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31 Mar 22. Trans-Atlantic team to develop technical concept for NATO’s Future Surveillance and Control capabilities. Airbus Defence and Space together with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and seven industrial players forming the ASPAARO (Atlantic Strategic Partnership for Advanced All-domain Resilient Operations) team have been selected by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) to conduct one of three Risk Reduction and Feasibility Studies (RRFS). The studies aim to suggest technical solutions for the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC).
In November 2021, Airbus with subcontractors Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems (UK), Exence (Poland), GMV (Spain), IBM (US), KONGSBERG (Norway), Lockheed Martin (US) and MDA (Canada) submitted a proposal to NSPA outlining how this transatlantic team would address the complexities of NATO’s future capability requirements.
The selection of the ASPAARO team as a study partner represents an important step toward providing NATO with unmatched tactical surveillance, command and control capabilities to overcome the challenges of the future and replace the current Airborne Warning and Control System fleet which will reach the end of its service life around 2035.
Over the next months the ASPAARO team will perform a thorough assessment of a fully distributed surveillance model; refine details; assess related feasibility, risks and costs; and provide a recommended technical solution with proven technologies, open standards and interfaces for the multi-domain capabilities AFSC shall provide.
“Airbus is committed to a long-lasting cooperation with NATO and its member nations on the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) programme. The current crisis situation is a reminder that vigilance as well as surveillance and control capabilities are of key importance to the defence of the Alliance. Airbus Defence and Space is leading the ASPAARO team which will be contributing to the Risk Reduction and Feasibility Studies. The focus is on a cross-domain fully distributed system to create the most reliable, resilient and capable solution for NATO’s future surveillance and control,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.
Northrop Grumman President of Aeronautics Systems Tom Jones stressed ASPAARO’s team commitment to NATO’s security mission. “The ASPAARO team brings together some of the world’s best engineers, scientists and system managers. The team is committed to offering optimum technical solutions to our NATO customer’s future surveillance and security needs.”
The outcome of the three studies will help NATO and individual allies make informed decisions on the final AFSC technical concept and acquisition of surveillance systems.
30 Mar 22. Cambridge Pixel launches SPx Tracker-3D. Tracking, Fusion & Distribution. SPx Tracker-3D is a software-based radar tracker for applications of 3D tracking and tracking from electronically scanned (non rotating) radars. The software receives plot detections from the radar sensor to create and maintain target tracks, which can then be output in ASTERIX format for external display or fusion processing.
- SPx Fusion Server
- SPx Server
- SPx Radar Simulator
- RDR Data Recorder
SPx Tracker-3D complements Cambridge Pixel’s SPx Server, which is focused on target tracking for conventional rotating radars.
The inputs to SPx Tracker-3D are plot detections. A plot detection is a measurement, typically characterised with a position, size and statistics derived from the radar. These plots may be generated directly from processing embedded in the radar, or may be provided by an external plot extractor (for example SPx Server) that converts radar video into plots. Plots may be input in SPx, ASTERIX or one of a number of proprietary formats. The modular construction of the software makes it easy to add new input formats as a custom extension.
The processing inside SPx Tracker-3D seeks to associate new plots with existing tracks, so that track positions can be updated using a Kalman filter. Where new plots cannot be associated with existing tracks they become candidates for new tracks. After a configurable integration period related to a build-up of confidence in a provisional track, a track may be promoted to a full track. This process needs to balance the desire for rapid acquisition of a track with the need to minimise false alarms.
Building on the techniques originally developed for SPx Server, the parameters that affect the behaviour of SPx Tracker-3D may have area-dependent values. Parameter areas can have minimum and maximum heights, allowing parameters to be set as height-dependent. This is an important tool in allowing the behaviour of the track processing to be adjusted in different areas, for example to cope with different conditions or different needs.
A browser-based user-interface provides the method of visualising plots, tracks, terrain and the associated configuration data. Track processing is sensitive to terrain, which is read from a database at startup to define the 3D space surrounding the sensor and permit the tracker to assess whether targets may be lost because of terrain. The user interface provides an intuitive display of terrain, plots and tracks, permitting the viewpoint to be moved in real-time to visualise the incoming radar detection and terrain.
