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21 May 19. France’s ALSR programme moves forward at last. Delivery of France’s first Lightweight Surveillance and Reconnaissance Aircraft (Avion léger de surveillance et de reconnaissance – ALSR), a Beechcraft King Air 350 modified into a surveillance platform similar to the British Shadow R1, is now expected by the end of the year. After three years of development contracted to Thales and Sabena Technics the first ALSR is finishing its manufacturers’ acceptance phase, one year behind the schedule originally set by France’s 2014-19 military programming law. Acceptance flights with the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA), France’s defence procurement agency, will take place in the coming months, with delivery to the French Air Force at the end of the year. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 19. India’s DGAC seeks industry partners to trial BVLOS and UTM concepts. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) from consortia of experts to conduct experimental beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in India, leading to the submission of proof of concept (POC) for safe BVLOS operations.
Interested organisations can submit a detailed proposal to Hillol Biswas, director (Aircraft Engineering), Office of Director General of Civil Aviation. As per the note from G. Rajasekar, Joint DGCA, the experimental BVLOS operation followed by submission of POC must be completed before DGCA issues any regulations for BVLOS operations in the country.
The note also states that the objective of proposed experimental BVLOS operations must be to conduct experimental BVLOS operations of RPA systems in controlled conditions within identified and segregated low Indian territorial airspace for a period of at least two months. The scope of experiments includes BVLOS RPAS operation, UAS traffic management (UTM) system deployment, supplementary services for UTM (3D maps, weather data, surveillance and telemetry data of manned and unmanned aircraft, population, data etc.).
“If the experiments are successful, it can pave the way for air taxis, air deliveries etc. in India,” says the DGAC. “It may be noted that Uber claimed last year that its air taxi can cut travel time in a congested city like Mumbai by 90 per cent. It had named Dallas and Los Angeles in the US as the first two cities for the commercial launch of its aerial taxi service by 2023 and has been on the lookout to select an international city as its third partner. The company has shortlisted five countries – India, Japan, Australia, Brazil and France – and one of them will become the first Uber Air City outside of the US.”
For more information: http://www.dgca.nic.in/tenders/EOI-BVLOS(May2019).pdf (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
15 May 19. OpenWorks C-UAS company attracts new investment and adds AI to its drone capture system. UK-based based property and investment company Adderstone Group has invested a seven-figure sum into OpenWorks Engineering, UK manufacturer of the Skywall drone capture system.
Skywall is being used across the globe by a number of government authorities, militaries and private security organisations to provide close protection to airports, major infrastructure and world leaders at summits. In January 2019 the company announced it was incorporating Antmicro artificial intelligence and neural-network systems to support the anti-drone security mission of OpenWorks. “The SkyWall300 allows an operator to physically capture a target drone and bring it to the ground without the use of any electronic counter-measure, such as signal jamming. This makes the system a unique option for security authorities working on sites such as airports and critical national infrastructure and allows the captured drone to be exploited for evidence,” said a company press release. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
22 May 19. Having being declared operational, Elbit Systems delivered BrightNiteTM systems for Puma330 helicopters of an Air Force of a NATO country. Users’ feedback has been extremely positive, with pilots emphasizing the contribution of the system to Degraded Visibility Environment (DVE) flights and describing it as a “game changer” and a “breakthrough in pitch dark night flight”.
Low flying, mission helicopters are vulnerable to threats such as difficult terrain, enemy fire and the intersection of utility wires in the flight path while sorties must often be carried out in DVE, adding to the already heavy workload and leaving flight crews to rely on NVGs to accomplish their mission. BrightNite system is designed to overcome visibility limitations and enable to safely and effectively fly mission helicopters in pitch dark nights and in DVE conditions including poor weather conditions, brownouts, whiteouts and sandstorms. BrightNite transmits high-resolution video to the Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD), allowing pilots to fly in a head-up, eyes-out position. The system processes real-time panorama video, pre-loaded terrain and obstacle information enhanced by a 3D conformal and intuitive symbology. BrightNite utilizes unified location-based information culled from a wide Field Of View (FOV) to display crystal clear images, regardless of visibility conditions. BrightNite can present information to multiple pilots simultaneously on an intuitive multi-functional display.
