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30 Jul 20. As Japan weighs missile-defence options, Raytheon lobbies for Lockheed’s $300m radar deal. U.S. defence company Raytheon (RTN.N) is lobbying Japanese lawmakers to replace Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) as the supplier of powerful radars as Tokyo reconsiders plans for two Aegis Ashore missile defence sites, three sources said.

“It’s game on,” said one of the sources, who has direct knowledge of Raytheon’s lobbying campaign. Raytheon’s pitch includes a proposal to put its SPY-6 radar on refitted destroyers, as the U.S. Navy plans to do. The company says that would save money and time as Japan tackles new missile threats, drones and stealth aircraft.

Lockheed Martin has a contract with Japan to build its $300m (231.18m pounds) SPY-7 radars at the two cancelled Aegis Ashore sites, but says other sites or ships are possible.

But critics say dedicating ships to missile defence pulls them away from other duties, and new destroyers can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. And Japan could face financial penalties if it pulled out of its contract with Lockheed Martin.

“We are looking at the various options available to us,” a defence ministry spokesman said.

A key battle for the two companies will be winning the support of former defence ministers and deputy ministers who as early as next week will make recommendations to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

That group, led by former defence minister Itsunori Onodera, formed in June after current defence chief Taro Kono suspended the Aegis Ashore plan. It has weighed in on missile defence and discussed proposals that Japan acquire strike weapons for that mission, Japanese officials have said.

The group of lawmakers will release their recommendations on Friday after they present them for approval to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s defence policy committee, Onodera told reporters after the group met on Thursday.

Japan under Abe has beefed up its military with stealth fighters designed to fly off carriers, longer-range missiles, new amphibious units and stronger air defences meant to deter threats from neighbours, including North Korea and China.

Kono said he ordered the Aegis sites relocated because rocket boosters that accelerate interceptor missiles into space could fall on residents. But concern over mounting costs was the main reason for that decision, according to the three sources.

China is rapidly expanding and improving its ballistic missile arsenal, and in 2017 North Korea tested a missile that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

With around three times the range of radars currently used by Japan, both SPY-6 and SPY-7 would greatly enhance Japan’s ability to detect multiple attacks.

One option for Japan that would avoid any political fallout would be to buy both radars, using SPY-6 on Aegis ships and deploying Lockheed’s SPY-7 as an early warning radar, one of the sources said.


Onodera’s backing would make that change more likely because he approved the Lockheed Aegis radar acquisition two years ago. At the time he was unaware that testing in Hawaii could add at least $500m to Aegis Ashore’s $4 billion budget, separate sources told Reuters last year.

In an interview in the Asahi newspaper on Thursday, Onodera said the “ideal option” for Japan would be to find a safe ground-based location. He also noted that building Aegis ships would cost both money and manpower.

Onodera’s office declined an interview request, but one source familiar with his position on the radars described him as “flexible.”

Masahisa Sato, a former deputy defence minister who also served as a deputy minister of foreign affairs, said Japan’s choice is between SPY-7 at new sites, with the missile launchers deployed elsewhere, or building Aegis ships equipped with SPY-6.

“I am recommending an increase in Aegis ships,” he said. “SPY-7 is under development and there is a question about how it would perform in a new configuration,” Sato added.

Lockheed Martin said its system could be adapted to ships, and disputed questions about performance.

“SPY-7 radar is the most advanced radar in the world today and we believe it is the best solution for Japan’s defence needs,” the company said in an e-mail.

For its part, Raytheon said the SPY-6 will be deployed on 50 U.S. Navy ships, calling it the “most advanced radar technology in production today.” (Source: Reuters)

30 Jul 20. FLIR Systems takes aim at small UAS applications with Hadron imaging module. Imaging sensor specialist FLIR Systems has launched a new compact electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera module aimed at small unmanned aircraft system (UAS), robotics, and imaging original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications. The dual sensor EO/IR module, called Hadron, centres on a low size, weight, and power (SWaP) package measuring 24x45x36mm with a weight of 42.8g. The Hadron module is equipped with a Sony IMX412 complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) colour camera with a 4056×3040 pixel resolution and FLIR Systems’ Boson 320 longwave infrared (LWIR) thermal sensor, which is built around a 12 µm pitch vanadium oxide (VOx) uncooled detector and offers a resolution of 320×256 pixels with a framerate of up to 60 Hz and a horizontal field-of-view (HFOV) of 34°.

