Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
29 Jan 19. USMC distributing 1,300 new night vision devices at bases. The U.S. Marine Corps has begun distributing about 1,300 helmet-mounted binocular night vision goggles to its infantry units. Marine Corps Systems Command accelerated the acquisition of the Binocular Night Vision Goggle II using existing Defense Logistics Agency contracts for the new system that helps Marines see through smoke, fog and concealment better than other devices. In December, 650 Marines received the equipment and learned how to use them last month at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and another 650 will receive them in April at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Barbara Hamby, public affairs team leader with Marine Corps Systems Command, told United Press International. The Department of Defense is accepting contracts for an estimated 16,000 additional systems for the Marines. The first priority is to issue goggles to the Marine Rifle Squad and eventually the entire Ground Combat Element, program officials said.
“We have employed a bridge capability to give Marines the best gear right now available in the commercial marketplace,” Lt. Col. Tim Hough, program manager for Infantry Weapons, said in a statement. “A final procurement solution will allow a larger pool of our industry partners to bid on the program.”
The goggles are lighter than the current system and allow for better depth perception when moving. The squad binocular night vision goggles combine a binocular night vision device and an enhanced clip-on thermal imager. They help positioning in reduced visibility. The dual-tube goggles provide an individual with a full view of what’s in front of them, unlike other night vision goggles that may only be single-tube, which only covers only one eye.
“The lethality that it’ll bring is exponential,” said Cpl. Zachary Zapata, a Marine who participated in the training. “With these new [BNVGs], having the ability to not only use thermal optics along with it, but just the entire depth perception and speed that we can operate in is going to significantly increase, as opposed to what we were able to do in the past.”
L3 Insight Technology makes the binocular night vision device while Optics 1 manufactures the clip-on thermal imager. And Wilcox Industries fabricates the Dovetail, which is used to mount the device to a Marine’s helmet.
Army/Navy Portable Visual Search devices, or AN/PVS, have been used by the military since at least the 1990s.
“Right now, we are participating with the Army on their next generation night vision systems, both the enhanced night vision device-binocular and integrated visual augmentation system programs,” Hough said. “We are eager to see the maturation of these capabilities for adoption to improve the effectiveness of our Marines.”‘
Last May, L3 Technologies was awarded a $391.7m contract for enhanced night vision goggles for the U.S. Army that include weapon sight and augmented reality for one view while maneuvering.The Marines also will receive the devices. The enhanced devices include “picture-in-picture” mode that lets the shooter see two different directions at once or allowing the soldier to shoot around corners without being exposed, Army Times reported. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/UPI)
28 Jan 19. With shutdown over, Japan cleared to spend $2.15bn on Aegis Ashore. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Tuesday that Japan has been cleared to buy a pair of land-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense systems, the first foreign military sales announcement since the end of a government shutdown that stalled the FMS process.
The sale, worth an estimated $2.15bn, would bolster Japan’s existing sea-based Aegis capabilities. The island nation is in the process of increasing its missile defense capabilities, both through additional Aegis buys and through the co-development of the SM-3 missile with the U.S. Although not specified in the DSCA announcement, a government official confirmed these two systems are for Japan’s planned Aegis Ashore sites, which are expected to be operational by 2023.
Included in the potential package: two Aegis Weapon Systems, two Multi-Mission Signal Processors and two Command and Control Processor Refreshes, alongside radio navigation equipment, ordnance, IFF systems, and construction services for six vertical launch system launcher module enclosures. Tuesday’s announcement is the first DSCA notification to be posted since Dec. 18, just days before the longest government shutdown in U.S. history began.
Speaking to reporters last week, Andrea Thompson, the state department official who oversees the FMS process, said the shutdown was slowing down the process of clearing sales requests from foreign customers — notable, as the Trump administration has made increasing weapon sales abroad a key part of both its foreign policy and economic growth strategy.
“There will be a bit of a bump — a gap, if you will — just because we haven’t had the engagement with [Capitol] Hill” normally seen in the process, Thompson said then. “We’ll be able to make up some ground, but I am a realist. We have to work harder if we are going to have the numbers we had last year.”
Japan has been spending heavily on American defense items recently. In September, the nation was cleared to spend $3.14bn on nine E2-D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, and in October agreed to pay over half-a-billion for SM-3 missiles.
