Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
03 Jan 19. RoboSense are demonstrating an upgraded version of their MEMS solid-state LiDAR at CES 2019, an automotive grade solid-state LiDAR designed for the mass production of autonomous vehicles. The new RS-LiDAR-M1 with patented MEMS technology offers ground-breaking vehicle intelligence awareness to fully support Level 5 driverless automated driving. A breakthrough on the measurement range limit based on 905nm LiDAR with a detection distance to 200 meters, the upgraded optical system and signal processing technology brings remarkable final output point cloud effect which can now clearly recognize even small objects, such as railings and fences.
At last year’s CES 2018, RoboSense demonstrated the first generation MEMS solid-state LiDAR RS-LiDAR-M1Pre. Just four months later, in May 2018, it was loaded on the Cainiao unmanned logistics vehicle and unveiled at the Ali Cainiao Global Intelligent Logistics Conference, becoming the world’s first solid-state LiDAR for unmanned vehicles. RoboSense has already been sending the MEMS LiDAR product to the world’s top OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. At CES 2019, RoboSense will launch the new RS-LiDAR-M1, showcasing the potential of their MEMS optomechanical system design, with breakthrough improvements in detection distance, resolution, Field of View (FOV), reliability, and other RoboSense award-winning LiDAR sensing technologies.
Double the Horizontal Field of View to 120 Degrees
A major step forward from the previous version award-winning RoboSense RS-LiDAR-M1Pre, the new RS-LiDAR-M1 MEMS optomechanical LiDAR provides an increased horizontal field of view by nearly 100% compared to the previous generation, reaching an amazing 120° field of view, so that only a few RS-LiDAR-M1s are needed to cover the 360° field of view. In addition, with only five RS-LiDAR-M1s, there is no blind zone around the car with dual LiDAR sensing redundancy provided in front of the car for a L5 level of automatic driving — full driverless driving. Based on the target production cost at $200 each, the cost of five RS-LiDAR-M1 is only 1/100th the highest mechanical LiDAR available to the market, which is more in line with the cost requirements for the mass production of autonomous vehicles.
Measurement Range to 200 Meters
The battle between 1550nm and 905nm LiDAR is about cost and performance. When aiming for a low-cost 905nm LiDAR, it is necessary to overcome the technical difficulties of achieving sufficient measurement range. The RS-LiDAR-M1 achieves a breakthrough on the measurement range limit based on the 905nm LiDAR, with a detection distance to 200 meters.
A Leap Forward in Point Cloud Effect Technology — Even Small Objects
The unique RS-LiDAR-M1 LiDAR system provides massive improvements, the most remarkable being the final output point cloud effect. The M1’s detection capability is greatly improved through the upgraded optical system and signal processing technology, which can now clearly recognize even small objects, such as railings and fences.
“The RoboSense RS-LiDAR-M1 LiDAR system is a giant leap forward for driverless technology,” said Mark Qiu, Co-founder, RoboSense.“We are committed to developing high-performance automotive-grade LiDAR at a low-cost to advance the LiDAR market, so that LiDAR can be used in fully unmanned vehicles, as well as assisted autonomous driving with superior environmental information detection that ensures driving safety. ”
A CES 2019 Innovation Award Honoree, the RS-IPLS first hardware and software algorithm based solution for the mass production of safer autonomous cars includes the RS-LiDAR-M1Pre first generation RoboSense MEMS LiDAR system and AI algorithms. RoboSense will be exhibiting the new upgraded MEMS LiDAR, the RS-LiDAR-M1, at CES 2019, Booth #9310, North Hall. CES is held January 8-11, 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. For more information about RoboSense, see http://www.robosense.ai.
RoboSense is the world’s leading provider of LiDAR environmental awareness solutions. Founded in 2014, the company is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, with offices in the United States, Germany, and Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou, China. The core R&D team comes from the world’s top universities and world-class technology companies. For many years, RoboSense’s main design team has been developing the LiDAR sensing environment based on experience in many core technical fields, such as chips, LiDAR sensors, and AI algorithms. Market-oriented, providing customers with different combinations of intelligent environment-aware LiDAR systems, RoboSense’s core products include MEMS solid-state LiDAR system technology solutions and mechanical LiDAR system technology solutions. Customers include the world’s major autonomous driving technology companies, car manufacturers, and first-tier suppliers. RoboSense’s technologies are widely employed in a variety uses, including autonomous driving logistics vehicles, buses, passenger cars, and more. RoboSense’scutting-edge LiDAR system works with you to keep your autonomous driving safe.
03 Jan 19. TMD exhibits again at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) with latest – and new high efficiency – MPMs, plus advanced Ka band microwave amplifiers – all on the ADS UK Pavilion Stand 05-C31. Exhibiting again at IDEX, TMD Technologies Ltd (TMD), foremost West London based manufacturer in the microwave and RF field, will be showing a representative selection of its latest advanced products for air, land and sea defiance applications.
At IDEX 2019 TMD will be showcasing a selection of microwave power modules (MPMs) for EW and defense systems – including two new high efficiency amplifiers. Also on show will be intelligent instrumentation amplifiers, and radar transponders from G2 Engineering – a newly acquired TMD company.
IDEX 2019 – continuing TMD’s expansion strategy in the Middle East
Jane McAlister, TMD’s Sales and Business Development Director, said: “Although we have attended IDEX several times as visitors, this is only the second time we have actually exhibited. IDEX is one of the premier defiance exhibitions covering the Middle East and North Africa regions and the decision to exhibit again is all part of our strategy to continue our expansion into this territory. Once again, being part of the ADS UK Pavilion gives us the opportunity to establish and strengthen important relationships with government departments, businesses and armed forces across a wide region”.
