Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
16 Jul 20. Liteye C-AUDS Chosen to Defend Critical Infrastructure by the US Government. Liteye Systems, Inc. has announced that its Containerized Anti-UAS Defense Systems (C-AUDS) as the first system of systems chosen for integration with the USAF developed MEDUSA Command and Control (C2) System which was recently identified in the DoD’s down selection of Interim Counter Small Unmanned Systems (C-sUAS).
Liteye has delivered essential equipment to the US Government for over 20 years and has sustained growth starting with the Anti-UAS Defense System (AUDS) as a Combat Proven product with over 1000 defeats against enemy drones flown by ISIS, Taliban and others; C-AUDS is based on that tradition. Liteye’s portfolio of defense and critical infrastructure protection products continues to be a game-changing force to protect airfields, government installations and lives across the US Government.
“C-AUDS is our most advanced C-sUAS solution built on the foundation of fielded combat capabilities since 2016. It is a self-contained C-sUAS system that integrates very well with other sensors, C2 systems and weapon systems.” said Kenneth Geyer, CEO and Co-Founder of Liteye Systems. He goes on to say, “The fact that the MEDUSA C2 System was chosen, and C-AUDS is an integral part of MEDUSA for protection of critical infrastructure is no surprise. We are committed to continue deliveries of these capabilities to our current customers and to any organization with a requirement to protect lives and defend critical infrastructure.” (Source: UAS VISION)
14 Jul 20. Sightless Carrier Force. A 24 June report from the UK National Audit Office (NAO) confirmed that the Royal Navy’s new Crowsnest radar system is 18 months late, which will affect Carrier Strike’s capabilities in its first two years.
Crowsnest Radar System
Crowsnest provides critical radar protection for Carrier Strike. It is to be fitted to the Royal Navy’s Leonardo AW1010 Merlin helicopters to provide long-range air, sea and land surveillance, detection and tracking to identify threats beyond the horizon.
In November 2016, the UK MoD agreed a $428m (£339m) fixed-price contract with Lockheed Martin for the Crowsnest system. Thales and Leonardo Helicopters were sub-contracted to deliver the project.
In January 2019, the MoD identified that Thales had not provided sufficient information on the project’s delays to Lockheed Martin. Consequently, neither identified the lack of progress until it was too late to meet its initial operating capability (IOC) milestone.
First Radar Flight Trial
In February 2020, Lockheed Martin confirmed that the first radar flight trial took place six weeks later than planned. The helicopter needed for trials, which was the responsibility of Leonardo Helicopters, had received insufficient care during outdoor storage, leaving it unsuitable for flying. The Royal Navy reassigned Merlin helicopters to support the flight trials but, in doing so, reduced its fleet availability.
The Crowsnest airborne radar system will provide a crucial element of protection for a carrier strike group, but the initial contracted capability will not be available until September 2021, 18 months later than planned.
Target Delivery Date
The MoD did not oversee its contract with Lockheed Martin effectively and, despite earlier problems on the project, neither was aware of the sub-contractor’s lack of progress until it was too late to meet the target delivery date. It subsequently concluded that Thales, failed to meet its contractual commitments to develop the equipment and had not provided sufficient information on the project’s progress.
However, further delays mean that it does not expect to have full airborne radar capability, originally set for June 2022, until May 2023. (Source: Armada)
14 Jul 20. Citadel Releases AI Software that Automates CUAS Protection for Critical Infrastructure. Titan systems can be networked and synchronized for economical sUAS air defense above covered sites.
Citadel Defense has released new AI-powered software and networking solutions in order to autonomously protect against 98% of commercial off-the-shelf drones. By securely networking multiple Titan systems together, a large base or airfield can achieve 24/7/365 protection through a single interface and the click of one button.
“We delivered intuitive hardware and software that quickly and cost-effectively handles threats across all modalities of operation so that troops can focus on their missions without distraction,” said Christopher Williams, CEO of Citadel Defense.
Responding to feedback from operators downrange, Citadel built Titan to be a reliable system that consistently delivers on its advertised capabilities and works as effectively in uncontrolled combat environments as it does in scripted Government tests.