In the recently released Missile Defense Review, the Pentagon identified working with partners in the Pacific — notably Japan and South Korea — is the “cornerstone” of American security in the region.
“Japan is one of our strongest missile defense partners, and works together with the United States to strengthen cooperative missile defenses against regional missile threats,” the review states. “Going forward, DoD will work with allies and partners to prioritize these types of missile defense integration opportunities that contribute to more effective protection of the United States, its allies and deployed forces.”
DSCA announcements do not mean sales are final. The announcement serves as notification to Congress about the potential sale, which can be vetoed by the Senate; once cleared, negotiations between the customer and contractor can lead to changed quantities or dollar figures from the original announcement. (Source: Defense News)
28 Jan 19. Countering UAVs: An inside look at IAI Elta’s Drone Guard. Drones are becoming an increasing threat to military and civilian infrastructure. Last month, a drone sighting disrupted flights at Britain’s Gatwick Airport for more than 24 hours, leading to the in-country deployment of the British Army. Operations at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were also disrupted for over an hour on Jan. 22 after reports of a drone sighting. In Iraq and Syria, the international coalition against the Islamic State group has faced a variety of threats from commercial off-the-shelf UAVs. Elta Systems, a division of Israel Aerospace Industries, demonstrated a possible solution in January with the latest generation of its Drone Guard.
Unveiled in 2015, Drone Guard was built on adapted radar and electro-optical technology with the capability to detect low-signature and low-speed targets. Since then, hundreds of units have been sold to more than 10 countries. It was used by Argentina to secure a G-20 summit and the Youth Olympic Games last year. Elta said some customers have shown interest in guarding ships against drones, particularly when docked at a foreign harbor.
It was in November 2018 when Elta added a communications intelligence, or comint, system to the array that is more precise at detecting the frequencies of drones. The company also upgraded Drone Guard’s 3D radar as well as its electro-optical and jamming systems. While Elta makes the radar and jammers, it’s IAI’s Tamam Division that’s behind the electro-optical portion.
“We came early to this field and we were one of the first,” said Igo Licht, Elta’s director of marketing and sales. “With all these asymmetric technology, you do one step and the enemy does another step; the system today is different than two years ago. In another year we will add additional features in [response to the] changing environment.”
At the demonstration, Elta set up a tent with a monitor and computer to view the environment covered by the radar. The system consists of three pieces of hardware on tripods: the rotating radar, a small electro-optical turret and the jammer. Together, the three pieces are lightweight enough to be transported by a pickup truck.
Drones can hover or hide behind structures, and dart among trees, making them difficult to distinguish from birds. This is why claims of drone sightings sometimes turn out to be inaccurate. Elta believes that by combining radar with an ability to visually monitor a target and detect its communication frequency enables controllers to accurately identify a drone threat. In addition, the jammer enables the operator to deactivate the drone.
“We have means to also take over the drone, to capture it. And there are situations where it is threatening and one can activate hard-kill solutions,” Licht said. The hard-kill option would be an add-on to the existing Drone Guard system.
IAI says Drone Guard’s open architecture allows for custom tailoring for a variety of applications — the reason the platform’s three parts remain separate.
Consider an airport that needs several jammers at different locations to minimize interference with other airport systems. The radar can be programmed to a defined mission area using its 360-degree range.
As Elta’s demonstration showed, when drones hover, their radar signature is reduced. But a red line on the monitor shows whether the comint system is still monitoring the drone communicating with its operator. Simultaneously, the drone can be visually examined. And when it comes time to jam the target, the jammer function also enables the operator to jam GPS. At the demo, when Elta activated the jammer, the drone operator’s smartphone screen went dark as communication was severed.
According to Elta, the radar “can detect more than 200 targets, and the comint and jammer can detect dozens.” This allows for countering a drone swarm. The company also says its jammer doesn’t contaminate other channels and that its beam is directional based on channel type, enabling individual targets to be jammed without impacting others.
But what if an enemy’s military drones use encrypted communications, or can fly beyond Drone Guard’s range? Elta admits that Drone Guard is meant for dealing with small, slow drones that tend to have a lower endurance than their larger counterparts, and therefore the system has a detection range up to 20 kilometers, depending on the configuration. Elta says its 3D radars, “including the ELM-2026D, ELM-2026B and ELM-2026BF for short (10km), medium (15km) and long (20 km) ranges, respectively),” are used to detect low-signature targets.