Randall Warnas, global small UAS segment leader at FLIR Systems, told Janes on 29 July that the Hadron module was initially developed under the the US Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) Short Range Reconnaissance (SRR) programme for the US Army, which aims to deliver an affordable, rucksack portable, quadrotor vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS that can serve as an organic and rapidly deployable situational awareness capability for troops.

“A combined thermal and visible light payload was required for this programme, and FLIR Systems set out to standardise the payload package,” Warnas said. “As a module, the Hadron can be built into a robust system in conjunction with software and other features.”

“However, FLIR Systems will work with our users and the market at large to understand what is needed to make significant improvements to how they approach their respective missions,” he added. (Source: Jane’s)

29 Jul 20. Orolia weighs ‘mixed set’ PNT capability for LTAMDS. New York-based defence subcontractor Orolia Defense & Security is weighing a proposed “mixed set” position, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability solution for the US Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) programme, potentially featuring a hybrid variant of the company’s two premiere GPS master clock and network time server platforms.

Company officials are developing initial design proposals for the PNT capability for the LTAMDS with programme officials from the army and prime contractor Raytheon, said Hironori Sasaki, president of Orolia Defense & Security. Raytheon selected Orolia to support PNT capability development for the air and missile sensor programme on 8 July.

“The approach we have taken … is we have really looked at the solution to the problem through a layered approach,” Sasaki said on 13 July. “In the world of PNT there is no single technology that is going to solve the problem for all of every single one of our customers, or every single environment we see these products go into,” he added.

Army officials envision the LTAMDS, as designed, as the eventual replacement for the legacy Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target anti-air and missile radar system. Company officials say the new LTAMDS will provide double the radar detection and power capabilities compared with the current systems, while maintaining the same size and weight ratios as the legacy radar. The heart of the anti-air and missile radar platform is the system’s Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar with 360° coverage. (Source: Jane’s)

30 Jul 20. HENSOLDT is supplying three Spexer2000 3D radars and one Z:NightOwl M camera as Xpeller module packages as part of the GUARDION overall system of ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH and its partners for a total of five drone defence systems. They are used as part of container-based drone defence systems to protect so-called forward operating bases of the German Armed Forces in their operational areas.

“We are herewith supporting the Bundeswehr in close cooperation and coordination with ESG as prime contractor and system integrator”, explains Markus Wolf, Head of Sales and Business Development at HENSOLDT Ventures. “Our high-performance sensors complement the ESG GUARDION system perfectly to achieve the required performance spectrum. The Spexer2000 3D radar is characterized by outstanding detection capabilities, especially against asymmetric threats. The Z:NightOwl M camera was specially developed for high ranges. With it, we support drone defence against so-called Class I drones, that is, unmanned aircraft weighing up to 25 kg.”

HENSOLDT has already demonstrated its extensive experience in drone defence with its Xpeller counter-UAV system on several occasions. In addition to permanent deployment, customers also use the system for temporary protection of major events, most recently for instance during the Dutch Day of Remembrance in Amsterdam in May 2020. Xpeller distinguishes itself particularly through its modularity and scalability. The system can thus be tailored precisely to customer requirements.

29 Jul 20. Spatial Integrated Systems, Inc (SIS) and Cambridge Pixel complete major integration efforts on small and large autonomous surface vessels (ASVs) for U.S. Navy trials.

SIS’s SMART™ Autonomy System is unmatched for cooperative missions

Leading maritime autonomy company Spatial Integrated Systems, Inc (SIS) of Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, and Cambridge Pixel of Cambridge, UK, a leader in radar tracking and fusion, are proud to announce rapid innovation efforts in maritime autonomy and radar integration for U.S. Navy Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV) trials.

Together, SIS and Cambridge Pixel integrated a suite of complementary and interdependent systems including the SIS Multi-Agent Robotic Teams (SMART™) Autonomy System and Cambridge Pixel SPx Tracker and SPx Fusion software and radar interfacing hardware.

