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08 May 20. DST demonstrates hyperspectral imaging. Scientists at Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) are working with counterparts from the US to demonstrate the capabilities of hyperspectral imaging for use by the Australian Defence Force. Hyperspectral imaging exploits the unique spectral characteristics of targets to aid in detection and identification of materials. According to DST scientist Dr Tim Bubner, it can be very hard to hide from these spectral sensors, which scan across multiple electro-optical frequency bands.
“While artificial camouflage does the job matching the surrounding environment in the visible spectrum, it actually can make you stand out in the other bands, if you can exploit them,” he said.
Dr Bubner’s team has been collaborating with a team from the US Naval Research Laboratories (NRL) for several years, honing skills in exploiting hyperspectral phenomenology and developing state-of-the-art sensor technology and systems for use in airborne surveillance.
“Hyperspectral sensing is unique. Very seldom can you create camouflage that defeats all the wave bands that are accessible to us,” Dr Bubner said.
“In the past, hyperspectral sensors were predominantly used in the daytime, but a thermal hyperspectral sensor currently operating on DST’s Defence Experimentation Airborne Platform (known as the DEAP aircraft) gives us both a day and night time capability.”
Advantages of hyperspectral imaging over traditional video clips or imagery snapshots is that it allows users to scan the environment accurately and silently from a safe distance. It also provides an understanding of the target materials’ properties, which is not available from other imagery sources.
Jonathan Neumann, an NRL scientist integrated with the DST team, said the partnership had been valuable for his team.
“There are limits to what we can accomplish back in the US,” Neumann said.
“DST Group nicely complements what our research is aiming to achieve. The partnership has included experiments of direct relevance to Australian and US Defence problem spaces, including supporting the Australian AIR 7000 and US PMA 290 programs.
“DST’s DEAP aircraft, which has flight-certified pods custom-built for mounting advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors, was a key enabler for the program.
“Recent flight trials, including experiments in tropical North Queensland, were exceptional. The DEAP aircraft carried dual reflective (daytime) and thermal hyperspectral payloads, enabling our respective teams to do everything necessary to support the trial objectives.” (Source: Defence Connect)
06 May 20. Sonardyne launches Vigilant Forward Looking Sonar (FLS) for naval forces. Maritime technology specialist Sonardyne International Ltd. has launched a new navigation and collision avoidance capability for surface and underwater naval and defence operations with its new Vigilant forward looking sonar (FLS).
Providing live and past vessel track, detailed 3D bathymetry out to 600 m and advanced warnings of navigational obstacles on and beneath the waterline out to 1.5km, Vigilant FLS offers naval forces with unprecedented situational awareness.
Compact in size and easy to mount, Vigilant is suitable for a range of naval platforms, from military ships to diver delivery systems (DDS) entering challenging operational zones. It provides an early warning of hazards, from rocks and wrecks to sand banks and otherwise unseen, below-the-surface obstacles, over a 90 degree field of view. For unmanned surface vehicles (USV) of the type increasingly being employed to conduct intelligence gathering and over-the-horizon reconnaissance missions, Vigilant comes ready to support onboard automatic control and obstacle avoidance systems, enabling full below the waterline awareness.
Vigilant provides two operational modes: 3D and Sonar, which helmsman and vehicle pilots can seamlessly toggle between. Sonar mode detects obstacles in the water out to more than 1.5 km giving large vessels in particular valuable time to react. The system’s configurable alarms ensure hazards are not overlooked during periods of high operator workload.
In 3D mode, users are able to view an easy to interpret, real-time generated three-dimensional colour map of the bathymetry out to 600 m. They’re also able to view a profile display, showing the depth of an obstacle and if, for example, a DDS could safely manoeuvre underneath it. Sonar mode also continues in the background during 3D mode, at the selected range.
Vigilant offers multiple mounting and integration options including permanent, through-hull deployment and interfacing with third-party command and control systems or electronic charting displays and is suitable for both new builds and already commissioned vessels.
Ioseba Tena, Sonardyne’s Global Business Manager for Defence, says: “Vigilant FLS is a powerful new tool for those working in theatres of operation where knowing what lies ahead is mission critical. Humanitarian relief is a great example. Often, navies delivering aid are first to arrive on scene following a natural disaster. With Vigilant onboard, crews would know if the seabed on approach to a harbour or landing zone has changed following a storm. From minehunters and expeditionary vessels to swimmer delivery systems and unmanned underwater and unmanned surface vehicles, Vigilant is highly capable, flexible, easy to use and service-ready.”
06 May 20. Serco, the international services company, has been awarded a three-year contract extension by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to continue to provide operations and maintenance support to the Solid State Phased Array Radar (SSPAR), part of the UK/US Ballistic Missile Early Warning System located at RAF Fylingdales, North Yorkshire.
The main six-year contract ran from 1 April 2014 and was valued at over £15m. This contract extension is the first of two three year options.
Under the terms of the contract, Serco will continue to be responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of the SSPAR and associated hardware and life support systems including Project Management and Software maintenance activities.