“Our troops and security teams face dynamic threat environments where drones are only one of many concerns. We designed Titan to provide automated end-to-end protection against commercial off-the-shelf drones with the same user experience on one system as you have when over a dozen systems are networked together,” explained Williams.
Addressing Warfighter concerns that legacy CUAS systems were difficult to operate and cost prohibitive to sustain, Citadel worked with the Air Force and government agencies to develop an optimized radiofrequency solution for Air Defense operations. The team’s focus on AI, machine learning, and hyper-automation has allowed the company to deliver a single CUAS solution that is equally effective across fixed, mobile and dismounted missions.
Acknowledged as one of the nation’s Most Promising Defense Companies alongside Lockheed Martin and Dynetics, Citadel continues to develop the most innovative and disruptive CUAS solutions that meet the modernization needs of today’s dynamic battlefield.
“We are not trying to be everything to everyone. We provide the most adaptive and best-value RF capability that meets the protection, risk and budget needs of our customers while giving them flexibility to add new sensors over time,” added Williams. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
14 Jul 20. UK receives upgraded Airseeker back into service. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has received back into service the first of its three L3 Technologies RC-135V/W Airseeker (Rivet Joint) intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft to go through a planned cockpit upgrade effort.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 14 July that aircraft ZZ664 has been delivered back to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire following the modification work in the United States.
“Complete with its newly acquired world-leading technologies, ZZ664 has undertaken the first of a series of flight deck training sorties from RAF Waddington with the aim of shortly resuming exercises and operations covering a wide range of areas of interest for the UK,” the MoD said.
As noted by the ministry, the upgrade work has involved equipping the aircraft with a modern ‘glass’ flight deck in place of the legacy analogue deck of before. Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the MoD’s procurement arm, managed the programme of modifications and secured UK certification of the new flight deck.
“RJ-18’s (ZZ664) clearance for operations marks a huge milestone for the Delivery Team. As a culmination of four years’ work, the certification of this first-of-type flight deck is a brilliant achievement for a pivotal UK/US collaborative programme,” Air Commodore Mark Hunt, DE&S Air ISTAR Team Leader was quoted as saying. (Source: Jane’s)
14 Jul 20. Multi-mission demonstration, including single day integration of new sensor, showcased the power of Firebird’s open architecture. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently completed a series of mission focused engagements, including integration and testing of Overwatch Imaging’s TK-9 Earthwatch sensor. The sensor was integrated in one day as part of ongoing capability flights validating the wide range of missions the Firebird system can perform for government and commercial customers.
Firebird aircraft taxis ahead of night demonstration flight.
“During this exercise we rapidly integrated sensors and utilized Firebird’s operational flexibility to demonstrate the system’s unique capability,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. “We leveraged Firebird’s communications suite and data processing power to patch in customers to our virtual feed so they were able to view flight activities in real time.”
Over a four day period, Firebird demonstrated several data collection missions, including wide-area surveillance, pattern of life monitoring, route clearance, search and rescue, high-value subject tracking, hostage recovery, and fire hotspot detection. The Firebird team carried out four 10+ hour manned flights with 100 percent aircraft availability for day and night operations.
Northrop Grumman’s Firebird product line delivers medium altitude, long endurance multi-mission flexibility and affordability. Available in autonomous and optionally-piloted configurations, Firebird is designed to deliver critical ISR capability to meet customer needs. The system delivers 30-plus hours of endurance and flies up to 25,000 feet, providing customers near real-time actionable intelligence.
Overwatch Imaging provides automated airborne imaging systems for piloted and unmanned aircraft. Their TK-9 Earthwatch sensor has a flexible onboard AI-enabled automatic image processing engine that allows the system to adapt to new roles in new environments very quickly, from natural disaster emergency management to border security patrol and large-scale infrastructure inspection.
10 Jul 20. Defence France Relies Once Again on Airbus for the Maintenance of its Coastal Surveillance System. The French authorities have renewed the maintenance contract of the French Coastal Surveillance System, SPATIONAV, building on an over 20 yearlong successful collaboration between the French Navy and Airbus for safer oceans.