Track reports are sent through a configurable network interface in ASTERIX CAT 48 or SPx formats. Other formats may be supported for specific versions of the software. An SDK is available to support remote control and receipt of track reports using C++, C# or Java-based client code.
30 Mar 22. FN Herstal Demos New C-UAS Solution. FN Herstal’ sdeFNder® Family of Remote Weapon Stations was recently tested for countering Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) during the NATO Non-Lethal Technology Exercise (NNTEX-C) scheduled from 4 to 24 March at the PISQ in Sardinia, Italy.
The exercise was dedicated to the evaluation of current technologies against Low, Slow and Small (LSS) targets. The different systems were evaluated based on several factors including efficiency, collateral damage and ergonomics.
For this purpose, FN Herstal developed a container-based perimeter defence solution incorporating a range of sensors (RF sensors and radars) with a combination of both soft and hard effectors. The overall system is operated by two operators protected inside the container.
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The sensors provide early detection and provide operators and commander with the localization of the detected targets on a 2D situational awareness map. This enhances the mission-critical decision-making process and allows a quick response and tasks allocation.
Regarding the effectors, the setup includes:
- Soft effector: As an escalation of force feature, the setup also includes a smart and scalable signal jammer that can be used as a first response against the UAV to disable the link between the drone and its operator before resorting to live-firing.
- Hard effector:
o One deFNder® Light Remote Weapon Station, which can be fitted with the FN MINIMI® 5.56 or 7.62 or FN MAG® 7.62mm calibre
o One deFNder® Medium, which can be fitted with the FN MAG® 7.62mm, .50 calibre weapons such as the FN® M2HB-QCB or FN® M3R, or a 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher with airburst capacity.
Once a target is detected, the operators have the capacity to select the threat to initiate the neutralization process.
The overall system provides advanced functionalities to assist the operator in threat detection and engagement, including:
- Target tracking based on multiple sensor feedback
- Collateral damage mitigation with ready-to-fire indicators
- Automatic detection through video stream (Day and InfraRed)
- Improved fire control for air targeting
Using FN Herstal’s deFNder® Net technology, the system offers full networking capability for information distribution and sharing from every sensor to any operator, to own and external C2 systems.
In conclusion, the FN Herstal perimeter defence system aims to give an increased situational awareness while providing a safe environment for the crew. (Source: ASD Network)
30 Mar 22. PAL Aerospace and Thales Sign Strategic Agreement to Co-Develop Next-Generation Mission System at DSA 2022. PAL Aerospace and Thales, on the occasion of the Defence Services Asia Exhibition & Conference, have signed a strategic agreement to co-develop the next generation of mission systems. As the result of this agreement, the next generation of mission system software will be backed by the decades of special mission excellence required to support the future of multi-mission maritime patrol solutions.
“After many years of successful collaboration with Thales, our team is thrilled to enter this strategic agreement. Together, we are ready to co-develop the next generation of mission system that will innovate how multi-mission MPA’s save lives, defend territorial waters, and build maritime domain awareness,” said Keith Stoodley, Chief Executive Officer at PAL Aerospace LLC. “For over 35 years, PAL Aerospace has stayed at the forefront of innovation for designing, modifying, integrating, and operating MPAs in an incredibly diverse array of environments from Canada’s north to the desert coastlines of Gulf Cooperation Council countries. I am thrilled to carry the momentum of those operations into this co-development with Thales.”
The agreement between PAL Aerospace and Thales leverages decades of diverse special mission solutions to co-develop mission-ready capabilities. Targeted capabilities include machine learning, computer vision, optionally/remotely piloted aircraft systems support, underwater warfare defence and integration of space-based data into a complete mission lifecycle for dissemination in a common operating picture. The development of these capabilities will be based cooperatively at PAL Aerospace and Thales facilities, supporting industry, economic growth, and high-skilled jobs in Canada, UAE, and France.
Hervé Hamy, Vice President, intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance activities, Thales said, “Thales is proud to announce this enhanced cooperation step with our long-time trusted partner PAL Aerospace. We will develop together the next generation of mission system to propose a cost-effective product based on our mutual field-proven experience in airborne maritime surveillance & patrol solutions. PAL Aerospace and Thales customers will rely on their respective operational and technical expertise and will increase their mission efficiency, thanks to continuous innovation.”
