Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
28 Mar 19. CBP Considers Contractor Owned And Operated Aircraft For Surveillance And Recon. Taking a page out of the Coast Guard’s playbook, Customs and Border Protection is considering acquiring contractor-owned and operated aircraft services for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The Coast Guard currently contracts with Boeing’s [BA] Insitu business unit for the company to operate its ScanEagle small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) aboard the service’s growing fleet of high-endurance National Security Cutters. The ScanEagles are used for a range of ISR missions. The $117m contract to Insitu was awarded last year. CBP on March 26 issued a Request for Information (RFI) for contractor-owned, contract or operated manned/unmanned aircraft services in support of law enforcement operations conducted by the agency’s Office of Air and Marine Operations. The RFI says it expects it will eventually award contracts worth up to $250m in total over five years to two contractors for the services.
Under the contractor provide services, CBP wants “near-continuous” ISR operations, defining this requirement as 24 hours per day for five straight days “over the designated operation area.” Overall, the agency is seeking 6,000 flight hours annually. CBP also expects the contractor to provide related technology and sensors and transmit data and imagery in real-time to the agency in a specified format. Some of the operations requirements are specific and others less so. CBP says it wants “longrange, persistent remote sensing” ISR, the use of active and passive sensors for “flexile reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, flexibility and versatility in configuring the system, transit speed of 240 knots and loiter speed of 120 knots, and the ability to operate up to 25,000 feet. In the RFI, CBP doesn’t say what its next steps in a potential procurement will be. At the annual Border Security Expo this week in San Antonio, Texas, CBP officials said they are looking for new ways of doing business. Kelly Good, deputy executive director for the Border Patrol’s Program Management Office, said the Border Patrol wants to acquire capabilities more rapidly using non-traditional methods to adapt to changing threats (Defense Daily, March 27). Good told attendees not to expect a Request for Proposals all the time and that through RFIs,
industry engagement, and vendors being on existing contracting vehicles such as those managed by the General Services Administration (GSA) and other federal agencies, companies are in a position to understand the solutions that the Border Patrol needs and his agency is in a position to acquire systems that it can test and evaluate and then determine if it wants to buy more of them to deploy. The Border Patrol has been acquiring sUAS using Defense Logistics Agency contracting vehicles without conducting a formal acquisition, Good said. CBP’s Air and Marine division operates a small fleet of General Atomics-built Predator drones that can operate up to 50,000-feet and stay aloft for nearly a full day. Diane Sahakian, assistant commissioner for the Office of Acquisition at CBP, said that for years there were limitations at the Department of Homeland Security on the kinds of contract vehicles the department’s components could use. That was also limiting for industry, she said. Now that components have access to “best in class” contracts, she said “I think you’ll see CBP using [contracting] vehicles from other organizations.” She also told vendors if they aren’t on the GSA contracting schedules already “get on GSA,” pointing out later that “the whole purpose of GSA is to make you do things faster.”
Sahakian said that CBP has “pretty much moved” to using a statement of objectives in its procurements and away from a statement of work. A statement of objectives in government acquisition parlance emphasizes outcomes and desired results at a detailed level, whereas a statement of work defines needed tasks in more specific terms. CBP wants responses to its RFI by April 12. (Source: Defense Daily)
26 Mar 19. Blighter Radars Integrated With Genetec Security Center to Deliver Wide Area Radar Surveillance to Airports.
- Integration enables airports: to ‘fold-in’ the wide area surveillance capability provided by Blighter’s range of radars, super-charging situational awareness in their existing C2 systems; to share the radar data across other Genetec platforms including Genetec Clearance; and to create Dynamic Virtual Perimeters to ease construction hassle and the cost of airport expansion projects
- Blighter and Genetec to showcase this capability on stand 4120 at the Passenger Terminal Expo, ExCeL Centre, London, 26-28 March 2019.
