Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
29 Nov 18. UK did not fly Wedgetail rivals, MoD reveals. UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement officials did not carry out test flights in rival Swedish or Israeli products before selecting the Boeing E-7 Wedgetail airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, according to a document released to Jane’s under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on 27 November. The document also reveals that the Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Command Airborne Warning and Control System Capability Sustainment Programme Team, which runs the project to replace the UK’s fleet of six Boeing E-3D Sentry radar aircraft, did not visit any of the factories where the contenders build and integrate their AEW aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Nov 18. Liteye and Northrop Grumman Demonstrate Mobile, Networked, Electronic and Kinetic Capabilities to Counter Unmanned Threat Systems. Liteye Systems Inc., a supplier of Counter Unmanned Systems to the U.S. Department of Defense, participated in the U.S. Army’s MFIX (Manoeuvre and Fires Integration Exercise) event at Ft. Sill, OK, this November.
Together with Northrop Grumman’s M230LF, 30 x 113mm Bushmaster Chain Gun; Liteye’s counter UAS Defense System (known as AUDS), integrated on a Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV), demonstrated an effective solution to counter any Unmanned Air, Ground or Surface threat.
During MFIX, the integrated system demonstrated a passive RF surveillance and self-protect capability to support CUAS while on the move. This capability is an added improvement to the mature detect, track, identify and defeat capabilities found in the current AUDS configuration. Additionally, Liteye worked with Northrop Grumman to integrate with the Army’s Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) network for Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD). These improvements support a fully networked and mobile Counter-UAS kill chain to defeat Class 1 and Class 2 UAS through non-lethal and lethal measures with the AUDS and the Bushmaster cannons.
Liteye Vice President of Business Development, Ryan Hurt, shared how recent improvements to the system allowed a network integrated AUDS to detect, track, identify and defeat UAV’s in different operational environments.
“While on the move, our system integrates a passive RF surveillance capability and omni-directional electronic jam to break contact with a UAS threat. While at the halt, AUDS provides active detection, tracking, identification and a decisive directional electronic defeat of Unmanned Air, Ground and Surface Vehicles,” Hurt explained. “The system can be operated from both fixed locations and mobile platforms. In either case, the operator maintains control over weapon system assignment and that could include the XM914 30mm Bushmaster Chain Gun.”
Northrop Grumman’s M230LF, is a link fed version of the M230 Bushmaster Chain Gun integrated on the U.S. Army’s Apache attack helicopter. During MFIX, the M230 and AUDS systems also demonstrated how it provides operational overmatch through defeating a UAS ground control station identified by AUDS during an engagement scenario. The M230LF also provides the system a future capability improvement path to incorporate advanced ammunition types that Northrop Grumman is developing. (Source: UAS VISION)
29 Nov 18. Elbit Systems launches HattoriX, a new man-packed Fire Support system that for the first time enables Forward Observers (FO) and similarly tasked tactical teams to passively, rapidly and independently acquire Category 1 (CAT-1) targets (Target Location error of few a meters). Operational with an undisclosed client, HattoriX introduces a step change in the effectiveness of target acquisition at the tactical level as it demonstrably both improves survivability and increases the effectiveness of engaging Time Sensitive Targets (TST) while reducing collateral damage. Recent armed conflicts highlighted two major deficiencies that erode the operational effectiveness of target acquisition at the tactical level. The prevalence of laser detection devices makes it alarmingly easier for the enemy to spot and attack target acquisition teams that use emitters based fire support systems; Additionally, the long process presently required to acquire CAT-1 targets impedes engagement of TSTs and negatively affects accuracy as it involves complex calculation in the field and relies on Head Quarters for validation and integration of Command & Control (C2) information. Elbit Systems’ HattoriX remedies both deficiencies enabling safe and rapid acquisition of CAT-1 targets at the tactical level. Featuring payload agnostic mission computer that runs proprietary software, photogrammetry algorithm and an Augmented Reality (AR) overlay of real-time C2 data, HattoriX performs automatic fusion of Geographical Information System (GIS) database, pre-loaded targets data, payload’s visual feed, and C2 information, thereby enabling the tactical user to intuitively issue CAT-1 targets without using any emitters, and seamlessly feed acquired targets and additional target information (image, video, description) into any Battle Management System. Interfacing with any Electro-Optical payload of choice, HattoriX is comprised of a Goniometer, a mission computer, a touch-screen display unit and a lightweight tripod. HattoriX also includes a remote-controlled configuration for extended force protection. Users include FOs, Forward Air Controllers (FAC), Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC), reconnaissance teams, field intelligence and Special Forces.
