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17 Jul 19. South Korean Researchers Detect Small Drones at 3Km. South Korean researchers have developed a detection system capable of identifying small drones more than three kilometers away that can be used to monitor and stop spy drones or unmanned operations targeting high-risk facilities such as nuclear power plants. The Collaborative Robots Research Center at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) teamed up with a team led by Youngwook Kim of California State University, Fresno, to develop the new system, the Ministry of Science and ICT said in a statement on Tuesday. DGIST’s system is superior enough to match technology developed by RADA, an Israeli company specializing in defense electronics, as it can detect small drones such as Phantom produced by China’s DJI more than three kilometers away, the ministry said, adding commercialization would be possible at the end of 2019 or early 2020.
DGIST researchers led by Oh Dae-gun have successfully detected a drone, which is 55 centimeters wide and 40 centimeters high from a test spot more than three kilometers away, the ministry said.
“We will make further efforts to improve the status of domestic radar technology by changing the landscape of the market,”
Oh was quoted as saying. His team vowed to develop a better system than’s Israel’s within a year that could be applied to airports and key facilities around the world.
The ministry said the new system would greatly contribute to the development of related industries and the reinforcement of defense capabilities.
The South’s defense ministry purchased detecting equipment from foreign companies after several North Korean spy drones crashed south of the border in 2014. North Korean drones were nowhere near as sophisticated as they were used mainly for short-range missions to take pictures, but concerns grew that they could be weaponized for future attacks.
Last year, South Korea’s military formed a drone unit that can carry out various missions from reconnaissance and suicidal exposition to bombing. However, drone-detecting systems were from abroad.
The science ministry said the algorithm for tracking and identifying drones was developed jointly with a team led by Kim. Oh’s team has applied AESA (active electrically scanned array) radar technology to improve the maximum detection distance and ultra-high-resolution radar signal processing technology to accurately locate drones.
AESA radar modules have individual semiconductor amplifiers and phase displacement systems to control the transmission and reception of radio waves individually.
Radar cognitive technology based on artificial intelligence generally increases the recognition rate as more data is learned, but it’s not easy to secure large-scale data for learning. Researchers will enhance the system’s identification performance with radar recognition technology based on generative adversarial networks (GNAs), a deep-learning AI algorithm that can create similar data by learning on its own even if the amount of data is small. (Source: UAS VISION/Aju Business Daily)
17 Jul 19. China-made surveillance cameras continue to watch over US military bases Hikvision equipment still being used just weeks ahead of a federal ban. Cameras made by Hikvision remain in place at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. China-made surveillance cameras are still watching over US military bases, just weeks before a federal ban on such equipment comes into force, according to a review of defence contracts. Cameras made by Hikvision, which is 42 per cent owned by the Chinese government, remain in place at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, the home of North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) and the headquarters of Air Force Space Command. The Peterson base spent $112,000 on Hikvision cameras in 2016 and a spokesperson said these were “not associated with base security or classified areas” and were not connected to the internet or air force networks. The base added that it now had a plan to “evaluate these systems and replace them”. Meanwhile, a US Navy research base in Orlando, Florida, bought $4,000 of Hikvision cameras even after the passage last year of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which bans federal agencies from buying cameras and telecommunications equipment from Hikvision and two other Chinese suppliers, Dahua and Hytera, from this August. Officials said the contract was unrelated to base security and that the cameras, which were being used as part of a training system, were not connected to the internet.