Blighter radars integrated with Genetec Security CentreCambridge, UK, March 26, 2019 – Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd , a British designer and manufacturer of electronic-scanning (e-scan) radars and surveillance solutions, has partnered with Genetec™ a leading technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations and business intelligence, to integrate its range of Blighter ground surveillance radars with Genetec™ Security Center, the company’s flagship unified IP security platform.
This integration enables airports to ‘fold-in’ the wide area surveillance capability provided by Blighter’s range of radars, super-charging situational awareness in their existing command and control (C2) systems to deliver round the clock surveillance in all weather and light conditions. The collaboration will also enable the Blighter radar and target tracking data to be shared across Genetec’s other decision management and support systems as well as with its collaborative digital management solution, Genetec Clearance™.
David Lenot, Director Transportation – EMEA, Genetec, said: “We are seeing a growing number of airports that want to add primary radar capability to their existing security and CCTV systems, so we are pleased to be partnering with Blighter Surveillance Systems to integrate their radars and tracker within Security Center. This integration will make it easier for our customers to introduce Blighter’s maintenance free solid-state micro Doppler radars and tracker into airports providing improved situational awareness but without adding to the complexity of installed systems.”
Another benefit of the Blighter/Security Center integration is the ability to create Dynamic Virtual (non-physical) Perimeters across an airport site. This is helpful for providing CZ/RZ (controlled zone/restricted zone) separation monitoring but it is particularly useful for the many airports undergoing expansion or enhancement projects. The ability to build Dynamic Virtual Perimeters around work areas is hugely attractive both as a cost saving measure and as a means of reducing disruption inside an operating area that is already very crowded and busy.
Geoff Moore, business development manager, Blighter Surveillance Systems, said: “The ability to create Dynamic Virtual Perimeters as opposed to putting up fences or turnstiles is extremely attractive for airports. It has the potential to save considerable time, money and minimise disruption during construction projects. Working with our radars, the sophisticated Security Center platform can quickly and easily set up zones on a map that trigger different types of action depending on complex configurable rule sets.”
Genetec Security Center is a unified security platform that blends IP security systems within a single intuitive interface to simplify operations. From access control, video surveillance, and automatic license plate recognition to communications, intrusion detection, and analytics, Security Center provides enhanced situational awareness, unified command and control, and connectivity to the Cloud.
“We are delighted to be integrating our radars and tracker with Genetec Security Center,” said Geoff Moore, business development manager, Blighter Surveillance Systems, “Genetec offers a wide-ranging global experience in the aviation sector – and a large installed base of airports – which has resulted in an extensive set of airport specific functionality being implemented inside the platform.”
Blighter’s passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radars, featuring Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) micro Doppler fast scan capability, perform well in cluttered airport environments, detecting small and slow-moving targets with minimal false alarms. The radars deliver a 24x7x365 all-weather persistent surveillance capability.
The Blighter B400 series radar – the most popular for airports – can detect and track a walking person at 11km (6.8 miles), a crawler at 4.6km (2.9 miles) or a large moving vehicle at 25km (15.5 miles) and then cue a camera system to follow and identify targets. The Blighter radar can be mounted high up on existing airport infrastructure thereby minimising installation costs and maximising surveillance as the radar can see over obstacles including aircraft and vehicles.
Blighter Surveillance Systems and Genetec will showcase their products and solutions for airports on stand 4120 at the Passenger Terminal Expo, ExCeL Centre, London, 26-28 March 2019. (Source: ASD Network)
27 Mar 19. China working on terahertz radar prototypes. Several prototype terahertz radars have recently been built and tested by China’s research and development institutes, according to a report published by the state-owned Global Times newspaper on 18 March. The report described the radars as “anti-stealth radars”, highlighting that one of the attributes of radars operating in the 300 GHz – 3 THz band is their ability to penetrate many materials to reveal objects under the surface.