Among other Israeli firms targeting the counter-drone market in recent years is Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with its Drone Dome, sold to the U.K. in 2018, and Elbit Systems’ ReDrone, unveiled in 2016 and showcased at last year’s international air and space event FIDAE in Chili.
(Source: Defense News)
28 Jan 19. BIRD Aerosystems, Hensoldt team up. BIRD Aerosystems has selected Hensoldt’s new PrecISR advanced multi-mode radar family for integration into its radar control and display (RCD) and mission management system (MSIS), the company announced on 23 January.
As a part of a cooperation agreement signed between the two companies, BIRD Aerosystems will adapt its RCD to control and manage Hensoldt’s advanced PrecISR1000 radar. The radar data will be collected and processed by BIRD’s MSIS, which will automatically classify, prioritise and display the information gathered from the radar along with additional information from other onboard sensors using advanced algorithms.
The PrecISR airborne, multi-mission surveillance radars feature gallium nitride AESA antenna technology with two-dimensional e-scan capability, combined with large bandwidth multi-channel radar core electronics and integrated radar signal processing.
PrecISR is designed for all types of airborne surveillance missions in 24/7 operation and in all weather conditions, to detect threats on the ground, at sea and in the air.
BIRD’s RCD is integrated into its advanced MSIS which manages the complete mission and enables ASIO airborne, naval and ground units to share real-time information. (Source: Shephard)
28 Jan 19. Advanced Protection Systems installs counter-UAS system at Stavanger Airport. Advanced Protection Systems from Poland in partnership with its distributor Anker Sikkerhet AS has finished first phase of Ctrl+Sky system installation at the SOLA airport in Stavanger, Norway. Ctrl+Sky 3D radars, mounted on a mast will monitor the airspace for drones and birds, while Ctrl+Sky CyView software will automatically inform airports personel of any intrusions of unwanted flying objects. Furthermore, collected data will be archived and statistics will be retrieved for improved situational awareness and enhanced airport safety management. In the final, upcoming phase, Ctrl+Sky RF sensors will be installed to provide additional layer of information on possible drone intrusions.
Ctrl+Sky multisensor system has been selected by AVINOR, the company that owns and manages all the airports in Norway. An eight year contract has been awarded in a tender competition. The airport in Stavanger was selected by AVINOR to be the first one to deploy bird monitoring and counter drone system.
Ctrl+Sky is a multi-sensor military grade counter drone system that is available at commercial pricing. It has been deployed with militaries, law enforcement and security agencies across a number of countries. The sensor network comprises 3D radars, delivering three dimensional information on the aerial targets, coupled with RF sensors, cameras and acoustic sensors, all designed and manufactured inhouse as well as integrated and automated jammers provide for reliable detection and neutralization of any drone. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
28 Jan 19. US Air Forces progresses counter-UAS directed energy trials. After the success of the first range experiment of the Directed Energy Experimentation Campaign at White Sands Missile Range, in October 2018, the 704th Test Group’s Directed Energy Combined Test Force is now planning future experiments in support of the campaign, according to a United States Air Force press release.
The Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, tasked the 704th TG Directed Energy Combined Task Force at Kirtland Air Force Base to execute the DE Experimentation Campaign. The task force is an operating unit of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, which is headquartered at Arnold AFB, Tennessee.
The Directed Energy Combined Task Force was developed after the secretary of the Air Force signed the Air Force Directed Energy Weapons Flight Plan, charting a course to transition DE weapons to operational users. Part of the flight plan, headed by the SDPE office, is to execute the DE Experimentation Campaign.
According to John Cao, director of the DE CTF, the objective of the initial DE experiment was to understand capabilities and limitations offered by existing, off-the-shelf high power microwave and high energy laser systems against group 1 and group 2 unmanned aerial systems.
“The test scenario was air base defense against small unmanned aerial systems,” he said. “Two industry systems, one high power microwave and one high energy laser, were evaluated, with more than 220 vertical-lift and fixed-wing UAS sorties flown as threats.”
To obtain operator feedback, Air Force security force members from Kirtland AFB, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and Edwards AFB, California, operated the DE systems.
