Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
26 Apr 19. Altavian to Develop New Military Drone Prototype. Altavian, a U.S.-based Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) engineering and manufacturing firm, announced the award of the Short Range Reconnaissance Prototype (SRR) contract as a part of the Army’s effort to field a next generation drone weighing less than 5 pounds flown by a single operator.
This program is the first of several Army multi-year efforts to refresh the UAS technology portfolio to better-protect our soldiers through superior situational awareness capabilities. The SRR program is intended to augment the existing fleet of small UAS currently deployed by the Army in short range and urban environments. This endeavor is being spearheaded by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), working with PEO Aviation, to speed prototype deployment and guide program development.
“This is an exciting new opportunity for Altavian,” said Thomas Rambo, Chief Operating Officer and Cofounder of Altavian. “This contract is a strategic win for Altavian and the entire U.S. drone manufacturing base. The defense sector is actively seeking leading edge technology solutions developed by small, agile, and innovative companies that are competitive in a global market. We are pleased that we were selected to participate.”
This is the second major award for Altavian in small UAS in the past 13 months. In March 2018, Altavian won a competitive contract to provide products for the existing UAS fleet, including avionics, radios, ground controllers, and spare parts. Altavian is now simultaneously supporting legacy systems with a full capability set while developing for future programs of record.
This contract is scheduled to continue into 2020. Under DIU’s guidance, in close coordination with PM UAS, the selected system has the potential to become the Army’s newest UAS program of record; the first major competition for a new small UAS out of the UAS program since 2005. (Source: UAS VISION)
26 Apr 19. DroneShield takes first order from Thales. Sydney-based company DroneShield has taken its first order from Thales Spain, as the companies build upon their teaming agreement. The pair agreed on a partnership in December 2018, and Thales Spain intends to integrate DroneShield’s detection and mitigation products into its “broader family of defence products”, to market in Spain and globally to its customers.
“We work with many outstanding Australian SMEs such as DroneShield that can add real value to Thales solutions. It’s great to be able to assist them to access our export markets,” Anne Munro, Thales Australia global supply chain manager, said.
The integration process will include Thales’ Squire radar and its Gecko Optronics System pairing with DroneShield’s specialist drone detection system.
“We are excited about the continued progression of our partnership with Thales Spain, and look forward completing the integration, and marketing the combined solution to Thales customers globally,” Oleg Vornik, DroneShield chief executive, said.
The initial teaming agreement stated that Thales “would utilise and promote DroneShield’s products in its defence and security contract bids in Spain involving counter-drone aspects”.
At the time, Vornik said that “over the course of the recent year, we have made substantial progress with advancing our market penetration in NATO countries and in Spain in particular”.
“This partnership with Thales builds on the work we have undertaken and couples it with Thales’ extensive market penetration in Spain, as well as it long-established brand and reputation in this market, in order to achieve a multiplier effect on our and Thales’ counter-drone efforts,” he said.
DroneShield was founded in 2014 in Sydney, and develops multilayer pre-eminent drone detection and disruption solutions that protect people, organisations and critical infrastructure from intrusion from drones. (Source: Defence Connect)
25 Apr 19. Virginia-based international intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) provider, MAG Aerospace, has used Centrik to consolidate the operational management of its 20 separate specialist aviation programmes, a move that has revolutionised the way the company operates. As a rapidly growing business, MAG Aerospace was originally looking for a Safety Management System (SMS) to oversee its increasingly complex flight requirements. However, after a demonstration of Centrik’s overarching capabilities, the company decided to use the system to make a step change across its entire operational management approach.
Wes Davison, Program Manager at MAG Aerospace, says: “It’s true that we were initially only looking for an SMS – but it was obvious from our first look at Centrik that it had the power to do so much more; it has genuinely given us a platform to change our entire operation in such a way that it will help the business grow even further.”
MAG Aerospace operates more than 200 manned and unmanned special mission aircraft for federal, international, civilian and commercial customers around the world. It delivers around 100,000 flight hours a year across six continents, with its 20 individual programmes operating everything from hand-held UAVs through to helicopters and F-18s.
Previously, each programme had its own operational management processes – predominantly through paper filing, email chains and spreadsheets – with no ability for pertinent information to be shared between them. This disconnect meant disparate levels of oversight, making audits or simply implementing company-wide changes a complex and time-consuming administrative task.
With Centrik, everything from flight information, document control, risk and safety reporting, to training logs and personnel records are now easily accessible across every programme via a centralised dashboard available to users anywhere in the world.
Centrik provides MAG Aerospace’s senior management team with a complete overview of company operations, but the flexibility of the system means that around 600 crew – including pilots, sensor operators, technicians, and anyone working on domestic or overseas programmes – also have a level of access. This allows them to record, share, update and action information, either directly into the system when online, or out in the field via its offline automatic synchronisation functionality.
