Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
28 Aug 20. EOS Defence Systems set to begin Mopoke C-UAS production with a directed energy weapon system. EOS Defence Systems is preparing for full field-demonstrations and production of its Mopoke tactical counter unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) suite, including deployment of an integrated proprietary directed energy capability by the fourth quarter of 2020. Based on the EOS R-Series remote weapon systems (RWS), Mopoke is a fully integrated, scalable C-UAS suite combining specific detection, command and control (C2), and layered hard and soft kill defeat capabilities necessary to acquire, track, and defeat swarming UAS threats.The Mopoke system allows the operators to match kill solutions to large numbers and varying combinations of small and large UASs to ensure that the threat can be mitigated regardless of their direction, numbers, and capabilities while managing the environmental, geographic, airspace, and personnel safety considerations. The system is also optimised to engage and defeat unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) threats.A typical all-up Mopoke C-UAS configuration incorporates direct fire engagement systems, passive and active soft kill electronic warfare (EW) systems, an integrated sensor suite – including pulse-Doppler, software defined radar (SDR), day/thermal camera, laser rangefinder, and radio frequency (RF) detection systems – and an optional directed energy effector. These systems sit together with, and are integrated through, a proprietary C2 and fire control system developed by EOS. The approximate weight of the R400 remote weapon station (RWS)-based Mopoke gimballed beam director is 450kg. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Aug 20. Japan secures first-ever major defense export with Philippine radar order. Japan has concluded its first export sale of major defense equipment, with the Philippines signing a contract for fixed and mobile air surveillance radars to cover potential flashpoints around the country, including the South China Sea.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the contract agreement Aug. 28 in the capital Manila, which will see Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corp. supply three fixed, long-range air surveillance radars and a mobile air surveillance radar to the Philippines.
An announcement made earlier that day by the Philippine Department of National Defense did not specify the radar type, but it had previously been reported that an improved version of the Mitsubishi Electric J/FPS-3 active electronically scanned array radar would be supplied for the fixed sites, along with the J/TPS-P14 mobile radar.
The department added that the radars, which are being acquired under the Horizon 2 Air Surveillance Radar System acquisition project, are expected to be delivered to the Philippines starting 2022.
The deal between the two U.S. allies is significant, as it marks the first time Japan will export complete defense articles after it relaxed self-imposed restrictions on such sales in 2014. Since that time Japan has bid for a number of projects globally without success, with previous Japanese defense-related exports limited to spare parts.
The easing of restrictions on arms sales was part of a push by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reform Japan’s defense posture and boost Japan’s domestic defense industry, driven in part by China’s rapidly modernizing military and increasing assertiveness. Abe announced Aug. 28 that he is resigning from his post due to health reasons.
Mitsubishi Electric was declared the winner for the Horizon 2 Air Surveillance Radar System acquisition project in March following an evaluation conducted by the Department of National Defense. The radars were purchased under a government-to-government deal, with a total contract value of $103.5m.
The radars will be used for surveillance of airspace over the southern portion of the South China Sea, the southern islands of the Philippine archipelago as well as the strategic Benham Rise. The latter is an underwater plateau, 150 nautical miles east of the main Philippine island of Luzon, that is potentially rich in natural resources.
The Philippines is one of six southeast Asian countries that claim parts of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, where China has carried out massive land reclamation and military construction projects on some of the islands and features it has occupied, dwarfing the smaller scale projects undertaken by some of the other claimants. (Source: Defense News)
27 Aug 20. US Army Awards $30m Air Launched Effects Agreements. The U.S Army Contracting Command-Redstone Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium (AMTC) Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Branch awarded ten Air Launched Effects (ALE) Projects totaling $29.75m in support of the Program Executive Office, Aviation’s Unmanned Aircraft System Project Office and Army Future Command’s Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team (FVL CFT).
The ten projects are categorized into three Air Launched Effects lines of effort: air vehicle, mission systems, and payloads.
