Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
20 Sep 18. Quanergy Selected as Exclusive LiDAR Partner for VRCO. Quanergy Systems, Inc., a global leader in the design and development of solid state LiDAR sensors and smart sensing solutions, and VRCO, designer and manufacturer of the luxury high-end e-VTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) craft, the NeoXcraft XP2, today announced that VRCO will exclusively use Quanergy’s S3 solid state LiDAR sensors in the testing and market release versions of the aircraft. The NeoXcraft XP2, which VRCO and the University of Derby unveiled in late 2017 and intend to launch in 2020, is a two-passenger e-VTOL high-speed land, air, and water capable craft. The craft can scan and memorize take-off locations and store the data for use on the next approach to the same location. Quanergy’s innovative S3 solid state LiDAR sensor will be used for downward and forward scanning to enhance the craft’s safety, providing the NeoXcraft with the ability to detect, sense, and avoid objects upon takeoff, approach and landing.
“VRCO is pleased with the support from Quanergy, and the use of the S3 LiDAR sensor provides a new level of enhanced safety for the NeoXcraft,” said Michael Smith, chairman of VRCO. “Moving forward, all NeoXcraft will feature the S3 sensors as standard.”
Quanergy’s S3 is the first and only compact, low-cost, automotive-grade solid state LiDAR sensor, with the highest level of performance and reliability. Unlike its mechanical counterparts, the S3 uses optical phased array technology. This technology enables electronic laser beam steering for real-time scanning and situational analysis without any moving parts. The use of this specialized technology will further enhance the safety of the NeoXcraft during take-off and particularly upon landing when high precision is required, as is the case when landing on a superyacht.
“As the autonomous vehicle industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that all types of vehicles be equipped with technology that will give them the necessary level of awareness to keep passengers safe whether they are on the road or in the air,” said Dr. Louay Eldada, CEO and co-founder of Quanergy. “Our S3 solid state LiDAR sensor will give the NeoXcraft the ability to accurately sense and perceive its surroundings while seamlessly integrating into the design of the craft.”
In addition to its technical achievements, the compact design of the S3 enables the sensor to be concealed in the body of the NeoXcraft. This allows for real-time 3D mapping and object detection, tracking and classification, without compromising the aesthetics or aerodynamics of the craft. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 Sep 18. Redkite-I Wide-Area Sensor Passes Final Flight Test Aboard Integrator. Logos Technologies has announced that the Redkite-I, a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system designed for the Insitu Integrator unmanned aircraft system (UAS), successfully completed its final flight test during the last week of August at the Insitu flight test facilities in Boardman, Oregon. The lightweight WAMI sensor successfully demonstrated complete end-to-end functionality, including highly stable imagery, live WAMI streaming, vehicle tracking, and real-time forensics. As a result of this validation, Redkite-I will now be added to the Insitu Inc. catalogue of sensors available for the company’s tactical UAS.
“This is a major milestone, both for us and for Insitu,” said John Marion, President of Logos Technologies. “For the first time ever, customers of the Integrator UAS will be able to have a lightweight WAMI capability with their tactical, unmanned aircraft.”
WAMI systems are very powerful real-time imaging sensors that have typically flown on larger aircraft or aerostats. But thanks to the extensive engineering experience of Logos Technologies, Redkite-I weighs less than 25 pounds, or 11 kg, and is compact enough to be integrated into the payload bay of the Integrator.
When flying at 12,000 feet AGL, the Redkite-I WAMI system:
- Continuously images a city-sized area in real time, with medium resolution;
- Automatically processes imagery for easy cross-referencing and cueing of other sensors;
- Records and stores up to eight hours of WAMI data aboard the UAS; and
- Provides immediate access to multiple areas of recorded imagery for real-time forensic analysis.
Many countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Netherlands, Canada, and Poland, either currently operate or have ordered the Insitu Integrator or its U.S. government cousin, the RQ-21A Blackjack. Now, these customers will have the option to add a world-class WAMI capability to their unmanned aircraft operations in support of critical missions.