The company can now quickly and easily perform oversight across its entire operation, analysing constantly updated performance metrics across all programmes, visually illustrating the results via Centrik’s intuitive heatmapping software. Analysis of this information helps the company make astute business decisions, allowing it to easily see where improvements can be made in relation to the likes of safety, risk, compliance or training.
“We are a business, so having the ability to quickly show potential customers our safety and compliance records gives us a huge advantage. Being able to evidence such a spectrum of information will also help us to reduce our insurance rates – both domestically and internationally – which will of course save significant amounts of money. Coupled with the reduction in labour costs, thanks to having to do significantly less administration, and Centrik will very soon pay for itself,” Davison adds.
24 Apr 19. The Medina, Minnesota Police Department has purchased and implemented the FACT Duty™ Weapon-Mounted Camera (WMC™) from Viridian® Weapon Technologies. Medina is a western suburb of Minneapolis and joins over 500 departments in the country and dozens in the state of Minnesota that have evaluated or implemented this new technology. Medina Police Chief Ed Belland announced that the department will deploy the WMCs to all sworn officers and use the devices to supplement videos already captured by dash cameras. His department reached the conclusion to implement after four months of testing. Belland and his team were impressed by the WMCs’ ability to record crisp, clear video. The FACT Duty fits standard police duty weapons and holsters and records automatically, providing an unobstructed view from the end of an officer’s firearm. The need for this product continues to be validated in current events throughout the United States.
Viridian has created an important new category for law enforcement with the introduction of the FACT camera. This unique Weapon-Mounted Camera provides an unobstructed view of critical use-of-force events from the end of the firearm, addressing limitations officers can face with body cameras.
The highly advanced WMC employs a 1080p full-HD digital camera with a microphone and 500 lumen tactical light. Viridian’s proprietary INSTANT-ON® technology automatically activates the camera and microphone whenever the officer draws the firearm from its holster. Not only does this eliminate risk of failure to manually turn on the camera during a critical event, but it also keeps the officer from fumbling with cumbersome equipment.
“We are happy to add another local department to our growing list of agencies that have deployed the FACT Duty,” said Viridian President and CEO Brian Hedeen. “Our WMC provides a perspective that did not exist before it was in the field. This isn’t just a local solution though, and seeing the impact the FACT Duty has had nationwide has been rewarding. It is our hope that the WMCs help Medina and all other departments across the country feel more prepared for situations they may face while on duty.”
Easy Purchase and Implementation
FACT WMCs do not require the purchase of supplemental equipment or services and are designed exclusively to answer the needs of today’s officers. The WMC generates just a small fraction of the data to manage compared to other law enforcement recording options because it only records when the officer’s weapon is drawn.
23 Apr 19. This Israeli company made a super scope out of a smartphone. You just need to know how to use a smartphone to become a crack shot claims Sensight, an Israeli company which aims to take even the most average marksman to the Bob Lee Swagger-levels of accuracy. The key ingredient of Sensight’s promise is its 1.2 lb SSR400 — the almost unseemly marriage of a magnified optic with a highly user-friendly interface, which can be attached to virtually any rifle with a Picatinny or Weaver rail.
Sensight boasts that the SSR400, which will be officially launched and delivered to customers towards the end of this month after the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Indiana, is the first “fully connected firearm sight” in history.
And by that, they mean that their new scope is capable of linking to various devices using Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity to update, download and share data to not only improve the functionality of the scope but also help the end user save and catalog data about their shots, or even livestream hunting excursions, if they’re so inclined.
At a first glance, the SSR400 looks like something out of a video game — an unwieldy box-like object which looks completed out of place when perched above an AR or a bolt gun. When you step behind the rifle and flip the device on, that’s where its “magic” comes to life.
The sight features a touchscreen display similar to what you’d find a traditional iOS or Android smartphone, connected to a pair of high-definition cameras. The first camera has the ability to magnify from 1.3 to 20x, and is used for daylight shooting, while the second magnifies from 1 to 6x for low-light and nighttime shooting.
The images generated from the cameras streams directly to a widescreen at the rear of the SSR400, which the company calls Eye-Relief-Free, meaning that it allows end users to keep both eyes open while they track targets at long range, minimizing the physiological strain on their eyes.
What the ERF shows the user is essentially a simplified version of his or her shot before it’s taken, after the device’s integral ballistic calculator already tabulates the data the SSR400′s sensors have picked up, and re-zeros the sight to give the user the most optimal shot, every single time. The user simply has to enter a few basic variables and other pertinent pieces of information into the touchscreen display in order to calibrate the scope, then move the gun around to get their sights on target.
There’s no need to adjust for windage or elevation — the SSR400 does that automatically. In addition to the ballistic calculator, the device also has a built-in range finder, GPS, a gyroscope, and basic IR illumination capability for nighttime shooting.