Since 2002, Airbus develops, deploys and maintains the SPATIONAV system, under the supervision of the DGA (French General Armament Directorate) for the program direction and the SSF (Service de Soutien de la Flotte) for the sustainment, to support the French authorities gather information, direct maritime surveillance and intervention at sea. The system provides them with a tactical picture of the maritime situation to prepare and conduct their respective operations related to maritime border protection, search and rescue missions, maritime navigation security, detection of illicit activities and environment protection.
With over 6000 kilometers of coasts monitored in real-time 24/7 by 750 operators, SPATIONAV is the cornerstone of France’s maritime surveillance operations. It provides the French Navy and the main national administrations involved in state sea operations with a real-time surveillance system covering maritime approaches for mainland France and the French West Indies – Guiana zone. Thus, it constitutes a veritable multi-agency operation and command information system for the French Navy, the Coast Guards and the Customs.
SPATIONAV’s coastal Recognized Maritime Picture integrates over 10,000 real-time tracks thanks to a vast network of sensors spread over the French coasts (105 sites, 88 radars, 77 AIS stations and 8 equipped Falcons). In addition, the system integrates over 50,000 extra European and International tracks through a cyber secured gateway. The consolidated situation awareness is shared with the entire SPATIONAV community thereby optimizing missions at sea.
SPATIONAV is based on STYRIS Coastal Surveillance System (CSS). The solution associates core CSS functions as a real-time coastal Recognized Maritime Picture, 24/7 monitoring of areas of interest, advanced tracking and data fusion with some key features among which improved event management and advanced simulation capabilities to support decision making. Specifically, the solution supports operator decision by providing intuitive command and control tools to accelerate decision making and stakeholder coordination, to maintain operator focus and to reduce the workload.
Commander Laurent Frayssignes, Spationav program officer, declared: “Ensuring an informed vision of maritime activities in real-time throughout the national metropolitan territory is a technological prowess. We value the strong relationship that we have established over the years with Airbus and we count on Airbus team to continuously integrate technological advances to maintain our position at the cutting edge of innovation in the field of Maritime Surveillance. Improved and new capabilities will allow us to face new and bigger challenges in terms of protecting our maritime borders and perform coastal surveillance missions”.
Evert Dudok, Head of Connected Intelligence at Airbus Defence and Space said: “When security is at stake, territorial waters are critical areas due to the number of potential threats. In such circumstances, well-informed maritime domain awareness as well as fast decision-making is needed to successfully protect the coastal borders and this is exactly how Airbus supports the maritime authorities. Our company helps to anticipate the threat, to connect and disseminate and to analyse and understand the situation in order to take the right decision and act at the right time.” (Source: ASD Network)
08 Jul 20. US government report finds ‘limited capabilities to counter illicit unmanned aircraft systems.’ A report commissioned by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published on 25 June 2020 found “DHS’ capability to counter illicit UAS activity remains limited”. It reports the absence of a “uniform approach” and omission to “request the funding needed” to develop “a realistic work plan and issuing complete department-wide C-UAS guidance”.
The DHS issued an internal memorandum calling for a uniform approach to DHS’ expansion of its Counter-UAS (C-UAS) capability under the Preventing Emerging Threats Act in November 2018 and assigned the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans as the Department’s lead over components with authorised C-UAS missions. Government agencies were instructed not to take any actions towards C-UAS expansion until the Office of Policy completed a uniform approach for doing so.
“However, the Office of Policy did not execute a uniform approach as directed because it did not request the funding needed to obtain subject matter experts to fulfill all of the Secretary’s requirements for the uniform approach, including developing a realistic work plan and issuing complete department-wide C-UAS guidance. According to DHS officials, funding for C-UAS expansion unsuccessfully competed with other mission priorities for budget resources. Consequently, DHS will remain vulnerable to increased security risks and emerging threats from unmanned aircraft until it expands its capability to counter illicit UAS activity.”
The DHS concurs with the report findings and has initiated corrective actions to address the findings.
According to the report: “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) projects the recreational UAS fleet to grow from 1.2 million units in 2018 to 1.4 million in 2023, an average annual growth rate of 2.2 percent. Additionally, the commercial UAS fleet is forecasted to nearly triple from 277,386 in 2018 to 835,211 in 2023, an average annual growth rate of 24.7 percent. Further with more than 900,000 UAS owners registered as of December 31, 2018, the FAA estimated there were about 1.25 million model drones in circulation. As described, the legitimate use of UAS is on the rise. The increased availability of drones on the open market continues to amplify security risks and emerging threats for the foreseeable future.”
