Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
10 Apr 19. US Navy finishes developmental tests of Q-20C towed minehunting sonar. The US Navy has concluded developmental testing (DT) of the Raytheon-built AN/AQS-20C (Q-20C) towed minehunting sonar. Completion of the testing now brings the sonar closer to being inducted into the fleet. Equipped with advanced acoustic and electro-optic sensing capabilities, the Q-20C can be used to detect, localise and classify bottom, close-tethered, moored, and volume-moored mines. Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) Q-20C lead project engineer Joe Thomas stated that the Q-20 C variant offers increased multi-modal search capabilities in the water column.
Thomas said: “This is a multi-modal search sonar. When you put the Q-20C sonar sensor in the water, it looks down, to each side, and is also forward-looking.
“The C-variant upgraded acoustic array technology as well as an integrated, electro-optic identification sensor. Previous versions of this sensor had to swap the volume-search module for an electro-optic identification module. With the latest improvements, it’s essentially looking everywhere in the surrounding volume of water.”
During the DT, NSWC PCD’s subject matter experts worked in collaboration with Q-20C post-mission analysis (PMA) operators to assess the performance of the system with latest enhancements.
The improvements will support the integration of the system with its intended tow platform, the MCM Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MCM USV), in fiscal year 2020.
The MCM USV is a long endurance, semi-autonomous surface craft designed to support employment of a broad range of MCM payloads.
Q-20C is expected to be one of the payloads deployed from the MCM USV, Thomas added.
It has been designated as the minehunting sonar for the littoral combat ship’s (LCS) mine countermeasure mission package.
The sonar system has four modes of operation, namely single pass shallow (SPS), single pass deep (SPD), volume mine (VOL) and identification (ID SPS). (Source: naval-technology.com)
11 Apr 19. Citadel Defense Launches Anti-Drone Solution. After over 6 months of extensive government and military testing, Citadel Defense Company is announcing the official launch of their counter drone solution, Titan, at a time where the potential safety and security threats posed by drones has never been higher.
Designed and developed alongside U.S. warfighters and security experts, the Titan provides the user real-time information, identifying and classifying an approaching unmanned aerial vehicle or swarm, and selectively applying precise countermeasures to induce the UAV to land or return to its home base. Citadel Defense uses machine learning, artificial intelligence, and software defined hardware technology to rapidly address new threats – making sure the effectiveness of protecting people and assets is always ahead of the ever-evolving threat.
Christopher Williams, CEO of Citadel Defense, explains why customers prefer Titan as their solution of choice for drone threat protection. “The system’s ease of use coupled with the fact that it can operate in environments where communications are critical, like major cities, airports, or aboard large ships, provide users with a flexible solution for many missions. Citadel’s escalating countermeasure approach is a unique advantage for customers because it can effectively detect, identify, and defeat drones with limited collateral effects to other important signals like WiFi and Bluetooth communications.”
Citadel Defense has emerged as an industry leader following more than ten successful government-hosted evaluations where many different counter drone technologies were compared against each other. Success from these evaluations has helped Citadel Defense secure six government contracts. Titan technology is trusted by commercial, government, and military customers to reliably protect some of the nation’s most critical assets, proving there is a solution to the growing threat posed by drones. (Source: UAS VISION)
11 Apr 19. DST achieves breakthrough on high-tech, low-light detection system. Defence Science and Technology has successfully patented leading-edge single-photon avalanche detector (SPAD) technology, designed for the low-light detection of underwater objects.
Defence Science and Technology scientist Joyce Mau served as a key member of the team responsible for developing a maritime application for the DST-developed SPAD technology to be mounted on a gimbal on a hovering drone tethered above the ocean surface, scanning the depths for underwater vehicles and sea mines. After receiving funding from RAAF Plan Jericho, the team quickly moved from a plan on paper to proof of concept at sea.
Mau explained, “This is new territory for our SPAD system, so we wanted to make sure we could see through water before more complex at-sea trials.”
DST scientists travelled to Fleet Base West (FBW) at HMAS Stirling to point the SPAD sensor off the side of a boat out to sea. They also took the opportunity to measure the open water transparency using Secchi disks. These are pizza-sized disks painted with alternating black and white quadrants, and are lowered into a body of water until no longer visible. This depth of disappearance, called the Secchi depth, is a measure of the transparency of the water.
“The ultimate system would use a tether comprising power supply and fibre optic data cabling to remove the need for wireless communications,” Mau added.