Currently, the SSR400 is only available for a select few calibers, namely .308, .300 Win. Mag., and .338 Magnum, though that list might potentially increase within the coming year. The sight’s power comes from an internal battery which gives it enough juice to function for 8 hours between charges, but the company also markets an external battery which can add another 12 hours of life.
Sensight doesn’t plan to market the SSR400 to the military for the time being, as the device is primarily geared towards hunters, hobbyists and amateur shooters, and isn’t necessarily hardened for the rigors and adversity of a combat environment. It will retail for an MSRP of $1,299. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.militarytimes.com)
23 Apr 19. Grand Sky and Harris Create UAS BVLOS Super Corridor. Grand Sky Business and Aviation Park and Harris Corp. have joined forces to enable the country’s first and largest unmanned aerial system (UAS) airspace to support beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight operations and UAS Traffic Management (UTM) research.
Stretching up to 100 miles, this BVLOS “super corridor” is the most technologically sophisticated UAS airspace supported by multiple and redundant systems for cooperative and non-cooperative surveillance. These surveillance capabilities make possible a wide range of UAS BVLOS applications in precision farming, oil and gas, infrastructure inspection, public safety, package deliveries, and others.
“Customers of Grand Sky will have access to a truly unique UAS operational capability, in addition to better facilities, comprehensive airspace surveillance, and wide operational areas,” Grand Sky Development Co. President Thomas Swoyer Jr., said. “We all benefit from efficient and safe BVLOS flight operations and a larger corridor with proven FAA collaboration and flight authorizations.”
The surveillance system combines data feeds from a network of advanced sensors and towers. Two long-range primary radars located at Grand Forks Air Force Base and at Hillsboro, N.D. provide detection of non-cooperative aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) secondary radars and ADS-B network in the region, as well as local Harris ADS-B Xtend sensors, add additional layers of visibility for cooperative aircrafts in the airspace.
Aviation-grade displays help pilots and electronic observers monitor the airspace environment over the BVLOS corridor and safely steer UAS from approaching manned aircraft. The combination of best practices in aviation safety management, proven technologies and experience with BVLOS regulatory approvals will make it easy for users of the airspace to advance UAS technology commercialization and routine, efficient flight operations.
UAS operators can work with Grand Sky and Harris to develop, test, and refine a variety of complex BVLOS concepts of operations and secure waivers from the FAA for large-scale use. A full range of UAS operations can be supported for all types and sizes of unmanned aerial vehicles along the BVLOS corridor including a variety of airspace classes and execution of diverse defense, civil and commercial applications.
“This is another first for Grand Sky and North Dakota in leading the UAS Industry,” Harris Vice President and General Manager of Commercial UAS Solutions George Kirov said. “The size and complexity of the airspace opened to UAS BVLOS operations is unmatched in the UAS industry. The sophistication of the Harris BVLOS system at Grand Sky is also unprecedented — linking Harris’ most advanced suite of surveillance and detect-and-avoid services with a variety of surveillance assets that, together, ensure the highest level of UAS aviation safety.”
This partnership lays the foundation for larger and more capable surveillance corridors to enable UAS “highways” across the state of North Dakota and in support of expanding the variety of commercial UAS operations across the United States. (Source: UAS VISION)
23 Apr 19. Pulsar delivers big with the new pocket-sized Axion Thermal Monocular. Axions detect targets with heat signatures, making it easier to detects targets up to 1800 yards away anytime, day or night. Pulsar’s new monocular fits in the palm of your hand and is perfect for hunting, personal security, first responders and livestock management.
Pulsar offers three versions of the Axion Thermal Monocular — Axion XM30 (PL77421), Axion XM38 (PL77422) and Axion Key XM30 (PL77425). The compact Axion XM30 and XM38 both boast a smaller 12-micron pixel pitch HD AMOLED display with 320×240 core and a 1024×768 display. The Axion Key XM30 has a LCOS 960×720 display with a 320×240 12-micron core for crisp and clear pictures, videos and menu options. The eight color modes give you the option to go from traditional white-hot to the color of your choice in just a few clicks.
Axions feature IPX7 waterproof rated (submersible in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes) magnesium-alloy body that delivers true reliability in extreme weather conditions. A Mini B-Pack system powers the monocular with a rechargeable lithium-ion, giving you up to 4 hours of battery life per charge. Stream onboard video recordings through the Stream Vision App with 16gb built-in memory (not available on Axion Key).
23 Apr 19. Gatwick deploys AUDS C-UAS solution. The AUDS C-UAS solution has been deployed by Gatwick Airport to protect its flightpaths from rogue UAS. The system has been deployed as part of a solution deployed by the airport in response to a sustained UAS attack in December 2018.
The AUDS C-UAS solution is designed to disrupt and neutralise UAS and remotely piloted aircraft systems engaged in hostile airborne surveillance and potentially malicious activity. The AUDS system combines electronic-scanning radar target detection, electro-optical tracking/classification and directional RF inhibition capability.