About PAL Aerospace
A proud member of the Exchange Income Corporation family of companies, PAL Aerospace is a Canadian-owned and operated global aerospace and defence company. With a focus on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, in-service support solutions, aircraft engineering and modification and crew resource management training. PAL Aerospace is internationally recognized by governments, militaries, and industry for on time/on budget delivery and high reliability rates. PAL Aerospace offers a single point of accountability for its programs and takes pride in being the trusted choice for clients worldwide. To learn more, visit us online: www.palaerospace.com (Source: PR Newswire)
30 Mar 22. NATO trials C-UAS solutions. NATO has completed its Non-Lethal Technology Exercise (NNTEX-22C) at the PISQ military base in Sardinia, the Belgian Ministry of Defence announced on 28 March. The exercise, held during 14–24 March, tested the neutralisation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) using non-kinetic counter-UAS (C-UAS) capabilities, the announcement stated. Belgium – the host nation – collaborated with Italian, UK and US partners. Remote-control weapons, a hacking system, a high energy laser, and a net-gun and a net-drone were trialled during the exercise, the announcement added. According to the statement, the results from the exercise were mixed, with certain systems successfully able to neutralise UAS threats, while others remain unscathed. Arnout de Jong, CEO of Delft Dynamics, informed Janes that they had demonstrated their DroneCatcher system during the NNTEX-22C exercise. The platform is a multi-copter UAS armed with a net-gun, which is capable of safely capturing and removing a drone. (Source: Janes)
29 Mar 22. Teledyne FLIR Defense Launches New Lightweight Vehicle Surveillance System with Advanced Counter-Drone Capabilities.
Next-generation Air Domain Awareness confirms clear airspace and boosts counter-drone operations beyond line of sight.
Teledyne FLIR Defense, part of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:TDY), today announced the launch of a new Lightweight Vehicle Surveillance System (LVSS) with revolutionary air domain awareness (ADA) and advanced counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capabilities. The LVSS ADA C-UAS is an enhanced addition to Teledyne FLIR’s field-proven LVSS platform that features reliable, rapidly deployable, cutting-edge technology to detect and mitigate the growing threat of small drones.
The new system leverages a powerful combination of 3D radar, EO/IR camera, and RF detection and mitigation sensors to provide early warning alerts and recognition. Threats are detected and displayed simultaneously, showing position and elevation for all radar tracks.
LVSS ADA C-UAS also can detect drone swarms by allowing operators to monitor up to 500 radar targets simultaneously. A multi-spectral imager captures key UAS elements that help identify high risk targets for a pinpointed response.
“Protecting vast borders, shorelines, and forward-operating bases is a job that’s been made even more difficult with the challenges posed by drones,” said Dr. JihFen Lei, executive vice president and general manager of Teledyne FLIR Defense. “The LVSS C-UAS combines sophisticated counter-drone technologies and counter-measures to make it the most effective mobile surveillance system available to combat these dangers.
“Our customers trust us for solutions like the new LVSS that adapt to fast changing threat environments and offer more of the capabilities they need for mission success,” Lei added.
Other major features of the LVSS ADA C-UAS include:
- Rapidly relocatable perimeter protection from the system’s ability to quickly deploy, stow and redeploy the sensor suite
- Advanced, high performing video analytics that allow operators to precisely identify, track and engage threats
- On-the-move C-UAS counter-measures with full non-kinetic kill chain capability; operators can obtain threat assessments while the system is static or while driving the vehicle
- New Cameleon™ V5 command and control software integrates all onboard sensors and supports advanced device features and bi-directional communications
- Increased cyber security tools to resist hackers.
Learn more about Teledyne FLIR’s new LVSS ADA C-UAS platform on our website, and read our recent whitepaper, The Big Problem with Small Drones. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
29 Mar 22. Indian Navy commissions new LRMR air squadron INAS 316. The air squadron will detect, deter, and destroy threats in the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Navy has commissioned INAS 316, the second long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) air squadron. The commissioning took place in the presence of chief of naval staff (CNS) admiral R Hari Kumar at INS Hansa in Goa. The INAS 316 will operate the second batch of four P-8I maritime patrol aircraft fleet. The four P-8I aircraft will be deployed to detect, deter, and destroy threats in the Indian Ocean region (IOR). The Indian Navy has nicknamed INAS 316 after the largest flying land bird ‘The Condors’.