TMD introduces two NEW ultra-high efficiency amplifiers for radar
TMD has introduced two new amplifiers to its advanced PTX range of MPMs for radar, EW and communications.
TMD’s two new amplifiers for radar offer over 50% efficiency improvement over earlier products.
Operating in the X band, the new TWT based PTX8430 and PTX8501 offer ultra-high efficiency, providing more than 50% improvement over the previous models. TMD has achieved this impressive performance by matching high efficiency TWT technology with TMD’s ultra-efficient power supply topology.
Designed for high power radar applications, on land, sea or air, these new MPMs have a power output of 1 kW over the frequency range 9-10 GHz – with duty cycles of 5 and 10% respectively and 55 dB gain.
New TWT based Ka band MPMs on show – and other advanced microwave products
This new MPM features simplified integration for high performance EW and radar systems and provides an output power of up to 200 W over a 30-40 GHz range. Comprising a high-power Ka band helix TWT and switched mode power supply it forms a single ‘drop-in’ unit without the need for high voltage connections.
The new PTX8110 operates from 6-18 GHz at 200 W and, with its compact design, is easily integrated into those high performance EW and radar systems requiring higher power. Comprising a high power helix TWT and switched mode power supply, the PTX8110 forms a single ‘drop-in’ microwave amplifier unit without the need for potentially unreliable high voltage TWT interconnections.
The new PTX8815 TWTA is designed for Ka band radar applications such as naval fire control. Featuring broadband capability, covering 34–36 GHz, it offers a peak power of over 1100 W in the mid-band, and 600 W at the band edges with a maximum duty of up to 12%.
TMD’s solid state PTS6900 MPM employing advanced GaN MMIC technology, and offers high performance over a 2-6 GHz range with an output power of 150 W. It is designed for fast integration into EW/ECM systems, and has a predicted 30,000 hours MTBF in an airborne uninhabited fighter environment.
For airborne radar, EW and communications, the PTXM Series ultra-compact MPMs feature low volume and low weight and are ideal for UAVs. They operate over the frequency range 4.5 to 18 GHZ with output powers up to 140 W, and offer probably the highest power density on the market.
Ideal for radar and EW threat simulation, the PTCM Series TWT intelligent instrumentation amplifiers operate over a frequency range from DC to 40 GHz with a power output up to 50 kW. They are designed to deliver the highest field strengths in the test environment. User benefits include self-test, fault diagnosis, and modular plug and play replaceable printed circuit boards.
TMD will be showing a selection of radar transponders from G2 Engineering, its recently acquired specialist microwave company. Applications for G2 transponders and support equipment include UAVs, missiles, and manned aircraft.
Andy Crawford, TMD’s Head of After Sales, who has overall responsibility for the sales and marketing of G2 Engineering products, commented: “Since the acquisition and move of the operation to Hayes, production has continued seamlessly and the order books are healthy”.
02 Jan 19. Çafrad radar for Turkish Navy tested. Firing tests with Çafrad, a multi-functional phased-array radar built indigenously by Turkish firm Aselsan, were carried out successfully in late December the company has stated.
Çafrad was tested on board the frigate TCG Göksu (F 497), where it was integrated with a Raytheon Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) area air-defence missile system. In producing Çafrad, Turkey has become one of the few countries capable of producing state-of-the-art radar, the Turkish Defence Industries Presidency (SSB) tweeted on 17 December. The system combines an indigenous design with the latest advances in radar technology, including fully solid-state transmit/receive modules, digital signal processing, pulse compression, multiple target tracking, electronic beam stabilisation, and advanced electronic counter-counter measures, according to a press release posted on the Aselsan website. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Jan 19. University of Delaware designs system that uses RF waves to find hidden objects. A team of engineers at the University of Delaware has built and demonstrated a real-time mobile video camera that sees the environment through radio frequency (RF) waves as opposed to optical or infrared (IR) waves.
In early demonstrations, the device has shown that using high-frequency waves enables it to ‘see’ through non-metallic objects and detect concealed objects.
In December, the university announced the team received USD1.5m in funding from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to reduce the size, weight, and power (SWaP) of the device in preparation for a live trial in May.
The ability to make the device smaller is important, Dennis Prather, endowed professor of electrical engineering at the University of Delaware, told Jane’s. Typical imaging systems scale in three dimensions (3D) – they have a lens and have to be a certain distance from the focal plane. In an IR camera, or any kind of visible-light camera, the lens focuses the image onto film, or an electronic focal plane array, so they scale in 3D, Prather explained. “If I want to make a bigger lens, I have to make it deeper too, which means they scale volumetrically. If you can do it in a phased array like we do, it only scales in 2D, so it has a ‘pizza box’ scale factor as opposed to a moving box-scale factor,” he said.
That means Prather and the team can make a system that more closely resembles a flat-panel television (TV) set. “It will still be big in area because that is proportional to the wave length. You really can’t compromise that,” he added.
“You can now imagine having an imager that is a RF video camera hanging on the walls much like a flat panel TV. That is the breakthrough we have been able to develop,” he said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Jan 19. Gatwick drones: ‘Military capability’ withdrawn from airport.