The technologies were installed onboard a large surface vessel and several patrol boat-sized vessels. These demonstrations included multiple 300+ nautical mile autonomous transits – many in areas of heavy surface traffic, three 1000+ nautical mile fully autonomous transits, and the demonstration of multiple sub-task operational missions. These trials demonstrated the SIS-Cambridge Pixel teams commanding lead in this growing technological field and underscored the vast potential of maritime autonomous systems for the U.S. Navy.

The enduring spirit of trans Atlanticism and technical collaboration between the two teams across different time zones made the completion of daunting engineering tasks look easy. “From our long history working with Cambridge Pixel, we knew we would be successful in integrating and fusing multiple radars and sensors on different ships and boats with varying missions. We remain impressed by the Cambridge Pixel team’s responsiveness and speed in overcoming some tough technical challenges,” said Bob Cepek, the SIS Program Manager for two of the efforts.

Ardent cooperation and innovation between the US and UK based teams were key to the success of this integration and the subsequent demonstrations. In just a few short months, the American and British teams integrated and fine-tuned the fusion of several sensors, including S and X band radars from different manufacturers, to improve the SMART™ Autonomy System’s perception capabilities. “Our most recent successes pave the way for additional collaboration in development and testing,” said Bob Cepek.

The market for ASVs is growing rapidly, driven by demand from navies and commercial enterprises worldwide for more effective maritime security – to combat terrorism, piracy and smuggling, to protect shallow waters and ports, and for environmental monitoring.

Richard Warren, Director of Software at Cambridge Pixel, said: “We are very excited to be working on these transatlantic autonomous vessel projects with the robotics engineers from Spatial Integrated Systems to integrate our radar tracking and fusion software with the SMART Autonomy System to enhance situational awareness on these crewless vessels.

“Our radar-agnostic tracking and fusion software works seamlessly with many different maritime and specialist radar sensors,” said Richard Warren. “Our goal on the recent trials for the U.S. Navy was to configure our multi-hypothesis, multi-model SPx radar tracker and SPx fusion server to enhance the perception capabilities of SIS’s control system in this very demanding environment. We look forward to further collaborations with SIS in this fast developing new and innovative market.”

28 Jul 20. U.S. Space Force SMC awards ASTRA EO/IR mission to support US warfighter. The U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has selected ASTRA, LLC to develop and demonstrate an Electro-Optical / Infrared (EO/IR) LEO-based cloud characterization solution that supports U.S. warfighter operations.

Striving to bridge gaps and improve functionality of Space-Based Environmental Monitoring (SBEM) systems, USSF SMC sought a commercial prototype EO/IR Weather System (EWS) mission capable of characterizing global clouds in near real-time to support Department of Defense operations.

ASTRA’s EWS program will produce real-time cloud characterizations, providing mission-critical information that supports decision makers in planning for and minimizing environmental impact on human systems and operations. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

“An industry leader in space science technology and research, ASTRA is proud to be chosen by the U.S. Space Force to provide our Rapid Revisit Optical Cloud Imager (RROCI) system to deliver near-real time cloud characterization data in support of the warfighter,” says Bill Baker, ASTRA Sr. Vice President of Data Solutions.

SMC selected ASTRA, in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, Science and Technology Corporation, Pumpkin Inc., and Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER), for the first phase of the EWS mission to design, develop, and demonstrate its 8-channel RROCI prototype. ASTRA’s imager will utilize commercial off-the-shelf systems to produce cloud characterization, mitigate weather risk, provide theater weather, and comparison of payload outputs to existing satellite data from a 12U satellite that meets USSF mission requirements.

“USSF SMC seeks an agile, cost-effective technology to provide timely, mission-critical information to the warfighter – ASTRA’s proposed prototype will achieve this,” explains Dr. Scott Jensen, the project’s principal investigator and ASTRA Sr. Vice President for Technology. “Our solution assures easy implementation and rapid refresh of new technology into the architecture as required, and will meet both government and commercial SBEM requirements.”

ASTRA’s proposed solution will provide a cost-effective and agile demonstration mission, reducing risk and demonstrating readily available commercial technology that meets USSF’s required operational mission capabilities. (Source: PR Newswire)

28 Jul 20. Sensors & Software announces collaboration with Radiodetection for LMX Ground Penetrating Radar. Sensors & Software is delighted to announce that Radiodetection’s product offering in the USA will now include the full LMX range of GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) systems.