This applies to the skin of stealth aircraft, resulting in return signals reflected from the aircraft structure that negate its stealthy properties. However, the report acknowledged that the atmospheric absorption of signals at these frequencies results in very short detection ranges that are insufficient to detect hostile stealth aircraft before they are in striking range. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 19. Leonardo DRS Awarded $67m U.S. Army Contract for Second-Generation Infrared Sights for Combat Vehicles. Leonardo DRS Inc., announced today that it has been awarded a $67m U.S. Army contract to provide vehicle-based infrared sensors for surveillance and fire control systems for a variety of ground combat vehicles. Under the fixed-price contract, the Leonardo DRS Electro-Optical & Infrared Systems business unit will provide Horizontal Technology Integration Second Generation-Forward Looking Infrared (SG-FLIR) Block 1 A/B-Kits, a key infrared sensor supporting fire control and surveillance on a range of critical U.S. Army ground combat vehicles, including M1A1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Stryker vehicles.
“We are a leader in infrared combat systems and are proud to deliver this technology that will give users clear, accurate, day and night situational awareness,” said Jerry Hathaway, vice president and general manager of the Leonardo DRS Electro-Optical & Infrared Systems business.
The Army’s SGF-FLIR program provides soldiers with premier night vision capabilities for Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Stryker vehicles, and the Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System, improving battlefield dominance.
Work on this program will be done at the Leonardo DRS Electro-Optical & Infrared Systems facility in Melbourne, Florida and is expected to be completed in early 2026.
26 Mar 19. SMART-L MM/N BMD radar installed on first LCF frigate. The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) air defence and command frigate (LCF) HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën has become the first ship of its class to receive the new SMART-L MM/N L-band long-range radar.
Developed and manufactured by Thales Nederland, the SMART-L MM/N radar (previously known as SMART-L Early Warning Capability [EWC]) is being procured as part of a combat systems upgrade that will confer the RNLN’s four LCF ships with a maritime ballistic missile defence (MBMD) early warning capability. This will form part of the Netherlands’ national contribution to NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability.
SMART-L MM/N is a new active electronically scanned array radar, using Gallium Nitride transmit/receive modules, designed to detect air, surface, and high-speed exo-atmospheric targets out to an instrumented range of 2,000 km. Combining dual-axis multibeam processing with a patented extended long-range waveform already proven in live at-sea testing, SMART-L MM/N is designed to operate in a number of rotating and staring modes to support volume air surveillance and/or BMD long-range search and track.
The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) awarded Thales Nederland a contract in June 2012 covering the development and manufacture of four SMART-L MM/N systems. The second radar off the production line was the first to be delivered to the DMO for ship installation (the first of class radar being used to support system qualification on land).
Installation of the SMART-L MM/N radar on board De Zeven Provinciën was undertaken at Den Helder on 21 March. Other changes being embodied as part of the MBMD upgrade include modifications to the ship’s Guardion combat management system (with new integrated air and missile defence functionality developed by DMO/JIVC/SATS) and the integration of a Tecnobit LINPRO multi-link processor (enabled to exchange data via the Link 16 Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol [JREAP]-C beyond-line-of-sight message protocol). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 19. Echodyne Announces Availability of Rapid Deployment Kit for Portable High-Performance 3D Surveillance Radar. Echodyne, the manufacturer of innovative, high-performance radars for government and commercial markets, announces the immediate availability of the EchoGuard Rapid Deployment Kit for surveilling borders, securing critical infrastructure perimeters and temporary events, and enhancing situational awareness. Echodyne’s innovative MESA™ technology and powerful software deliver the leading performance of electronically scanning array (ESA) radar in a compact, lightweight, solid-state format for the very first time.
The Rapid Deployment Kit is built for field agents, law-enforcement, and security personnel charged with temporarily or intermittently securing ground and airspace perimeters. With essential components weighing under 20 lbs., the kit is extremely portable and enables surveillance in the most remote or hard to access locations.
