Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
29 Aug 18. Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd (www.blighter.com), a British designer and manufacturer of electronic-scanning (E-scan) radars and surveillance solutions, will showcase its range of e-scan micro-Doppler ground radars and the military grade counter-UAV AUDS system at MSPO 2018, an international defence industry exhibition which takes place in Kielce, Poland from 4-7 September 2018. Blighter Surveillance Systems is partnering at MSPO with its in-country security systems integrator Linc Polska to highlight its range of maintenance free solid-state passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radars. Blighter radars are already deployed in 35 countries to deliver round the clock all-weather protection along borders, for coastal facilities, at military bases, and to guard critical national infrastructure such as airports, oil and gas facilities and palaces. The Blighter B202 Mk 2 man-portable battery-operated radar will be on display at MSPO on stand G55. It is designed for rapid deployment (wide area detection can be up and running in a matter of minutes) from transport backpacks by foot patrol or from a vehicle for use in remote border surveillance, temporary camp protection, forward reconnaissance and other covert operations.
This radar provides rapid detection and location of moving targets. For example, it can detect a crawler at 1.5 km (0.9 miles) and a moving vehicle at 8 km (5 miles). The radar is tripod mounted, integrates seamlessly with infra-red sensors to automatically cue a camera to enable the operator to identify any target. For fully covert operation, the radar is also available as part of Blighter Explorer Nexus with an integrated visible and infra-red thermal imaging camera system, a Windows HMI, covert eyepieces and optional rugged laptop. Blighter’s air security and drone detection capabilities will also be on display at MSPO on stand D43 as the Blighter A400 series radar is an integral part of the AUDS system, the world’s leading fully integrated military grade detect-track-identify-defeat counter drone solution.
The AUDS system, already successfully deployed by several governments, including US forces, was developed in 2015 by a consortium of UK defence companies including Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems. The AUDS system has an intuitive interface, is operable by a single user, and can detect, track, identify and defeat a drone in approximately 15 seconds at a range of up to 10 km or six miles.
Mark Radford, CEO, Blighter Surveillance Systems, said: “MSPO provides an opportunity for Blighter to showcase our products to tens of thousands of visitors from 27 different countries and to support Linc Polska, our in-country partner. We are also presenting a paper at the event on the advantages of electronic scanning surveillance radar for ground and air security applications.”
Blighter radar solutions are used by the U.S. military and the British Army for force protection, and in numerous asset protection and border security applications, including monitoring the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), a buffer zone which runs 250 km across the Korean peninsula and separates North and South Korea, on the US Southern border, and in several Middle Eastern countries.
Blighter Surveillance Systems delivers an integrated multi-sensor package to system integrators comprising the Blighter radars plus cameras, thermal imagers, trackers and software solutions. Its ITAR-free systems are used worldwide in commercial, government and defence markets in area and asset protection for national border security, homeland security, critical infrastructure protection such as oil and gas facilities, coastal surveillance, and in military applications.
Blighter Surveillance Systems is partnering with in-country security systems integrator Linc Polska (www.linc.pl) at international defence exhibition MSPO, in Kielce, Poland from 4-7 September 2018. The company will be on stand G55 with Linc and on stand D43 as part of the AUDS consortium (www.auds.com).
29 Aug 18. CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd. – a company specializing in the field of Electro-Optics (EO) and InfraRed (IR) defence and surveillance technologies – has partnered with eCastle Australia for the marketing of its leading edge EO/IR defence and homeland security solutions.
According to Mr. Ra’anan Shelach, CONTROP’s VP Marketing, “CONTROP sees eCastle as a strong and committed partner in establishing our position in the country, marketing our products, and developing the Australian EO/IR market. “CONTROP’s extensive experience and operationally-proven products – together with eCastle’s SME position as a Command & Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) integrator will help position CONTROP’s products as part of wider C4ISR solutions for protection of defence bases, Home Affairs and Australia’s borders and key infrastructure.”
CONTROP will present SPEED-ER and SIGHT-HD at the company’s stand at Land Forces 2018.
SPEED-ER is an ultra-long-range observation system for land applications providing excellent detection, recognition and identification performance for coastal and border protection. The system’s 3 channels – Visible, Thermal, and Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) – deliver capabilities unique to the industry. Overcoming poor visibility, the SWIR system provides sharp, clear, high-resolution pictures, even in conditions of haze, dust, rain or high humidity, at any hour of the day or night. The gyro-stabilisation and the image processing algorithms achieve high resolution and unmatched quality at very long ranges. Applications include border, coastal, and perimeter surveillance; protection of critical infrastructures and force protection.