An Indian Navy spokesperson tweeted: “Will operate the second batch of four P8I aircraft, adding teeth to the armour of the Indian Navy, to Deter, Detect and Destroy any threat to the nation in the IOR.”
“Operating from INSHansa since 30 Dec 2021, the squadron has been specifically commissioned to be home for the four new P-8I aircraft & to ‘Deter, Detect & Destroy’ any threat in IOR. Commanded by Cdr Amit Mohapatra the squadron is integrated with full-spectrum surface and subsurface naval ops [opportunities].”
CNS Hari Kumar said: “Commissioning of INAS316, marks yet another important step towards enhancing our combat capability. In today’s dynamic and complex security situation, the Squadron’s ops capabilities will significantly enhance our ability to protect, preserve and promote India’s maritime interests.”
Boeing delivered the 12th and the last of four additional P-8I aircraft to the Indian Navy on 19 February this year.
Being a multi-mission aircraft, the P-8I can carry out a wide range of operations, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
The P-8I aircraft replaced the Indian Navy’s ageing fleet of Tupolev Tu-142 aircraft. (Source: naval-technology.com)
29 Mar 22. ECS and TCI exhibits counter-UAS and data link portfolio at DSA 2022. Blacktalon incorporates SIGINT, radar and radio frequency technologies to identify and counter UAS systems. Radio frequency and spectrum monitoring technology companies Enterprise Control Systems (ECS) and TCI exhibit their Blacktalon counter-drone system at this year’s Defence Service Asia Exhibition & Conference (DSA).
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The companies are part of SPX Corporation and under the partnership, they produced a series of counter-UAS solutions. Blacktalon is designed to provide radio frequency (RF) drone detection, location, and defeat capabilities, to security agencies and defence organisations.
The solution incorporates radar and RF sensors for UAS detection, identification, location and tracking. It is also equipped with an electro-optical sensor for drone verification and video tracking, and a multi-channel RF inhibitor for drone defeat.
ESC business development director for RF data links Jackson White says: “The two organisations [ECS and TIC] are specialists in the RF domain, both working within the commercial and the military sector across all tiers.
“We bring together the RF detect of TCI, and the location and geolocation and all those capabilities, but also the defeat capabilities which we design and develop within enterprise control system.”
There are various versions of Blacktalon and White says it is best to think of it as an architecture.
“We start with our signal-intelligence (SIGINT) receivers, which, with our drone detect software can detect UAS within the RF spectrum as a simple solution,” he explains. “Then we can add our counter-UAS RF defeat solution, and then we deliver a very basic Blacktalon 1 RF detect and defeat solution for drones.”
Improved and upgraded versions of Blacktalon, based on customer requirements, can have additional detection capabilities with radar, RF detection layers and electro-optics for identification purposes. The identification process is essential.
Since the elimination of UAS is being done by RF, the same frequency certain communication and navigation devices use, identification is key to be able to only terminate the target device.
Blacktalon uses a software-defined RF to create very precise waveforms to counter the data link on a UAS. Frequencies generated are also spectrally clean, meaning no sidebands are created with the target waveforms.
Finally, RF generated by the Blacktalon is directional and does not emit waves at 360 degrees, but instead only in a particular direction.
White says: “These allow us to point the RF specifically in the correct direction and elevation of the UAS, it allows us to operate on a clean spectrum while allowing others to communicate in the facility as well.”
The solution’s capability is delivered through a system called technology readiness level 9 (TRL9) consisting of nine different steps, the last one being ‘operationally proven’.