Accurately locating and marking buried assets prevents costly damage. GPR is useful for utility locating, Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) and Subsurface Utility Mapping (SUM) activities as it can detect both conductive and non-conductive utilities, as well as other underground features including concrete storm drains and underground storage tanks.

  • LMX100™ – the simple, affordable way to locate and mark utilities. Its intuitive user interface and rugged, lightweight design easily integrates into your locate workflow.
  • LMX200™ – the premier GPR locating tool in the market today, expands on the LMX100TM with in-field capabilities including Grid Scan, SplitView and MapView, and optional external GPS. The Enhanced option enables data export, analysis, and reporting using the EKKO_Project™ Software.

With this announcement, Sensors & Software is proud to be able to offer a greater distribution network and localized field support for LMX products within the USA. (Source: PR Newswire)

28 Jul 20. Japan shows interest in hypersonic tracking. Discussions are under way between the US and Japan on the latter joining the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS). Japanese media on 25 July quoted confirmation of these talks from a Missile Defense Agency spokesperson. HBTSS is a new space-based network of sensors in low earth orbit that can detect and track hypersonic weapons. Data collected will be fed to fire control systems for engagement.

Developed by the DoD in response to the growing threat posed by Chinese and Russian hypersonic weapons, HBTSS is set to receive an extra $120m in funding under proposals from the US Senate.

Hypersonic glide weapons under development in China and Russia fly at speeds of up to Mach 5 at relatively low altitudes, making them difficult to find and interdict with existing missile defence systems.

Japan itself has shown interest in developing an offensive hypersonic missile capability. (Source: Shephard)

29 Jul 20. NASA JPL to demonstrate scientific benefits of stratospheric balloons. NASA’s JPL has started work on an ambitious new mission that will carry a cutting-edge, 2.5-metre telescope high into the stratosphere on a balloon, scheduled for launch in December 2023.

Tentatively planned to launch in December 2023 from Antarctica, ASTHROS (short for Astrophysics Stratospheric Telescope for High Spectral Resolution Observations at Submillimeter-wavelengths) will spend about three weeks drifting on air currents above the icy southern continent and achieve several firsts along the way.

Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ASTHROS observes far-infrared light, or light with wavelengths much longer than what is visible to the human eye. To do that, ASTHROS will need to reach an altitude of about 130,000 feet (40 kilometres) – roughly four times higher than commercial airliners fly.

Though still well below the boundary of space (about 100 kilometres above Earth’s surface), it will be high enough to observe light wavelengths blocked by Earth’s atmosphere.

The mission team recently put the finishing touches on the design for the observatory’s payload, which includes its telescope (which captures the light), its science instrument, and such subsystems as the cooling and electronic systems. In early August, engineers at JPL will begin integration and testing of those subsystems to verify that they perform as expected.

While balloons might seem like antiquated technology, they offer NASA unique advantages over ground- or space-based missions. NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program has been operating for 30 years at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

It launches 10 to 15 missions a year from locations around the globe in support of experiments across all of NASA’s science disciplines, as well as for technology development and education purposes.

Balloon missions don’t only have lower costs compared to space missions, they also have shorter times between early planning and deployment, which means they can accept the higher risks associated with using new or state-of-the-art technologies that haven’t yet flown in space.

JPL engineer Jose Siles, project manager for ASTHROS, explained, “Balloon missions like ASTHROS are higher-risk than space missions but yield high-rewards at modest cost.”

These risks may come in the form of unknown technical or operational challenges that can impact a mission’s science output, by working through these challenges, balloon missions can set the stage for future missions to reap the benefits of these new technologies.

ASTHROS will carry an instrument to measure the motion and speed of gas around newly-formed stars. During flight, the mission will study four main targets, including two star-forming regions in the Milky Way galaxy.

It will also, for the first time, detect and map the presence of two specific types of nitrogen ions (atoms that have lost some electrons). These nitrogen ions can reveal places where winds from massive stars and supernova explosions have reshaped the gas clouds within these star-forming regions.

“With ASTHROS, we’re aiming to do astrophysics observations that have never been attempted before. The mission will pave the way for future space missions by testing new technologies and providing training for the next generation of engineers and scientists,” Siles added.