The team successfully demonstrated underwater detection, and Mau said there is still plenty of room for improvement, including optimising the optics and image processing.
The current SPAD chip, revolutionary though it is, has a mere 32×32 pixels of resolution. Team leader Dennis Delic said the new 256×256 version of the chip will dramatically improve the sensor’s capability.
This “3D” chip has been designed in collaboration with Milan Polytechnic, Monash University and chip fabrication specialists SilTerra (Malaysia) and the Fraunhofer Institute (Germany). Two chip layers, one each from SilTerra and Fraunhofer, will be joined together to create a unique sensor.
Initial trials with a custom-built, heavy-lift, un-piloted multi-copter version of the SPAD system were conducted over the waters off the South Australian coastline recently. Mau said they were very pleased with the results. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Apr 19. SkyX Chosen by Advanced Tactical Training Search & Rescue Division. SkyX Systems, an aerial monitoring solutions provider, has announced that Advanced Tactical Training Search & Rescue Division (ATTSAR) is using SkyX aerial systems for long-range search missions, far surpassing the distance that most drones on the market can deliver.
According to a recent announcement, 133 people have been rescued as a result of drone-operated missions worldwide from 2017 through the first half of 2018, showcasing the importance in deploying drone technology for search and rescue missions. However, quadcopter UAVs, the vehicle of choice for such missions, have multiple limitations, including endurance of the drone itself, the range at which it can operate without a controller, and the weather conditions they could operate in.
SkyX’s award-winning system gets around those issues. SkyOne has been engineered with a range of at least 65 miles, endurance up to an hour and half, minimum speed of 40 mph and maximum speed of 75 mph, autonomous vertical takeoff and landing, and the ability to function effectively in a wide array of temperatures. Furthermore, the SkyX flight system can be programmed and piloted remotely – perfectly suited for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations and negates the need for a pilot to be onsite to control the drone.
“Search and rescue missions are high-pressure, time-sensitive moments where every second counts in increasing the chances that we’ll find individuals safe and unharmed,” said William Bolton, Senior Trainer, Advanced Training in Search and Rescue, ATTSAR. “It’s paramount that we use the latest technology to aid our efforts, which is why we’ve chosen to work with SkyX. The longer flight duration enables us to conduct missions in Southern Ontario over difficult terrain, along riverbeds, or long beachfronts. Additionally, SkyX BVLOS capabilities and ability to operate in various weather conditions – all of which set SkyX apart from other solutions – provides us comfort in knowing that we’re partnering with best-in-class companies to maximize our chances of finding people quickly and safely.”
“We’re thrilled to now help ATTSAR with their search and rescue missions – and to assist in bringing loved ones back together,” says Gav Martell, COO at SkyX Systems. “When a person is reported lost, the ability to act quickly and scan a large distance in a short amount of time are mission critical. Our aerial systems are up and running in less than 30 minutes, we’re able to search for people in varied conditions, and covering more than a 65 mile radius.”
SkyX aerial systems can be deployed from virtually anywhere with no need for launchers or runways, given its Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities. (Source: UAS VISION)
10 Apr 19. What the Split Aces program could mean for Blackjack drones. The RQ-21 Blackjack drone, a small unmanned system originally designed for the Navy, is exactly as expeditionary as its trailer-launcher and skyhook recovery system let it be. Because it does need additional fixed infrastructure (think: runways), the Blackjack is a useful platform for real-time information, launched by Marines on land or on ships. On April 9, Utah’s IMSARS LLC announced it has configured its NSP-5 standard sensor payload as a possible mission kit for the Blackjack drone.
The new radar payload lets the drone create synthetic-aperture radar imagery, observe and note changes in the area it is surveilling, and also track moving targets on the ground. Marines watching from a control station can then take that processed information and send it out to units in the field, giving them useful real-time information for operations. Synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, is particularly appealing to Marines in this case because it can collect imagery at night or during inclement weather.
More capability for the Blackjack drone is likely a welcome development, as Marines in 2018 found they were flying the RQ-21s more than three times as much as expected in operations in Iraq and Syria.
The new radar is part of a program dubbed “Split Aces,” which doubles-down on the operational needs of the existing high-tempo missions. According to a Marine Corps fact sheet, the program was expected to begin procurement and delivery this spring.
