all counterdrone capabilities, extensively testing and assessing each candidate system. We are pleased with the performance of the DroneShield solutions and look forward to deploying them with our global customer base.”
23 Mar 22. Is C-UAS neglecting AI? The success of counter-UAS (C-UAS) defences often depends on a single factor: the ability of a human operator to correctly identify and react to a drone threat, writes Oleg Vornik, chief executive of DroneShield.
When the threat is a single drone or two, a C-UAS operator has a reasonable chance of assessing sensor data and choosing the appropriate response – whether hard-kill or soft-kill – in time to prevent the incoming UAS from accomplishing their mission.
But what if the threat is a dozen drones, or even a hundred? What if the attack is a co-ordinated strike by air, ground and naval unmanned vehicles? Drone swarms are becoming a reality that can saturate and overtax even the most well-trained human operator.
What is needed is technology that can both relieve the workload on human C-UAS operators, and assist them in quickly and reliably choosing the optimum response to deal with a drone threat.
One solution is to utilise the power of artificial intelligence (AI) for C-UAS. For example, operators face the problem of distinguishing real from false detections. Sounding the alarm too soon disrupts operations and wears out the defenders, but sounding it too late allows hostile drones to reach their targets unhindered. Compounding the problem is that many drones are controlled over the same ISM radio bands that are used by routers and other home electronics. This can be especially troublesome in cluttered urban environments with numerous radio-frequency (RF) sources.
However, AI can accurately identify which drones are using specific communications channels and protocols, which can be a difficult task when dealing with frequency-hopping models, or when encountering multiple drones of the same model.
AI is also hardware-agnostic, which allows it easily process data from a wide variety of domains, including radar, optical imagery and across the RF spectrum. Because most C-UAS development work is in software rather than hardware, AI has the flexibility to work with hardware extensions across a wide variety of missions.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of AI-based C-UAS is its inherent flexibility. Drone technology rapidly evolves, and therefore C-UAS must quickly evolve as well. The situation is similar to cyber security, where computer viruses constantly mutate into new forms, creating “zero day” surprises. Just as the anti-virus software on your computer must recognise new threats, a C-UAS system must be capable of dealing with unexpected threats.
AI has that flexibility because it does not rely on an exact match of the threat to a set library. Machine learning enables AI to pattern-match for recognition of new threats, and to evolve its algorithms in response to new conditions. And because AI is built into the system, the software doesn’t need to connect to the cloud for processing, which avoids the vulnerability of network disruption.
Sophisticated AI also enables C-UAS systems to provide support across multiple missions, from counterinsurgency and asymmetric warfare, to operations against advanced near-peer competitors. AI-based systems can be body-worn, mounted on vehicles and ships, or installed on fixed sites.
But to utilize the full potential of AI, the right hardware must be used. One problem with current C-UAS systems is that they often rely on CPU-based processors that are basically off-the-shelf technology designed for other uses before being repurposed. A better alternative is Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FGPA), a powerful but lightweight solution for the massive parallel processing that taxes CPU- and GPU-based systems. By parallelizing computations, FGPA allows the development of algorithms that are much faster than with CPU technology.
In addition, FGPAs are easy to reprogram, allowing C-UAS systems to be customised in response to changing threats and environments. Their smaller size and weight also enables development of lighter and more portable C-UAS systems.
The threat posed by drones will only grow over time. Unmanned vehicles are proliferating not just across advanced militaries, but also across smaller nations and insurgent groups who see drones as a cheap but effective way to wage asymmetrical warfare against more advanced foes.
Any nation that cannot defend itself against drones is vulnerable. Thus C-UAS has become an indispensable component of national security. But C-UAS is only effective if it can cope with a wide variety of ever-changing threats. AI can help defeat those threats. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 Mar 22. Congress freezes $349m for Army’s next generation goggles
Congress provided money for continued development of the U.S. Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System in legislation unveiled this month, but decided to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in procurement funds as kinks are worked out.
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, is a military version of Microsoft’s HoloLens, a mixed-reality headset. The Army awarded Microsoft a multibillion-dollar contract in March 2021.
Nearly $350m in IVAS procurement money has been frozen until initial testing and evaluation are completed and lawmakers are further briefed on the project, fiscal year 2022 budget documents show. Congress also expects an updated IVAS development plan from the Program Executive Office Soldier, an Army acquisition agency responsible for prototyping, procuring and fielding equipment like body armor and weaponry.
Asked about the cuts March 9, Doug Bush, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said: “We’re working through that.”
“We’ve got to work through ‘22 money they did provide. They transferred some funding to R&D, which we had asked for, and then how much procurement money is left,” Bush said. “So that’ll be a running conversation with them.”