In a process known as stellar feedback, such violent outbursts can, over millions of years, disperse the surrounding material and impede star formation or halt it altogether. But stellar feedback can also cause material to clump together, accelerating star formation. Without this process, all the available gas and dust in galaxies like our own would have coalesced into stars long ago.

ASTHROS will make the first detailed 3D maps of the density, speed, and motion of gas in these regions to see how the newborn giants influence their placental material. By doing so, the team hopes to gain insight into how stellar feedback works and to provide new information to refine computer simulations of galaxy evolution.

Because far-infrared instruments need to be kept very cold, many missions carry liquid helium to cool them. ASTHROS will instead rely on a cryocooler, which uses electricity (supplied by ASTHROS’ solar panels) to keep the superconducting detectors close to minus 268.5 degrees – a little above absolute zero, the coldest temperature matter can reach.

The cryocooler weighs much less than the large liquid helium container that ASTHROS would need to keep its instrument cold for the entire mission. That means the payload is considerably lighter and the mission’s lifetime is no longer limited by how much liquid helium is on board.

The team expects the balloon will complete two or three loops around the South Pole in about 21 to 28 days, carried by prevailing stratospheric winds. Once the science mission is complete, operators will send flight termination commands that separate the gondola, which is connected to a parachute, from the balloon.

The parachute returns the gondola to the ground so that the telescope can be recovered and refurbished to fly again.

A division of Caltech in Pasadena, JPL manages the ASTHROS mission for the Astrophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. JPL is also building the mission payload. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland is developing the gondola and pointing systems. (Source: Space Connect)

28 Jul 20. HENSOLDT delivers radar for Bundeswehr counter-UAV system. Spexer 2000 3D proves excellent classification performance of small targets. As part of the German Army’s “qualified air defence” drone defence programme, sensor specialist HENSOLDT is supplying the latest version of its “Spexer 2000 3D” radar to system integrator Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Spexer will be part of the C-UAS system (Counter-Unmanned Aerial System), which is based on Kongsberg’s remote-controlled “Protector” weapon station, both mounted on an armoured GTK “Boxer” vehicle. Initially 10 systems are under contract. Radar deliveries will start at the end of this year to meet the requirements of NATO VJTF (= Very High Readiness Joint Task Force) 2023.

The contract was awarded after a test firing at the Baumholder military training area. The third generation of HENSOLDT’s “Spexer 2000 3D” radar demonstrated outstanding classification performance of small targets in very demanding scenarios. Due to the small radar cross section, high manoeuvrability and high optical reconnaissance performance of these micro-drones, they pose a particular threat to mobile land forces.

The new Spexer radar generation additionally closes the gap in the reconnaissance capability of close-range small targets within ground-based air defence. Parallel to drones, the classic air and ground target catalogue – such as helicopters, combat aircraft, armoured vehicles etc. – can also be detected and classified. These capabilities set new standards in the field of radar-based self-protection.

Of the previous generations of Spexer radar, over 150 systems have already been delivered to customers and are in operational use worldwide.

28 Jul 20. Ground Fire: Production of the latest generation radar for air and ballistic missile defence. The first Ground Fire radar is now in production at the Thales Limours site in Essonne to equip, among others, the French Air Force’s New Generation Medium Range Surface-to-Air System (SAMP/T NG). This fully digital multifunction radar, equipped with advanced anti-air and anti-missile capabilities, is capable of countering a wide range of threats, including ballistic missiles.

Highly mobile, tactical and air transportable, the radar can be deployed in less than 15 minutes, a major advantage in the theaters of operation. It delivers unmatched performance and mobility with 360° coverage in azimuth, up to 90° in elevation, and a 400km range.

Designed to simultaneously detect and track a wide range of stealth targets, drone swarms and to prevent coordinated saturation  attacks, the Ground Fire has an air defence missile guidance capability to intercept high-maneuvering or ballistic targets. Multi-mission, it can be used in various contexts, such as air defence, air surveillance, counter-battery or trajectography.

Ordered in 2019 by the French Procurement Agency, the radar draws on years of engineering and manufacturing development for the Sea Fire, the naval version of the radar selected to equip the Defence and Intervention Frigates of the French Navy. The Ground Fire benefits from Thales’ technological advances in artificial intelligence and cyber security, enabling it to respond perfectly to the fast evolving needs and threats faced by the Armed Forces.