“Echodyne is excited to announce the Rapid Deployment Kit, specifically designed for securing temporary and special events and critical infrastructure, remote surveillance, and border security,” said Eben Frankenberg, CEO of Echodyne. “Being able to rapidly deploy a high-performance radar sensor is a field force multiplier, significantly enhancing agent safety, and dramatically improving situational awareness. This is another example of how our MESA technology can provide exceptional performance in a low cost, size, weight, and power package.”
Features of the EchoGuard Rapid Deployment Kit include:
- Industry leading 3D radar performance in a super lightweight kit;
- Intuitive radar UI software;
- Ruggedized high-performance computer;
- Wired and optional wireless connectivity;
- Choice of tripod size;
- Essential components weigh less than 20 lbs. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
27 Mar 19. Australia commits to acquisition of next ISR remotely piloted aircraft. Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds have announced the purchase of the next MQ-4C Triton RPA system. This aircraft is the second of a planned fleet of at least six Triton aircraft that Australia is acquiring through a cooperative program with the US Navy.
Minister Pyne said the Triton acquisition was an important part of strengthening the security of Australia’s maritime boarders.
“The Triton, which will complement our manned P-8A Poseidon aircraft, will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability as well as our ability to monitor and secure Australia’s maritime approaches,” he said.
Australia’s procurement of MQ-4C Triton – designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman – is part of an initial $1.4bn contract that will see Australia acquire a fleet of up to seven MQ-4C Triton high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) autonomously piloted systems.
Designed from the ground up to focus on HALE surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, Northrop Grumman’s Triton seemed perfect for meeting the Abbott government’s “Stop the Boats” and border security policies.
“These capabilities help us protect our maritime area from threats such as people smuggling and the exploitation of our natural resources from activities like illegal fishing.”
However, increasing tensions in the South China Sea (SCS) have provided a new suite of mission requirements for Australia’s future surveillance drone fleet.
“The Tritons will also be able to undertake enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks to support whole-of-government operations,” Minister Pyne said.
Remotely flying out of RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, the Tritons are capable of monitoring 40,000 square kilometres a day and seamlessly fly a round trip for sustained surveillance and in support of allied Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOP) in the SCS from the Northern Territory – increasing Australia’s interoperability with key allies, particularly the US.
Minister Reynolds said that the Triton acquisition will provide significant opportunities for the Australian defence industry as “the project is expected to create about 70 jobs in South Australia and the Northern Territory”.
“In the sustainment phase in particular, there will be significant opportunity for Australian industry to share in billions of dollars of system maintenance and network management functions,” Minister Reynolds added.
This announcement comes a month after the signing of the Australian Industry Capability (AIC) deed between the Commonwealth government and Northrop Grumman Australia at the Avalon airshow.
Minister Reynolds said, “Just last month, Northrop Grumman – the manufacturer of the Triton – signed an Australian Industry Capability deed with Defence, which will result in even more investment and enhanced opportunities for Australian companies.”
Northrop Grumman’s AIC deed establishes a framework to deliver real opportunities for Australian industry in major Defence programs, in particular the MQ-4C Triton program with the Royal Australian Air Force. The company is committed to working with government to develop the highly skilled workforce required to build a sustainable, sovereign industrial base.
Ed Graziano, director of MQ-4C Triton international programs at Northrop Grumman, told Defence Connect at the time, “Northrop Grumman is proud to contribute to building an enduring aerospace ecosystem in Australia as part of our Australian industry capability efforts.”
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike and logistics and modernisation to customers worldwide. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Mar 19. Liteye Systems Ramps Up C-UAS Systems Production. Liteye Systems Inc, received an early 2019 multi-million-dollar follow-on order for their Containerized Anti-UAS Defense System known as C-AUDS; a one-of-a-kind commercial product in operation with the US DoD protecting lives and critical infrastructure around the world.
This is the fourth order received overall in a short amount of time for these systems, demonstrating the affordability, trust and confidence customers have with Liteye and the C-AUDS technology. Liteye’s combat proven technology is highly effective in the Detect, Track, ID, and Defeat kill-chain widely known and associated to the DoD Counter Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) war-time mission; however, increasing use of commercial drones in the US, around non-DoD restricted areas, shed light on a state-side need for Counter-Drone/C-UAS technology, not associated to the DoD.