Among areas of concern, the report found the following shortfalls:
Lack of subject matter experts; unrealistic work plan; and incomplete C-UAS guidance.
The report concluded: “Until DHS funds the C-UAS initiative, and authorized components expand their capability to counter illicit UAS activity, the homeland will remain vulnerable to increased security risks and emerging threats for the foreseeable future. Without subject matter experts, a realistic work plan, and fully developed C-UAS guidance, DHS’ ability to coordinate component C-UAS efforts will continue to be hindered. Further, without proper coordination across components and a uniform approach to expansion, C-UAS capabilities could be significantly delayed or altogether ineffective.”
The report made four recommendations:
Recommendation 1: We recommend the Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans identify its budget requirements and convey those requirements to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for consideration as identified in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum dated November 8, 2018.
Recommendation 2: We recommend the Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans conduct an objective workforce analysis of the C-UAS Program Management Office to determine the appropriate staff needed to accomplish the office’s mission cost-effectively.
Recommendation 3: We recommend the Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans develop a timeline with achievable goals for C-UAS capability implementation across the Department.
Recommendation 4: We recommend the Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans complete the Secretary’s Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policy Guidance, including the annexes specifying processes and procedures the Department needs to conduct C-UAS operations and ensure program uniformity and consistency.
The Office of Policy concurred with the four recommendations and is taking steps, or has implemented actions to address them.
For more information visit:
https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2020-06/OIG-20-43-Jun20.pdf (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
08 Jul 20. Ben-Gurion University researchers identify malicious drones using flight path analysis. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) say they have determined how to pinpoint the location of a drone operator who may be operating maliciously or harmfully near airports or protected airspace by analysing the flight path of the drone.
Drones (small commercial unmanned aerial systems) pose significant security risks due to their agility, accessibility and low cost. As a result, there is a growing need to develop methods for detection, localization and mitigation of malicious and other harmful aircraft operation.
The paper, which was led by senior lecturer and drone expert Dr. Gera Weiss from BGU’s Department of Computer Science, was presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Cyber Security, Cryptography and Machine Learning (CSCML 2020) on 3 July 2020.
“Currently, drone operators are located using RF techniques and require sensors around the flight area which can then be triangulated,” says lead researcher Eliyahu Mashhadi, a BGU computer science student. “This is challenging due to the amount of other WiFi, Bluetooth and IoT signals in the air that obstruct drone signals.”
The researchers trained a deep neural network to predict the location of drone operators, using only the path of the drones, which does not require additional sensors. “Our system can now identify patterns in the drone’s route when the drone is in motion, and use it to locate the drone operator” Mashhadi says.
When tested in simulated drone paths, the model was able to predict the operator location with 78% accuracy. The next step in the project would be to repeat this experiment with data captured from real drones.
“Now that we know we can identify the drone operator location, it would be interesting to explore what additional data can be extracted from this information,” says Dr Yossi Oren, a senior lecturer in BGU’s Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering and head of the Implementation Security and Side-Channel Attacks Lab, who also contributed to the research. “Possible insights would include the technical experience level and even precise identity of the drone operator.”
For more information visit:
10 Jul 20. DoD/DSCA Notifies Congress of Possible FMS of Peace Kryption Aircraft Follow-On Support and Equipment Upgrades to South Korea.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified the Congress that the Republic of Korea has requested to buy items and services to extend follow-on support to its Peace Krypton reconnaissance aircraft. Included are Ground System Modernization (GSM) and sustainment of Prime Mission Equipment (PME); Field Service Representatives (FSR); minor modifications and upgrades; Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); spares and repair and return of parts; publications and technical documentation; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total program cost is $250m. The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, MD. There are known offset requirements associated with this sale. (Source: glstrade.com)
BATTLESPACE Comment: U-125 Peace Krypton. Raytheon Aircraft produces the U-125 search-and-rescue variant of the Hawker 800, which is one of a number of Special Mission Aircraft — missionized versions of Raytheon commercial aircraft serving special mission roles for the US military and government and its allies. In the military U-125A form, Hawker 800s can serve in a variety of special mission roles, including flight inspection, search and rescue, and maritime patrol. The Hawker 800 series was selected to provide a reconnaissance platform to the Republic of Korea, and the Japan Air Self Defense Force flies the aircraft for search-and-rescue as well as flight inspection. In addition, Hawkers will be used to support the SIVAM rain forest program in Brazil.