“Insitu is proud to work with Logos to solve the ‘soda straw’ problem that has challenged the FMV industry since its inception,” said Don Williamson, Vice President and General Manager Insitu Defense. “Our engineering teams did an outstanding job collaborating to bring new technology that will deliver better results for both our defense and commercial customers.” (Source: UAS VISION)
20 Sep 18. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) unveiled its “Vanguard” radar solution; a multi-function, open architecture system that can be easily scaled and applied to multiple missions and platforms.
“Our Vanguard solution redefines the way we produce radars and the capabilities possible within one flexible, scalable design,” said Paul Kalafos, vice president, surveillance and electromagnetic maneuver warfare, Northrop Grumman. “Vanguard’s modular radar panels are a building block for a multitude of future radar aperture applications.”
With its modular, panel-based structure, each radar panel represents a flexible building block that can be tailored to meet changing mission requirements. Each panel can act independently as its own radar, but can also be connected with the desired number of other radar panels to form one single, larger radar array. Each panel is also field replaceable, creating life-cycle cost savings and preventing long maintenance delays that prevent operation.
Large and small systems alike can use the same Vanguard radar building block, allowing for rapid, cost effective production and maximum system maturity.
Northrop Grumman has conducted more than 10 rigorous test flights and the Vanguard radar continues to exceed expectations and show exceptional stability, reliability and performance.
Crucial modes to the air-to-ground radar mission, including Ground Moving Target Indicator, Dismounted Moving Target Indicator, and Synthetic Aperture Radar mapping were executed successfully in Northrop Grumman’s first test flight of its solution in April 2017. Since that achievement, Vanguard has also shown the ability to rapidly adopt third party software and interface with the Open Mission Suite Battle Management
19 Sep 18. Russian PISHAL Anti-Drone Gun for Military and Civilian Markets. During the ARMY 2018 International Military-Technical Forum, a Russian company called “Avtomatika Concern” (a subsidiary of Rostec state corporation) has introduced an anti-UAV gun called “Pishal” (Пищаль – a Russian word meaning the very early hand cannons). Interestingly, this weapon system will be sold both in the military/LE and civilian markets.
According to RIA Novosti news agency, the company officials informed them that starting from 2019 Pishal anti-drone guns will be supplied to various Russian law enforcement and military units. Currently, they are setting up the mass production of this weapon system in Kaluga Electromechanical Plant. Reportedly, this anti-UAV weapon has been successfully tested in combat. The representative of Concern Avtomatika said that in July 2018, this weapon was used to successfully prevent more than 20 UAV attacks. I assume the testing of Pishal anti-drone gun has been conducted in Syria.
TASS, another Russian news agency, reports that these weapons will be also available in the domestic civilian market. Presumably, it can be used for protecting private properties from attempts of UAV intrusions. It is unknown if the civilian and military/LE versions will be the exact same devices or they will have different specifications.
The way Pishal works is it interrupts the connection between the UAV and control station. It is said to have an effective range of up to 2,000 meters and can work in frequencies from 600 MHz to 6,000 MHz. Pishal weighs three kilograms (about 6 lbs 10 oz) which makes it quite lightweight for use by a single operator. It is also advertised to be harmless for the operator. (Source: UAS VISION/TFB)
18 Sep 18. IAI eyes UK AEW&C opportunity. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has expressed hope that the United Kingdom will launch an open tender for a new airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for the Royal Air Force (RAF), Jane’s was told on 18 September. IAI’s subsidiary, Elta Systems, has been holding a preliminary dialogue with a number of UK defence companies that could act as local partners in any potential future contract, a senior Elta executive said. Elta Systems supplied two Gulfstream 550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning (G550 CAEW) aircraft to Italy in 2016, which the company believes puts it in a strong position for any potential UK tender. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Sep 18. Northrop Grumman rolls out new open, modular ISR system. Northrop Grumman’s newest air-to-ground surveillance radar, known as Vanguard, is designed around a single small panel that makes the system modular, scalable, and repairable on the flight line. The approach has enabled Northrop Grumman to have wide-band capability on a tile, Curtis Pearson, the company’s director of strategic captures for missions systems and lead for Vanguard radar, told Jane’s. The first instantiation of Vanguard was around X- and Ku-band, wide area surveillance long-range capability in inclement weather, able to do short-range tracking of targets. Vanguard was designed using commercial components to keep the cost down and to prevent diminished manufacturing sources from being a problem. The Vanguard radar comprises a series of one square-foot-sized modules that can be swapped in and out. Pearson noted the one square-foot-sized panel building blocks provide flexibility in how installation would be done on an aircraft or a pod. Designing this as a modular system enables Northrop Grumman to build larger radar systems on a shared production line with the AN/APG-81 and APG-83, the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) system.