Everywhere the United States fights or backs others with air support, drones can provide detailed information about the battlefield, look out for new threats, and guide long-range weapons with more accuracy. Staying ahead of adversaries in the field can be a moving target, so it helps to have a technical solution. Or at least, a solution to technicals. For Blackjack, it’s hardly a gamble. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
09 Apr 19. A unit will soon deploy with the newest night vision devices that can take troops from ‘marksman to expert.’ An armored brigade combat team headed to South Korea later this year will take with them the Army’s most advanced night vision optic, a binocular device that includes thermal imaging and connects to the soldier’s weapon with a camera and sight picture that feeds into the goggle display. The Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular has been touted by commanders including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley over the past year as a leap-ahead technology in night vision. Army infantry, Rangers and Marines have tested the device, which is expected to be with the unidentified ABCT by October.
“I have used the goggle. I have shot [with] the goggle. It is better than anything I’ve experienced in my Army career,” Lt. Gen. James Richardson, deputy commander of Army Futures Command, said in recent congressional testimony.
A big change for soldiers familiar with the current and older versions of night vision is the color they’ll see when looking through the tube.
No more green glow. The ENVG-B uses white phosphorous tubes.
“It’s been so successful with our Rangers and our infantry, that they’ve been using this night vision goggle in the daytime on the ranges,” Richardson said. “And they’ve gone from marksman to expert. It was more than we thought it was going to be from a night perspective.”
The armored brigade soldiers will be among the first of 10,000 close combat soldiers to receive the new goggles over the next two years. Marines will field 3,100 systems over that same period.
The key marksmanship feature is the addition of the Family of Weapons Sights-Individual and Rapid Targeting Acquisition. Demonstrated to Military Times in early 2017, the system uses a wireless connection between a rifle-mounted camera and the goggle to give the shooter a clear, focused, video-fed sight picture.
Shooters can choose between full goggle view, full weapons sights view or a picture-in-picture mode that allows them to see both views at once.
That means a soldier or Marine can fire from the hip about as accurately as from the shouldered position at close ranges. They can also fire around corners or other obstacles without exposing themselves.
The thermal capabilities of the ENVG-B let troops see through dust, fog, smoke and other obscurants and select from black, white-hot or white-outlined features for thermal vision.
This capability going to armored brigade soldiers later this year, and Marines soon to follow, is one iteration of a larger project still under development that would add even more features in the coming years.
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, recently demonstrated for select media at Fort Pickett, Virginia, uses the Microsoft HoloLens as a platform to feed in all of the ENVG-B features mentioned here.
It also includes navigation aids, maps, chat communications over either dedicated wireless internet for training or radio frequency for real-world operations.
The IVAS, expected to be through initial testing phases in the next 18- to 24-months, will also allow for video recording, eye tracking and muzzle placement so that commanders and trainers can conduct detailed after-action reviews of small unit tactics. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
09 Apr 19. FLIR Announces its Most Affordable Thermal Imaging Camera for First Responders. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced today the FLIR K1 handheld thermal imaging camera (TIC), FLIR’s most affordable TIC for first responder officers and fire investigators. At $599, the K1 detects heat and provides visibility through smoke and in total darkness to enhance situational awareness for use in wildland fire control, search and rescue missions, structure damage evaluation, and investigative work.
“FLIR is committed to providing first responders with lifesaving technology and solutions that help them keep their communities safe,” said Jim Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR Systems. “At under $600, the FLIR K1 will allow more emergency service professionals to adopt the power of thermal imaging and ensure a safer mission.”
The dual sensor K1 is powered by the FLIR Lepton® thermal microcamera, FLIR’s smallest and lowest cost thermal camera core. The K1 uses FLIR’s patented MSX® technology, which extracts high-contrast details from the images taken by an onboard visible light camera and superimposes them onto the thermal images. The K1 simultaneously captures thermal and visible images of a scene and stores up to 10,000 image sets to create post-scene reports, analysis, and evidence.
A pistol grip design allows users to view the scene from their line of sight for improved safety and situational awareness. The spot thermometer easily identifies unseen hot and cold spots for instant troubleshooting. The K1 carries an IP67 rating for water resistance and can withstand a 2-meter drop onto concrete. An integrated, rechargeable battery lasts up to five hours on a single charge, and it also includes a 300-lumen flashlight that lends additional visibility of a scene.
The FLIR K1 will be available for purchase this summer and demonstration units are now available for testing.