The AUDS system integrates technologies from British companies, Blighter Surveillance Systems, Enterprise Control Systems, Liteye Systems and Chess Dynamics.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer, Gatwick airport, said: ‘Chess Dynamics’ anti-drone technology and ability to move quickly and work closely with the airport’s security teams were vital in allowing Gatwick to reopen without the support of the military after the airport was attacked in December 2018.
‘The anti-drone technology and package of ongoing support provided by Chess Dynamics has also given Gatwick the resilience that a busy international airport needs in order to minimise and mitigate the potential threat from drones.’ (Source: Shephard)
22 Apr 19. The Pentagon’s new budget is less drone filler, more drone killer. Air power is available to anyone with a few hundred dollars and a willingness to get creative. Though never exclusively the domain of nations, flying machines that can be bent toward war are cheaper than ever, thanks to a thriving commercial market for hobbyist drones.
Stopping drones — from the cheapest quadcopters haphazardly weaponized by insurgents to the advanced machines procured by America’s near-peer competitors — has become a major concern for the Pentagon. Which is why, when it comes to the fiscal 2020 budget, the Defense Department’s request for counter-drone spending … dropped by roughly half. The fiscal year 2019 budget request for counter-drone systems came in at about $1bn, with $900m enacted. But Dan Gettinger, co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone, which has tracked spending related to unmanned systems at the Pentagon every year since 2013, noted that the fiscal year 2020 request is about $500m.
Of all the drone-related spending the center tracks, in the in the fiscal 2020 budget request “the counter-UAS category has declined by the greatest amount,” Gettinger said.
How to make sense of the smaller ask? A partial answer is that the military is likely on the other side of an initial rush to figure out what, if anything, it can do about the first drones used in the field by insurgents. After all, in the space of a few years, rifle-shaped jamming antennas went from counter-drone concept to standardized deployed tool to potentially outdated half measures that the military wants to replace with more effective, lighter options.
In February 2018, the Center for the Study of the Drone published a survey of the known counter-drone technologies, including human-portable jamming rifles to trained eagles to net-carrying drones. In total, the center identified 235 products or services that offered some form of detection, tracking and sometimes interdiction. (Eagles, despite the novelty and the headlines, are expensive to train and risk injury to the birds, especially if intercepting explosive payloads.)
In addition, Gettinger said, tracking the counter-UAS budget “is kind of hard.”
In the center’s reports, an estimate of total spending on counter-drone systems looks across all the armed services to see what is squirreled away, and where. “There are a lot of traditional air defense systems that have been modified to countering-UAS applications, and there are also new technologies like directed energy, which we do count as a counter-UAS system, which could also be used for combating unmanned aircraft,” he explained.
While the range of specific products can be overwhelming, there’s a tremendous amount of overlap in the “how” of countering drones. Detection systems primarily use one or more radar, radio-frequency, electro-optical, infrared or acoustic sensors.
The act of interdiction, or stopping the drone, is primarily offered through non-kinetic options — radio-frequency jamming, satellite link jamming and spoofing of the communications links — or a more direct approach through directed-energy weapons that destroy part of the drone. Then there are nets to entangle the drone or other projectiles.
Detection and interdiction systems come in three general platforms types: ground-based, hand-held or drone-mounted. That’s a lot of possibilities, so it’s natural the military has spent some time trying to identify feasible options.
One option that’s seen a reduction in funding is Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (H30505), an Army program nestled under a larger indirect fire program designed to develop and test counter-drone systems for use against small and light commercial off-the-shelf drones. Spurred by a joint urgent operational need statement, the program purchased systems in fiscal 2018 and 2019 to test and evaluate those systems for use in security. Funding in the fiscal 2020 request is designated for providing security to select high-priority sites within the continental United States.
The prior expenditure is as much about figuring out what worked in the “low-slow-small UAS integrated defeat system” space, and what didn’t.
In contrast, the Navy wants to launch its own counter-drone tool assessment program. The request in fiscal 2020 is a relatively modest $5.5m, but it’s a line item expected to grow in years to come, as the Navy has a better understanding of what it wants to acquire, test and deploy.
The existence of commercial drones adapted into threats makes for an easy case as to why the Navy wants to deploy dedicated counter-drone devices. But the budget request does note that further details are available at a higher classification level than what is public.
“Even though the budget is lower this year, there are signs that counter-UAS will remain a priority,” Gettinger said. “In past years, and in this year as well, a lot of the counter-UAS funding has been allocated in programs that are not just counter-UAS. Te Air Force’s Physical Security acquisition program, for example. A lot of the services haven’t had a program of record, but in [the] FY20 budget we do see some programs dedicated specifically to counter-UAS. I think that’s a sign that this is going to remain a priority.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
22 Apr 19. US Army seeks industry support to develop vehicle-mounted UAS detectors. The U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) – New Jersey 07806-5000, in support of the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center, is issuing a request for information for market research purposes only to understand industry capability to provide a vehicle-based cueing sensor capable of providing real-time alerts to an existing on-board precision fire control radar (PFCR). The cueing sensor (including but not limited to radar, EO/IR, active/passive) would be vehicle mounted (configurable to be mounted onto Army Ground Combat vehicles including HMMWV, Bradley, Stryker, Abrams, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle [JLTV], and next generation combat vehicles), small, lightweight, affordable, and be suitable for stationary and on-the-move operations.