SIGHT-HD is a gyro-stabilized targeting sight for Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) and Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) with unique capabilities and performance that are ideally suited for these platforms and weapons systems. Due to its cutting-edge technologies, SIGHT-HD ensures fast target assessment and precision engagement, day and night, under the most severe conditions. The mechanical and digital design provides a very high pointing accuracy, Line of Sight (LOS) measurement accuracy, LOS repetition, and high gun impact shock survivability, as well as dual angle-measuring sensor on each axis. It also maintains boresight in conditions of extreme shocks and vibrations. Applications include force protection, border surveillance, perimeter protection, route clearance, air defence, and ISR observation. At 13kg, the low-weight payload is easily installed on any type of vehicle or remote weapon station.
Mr. Shelach concluded, “SPEED-ER and SIGHT-HD, as well as CONTROP’s other solutions, are ideal for the region’s mission needs. We are confident that our partnership with eCastle will lead to expanded cooperation with the Australian defence and homeland security markets.”
eCastle is an Australian company (SME) operating out of Canberra. The Company provides specialised engineering and integration support to military C4ISR programs, with clients including government and homeland security agencies. eCastle is also the in-country agent, integrator and distributor for the AGIS LifeRing Command and Control system currently in service in Defence and under consideration by a number of Home Affairs departments.
About CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd.
CONTROP specialises in the development and production of electro-optical/infrared and precision motion control systems for surveillance, defence and homeland security. CONTROP’s main product lines include: Gyro-stabilised observation payloads for day/night surveillance onboard UAVs, small UAVs, aerostats/balloons, helicopters, light aircraft (A/C), maritime patrol boats, ground vehicles and remote weapon stations; Automatic intruder detection systems for coastal and border surveillance, port/harbor security, critical infrastructure and forward operations base security. CONTROP’s products are in daily operational use in many countries in both homeland security and defence-related programs worldwide.
28 Aug 18. F-35 Helmet Bug Means Only Expert Pilots Can Do Night Carrier Landings. The Navy is close to fixing a technical bug in the sophisticated F-35 Joint Strike Fighter helmet that amounts to a dangerous hindrance for aviators attempting to land in the black of night on a moving aircraft carrier. F-35C pilots describe the bug as a green glow created by the LED technology in the Generation III helmet-mounted display, which spills over and prevents them from seeing a carrier’s lights at night.
“At night on carriers is about the darkest you can get when there is no moon,” Cmdr. Tommy “Bo” Locke, commander of Navy Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 told a group of defense reporters in the flight hangar on the Abraham Lincoln Monday.
For a week now, Locke’s squadron has been participating in Operational Testing I, a milestone that represents the first time the F-35C Lightning II has joined in regular carrier flight operations at sea. The Navy has attempted to fix the helmet problem with software upgrades to allow pilots to dim the green glow, but so far, only the most seasoned F-35C pilots are allowed to make carrier landings at night. Currently, to be qualified to land on the carrier in the dark without fixes to the F-35 helmet, pilots need 50 carrier landings, officials said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Military.com)
27 Aug 18. MoD to ‘Anglicise’ Boeing Wedgetail jets after £2bn deal with US firm aroused British companies’ anger. Defence chiefs who have been criticised for buying American “Awacs” airborne radar aircraft from Boeing and failing to run an open competition are trying to head off the row by “Anglicising” the aircraft with British-made components. The RAF wants to replace its worn-out fleet of E-3D “Sentry” aircraft and is understood to be poised to agree a deal with the US aerospace giant for its E-7 “Wedgetail” jets. However, the E-7 has very little UK content, meaning British companies will hardly benefit from the £2bn deal. Rival defence companies are furious that the contract has not been opened to competition, though others say the E-7 is already combat proven and other products could take years to develop. Now MoD bosses are understood to be working with Boeing to load up the six E-7s expected to be ordered with UK-made parts to make the sale politically acceptable. It was expected the deal would be revealed around July’s Farnborough airshow. However, the contract is understood to have been pushed back partly because of attempts to add British content. RAF personnel are already training on the E-7 with the Australian airforce, which has the jet in service.