Police departments in states including Massachusetts, Colorado and Tennessee are also still relying on Hikvision cameras. The Memphis Police Department alone has deployed at least 1,500. State Department buys Hytera radios Meanwhile, the US state department bought more than $20,000 worth of replacement Hytera radio parts for the US embassy in Guatemala, again after the NDAA was passed — as part of its work with the Policía Nacional Civil. Future restrictions would be reviewed as they come into effect, said a state department official. In 2017, an army memo said Hytera radios were being used for special forces training since the brand was “extensively used by Islamic State”. Concerns about the safety of China-made technology has escalated during the past 18 months, as relations between the US and China have worsened. The NDAA will also bar federal agencies from buying from China’s Huawei, which supplies chips to US surveillance camera makers, and will extend to include how federal loans and grants are spent from July 2020. Hikvision said it was “disappointed” with the legislation, which was “quickly drafted without sufficient evidence, review or investigation”. Officials reluctant to disclose cameras In the years leading up to the ban, Hikvision cameras were purchased by several arms of the military, although officials were reluctant to disclose whether they remained in use. The Fort Drum army base, which acquired $30,000 worth of Hikvision cameras in June 2018, declined to comment. A tender for security cameras by Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune last January noted that only Hikvision equipment would “work in network with other cameras”.
The base declined to say whether the network still relied on the China-made cameras. Since 2015, the Defense Logistics Agency has spent almost $180,000 on Hikvision cameras, for US forces in Korea and a naval base in Florida. The DLA said it “plans to inform the military customers who ordered the material that they should review the applicable section of the NDAA and determine whether or not it is appropriate for them to continue to use the equipment”. Authorities in Korea and Florida were unable to confirm whether the cameras remained in use. Price is bottom line Hikvision’s rapid expansion into the US surveillance market began in the 2010s, when it started selling cheap alternatives to devices made by brands such as Axis and Bosch. By 2016 it had become the second-largest supplier of video surveillance products in the Americas, with 8.5 per cent of the surveillance camera market, up from nothing at the turn of the century, second only to Axis’s 11 per cent, according to IHS Markit. Low prices attracted small businesses and local law enforcement, in particular. Former Memphis PD surveillance manager Joseph Patty, who now runs a security consulting business, said the brand became so popular because price was often the “bottom-line factor”. But cyber security experts say all internet-connected devices, including cameras, can pose a threat to the networks they are connected to if they have security vulnerabilities. They could be used by rogue actors as back doors to sensitive networks: once in, they could steal information or shut down entire systems.
Even those with security features are not immune from being breached. “Any device creates an attack surface — a way into anything it’s connected to,” said Steven Humphreys, chief executive of security company Identiv. For example, a local police department’s network might be connected to larger organisations: “all you need is one [way in] . . . that is why the American government is worrying”. Pressure to switch to alternatives This year, US lawmakers have been increasingly vocal in warning that certain China-made technologies could be weaponised and used by Beijing for hacking. In January 2018, the US army removed Hikvision cameras from Fort Leonard Wood, a base in Missouri, amid cyber security fears, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hikvision has also been strongly rebuked for selling surveillance tools to authorities in Xinjiang, where Beijing is accused of human rights abuses. Many authorities are now under pressure to switch to alternative systems. One security company said that more than a dozen federal agencies had approached it for advice, about half a dozen of which were working to replace the cameras. Hospitals, local government and sensitive businesses, such as banks and critical infrastructure companies, had sought similar help, the company said. In 2018, Hikvision’s US sales fell for the first time. Its share price has slumped 20 per cent since the NDAA was announced. Some are unconvinced that the Chinese government would want to access their camera footage. But this is a misunderstanding, said a spokesperson for security company Genetec: “They don’t care what it’s pointed at, but that there’s a central processing unit attached to your network.” White-label cameras often made by Hikvision Muddying the water, and making it difficult to track the spread of Hikvision cameras, many US brands have “white-label” agreements with the company, under which they buy Hikvision’s hardware, repackage it and sell it under their own names.