21 May 19. Embry-Riddle University “develops, commercialises neural-network counter-UAS system.” A new counter UAS system that detects and commandeers unauthorized drones, guiding them to land safely, will be commercialized under a licensing agreement between Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Drone Defense Systems LLC of Daytona Beach, Fla. According to the university: “The technology, developed by Embry-Riddle faculty member Dr. Houbing Song, suggests a safe, affordable way to neutralize rogue drones – without having to shoot them down or force them to crash-land – even in civilian settings such as large outdoor entertainment arenas and airports. Under the newly inked licensing agreement, Drone Defense Systems LLC received exclusive rights to commercialize the technology, said Dr. Stephanie A. Miller, executive director of technology transfer for Embry-Riddle’s Research Park. In addition, company Founder and CEO Sotirios George Kaminis will work with Song and Embry-Riddle to further refine the concept, build a prototype, and pursue related products, Miller reported.
“Song’s proposed system leverages a network of wireless acoustic sensors to identify a flying drone. To distinguish drones from birds, Song and his Ph.D. students – Yongxin Liu and Jian Wang – built a computer-based “brain” called a neural network that is continuously learning and therefore getting smarter. After the system confirms a drone, the acoustic sensors, working in tandem with beacon receivers, transmit information to a control center.
“If the drone is on an unauthorized flight, Song’s system uses sophisticated pattern-recognition techniques to decipher the drone’s video-streaming channel and interrupt the broadcast with a warning message. “For each drone,” Liu explained, “the acoustic pattern might be a little different, but we can tell them apart, just as anyone can distinguish between a songbird and the noise of a crow.”
“The system can also hijack the drone’s communication channel to trigger its pre-determined return flight, or otherwise trick the drone into leaving the area,”
A U.S. patent application has been filed by Embry-Riddle, Song and his Ph.D. students Liu and Wang. Song credited Dr. Susan Allen, associate dean for research in Embry-Riddle’s College of Engineering, with introducing him to Kaminis.
For more information
20 May 19. Redkite Airborne Sensor Comes to SOFIC on Heels of Successful Demonstration. Lightweight wide-area motion imagery system also has new enhanced user interface. Logos Technologies will be exhibiting an updated version of its lightweight RedKite wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), held on May 20–23, in Tampa, Fla.
Mounted on a variety of manned and unmanned aerial platforms (including Group 3 UAS), RedKite can image and record an entire city-sized area at once. In addition, the sensor provides users on the ground up to 10 different video “chip-outs” of real time or forensic imagery pulled from anywhere within its vast field of view.
The WAMI system’s upgraded software will make the viewer windows easier to use and faster in getting high-value intelligence to the operators on the ground.
“RedKite now has a more intuitive user interface for faster access to the imagery being collected,” says Doug Rombough, VP of Business Development. “The operators can quickly call up multiple streaming windows—it’s just a matter of punching a few simplified functions into their console.”
Besides the software upgrade, RedKite has recently undergone a successful demonstration at the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX). The WAMI system showed how tactical commanders can detect and follow multiple targets simultaneously, enabling effective and persistent force protection, route recon, and operational overwatch.
RedKite comes in two versions:
1) A platform-agnostic pod for planes, helicopters, and Group 3 UAS, and
2) The RedKite-I, which rides inside the payload bay of the Insitu Integrator tactical UAS.
Despite employing a 50-plus megapixel camera, a high-performance edge processor, and storage capacity for eight hours of geo-tagged data, both RedKite configurations weigh fewer than 35 pounds. This makes RedKite the lightest WAMI system on the market today. And to push the technological edge even further, Logos Technologies is developing an even lighter version of RedKite that will be integrated into Group 2 UAS. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 May 19. Next-gen HF radar technology to be developed in SA lab. BAE Systems Australia has opened a world-class high-frequency laboratory in South Australia, which will be used to develop new technology that will be “the brains” of the upgraded Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN). Using high-frequency technologies developed in Australia, JORN is the eyes and ears of the Royal Australian Air Force, monitoring Australia’s northern approaches through a network of three remote radars in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
The radar network plays a pivotal role supporting the Australian Defence Force’s air and maritime operations, border surveillance, disaster relief and search and rescue operations.