Paul McCarter, Serco Managing Director, Defence, said: “Serco is very proud and privileged to be able to offer our continuing service to the MOD and the US DoD in the support of this critical asset. We are delighted that both the MOD and RAF continue to have confidence in our ability to deliver a high quality service.
“This contract employs a highly skilled and specialised engineering and technical team and is a key part of Serco’s high technology work in the air and space domain.”
RAF Fylingdales is considered one of the key components of UK national security providing Ballistic Missile Early Warning Operations for more than 57 years. Serco is the only contractor to have continuously operated and maintained the facility, despite 11 competitive tender exercises. Some of the Serco team have been supporting RAF Fylingdales since the very beginning, while Serco as a company has provided continuous support on site since its formation in 1988.
06 May 20. RAFAEL and Leonardo will supply the M-346FA with Rafael’s Litening 5 and RecceLite systems. This is the first integration of 5th generation EO/IR pods to Leonardo’s light combat platform. RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems will supply 5th generation Litening-5 and RecceLite systems to equip Leonardo’s M-346FA light combat aircraft. This is the first integration of 5th generation EO pods to Leonardo’s M-346FA platform.
The M-346FA is the multi-role combat variant of the most advanced jet trainer that has been designed for a wide range of training capabilities, long-term reliability and cost-effective operations. The FA variant is also able to operate very effectively as a multi-role tactical aircraft, capable of air-to-surface, air-to-air and tactical reconnaissance missions.
Integrated with RAFAEL’s pods, the jet will now have combat-proven, stand-off capabilities using the Litening 5 multi-spectral airborne targeting pod. The Litening 5 pod is in use by 27 air forces and carried by over 25 platforms globally. Litening 5 delivers real-time, forward-looking infrared (FLIR+SWIR) and day HD color camera imagery. Its high-resolution sensors and effective EO/IR design ensure reliable operation at significant stand-off ranges. Litening 5 allows the operation of all types of air-to-surface smart weaponry, such as laser-guided, GPS-guided and EO/IR imaging-guided munition. Litening pods have logged over 2 million flight hours, with more than two-thirds in contingency operations worldwide.
With the RecceLite ISR system, the light-attack aircraft will be able to perform target search, using advanced AI, ATR (Automatic Target Recognition) at the interpretation ground station, and other smart algorithms for efficient detection, tracking, and sensor-to-shooter closure. Using its advanced ISR, image processing, and artificial intelligence, the system achieves optimal data-exploitation at the ground station, of intelligence data relayed in real-time and mission execution in near-real-time. RecceLite has been delivered to 13 customers world-wide and integrated onto various aircraft, including the F-16, F-18, Jaguar, AMX, Tornado, Typhoon, Gripen, Heron TP, Reaper and others. It is used by air forces in Europe, the Far East and South America.
Guy Oren, VP, Head of RAFAEL’s Electro-optical systems directorate: “This new cooperation with Leonardo opens new markets to integrate our advanced systems to additional light, cost-effective platforms, based on our vast experience and integration legacy in all domains.”
Emanuele Merlo, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division SVP Trainers: “We see a growing number of nations that have requirements for trainers that are also able to perform close-air support missions, and the addition of RAFAEL’s globally combat-proven 5th gen. targeting and ISR pods is a significant, force-multiplying enhancement to our platform.”
04 May 20. French jets use new RECO-NG pod to target Daesh. The French detachment of Operation Chammal, which is supporting the US Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, has begun using RECO-NG new generation reconnaissance pods to identify Daesh targets.
Manufactured by Thales, the RECO-NG is a long range, high resolution reconnaissance pod designed to enhance surveillance and intelligence imagery capabilities. It has been integrated with French Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighter aircraft.
Col Benjamin Souberbielle, a commander in the French Air Force, said: ‘The RECO-NG makes our missions more flexible… The two aircraft patrol with the ability to achieve three complimentary effects: ground support, air defence and intelligence.’
Each RECO-NG unit is approximately 4.6m long, weighs 1,100kg and is attached underneath the airframe fuselage of the aircraft. It has been successfully used to locate weapons caches, tunnels, vehicles and training camps used by Daesh. (Source: Shephard)
04 May 20. Australia pushes on with indigenous ISR and EW programme. Australia is pushing ahead with the next phase of its Miniaturised Orbital Electronic Warfare Sensor System (MOESS) project.
The Australian Department of Defence announced in April that it had awarded DEWC Systems an A$3.1m ($2m) Defence Innovation Hub contract in February, to advance to Phase 2 of the programme that will involve the development of a concept demonstrator system.
The MOESS programme intends to deploy a sovereign Australian tactical electromagnetic sensor capability, installed on a constellation of CubeSats. DEWC is developing a sensor that can conduct radar electronic support in defence-relevant radio frequency bands used by assets such as ships and aircraft.
This second phase, including a series of flight trials, is expected to run until mid-2021. In-space testing is planned for late-2022.