This was a “real concern” for government security managers, said John Honovich, founder of video surveillance research site IPVM, some of whom are unsure of the provenance of their cameras. The NDAA does not explicitly ban the purchase of these products. But the software on devices made by Hikvision can be altered by the Chinese company, which sends updates to resellers, such as United Technologies-owned Interlogix. Major Hikvision resellers, including United Technologies and TRENDnet,declined to comment. Panasonic-owned Advidia, which also sells Hikvision-made hardware, said it was monitoring the situation but did “not anticipate any changes at this point in time”. Similarly, many US camera manufacturers use chips made by Huawei’s HiSilicon. They were “fairly pervasive” in “nominally American” brands, said Identiv’s Mr Humphreys. Hikvision equipment is generally sold through third-party distributors. Buyers often “blindly trust” that devices have working security features, said Cesar Cerrudo, fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology and chief technology officer at security company IOActive. Smaller agencies are not always aware of the risks and do not always have the cash to replace systems, although comparably cheap alternatives to Hikvision have begun to emerge. “This is a broad problem . . . about how we as consumers and organisations use and trust technology,” said Mr Cerrudo. If you don’t test it, “the reality is you don’t really know if it has back doors.” (Source: FT.com)
17 Jul 19. Pentagon redirects $282m to close ISR gaps. The Department of Defense redirected more than $282m to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs in the past two months, largely from a defense-wide operation and maintenance account.
The most recently approved reprogramming of $247m was dated June 21. According to the Pentagon, the action aims to close ISR gaps in the combatant commands. The transfers go to a variety of programs, including artificial intelligence development and developing a bilateral network to share ISR data with strategic partners.
In addition to the $247m from operation and maintenance accounts, the June 21 reprogramming action also transfers $22.5m to Special Operations Command. That money was made available after ending a program for a signals intelligence sensor effort that originally appeared in the fiscal year 2018 budget. About $13m of that funding will now provide signals intelligence sensors for use on contractor airborne ISR systems, while another $6.5m will go toward modernizing an undisclosed maritime ISR system. The remaining funding will go to acquiring and deploying six new sensitive compartmented information facilities.
The June 21 reprogramming action follows a $12.25m reprogramming action May 20. Then, about $7.9m of that funding went to classified programs, while the remaining $4.3m went to upgrading AI and machine learning processors in support of pattern of life analysis.
Of the more than quarter of a billion dollars in transferred funding, the Army received $31m, the Navy received $28.6m, the Air Force received $77.6m, and the remaining $144.8m will be spent on defense-wide programs.
Meanwhile, the Air Force has announced July 15 that Col. Julian Cheater will be the service’s new director of ISR operations. Cheater will work under the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, a position created recently as part of the Air Force’s reorganization of it’s ISR and cyber efforts. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
17 Jul 19. Indra reveals strategy to neutralise next-generation drone threats. Spanish firm Indra has unveiled its strategy for the development of its anti-drone system to safeguard critical infrastructure from the threat of next-generation unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The company noted that its technology will ensure the protection of critical infrastructures, airports, official buildings and public events by countering drones.
The focus is on building the right capabilities to tackle the threat posed by the ever-evolving UAS aircraft. Indra’s anti-drone system is designed to be integrated with airports’ conventional air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned (UTM) systems, as well as air defence military systems. The company intends to bolster its Anti-RPAS Multisensor System (ARMS) to maintain its position in this market.
Military users around the world deploy the ARMS system to neutralise drone threats.
At the ‘Countering Drones’ event in London last week, Indra stated that to counter evolving UAS threats, ‘the rapid and constant development of anti-drone systems is necessary, a pace that only few companies in the world like Indra will be able to match’.
The company’s counter-UAS strategy is guided by three basic principles to deal with increasingly intelligent and autonomous drones.
Firstly, Indra focuses on adaptation to the specific needs of the asset that is being protected.
The second principle involves the integration and combined use of different sensors and countermeasures. According to the company, the third involves redundant use of sensors.
Indra has highlighted the need for surveillance systems that can detect and identify small drones.
In a statement, Indra said: “These systems must cope with different strategies of deception, concealment or even jamming that specialised attackers can develop.
“The anti-drone systems must identify their type fast, even the drone model, and classify it as a friendly or enemy model.”
The Spanish firm also called for a regulatory framework to define ‘who can use an anti-drone system, under what conditions and to what extent’.
In May, the company supplied its ARMS system to an unidentified Asian nation to help enhance the protection of military bases and installations. Indra also deployed its AIRDEF air defence system to the Oman Air Force to help improve surveillance of the airspace. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
16 Jul 19. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) announced the submission of its Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor proposal to the U.S. Army as part of the competition for a new air and missile defense radar. Raytheon’s LTAMDS solution is a simultaneous 360-degree, Active Electronically Scanned Array radar powered by Raytheon-manufactured Gallium Nitride, a substance that strengthens the radar signal and enhances its sensitivity.