“That is one of the benefits we have with the Blacktalon. SPX components have been deployed in operational theatres for a number of years now,” says White. “The third-party components that we bring in, we always make sure that they’re operationally proven and have been deployed. So, we’re not putting new experimental technology into the architecture,” he concludes. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Mar 22. Pentagon budget 2023: Army banking on IVAS, cuts night vision programmes. US Army leadership does not want to buy additional Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B) in 2023 but does plan to acquire Microsoft’s militarised HoloLens 2 augmented reality (AR) system if technical problems have been fixed, service officials told reporters on 29 March. The army’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request includes USD424m to buy ‘night vision devices’ next year and the entire pot of money is earmarked to purchase “just over” 7,000 Integrated Visual Augmentation Systems (IVASs), according to Brigadier General Michael McCurry, the director of force development. However, this IVAS procurement plan is significantly less than the USD854m army leadership requested to spend on buying the heads-up display in 2022. This 2022 request was made before the service postponed fielding the devices due to software and hardware problems. Lawmakers, in turn, cut USD394m from the IVAS procurement coffer. (Source: Janes)
30 Mar 22. Sensor solutions specialist HENSOLDT has achieved a major technology development milestone which enhances substantially the detection capabilities of Ground-based Air Defence (GBAD) systems. The company implemented and tested successfully a software enhancement with its proven MSSR 2000 ID secondary radar that allows for precise tracking of aircraft in addition to the conventional surveillance mode of Identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) systems. A so-called “stop & stare mode” allows GBAD systems to process identification tracks in specific sectors in near-realtime and very precisely.
The new feature uses electronic beam steering and automatized antenna control in order enable the user to progress from the rather ordinary surveillance operation to a very focused lock-on and track mode. Thereby, distinction between friendly and hostile forces is substantially accelerated and thus the protection of forces on the ground considerably improved.
IFF systems precisely identify aircraft by automatically sending interrogation signals which are answered by transponders on-board friendly aircraft. Thus, IFF enables field commanders to distinguish friendly from hostile forces and helps avoiding friendly fire incidents. The most recent “Mode 5” IFF systems like MSSR 2000 ID employ sophisticated encryption techniques to avoid hostile signal manipulation, thus ensuring that the identification process is absolutely reliable and secure.
HENSOLDT is an expert in Mode 5 IFF. It is under contract to upgrade German, French and UK armed forces’ IFF systems to the “Mode 5” standard and has delivered IFF systems – including crypto devices – for ground and naval applications of several NATO and partner nations. Among others, the company’s equipment is deployed on all German Navy ships as well as several UK Royal Navy and Royal Norwegian Navy ships. In total, HENSOLDT has more than 600 IFF systems under contract in 42 nations.
30 Mar 22. Thales selected by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann to deliver 4 Panoramic Above Armour Gimbal (PAAG) to the German Armed Forces.
- Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Thales will supply the German Armed Forces with Panoramic Above Armour Gimbal (PAAG) as part of the Joint Fire Support Team (JFST) contract.
- Four prototypes will be manufactured in 2023 to equip the BOXER armoured vehicle with a follow-on production contract anticipated in 2025.
- Thales has established itself as a trusted partner in vehicle optronic solutions for all mission types with more than 50 national land forces being currently equipped throughout the world.
Thales has signed a contract with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann for the delivery of 4 PAAG to the German Armed Forces to equip the BOXER armoured vehicle.
The Stabilized Panoramic Above Armour Gimbal (PAAG), built in Thales premises in Glasgow, UK, is an electronic surveillance system that is remotely controlled from inside the BOXER and gives users a stabilized long-range ‘Detection, Recognition, Identification’ (DRI) and weapon aiming ability on the move during daylight and night conditions.
The system with thermal imaging device and high-resolution daylight color camera enables targets to be identified in the range of up to four kilometres, depending on their size. In continuous operation, the entire hemisphere around the vehicle can be covered. A laser rangefinder offers measuring distances of up to ten kilometres. It can also be raised above the vehicle roof to allow the monitoring of targets from behind a ridgeline without putting the user in a direct line of sight, which greatly reduces operational risk.
An Automatic Video Tracking (AVT) and Assisted Target Detection (ATD) is also included in the JFST PAAG system. Combined with an artillery command and control system PAAG will contribute significantly to the capability being fielded.
The BOXER Programme, managed by the European armament’s agency OCCAr, provides the German, Netherland, Lithuanian and the United Kingdom Armies, with a new generation of all terrain armoured utility vehicles on the basis of balanced capabilities of transport capacity, mobility, protection, survivability, growth potential and efficient life cycle costs.
The JFST programme in Germany will see the delivery of two prototype JFST-heavy vehicles based on the BOXER 8×8 Armoured Vehicle coupled with a new JFST Mission Module integrating Thales PAAG.
The BOXER is an 8×8 all-terrain heavily armoured utility vehicle with a unique modular concept of a common drive module and an exchangeable mission module, making it a flexible military vehicle, thus ensuring maximum strategic and tactical mobility in a wide range of operational scenarios.