28 Nov 18. Logos Technologies Demonstrates its Redkite Airborne, Wide-Area Sensor in the Netherlands. Officials get a first look at how the Redkite WAMI system can support their diverse ISR missions. Logos Technologies announced today that it successfully demonstrated its Redkite wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) sensor to a large number of representatives from several Defence, Security, Law Enforcement, and Civilian agencies in The Netherlands in partnership with AEC Air Support BV at their Bosschenhoofd airfield. The flights mark the first time any European government officials have seen the lightweight WAMI system in operation. Redkite platform-agnostic pod, with on real-time board processing. Housed in a platform-agnostic pod, Redkite has been specifically designed to support a wide variety of defense, border security, public safety, and humanitarian assistance missions. At the AEC Air Support facility, Redkite was integrated onto a Stemme S-15 powered glider in combination with a Wescam MX-15 full motion video (FMV) turret camera, and the complete system was demonstrated for several days.
“The opportunity to partner with such a highly respected company as AEC Air Support, and be able to demonstrate the Redkite WAMI system to so many representatives from different government agencies of The Netherlands was tremendous,” said Alan Murdoch, VP of International Programs for Logos Technologies. “Briefing charts can communicate only so much information. For our guests to be able to see how small the Redkite sensor really is, how easy it is to integrate and operate, and how powerful WAMI can be in operation, was invaluable.”
Weighing less than 35 pounds (16kg) in the pod format, Redkite continuously images a city-sized area, or 12 square kilometers, in medium resolution, all at once. It automatically processes the images into an orthorectified, georegistered, time-referenced series of images (a “video”), which is refreshed twice a second. This allows WAMI operators to detect and track all significant movers in the entire scene.
The Redkite system can record and archive up to 8 hours of imagery in the airborne sensor pod, as well as provide multiple WAMI operators on the ground immediate access to all imagery—allowing them to perform real time forensic analyses that can uncover previously unknown activities, relationships and/or locations of interest.
Additionally, should an operator need a closer look at a specific location in real-time, Redkite can also semi-automatically task other sensors on the aircraft, such as the FMV turret camera, while continuing to maintain situational awareness of the whole area.
“We are excited to work with Logos Technologies to bring their state-of-the art WAMI sensor capability to our customers here in Europe,” said Michel Versteeg, CEO of AEC Air Support BV. “The Logos WAMI technology adds a tremendous complimentary capability to our company’s portfolio.”
As part of its family of WAMI sensors, Logos Technologies also offers the Redkite-I, which has been specifically designed to integrate into the Insitu Integrator Group 3 UAS and has completed final flight testing with Insitu earlier this year. The Redkite series of WAMI sensors offers an unparalleled complimentary ISR capability to a wide diversity of users worldwide.
27 Nov 18. South Korea to buy Israeli early warning radar to deter North despite thaw. South Korea plans to buy two Israeli early warning radar systems, it said on Tuesday, as it reinforces air defences against North Korea despite fast-improving relations. The decision to adopt the two Green Pine Block C radar systems, built by ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, was made at a defence acquisition committee, Seoul’s arms procurement agency, DAPA, said. DAPA did not specify the value of the order, but an official at the defence ministry put it at 330bn won (228m pounds), saying the systems would be deployed in the early 2020s.
The project is intended to boost South Korea’s capabilities to “detect and track ballistic missiles from a long distance at an early stage”, DAPA said in a statement. It did not mention North Korea. But South Korea’s defence ministry said last December it would buy additional early warning radars after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile and declared completion of the “state nuclear force” a month earlier.