“We can use the same processes, the same production facilities, and the same equipment, to build these large systems as we do our smaller higher volume systems,” Pearson said. “That essentially allows us to build on hot production lines, reduces learning curves, reduces start-up times, and start-up cost, allows us to share test facilities, and be able to test faster and in smaller pieces rather than having to wait until the whole thing is built.” Additionally, he said the design makes Vanguard easy to repair.
“We have gotten to where instead of replacing an entire antenna we can replace panels and actually do that right on the flight line,” Pearson said. “We don’t have to pull the entire antenna out and take it back to the factory to repair it and recalibrate.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Sep 18. Logos Technologies’ WAMI sensor now available for Integrator UAS. Logos Technologies announced that its Redkite-I, a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system, completed its final Integrator unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flight test and will now be added to Insitu’s catalogue of sensors available for the tactical UAS. John Marion, the president of Logos Technologies, said the completion of the flight test programme is a major milestone for Logos Technologies and Insitu.
“For the first time ever, customers of the Integrator UAS will be able to have a lightweight WAMI capability with their tactical, unmanned aircraft,” he said in a statement. The company initially flew its WAMI sensor aboard Integrator in February 2017. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Sep 18. Russian REX-1 Counter-UAV System Revealed. Images from Russia’s major ‘Vostok 2018’ exercise on 13 September appear to show a production version of the REX-1 counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) weapon in use by Russian Federation airborne troops.
The REX-1 is a rifle-like, man-portable jammer developed by Kalashnikov Group subsidiary ZALA Aero Group and first seen at a Russian defence exhibition in 2017. It does not appear to have a kinetic kill mechanism, relying on the jammer’s ability to cut the UAV off from its operator, communications bearer, and autonomous navigation capability to neutralise the threat. Specifications data indicate that it operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz ranges, which are commonly associated with wireless and mobile telephone operations, as well as global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), such as BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS and GPS. (Source: UAS VISION/Jane’s 360)
17 Sep 18. EPE, Thales and D13 to Integrate C-UAS capability into Bushmasters. At the Land Forces Exhibition in Adelaide, EPE, Thales and Department 13 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) following successful integration of the MESMER Counter Drone solution into the Bushmaster. The MOU outlines the intent for this solution to provide an interim cyber capability for the vehicle platform. Drones have become a persistent and pervasive threat to deployed members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), with insurgents using cheap commercial drones to survey defensive positions, assess the disposition of troops as well as deliver munitions and IED’s with disturbing ease and accuracy. Troops deploying from Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) need the ability to deny enemies the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) without impacting friendly radio frequencies (RF). This has prompted EPE, Department 13 and Thales to integrate the MESMER Counter UAS (C-UAS) capability into the Bushmaster as an innovative prototype being displayed at the Land Forces Conference in Adelaide.
The Thales Bushmaster is combat proven, offering high protection and mobility. It has been successfully deployed by three armies on operations in the Middle East, Africa and Pacific. On-going design enhancements, a wide range of user selectable mission equipment and mature through life support have ensured that Bushmaster continues to offer leading capability to meet emerging threats and evolving customer requirements. The Thales Integral Computing System (ICS) is an example of this, implementing a network-based architecture to centrally host all applications in the vehicle and enable the integration of new technologies to combat evolving threats.