“Military capability” deployed to counter illegal drone flights at Gatwick Airport has been withdrawn, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. The Army was deployed as hundreds of flights were cancelled on 20 December following repeated drone sightings.
Gatwick said it had spent £5m to prevent future attacks, but would not comment on the nature of the system.
Sussex Police said no arrests have been made since a couple were released without charge on 23 December.
More than 140,000 passengers were affected by cancellations and delays during the 36 hours of chaos.
Following a further sighting on 21 December, the airport said the “military measures” had provided “the reassurance necessary that it is safe to reopen”.
It is believed that the Israeli-developed Drone Dome system, which can jam communications between the drone and its operator, was brought in.
A £50,000 reward for information has been issued by Crimestoppers, which said it had “passed on close to 30 pieces of information to law enforcement within the first 24 hours”.
A suggestion by a senior Sussex police officer that there may have been no drones was later dismissed as a “miscommunication”.
The force said it was investigating “relevant sightings” from 115 witnesses – 93 of whom it described as “credible” – including airport staff, police officers and a pilot.
Chief Constable Giles York had said some of the drones spotted may have belonged to the police and caused confusion.
However, he said he was “absolutely certain” that there was a drone flying near the runway during the disruption.
The MoD said: “The military capability has now been withdrawn from Gatwick. The armed forces stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received.” (Source: BBC)
BATTLESPACE Comment: There seems to be some confusion surrounding this story as the photo shown by the BBC is of Falcon Shield, a Leonardo product deployed by the RAF Regiment. BATTLESPACE understands that in its initial deployment with the RSF Regiment it was deemed that the system needed enhancements regarding sustainability of the system prior to any full acquisition. Howard Wheeldon make a similar observation in his Feature ‘Gatwick – For Army read RAF Regiment and for Rafael read Leonardo!’
03 Jan 19. Raytheon UK today signed a £250m contract with the Ministry of Defence to provide 11 years of support and sustainment services to the Royal Air Force’s Shadow aircraft fleet. The contract supports Shadow aircraft maintenance, airworthiness management, design organisation and supply chain support. When work begins in April 2019, 200 full-time jobs will be secured at Raytheon’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance hub in North Wales, with an additional 250 sustained within the UK supply chain.
“We are safeguarding and creating skilled aerospace jobs in the UK and strengthening the local economy,” said Richard Daniel, chief executive and managing director of Raytheon UK. “Our work in advanced defence and security systems, cyber protection and skilled training ensures our armed forces have the technology they need to keep the UK safe and secure.”
Raytheon UK will also support aircraft modification design and integration under the contract, which serves as an enabling agreement to upgrade the aircraft to the Mk2 version.
“We are creating the world’s leading hub for advanced ISR platforms in Broughton,” said Roland Howell, director of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at Raytheon UK. “We will work with Team Shadow to make sure we deliver the tactical ISR capability needed for UK defence.”
By transitioning integrated support services to Raytheon UK’s facilities, availability-focused services will be embedded at RAF Waddington. Capability and upgrade services will be included at Broughton, North Wales.
Raytheon UK will collaborate with the MOD Defence Equipment and Support Fixed Wing Manned Airborne Surveillance delivery team on availability support, modifications and capability upgrades to the fleet.
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: “This £250m investment will ensure the UK retains its position as a global leader in battlefield intelligence gathering for UK troops and our NATO allies.
“It is also great news for the economy through the safeguarding of 450 skilled jobs across the country, including 200 in North Wales, confirming the region as a UK centre of excellence for air support.”
03 Jan 19. Israeli university develops new satellite imaging technology. Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) recently announced a major breakthrough in advanced Synthetic Marginal Aperture with Revolving Telescopes (SMART) satellite imaging technology, lowering the cost for traditional imagery technology. The SMART system is based on an array of small sub-dividers arranged along the perimeter of the large synthetic aperture. To show off its capabilities, the multinational, Israeli-led team built a miniature work model with an array of sub-apertures that simulates the large telescope to study the image resolution of the target.
Doctoral student Angica Bulbul, led by Professor Joseph Rosen of the department of electrical and computer engineering, found that you don’t need the entire telescope to get the right images. They developed a satellite imaging system – a virtual aperture (opening) that is much larger than the physical interface of the system and is realised by scanning, over time, the physical space.
“Even by using a partial aperture area of a lens, we managed to obtain similar image resolution to the full aperture area of mirror/lens-based imaging systems. Consequently, the huge cost, time and material needed for gigantic traditional optical space telescopes with large curved mirrors can be slashed,” Bulbul said.
This technology would serve to revolutionse the economics and quality of imagery available from space-based cameras and eventually Earth-based telescopes by leveraging multiple lenses across different platforms, reducing the dependence on large, expensive satellites and telescopes.
“We found that you don’t need the entire telescope lens to obtain the right images. Even by using a partial aperture area of a lens, as low as 0.43 per cent, we managed to obtain a similar image resolution to the full aperture area of mirror or lens-based imaging system,” Bulbul added.
The team at BGU constructed a miniature model with a circular-shaped display of sub-apertures to test an image’s resolution. The researchers then contrasted these images to those produced by direct imaging systems, which have similar dimensions of the whole aperture and are based on a layout of annular sub-apertures.