“Our proposal offers the Army a brand-new radar that overmatches the future threat,” said Tom Laliberty, Raytheon Vice President of Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “We brought our LTAMDS solution to the U.S. Army’s sensor demonstration and validated our ability to meet their 2022 urgent material release date.”
Raytheon’s LTAMDS offering was demonstrated in an event known as a sense-off, which put Raytheon’s LTAMDS solution through a series of challenging scenarios. Raytheon completed its sense-off participation on May 15.
“We created a new radar because a redesigned, modified or upgraded radar simply can’t defeat the type of advanced threats the U.S. Army will face,”
said Doug Burgess, Raytheon’s LTAMDS program director. “Our solution is proof that the Army can have it all — a capable next generation radar, at an affordable price, fielded as quickly as possible.”
Raytheon assembled a team of U.S.-based partners who played a strategic role in Raytheon’s proposed LTAMDS solution. They are: Crane Aerospace & Electronics Cummings Aerospace IERUS Technologies Kord Technologies Mercury Systems nLogic
15 Jul 19. SA Photonics’ PilotVision™ Augmented Reality Display to Debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. SA Photonics, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of augmented reality head mounted displays, is pleased to introduce its newest product PilotVision™ at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. PilotVision clips on to a set of communications headgear and provides unmatched situational awareness via high brightness symbology over a very large 62-degree field of view, with almost zero peripheral obscuration. When not needed, PilotVision can be rotated up to its stow position, just like a boom microphone. PilotVision interfaces with a standard attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) and does not need to be plugged in to aircraft electronics, so that it can be installed in seconds. PilotVision was designed by the same team that designed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter head mounted display as well as the JHMCS head mounted display used on the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 fighter jets, but sells for a fraction of the price. PilotVision uses flight symbology and synthetic vision provided by Adventure Pilot, creators of the iFly GPS electronic flight bag (EFB) software. PilotVision will be demonstrated in Hanger C Booth 3052, from Monday July 22nd through Thursday July 25th. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
16 Jul 19. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group in Cambridge has signed a contract with Boeing to commence preparatory work for the E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) Programme. This Risk Reduction contract facilitates Boeing’s selection of Marshall to undertake the complex aircraft modification work to build five E-7 aircraft for the Royal Air Force. The subsequent programme of work is being discussed between the companies, and will be announced in due course.
Marshall is key to the conversion and delivery of the new fleet, and this contract with Boeing will ensure it is fully prepared to begin the modification process in Cambridge early in 2021.
The programme will see Marshall’s skilled team turn 737 Next-Generation aircraft into E-7s, including adding the Northrop Grumman Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) surveillance radar, communication and mission computer systems. The work will sustain hundreds of highly-skilled jobs in the area.
The E-7 will modernise the UK’s airborne battle management fleet and provide situational awareness by tracking multiple airborne and maritime targets simultaneously, with a surveillance coverage of four million square kilometers over a single 10-hour flight period. With the E-7, the RAF will become the latest operator of the advanced AEW&C aircraft, a platform already proven in operations around the world with the Royal Australian Air Force, the Turkish Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force.
Marshall Aerospace and Defence CEO Alistair McPhee explains: “We are delighted that we have been selected by Boeing for this role in the delivery of the E-7 and are very proud to be playing such a key role on such a strategically important programme for the UK MOD.
“It is a great validation of the work that we are already doing for the RAF to drive availability of the C-130 fleet and builds on over 50 years’ of partnering. Along with our unrivalled expertise in complex integration projects, it is a clear demonstration of our ability to develop and deliver world-leading applied engineering services.
“We have a team of employees ready to work on this programme which will ensure we are prepared to start immediately on modifying the first aircraft when it arrives with us in Cambridge. We will be further growing the team as we move towards 2021 and agree the follow-on work to modify the aircraft as the programme matures.”