“We are delighted that the German Armed Forces and our long-standing partner Krauss-Maffei Wegmann have chosen most advanced optronics from Thales for its BOXER JFST. This means that the German Armed Forces are now one of the 50 armies worldwide that rely on our trusted solutions for their vehicle optronic.”Oliver Dörre, CEO and Country Director Thales in Germany.
29 Mar 22. Half of Tinker’s E-3 airborne surveillance jets would be cut under Air Force budget proposal. Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma could soon bid farewell to its E-3 Sentry airborne target tracking jets that have been a fixture there for 45 years. Under the Air Force’s fiscal 2023 budget request, released Monday, the Airborne Warning and Control System would phase out over the next few years to make way for Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail as its likely replacement. The E-3 AWACS is a modified 1970s-era airliner that uses a distinctive rotating radar dome to track air war movements up to 250 miles away and to direct planes in combat, such as telling fighter jets to intercept a hostile target. They have been active over Europe to monitor the region’s airspace during Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Fifteen of Tinker’s planes would head into retirement in 2023, about half of the overall fleet at the 552nd Air Control Wing, the Air Force said. The United States owns 31 E-3s, split between 27 tails at Tinker and four that operate out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Kadena Air Base in Japan. NATO, the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia and Japan operate the Sentry as well. The remaining U.S. airframes will stay for “several years” until something better comes along, Maj. Gen. James Peccia, the Air Force’s deputy assistant budget secretary, told reporters March 25. Officials worry that the legacy fixed-wing command-and-control and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms are too costly to maintain and would be vulnerable against modern and future surface-to-air missiles. The Air Force acknowledges that ditching more than a dozen E-3s will leave a gap in its ability to monitor the skies, but argues it doesn’t pose an insurmountable problem. The proposal follows years of debate over what may come next in airspace surveillance technology. The Wedgetail or another aircraft that succeeds the E-3 could bridge the gap between the former jet and the future Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) concept, which would connect sensors across various Air Force platforms to form a picture of the battlespace around them.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters March 25 the service would make its decision on a replacement “within the next several months.”
“The leading candidate, quite obviously, is the E-7, but we want to do our due diligence before we make a final decision,” he said.
Airmen at Tinker spoke to Air Force Times in July 2021 about low morale that has long plagued their AWACS units and is exacerbated by the stressors of an old, sometimes unpredictable aircraft. When asked what could be done to improve the culture there, multiple people said getting rid of the E-3 would be ideal.
The Sentries are frequently down for maintenance as they approach 50 years old, and airmen say the jets are prone to breaking in ways they haven’t seen before.
That issue was at the forefront of a disagreement between a now-fired operations group commander and his airmen over whether they should be required to train on short notice and atypical sleep.
“They are being presented with difficult risk management decisions regularly because of the older airframe,” said one officer in the community who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. “It is likely a lot less cut-and-dry on risk management than some communities, where they’re working with a platform that is more reliable for them.” (Source: Defense News)
21 Mar 22. Cerbair launches two smart counter measures designed to combat drones. French counter drone company Cerbair has launched two smart products designed to neutralise rogue drones based on electromagnetic (EM) jamming. MEDUSA is a smart counter measure that delivers a proportionate response to a drone attack, whether it is an isolated UAV or a swarm, says the company. It can be used in conjunction with Cerbair’s HYDRA detection unput that allows the counter measure to reduce its collateral interferences. The jammers are configured in 15W (MEDUSA 100) and 50W (MEDUSA 200) with spectrum extension available by adding low frequency ranges on which several rarer drones can operate. MEDUSA 100 and MEDUSA 200 offer an omnidirectional neutralisation solution that triggers the emergency procedure of rogue drones, often leading to their immediate landing. The equipment can be supplied with a wheeled transport case, a tripod and antenna mounting. The range is 2.4 and 5.8GHZ and L1 band; 433, 868, and 915 MHz, and L2 optional. For more information visit: www.cerbair.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
23 Mar 22. Hidden Level exhibits drone detection capabilities at ISC West exhibition in Las Vegas. Airspace monitoring company Hidden Level will be displaying their Airspace Monitoring Service (AMS) at the ISC West 2022 exhibition in Las Vegas 23-25 March. AMS is used by law enforcement agencies in Arlington, Texas to identify unauthorized drones during football games played at AT&T Stadium and other locations and applications around the country. The Hidden Level team will be showing:
- Arlington TX: Working with city officials as part of its Smart City initiative, Hidden Level’s AMS tracked the low-altitude airspace around Arlington Texas at the stadium for the three hours before kickoff through the game’s conclusion. Over the course of all nine of the Dallas Cowboy’s home games including the playoffs, AMS tracked 48 drone events with 22 unsafe flights, averaging more than two unsafe drone flights per game. A “tracked drone event” is defined as a geolocated drone/operator by Hidden Level’s (AMS). A drone flight is considered unsafe if it flies over pedestrians, stadium operations, or inside of a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR).