Ian Spencer, DEWC Systems CEO, told Shephard that the contract means the company can recruit additional specialist personnel. ‘Work has begun on the system under test to perform the demonstration. We have performed optimisation work on miniaturising a simple system and are progressing the design of the demonstrator system,’ he said.
‘The concept demonstrator will be of representative size, weight and power to the final system and will consist of at least one complete system as well as software emulations. Some of the main challenges are sourcing Australian-made components, which is our preference, and developing some aspects of the unique techniques and coding the boards in the allocated timeframe.’
Australia’s Defence Innovation Hub invests money incrementally under a phased approach to encourage innovation and reduce risk to the defence department.
‘Should we be successful in Phase 2, then we would be seeking a Phase 3 contract to develop the first orbital prototype. Phase 4 is when we would look at further development and production,’ Spencer explained.
The earlier Phase 1 Defence Innovation Partnership grant worth A$150,000, awarded in 2018, involved preliminary R&D work to prove the MOESS concept and show that it could be achieved using small CubeSats. It proved that with the right inclination, the power received from radars on earth is sufficient to achieve the mission.
The technology being developed in Phase 2 is unique and uses new identification and classification techniques. The new EW sensor will include AI capabilities, Spencer said, and for this phase there will be elements of AI-enabled techniques and look-up tables to perform classification and identification.
‘AI enables the identification of emitter behaviour and allows us to identify modern systems that are dynamic and of low probability of intercept. The development of this technology and these techniques is critical to the full operational capability of the system,’ Spencer said.
When completed the MOESS constellation will offer the Australian Defence Force an indigenous ISR and EW asset for tactical support, at a fraction of the cost of full-scale satellite systems deployed by other countries. (Source: Shephard)
01 May 20. L3Harris Technologies delivers ENVG-B systems to US Army. L3Harris Technologies has delivered 656 combat-ready Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular (ENVG-B) systems to the US Army as part of a contract. The delivery is part of the initial order received by the company in 2018 under the $391m ENVG-B directed requirement contract from the US Army. Following the delivery, the first unit of the army is fully equipped with next-generation night vision technology.
The technology enhances the soldier’s ability to locate and engage threats. It gives access to the common operating environment imagery.
The combat-ready solution aids in improving the soldier’s overall situational awareness, mobility and protection.
L3Harris Integrated Vision Solutions president Lynn Bollengier said: “The success of the ENVG-B programme is based on our continued collaboration with the US Army and our ability to rapidly develop, test and deliver next-generation capabilities that enable our soldiers to combat near-peer threats around the world.
“Delivering imagery and data from the battlefield directly to the soldier’s eye is game-changing technology and L3Harris is proud to equip the army with the first combat-ready goggles of this kind.”
Last year, L3Harris delivered the first 52 systems. To date, the company has received delivery orders of more than 10,000 ENVG-B systems under the contract signed.
The night vision goggle includes a high-resolution display. It was designed with an embedded soldier wireless personal area network, rapid target acquisition and augmented reality algorithms. This helps the mission operation by connecting with the army’s Nett Warrior.
The complete system will interface with the army’s family of weapon sights, simultaneously enhancing interoperability and data sharing. (Source: army-technology.com)
30 Apr 20. US Army’s Sentinel A4 Radar Program Quickly Achieves Key Milestones. Just four months after the initial contract award, the U.S. Army’s Sentinel A4 radar program already achieved several key milestones. In January, the U.S Army approved the program’s Systems Requirement Review (SRR), Systems Functional Review (SFR), and the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for one of the subsystems.
“Traditionally, the SRR and PDR take place several months apart, but thanks to Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) preparation, investment and our technically mature radar solution, we are able to support the Army’s need to field the system more rapidly,” said Mark Mekker, director, Lockheed Martin Army radar programs. “We have achieved every milestone while working on a very aggressive timeline in order to deliver the radar on schedule.”
Lockheed Martin’s open scalable radar architecture is the cornerstone of the radar system’s design and will allow for future upgrades that not only extend the life of the radar, but address threats to our warfighters that will evolve over the next 40 years.
The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $281m contract to develop the Sentinel A4 system in September 2019. The new air and missile defense radar will provide improved capability against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, rotary wing and fixed wing, and rocket, artillery, and mortar threats.
The radar will also provide enhanced surveillance, detection, and classification capabilities against current and emerging aerial threats in order to protect U.S. Army maneuver formations and high-value static assets to include: command and control nodes, tactical assembly areas and geo-political centers.
Proven Radar Experience
With broad and deep experience developing and delivering ground-based radar solutions to our customers, our high-performing, high-reliability, solid state radar (SSR) systems specialize in counter target acquisition, early warning, situational awareness, and integrated air and missile defense. Our radars are designed with the highest degree of commonality and fully integrated SSR systems. They can operate in all environments, are available in highly mobile configurations, and are deployed worldwide. It’s why Lockheed Martin’s ground-based radars are the choice of more than 45 nations on six continents. (Source: ASD Network)
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.