BGU of the Negev is one of Israel’s leading research universities and among the world leaders in many fields. BGU has around 20,000 students and 4,000 faculty members across faculties, including engineering sciences, health sciences, natural sciences, Pinchas Sapir Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. (Source: Space Connect)
02 Jan 19. Dedrone Publishes UK Airport Counter-Drone Study. In 2018, Dedrone installed drone detection technology at four undisclosed airports across the United Kingdom in order to identify and analyze drone activity. The four airports looked to Dedrone technology to determine if they had any drone incursions at all, and if so, begin deploying a complete counter-drone solution to protect their operations. Drone activity was monitored at four locations for a total of 148 days, and 285 drones were detected. This report outlines the background of the Dedrone UK Airport Study, the type of technology used, a breakdown of the data collected and the main findings.
Small drones are very difficult to spot by pilots, flight attendants, and air traffic control. While some drone organizations are developing electronic anti-collision technologies that are compatible with airline collision-avoidance systems, the innovations are not being adopted fast enough to resolve the ongoing issue of ensuring safe and clear airspace for passenger aircraft.
Dedrone created the UK Airport Counter-Drone Study to provide situational awareness to four international airports and determine the threat level to their operations from unauthorized drones. The Dedrone counter-drone platform combines hardware sensors and machine-learning software, providing early warning, classification of, and mitigation against all drone threats.
During a threat analysis, Dedrone deploys a drone detection sensor, which feeds data to DroneTracker, the software platform. DroneTracker auto-generates a report on what was detected.
The core of Dedrone’s counter-drone system is DroneTracker, Dedrone’s software platform. The DroneTracker platform analyzes information from Dedrone’s RF hardware, which provides long-range detection and classifies drones. DroneTracker uses Dedrone’s “DroneDNA” database to recognize and classify drones. DroneTracker also integrates with 3rd-party sensors and triggers alerts and countermeasures.
Technologies used for UK airport counter-drone study:
- Dedrone DroneTracker
- Dedrone RF-100
Four international airports located in the United Kingdom were selected for this study. Each airport sees approximately two million to 27 million passengers per year and also provides cargo services.
Drone activity was monitored at four locations for a total of 148 days.
- Total drones detected: 285
- Average number of drones detected per day: 1.93
Type of drone and manufacturer breakdown:
Drones detected by day of week
Drones detected by time of day
Key Learnings and Next Steps:
- The problem of unauthorized drones at airports is real, not anecdotal: Drones have appeared and disrupted UK airports in the past year, causing loss of revenue due to closed runways.
- Drone pilots fly a broad spectrum of technology from different drone manufacturers, and detection technology must be able to capture all drone activity: Drone detection systems must be able to detect all kinds of drones, regardless of the manufacturer. While DJI is the global market leader in drone technology by sales, they only represented 44% of the incursions at the airports studied.
- UK drone pilots come out to fly at airports around the same time and days, and airports can strategically prepare for increased incursions during these periods: The majority of the incursions occurred on weekend afternoons when drone hobbyists may be flying drones to capture footage for personal use.
Airports involved with the Dedrone study now have a baseline of data to work with their operation leadership and community liaisons to build awareness campaigns, and also dedicate resources for additional research. The next step in research is to identify additional ways to create situational awareness. Dedrone provides technology such as the RF-300, which maps the flight path of the drone, and DroneTracker can integrate into sensors such as cameras, radar, and microphones, to add additional layers of information about drone incursions. With this data, airports can create operating procedures, such as defining the circumstances to approach pilots, shut down runways, or defend themselves against a drone threat.
This data provides unrefuted evidence of the presence of drones at airports. Airport operators must consider how to approach drone safety measures and determine the additional risks that drones pose to their overall security program. Airports are multi-faceted security centers. They have officers monitoring the airfield, tarmac and fences, people on the ground following cargo and passenger baggage, and managers of warehouses that contain fleet maintenance programs. Thousands of safety and security elements exist on a single day in the life of an airport, and each component has a different security risk. Aviation regulators and airports are acutely aware of the dangers drones pose to their airspace. However, there is a gap of knowledge and understanding of the intention of drones within physical grounds of airports. All drones near airports are a threat, regardless of the pilot’s intention. Airport managers must be proactive in protecting their operations from incursions.Dedrone UK Airport Counter-Drone Study 2018
International aviation regulators have been slow to provide guidance to airports as to the types of counter-drone technology they are allowed to incorporate into their operations. This lag to adopt drone detection technology at airports will only become increasingly more dangerous as more incidents occur. As seen with the Gatwick Airport shut down, drones are going to cause damage and disrupt operations, leaving passengers frustrated and airlines blocked out of safe and clear airspace to fly.
02 Jan 19. Rafael’s Drone Dome Defeated Gatwick Drone. The British Army used a cutting-edge Israeli anti-drone system to defeat the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that brought misery to hundreds of thousands of people at Gatwick airport. At first, the Police had been seen with an off-the-shelf DJI system that tracks drones made by that manufacturer and shows officers where the operator is. However, the drone used at Gatwick is thought to have been either hacked or an advanced non-DJI drone, which rendered the commercial technology used by the police useless.
At that point, the Army’s ‘Drone Dome’ system made by the Israeli Rafael was called in.
Six ‘Drone Dome’ systems were bought by the British Army in 2018 for £15.8m. A similar system was used by British and US special forces to protect them from drones while liberating Mosul in Iraq and neutralise ISIS drones in Syria, but passengers trapped at Gatwick are furious the weapons were not brought in earlier.
Army officers use a high-tech radar and a laser rangefinder to locate drones within a 2.1 and 6.2 miles radius. Once the system has a lock on the drone, a radio frequency jammer is then used to overload the drone with signals – knocking out the commands from the unknown owner.