Three projects for ALE air vehicle were awarded to Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC, Northridge, Calif.; Raytheon Company, Tucson, Ariz. and Area-I Inc., Marietta, Ga.
Three Projects for ALE Mission Systems were awarded to L3 Technologies Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah; Rockwell Collins, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, Manassas, Va.
Additionally, four projects for ALE Payloads were awarded to Leonardo Electronics US Inc., Huntsville, Ala.; Technology Service Corporation, Huntsville, Ala.; Raytheon Company, Goleta, Ga.; and Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC, Northridge, Calif.
Air Launched Effects are a critical component of Army aviation’s advanced teaming capability to penetrate, disintegrate, and exploit threat A2/AD, mid-tier Integrated Air Defense Systems and long to medium-range fires in the close and deep maneuver areas. These autonomous air vehicle agreement awards will continue to support the future Multi-Domain Operations battlefield as part of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) ecosystem.
Joseph Giunta, executive director for U.S. Army Contracting Command-Redstone, praises the AMTC consortium in helping the acquisition strategy move forward.
“We have lots of flexibility inside the OTA that allows us to do many things once these technologies are proven and ready to be integrated. We’ve put a lot of tools in place to allow the CFT and PEO to take advantage of the flexibility, reduction in risk and time through this contracting strategy. We’re excited to have that in place and to support our mission partners on an accelerated schedule,” Giunta said. (Source: UAS VISION/US Army)
27 Aug 20. Elbit Systems of America’s intelligent autonomous trailer-mounted surveillance towers selected by CTTSO, CBP. Enhancing situational awareness, autonomy, automation and increasing safety: These advanced technology characteristics are key for those dedicated to protecting the United States. Elbit Systems of America meets these requirements by delivering two variants of intelligent and autonomous trailer-mounted surveillance tower systems, which will reduce operator workload and increase situational awareness and safety. In late 2019, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) selected the company’s Intelligent Trailer Mounted Surveillance Tower solution for use along the U.S. southern border. In April 2020, the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) selected Elbit Systems of America’s Autonomous Relocatable Surveillance Tower system for future deployment by U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
Intelligent Relocatable Long-Range Surveillance Tower
The trailer-mounted system selected by the CBP is a relocatable configuration designed to quickly deploy surveillance capability to examine border areas of increased activity or with land use and environmental concerns. The 80-foot tower system provides superior long-range situational awareness, using integrated, advanced surveillance sensors, including electro-optical and infrared cameras and ground surveillance radars that transmit imagery and locations for items of interest in real time to the TORCH™ Common Operating Picture located at command and control centers and to Agents in the field.
Autonomous Relocatable Surveillance Tower
As part of the CTTSO program, Elbit Systems of America will demonstrate the capabilities of a trailer-mounted, 110-foot tower, equipped with a suite of cutting-edge sensors, in various conditions over the next year. The long-range sensor payload on this tower system consists of a ground surveillance radar, a high-resolution day camera, a thermal camera, and a laser illuminator. The tower’s trailer provides electronic enclosures, security features and a power generator. This trailer-based tower can be quickly deployed to areas-of-interest and set up by users in less than two hours.
The Autonomous Relocatable Surveillance Tower system uses artificial intelligence/computer vision to automatically maintain situational awareness by autonomously detecting, tracking, and identifying items of interest and then sending the information to command and control centers with no operator intervention. This increased level of automation and autonomy reduces operator workload to the point where fewer Agents are needed in the command & control center to surveil larger portions of the border allowing some to return to the field.
Joel Friederich, Vice President of C4I and Homeland Security Solutions at Elbit Systems of America, said: “Surveillance towers are a tremendous resource for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Defense as they provide situational awareness in hard-to-reach or large coverage areas. Our intelligent autonomous relocatable trailer-mounted surveillance towers increase situational awareness, boost safety and reduce the work load of operators by incorporating the latest advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. . These systems are modular and adaptable to operational needs and complement other sensors in the field.”