Integrated by Thales at the Limours (in Essone) and Ymare (in Seine-Maritime) sites, the electronic and mechanical subassemblies are developed and produced in partnership with French SMEs such as Sermati and UMS.

27 Jul 20. DroneShield readies AI-driven C-UAS systems for USAF. DroneShield’s first contract win with the US Air Force (USAF) was driven by its use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) products, with plans to further develop the technology across its range in the coming years, the company has told Janes.

The C-UAS specialist announced in late July that it had secured a deal to provide its DroneSentry C-UAS system for use at Grand Forks Air Force Base, with the potential for additional systems to be acquired after the initial deployment.

The system comprises the passive RfONE radio-frequency (RF) direction-finding sensors and DroneCannon soft-kill countermeasure systems, which forces intruding UASs into a fail-safe mode from which they either hover or slowly descend.

The systems will be deployed and operated at the base by the USAF’s 319th Security Forces Squadron (SFS). The use of AI appealed to the customer because of the limited impact that it has on manning while supporting UAS detection, according to DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik.

AI provides several advantages when used with an RF-based system in UAS detection, Vornik told Janes. As RF is essentially a motion tracker and can pick up objects such as birds and moving trees, it may not detect a non-moving target such as a hovering UAS. He explained that AI provides “a smart way of analysing the RF spectrum” to assist with the identification of UASs.

The company will roll out AI across its suite of RF products in the short term, Vornik added, having already installed the technology in other parts of its range. (Source: Jane’s)

22 Jul 20. UK MoD selects Esri UK as its Strategic Geospatial Partner. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a three-year contract to Esri UK to establish its Strategic Geospatial Partnership.   The new Partnership builds on a 20 year relationship between the MoD and Esri UK in which Esri UK has supported land, maritime and air domains with its technology and services. The Partnership will involve Esri UK working with Defence Digital to help deliver an MOD-wide location strategy; a strategy that will enable UK Defence to best use the power of location as a true force multiplier, helping to achieve and maintain Information Advantage.  As part of the Partnership, the MOD will be able to deploy the full suite of Esri’s ArcGIS products to extract insight from location-enabled data in an open, scalable and evergreen manner across its entire information architecture. As well as world-leading Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, Esri UK will also provide a comprehensive package of support services to help bring the location strategy to life.

Maj Gen Richard Spencer, Director Delivery of Intelligence and Expeditionary Services within Defence Digital said, “This Strategic Partnership is an important step in Defence’s digital transformation programme.  The extended use of Esri’s GIS technology will enable us to more easily create, capture, analyse and share location enabled information to make better-informed, data driven, decisions.”

Adrian Friend, Head of Defence, National Security and Public Safety at Esri UK, said, “We look forward to working closely with the MOD to help it bring context to its information strategy and ensure the power of location can be used to improve operational effectiveness.”

Led by the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Charlie Forte, Defence Digital brought together and replaced a number of organisations, including Information Systems and Services (ISS) in 2019. The Defence Digital organisation has an annual budget of over £2bn and a team of around 2,400 personnel including military, civil servants and contractors. The organisation is responsible for making sure that effective digital and information technology (D&IT) is put into the hands of the military and business front line. It is guided by the D&IT Functional strategy.

Esri’s ArcGIS technology provides a framework for gathering, managing and analysing data. It analyses spatial location and organises layers of different types of information into visualisations using maps and 3D scenes. ​This capability reveals deep insights into data, such as patterns, relationships and situations, enabling users to solve complex problems and make informed decisions.

24 Jul 20. Meteksan Defence delivers FAR-AD drone detection radars to Turkey’s armed forces. Turkish defence company Meteksan Defence has delivered Retinar FAR-AD drone detection radars ordered by the country’s Presidency of Defence Industries in 2019.

“The delivery of the Retinar FAR-AD Systems, which successfully completed many different tests such as distinguishing drones from birds, identifying and tracking different drones such as DJI Phantom, TALON, has been realized.  The Retinar FAR-AD Drone Detection Radar, developed by Meteksan Defense, is a radar system against mini/micro unmanned aerial vehicles and threats from land. The Retinar FAR-AD will automatically scan large areas and serve as the primary sensor of the security forces against drones.