The MoD has been previously been attacked for handing Boeing multi-billion pound contracts without opening them to companies which would carry out work on them in the UK. Recent examples include P-8 spyplanes and Apache helicopters ordered by the MoD. Attempts to drive work into the UK are thought to include Cambridge-based Marshall converting the Boeing 737 airliner the E-7 is based on to military specification. Major maintenance work once the aircraft join the RAF could also be done in the UK, rather than flying them back to the US. However, defence insiders have questioned the value of the MoD’s moves.
“It’s like making the toilet doors for foreign-built train,” said one. “None of the high-value, high-skilled work will be here, meaning British industry loses out again to Boeing.”
MPs on the Defence Select Committee have warned the MoD against “buying off the shelf” from Boeing without running a competition.
Chairman Julian Lewis said: “If the MoD’s procurement record was one of unalloyed success they could argue relying on their judgment rather than a competition is reasonable. That’s not the case and it’s wholly unreasonable to exclude viable alternatives.”
A Boeing spokesman said: “We work with our UK supply chain, government and military partners to provide critical capability, UK content, UK exports, skills and value for money.”
The MoD said a decision on an AWACS “will be taken in the best interests of national security in the face on intensifying threats after full consideration. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.” (Source: News Now/www.telegraph.co.uk)
27 Aug 18. China in Race for C-UAS Tech and Laser Weapons. China is moving to develop laser weapons and counter-drone systems as it tries to catch up with the United States on unmanned aerial vehicle technology to boost its intelligence and attack capabilities, according to military analysts. That includes systems to protect its drones so that they are less vulnerable to lasers and spoofing techniques that send false information to UAVs. One system under development is Silent Hunter, a portable drone-killing laser weapon that is said to have a firing range of up to 4km and was demonstrated at a defence conference in Abu Dhabi in February. Poly Technologies, the company behind the Chinese counter-drone system, said it could pierce five layers of 2mm-thick steel plates from a distance of 800m, or 5mm plates from 1km away. But experts say the US anti-drone systems are more advanced than China’s, and they have a bigger range and more types of sensing technology available from a greater number of companies. The US has more than 60 counter-drone systems or products that use radar, radio frequency, electro-optical and acoustic detecting and tracking to intercept enemy drones and either stop them, hijack their communication link or destroy them with lasers or projectiles, according to a report by the Centre for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in New York in February.
Its latest acquisition is a high-power microwave counter-drone system, which the US Army earlier this month said it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin, according to the company’s website. The system is a laser weapon that is carried by an aircraft and can shoot airborne drones, and has more attack power than ground-based or handheld weapons. China, meanwhile, has less than 20 such systems and mainly relies on conventional means like radar to detect drones – and it does not have any spoofing or nets to counter incoming UAVs, according to the report and mainland media. Jamming systems appear to be the most popular way to counter drones in China. But analysts say China is starting to catch up, with a number of companies and institutions joining the race to research counter-drone technology, including China National Nuclear Corporation, NovaSky and the Beijing Institute of Technology. New systems might not be publicly announced or demonstrated though, according to Kelvin Wong, an aerospace analyst with IHS Markit.
“I believe that there are many more state-owned and private Chinese firms as well as research institutions that have enter the counter-UAS [unmanned aircraft system]/UAV market,” Wong said.
Arthur Holland Michel, from the Centre for the Study of the Drone, said those in the race all had a chance of coming up with the next big thing in counter-drone systems.
“Given that we are talking about an emerging technology, it is plausible that a small start-up might come up with a brilliant solution that completely dominates the market – the way that DJI, a Chinese start-up, has become a market leader in the consumer drone sector,” he said.
Brett Velicovich, a US army veteran and drone expert, said the industry was making such rapid advances that no single weapon would be 100 per cent effective against every type of drone in every situation – the technology simply could not keep up, and that was a challenge everywhere.
“The problem largely comes from the fact that the current state of drone technology is moving at such a rapid pace, that these counter-drone systems are nearly obsolete by the time they are tested, ” he said.
Velicovich added that the best approach was a multipronged strategy combining different interception techniques. He said acoustic detection – where a drone is picked up by its unique sound, triggering a system to eliminate the threat – was one area where more research was needed.
WAYS TO INTERCEPT A DRONE
- Radio frequency jamming
Disrupts the radio frequency link between the drone and its operator by generating large volumes of RF output. Once the RF l
ink is severed, a drone will either descend to the ground or return home.