The program is supposed to revolutionize how soldiers train, operate and consume information on the battlefield. The do-it-all goggles tout a suite of new offerings, including a futuristic heads-up display and smart crosshairs.
“It’s just not a better night vision goggle,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said March 9. “It’s going to give a much greater capability to our troops.”
But the venture is pockmarked by questions, concerns and other challenges: The Department of Defense’s inspector general in October 2021 announced an audit, hoping to determine if IVAS units meet “capability requirements and user needs”; Congress has been skeptical, and has cut funding before; and an operational test was pushed back.
The project, though, is far from dead.
“The Army did not halt or stop the IVAS program, and remains committed to getting the best equipment in the hands of our soldiers as quickly as possible,” officials said in a joint statement late last year, when testing was moved to May 2022. “The shift in the IVAS program will allow the Army and industry team to continue to enhance the IVAS technology platform, ensuring soldiers achieve overmatch in multi-domain operations.”
McConville said the “interesting thing about IVAS is just how fast it improves” and suggested how revolutionary the tech will be — once finalized.
“When I look at something like IVAS,” the general said, “I see so much potential in that.” (Source: Defense News)
21 Mar 22. US Navy to integrate autonomous threat detection system onto HII USV. The integration will showcase the use of Threat Tracker in the future fleet and accelerate delivery to warfighter. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) has agreed to integrate its autonomous threat detection system onto Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) uncrewed surface vehicle (USV). Called Threat Tracker, the autonomous threat detection system has been developed by a small team of scientists and engineers from NSWC PCD’s Coastal and Maritime Security branch. The multi-platform system uses video analytics and machine learning algorithms, along with radar and sensor technologies to detect and classify possible threats. The integration will be carried out as part of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between the two organisations. The partnership will support the US Navy’s distributed maritime operations by providing warfighting dominance in the littoral battlespace. Once the integration is complete, the 100% autonomous USV escort will be able to detect and intervene in various potential threats.
HII Unmanned Systems Business Group senior director of technology Brian McKeon said: “One of the reasons HII has invested in USV autonomous and artificial intelligence technology is to support the navy’s distributed maritime operations.
“We’re excited to collaborate with NSWC PCD to further enhance Threat Tracker by merging the capabilities of both organisations.”
Awarded earlier this year on 20 February, the CRADA agreement falls under the transfer of technology (ToT) programme.
Under this ToT agreement, the NSWC PCD will provide required resources to HII, excluding the monetary support. The resources include equipment, personnel, facilities and intellectual property.
A US Navy case number has already been assigned to the Threat Tracker, signifying that it is on track to earn a patent. However, the patent licence agreement is yet to be developed.
NSWC PCD technology transfer manager Paige George said: “Allowing private industry to license federal technologies is good stewardship of taxpayer money and increases development of commercial technologies, which supports the national defence and economy.
“The benefit to the partner is access to federal resources which could lead to future partnerships/projects/first-come-first-serve access to the technology portfolio, relationships, etc.
“The benefit to the government is agility because the time and cost it takes for the government to take a programme from start to finish in most cases is much more expensive and time-consuming than having a company come in and license a technology and manufacture on a large scale.”
18 Mar 22. HENSOLDT delivers 17 high-performance cameras to Scandinavia. Once again, sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT has been able to demonstrate its capabilities in the field of high performance and surveillance optronics. With 17 high-performance cameras of the type Z:NightOwl M, the company is supplying an easy-to-integrate system with extreme range to an unspecified country within Scandinavia. The size of the order is close to 10m euros. At the customer’s site, the cameras, which are equipped with a laser rangefinder, are used within the national border surveillance on land and at sea. In addition, all systems are equipped with the HENSOLDT operating software Z:ASSESS. This enables integration into an existing network. In combination with radar, daylight and thermal imaging cameras, Z:NightOwl M can provide the user with a complex situation picture in real time in a visually simple manner. With the help of artificial intelligence, Z:ASSESS is also able to hide visual restrictions such as fog, haze and mirages. For the customer, the software was customised according to his wishes.
In addition to the systems themselves, a comprehensive maintenance package is also an elementary part of the contract. In addition to training sessions for the users, this also includes several spare parts and maintenance programmes as well as hardware and software updates. Z:NightOwl M is capable of remote diagnosis. Based on customer feedback, all sensors and the associated service concept are constantly being improved. For example, the current generation of cameras from the Surveillance Optronics division is IP-based. This significantly reduces the integration effort in third-party or existing legacy systems.
Z:NightOwl M was specially developed for observation at extremely long distances. With a combination of a very large field of view for wide-area observation and detection and an extremely small field of view for identification, the highest requirements for uninterrupted surveillance of land and sea borders are met.
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.