Anna Keeling, managing director for Boeing Defence UK, says: “The E-7 programme will provide the RAF with a combat-proven capability that is both low risk and the best capability in the world, and I’m proud that we will be modifying the planes here in Cambridge and further contributing to the continued growth of aerospace in the UK. Boeing and our key supplier Marshall are fully dedicated to delivering the world’s most advanced, proven, capable and reliable command-and-control aircraft to the RAF.”
15 Jul 19. Developers look to ‘ubiquitous radar’ technologies for 360-degree vision. Ubiquitous radar may be coming of age, and could offer enhancements to short-range battlefield air surveillance in the future. A conventional radar either rotates a single antenna mechanically to sweep a 360-degree field of view (FOV), or uses fixed flat-panel arrays to scan the horizon with the beam electronically steered to provide the same effect. A ubiquitous radar is designed to look in all directions, all of the time. The ubiquitous radar FOV can be likened to a donut, with the ring constituting the azimuth and angle of elevation seen by the radar. The concept was articulated by radar engineer Merrill Skolnik in a 2002 paper, ‘Systems Aspects of Digital Beam Forming Ubiquitous Radar’.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Jul 19. RIEGL Invests in New Office and Production Facilities. RIEGL, a manufacturer of LiDAR scanners for surveying applications headquartered in Horn, Austria, is investing heavily in the expansion of production and office space. The continued, worldwide demand for the high-performance sensors allows the company to grow and expand further. RIEGL, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, is now meeting the rapidly increasing international demand for RIEGL laser scanners with office and production facilities expansions.
This summer, a new office and production facility has started construction at the location of the company’s headquarters in Horn, Austria. The new building will house the company’s printed circuit board production and the software development team. The additional area comprises more than 2,200 m2 (24,000 sq foot) on three floors and will offer space for up to 80 employees. A state-of-the-art measuring tunnel system with a length of over 100 meters will also be built and be used for testing and calibrating the RIEGL sensors. The buildings will be ready for occupancy in fall of 2020.
RIEGL is also continuing to grow in the United States. The company has been active and successful in this market for more than 25 years and is currently building a new North American office facility in Winter Garden, Orlando, Florida, offering 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq foot) floor space. The building will offer trendy and modern workplaces for up to 50 employees. In addition to office space, the new RIEGL USA Headquarters will also allow the company to expand in the areas of support, service and calibration for the complete RIEGL portfolio. The building will be ready for occupancy Fall of 2020.
Throughout the building process, state of the art RIEGL technology like the RIEGL VZ-400i Terrestrial Laser Scanner as well as VUX-based LiDAR mapping drones will be applied regularly to support, monitor, and document the construction processes.
In total, the investment volume for the expansion of the company’s facilities in 2019 and 2020 is more than 10 million EUR.
“Our investments in Austria and the US prove our path of success and the growing internationality of the company” explained Dr. Johannes Riegl, founder and CEO of the RIEGL Group, and his son, Johannes Riegl Jr., member of the management board and President of the US division of the company.
RIEGL – a privately-owned company with subsidiaries in the US, Japan, China and Australia – has grown continuously over the past years. In the last fiscal year, RIEGL achieved a record group turnover of more than 80m EUR with 250 employees worldwide. (Source: UAS VISION)
15 Jul 19. UK Poseidon makes maiden flight. The first Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) made its maiden flight on 13 July. The first of nine Poseidon MMAs for the UK, serial number ZP801, made its inaugural flight out of Boeing’s Renton facility near Seattle, Washington, ahead of fitting with military systems and delivery to Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida in October. It will be flown to its future homebase of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020, where it will be operated by 120 Squadron. In RAF service, the Poseidon will be designated MRA 1, while this first aircraft also has the name Pride of Moray. The UK government announced its plans to buy nine P-8As in its Strategic Defence and Security Review in late 2015 and signed the formal order at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2016.
According to previous announcements the total cost of the procurement is valued at GBP3bn (USD3.8bn) through to about 2027. London has also disclosed that the procurement includes off-the-shelf purchases of unspecified weapons, sonar buoys, and other ‘consumables’. It has since been reported that the RAF’s P-8As will field the same Mk54 torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles as the US Navy (USN).