Reclusive North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
North Korea has for years pursued nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of U.N. sanctions. But the two Koreas moved to defrost their relations this year, clinching a comprehensive military agreement at their summit in September in Pyongyang aimed at defusing military tensions around the heavily fortified border.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to work towards denuclearisation at their landmark June summit in Singapore, but the agreement was short on specifics and negotiations have made little headway since. (Source: Reuters)
27 Nov 18. UTC Develops World’s Highest Resolution SWIR Camera. United Technologies Corporation (UTC) has delivered four high-resolution shortwave infrared (SWIR) cameras to the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR). These will be part of a unique payload for the RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial system (UAS). Under a contract with the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), UTC Aerospace Systems’ Sensors Unlimited business has developed the world’s highest resolution indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) Near Infrared/Shortwave Infrared (NIR/SWIR) imaging sensor. The new sensor includes a 16 megapixel photo-detector array on a 5 micron pitch, providing roughly 16 times more detail than the company’s existing high definition sensor, released in 2012, which has a resolution of 1.3 megapixels. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The first-of-its-kind sensor is hybridized to a matching silicon CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) read-out integrated circuit and packaged into a hermetically sealed focal plane array. Imaging electronics were also designed and developed to integrate the focal plane array into a complete imaging camera.
Per ONR’s requirement, the sensor is compatible with the RQ-21A payload SWAP (Size, Weight and Power) envelope and offers the following capabilities:
- High coverage rate spectral sensing in the SWIR band
- Ability to continuously monitor a wide area activity at a resolution (temporal and spatial) consistent with dismount detection/tracking
- High fidelity inspection sensing in both of the above collection modes
- Autonomous identification of objects, behaviours and materials of interest with accuracy rates high enough to enable a useful real-time dissemination of information directly to warfighters
UTC Aerospace Systems developed the sensor for the U.S. Navy’s Spectral and Reconnaissance Imagery for Tactical Exploitation (SPRITE) program and has delivered four prototypes to the service as part of a 3-year, $9.7m award.
“Our newest SWIR camera uses groundbreaking technology to provide operators with a higher resolution and greater level of detail than ever before,” said Michael Daugherty, Program Manager, UTC Aerospace Systems. “For the warfighter, this means an improved ISR situational awareness capability. We’re honored to support the U.S. Navy and look forward to continuing to support the SPRITE program in the years ahead.” (Source: UAS VISION)
26 Nov 18. No lasers here: Elbit demos targeting system that could help conceal user. A new lightweight, passive targeting fire-support system demonstrated by Elbit Systems seeks to conceal an operator while the user monitors and identifies a target. Existing systems often use a laser and azimuth to designate targets for artillery, bombing or other missions; for instance the Joint Effects Targeting System, used by the U.S. Army, weighs about 10 kilograms (approximately 22 pounds) with its tripod, and it uses a laser.
But the HattoriX did not use a laser during Monday’s demonstration held not far from the border with Gaza in a field near Sderot, Israel. Without a laser, the chance of being detected by an enemy is mitigated.
The HattoriX was displayed in two types: a lightweight version on a tripod with a payload of about 10 kilograms, and a heavier version of 30 kilograms. Elbit envisions the heavier version being used against targets about 10 kilometers away, and the smaller one for targets less than 5 kilometers away. In the demo, the operator pointed the optics at a farmhouse more than 1 kilometer away.
The lightweight version looks like a tablet computer attached to a tripod and a goniometer. Both versions have a remote control capability. The operator, looking at the overlay of real-time data on the map, can choose targets by marking them on the screen, receiving data such as altitude and allowing the user to precisely identify the target. Then the target information can be sent back to a command-and-control center.
The system integrates with Elbit’s ISTAR and other systems, but it can be used with other electro-optical devices.
“You can scan your target with an optical device, layering the image on your [geographical information system], and from that you get your accurate coordinates,” said Arie Chernobrov, CEO of Elbit’s Security and Tactical EO Solutions-ELSEC division. “The main advantages are that the accuracy is very high to transmit to command accurate intelligence information and to protect your team, which is using a passive system that will not be hit by enemy forces.”
When a forward observer arrives at a post, the user can set up the system digitally through a software wizard that completes the process in a matter of minutes. And using an internal GPS, operators can pinpoint their location on the map of the device. Then, operating remotely or sitting in a concealed position, the team can observe the target over hours or days.
However, the system requires map data be uploaded prior to deployment.