“Valuable data were collected to address the experiment’s objective,” Cao said. “Now we’re in the planning stages of conducting more DE experiments.”
The DE experiments are meant to provide further understanding on how DE capabilities can be used and progressed.
“The Department of Defense has demonstrated that DE weapons can negate threats,” Cao said. “However, transitioning the DE technology is a different story. We must also understand concept of operations, tactics, techniques and procedures along with the potential implications to doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy. The campaign’s primary goal is to understand these areas.”
Col. Scott Cain, AEDC commander, recently praised the work being done by the DE CTF team.
“The 704th Test Group’s Directed Energy CTF did a phenomenal job representing the Air Force Test Center and demonstrating their leadership in the Directed Energy experimentation at White Sands Missile Range,” he said. “Mr. John Cao, the Directed Energy CTF Director, led a live counter-UAS test demonstration to multiple senior executive service and general officers from across the Air Force, and he gave a great talk on the CTF construct the 704th has built that’s the engine behind this experiment.
“John and several others in the 704th, and one member of the 96th were singled out by Mr. Thomas Lockhart, SDPE Director, for their contributions to the experiment. I have received many compliments from the office of the Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and the Air Force Research Laboratory, among others, on how the 704th is making another experiment happen for the Air Force.”
Brig. Gen. Christopher Azzano, Air Force Test Center commander, said the 704th TG is “synonymous with ‘experimentation.”
The 704th TG has also supported other SDPE experimentation campaigns, such as the Air Force Light Attack Experiment, a series of trials using light aircraft in attack roles. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
28 Jan 19. UK prison services seeks C-UAS equipment. HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) wishes to procure a Detect, Track and Identify (DTI) Counter-Unmanned Air System service for the protection of prison sites. The contract will be awarded without publication of a further call for competition. Estimated total value of the contract, excluding VAT is UKP7m.
The contract is broken down into lots:
A solution that detects and tracks a number of drones simultaneously and continuously communicates positions to the user within a specified location accuracy in the prison.
Further information on the accuracy required will be provided following the signature of a non-disclosure agreement.
Reference number: 2019/S 009-016759
Deadline for responses: 11 February 2019
Responsible authority: HM Prison and Probation Service, Ministry of Justice (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
24 Jan 19. Indra’s Anti-drone Shield, Tested in the Most Complex Environments and Ready to Protect Airports.
- Indra has an advanced anti-drone system that has been tested in countries where this type of attack is common and poses a major threat
- It is one of the few companies in the world that has already sold its system to government clients with highly demanding operational requirements
- The system is perfectly suited to operating in airports: it modulates its response to avoid interfering with air operations and it can be integrated with tower and control center systems to enhance its efficiency and precision
The presence of drones recently forced the closure of Gatwick airport for three days, suspending 1,000 flights and disrupting the plans of about 140,000 passengers during Christmas, and Heathrow for one hour. Indra is one of the few companies in the world that has a comprehensive solution specifically prepared and tested to protect an airport or any other space against drones flying without authorization.
It is an intelligent shield, called ARMS (Anti RPAS Multisensor System), which detects the presence of drones kilometers away, identifies the model and learns their weaknesses to neutralize them if they invade the space to be protected.
The company has tested its solution in countries where this type of threat is much more common and dangerous than in Europe. The extraordinary results obtained have made Indra one of the first companies in the world to have signed firm agreements with government clients, after meeting highly demanding criteria.
The solution is so effective that it can be used in a precise manner to disable a single drone, in a ‘surgical’ intervention, or a whole swarm of drones, applying more aggressive measures. If an invasion occurs from different points simultaneously, it activates a full protection dome.
Its ability to modulate the response is key to operating in an airport without interfering with aircraft electronic equipment and it makes this system unique in the market. It can also be integrated with the tower or control center systems to exchange information and be able to detect immediately any object that if flying without authorization.
The situation experienced by London airports is not new. In August 2017, Arlanda airport, in Stockholm, was also forced to close for the same reason for one hour. Pilots from all over the world regularly report cases of lesser severity but that generate excessive uncertainty to the aeronautical sector, which historically has been obsessed with safety.
However, the risk affects many other areas and types of facilities. Industrial plants, nuclear power plants, infrastructures, official buildings, prisons, sport stadiums or any place where a public event is held face the same problem.