For state-side use, Liteye will be demonstrating their Counter-Drone/C-UAS products in San Antonio, Texas at the Border Security Expo in March.
“Considering the growing drone activity in restricted areas around Borders, Airports and Critical Infrastructure, our participation in this event cannot come at a more important time”, states Vice President of Business Development for Liteye Systems, Mr. Ryan Hurt.
Mr. Hurt goes on to say: “We are continuously providing new US technology and ways to adapt to the current and changing drone threats by providing different layers of ability to ensure operational effectiveness” He also states: “Liteye Systems Inc, has completed contracts with delivery of product and capability to the US Department of Defense and we’ve recently received additional orders for our proven C-UAS products. These same commercial products are directly applicable to providing National Border Security, Airport Flight Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection”.
At the Border Security Expo this week, the Liteye Anti-UAS Defense System will perform radar detection, optical identification and autonomous tracking of nefarious drone activity. The defeat of drones through the Liteye system has been proven through years of work with the US DoD, and the full system provides support to apprehension and prosecution while protecting National Borders, Airports, Water Ports, and Critical Infrastructures. Also, being demonstrated is the SkyWall100, net capture system that provides a close-in very low collateral damage drone defeat capability. This system does not use energetics and safely nets and lands a drone without harm to surroundings. Additionally, Liteye’s Long Range Cameras and Radar Sense and Warn Systems will be on display and are expected to provide critical capability as drone activity continues to increase.
Graham Beall, CEO of Chess Dynamics, commented “The award of this contract further strengthens our relationship with the US Department of Defence and supports its counter-UAS capability through the use of fully equipped, flexible and easily-deployable ISO containers. This is one of a number of recent orders for the ISO containerised C-UAS solution, which clearly demonstrates the confidence and trust that customers have in the system to effectively detect, track, identify and defeat unmanned aerial systems, amid the growing threat of drones in a civil and military context.” (Source: UAS VISION)
26 Mar 19. UK Wedgetail acquisition to support Australian jobs. Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds have welcomed news that the UK Royal Air Force will acquire five E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft worth US$1.98bn. Ministers Pyne and Reynolds said the acquisition represented an acknowledgement of the world-leading nature of the Wedgetail aircraft.
“The Wedgetail is a true Australian success story – designed for the Royal Australian Air Force with investment by the Australian government and the support of over 200 Australian companies,” Minister Pyne said.
The E-7A Wedgetail provides Australia with one of the most advanced air battlespace management capabilities in the world. The E-7A Wedgetail has participated in Exercise Bersama Lima, Cope North, Red Flag and Pitch Black, with units currently deployed on Operation OKRA.
“Like the Australian acquisition of the Hunter Class Frigate, the UK acquisition of Wedgetail aircraft will enhance the ability of our two nations to operate seamlessly together,” Minister Pyne added.
The Boeing 737 AEW&C is a state-of-the-art system providing powerful airborne surveillance, communications and battle management.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the E-7 fleet would replace the RAF’s ageing fleet of E-3 Sentry aircraft and ensure the continued delivery of the UK’s airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) capability.
“The E-7 provides a technological edge in an increasingly complex battlespace, allowing our ships and aircraft to track and target adversaries more effectively than ever. This deal also strengthens our vital military partnership with Australia,” Secretary Williamson said.
The new fleet will be able to track multiple airborne and maritime targets at the same time, using the information it gathers to provide situational awareness and direct other assets such as fighter jets and warships.
The 737 AEW&C system encompasses both the Boeing 737-700 aircraft platform and a variety of aircraft control and advanced radar systems. Consisting of components created by Boeing and Northrop Grumman, the 737 AEW&C represents the standard for future airborne early warning systems.