- NASA Ames: Mountain View, CA-based NASA Ames Research Center continues to work with Hidden Level, as a subcontractor to Science and Technology Corporation, on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) and Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) applications of the Airspace Monitoring Service (AMS) data feed. In November, Hidden Level installed a network of its sensors to bring a live instance of its AMS to Moffett Federal Airfield.
- Joby Aviation: Hidden Level has also been working together with Joby Aviation to advance the safety of urban air mobility operations in the U.S. national airspace system. Through this partnership, Hidden Level and Joby have agreed to share expertise in designing and deploying scalable airspace operations based on data generated from Hidden Level’s custom-built sensors, which are strategically installed in dense urban environments.
- New York State Fair: Hidden Level used a network of its sensors in Syracuse to provide complete coverage of the surrounding NYS Fairgrounds airspace. The data collected was fed directly into the fair’s existing security operations, enabling enhanced monitoring capabilities for the duration of the fair.
Securing the low-altitude airspace means safer communities and more opportunities for companies and organizations to enhance their security operations, says Hidden Level.
The company’s AMS is designed to provide an affordable solution for corporate security and law enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, public venues and events, smart cities, and commercial drone traffic management.
“The future of safe low altitude airspace applications will depend on the maturation of new infrastructure and services like our Airspace Monitoring Service”, said James Licata, Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships at Hidden Level.
(Image: Example of an unsafe drone flight detected by hidden level’s AMS during an event at AT&T stadium)
For more information visit: www.hiddenlevel.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
28 Mar 22. DroneShield Limited (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) has reached compliance with UK Ministry of Defence (UK MOD) SAPIENT format. SAPIENT is a common operating format for defence devices (with similar principles to the US Department of Defense ATAK system), originally developed by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). It was since adopted as the standard counter drone communication system in the UK.
SAPIENT offers a standard approach for AI and autonomy in networked multi-sensor systems in security and defence, and is being evaluated as a potential NATO standard for counter-drone systems.
25 Mar 22. GAO Report on Counter-Drone Technologies. The Government Accountability Office science and just issued its report on Counter Drone Technologies.
Uncrewed aircraft systems, also known as “drones,” are used to take photos, deliver packages, monitor crops, and more. However, drones can pose significant safety and security risks—for example, if they enter airspace near airports or if they’re used for illegal activities such as drug smuggling. To reduce these risks, counter-drone technology can detect unauthorized or unsafe drones and, when needed, jam, capture, or disable them.
We examined how the counter-drone systems work, the maturity of these technologies, and some of the opportunities, challenges, and policy questions posed by the use of these systems.
Why This Matters
Uncrewed aircraft systems, or “drones,” can pose safety and security risks to critical U.S. sites and may be used for smuggling or other criminal activity. With over 2 million drones projected in the U.S. by 2024, these risks are likely to grow. Detection and mitigation technologies could counter these risks, but may face challenges around effectiveness and unintended impacts.
What is it? Uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), or “drones,” have a variety of uses, such as photography, delivering packages, and monitoring crops. However, UAS can also pose significant safety and security risks if they enter airspace around critical U.S. sites without authorization or if used for illegal activities. To reduce these risks, counter-UAS technology can detect such unauthorized or unsafe UAS and, when needed, jam, capture, or disable them.
Several UAS incidents have been reported in the U.S. For example, in January 2019, Newark Liberty International Airport halted all landings and diverted planes for over an hour after a potential UAS sighting nearby. Furthermore, smugglers have used UAS to deliver illegal drugs into the country (see fig. 1- top image – Some of the risks posed by uncrewed aircraft systems.)