A drone can be used to invade the privacy of people, spy, perpetrate an attack, or simply cause an accident unintentionally, when colliding with a vehicle or person.
Stopping them is very difficult however, as they can be only a few centimeters in size and they can appear suddenly, leaving little room to react.
Developing an effective solution requires having in-depth knowledge in different areas: radar technology, electronic defense, communications and command and control, among others. Mastering them is essential to deliver to each client the ‘shield’ they need, since no two airports are identical, nor does it require the same tools to shield a private enclosure or a public space accessible to anyone.
Indra’s ARMS system consists of a radar and infrared cameras that perform detection and identification tasks. Its electronic warfare sensors sweep the radio spectrum to determine the type of link, frequency or navigation system used by the drone.
The operator supervises the entire operation from his/her control position. The jamming equipment sees to cutting off communication with the pilot and blinding the navigation systems of the device. It can also use deception or spoofing techniques to take over and land it in the desired location. What’s more, it is able to determine the most likely area from which the operator may be acting to facilitate their arrest. It incorporates advanced artificial intelligence techniques that allow it to gain precision the more you use it. Indra’s solution uses the most effective soft-killing methods to protect civil environments and neutralize any of the drone models available in the market. It can also be adapted to incorporate hard-killing techniques to shoot down the aircraft. These methods are, however, more typical of the military field, where there is a need to deal with drones that are much more technologically advanced and are able to fly autonomously without needing an operator to control them remotely. However, the high cost and knowledge needed to operate them prevent them from becoming a problem for the civil sphere. (Source: ASD Network)
24 Jan 19. Special operations snipers are getting a new, upgraded riflescope. The freshly chosen optic for Special Operations Command shooters on display here at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show is an upgraded version of a scope that the Army chose for its designated marksmen last year. The Sig Sauer TANGO6T 1-6×24 Riflescope is a second focal plane scope that won the SOCOM contract a week ago and includes the following features:
- A flat dark earth anodized aircraft-grade aluminum main tube.
- An M855A1 bullet drop compensation illuminated reticle with holds for close-quarters to medium range engagements.
- An ultra-bright red Hellfire fiber optic illumination system for fast daylight target acquisition.
- A locking illumination dial.
- A power selector ring throw lever.
- A laser-marked scope level indicator for intuitive mount installation.
Another optic on display here that will find itself spread across the Army was the Sig Sauer TANGO6 Riflescope, which was selected last year to be the scope for the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle.
The SDMR program has been part of a larger shift for the Army to put sniper-like capabilities inside of the squad, giving the base unit of the formation more range and lethality with its M110 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or CSASS.
“Sig Sauer Electro-Optics fuses superior optical designs, advanced electronic technologies, and ruggedized mechanical systems tested to MIL-STD-810G at our [research and development] and assembly facility in Oregon, USA,” said Andy York, president of Sig SauerElectro-Optics, in a release at the time of the award. “We are firmly committed to supporting the U.S. Army with this mission-specific riflescope that bridges the gap between close-quarters battle and mid-range tactical engagements.”
The rifle at the heart of that platform is the German-made Heckler and Koch G28E-110.
“The CSASS is smaller, lighter, and more ergonomic, as the majority of the changes were requested by the soldiers themselves,” said Victor Yarosh, who works on the Army’s Soldier Weapons program. “The rifle is easier to shoot and has less recoil, all while shooting the same round as the M110. [Additionally,] the CSASS has increased accuracy, which equates to higher hit percentages at longer ranges.”
Most squad-level rifle firepower is most effective at 300 meters, while marksmen attempt to stretch that out to beyond 600 meters, which the new scope enables them to do more effectively, officials said.
“An Army sniper is a kind of force enhancer because they execute a number of missions,” Yarosh said. “They provide a surveillance mission where they use their high-powered scope to observe activity downrange. A sniper can pin down an enemy force through sniper concealment and engagement to provide the right shots at the right time. They can also prevent an enemy force from moving out of cover, which allows our maneuver forces to exploit the enemy by moving into a better position and engage.”
The SDMR selection last year saw funding begin in early fiscal 2019. The company could be asked to build more than 6,000 scopes over the course of the contract. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military Times)
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.