Japan was the first country to specify the U-125A special mission version of the Hawker 800, which is the most extensively modified special mission variant of the Hawker aircraft. Specially engineered and equipped for maritime search-and-rescue duties, they include features such as large observation windows on either side of the fuselage, a Toshiba 360-degree radar system, Melco thermal imaging equipment (TIE) system, a flare and marker-buoy dispenser, life raft and an emergency equipment dropping system. Other features include a comprehensive suite of communications equipment and enhanced protection against the salt water environment in which the aircraft operate.
The Paekdu project, budgeted at US$210m and begun in 1991, was a plan for the acquisition of a communications monitoring reconnaissance plane. In June 1991, the government picked E-Systems, Thompson and Germany’s Ritef to bid for the systems, and either the Hawker 800, Citation or Faircon for the possible airframes. In June 1996, then Deputy Minister of National Defence Lee Jong-lin, head of the government analysis team determined that the E-Systems Hawker 800 contract was inferior to those offered by Israel’s Rafaele and Thompson of France. In June 1996 E-Systems was awarded the project, the Defence Intelligence Headquarters (DIH) opted for the American system to ensure compatability with USFK systems and the fact that quality was guaranteed by the U.S. government, even though it was more expensive. In December 1997, the Paekdu project ran into crisis when the management team revealed that the aircraft and systems involved had failed to meet 12 requirements of the contract (ROC).
Fourteen Hawkers, heavily modified for maritime search and rescue duties, have been ordered by the Japan Air Self Defense Force. In June 1997 another U-125A order was placed for the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF). The Kanematsu Corporation, Raytheon Aircraft’s agent for the U-125A in Japan, exercised options for four additional U-125A airplanes for use by the JASDF. These latest aircraft are slated for shipment in late 1999, and will join 10 other U-125As. There were five U-125As already in service with the JASDF, with five aircraft in production. The total JASDF requirement is for 27 U-125As and, assuming all options are exercised, deliveries will take place through the year 2005. In addition to the U-125As, the JASDF operates three Hawker 800s, under the U-125 designation, for flight inspection duties.
Search and rescue duties are the main peacetime role of long range maritime patrol aircraft, which must be capable of air-dropping inflatable boats with sufficient capacity to deal with the crews and passengers of large vessels. In the U-125A, the life-raft is packed in a tube that can be accessed from the pressure cabin. The tube discharges through the mainwheel bay, requiring the undercarriage to be lowered.
In 1996 a Japanese U-125A was credited late last year for saving the lives of 22 Russian civilian sailors whose ship was foundering in the Sea of Japan. The aircraft was called to assist in locating the Russian cargo vessel, which had issued distress calls and was reportedly sinking. The U-125A located the foundering vessel using its belly-mounted 360-degree search radar and forward-looking infrared thermal imaging equipment.
Raytheon was selected in 1996 to provide a state-of-the-art Peace Krypton System airborne reconnaissance system to the Republic of Korea. The total value to Raytheon could exceed $250m over the life of the program. The system uses reconnaissance equipment developed and integrated by Raytheon E-Systems installed on four Hawker 800XP jet aircraft made by Raytheon Aircraft. Four additional Hawker 800XP aircraft will also be purchased by the Republic of Korea for similar purposes. These aircraft were assembled at Raytheon Aircraft’s Wichita facility, with deliveries commencing in late 1997.
On 10 October 1996 E-Systems, Incorporated, Greenville, Texas, was awarded a $135,292,056 firm fixed price contract to provide for modification of four Hawker 800XP aircraft with sensors to allow them to perform signal reconnaissance missions for Korea. As part of the contract, Raytheon E-Systems will also provide the Republic of Korea with a support facility. US Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
Four Hawker 800 aircraft were modified by Lockheed Martin in Goodyear, Arizona, which provided them with an S.A.R. system and defensive capabilities. (Source: Wikipedia)
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.