Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
08 May 19. Russian VKS developing Tu-214 as new AEW&C aircraft. Russia’s Aerospace Forces (VKS) is planning to develop a new airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft based on the Tupolev Tu-214 regional jet, Izvestia reported on 5 May. The newspaper’s sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) indicated that the VKS command has already approved the project. The new long-range radar surveillance aircraft will reportedly be less costly, lighter, and cheaper to operate than the A-100 currently in development. It will employ a lighter version of the A-100’s radar as well as some of its onboard systems and equipment. The A-100 is an updated version of Russia’s A-50 ‘flying radar’ introduced in the early 1980s. The A-100 is built on the upgraded Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A airframe. It carries the Premier radar, designed by JSC REC ‘Vega’, which can detect airborne targets at 600 km and ships at 400 km, according to Russian media. The A-100 aircraft is in trials at the Chkalov State Flight Test Centre in Akhtubinsk. Moscow is also modernising its inventory of about 20 A-50 AEW&C aircraft. The VKS received its sixth upgraded A-50U in late March. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 May 19. USMC to complete LMADIS fielding by October. By the start of October, the US Marine Corps (USMC) will stop fielding new Light Marine Air Defense Integrated Systems (LMADISs) designed to jam drones but will continue to maintain the ones in its inventory and glean lessons learned for a future system.
Captain Forrest Williams, a counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) project officer with PEO Land Systems, spoke with reporters on 6 May about how marines are using LMADIS within the US Central Command area of responsibility, system fielding plans, and how the service plans to filter insight from the effort into its MADIS effort on Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs).
An urgent needs statement for a C-UAS “gap filler” spawned the creation of LMADIS, Capt Williams explained. What resulted was the decision to outfit some Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicles with an Ascent Vision CM202 multi-sensor optical ball, RADA RPS-42 radar, a tablet, and Sierra Nevada Corporation’s dismounted electronic countermeasure system (Modi). The optical ball and radar are then used to detect class I and II UASs. The information is then fed into the tablet where marines slew the camera to determine if it is a friendly or enemy drone. If it is the latter, they use the electronic warfare jammer to break the connection between the pilot and the aircraft.
Right now, it is up to commanders to determine how to employ LMADIS, be it for protecting moving convoys or using it at the forward operating base.
“It’s really giving you a multiple-avenues approach to defeating the enemy,” he added.
Marines can also “expeditiously load” the platform on a V-22 Osprey or CH-53 Chinook by breaking down the radar and optical sensor and then “fly[ing] to their location and drop[ping] it off and provid[ing] a C-UAS capability,” Capt Williams said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 May 19. USMC counter-drone experiment ends this year. A U.S. Marine Corps experiment that has deployed a counter-drone system on a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle to the Mideast is winding down, according to a Corps official. The Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or LMADIS, comprises two MRZR vehicles, a command node and a sensor vehicle, that uses RF to jam flying drones. The capability has been deployed by U.S. Central Command, though the Marine Corps is not disclosing exactly where the system is operating or how many are deployed.
It’s an offshoot of the MADIS program of record, which is expected to support the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, with counter-UAS and a “hard kill” weapons systems. The highly mobile “gap-filler” LMADIS can be carried on a CH-53 or V-22 Osprey to detect, track, and defeat drones via an electronic warfare system.
“We’re aligned with a deployment schedule so they go out with certain units at a certain point in time,” Capt. Forrest Williams, LMADIS project officer for the Program Executive Office for Land Systems said of the capability. “This effort ends by the end of FY19, but it’s going to be sustained, not by money, but by the amount of equipment that we have. As long as Marines are using the equipment, the program office will supply them.”
PEO Land Systems displayed the LMADIS system at the Sea Air Space show here. Increasingly, drone technology has found its way into the hands of terrorist groups and ragtag militias. ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria have been known to weaponize small commercial quadcopter drones, dropping small munitions and hand grenades on Iraqi and partner nation forces. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan have gotten in the game, using small drones to film attacks on remote Afghan army outposts. In U.S. Central Command, Marines are using LMADIS on-the-move to protect convoys or provide a forward operating base with protection from unmanned aerial systems, according to Williams.
Data from the CENTCOM deployment is informing the MADIS program of record, Williams said. For instance, the system has been successful against a range of small commercial systems ― the commercial DJI Phantom 4 Pro, X8 fixed wing and Airhawk among them ― which suggests its strength is in its flexibility and modular nature.
Though the LMADIS is ever-evolving, the Marine Corps has disclosed that it includes an RPS-42 tactical air surveillance radar, small EO/IR camera, Skyview RF Detection system and Sierra Nevada MODi RF jammer.
“I can reprogram the radar, reprogram the optic, or the software on the tablet or something in the MODi,” Williams said. “What we’ve realized is the UAS threat is ever-changing. One day the enemy’s flying Phantom Pros, the next day they’re flying a fixed wing with certain components. What the fleet’s really helping us identify is what they’re flying and how to defeat them, so we can turn back to the fleet and give them a better product to stay up to date with the enemy’s current threats.” (Source: Defense News)
07 May 19. Citadel Defense Gets US Government Award to Develop C-UAS Technology. The United States Air Force has awarded Citadel Defense with another contract for its counter drone solution that defeats enemy drones on the battlefield and has strong potential for broader commercial application. The company’s mobile system has now been operated by each military service and many government agencies.
Citadel has been developing, deploying, and integrating anti-drone solutions with its Titan product.