The current $1bn, 10-year upgrade will significantly increase both the surveillance area and the data gathered by the network.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive Gabby Costigan said, “Our investment in this laboratory will ensure that we can significantly improve the radar’s capability and better support this critically important defence asset.”
BAE Systems’ investment in the facility will enable continued research and development of new technologies that will be integral to increasing surveillance of the northern and western approaches to Australia.
It will provide a world-class environment to support specialist and graduate engineers to develop, build and integrate the latest technologies into the network. The laboratory will also be a catalyst for the research and development of Australian high-frequency technologies to continue to grow the nation’s defence exports.
“The next generation of engineers working on this program have the opportunity to bring new insight and innovation to JORN that will ensure it continues to play a key role in protecting the nation,” Costigan added.
The JORN network is Australia’s first comprehensive land and air early warning system. It does not only provide a 24-hour military surveillance of the northern and western approaches to Australia, but also serves a civilian purpose in assisting in detecting illegal entry, smuggling and unlicensed fishing.
JORN is a critical sovereign capability developed by the Australian industry in collaboration with DST Group to meet the needs of Australia’s unique defence requirements.
The current upgrade will occur over a decade and realise the network’s full potential beyond 2042. BAE Systems Australia has been providing some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions for the Australian Defence Force for 65 years.
The company employs around 4,000 people at more than 25 sites across Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
18 May 19. House panel wants to boost spending on ISR. A House subcommittee’s draft for fiscal 2020 defense spending bill includes $500m for an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance fund. Defense officials have a wide range of freedom in determining how the money is used—it can be dedicated to anything from personnel pay to purchasing new platforms to data processing as long as it improves the Department’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The legislation would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a detailed spending plan to the House and Senate appropriations committees so that lawmakers know how the money is being used.
The same amount was ultimately approved for that fund in fiscal 2019 appropriations.
The $500m is in addition to the Department of Defense’s annual budget request and is dedicated to the Global War on Terrorism. The funding has been approved on an annual basis since it was first introduced in the fiscal year 2016 defense appropriations bill.
Last year, House leaders tried to increase the amount of funding dedicated to the ISR account by 54 percent, for a total of $770m. However, that additional funding was ultimately cut from the bill during negotiations between the House and the Senate, and the usual $500m was included in the bill signed into law by the president.
In addition, the bill includes $15m for the Department of Defense to study the establishment of a Space Force within the Air Force. The bill was approved by the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense in a voice vote on May 15.
“National defense is of paramount importance, and our committee’s commitment to securing American interests at home and abroad should transcend party lines,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey in a statement following the vote. “The world becomes more dangerous each day, and we must be united to ensure our armed services have the equipment, training, and resources to succeed at every level.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
20 May 19. Saab unveils updated Sirius passive sensor. Saab has unveiled an updated solution based on its Sirius suite of passive sensor systems for air, land and sea surveillance and signals intelligence gathering, the company announced on 14 May. Sirius represents a full range of capabilities based on a common architecture and with a domain-specific edge- for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, beyond the scope of individual sensors. The updated offer begins with an introduction of Sirius land based applications for air and sea surveillance, signals intelligence and ground based air defence.
Anders Carp, SVP and head of Saab business area surveillance, said: ‘Our innovative Sirius suite of passive sensor solutions and data fusion systems enable armed forces and intelligence services to detect and locate signals, turning information into knowledge while remaining undetected.’ (Source: Shephard)
16 May 19. Kratos to Evaluate System to Defeat sUAS Incursions. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS) has revealed that their Kratos Defense & Rocket Support Services (KDRSS) Division has been awarded a $2.2m base contract, $4.9m total contract value with options, to develop and demonstrate a Tethered High-power-microwave Recorder and Electronic Attack Target (THREAT) system for the Test Resource Management Center (TRMC) Test and Evaluation (T&E) Science and Technology (S&T) and the U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) in Orlando, Florida. The THREAT system will be used to evaluate High Power Microwave (HPM) system capabilities necessary to defeat small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). Electrically-driven sUAS are an emerging battlefield threat capable of carrying surveillance, communication and weapon payloads. These systems are hard to visually detect and their low radar cross section make them difficult to locate with instrumentation. Consequently, sUAS are challenging to defeat using kinetic warheads or laser-based systems.