09 Apr 19. Dog-Mounted Drone Launcher on Show. The French SSI Groupe is preparing to release to market its latest generation in K9 Vision Systems to support military working dogs in special operations. Speaking to MONCH at the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS) at Camp de Souge, France on 2nd April, company officials explained how Version 3 (V3) would be made available to customers in the next month.
V3 of the K9 Vision System will feature a remote control LED as well as enhanced COFDM (Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) communications capability for greater range. Company officials were unable to provide further details due to operational security concerns.
Additionally, the latest variant also includes the integration of a 360-degree daylight camera attached to the back of a MWD.
In a mock up of the legacy V2 model exhibited at SOFINS, SSI also demonstrated how a MWD could carry a jammer in a side pocket, as well as small vertical-take off/landing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Concepts of operation would see the MWD carrying the UAV by a strap in his mouth and dropping the air vehicle in a building. SOF operators safely positioned outside a building would then remotely operate the UAV to find and fix targets in confined spaces, SSI officials described. (Source: UAS VISION/Monch)
09 Apr 19. The MOD has launched a £2m competition for proposals to tackle the future threats of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The competition, run by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), the MOD’s innovation hub, will seek robust and cost-effective next-generation solutions to the risks posed by hostile UAS. The MOD is looking to develop new defensive capabilities which draw upon autonomous decision-making mechanisms and networked sensing systems capable of detecting, tracking, identifying and defeating hostile UAS over complex and varied environments.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “As the security threats from hostile drones are evolving at pace, it’s critical that our armed forces benefit from the very latest technology to stay ahead.
This competition will draw on the brightest and best of our defence industry to find innovative solutions that will ensure we are protected in the years to come.”
The competition is the latest stage in Defence Science and Technology Lab’s (Dstl) ongoing research programme into Countering UAS which has been running for ten years.
This programme has included the extensive research, testing and evaluation of the counter-UAS technology currently employed by the MOD, including the landmark series of ‘Bristow’ trials with industry in 2013, 2015 and 2018.
Dstl’s Principal Engineer, David Lugton said, “Hostile UAS is a challenging threat in many different ways and requires cutting edge technology and well-thought-out system approaches to counter it effectively. Through this competition we are looking to inspire and develop a range of solutions to mitigate the threat posed by UAS now and in the future.”
Among the technologies we’re looking for, we’d be interested in those which can detect and track multiple threats simultaneously, with minimal human oversight, and against a broad spectrum of UAS types.
We’re also interested in Counter-Unmanned Air Systems which can overcome the challenges posed by line of sight blockages, collateral, and ones which can link systems together to improve understanding of the local “drone air picture”.
Today’s call is focused on tackling the challenges of current and future UAS capabilities, in particular:
- Next-generation Counter-UAS technology – new technological solutions to provide robust and cost effective sensing and defeat options.
- Flexible Counter-UAS technology – programmes capable of bringing counter-UAS technologies together and linking with other surveillance systems and cooperative drone awareness systems.
- Countering Future UAS Systems – developing capability to detect and mitigate threats from UAS acting autonomously, in swarms and in highly congested airspace.
Phase 1, which will deliver proof of concept of the proposals, will be worth approximately £800k and is scheduled to take place from July 2019 to March 2020. The total funding for the competition is expected to be at least £2m, split over multiple phases.
James Gray, Managing Director for Raytheon UK Cyber and Intelligence said, “We welcome this initiative from the Ministry of Defence. December’s drone shutdowns at Gatwick and Heathrow have made it absolutely clear that the dangerous use of unmanned systems is a challenge for the UK both at home and abroad, and this is a timely call for action. Raytheon is already developing integrated counter drone technologies including drone-detecting radars, cyber effectors, high-energy lasers and high power microwaves that disrupt and disable the threat. We are fully committed to working with the UK to further secure its place as a global leader in defence and security.”
BATTLESPACE Comment: This is a smart move by the UK MoD and will keep the UK in the forefront of C-UAV technology. This development will also gloss over the embarrassment caused by the cack handed manner by which Chris Grayling and Sussex Police handled the Gatwick incident. Companies expected to bid for this will include, the AUDS Team of Blighter, Chess Dynamics and ECS, collectively or as separate entities, Raytheon UK, Thales, Leonardo from the UK; Leonardo DRS, Liteye, Northrop Grumman, Echodyne from the US; Robin Radar from the Netherlands; Droneshield from Australia; Rheinmetall and Diehl from Germany; Elbit, Rada and Rafael from Israel. A research firm estimates the global drone market will be worth $17bn by 2025. While the benefits of drones are numerous, so are the risks. In the wrong hands, drones could easily become weapons or illegal surveillance systems. As drones become more prevalent in our global airspace, it’s critical that we develop solutions to safeguard against threats.