As a result of issuing this Request for Information (RFI), the Government expects to receive white papers describing proposed concepts and technologies. The RFI responses should identify sensor designs that will support the Armaments Center system concept and include a credible development path, with rough order magnitude estimates provided on costs and timeline.
This information will be used to:
(1) Determine the ability of current and near-term emerging technology to support this mission;
(2) Identify feasible system concept alternatives;
(3) Determine the approximate/relative cost information for each proposed concept via a rough order of magnitude; and
(4) Determine the technical approach, physical and estimated performance characteristics, and achievable goals associated with each proposed concept.
The responder/responder teams must possess the necessary skill, facilities, and expertise to produce a prototype system capable of being demonstrated in both a stationary and on-the-move configuration against a variety threats, primarily small Radar Cross Section (RCS) aerial targets.
Potential candidates should have expertise in sensor design and development. The subject matter may be considered to be a “critical technology” and therefore subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restrictions. Subject to approval, competition is limited to U.S. sources.
No award is intended as a result of this request for information.
The NAICS Code for this effort is 541715 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences.
- Ability to detect Group 1 UAS in 360 degrees of coverage from a stationary vehicle.
- Group 1 UAS defined as:
- < 20lbs takeoff weight
- < 1,200ft AGL operating altitude
- < 100kts
- Detections must be processed to declare a formal Cue to BLADE PFCR. Cues will have the following features:
- Localize the target in both Az and El to not more than +/- 7.5 degrees.
- Declared at a range of not less than 3 km, with a range accuracy of 100m.
- Cues must be updated at no less than a 1Hz rate.
iii. Day/night all weather capable.
- Cues must be provided/updated on no less than 5 simultaneous targets.
- Cues must not be provided on nuisance targets (birds for example), and stationary or wind-blown natural clutter. No more than five (5) false cues can be declared for every 100 nuisance targets detected.
- SWAP requirements
- Power 1KW integrated onto M-ATV.
- Mast height limitation?
- Environmental conditions: “clear-air environment”.
- Ruggedization to Industrial quality standards.
- Expect to be able to provide data to external system through standard communication channel.
- Ability to detect Group 1 UAS in 360 degrees of coverage from a moving vehicle.
- Detections must be processed to declare a formal cue to BLADE PFCR. Cues will have the following features:
- Localize the target in both Az and El to not more than +/- 2.5 degrees.
- Declared at a range of not less than 5km.
- Cues must be updated at no less than a 5Hz rate.
- Cues must provide an estimate of target range-rate.
iii. Day/night all weather capable.
- Cues must be provided/updated on no less than 10 simultaneous targets. No more than one (1) false cue can be declared for every 100 nuisance targets detected.
- Ruggedization to military specifications (MIL SPEC)
- Response Scope:
Responses shall be provided in whitepaper format, limited to 30 pages in length. Responses should include a 1 page executive summary and limit any general company information, past performance, and history to 2 pages. Responses should include an assessment with some justification of the Technology Readiness Level for proposed solutions. Responses may also include a discussion of development paths to improve sensor capability in future upgrades.
Responses should present the technical approach to proposed designs, and include sensor performance predictions with an assessment of technical risks. Projections for developmental schedule and cost through a live demonstration should be included. Production cost Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) (quantity 100 units) should also be included, and any opportunities for cost reduction in development and/or production should be identified.
Additional information to enhance the credibility of performance and cost projections should be included. This information could be in the form of: previous design results, past test performance, modeling and simulation, live fire test data results, laboratory data and existing cost data on programs or production systems.
Responses should also note available prototype hardware/software systems that are ready for near-term testing to verify performance and collect data for system development and improvement.
Requirements that are major hurdles should be identified, with recommendations for technical mitigations where appropriate.
In addition, please provide the firm’s name and address, point of contact with telephone number and email address, and size of business (small/large) per the listed North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
- Response Instructions
This market survey is for information and planning purposes only; it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP), and is not to be construed as a commitment by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government implies no intention or opportunity to acquire funding to support current or future efforts. If a formal solicitation is generated at a later date, a solicitation notice will be published. No award will be made as a result of this market survey. All information is to be submitted at no cost or obligation to the Government. The Government reserves the right to reject, in whole or in part, any private sector input as a result of this market survey. The Government is not obligated to notify respondents of the results of this survey.