This can be used to make a ‘soft-kill’ and cease control of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and land it safely.
The British Army did not buy a version equipped with a high-powered laser which can make a ‘hard-kill’ on drones by effectively melting them.
The system is an ‘end-to-end system designed to provide effective airspace defence against hostile drones used by terrorists to perform aerial attacks, collect intelligence, and other intimidating activities’, according to Rafael. It uses four radars to give full 360° coverage to scan the entire skyline. This detection process can spot transport aircraft from about 31 miles away but for a smaller UAV, like the one used to terrorise Gatwick, the ‘Drone Dome’ can only offer a detection range of between 2.1 and 6.2 miles.
The system allows the authorities to perform a ‘soft-kill’ when the detection programme is integrated with the radio frequency jammer. An antennae made of gallium nitrate is used and this allows the tech to be portable and easy to set up.
Police were forced to turn to the military devices after failing with commercially available technology. They first tried to identify the location of the drone and its operator by using a briefcase-sized piece of commercially available equipment called AeroScope. It is believed to be on loan at Gatwick airport from COPTRZ, however, it is only able to identify DJI drones from the extensive database provided by the Chinese manufacturer. This ground-based device is used throughout industry and at many events to ensure protection from drones. (Source: UAS VISION/iHLS)
31 Dec 18. Russia continues A-50 AEW&C upgrade work. The Russian Air Force has taken delivery of an upgraded Beriev A-50U Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft as part of a broader fleet upgrade. Following the work, the aircraft, based on the Ilyushin IL-76, can “track more targets and guide more fighters,” says state arms company Rostec in a statement. The upgrades were conducted by Beriev Aircraft Company and Vega Radio Engineering.
The A-50U is also superior at detecting a broader range of aircraft than previously, “including completely new aircraft.”
“The A-50U is heavily modified A-50 aircraft,” says Anatoly Serdyukov, director of Rostec’s aviation cluster. “In addition to enhanced performance of the radio equipment, we have also significantly increased the comfort level for the crew. Upgrading the current aircraft fleet is a top priority for Rostec. Today’s competences of the corporation’s specialists enable us to create unique products and modernize the already existing aircraft models.”
Responding to a query from FlightGlobal, the company declined to state how many A-50’s have been upgraded to the A-50U standard. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Russia operates 15 IL-76s in the AEW&C mission. The average age of this fleet is 30.1 years, with ages ranging from 26.7 to 35 years.
The upgrade sees the aircraft receive new onboard computers “based on higher-speed and better-performing modern digital computing engines.”
Other major improvements are to operator displays, satellite communications, navigation equipment, and aircraft endurance (Source: News Now/www.flightglobal.com)
27 Dec 18. Talon Precision Optics Announces Asset Purchase in Precision-Guided Firearms and Advanced Optics Technologies. Talon Precision Optics, LLC; a newly formed corporation headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida; announced the acquisition of all assets of TrackingPoint® Inc., the leader in precision-guided firearms solutions on November 28th. Talon Precision Optics offers a full range of solutions to address the advanced optics and precision guided firearms requirements of defense and commercial markets worldwide. In addition, the acquisition optimizes operational, marketing, and technology synergies and creates a path toward integrating complementary technologies within the firearms industry. The purchase contains key technology, trade secrets and all U.S. patents and patent applications TrackingPoint® developed in the advanced optics and precision-guided firearms space. These elements provide Talon Precision Optics with a comprehensive product portfolio and a presence in the high growth defense and commercial firearms technology markets.
“Over the last several years, TrackingPoint® has introduced some of the most innovative products to the commercial and military firearms market and has been instrumental in building the overall precision-guided firearms business case,” said Charles Dublin, President of Talon Precision Optics. “This acquisition will provide the resources to expand the reach of TrackingPoint® technology portfolio and enable the continued development of its leading-edge products.” (Source: ASD Network)
27 Dec 18. DroneShield’s Statement on the Gatwick Shutdown. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO or DRO.AU) (“DroneShield”), a publicly-traded leader in the emerging industry of drone security solutions, notes the recent events at Gatwick Airport (UK).
The Events at Gatwick
According to press reports and statements by UK government officials, one or more drones were flown by unknown operators in the airport’s airspace, causing the airport to shut down all air traffic for a period of approximately 48 hours. The UK Transport Minister was quoted as having said, “Every time Gatwick tries to reopen the runway, the drones reappear.” The shutdown stranded well over 100,000 passengers during some of the busiest times of the year for travel and caused tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to a range of companies. The drone overflights are likely to be an act of sabotage, which are said to have overcome the drone control measures that were reported to have been deployed at the airport. The British Army was reported to have been called in to assist with lifting this effective blocade of the airport, and the press noted the limited range of options available to remedy the situation, as well as the fact that the Army had ruled out shooting the drones down with conventional (kinetic) weapons because of concerns about the unintended consequences of firing at the airport.
Some Initial Lessons
Several important lessons can be drawn from the events at Gatwick.
- Drone misuse is a universal problem. There is virtually no government in the world that does not require protection against drones, as do large numbers of commercial users (such as stadiums, event venues, power plants, airports and others).
- Inaction is not an option. The costs of inaction are huge, and drone attacks will continue to proliferate, grow in sophistication, and intensify.
- Many purported drone mitigation products are concepts in development and have not been deployed at all or have only been tested in a narrow range of situations or controlled environments.