09 Apr 19. US Army to use upcoming exercises to test high-altitude airborne ISR capability. The US Army intends to use upcoming exercises to conduct sensor evaluations for a planned high-altitude fixed-wing airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (AISR) capability that it first publicised towards the end of 2018. According to the Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) Product Directorate of the Fixed-Wing Project Office (FWPO), the army will use Defender Europe in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020 and Defender Pacific in Q3 of 2020 to evaluate AISR sensor performance when flown at realistic mission altitudes and stand-off distances against high fidelity, threat-representative systems.
Jane’s first reported the US Army’s AISR requirement when the service released its original request for information in November 2018. In its latest solicitation, the service has updated the performance parameters for the platform that it requires to conduct high altitude, deep sensing in order to locate, track, and identify combat vehicle-sized targets, and support targeting for long-range precision fires (LRPF) via existing US Army tactical networks.
The new parameters for the aircraft released on 8 April comprise an operational altitude of between 40,000 ft and 51,000 ft (up from the original “greater than 35,000 ft”); an endurance of eight hours or greater; an ability to operate for 28 days outside the contiguous US; be Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) compliant; be equipped with voice and data tactical communications (line-of-sight and/or beyond-line-of-sight); and be Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) compliant. Previously, the army had said that the aircraft must also be able to operate in an anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) environment.
For the sensor(s), the army has stipulated deep sensing with a greater than 150km threshold, and with a greater than 300km objective; electronic intelligence (ELINT), ground moving target indicator (GMTI)/synthetic aperture radar (SAR), communications intelligence (COMINT), cyber electronic warfare (EW), and high-accuracy, long-range, signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensors, in order of importance; an ability to record sensor data to support post-flight Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) analysis – for Defender 2020 it is desired, but not required, that targeting data be passed via Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A); and utilisation of existing US Army networks. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 19. Switzerland selects Thales for an image intelligence system.
- Thales signed a contract to supply the Swiss Armed Forces with an IMINT/GEOINT image intelligence system based on the company’s proprietary MINDS multi-sensor image interpretation and dissemination system (the export version of France’s SAIM system).
- This intelligence system will enable the Swiss Armed Forces to optimally exploit still imagery and video feeds from current and future sensors.
- The system’s advanced functionality and innovative built-in artificial intelligence will enable operators to act faster at every decisive moment.
The contract, signed by the end of March 2019 by Thales and the Federal Office for Defence Procurement (Armasuisse) calls for supply of the elements of an IMINT image intelligence centre. Deliveries will begin in early 2020. Built around the Thales MINDS / SAIM system, the platform will enable capture, analysis and optimal exploitation of all types of imagery data. It will be completely virtualised to facilitate integration with the customer’s existing infrastructure, and will incorporate the most advanced AI technologies to take image data analysis to a new level, thus enabling the most relevant intelligence to be distributed to the Swiss authorities, so they can make the right decisions.
09 Apr 19. ULIS releases ATT0640™, world’s smallest 60 Hz VGA/12 micron thermal image sensor. Atto640 enables use of smaller thermal cameras with extended battery autonomy in portable equipment for commercial and defense applications. ULIS, a designer and manufacturer of a wide range of innovative thermal image sensors, today announces the launch of Atto640TM, a VGA/12 micron thermal image sensor for market applications where reducing the overall size and cost of the camera are key. These cover commercial and defense applications, such as Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS), surveillance and handheld thermography cameras, as well as Personal Vision Systems (PVS), including portable monoculars and binoculars for consumer outdoor leisure, law enforcement and border control.
The PVS segment is seen as significantly contributing to the growing global infrared market, expected to reach 30% annual unit growth between 2018-2024, according to the Yole Developpement report on ‘Uncooled Infrared Imagers and Detectors 2019 (p.17).
ULIS designed Atto640, the smallest 60 Hz VGA/12-micron detector (16.5 x 16.5mm surface mount device), to address the SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) reduction requirements across the full range of commercial and defense thermal image applications and to respond to market growth.