Solicitation number W15QKN19X05YK
Deadline: 10 May 2019
Issuing authority: Department of the US Army (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
22 Apr 19. uAvionix and CubePilot link to provide ADS-B detect and avoid. uAvionix has announced a partnership with CubePilot, designer and manufacturer of “the Cube” autopilot for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – to integrate ADS-B IN receive capability into its Carrier Board. The new Carrier Board, available in July this year, integrates uAvionix’s custom ADS-B silicon for 1090MHz ADS-B reception for worldwide Detect and Avoid (DAA) functionality. CubePilot, which proudly uses the open-source ARDUPILOT platform, previously provided plug-and-play functionality for several uAvionix ADS-B IN and OUT products, including PingRX, Ping2020i and Ping1090i. Support for these products is retained in the new design, allowing for 978MHz ADS-B reception or integration of ADS-B OUT functionality.
“With this integration, UAS operators will be able to see nearby ADS-B OUT enabled aircraft on ARDUPILOT’s Mission Planner, allowing the Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC) with timely notification to take the necessary actions to remain well clear,” said a company press release.
According to Christian Ramsey, uAvionix President. “We believe that ADS-B IN functionality should be a requirement for every DAA system for UAS operations over people or Beyond Visual Line of Sight, and meeting that requirement should not be cost prohibitive.”
“The safe integration of UAS into the National airspace of any country needs to take a safety-first approach from all players. By partnering with uAvionix and including the ADSB-in at practically no cost to the customer, we remove the cost barrier, adding safety to our customers’ UAS solutions.” said Philip Rowse, Hex/ProfiCNC CTO. “We envisage this added situational awareness, and optional auto avoidance behavior will be an important step towards safely. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
16 Apr 19. Warfighters need trusted sensors. More and more warfighters around the globe are starting to carry commercial smartphones. Helping to fuel this widespread adoption are a number of apps for warfighting and individual soldier support, many of which leverage the smartphone’s sensors to provide features ranging from blue force tracking to encrypted calling. But as we’ve learned from the Pentagon’s ban of mobile devices from secure spaces, smartphone sensors are a potential mother lode for hostile nation-states looking to gather mission-critical information. Rather than continuing to fight uphill against the vulnerable mobile ecosystem, defense organizations have started looking for alternative forms of trusted sensors.
How smartphone sensors help warfighters
Evidence of smartphone adoption by warfighters can be seen in recruiting commercials in which troops leverage military-issued and hardened consumer smartphones for tasks like communication, location sharing, field maintenance and even calling in airstrikes. This adoption has brought a number of key benefits. Tactically, smartphones improve situational awareness through real-time information sharing and enhanced user interfaces. Smartphones also eliminate the need for soldiers to lug around a number of items, including paper maps and single-function devices. And because soldiers already use mobile devices in their personal lives, the training requirements are minimal.
It’s not just size and portability that make smartphones such powerful tools, it’s also their collection of sensors. Smartphone sensors — including GPS chips, microphones, motion sensors and more — provide useful capabilities for the warfighter. Three of the most powerful use cases include:
Blue force tracking at any level. Traditionally, officers in command posts and vehicles use specialized GPS equipment to give their teams a clear picture of the location of friendly (blue) forces. But with ongoing innovations under the Army’s Nett Warrior program and the popular Android Tactical Assault Kit situational awareness app, functionality now takes place at the individual level via a smartphone integrated into a warfighter’s military gear, increasing situational awareness and safety.
Encrypted communications at any level. Warfighters expect to communicate with their peers and leaders and will do so on any network and device available. Previously, secure communication was available only to higher echelons with military-specific radios, but smartphones have changed that expectation. All warfighters now have cutting-edge communications devices in their pockets and they are using them. With encrypted voice apps on smartphones soldiers can communicate sensitive but unclassified information over any network, including untrusted ones.
Actionless logins via continuous multi-factor authentication. Because dusty conditions and unwieldy gear make biometric authentication on the battlefield a challenge, the Defense Department is currently testing the ability of smartphones to continuously authenticate users to network systems without any direct user input. In addition to noting the user’s current Wi-Fi network and GPS location, CMFA will measure other factors, including the user’s walking patterns. These factors are then combined to constantly verify identity, based on the level of confidence the algorithm has that the correct person is using the device.
The risks of trusting smartphone sensors
Commercial smartphones, including those issued and hardened by the military, come with risks. Driven by economic, not military, motivation, smartphones and their ecosystems introduce a wide variety of vulnerabilities that can never be fully mitigated. As we’ve seen with the infamous Pegasus spyware, the capability to remotely hijack smartphone sensors and their data is being used in the real world, and threat actors at the nation-state level undoubtedly have similar — and definitely more advanced — tools at their disposal. Acknowledging this fact, DOD has been forced to increase restrictions on even managed commercial smartphones to prevent adversaries from capturing key intel.