Reported incidents like these may increase as the use of UAS increases. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has forecast that by 2024, the commercial UAS fleet will reach around 828,000, and the recreational fleet will number around 1.48 million.
Domestically, counter-UAS activities may be restricted or prohibited by existing federal laws such as the Aircraft Sabotage Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. However, four federal agencies—the Departments of Defense, Energy, Justice, and Homeland Security—have been authorized to deploy counter-UAS technologies under certain circumstances, such as to protect sensitive government facilities, including domestic military bases and prisons, or to provide security during sports championships.
How does it work? Counter-UAS technologies generally fall into two categories: detection and mitigation. Detection technologies include infrared devices to track heat signatures, radio frequency systems to scan for control signals, and acoustic methods to recognize the unique sounds produced by UAS motors. According to a 2019 Bard College report, radio frequency and radar systems are the most common detection technologies (see fig. 2).
Mitigation technologies can repel or intercept an unauthorized UAS. For example, interference signals can jam or break the communications connection between the UAS and its operator, which can trigger the UAS to land or return to its operator. According to the Bard College report, jamming is the most common mitigation technology. Other mitigation technologies can use a net or kinetic force (such as lasers or projectiles) to disable or destroy the UAS. However, kinetic methods can be problematic because a falling or exploding UAS may cause unintended damage.
How mature is it? Although the Department of Defense has used counter-UAS technology abroad since at least 2014, domestic use has been limited. Over the last 4 years, the authorized agencies have deployed some counter-UAS technologies domestically. However, some of these technologies have limited ability to detect and track small UAS (less than 55 pounds). Furthermore, few can successfully jam or disable a UAS, and many of those that can are only effective at around 1,000 feet or less.
To counter UAS risks, the FAA (which has been authorized to conduct limited testing activities) and the authorized agencies are continuing to test, evaluate, and develop integrated counter-UAS platforms. These platforms’ capabilities are designed to address specific risk environments. For example, a powerful long-range signal jammer may be effective at mitigating UAS in rural locations, like near some domestic military bases, but this same technology could also disrupt legitimate and vital communications if used in a city or near an airport.
UAS technology continues to advance and become more accessible to the public. For example, UAS have become smaller and more maneuverable, making detection and mitigation more challenging. To stay effective, counter-UAS technology will need to adapt to such changes.
- Enhanced security. UAS have interfered with military and commercial aircraft operations, entered airspace over large sporting events, illegally accessed wireless networks, and been sighted over sensitive national security facilities. Counter-UAS technologies could address such threats to critical sites and assets.
- Better situational awareness. Counter-UAS platforms could allow tracking of UAS activity near critical sites and allow data analysis over time or locations to better understand the threat.
- Effectiveness. Electromagnetic interference (e.g., power lines and LEDs) and small airborne objects (e.g., birds) can decrease detection capabilities or generate false detections. Mitigation systems may have a limited effective range or have difficulty against UAS that are quick or move in unpredictable patterns.
- Unintended effects. Counter-UAS platforms may pose safety hazards by interfering with nearby communications, such as devices that use navigation systems. For kinetic mitigation, errant projectiles or falling UAS could damage property or injure people on the ground.
- Limited number of authorized agencies. As of March 2022, only four federal agencies are authorized to conduct counter-UAS operations under certain circumstances, and no state or local agencies (or individuals) have such specific federal authorization. According to the Bard College report, local agencies generally rely on a small number of federal counter-UAS units to respond to and protect against UAS threats in their area.
- Privacy concerns. Counter-UAS detection methods could collect personally identifiable information, such as information about the operators or camera images of bystanders.
Policy Context & Questions
With increased use of UAS and, along with it, increased demand for counter-UAS technologies, key questions for policymakers include:
- What research and development might lead to innovative counter-UAS solutions that can more effectively address UAS safety and security risks while minimizing unintended effects on airspace or the public?
- What are the potential trade-offs if policymakers consider authorizing the use of counter-UAS by others, including state and local law enforcement agencies, and expanding the use of these technologies?
- If policymakers consider expanding authorization, what is the appropriate level of jurisdictional coordination and regulatory oversight for the use of these technologies among federal agencies and others?
The Full 2-Page Report can be accessed here.
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