As a leader in border security solutions, Elbit Systems of America is a long-time partner of the CBP. Currently, more than 50 of the company’s Integrated Fixed Tower systems are deployed across the U.S. southern border, aiding agents.
25 Aug 20. USAF issues $90m contract for counter-drone systems and support. SRC Inc. has won a $90m contract to support the U.S. Air Force’s counter-small unmanned aerial system efforts, the service announced Aug. 24. Under the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, which is not to exceed the $90m ceiling, the Air Force will purchase SRC’s C-sUAS and related components. SRC will also provide upgrades, sustainment, installation support, and design and analysis support. Work on the sole-source acquisition is expected to be completed in August 2028.
SRC will also provide sustainment for its products within the Multi-Environmental Domain Unmanned Systems Application. MEDUSA is a command-and-control system that ties together multiple C-sUAS and related components to detect and take down small drones. The comprehensive MEDUSA program was first installed at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, according to Capt. Brigitte Palacios, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations section officer.
“The c-sUAS mission is pretty unique because it’s still pretty new to the Air Force overall,” Palacios said in a March statement. “Medusa [sic] is a system of advanced technologies used to defeat small drones. The goal is to design a model system that can be rapidly deployable to areas with a significant drone threat to military personnel or resources. ADAB is the test base for this capacity, and will continue to develop the blueprint for c-sUAS operations in the future.”
SRC is the company behind the Fixed Site-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System, one of eight interim C-sUAS approved by the U.S. Army’s Joint C-sUAS Office for investment and deployment across the armed services. MEDUSA was also approved by the office for use across the joint force. And on July 23, the Army awarded the company a $426m contract for the development, production, deployment and support of FS-LIDS. (Source: Defense News)
25 Aug 20. Malaysia to launch competition for drones and manned maritime patrol aircraft. Malaysia is moving ahead with its plans to acquire much-needed manned and unmanned aircraft to enhance maritime security, with the Southeast Asian country announcing that it will be issuing separate tenders for each type.
The Aug. 25 announcement comes in the wake of its coast guard killing a Vietnamese fisherman following a confrontation off the Malaysian coast. And both countries along with China were recently involved in a three-way standoff over oil exploration in a part of the South China Sea claimed by all three nations.
According to the tender announcement, Malaysia is seeking two maritime patrol aircraft and three medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems.
The announcement was sent to “selected embassies” and published in two of Malaysia’s national newspapers as well as the government’s online tender portal. The government said the full tender documents will be available Sept. 3 and that interested parties must submit bids no later than Nov. 26.
This announcement confirms earlier reports that Malaysia will split its requirement for maritime patrol aircraft and maritime UAS into two tranches, with this first tranche coming under the country’s 2021-2025 five-year spending plan.
Under its Capability 55 plan, the Royal Malaysian Air Force has an eventual requirement for four maritime patrol aircraft and six UAS to improve maritime domain awareness.
Potential manned aircraft in the running include Leonardo’s ATR 72MP, Airbus’ C-295, PTDI’s CN-235, Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon and Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ P-1. However, it’s unlikely P-8A or P-1 will be chosen due to their respective costs.
The drone requirement is likely to attract interest from General Atomics with its MQ-9 Reaper; Aviation Industry Corporation of China with its Wing Loong family of systems; Leonardo with the Falco; and Turkish Aerospace Industries’ Anka series.
Malaysia is one of six claimants to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and it has faced other maritime issues such as piracy and smuggling. Despite its desire to bolster its maritime patrol fleet, Malaysia’s fiscal troubles and political uncertainty has stymied efforts to acquire new aircraft. The country has undergone two changes in government since then-Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein gave the go-ahead to acquire a new maritime patrol aircraft type in September 2017. The program has since languished like much of Malaysia’s other defense procurement programs.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force currently operates three Beechcraft B200T King Airs in a maritime surveillance role, while the U.S. government has started deliveries of six Insitu ScanEagle drones to the Royal Malaysian Navy, donated using funding from the U.S. Maritime Security Initiative. The American program aims to improve maritime domain awareness capabilities of partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Malaysia also previously announced it will convert two of its fleet of seven Indonesian-built CN-235 transport aircraft into maritime patrol platforms using funds from the Maritime Security Initiative. (Source: Defense News)
24 Aug 20. Iran Successfully Used Russian-Made Radar to Track US F-35 Jets — Designer. Russian-made radar Rezonans-NE, which Iran purchased to identify and track stealth aircraft and hypersonic targets, successfully spotted and tracked US F-35 fighters near the country’s borders during an aggravation of tensions at the beginning of 2020 following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the deputy CEO of the research center Rezonans Alexander Stuchilin told TASS on Monday.