If DOD-approved smartphones won’t cut it at the Pentagon, they certainly won’t cut it on the battlefield. A sophisticated attacker taking total control of a military smartphone and its sensors can have disastrous consequences, as these sensors can be leveraged in a number of ways:
- GPS chip: An attacker can use readings from the GPS chip to determine a warfighters’ current location and track their movements over time, making it easy to target them or determine their unit’s movements and other sensitive information.
- Microphone: An attacker can use microphone access to listen in on a warfighter’s calls before they’re encrypted as well as conversations in the presence of the device (data in vicinity), potentially obtaining valuable intelligence that can be used to gain an operational or tactical edge.
- Motion sensors: An attacker can potentially use data from motion sensors to spoof a warfighter’s identity and gain access to mission-critical systems.
Enter trusted sensors
Even though smartphone sensors can’t be trusted, their benefits on the battlefield are too important to ignore. Balancing warfighter demands for improved mission effectiveness, collaboration and morale with the risks of commercial smartphone use, DOD has started working on innovative new solutions that mitigate smartphone risks by focusing on smartphone sensor control.
Going one step further, DOD officials have started looking for alternatives for trusted sensors that will allow them to deliver mission-critical functionality without succumbing to the vulnerabilities of commercial smartphones. It is already working with innovative industry partners on developing trusted sensors in form factors that include a wrist-worn wearable and an intelligent smartphone case that only allows interaction with approved, vetted and signed software. Because these devices operate independently of the vulnerable smartphone ecosystem, their sensors can be relied upon for secure location, communication and system access.
Information — finding it, protecting it, leveraging it — is often the key to mission success. While their future on the battlefield is still emerging, trusted sensors will have both the agility that warfighters will need to stay aware and the security they’ll need to stay safe.(Source: Defense Systems)
17 Apr 19. The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) pod for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft has achieved Milestone C. This critical milestone, awarded by the Department of Defense Milestone Decision Authority, marks the end of the development and testing phase and enables the beginning of production and deployment. The Generation 3 podded LAIRCM system, known previously as Guardian™, is an infrared countermeasure system that detects, tracks and jams incoming missiles. It incorporates advanced missile warning sensors, a compact laser pointer/tracker and a processor in a single pod that can be readily transferred between aircraft to meet rapidly changing mission requirements. This mature system leverages Northrop Grumman’s decades-long countermeasures experience and requires no aircrew intervention. KC-135 aircrews can focus on their critical refueling, aeromedical evacuation and cargo missions while gaining the full survivability benefit the LAIRCM system provides.
To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked closely with the KC-135 Program Office, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command to thoroughly test LAIRCM for KC-135 in the laboratory and the field.
“In this changing threat environment, the LAIRCM Generation 3 pod is ready to provide much-needed protection to KC-135 aircrews as they carry out their critical support missions,” said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman’s infrared countermeasure systems have been installed on more than 1,800 large and small fixed wing, rotary wing and tilt-rotor platforms of more than 80 types.
17 Apr 19. Citadel Defense Wins $1m Counter Drone Contract. Citadel Defense Company was awarded a purchase contract valued over $1m by the Defense Logistics Agency in support of USSOCOM requirements. This is the company’s sixth government contract for their award-winning mobile system that counters threat drones that have become an increasing problem to U.S. forces around the world. Through autonomy, proprietary machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, Citadel Defense creates a force multiplier for Warfighters that enables them to get more done with the same or fewer resources. With the deployment of Citadel’s technology, U.S. Special Operations Forces gain a modernized capability designed and developed to evolve with the pace of the growing threat.
Christopher Williams, Citadel Defense’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “By working alongside the U.S. Government and hundreds of warfighters, we’ve fielded a capability that works today, at scale, and with minimal field support in the harshest operating environments. Through a close partnership with users, Citadel Defense delivers a drone protection solution for customers that is constantly improving, constantly incorporating user feedback, and constantly adapting to meet future threats and outpace our adversaries.”
Citadel Defense has experience in developing, deploying, and integrating innovative counter drone solutions with its Titan product, providing fixed site, man-packable, and on-the-move protection that can effectively defeat drones without having collateral effects on warfighter communications or certain proprietary technologies. This provides our nation’s Warfighters with advanced situational awareness to empower decision making and Force Protection to help keep Warfighters out of harm’s way.
When asked about plans for the company’s future, Mr. Williams responded,
“We look forward to building on the relationship that Citadel has developed with the many government customers we currently support. By providing highly specialized and precise technologies that require no signal expertise or training, we will continue to develop solutions that allow the warfighter or end user to focus on their most important missions without distraction.” (Source: UAS VISION)
16 Apr 19. Bell V-280 flies with system that can see through aircraft. Bell’s experimental V-280 Valor tiltrotor, built for a U.S. Army technology demonstration, has flown for the first time with an integrated system that provides the pilots and aircrew a 360-degree view through the skin of the aircraft. At the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit, Lockheed Martin displayed footage collected from its Pilotage Distributed Aperture System’s first flight over central Texas on the V-280.
