Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
23 Aug 18. Northrop Grumman explores airburst munitions for C-UAS applications. Northrop Grumman Armament Systems Division (NG-ASD) has outlined ongoing efforts to advance kinetic kill counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capabilities and develop a family of networked systems to address unmanned air, land, and maritime threats.
Jay Annis, portfolio director at NG-ASD told Jane’s that the company continues to partner with the US Army and US Air Force to develop and field electronic attack and advanced medium-calibre weapons to address unmanned threats.
NG-ASD has integrated the 30mm Bushmaster M230LF automatic cannon with Liteye’s electronic C-UAS system – developed in partnership with Chess Dynamics and Pratt & Miller – onto a Stryker infantry fighting vehicle to demonstrate how electronic and kinetic attack approaches would work together to neutralise small UAS threats as well as provide increased firepower capability to protect the vehicle and crew from ground threats.
NG-ASD is planning to conduct an end-to-end demonstration of the concept at the US Army’s Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) exercise at Fort Sill by the end of 2018.
“We are developing the capability to pair our C-UAS systems with kinetic attack capabilities, including our chain guns and ammunition and are currently developing a next-generation proximity fuzed airbursting round for the 30mm M230LF chain gun,” Annis said.
“We are working with the US Army to continue to get these systems qualified for fielding,” he added, while confirming the concept and capability had already been demonstrated externally to customers. “Some of those details remain sensitive but we continue to progress that capability.”
Annis noted that the new ammunition would provide extended range for kinetic attack capabilities of C-UAS systems, with the airburst feature providing increased hit probabilities at longer distances against Group 1 UAS targets. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Aug 18. Echodyne Announces FCC Certification of EchoFlight Radar. Airborne detect and avoid sensor poised to accelerate BVLOS flight. Echodyne, the manufacturer of innovative, high-performance radars for securing critical infrastructure and guiding autonomous machines, announced today that it has received FCC certification for its EchoFlight radar. Previously available only for experimental purposes, the airborne detect and avoid radar is designed for integration into a wide-variety of UAS platforms and provides unprecedented combination of C-SWaP, range, and accuracy. For organizations seeking authorization to operate beyond visual line of sight or autonomously, EchoFlight radar is a significant step forward for UAS mission safety.
“Echodyne is excited to receive authorization from the FCC and to make EchoFlight available to the many interested UAS partners in the US,” said Eben Frankenberg, CEO of Echodyne. “Our compact, solid-state, lightweight yet powerful radar offers the ability to scan large volumes of airspace and track other aircraft with sufficient range to maintain safety.”
“Gartner estimates nearly 3 million drones were purchased by consumers and enterprises just last year. We continue to work with NASA and FAA to demonstrate how our airborne radar enables UAS to operate safely among planes, helicopters, and other drones. We believe our EchoFlight radar is one of the key technologies that will enable commercial UAS to conduct missions safely,” adds Frankenberg.
Features of EchoFlight’s high performance radar include:
- Precision beam-steering radar that minimizes collision risk by tracking aircraft locations at all times across a broad field-of-view, even in dense airspace or over cluttered environments;
- Best-in-class, search while track radar that scans just like a phased array but at commercial pricing;
- Compact design with low weight and low power for integration into a wide-variety of UAS platforms; and,
- Long-range, all-weather detection and tracking for Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) missions. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Aug 18. Thales to provide new minehunting system to U.K. Royal Navy. The U.K. Royal Navy has accepted Thales’ newest 2093 mine countermeasures sonar after extensive sea trials. The 2093 variable depth sonar has been in Royal Navy and worldwide service since the 1980s. The current version being adopted by the U.K. is a wideband variant expected to be installed on the Sandown-class minesweeping vessels, Thales said in a news release. The system has undergone 3 months of trials over the summer onboard the HMS Grimsby minesweeper. It is expected to be installed as the standard countermine system aboard Royal Navy ships, according to Thales. 2093 Wideband is a multi-frequency variable depth sonar system designed to detect mines in all depths of water. The sonar receiver and transmitter are part of a towed array which is lowered below the ship by cable cable, which allows it to penetrate oceanic temperature layers. Thermal layers can block or interfere with sonar signals, making depth of the system important for some applications. The system is based off the 2193 hull-mounted system that is in use on the Hunt-class minesweeper and other ships. The system is expected to be widely exported to nations in Asia, the Middle East and Europe that already use similar legacy systems. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/UPI)
21 Aug 18. RADA Electronic Industries Ltd. A leader in the development, production and sale of tactical land radar for force and border protection – that its Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars (MHR), which are embedded in the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Drone Dome counter-drone solution, will be delivered to the British Army in the coming months. These systems will be used to protect from airborne drones some sensitive facilities and sites on which British armed forces are deployed. The British Army is the first customer for this new and advanced Drone Dome system. Several initial systems are being purchased, with additional potential for significant further orders which are expected to materialize in the coming months and quarters. Rafael’s Drone Dome team together with RADA, won the tender published by the UK Ministry of Defense, ahead of Israel Aerospace Industries’ subsidiary Elta and Italian company Leonardo. RADA’s MHR provides 360-degree surveillance and detects the drones at distances of 3-5 kilometers. Signal intelligence system along with electro-optical sensors, provide additional layers of threat classification and identification, while RF jamming provides the soft-kill layer of this solution. Deliveries of this program are expected to be concluded within 2018.
Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, commented, “This win, in view of the advanced competition, demonstrates the leadership of our software defined, multi-mission AESA radars in the fields of VSHORAD (very short range air defense) and C-UAV (counter UAV) warfare. It is the first sale of the Drone Dome solution, after intensive global business development efforts over the past 2 years by the joint team, to a leading global force such as the UK Army. As a result, we expect that sales of these radars, as part of the Drone Dome solution, will gain significant momentum in the coming quarters.”
18 Aug 18. What is this? A screen for ants? What soldiers need for superior data sharing on the battlefield is a tiny screen, a “micro-display” about the size of a postage stamp. It may sound counterintuitive, but Army researchers say that such a miniature screen may be just the thing for delivering vital tactical data in challenged circumstances.
“It’s a size-weight-and-power issue,” said Gene Klager, deputy director for the Ground Combat Systems Division in the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate at CERDEC, the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center. “You mount it on your head, and since it’s closer to the eye you don’t need the larger display. Then it can be small, lightweight and low power.”
The emerging technology was field-tested recently by soldiers at Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence. A tiny head-mounted display would free up soldier to move easily, and quickly deliver visual elements even in low light or in situations with poor visibility. Nor would it require the soldier to glance at a peripheral device or otherwise divert attention away from the forward-facing scene. In addition, the display could improve broad-daylight operations.
“If you’ve ever tried looking at your cellphone on a sunny day, it’s really hard,” said CERDEC electrical engineer David Fellowes in an Army news release. The small-screen module currently under development would be bright enough to overcome this common hurdle.
As envisioned, the micro-display would add an augmented-reality capability to the soldier’s toolkit. “It allows us to overlay information to improve situational awareness ― locations of friendly forces, locations of potential threats and also navigation information,” Klager said. “The soldier can use these points on a display to navigate rather than having to look down at a paper map or look down at the Nett Warrior user device. He has that information in front of him while maintaining heads-up, eyes-out situational awareness.”
The display would draw on sensor inputs from a range of data sources. It might be fed by the Nett Warrior suite and could also draw intelligence from vehicle mounted command-and-control systems. “All that information is already available,” Klager said. “We just want to add that information to what the soldier is already looking at, without the soldier having to look away at some other system.”
The big challenges to getting small
The development team has tackled several technical challenges to shrink screen size by orders of magnitude. Coping with bright sunlight was a major hurdle. Most commercial screen solutions can’t deliver the necessary brightness with the full color and high definition needed to support soldier applications, and commercial cell phone makers are generally focused on making screens bigger, rather than smaller. Thus, a substantial internal development effort was required to overcome the glare issue, Klager said.
Engineers also have pushed for a screen that could deliver data not just legibly, but accurately. “Say we take friendly-force information, which is a two-dimensional grid coordinate. We have to accurately display that in three dimensions, in the real world. That icon has to be accurate,” Klager said. “That is the big challenge in augmented reality, the geolocation of the augmented information. You can’t just display it.”
The team has leaned on digital terrain data, horizon matching and other advanced techniques to ensure the display data correlates correctly to information in the real world.
Finally, developers have worked to ensure that a micro-sized display will still be user friendly. When you’re trying to squeeze vital combat intel onto a very small screen, “it’s about displaying the right amount of information and displaying it effectively,” Klager said. “You have to make the displays user-configurable depending on the user function or preference. Say I was a driver: I’d want to have navigation information available, and perhaps close threats, but I don’t need to see long-range targets. If I were a gunner I’d want to see threats and friendly forces at all ranges.”
CERDEC is now working with PEO Soldier to develop further requirements, and developers say they hope to be fielding the solution within one to two years. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
21 Aug 18. DroneShield’s Product Suite Accepted on GSA Schedule. DroneShield Ltd has announced that its full product suite has been approved for placement on, and placed on, the GSA Schedule. The GSA (General Services Administration) is an agency of the United States government that supplies products for U.S. government offices and operates the Federal Acquisition Service (the FAS). As part of this effort, it maintains the GSA Schedule, which other U.S. government agencies can use to buy goods and services. Procurement managers from various U.S. government agencies can seamlessly make purchases of the products that are on the GSA Schedule, knowing that the terms of such purchases have been preset between the vendor and the GSA. The process is further streamlined through GSA Advantage, an online government purchasing service run by the GSA in order to provide a streamlined and efficient purchasing portal for U.S. governmental agency procurement. The official description of GSA Advantage refers to it as “the Federal Government’s premier online shopping superstore.”
As part of the placement on the GSA Schedule and GSA Advantage for federal procurement, DroneShield’s products have also been approved as qualifying for purchase through GSA Advantage by state and local governments. This is an important step for the Company as it allows any U.S. federal agency and U.S. state and local government agencies, to buy DroneShield’s product seamlessly, from a pre-qualified catalogue of products, without going through a competitive and bespoke process.
DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik commented. “United States federal, state and local governmental agencies are responding to the ever-increasing drone threats by taking proactive measures. The placement of DroneShield’s product suite, including its drone detection and drone mitigation products, on the GSA Schedule and in the GSA Advantage catalogue now allows for instant and pre-approved procurement of the Company’s products by governmental employees with appropriate authority, at a click of a button.” (Source: UAS VISION)
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.