When asked by a Senior Air Force Official how the company stays ahead of the rapidly changing threat, Christopher Williams, CEO of Citadel Defense answered,
“We’ve attracted some of the world’s most talented engineers. We are creating new and innovative solutions with deep learning, AI, and software-controlled hardware, that allow us to address new threats in weeks rather than months or years. Our technology detected and defeated drones the system never saw before. Rapidly fielding this capability with unprecedented speed and agility advantages our warfighters.”
Outcompeting the Adversary
Will Roper, USAF’s Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, has improved how the USAF partners with companies like Citadel to field tomorrow’s military faster and smarter than ever before. When asked about the importance of Citadel’s mission, LTC(R) Matt England, U.S. Army and now VP of Business Development for Citadel, said,
“Our Titan CUAS system autonomously clears the Warfighter’s airspace, allowing them to be unconcerned with threat drones and purely focused on the mission at hand. It’s the quintessential Force Multiplier to protect Servicemen and women while empowering their mission.”
The United States is competing against peer adversaries on defense innovation. Through USAF’s partnership with Citadel, the asymmetric threat posed by drones is being neutralized by Citadel’s Titan. (Source: UAS VISION)
06 May 19. LCS to soon get variable depth sonar for ASW testing. An AN/SQS-62 variable depth sonar (VDS) is to soon be installed on Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and is slated to start developmental testing in September 2019, Randy Brandenburg, Raytheon’s seapower business development executive, told Jane’s. The shipborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar immerses itself several hundred feet down to detect submarines. This sort of system typically uses two tow bodies – one for the active source and another for the passive source, and each has its own set of cables and recovery systems. Brandenburg said Raytheon designed this VDS as a single tow body, which cuts the weight and user requirements. The sonar utilises a ‘slotted cylinder ceramics’ design to improve acoustics, he said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 May 19. CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd. – a company specializing in the field of Electro-Optics (EO) and InfraRed (IR) Defense and Homeland Security solutions ‒ presents the TORNADO-ER, a panoramic IR scanning and automatic maritime target detection and tracking system, at IMDEX 2019. The TORNADO-ER system was designed for coastal and maritime wide-area surveillance, coastal protection and maritime traffic control, especially in crowded maritime areas. The system is fully automatic and requires minimal involvement from the Operator. The TORNADO-ER can track a large number of targets simultaneously, in real-time, even in the most dense maritime scenarios.
The TORNADO-ER enhances the Operator’s understanding of large, dense and crowded maritime environments, where it is often difficult to differentiate between “regular behavior” and “irregular behavior” of the players at sea. In a world where increased terror, illegal immigration and smuggling events have become commonplace, the TORNADO-ER provides protection and surveillance which was previously unavailable by the traditional systems. The TORNADO-ER system enables ongoing and updated situational awareness of the broad maritime area, finds and locates movements, and allows for the investigation of those movements that are deemed as “suspicious”. Based on this information, the Operator can make rapid operational decisions using the intuitive panoramic system display and according to visual identification, while simultaneously and continuously screening all of the potentially relevant targets.
The image from the TORNADO-ER is updated continuously ‒ every 1 to 3 seconds ‒ with automatic and simultaneous detection and tracking of any moving targets in the water – including swimmers, vessels of all sizes, small vessels on the background of larger vessels, and small floating objects. These capabilities dramatically enhance the security, protection and situational awareness of even the most crowded ports, dense waterways, challenging coastlines and seashores, and active ports and harbors. In addition to Coastal Surveillance and Maritime Border Control, further applications provided by the TORNADO-ER include Vessel Traffic System (VTS) tasks, Law/Coast Guard Enforcement, Counter Piracy, Tracking of Illegal Trafficking, Illegal Fishing and more.
The unique capability of the TORNADO-ER system is highlighted by its use of two IR cameras, one for close range coverage and the second for long range coverage, up to the horizon – with higher resolution for small target detection at the horizon. The two IR cameras outputs’ are combined to one panoramic image with extended high resolution for the close-to-the-horizon ranges. The extended resolution with the in-house SW algorithm provides high Probability of Detection (PD) and low False Alarm Rate (FAR). The system ‒ which can operate in even the roughest of weather conditions – is passive, insensitive to RF jamming, and may be used either as a standalone system or combined with external systems such as Radar, AIS, Sonar via a C2 system or directly. The TORNADO-ER’s panoramic image display can also be used to display all of the target information provided by the other sensors. For example, combining the TORNADO-ER with Radar enables very accurate target location, since the IR scanner is very precise in its directional value and the Radar is very precise in its range value, therefore the combination is particularly valuable for crowded waters. The TORNADO-ER provides a potential “glimpse into the future”, when the world’s waterways can be controlled by an efficient and user-friendly C2 system such as this one.
According to Mr. Johnny Carni, VP Marketing East Asia, “The TORNADO-ER was specially developed to maximize maritime and coastal security through the use of today’s most advanced technologies. The main operational benefits are to detect and track small boats approaching and departing large ships in extremely dense waters, such as harbor and waterways, or at sea with many islands – which are problematic scenarios for traditional Radar-based systems. The TORNADO-ER provides the Operator with a high quality 360° panoramic image and with a very accurate direction-to-target capability. Integrating the TORNADO-ER system with an AIS and Radar system provides the ultimate solution for optimization and fusion of the most relevant information for all coastal and maritime missions. The TORNADO-ER system has already been supplied to a satisfied End User and is fully operational. The TORNADO-ER is the perfect solution for the Asia-Pacific region scenario following the system modifications for these most unique environmental conditions.”
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.