The E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C functions include:
- A steerable beam, L-band, electronically scanned array that provides optimal performance in range, tracking and accuracy;
- Radar that can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously;
- Assistance to the mission crew in directing the control of high-performance fighter aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area;
- A “top hat” portion that provides a practical solution for fore and aft coverage while maintaining the low drag profile of the dorsal array system – enabling the MESA system to be installed on the mid-size 737-700 platform without significant impact to aircraft performance;
- An integrated identification friend or foe (IFF) function that shares the primary radar arrays to reduce weight, improve reliability and simplify target correlation; and
- Advanced open-system architecture with standards-based design for cost-effective integration and add-on flexibility.
This announcement builds on a growing military capability and industrial relationship between the UK and Australia, after the Australian government selected the British Type 26 design for its future frigate.
Australia’s experience in operating the Wedgetail presents a significant opportunity to work closely with the UK through co-operative development and industry collaboration. The UK acquisition is also expected to be a significant win for Australian defence industry.
Boeing Defence Australia welcomed the UK announcement and said it would support Boeing Defence UK in the delivery of the Wedgetail capability to the Royal Air Force.
In a statement, a Boeing Defence Australia spokesperson said, “Under the contract, Boeing Defence Australia will support the global Boeing Team in the UK and the US in support of mission system development, ground support segments, and ground-based aircrew and maintenance training.”
Minister Reynolds said, “The UK acquisition is expected to deliver 100 jobs to the Brisbane and Newcastle based staff of Boeing Defence Australia, taking advantage of their world-leading capabilities in systems and software engineering and deep experience in Wedgetail support, including ground based aircrew training.
“Further opportunities – including for the more than 200 Australian companies that have contributed to our own Wedgetail acquisition and sustainment – will be available for Australian industry in the supply chain.”
Based at RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia’s six E-7A Wedgetails significantly improve the effectiveness of the ADF. They are capable of communicating with other aircraft and providing air control from the sky, and can cover 4 million square kilometres during a single 10-hour mission. (Source: Defence Connect)
25 Mar 19. Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) is developing a new version of the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar that flies on the U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft under a $320m undefinitized contract from the U.S. Air Force. Equipped with an active electronically scanned array antenna, ASARS-2B doubles the surveillance range while maintaining the mapping and imagery resolution of the current ASARS-2A system. ASARS-2B completed flight test at Edwards Air Force Base in California in early 2019.
“ASARS-2B allows the Dragon Lady to see further than ever before,” said Eric Ditmars, vice president of Raytheon Secure Sensor Solutions. “That kind of range is crucial for commanders to achieve decision superiority – and it ensures that the U-2 remains a preferred option for manned airborne surveillance operations.”
ASARS-2B is a high-resolution, multimode, long-range, air-to-ground radar that provides operators with critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data. Capable of operating in all weather, day or night, ASARS detects and precisely locates fixed and moving targets on the ground.
23 Mar 19. German Air Force jumping on passive radar. The German Air Force has created a formal acquisition track for passive sensing technology, joining a global military equipment trend that could reshuffle the cat-and-mouse game of radar versus stealthy aircraft.
A defense acquisition spokesman told Defense News that the service is working on an “FFF” analysis for passive sensor systems, a technical acronym from deep inside the military-acquisition bureaucracy. Short for “Fähigkeitslücke und Funktionale Forderung,” the process serves to describe a capability gap, derive requirements and eventually tee up an actual investment program.
Information about the acquisition status came in a response by the Defence Ministry to Defense News about an event in November that showed the military’s keen interest in passive radar.
The Luftwaffe and the ministry’s defense-acquisition organization had staged a weeklong “measuring campaign” in southern Germany aimed at visualizing the entire region’s air traffic through TwInvis, a passive radar system made by Hensoldt.
Queries about the results of the demonstration were left unanswered.
Passive radar equipment computes an aerial picture by reading how civilian communications signals bounce off airborne objects. The technique works with any type of signal already present in a given airspace, including radio or television broadcasts as well as emissions from mobile phone stations. In contrast, traditional radar works by emitting radar waves and then tracking their path.