With the fleet set to be delivered RAF Lossiemouth in early 2020, operations will commence in early Q4 2020.
Derived from the Boeing 737-800 commercial airliner (but with 737-900 wings), the P-8A Poseidon has been built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, GE Aviation, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Spirit AeroSystems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Jul 19. HENSOLDT improves air traffic control at German military airfields. ASR radar delivered to German Air Mobility Training Centre in Celle. Progress is being made with the installation of HENSOLDT’s ASR-S (Aerodrome Surveillance Radar, Series) for air traffic control modernisation at German military airfields. With a further ASR-S system having recently been handed over to the German procurement authority BAAINBw and the Air Mobility Training Centre in Celle-Wietzenbruch, 17 of 20 radar systems in total have now been supplied to and accepted by the customer. Following the successful final acceptance test, programme manager Thomas Oswald handed the latest radar over to the training centre commander, Colonel Jörn Rohmann.
The ASR systems being provided by sensor specialist HENSOLDT under a 250m-Euro contract awarded by the BAAINBw are intended to replace older radar systems that have been used to date for military air traffic control. The new radars are being used for approach control at the airfields themselves and for airspace surveillance within a radius of more than 100 kilometres (60 NM) in order to safely coordinate military flight movements with civil air traffic.
As a facility for all branches of the armed forces, the Air Mobility Training Centre, which is subordinate to the German Army Training Command in Leipzig, facilitates testing of and training in different methods and processes in cooperation between ground forces and aircraft.
HENSOLDT provides air traffic control and identification systems for military and civilian applications on a global scale. For example, the company has received orders for a complete approach control system for the Swiss Air Force as well as for different ASR versions for the German civil air traffic control authority DFS, Australia, the UK and Canada.
15 Jul 19. DE&S team procure new cutting-edge radar to support worldwide operations. A DE&S project team has completed a competition to procure a new state-of-the-art long-range air defence radar that can be deployed in support of worldwide operations or used to cover gaps in coverage within the UK. The Air Defence and Electronic Warfare Systems (ADEWS) team based at RAF Henlow have awarded the £13.1m contract to Indra, a Spain based global company with offices in London and Hampshire. Indra won the competition with their Long Tactical Range 25 in the face of stiff competition from other radar manufacturers. Due to its small number of components, this system can be rapidly deployed worldwide using in-service military vehicles and transport aircraft such as the C130. The radar will be used mainly for long range surveillance of cooperative (secondary surveillance) and non-cooperative aircraft. The flexibility of the system means that the RAF will be able to carry out a variety of battlespace management missions, including long and short term deployments worldwide, as well as gap-filling in the UK in response to national operational requirements. ADEWS team leader David Braun said: “Through hard work, dedication and a strong open relationship with our RAF customer, the team have surpassed expectations with getting Indra on contract in a little over six months (instead of the usual 12) in order to meet tight delivery timelines. We are looking forward to developing an excellent relationship with our new supplier, as we seek to accept the radar into service in less than 12 months, rather than the usual 24.” Indra will deliver the radar to the RAF later this year. (Source: U.K. MoD desider)
15 Jul 19. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) released a breakthrough new product, DroneGun MKIIITM, following extensive development in response to end-user feedback. The product is available for purchase from today to qualified end-users, where lawful. DroneGun MKIIITM is a portable pistol-shape drone jammer, weighting under 2kg. The Company believes this product is peerless globally, for its combination of size and effectiveness. DroneGun MKIIITM is designed to be an alternate rather than a replacing product for its highly successful DroneGun TacticalTM unit, having a shorter effective range of 500m versus 1-2km for DroneGun TacticalTM. DroneGun MKIIITM can also be used in combination with other DroneShield products, including the RfPatrolTM body-worn detection device and the DroneSentinelTM stationary multi-sensor detection system.