“The system, powered by low RF output power in the Ku frequency band, has high-tech solid-state radio frequency design and digital-based radar architecture. Using a customized pulse-compression pulse doppler waveform, the system offers efficient modes of use that can be selected with different wave shapes and different angular rotational speeds by the help of digital radar architecture. The Retinar FAR-AD is not affected by the instant maneuvers of threats thanks to its high rotation speed of 30 rpm and monitors threats successfully.

“The Retinar FAR-AD can detect and track threats with its 40° elevation angle up to 7 km for land targets and mini/micro UAV’s up to 3 km. The Radar gives information on direction, speed, distance (up to 9 km) and orientation of targets through “User Interface Software” to its operator. The system, which can automatically classify the tracking information in tracking mode while scanning, increases classification performance with detailed algorithms in the Target Analysis Mode (Spectrogram Analysis) to resolve resulting uncertainties and improve classification reliability.

For more information

www.meteksan.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

23 Jul 20. Leonardo’s M-346 Fighter Attack Embarks on Maiden Flight Equipped With Grifo Radar.

  • On the 13th July, the M-346 Fighter Attack successfully completed its maiden flight, equipped with an optimised variant of Leonardo’s Grifo radar.
  • Already ordered by an international customer, the M-346FA is a highly cost effective solution for a wide range of operational roles
  • The first M-346FA will be delivered in 2021.

On the 13th July, the operational version of the M-346 Fighter Attack, equipped with an optimised variant of Leonardo’s Grifo radar, successfully completed its maiden flight. The M-346FA is the new light attack variant from the Company’s M-346 Light Fighter Family of Aircraft (LFFA). It offers multirole capabilities with a single platform, cost-effectively delivering both training and combat roles.

Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Managing Director of Leonardo Aircraft, said: “I am extremely pleased with the work we have done to achieve this important milestone and the pace at which we have reached it. With this latest achievement, the most advanced training aircraft available on the market will soon be joined by the more versatile M-346 Fighter Attack. The M-346FA offers all of the advanced training capabilities of the core M-346 while also integrating latest generation sensors and equipment, allowing it to operate as an effective light attack aircraft. We will now continue development as we prepare to deliver the first aircraft to its international launch customer in 2021.”

The aircraft’s primary sensor is Leonardo’s mechanically-scanning, multi-mode Grifo-M-346 radar, a specially-optimised variant developed by Leonardo for the M-346FA. The Grifo-M-346 is a reliable, high performance solution delivering great accuracy. The M-346FA is also protected by a complete Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS), while its high-end, network-centric communications suite which incorporates a Secure Communications system and Tactical Data Link ensures interoperability. The platform can also employ LINK-16 in order to interoperate with NATO forces.

The M-346FA can employ an extensive range of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry (including IR guided, radar and/or laser/GPS) and can be fitted with a gun pod, reconnaissance sensors and target designation pods and electronic warfare, all integrated with a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) system for both pilots.

In the training domain, the M-346FA benefits from all the advanced features of the M-346 trainer, including the ability to integrate into live-virtual-constructive (LVC) environments. This involves linking the real training aircraft in the sky with simulators on the ground and incorporating virtual friendly and opposing forces, allowing trainee pilots to challenge a wide range of tactical scenarios.

The trainer version of the M-346 is currently in service with the air forces of Italy, Singapore, Israel and Poland. (Source: ASD Network)

27 Jul 20. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) has successfully completed a trial deployment of its DroneSentinelTM system at a mid-tier European airport. The trial was managed by Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies. The evaluation is expected to substantially shape the requirements for a large multi-million European airports tender expected to be released prior to year end. Whilst the Company is unable to quantify the tender more precisely, DroneShield expects the project to be material and will in due course provide an update on the dollar amounts to the market, when available.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, has commented, “Airport market is a key segment for DroneShield, following high profile drone-related disruptions such as that has taken place at Gatwick Airport. We are now seeing airports, in particularly in Europe, mobilising their procurement selection processes towards wide rollouts of counterdrone systems. Each individual airport deployment is worth up to a multi-million dollar contract, including upfront and ongoing subscription payments, depending on the airport size and protection requirements. This successful trial forms a critical part of those selection processes.”


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.


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