To improve counter-sUAS capabilities the Department of Defense (DoD) is evaluating electronic jamming and HPM systems. The Kratos THREAT system will be HPM hardened and used to monitor and record test environment emissions data. Development work under this contract will be performed at Kratos facilities in Huntsville, Alabama.
Dave Carter, President of the Kratos Defense & Rocket Support Services (KDRSS) Division, said that this recent contract award is an important milestone in advancing the firm’s commitment to provide advanced technology hardware and services. This work aligns well with the company’s strategic plan to expand efforts related to Directed Energy Technologies. (Source: Satnews)
18 May 19. Greece Gets First Upgraded Lockheed Martin P-3B Maritime Surveillance Aircraft. The Greek navy received its first modernised P-3B maritime surveillance aircraft from Lockheed Martin, a US global aerospace, defence and advanced technology company, the Greek Defence Ministry said. The ceremony took place at the Greek aircraft industry plant in Tanagre, north of Athens on Friday in the presence of Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Apostolakis, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and representatives of Lockheed Martin.
“The modernisation of the aircraft will satisfy the needs of the [Greek] Navy at least until 2040, both at the national and international levels in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean regions,” Apostolakis said.
According to the minister, Greece “started to strengthen and modernise” its armed forces.
Pyatt, in his turn, said that it was “a great pleasure and an honour” to celebrate the rebirth of the Hellenic Navy’s Maritime Patrol capability.
“Following the delivery of the interim aircraft today, I eagerly await the modernisation of the four remaining P-3 aircraft and their return to the skies to provide maritime domain awareness for Greece and the Alliance across the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Seas,” he said. (Source: Google/https://sputniknews.com)
16 May 19. Controp debuts upgraded ISea-25HD EO/IR payload. Israel’s Controp Precision Technologies took the opportunity at the IMDEX 2019 exhibition, held in Singapore from 14 to 16 May, to unveil an improved version of its iSea-25HD electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload.
Although only launched recently at the Euronaval 2018 exhibition in Paris, Controp’s vice-president of marketing, Ra’anan Shelach, revealed to Jane’s that the iSea-25HD payload – which is primarily designed to equip naval remote weapon station (RWS) or gun turrets armed with 20 mm to 40mm calibre weapons, as well as support small boat operations – has been updated with a new high operating temperature (HOT) XBn IR detector with a 640×512 format focal plane array (FPA).
“It has been only six months since we initially launched our iSea-25HD payload and we are now proudly introducing it with extended capabilities, a result of an intensive development process to meet the harsh and challenging environmental conditions of an Asian customer,” said Shelach, although he was unable to disclose further details. Delivery and installation of the updated payloads are expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Controp claims that the new XBn detector will offer extended mean time before failure (MTBF) performance of between 20–30% compared with the original InSb FPA configuration because of reduced system cooling requirements and power consumption. However, the 220mm diameter and the weight of the 13kg payload remain unchanged. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 May 19. New ‘high-frequency’ laboratory to enhance Australia’s JORN radar network. BAE Systems Australia has opened what it described as a “high-frequency [HF] laboratory” to develop new technologies to further enhance the capabilities of Australia’s over-the-horizon Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).
The laboratory, which opened on 17 May near Adelaide, is designed to enable continued research and development of new HF technologies that will be integral to increasing surveillance of the northern and western approaches to Australia, the company said in a statement.
BAE Systems was selected in March 2018 to carry out a 10-year AUD1bn (USD690m) upgrade of the JORN system under Project Air 2025 Phase 6. This work will be supported by up to 80 specialist and graduate engineers at the new largely self-funded laboratory. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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.