ULIS is adding a VGA format to its existing QVGA Atto320 to give camera manufacturers more choice in its 12 µm product range. The interest for camera makers is that, compared to 17 µm pixel pitch technology, the 12µm pitch enables them to use smaller and lower cost optics.
“ULIS is delighted to be introducing at SPIE DCS 2019 – the leading global sensing, imaging and photonics technologies event – the world’s smallest VGA/12-micron thermal image sensor for defense and commercial applications,” said Sébastien Tinnes, head of marketing at ULIS. “Manufacturers are calling for ever smaller components. We have delivered on that challenge, along with providing quality performance and volume production capabilities.”
Atto640 achieves its size advantage over competing models through its Wafer Level Packaging (WLP) technology, in which the detector window is directly bonded to the wafer, a technique enabling a significant reduction in the overall dimension of the sensor. Atto640’s footprint is half the size of ULIS’ Pico640-046 (17µm) model. Since Atto640 is designed with WLP, a batch-processing technique, it is suited to high-volume production.
Samples of Atto640 are currently available, with production ramp-up slated for the end of 2019. ULIS intends to further extend its 12µm product line up with larger resolution sensors.
05 Apr 19. Russia gives more details about Voronezh early warning radar station for Crimea. The Russian Ministry of Defence has given further details of its proposed Voronezh strategic early warning radar station to be built in Crimea, the Izvestia news portal reported on 2 April.
Plans for the radar site were first reported in 2017. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, for completion by 2023. The station is the Voronezh-M variant operating in the metre-band with a detection range of up to 6,000km, not the Voronezh-SM version operating in the shorter centimetre-band previously reported.
Difficulties have been reported in providing sufficient electricity for the high consumption required by the 10-storey Voronezh system, but Crimea recently began supplying excess energy to the Kuban region on the Russian ‘mainland’. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Apr 19. The Air Force’s fleet of RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft will be playing a role in the future Advanced Battle Management System, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) during a Thursday SASC hearing as he described what that architecture could look like. “The visual I would offer you is if the F-35 is outside, it’s the quarterback of a penetrating joint team. And that joint team consists of F-35, B-21, RQ-170, and X-37 in space, low Earth orbit satellites, penetrating attack submarines, a small team on the ground. And the key is to connect every sensor and every shooter,” he said, adding, “The RC-135 is a critical sensor.” He confirmed that the Air Force plans to maintain the RC-135 fleet, based at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, through 2050. (Source: Defense Daily)
08 Apr 19. Dedrone Releases DroneTracker 4. Dedrone has announced the launch of DroneTracker 4, which detects, localizes, and tracks simultaneous drones to protect against advanced drone threats. DroneTracker 4 software uses Dedrone’s DroneDNA database to recognize and classify RF, WiFi, and autonomous drones approximately one kilometer away from a protected site. DroneTracker 4 brings significant enhancements for customers including:
- Drone Flight Pattern Recognition: New airspace analytics tools uncover patterns in drone activity in the airspace, enabling users to better understand the intention of the drone flight and the potential impacts of the incursion
- Heatmaps: Visual cues provide DroneTracker users with a quick overview of unauthorized drone activity in a broad area and indicate locations of interest and hot spots to investigate further or invest additional resources
- Scheduled Reports: Regular, automated reporting proactively provides stakeholders with a modernized framework to compare data and assess their airspace activity patterns
Together, these updates and advancements make the Dedrone solution the most detailed and actionable counterdrone platform for security professionals to understand drone activity and protect critical assets.
“The Dedrone platform enables all security providers to accurately and quickly assess their airspace threats, and make decisions on how to react to drone intrusions,” shares Joerg Lamprecht, CEO and co-founder of Dedrone. “We developed DroneTracker 4 for our customers to maximize how they interact with detection data and help them create intelligent airspace security protocols. DroneTracker 4 helps security providers understand what the drone pilots are after and take strategic precautions to protect their operations.”
Dedrone’s software is a machine learning network using information from a proprietary database, DroneDNA. DroneTracker gathers intelligence from various sensors, including radio frequency and Wi-Fi scanners, microphones, and cameras, DroneTracker 4 can detect drones over a mile away from a protected site and determines the communications protocol of the drone and its flight path. Once a drone is detected, the software alerts security personnel and can be integrated to deploy a passive security measure or defeat technology. (Source: UAS VISION)
06 Apr 19. Lockheed and Israeli company team up for US Army missile defense radar ‘sense-off.’ Lockheed Martin and Israeli radar company Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, are teaming up for the U.S. Army’s upcoming “sense-off” demonstration of possible radars for its Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense System.