Passive radar technology is essentially covert, meaning pilots entering a monitored area may be unaware they are being tracked. That could even be the case for pilots flying stealthy aircraft like the F-35, experts say, though there is no publicly available data pitting passive radar against low-observable aircraft designs and their radiation-absorbing coatings.
With German defense officials so tight-lipped about the technology, it is difficult to discern what role the demonstration last fall played in the Luftwaffe’s thinking, especially if the event triggered the FFF phase or whether that had begun previously.
What is clear, however, is that the service is formally engaged in a technology area that could challenge existing assumptions on stealth as a key organizing principle for air warfare.
There are a number of additional applications for passive radar, including as an undetectable guidance system for missile defense or covert surveillance of borders and whatever lies beyond them, Hensoldt officials have said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
22 Mar 19. Britain to buy Wedgetail aircraft in nearly $2bn deal. Britain’s Royal Air Force will operate a fleet of five Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft in an almost $2bn deal with Boeing.
The British Ministry of Defence said in an announcement Mar 22 that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson had inked the deal with Boeing to provide a replacement for the current fleet of Sentry aircraft.
All five aircraft, based on the Boeing 737 NG airliner, will be modified to the E-7 AEW standard by local British company Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group based in Cambridge, eastern England.
The company is best known for modifying and supporting Lockheed Martin C-130 customers in Britain and elsewhere, but has also undertaken work recently on special role modifications on other platforms.
The deal is expected to sustain about 200 jobs at Marshall’s as well as potentially open the door to future support work.
The announcement made no reference to program timelines, but MoD sources said work is beginning immediately with the first aircraft slated for delivery in 2023, slightly later than originally hoped.
The aircraft are needed urgently to replace the decaying capability provided by aging RAF Sentry E-3D platforms, which have suffered groundings and high unavailability rates in recent years.
Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank in London, said that upgrading the RAF’s capabilities in airborne warning control was a top priority.
“Given the comparative lack of investment in the RAF E-3 fleet, combined with a worsening security environment, identifying and procuring a successor has become increasingly important, particularly for any kind of peer-on-peer conflict where situational awareness and command and control are key to operations,” he said.
It’s the fourth export success for Wedgetail following its purchase by Australia, South Korea and Turkey. The aircraft is not operated by the U.S. military.
The British buy will be based on the Australian version of the aircraft. The purchase will open up significant export opportunities for Australian suppliers who already have technology installed on Wedgetail aircraft.
The deal is a further sign of Britain’s strengthening industrial and military cooperation. Last year Australia agreed to buy a fleet of BAE Systems Type 26 frigates similar to the anti-submarine warships already ordered by the Royal Navy. The closer ties with Australia was a point picked up by Williamson in a statement released by the MoD.
“This deal strengthens our vital military partnership with Australia. We will operate the same state-of-the-art F-35 jets and world-class Type-26 warships, and this announcement will help us work even more closely together,” he said.
British aircrews have been training on the Wedgetail in Australia since last year. Williamson announced last year that the MoD had opened discussion with Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force over a possible purchase. The British opted for a single source purchase without opening up the requirement to competition – a decision that angered the Parliamentary Defence Committee and rival industry suppliers, particularly Airbus and Saab, which partnered to offer Saab’s Erieye radar matched with the Airbus A330 airframe.
The firming up of the deal to buy the Wedgetail comes ahead of the expected first delivery of another Boeing 737-based platform – the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.
The first of nine P-8s are scheduled for delivery to the RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, in the Spring of 2020. That deal was also a single source procurement. Marshall is already a supplier on the P-8 program. (Source: Defense News)
21 Mar 19. UK MoD Orders 5 Australian “Wedgetail” Early Warning Radar Aircraft. The E-7 fleet will replace the current Sentry aircraft and ensure the continued delivery of the UK’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability. Named “Wedgetail” by the Australian Department for Defence, the E-7 aircraft can fly for long periods of time and manage the battlespace from the sky. The MOD hopes that the E-7 will provide a technological edge in an increasingly complex battlespace, enabling British ships and aircraft to track and target adversaries more effectively.