“We think it’s a new approach,” Chernobrov said. “We are in the business of target acquisition systems for many years, and in the past used the traditional goniometer and lasers.” He said the difference between the previous generation and this new system is the accuracy, with an error of less than 6 meters (CAT-1 targets).
Elbit designed the HattoriX with an interface that would be familiar to anyone using a smartphone or who plays video games. Elbit is pushing this system as a solution for small forces, such as reconnaissance teams, joint terminal attack controllers, forward air controllers and intelligence units. It will face competition with existing systems, such as the latest Joint Effects Targeting System model, which was rolled out in September, and the Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder 3 program of Leonardo DRS. HattoriX is currently operational with an undisclosed client. (Source: Defense News)
26 Nov 18. ASTRALiTe demos topo–bathy LiDAR. ASTRALiTe has demonstrated its two-in-one topo-bathy LiDAR system flying on the DJI Matrice 600Pro UAS during three separate test flight missions. Designed for topographic LiDAR surveys, the 5kg bathymetric scanning LiDAR system runs on its own self-contained battery, collecting centimetre-level bathymetric data. In the first demonstration in Colorado, ASTRALiTe integrated its topo-bathy LiDAR system onto the Matrice 600 Pro for two 15 minute flights.
A second demonstration was conducted at high elevation in conjunction with the US Geological Survey in Kremmling, Colorado, at the confluence of the Colorado and Blue rivers. Four flights were conducted with flight times ranging between 10-12 minutes. River transects were made to document volume flow of the two rivers including depth profiles, vegetation mapping and underwater object detection.
A third set of demonstrations was conducted at the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology on Coconut Island. Over three days the LiDAR was put to the test on the windward side of the island in conditions that included salt spray and significant surf. In these conditions, Matrice 600 Pro collected near-shore bathymetry, dune, inlet and lagoon profiles, and mapped underwater coral reef structures at centimetre-level resolution. (Source: Shephard)
22 Nov 18. Dutch defence department upgrades Thales SQUIRE portable radars to detect UAS. Thales and Defensie Materieel Organisatie signed a contract with Thales during the NIDV Symposium to upgrade 60 SQUIRE radars. According to the company: “The improved capabilities will enable the Dutch Armed Forces to fulfill their current and future operational needs with faster deployment and by countering new threats, like drone detection and classification.”
SQUIRE is a man-portable medium-range ground surveillance radar that can detect and classify moving targets on, or close to, the ground at ranges up to 48 km. It consists of compact components to be carried in two backpacks. Each weighs less than 23kg, including batteries, and can therefore be easily carried by two persons. In 2002 the Dutch Ministry of Defence and Thales Nederland B.V. signed a contract for the delivery of 62 SQUIRE systems, including logistics and training. The SQUIRE systems are used by the Royal Netherlands Army as well as by the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
22 Nov 18. US Department of Homeland Security seeks market information on C-UAS providers. The Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate acting through Sandia National Laboratories is soliciting information from potential manufacturers on their CUAS technologies. This RFI seeks to identify candidate COTS CUAS technologies and systems for evaluation in calendar year 2019 to aid in acquisition and deployment decisions. The RFI consists of a questionnaire designed to help DHS collect technical product information on CUAS systems that will allow sorting and filtering for a number of potential applications.
Given the significant rise in sales and capabilities, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have quickly become a security concern due to the ease with which they can aid in intelligence gathering and/or be used as a malicious delivery platform. Federal agencies responsible for protecting facilities, personnel, and critical infrastructure have an immediate need for counter systems to these UAS.
Congress recently passed legislation granting DHS and component agencies limited authority to mitigate UAS threats at ‘covered’ facilities. The S&T Directorate of DHS is requesting information on commercial CUAS technologies to inform an understanding of the current technical capabilities, features, and costs of commercial-off-the-shelf technologies This information will be used by DHS S&T and its subcomponents to identify candidate technologies for a range of applications. For this reason, information on all CUAS technologies and systems is being accepted only through a standardized questionnaire.
DHS needs to collect technical information on commercially available CUAS products and systems and then evaluate a subset of those systems against manufacturer specifications and claims. DHS is requesting information to identify candidate CUAS technologies and systems for evaluation in calendar year 2019, to aid in acquisition and deployment decisions. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
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.