- Cost is not a predictor of performance. The media has reported that systems that could cost up to £20m (US$26m) were brought in to deal with the rogue drones. Nevertheless, the drones were not defeated for approximately 48 hours.
- The cost of many drone mitigation systems renders it prohibitive for most “soft” targets to use these expensive systems on a day to day basis.
DroneShield’s Leadership Position
DroneShield is one of the very few companies in the counterdrone industry that have progressed to products that have been proven in a range of environments, against a range of drones, with multiple governmental users.
Importantly, the price range of DroneShield’s drone detection and mitigation products varies from tens of thousands of dollars per unit at the low end to approximately a million dollars at the high end, a fraction of what several competing systems are priced at.
As a result, just in the recent months alone, DroneShield:
- received an initial order for its counterdrone equipment from Zain (KWSE:ZAIN), one of the largest Middle Eastern telecoms, following an entry into a Teaming Agreement for the Middle East with Zain;
- sold a substantial amount of anti-drone equipment to one of the largest Middle Eastern Ministries of Defence;
- sold its portable drone jammers DroneGun™ for use by a Western governmental security agency;
- sold DroneGuns™ for use by the national security agency of a major Asian country;
- sold DroneSentry™ (DroneShield’s integrated multi-sensor drone detection and mitigation system), as well as DroneGuns™ to a Central American government security agency;
- teamed up with Thales (ENXTPA:HO) on servicing Thales’ anti-drone needs in Spain;
- had its products evaluated by the United States Department of Defense’s Assymetric Warfare Group at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia;
- had its DroneSentinel™ multi-sensor drone detection system used by the British military at the Autonomous Warrior 2018 exercise; and
- added DroneShield’s products to the Australian Government’s 2019 Australian Military Sales Catalogue, maintained by AMS (Australian Military Sales), a Directorate within the Australian Government’s Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.
DroneShield’s products have been deployed for counterdrone security at, among others:
- an ASEAN meeting of heads of state;
- several Boston Marathon events over the years;
- the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics;
- the 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games;
- the IRONMAN World Championship;
- the 2018 Paraguay presidential inauguration; and
- at a number of military deployments globally.
Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We expect that this latest incident involving a major airport will result in airports and other civil infrastructure users around the world accelerating their implementation of drone mitigation measures. DroneShield, and our network of approximately 60 distributors in approximately 50 countries, stand ready to assist qualified customers with their drone security needs.”
23 Dec 18. LITEYE Completes Delivery of C-AUDS to Northrop Grumman. LITEYE Systems Inc., on Friday December 14th delivered, on-time, the last unit of the first-round of C-AUDS (Containerized Anti-Unmanned Defense Systems), to Northrop Grumman Corporation. These systems will support their endeavours into the Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems market protecting critical infrastructure and lives in numerous deployments.
Liteye Systems, a U.S.A. company, manufactures C-AUDS with the help of additional US based companies Pratt & Miller and Numerica. These deliveries are significant in providing a Counter Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) capability to those threatened by the emerging use of Drones as weapons. C-AUDS is based on the combat proven technology first fielded in 2016 and was instrumental in defeating enemy drones in Iraq’s battle of Mosul. Liteye has continuously been adding more systems to new locations in support of these ongoing efforts.
The C-AUDS containerized systems features a state-of-the-art operator suite, hardened for use in any climate. Its portability, and even more importantly its remote operation and networking capabilities provides for an operations center that can be scaled to meet multiple types of mission and location requirements. The platform’s innovative design allows for the ability to “bolt on” new technologies in the future as threats evolve in field. This provides the C-AUDS with almost unlimited ability to keep evolving to meet the threat.
“We are very excited about our new C-AUDS platform as another new innovative product within Liteye’s state-of-the-art and mature C-UAS product portfolio. In addition, we are also very proud to announce that the C-AUDS systems are being managed and produced under Liteye’s ISO 9001:2015 certified Quality Management System. Our company completed its transition to the new 2015 version of the ISO standard earlier this year. This not only demonstrates our long-term commitment to delivering the highest levels of quality and performance of products, but also it reflects our passion in achieving world-class project execution, on-time-delivery objectives and overall pursuit of excellence in customer satisfaction…” said Derek Newsom, Chief Operating Officer.
C-AUDS is a commercially available product that can be easily customized for non-DoD C-UAS, surveillance, and other security needs to protect and defend sensitive installations, facilities, events, etc. C-AUDS was designed to operate in any location, any climate. Liteye’s suite of Counter UAS products and integrated technologies continue to provide customers with best-in-class solutions to detect, track, identify, and defeat threats posed by malicious drone attacks. Contact us today to find out how Liteye can help you protect your facilities and personnel from rogue operators. (Source: UAS VISION)
21 Dec 18. Boeing delivers final upgraded E-3A AWACS to Nato. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) has received the final upgraded E-3A airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft from Boeing. The delivery marks the completion of upgrades to Nato’s fleet of 14 E-3A AWACS, Boeing noted. The modernisation programme included equipping the Nato E-3A AWACS fleet with five full-colour glass displays in order to provide crew members with customisable engine, navigation and radar data to improve mission execution.
Boeing CNS/ATM manager Scott Johnson said: “We are delighted to deliver this final upgraded AWACS to Nato and honoured by their continued partnership. The modernised AWACS equipment provides real cost savings and efficiency so Nato can execute their vital mission for years to come.”