“This deal also strengthens our vital military partnership with Australia,” said the UK’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. “We will operate state-of-the-art F-35 jets and world-class Type-26 warships, and this announcement will help us work even more closely together to tackle the global threats we face.”
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, welcomed the deal, saying “Today’s announcement about the procurement of five E-7 ‘Wedgetail’ Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft is excellent news for both the RAF and wider Defence. This world-class capability, already proven with our Royal Australian Air Force partners, will significantly enhance our ability to deliver decisive airborne command and control and builds on the reputation of our E3D Sentry Force. Along with Defence’s investment in other cutting-edge aircraft, E-7 will form a core element of the Next Generation Air Force, able to overcome both current and future complex threats. The new fleet will be able to track multiple airborne and maritime targets at the same time, using the information it gathers to provide situational awareness and direct other assets such as fighter jets and warships.”
The E-7 is a proven aircraft that is currently in-service with the Royal Australian Air Force and has been used on operations in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The E-7 is based on a standard Boeing 737 NG airliner modified to carry a sophisticated Northrop Grumman active electronically-scanned radar. This can cover four million square kilometres over a 10-hour period.
Modification of the aircraft will be carried out in the UK, sustaining over 200 highly skilled jobs at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group in Cambridge, and there will also be opportunities for British suppliers to be involved in future training and support arrangements.
This announcement builds on a growing military capability and industrial relationship between the UK and Australia, after the Australian government selected the British Type 26 design for its future frigate.
The Boeing 737 AEW&C is a twin-engine airborne early warning and control aircraft. It is lighter than the 707-based Boeing E-3 Sentry, and mounts a fixed, active electronically scanned array radar antenna instead of a rotating one. It was designed for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) under “Project Wedgetail” and designated E-7A Wedgetail.
The 737 AEW&C has also been selected by the Turkish Air Force (under “Project Peace Eagle”), the Republic of Korea Air Force (“Project Peace Eye”), and the United Kingdom, and has been proposed to Italy and the United Arab Emirates. (Source: U.K. MoD/http://www.warfare.today)
22 Mar 19. IARPA Announces the UG2+ Prize Challenge to Improve UAV-Captured Imagery. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, today announced the UG2+ Prize Challenge, a competition that leverages a unique computer vision dataset of unmanned aerial vehicle, glider, and ground (UG2) data. This second edition of the challenge aims to advance the analysis of images collected by small UAVs by improving image restoration and algorithm performance.
“Last year this prize challenge showed that this is an active area of research, but that the problem is still unsolved,” said IARPA Program Manager Lars Ericson. “This second iteration aims to further engage the community to advance techniques needed to aid analysts in processing and understanding the large amounts of imagery they receive on a daily 22 Mar 19.IARPA is conducting this challenge to invite the broader research community of industry and academia, both domestic and international, to participate in a convenient, efficient, and non-contractual way. The registration period officially runs until April 1, 2019. Participants should submit their algorithms for evaluation to IARPA’s challenge partner, the University of Notre Dame. Winners will be announced in May 2019. The most successful and innovative teams will be invited to present at a workshop at the 2019 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference. (Source: UAS VISION)
Blighter® Surveillance Systems (BSS) is a UK-based electronic-scanning radar and sensor solution provider delivering an integrated multi-sensor package to systems integrators comprising the Blighter electronic-scanning radars, cameras, thermal imagers, trackers and software solutions. Blighter radars combine patented solid-state Passive Electronic Scanning Array (PESA) technology with advanced Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) and Doppler processing to provide a robust and persistent surveillance capability. Blighter Surveillance Systems is a Plextek Group company, a leading British design house and technology innovator, and is based at Great Chesterford on the outskirts of Cambridge, England.
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