“At the beginning of 2020 this radar identified US F-35 planes and tracked them,” he said on the sidelines of the international military-technical forum Army-2020. Stuchilin said that he was referring to the “well-known events of the beginning of this year.”
“The radar’s personnel were transmitting information, including the routes of F-35 flights, in clear, thus confirming that it was reliably tracking the planes. For this reason, the opponent did not commit any irreparable actions that might have caused a big war,” Stuchilin said.
He remarked that the Rezonans-NE radar had been on round-the-clock combat duty in Iran for several years.
The situation in the Middle East aggravated sharply after the January 3 US overnight attack near Baghdad airport, which killed the commander of Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Qasem Soleimani. Tehran retaliated on January 8 with an overnight missile strike against two targets in Iraq that were being used by the US military: the Ain al-Assad base and Erbil airport. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
25 Aug 20. Statement dated 25.08.2020 by the Israeli Ministry of Defense on Images Taken by the Ofek 16 Satellite equipped an Elbit Systems high-quality camera. Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Statement: In Preparation for Operational Activity: The Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries Publish Images Taken by the Ofek 16 Satellite Over Syria. On this occasion, the Space Administration of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Israel Ministry of Defense, is also revealing the national infrastructure for the production of space cameras. This infrastructure is shared by the Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems.
Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: “The State of Israel knows how to defend against its enemies both near and far, as well as to protect its citizens everywhere, from any given location. The technological means we develop in the Ministry of Defense together with our industries, are effective and significant tools in maintaining Israel’s security. We will continue to work and promote Israel’s technological advance and edge, an element that is essential in contending with the many challenges we face.”
The engineering teams of the DDR&D and IAI are continuing their work in preparing the Ofek 16 satellite for operational use. For the first time, the Ministry of Defense is releasing images taken by the satellite in recent days. These images were taken over Syria and show the ‘Tadmor’ world heritage site, ancient ruins and the renowned Roman theater.
Ofek 16, which was successfully launched into space last month, is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities. It is equipped with a high-quality camera developed and manufactured by Elbit Systems. The camera has the best performance and weight characteristics available on the market.
Hundreds of millions of NIS were invested in the national infrastructure for the production of space cameras. Shared by the Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems, it includes labs for the production of lenses and mirrors, as well as a vacuum chamber that simulates the conditions in space, and that is used to test the satellite camera before it is launched for its mission.
In the near future, and upon the completion of the ‘in orbit testing’ process led by the DDR&D, IAI, and the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate, the Ministry of Defense will transfer the satellite to IDF Unit 9900 for operational use.
24 Aug 20. Third and fourth RAF Poseidon MRA Mk1 aircraft enter final stages of production. The third and fourth Poseidon MRA Mk1 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) destined for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) are in the final stages of production, the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation announced on 21 August. In a video it tweeted and also placed on its LinkedIn page, DE&S showed aircraft numbers YP173 and YP174 at Boeing’s Renton factory in Seattle, Washington. It tweeted that engineers were fitting mission-specific systems onto the two aircraft before they are completed and handed over to the RAF. The video shows the two Poseidon MRA Mk1s inside the factory alongside relevant mission modules and equipment.