PDAS “is the first fully integrated tactical distributed aperture system in the history of vertical lift,” Rita Flaherty, Lockheed Martin vice president of strategy and business development within its Missiles and Fire Control business, said at the summit.
The company has a long line of firsts when it comes to multifunctional sensor systems, she said, to include developing and fielding the first electro-optical targeting system for rotary-wing aircraft — which has been on the AH-64 since its inception. That system is a combination of a targeting sensor, an electro-optical day sensor and a pilotage capability, which are all fused with a fire control radar.
“But in the next generation of vertical lift, we turned our attention to a multifunctional, situational-awareness pilotage threat-warning capability suite to develop and bring forward for future vertical lift,” Flaherty said.
Lockheed teamed up with Bell in 2013 to integrate the system into the V-280, prior to Lockheed’s acquisition of Sikorsky in 2015, which is working with Boeing on a competing technology demonstrator — the SB-1 Defiant.
V-280′s first flight was in December 2017. The effort, so far, has been entirely funded by Lockheed. The company developed the technology, taking it from concept to development to integration to flight demonstrations in a matter of five years. The solution consists of six individual sensor systems integrated into the V-280 aircraft. Two sensors are located in the front, two in the back, one on the top and one on the bottom of the aircraft. The sensors each weigh less than 10 pounds.
The sensors are stitched together through an open-architecture processor using algorithms to create “a full 360 hemispherical situational-awareness, pilotage, missile-warning capability,” Flaherty said.
The view of the outside of the aircraft is collected and can be processed onto a screen or display. At AAAA, Lockheed used a pair of inexpensive goggles ordered from Amazon, but anything from a helmet-mounted display to a tablet could be used to see what the sensors see.
The system is designed so that a soldier in the back of the aircraft using a tablet could look in a completely different place or direction as the pilot, for instance.
The system would also use imagery that is normally discarded, and rather layer that information over a database to create actionable intelligence regarding flight paths, Flaherty noted as an example.
The company also views PDAS as a mission-planning tool, receiving real-time actionable intelligence. For instance, a squad in the back of a helicopter might want to know about last-minute changes or have an immediate understanding of where they are relative to the objective, or what is in the landing zone. PDAS would help them see everything in real time as they land, according to Flaherty.
PDAS isn’t just designed for the V-280, Flaherty noted: “We are platform agnostic, and it’s also backwards compatible to the current fleet.”
The Army is planning to demonstrate PDAS in a UH-60 Mike-model Black Hawk helicopter for a “special customer” in the late spring/early summer time frame next year, Flaherty said.
Lockheed performed previous testing of the PDAS system on a Black Hawk in the U.S. Army’s night vision lab, but that effort was focused on safety of flight qualifications, according to Flaherty.
Because of Lockheed’s development of the capability in fixed-wing aircraft, the technology is solidly at a technology readiness level of nine and could be ready to roll into current or future capability quickly, she said. That readiness level is the highest of its kind, and serves as an official certification.
More capability could easily be integrated into the system due to a powerful processor, Flaherty said, and because it is compliant with both current and future open architecture standards.
Particularly, it will be able to plug into the Army’s emerging Modular Open Systems Architecture capability that will serve as a backbone for missions systems to easily plug into future vertical lift aircraft.
Over the coming months, the company will test additional algorithms during V-280 flight, such as a ground moving target indicator and detecting air-to-air targets that improve upon Lockheed’s missile warning pedigree, Flaherty said. (Source: Defense News)
16 Apr 19. RoKAF deploys domestically built precision approach radar. The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) has reportedly deployed a domestically developed radar system known as the Precision Approach Radar (PAR). The radar is designed to enable safe landing of aircraft in high-risk operational scenarios, including adverse weather conditions, Yonhap News Agency reported citing a statement from Seoul’s state arms procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). PAR was installed at the 1st Fighter Wing in Gwangju air base in March.
DAPA expects to deploy the radar at other key military airports in a phased manner by 2023. Developed in 2015, PAR provides the required information to an approaching aircraft to ensure a safe landing. The guidance system will be useful when the aircraft faces difficulties flying toward a runway due to adverse weather conditions or an instrument landing system failure.
The Korean Government and defence firm LIG Nex1 invested KRW20bn ($17.6m) for the development of the PAR system in November 2012, reported Yonhap.
According to LIG Nex1, PAR guides pilots in the final approach phase of aircraft to the airport using traffic information provided by an air traffic controller.
Pilots can leverage the guidance system to navigate the aircraft along the glide-path toward the touchpoint for a safe landing.
In November, LIG Nex1 selected Leonardo as a strategic technology partner to work jointly to address Korea’s requirement to upgrade its airborne identification friend or foe equipment.
Last month, the RoKAF received the first two Lockheed Martin-built F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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