Lockheed confirmed via a spokesperson that it is in discussions with Elta as the companies finalize an optimal solution for the demonstration.
Elta was one of the companies on the Army’s bidder list for the sense-off, the spokesperson said, and therefore Lockheed and Elta decided to participate together “to bring the best technology from both companies.”
For Lockheed, the partnership made sense because “we saw mature technology with Elta that complemented the very mature technology that Lockheed Martin has developed,” the spokesperson said. “When the Army chose to move faster and accelerate the program, it made perfect sense for us to work with Elta.”
The Army has for years sought a radar capable of detecting threats from 360 degrees to replace its aging Patriot radar (although the service appears to be moving away from requiring that capability in a new radar).
Originally, an entire system was meant to replace Patriot, but the Army walked back on those plans roughly a decade ago to separately develop components of a new Integrated Air and Missile Defense system to include an advanced, next-generation radar.
Critics over the years have said the service was moving far too slowly on procuring a new radar, as several next-generation radar offerings are reaching high levels of technology readiness. Congress has also urged the Army to speed up the process, mandating that it procure something in the next five years. The Army has made air and missile defense one of its top modernization priorities, so the service decided the best way to move quickly on a new radar was to hold a sense-off demonstration to reassess what is available, technologically speaking, ahead of a competitive acquisition program.
The sense-off is expected to take place between May and June this year at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Each vendor with a radar will have roughly two weeks on the range to demonstrate capabilities.
The sense-off is a separate effort to the technology-development program already in the works, in which Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have been chosen to participate.
As the result of the sense-off, the Army plans to choose one vendor to build six prototypes by the end of fiscal 2022 to prove whether the radar can be manufactured. A follow-on contract for additional radars is expected. Elta is known for its multimission radars, and recently supplied Finland with its ELM-2311 compact MMR, but it has sold more than 100 systems globally. In addition to its Compact MMR, Elta supplies the MMR for Iron Dome — of which the U.S. Army is buying two batteries — and David’s Sling, both air defense systems in Israel. The company’s radars have been battle-tested, having seen thousands of rockets and missiles in the last five to 10 years on the borders of Israel, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. (Source: Defense News)
07 Apr 19. Royal Navy’s New Crowsnest Completes First Flight. The first Leonardo Merlin HM.2 helicopter fitted with the Crowsnest Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) system has completed its first flight. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin UK confirmed that the designated trials aircraft took off from Leonardo Helicopters’ Yeovil facility fitted with Crowsnest on March 28 to begin aero-mechanical flight trials.
“This milestone is key to assessing the flight envelope and handling qualities of the aircraft with the external-role equipment fitted, and marks the start of a series of flight trials which will take place throughout 2019,” said Ross Powlesland, managing director of military solutions for Lockheed Martin UK.
The Crowsnest program will see the Royal Navy regain an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) capability for its surface fleet, with a primary focus on the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. The new system is expected to achieve initial operational capability in 2020 and will form a key part of the navy’s future Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP) capability. In the past, this AEW&C capability was provided by the Sea King ASaC.7 (SKASaC) fleet until the type’s retirement in 2018.
“This first flight is part of the development of the Crowsnest capability, fitted to the Merlin helicopter, which will provide vital intelligence, surveillance, and tracking and significantly enhance the airborne command and control capability of the Royal Navy,” said a service spokesperson.
The Merlin HM.2 Crowsnest will use improved missions systems and hardware originally developed for the SKASaC fleet, including the distinctive “bag” radome that houses the Thales Searchwater radar and swivels down below the aircraft during flight from the port-side weapon station. The mechanically scanned radar will offer long-range air, maritime, and land detection and tracking capability, and also feature fully integrated electronic support measures. The radar and associated Cerberus mission system, also supplied by Thales, have evolved for the Merlin HM.2 to include new radar modes, as well as human-machine interface enhancements such as touchscreen technology.
A total of 10 Crowsnest systems will be purchased as part of a £269m ($351.7m) contract awarded to Lockheed Martin UK in 2017. All 30 of the Royal Navy’s Merlin HM.2s—previously upgraded by Lockheed Martin UK as part of the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme—will be modified by Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil to ensure that the Crowsnest role-fit kits can be integrated on any helicopter if required. (Source: News Now/https://www.ainonline.com/)
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.