The aircraft’s communication navigation surveillance / air traffic management (CNS / ATM) digital flight deck and avionics enhancements will ensure compliance with current and future air traffic control and navigation requirements. Nato airborne early warning and control programme management agency general manager brigadier general Mike Hain said: “The communication navigation surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) modernisation project enables the Nato E-3A fleet to meet current and foreseen European air traffic management requirements.”
The E-3A AWACS fleet is Nato’s first integrated, multinational flying unit that provides quick deployment, airborne surveillance and communication for the alliance’s operations.
Modernisation work on the Nato AWACS fleet was carried out by the company at its facilities in Seattle, US, and Manching, Germany.
The first upgraded aircraft was delivered to Nato in November 2016.
The Boeing-built AWACS is powered by four Pratt and Whitney TF-33-PW-100/100A turbofan engines. Equipped with an in-flight refuelling probe and receptacle, the aircraft has a flight endurance of 11 hours. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
21 Dec 18. Liteye Systems Successfully Demos SkyWall C-UAS at JIDO Hard Kill Event. Liteye Systems, Inc., in partnership with OpenWorks Engineering LTD., successfully demonstrated the SkyWall net-capture system against real-world UAS threats while attending the JIDO Hard Kill 2 event in the desert of the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA. The event demonstrated that SkyWall offers a reliable and cost effective, low-collateral damage solution for protecting critical infrastructure, sensitive sites and assets, beyond anything seen before. During the event, the operator easily targeted the UAS using the onboard SmartScope. Once initiated, SkyWall neutralized the threat by launching a non-explosive, air powered projectile timed to deploy in front of the target and entangle it in its net. The SkyWall launcher can be utilized with a range of projectiles which includes the SP40 round with net and parachute option which lowers the captured drone to the ground under a parachute, or the SP10 net-only round that has a larger net for increased effectiveness against fast moving drones at greater ranges.
“Skywall provides the perfect option to our customers who can’t utilize other defeat capabilities to protect their critical infrastructure.” Said Ryan Hurt, VP of business development for Liteye. “When Skywall is paired with Liteye’s other counter unmanned systems we give the end-user a powerful defense package.”
The SkyWall product line currently consists of two key devises. The SkyWall 300, a stand-alone or mountable turret unit that can be networked with multiple devices providing larger area protection, and the man-portable SkyWall 100 handheld system, which was first successfully demonstrated at the JIDO Hard Kill Challenge in 2017. The SkyWall 300 will soon be fitted with an auto-reload system to provide increased capability for multi-threat scenarios. Increased range and the ability to capture extremely fast-moving targets is also being addressed. (Source: UAS VISION)
20 Dec 18. Intevac Receives $6.9m Production Contract from U.S. Army. Intevac Inc. (Nasdaq: IVAC), announced today it received a contract for $6.9m for the production of night vision cameras for the Apache Helicopter’s Pilot Night Vision Sensor (PNVS) program for the U.S. Army. This contract for 144 cameras, from the U.S. Army’s PM Apache Office in Huntsville, Alabama, will provide cameras for new Apache Airframe builds, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) orders, and spares. This contract vehicle enables the U.S. Army to procure additional units through May 2020 at pre-negotiated pricing. The Electronic Image Intensification camera is based on Intevac’s patented EBAPS® (Electron Bombarded Active Pixel Sensor) digital imaging sensor for extreme low-light level detection.
“Intevac finished deliveries outfitting the U.S. Apache fleet, spares and initial FMS customer orders in September of 2017. We are excited to be delivering additional cameras to support our warfighters effort,” commented Timothy Justyn, executive vice president and general manager of Intevac Photonics. “Since becoming a Prime supplier in 2013, Intevac’s success in fielding cameras to the U.S. Army played a significant role in winning this business.”
Intevac was founded in 1991 and has two businesses: Thin-film Equipment and Photonics. In our Thin-film Equipment business, we are a leader in the design and development of high-productivity, thin-film processing systems. Our production-proven platforms are designed for high-volume manufacturing of substrates with precise thin film properties, such as the hard drive media, display cover panel, and solar photovoltaic markets we serve currently. In our Photonics business, we are a recognized leading developer of advanced high-sensitivity digital sensors, cameras and systems that primarily serve the defense industry. We are the provider of integrated digital imaging systems for most U.S. military night vision programs. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 Dec 18. Airspace Launches Galaxy Drone Security Solution. Airspace Systems today introduced Airspace GalaxyTM, the first family of fully-automated, always-on airspace security solutions that accelerate the integration of drones into cities and protects people and property — on the ground and in the air — from clueless, careless or criminal drone operators. The new Airspace Galaxy security platform combines input from multiple sensors to detect drone activity at long-ranges, instantly identifies authorized and unauthorized flights, assesses risk, and if necessary and permitted, deploys an autonomous mitigation system to safely capture and remove an unauthorized or malicious drone.
“We created Airspace to accelerate the integration of lifesaving drone technologies while giving communities the ability to ensure safe and secure skies,” said Jaz Banga, Airspace co-founder and CEO. “Galaxy is the first crucial step toward creating the trusted environment required to unlock the full potential of drones.”
The airspace security company also today announced that cybersecurity veteran David DeWalt has invested in Airspace through the NightDragon Fund, and joined the Airspace board of directors as Vice Chairman. Additionally, Airspace announced that former Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta has joined the company’s board of advisors.