13 Jul 19. Airports Need Federal Guidance On UAS Detection Technologies And Help Countering Drones, Report Says. Federal guidance that leaves airports to essentially figure out on their own the legality and effectiveness of technologies to detect small drones in their airspace is insufficient and instead the government needs to establish a standard approach to make it easier for airports to adopt these technologies, according to an interim report by an industry task force charged with making recommendations for mitigating threats from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The interim report also says that when it comes to taking out a potential UAS threat at an airport, the federal government, which has the sole authorities to do so, needs to get its act together fast to help airports when they need it.
“The federal government must rapidly finalize and practice a defined plan for how to respond to a UAS incursion at an airport,” says the Blue Ribbon Task Force on July 12 in the interim report on UAS Mitigation at Airports. “The current federal position, which is ‘the U.S. government is working to develop the federal response to a persistent UAS disruption at a major airport,’ is insufficient and leaves airports vulnerable.”
The task force is co-chaired by Michael Huerta, former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Deborah Flint, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, and was put together by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Airports Council International-North America. The task force says it plans to release a final report later this year and then will discuss its recommendations with government and congressional officials. In May, the FAA issued guidance to airports that systems used to detect UAS are allowed under U.S. law but left it to airports to sort out if these technologies are allowable.
“Entities seeking to evaluate or deploy UAS detection systems should be aware the evaluation or deployment of such systems, even systems that are marketed as passive detection systems, may implicate provisions of law (such as Title 18 of the United States Code) on which the FAA cannot authoritatively opine,” the agency said in a May 7 letter to airports. “Therefore, the FAA cannot confirm the legality of any UAS detection system.”
Title 18 prohibits the downing of an aircraft in U.S. airspace.
Congress in 2018 gave the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice authorities to counter potential UAS threats near critical infrastructures and other assets. The legislation, which was signed by President Trump in December, also gave the DHS Science and Technology Directorate and the FAA authority to test systems to counter UAS (C-UAS) in addition to testing for detection, tracking and identification of drones. The Departments of Defense and Energy also have limited authorities to use C-UAS systems to protect their domestic facilities. Federal and industry stakeholders are concerned that some technologies used to detect and track UAS could interfere with electronic systems used for airport operations and even nearby businesses and residences. The same is true with C-UAS technologies, which in bringing down a potential drone threat create havoc elsewhere.
And with airports fending for themselves, at least for now, when it comes to sorting out their options for UAS detection and tracking systems, the market is chock full of products and it is very difficult to sort through and judge what works and doesn’t and might be right for a particular airport.
“From an airport’s perspective, how do you navigate all of this and figure out which one’s the best for their circumstances,” Justin Barkowski, staff vice president for Regulatory Affairs at the
American Association of Airport Executives, told Defense Daily on Friday. “It’s a hard thing to do.”
Indeed, the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in February 2018 issued a report on counter-drone systems that identified there are over 230 C-UAS products from 155 manufacturers in 33 countries.
The Blue Ribbon Task Force also says that Remote ID, which is the use of technology to create a digital license plate for small drones, is critical for detecting and identifying them. The interim report urges the FAA and its Canadian counterpart, Transport Canada, to accelerate rulemaking for Remote ID.
Barkowski said that other key takeaways from the interim report include roles and responsibilities for various stakeholders, including local law enforcement, information sharing, such as local law enforcement having Remote ID feeds, and education and outreach, particularly to operators of small drones, many of whom aren’t aware that they are flying their
systems in or near restricted airspace. The interim report also outlines the capabilities and roles of various technologies used for detecting, tracking, identifying and countering UAS, and points out their shortcomings. For example, it says radio frequency (RF) techniques are primary means of detecting, tracking and identifying small drones out to one to three kilometers,m but the FAA has concerns about the impacts of RF signals on air traffic management and aircraft safety. The interim report also says “dark drones,” for which their RF signal has been turned off, can’t be detected using RFbased systems.
The report was commissioned in April and followed a costly interruption last December at London’s Gatwick airport due to a drone intentionally being flown to disrupt operations. The drones’ radio frequency (RF) signals were turned off, masking it and its operator or operators from RF detection techniques. (Source: Defense Daily)
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.