- GNSS jamming
Disrupts the drone’s satellite link, such as to a GPS (global positioning system) or GLONASS (global navigation satellite system). Once the navigation direction is lost, a drone will hover, land or return home.
The drone’s communications link is hijacked to take control of it.
Destroys vital parts of the drone, causing it to crash to the ground.
Entangles the targeted drone and/or its rotors.
Ammunition – regular or custom-designed – is used to break or destroy an incoming unmanned aircraft.
- Combined interdiction elements
Uses several C-UAS (counter-unmanned aircraft systems) together – most commonly, RF and GNSS jamming systems that work in tandem.
Top photo: The developer of counter-drone system Silent Hunter said its beam can cut through five layers of 2mm-thick steel plates from a distance of 800m, or 5mm plates from 1km away. (Source: UAS VISION/South China Morning Post)
27 Aug 18. First Full Dome 3D Counter-Drone Radar. The latest in a line of counter-drone radars from SpotterRF is the revolutionary 3D-500. The 3D-500 is the first radar that creates a full dome drone detection area from 0 to 90 degrees in the vertical and 360 degrees in the horizontal with a single radar that weighs 12 pounds. The 3D-500 radar measures latitude, longitude and altitude of all aerial targets in a 1 km wide hemisphere dome, even directly above the radar with no gaps in coverage. Rapid threat assessment is simple with the automatic detection and 3D tracking of sUAS combined with fully automated camera cueing on the target. Manpower and cost are both reduced with this system while mitigating the threat of undesired aerial presence.
Limitations of Current Solutions
Current solutions are limited in their technical capabilities. Optical and thermal sensors don’t have large enough fields of view to detect targets in the sky. Additionally, they are affected by daily weather conditions, further reducing detection probability. Acoustic sensors are prone to noise pollution and are not able to provide precise tracking of targets. They can be limited in range, often only able to detect several hundred feet out. Radio transmission detection systems are typically limited to known frequencies and cannot detect sUAS that are not being actively controlled by an RF signal. Other radar systems range from large rotating radars with limited vertical coverage leaving large gaps above the radar, to systems that require many different radar panels to be used simultaneously increasing the complexity and the cost.
SpotterRF is now offering a full drone mitigation system based on the 3D-500. The 3D-500 Counter-UAS System consists of the following: the compact 3D-500, a long-range optical/thermal camera, a small networked hub containing power management and integration software, and an optional mitigation component – often a directional RF jammer on a pan/tilt turret to make even threat response automated.
Using the Full SpotterRF System
Using this system is extremely easy and simple. A typical scenario goes as follows: an sUAS approaches the site and enters the 500 meter detection radius of the radar; the 3D radar automatically detects the target and tracks its location in midair, triggering an alarm to the operator; simultaneously, the PTZ camera is cued automatically to the target in real-time; the operator glances at the screen and assesses the threat in just a few seconds; then a decision to activate the directional RF jammer may be made; triggered, the communication from the controller is actively jammed, which typically sends the sUAS back to the pilot removing the threat from the area; the pilot can then be located and detained. Alternatively, the jammer can be set to automatically apply its threat mitigation protocols if no operator is present to assess the situation.
To analyze the threat of the sUAS, the operator must only look at the screen. The tracking software displays a map of the location of the threat and generates a real-time track of the target as it is detected by the radar. Target information such as GPS position, altitude, and speed is gathered and displayed on the screen. Artificial intelligence is applied to this data to create greater efficiency in identifying which targets are sUAS while filtering out more than 95% of other clutter, such as birds.
Taking the 3D-500 to the Mobile Arena
Compact radar technology also allows for mobility of the entire system. Weighing only 12 pounds, the flexibility of the 3D-500 makes it capable of being set up nearly anywhere in a manner of minutes. Within a couple hours it can be calibrated, configured and ready for full system use on top of buildings, on stadiums, prisons or other structures. This makes it ideal for use in quick deployment applications such as sporting events, concerts, VIP events, or mobile force protection.
This solution is unique in the industry in nearly every aspect. The system is small, has low power usage, and is not affected by inclement weather conditions. It has large volumetric coverage even directly overhead with no gaps in coverage, tracks targets in 3 dimensions, and has high probability of detection with low false alarm rate. The ability to slew-to-cue cameras to midair targets allows for it to be completely autonomous and gives it even greater precision than other solutions which often require unrealistic amounts of manpower. Above all, the 3D-500 system is cost effective, making it perfect for protecting assets and personnel from the growing threat of drones. (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.