Warwick Penrose, EPE Director said ‘The integration of the MESMER Counter Drone capability into the Bushmaster completed in 3 weeks demonstrates that EPE and Thales can successfully work together to meet tight deadlines. The success of this prototype further supports our short-term plans to establish an advanced manufacturing capacity in Australia to deliver sovereign capability.’
MESMER employs protocol manipulation techniques to manage a single or swarm of UAS. It detects and identifies drone signals using Radio Frequency (RF) protocol signatures. Protocol manipulation then enables MESMER to take advantage of weaknesses inherent in digital radio systems allowing safe mitigation of threats. This low power, surgical approach has several advantages over kinetic energy or jamming techniques, both of which can have collateral impacts on untargeted nearby assets and friendly RF systems. MESMER’s software defined architecture allows it to be constantly updated in response to evolutions in current UAS threats and emerging capabilities. This flexible software defined architecture also enables it to be seamlessly integrated into the Thales ICS. (Source: UAS VISION)
13 Sep 18. Argentina’s INVAP develops and tests new ISR platform. Argentina’s INVAP has developed a prototype intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) pod mounted on a Laviasa PA-25-235 Puelche light aircraft prototype. The system consists of a gyro-stabilised turret, developed by local company FixView, that is equipped with a TV camera, infrared camera, and laser rangefinder. It has an onboard computer with software developed by INVAP to process and geo-locate the images. The prototype aircraft was equipped with a SkyLink HD antenna from Troll Systems that is capable of sending the images and all data in high resolution from up to 100 km away. The antenna’s C100 computer is connected to another computer installed on a front-seat console. A large display is also installed on the console for the system operator to control the turret. The project was established after the Argentine Security Ministry requested that the capability be tested on the Federal Police’s MBB Bo-105 helicopters operating over Buenos Aires. It is now being tested on a fixed-wing aircraft to make it available for a wider range of platforms. INVAP is also offering it to the Argentine Air Force for its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Sep 18. Integrated rotary joint and slip-ring assembly lowers profile of Ka-band satellite-on-the-move antenna systems. Link Microtek, the manufacturer of RF and microwave subsystems and components, has introduced a compact new integrated rotary joint and slip-ring assembly (RJSA) for use in the stabilised antennas of both commercial and military Ka-band satellite-on-the-move (SOTM) communication systems. These systems are deployed on mobile ground vehicles, ships or aircraft to provide broadband network access for high-data-rate applications such as real-time high-definition video or transmission of telemetry data. By combining the functions of the microwave rotary joint and slip ring into one device, the new AM28RJDSR integrated assembly helps SOTM system manufacturers with the key design consideration of minimising the height of their antenna radomes. This dual-channel unit uses a central 27.5-31.0GHz channel, implemented in WR28 waveguide and K-type coax, for transmitting RF signals with a power of up to 40W, while a DC-2.15GHz SMA coaxial outer channel is provided for L-band receive signals. The integrated slip ring conveys electrical power from the SOTM system’s stationary pedestal to components on the rotating side, including motors, encoders and GPS receivers. The RJSA offers excellent microwave performance, with a VSWR of 1.3:1 and a typical insertion loss of just 0.5dB on the transmit channel. The receive channel has a power rating of 1W, a VSWR of 1.5:1 and a typical insertion loss of 0.4dB. Isolation between the channels is specified as -25dB. Designed for lock-on and dither operation with 360-degree rotation in both directions, the device is fabricated from lightweight aluminium and is suitable for use in ambient temperatures ranging from -40 to 60degC. In addition to the AM28RJDSR, Link Microtek is able to offer RJSAs to meet customers’ particular requirements including, for example, configurations suitable for Ku-band and X-band applications.
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.