Airspace developed the Galaxy security platform for business, public venues, government, law enforcement, and the military to protect people, property, and IP from harm. Galaxy was recently deployed to detect and identify drone activity behind the scenes for Major League Baseball during the 2018 World Series games in Boston and Los Angeles, for the San Francisco Police Department in support of the U.S. Navy to protect its annual San Francisco Fleet Week, and in Sacramento for the 36th annual California International Marathon.
And in the fall, during the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s BLACK DART live-fire exercise, Galaxy was the only airspace security solution to deliver a fully autonomous drone mitigation capability – from takeoff to landing – capturing both stationary and moving targets.
“Airspace security is a prerequisite to realize the full potential of the drone economy,” said Huerta. “We are on the verge of many great things that drones can do for us, but without the kind of safety and security Airspace Galaxy offers, we are just one terrible event away from stalling what could be a thriving, multi-billion dollar industry.”
Drones have already proven critical in disaster response. Firefighters have used them to monitor ongoing fires to focus their efforts, keep themselves safe, and help them save lives. Emergency teams have used drones to survey damage after natural disasters, deliver supplies, and find missing people.
But as drones get smaller and cheaper, the potential physical and cyber threats grow exponentially. And regardless of whether a damaging drone event is caused by the naïve or nefarious, the results will be the same: progress derailed, and benefits denied. Airspace developed the Galaxy software platform to protect people, property, and IP by stopping drone threats before they happen.
Galaxy: Mobile, Modular, Simple to Operate
The critical first step in airspace security is accurate long-range detection of drone activity. As a modular system, Galaxy options include the ability to configure detection based on a customer’s site- and mission-specific requirements and includes identification of all types of drones, both signal and non-signal emitting.
The Airspace sensors detect anomalies operating from ground level to 400-feet and beyond in the sky, and cover up to a 25-mile radius. Detection comprises three primary functions: radio frequency (RF) sensors that use drone-to-operator communication links to legally identify a drone’s unique identifier and launch location, a camera array to minimize false alarms and improve localization, and communication alerts to the Galaxy operator.
Galaxy then fuses data from multiple sensors into a single, easy-to-use graphical user interface that is coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create actionable intelligence for the system to handle automatically or with human override. Users can log in from a browser on their desktop or mobile device to see all pertinent information.
Finally, if necessary and permitted by law, the Airspace mitigation option dispatches the Airspace Interceptor drone with a single click. Using advanced guidance systems and powered by AI, the Interceptor autonomously locks onto identified rogue drones and heads them off at high speed without human guidance. Trusted and deployed by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Airspace Interceptor fires a Kevlar net to neutralize and capture unauthorized or malicious drones, and then delivers them to a safe place, preventing damage to either people or property.
“Thinking about security in two dimensions is antiquated — it’s just not good enough to keep the bad guys out today,” said DeWalt, who has led two of the biggest companies in cybersecurity – McAfee and FireEye – and is now Delta Air Lines chairman of Safety & Security. “Today you have to protect in three dimensions – basically create an airspace security dome over everything — events, your company – your entire city.”
Among many other positions, DeWalt is the founder of cybersecurity platform NightDragon Security and the managing director of early-stage investor AllegisCyber. He sits on the boards of several cybersecurity firms, including Optiv, Callsign, and Claroty, and he has served on the Department of Homeland Security’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee since 2011. DeWalt was president and CEO of McAfee between 2005 and 2012 and was CEO of FireEye between 2012 and 2016.
“David’s and Michael’s experience across the cybersecurity and aviation industries is incredibly relevant to our mission to create autonomous airspace security and our vision of a world of safe and secure skies open for business and social good,” said Banga. “They are both equally strategic assets for Airspace.”
Airspace began producing Galaxy solutions that are now ready to deploy in three configurations after raising a $20m Series A round led by Singtel Innov8 Ventures in March 2017. The company was founded in 2015 by a team from Apple, Google, and Cisco Systems, and backed by SterlingVC – the venture capital arm of the New York Mets – as well as Shasta Ventures, Granite Hill Capital Partner, Singtel Innov8, and S28 Capital.
About Airspace Systems Inc.
Airspace uses AI and advanced robotics to create fully automated, always-on solutions that deliver the three mandatory requirements of airspace security: long-range detection, instant identification, and safe capture and removal of unauthorized or malicious drones. Airspace solutions protect people, property, and IP for businesses, law enforcement, and the military. All Airspace solutions are mobile, modular, and simple to operate. Founded in San Francisco in 2015, Airspace is funded by early investors in Nest, Palantir, and Skype.
20 Dec 18. U.S. Navy awards Raytheon $114m contract for SPY-6 integration and support. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Marlborough, Massachusetts, is awarded a $114,065,820 cost-plus-fixed fee, firm-fixed-price, cost only contract for air and missile defense radar AN/SPY-6(V) integration and production support efforts. The work to be performed is the integration and production support for continued combat system integration and test, engineering, training, software and depot maintenance, and field engineering services, as well as the procurement of spare parts. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $357,827,708. Work will be performed in Marlborough, Massachusetts (64 percent); Kauai, Hawaii (18 percent); Portsmouth, Rhode Island (8 percent); San Diego, California (7 percent); Fair Lakes, Virginia (2 percent); and Moorestown, New Jersey (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2019. Fiscal 2017 and 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and fiscal 2018 and 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funding in the amount of $46,221,947 will be obligated at time of award and funding in the amount of $6,887,511 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. This contract was procured under the statutory authority of 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) – only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-19-C-5501).
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.