The third Poseidon MRA is scheduled to fly into Kinloss Barracks by the end of October. The fourth aircraft is anticipated to fly into RAF Lossiemouth via Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, before the end of the year after completion of runway repairs at Lossiemouth. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Aug 20. US government issues advisory document describing legal framework applicable to counter drone technology. The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have issued an advisory guidance document to help non-federal public and private entities better understand the federal laws and regulations that may apply to the use of capabilities to detect and mitigate threats posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations.
The “Advisory on the Application of Federal Laws to the Acquisition and Use of Technology to Detect and Mitigate Unmanned Aircraft Systems” provides a brief overview of various provisions of the US criminal code enforced by DOJ, as well as federal laws and regulations related to aviation safety and efficiency, transportation and airport security, and the radio frequency spectrum administered respectively by the FAA, DHS, and FCC.
“As the number of drones in our airspace continue to rise, it is unsurprising that the availability of counter-drone technologies has likewise increased,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “Because these technologies may be presented for sale without a full discussion of important legal requirements, this Advisory steps forward to provide an outline of the relevant legal landscape. By encouraging a common understanding of potentially applicable laws, the Advisory can help foster responsible industry growth and promote public safety.”
The Advisory has been issued at a time when the commercial demand for UAS detection and mitigation is high, but the authority to use those capabilities is far from clear. To date, Congress has given limited authority to only four federal departments – Defense, Energy, Justice, and Homeland Security – to engage in UAS detection and mitigation activities, notwithstanding certain otherwise potentially applicable federal criminal laws. The departments and agencies issuing the Advisory do not have the authority to approve non-federal public and private use of UAS detection or mitigation capabilities, nor do they conduct legal reviews of commercially available products’ compliance with those laws.
The Advisory urges entities to take the advice presented in this Advisory seriously – to consult with counsel and think carefully about the functionality of individual detection or mitigation systems, the way the system operates, and the way the system will be used. A thorough understanding of how a system functions and the applicable law is necessary to ensure that, if UAS detection and mitigation technologies are employed, they will be used effectively, responsibly, and legally.
Although the Advisory is an important discussion of potentially applicable federal law and regulations in this space, it cautions that additional state or local laws may apply, and that entities should further consider the impacts such technology could have on privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights.
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24 Aug 20. FAA issues industry call for airport protection counter-UAS trials. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to identify eligible manufacturers, vendors, and integrators (“offeror(s)”) of UAS detection and/or mitigation technologies/systems in support of the FAA’s Airport UAS Detection and Mitigation Research Program.
According to the text of the tender:
“The FAA intends to evaluate at least 10 technologies/systems that have the ability to detect and/or mitigate UAS in a civil airport environment. Systems that may incorporate several different types of technologies will be counted as one technology/system. The FAA, when possible, will evaluate each technology separately, and collectively as a system. The FAA anticipates that each technology/system will initially be installed at the Atlantic City International Airport (KACY), 3 NJ, and then at one additional airport in the United States. The FAA was expressly excepted from various federal laws that would otherwise present legal implications associated with UAS detection and mitigation activities.
“Any selected offeror(s) must install and support the deployment of its technology/system at KACY as part of Tasks 1 and 2 (defined in the following sections), and one additional airport as part of Task 3. The selected offeror(s) will be responsible for training the FAA on the operation of the equipment, but will not be allowed to operate the technology and/or system during the test and evaluation activities. Any selected offeror(s) system or technology must be able to meet and/or enable FAA to meet all applicable federal regulatory requirements (e.g. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) special authorization(s) and compliance with 14 CFR Part 77) for participation in this research program.
“The period of performance is estimated to be approximately three to four months at KACY, including installation, training, the test and evaluation, and removal of the technology/system. The period of performance at the additional airport will be approximately 14 months, including site surveys, Safety Risk Management Panel support, installation, training, the test and evaluation, and removal of the technology/system.”
The initial deployment could be as early as January 2021, with later deployments happening closer to the end of 2021.
Responsible Agency: Federal Aviation Administration
Solicitation number 692M15-20-R-00004
Deadline: November 2024
For more information
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.