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02 Aug 19. USAF contracts Ascent Vision Technologies for anti-drone systems. The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to Ascent Vision Technologies (AVT) to supply a full suite of anti-unmanned aircraft system (UAS) vehicles. Ascent Vision’s eXpeditionary Mobile Air Defense Integrated System (X-MADIS) is a counter-drone technology for fixed, mobile and on-the-move applications.
X-MADIS underwent 18 months of testing, trials and evaluation across multiple military services and operational spectrums.
The contract has a potential of more than $23m and deliveries are expected to start later this year. The technology has the ability to detect, locate, track, identify and defeat small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS). X-MADIS features an all-threat tactical air surveillance radar, gyro-stabilised optical sensor, and command and control interface and electronic warfare system.
AVT president and chief commercial officer Lee Dingman said: “We are honoured that the USAF selected X-MADIS to combat the increasing threat of nefarious UAS activity against our military.
“The safety, security and survivability of our airmen is paramount in the current UAS threat environment.”
The company has been conducting dedicated research, development, testing and fielding of purpose-built CUAS components and integrated systems.
Ascent Vision has stated that it has secured contracts valued at more than $60m to deliver counter-drone products and services for US and allied militaries.
The firm’s L-MADIS anti-drone system is in use by the US Marine Corps. The system was developed in a joint effort with the USMC Ground Based Air Defense team, and other partner suppliers.
AVT CEO Tim Sheehy said: “With the growing threat of weaponised sUAS employed on the modern battlefield, the need for effective and reliable counter UAS technology is crucial. We are proud to have our technology ready to protect our Airmen from insidious sUAS attacks.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
02 Aug 19. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO or DRO.AU) (“DroneShield”) released a breakthrough new product, RfZeroTM, following extensive development in response to end-user feedback. The product is available for purchase from today to qualified end-users. RfZeroTM is an omnidirectional drone detection device with a 1km range. It is designed to be a cost-effective fixed site alternative to DroneShield’s higher end product, RfOneTM (a 5km radiofrequency direction finder). As such, RfZeroTM responds to the needs of users with more substantial budgetary constraints. As is the case with the rest of DroneShield’s fixed site product family, RfZeroTM uses DroneShieldCompleteTM, DroneShield’s proprietary counterdrone software user interface. It is also able to integrate with the rest of the fixed site DroneShield product suite, such as DroneCannonTM for either automated or manual drone defeat, once RfZeroTM detects the drone.
RfZeroTM is completely non-emitting, thus allowing for a substantially larger customer universe. Given that the product thus lacks this regulatory constraint, and is marketed at a lower price point, the product is expected to be of a substantial appeal to a wide array of customers.
DroneShield’s CEO Oleg Vornik commented, “RfZeroTM is expected to appeal to a wide range of users looking for a more cost effective fixed site solution, complementing our RfOneTM high performance product. Typical target customers for RfZeroTM include prisons, VIPs, commercial sites, mining industry, events, and qualified corporate users, while airport and military customers generally find RfOneTM to be the more suitable offering. Following the recent releases of the pistol-shaped drone mitigation device DroneGun MKIIITM and the body-worn RfPatrolTM detection device, DroneShield is pleased to have the most extensive product offering on the market, developed based on the extensive customer feedback we received to date”.
01 Aug 19. HENSOLDT has orders for seven radars which are intended for five ships and two land-based systems and are to be delivered by 2022. The company had previously equipped the first K130 batch with its proven TRS-3D radar. For the second batch, the TRS-4D has now been ordered to be supplied in a version comprising a mechanically rotating antenna (TRS-4D Rotator), which is also under contract for the U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS). On board the new F125 frigate, the TRS-4D is used in a configuration comprising four fixed planar arrays. This radar system is part of a family of products which also include a ground-based air defence radar, TRML-4D. It thus benefits from shorter production cycles, continuous product improvements as well as advantages in stock levels of spare parts and training. The TRS-4D Rotator has been designed to be used for anti-aircraft and anti-surface operations. Its rotating antenna combines mechanical and electronic azimuth scanning, which allows targets to be detected and tracked very quickly. Thanks to its higher sensitivity, the AESA radar allows more precise detection, especially of small and manoeuvring objects, as well as faster confirmation of the target, which means that the ship crew has more time to respond to threats. The radar can be specifically programmed according to the customer’s needs, and its characteristics can be changed via the software to match new requirements that arise during its useful life. The system also includes an MSSR 2000 I secondary radar for friend-or-foe identification (IFF), which complies with all IFF standards, even the latest “Mode S / Mode 5”. This is all the more important as all NATO troops and their allies are currently in the process of converting their IFF systems to Mode 5. The Mode 5 capability enables the troops to take part in joint and combined operations with NATO and other allied forces.
31 Jul 19. AVT counter-UAS system successfully downs Iranian drone. A variant of the Ascent Vision Technologies (AVT) Marine Air Defense Integrated System (MADIS) in use with the US Marines has demonstrated the operational capability to defend against unmanned aerial systems. The light variant, LMADIS, is the product of a rapid development effort by AVT, the US Marine Corps Ground Based Air Defence team, and other partner suppliers. This is the latest of an 18-month series of successful deployments where the MADIS has successfully countered enemy UAS in theatre.
AVT has been at the forefront of innovation in the counter UAS world with dozens of systems deployed worldwide supporting multiple branches of the US military and allied nations.
This encounter is a landmark event in the world of counter drone technology as it may be the first instance in which the US or its allies have openly destroyed a military drone from a nation-state adversary.
Lee Dingman, president and chief commercial officer for AVT, said, “We are humbled that the US Military continues to utilise our equipment to protect the lives of our brave men and women serving overseas. The AVT team will continue to innovate to stay at the cutting edge of force protection operations.” (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Jul 19. Dedrone moves detection data into the cloud. By placing drone detection data in the cloud, the new Dedrone Cloud solution launched by Dedrone delivers information on airspace activity without requiring on-site IT infrastructure or maintenance. Dedrone Cloud delivers the company’s airspace security technology solution which identifies and tracks unauthorized drones and collects data, using a secure cloud-based environment.
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 can detect drones over a mile away from a protected site and determines the communications protocol of the drone, its flight path and the location of the pilot. Once a drone is detected, the software alerts security personnel and can be integrated to deploy a passive security measure or defeat technology.
Dedrone says communication between the DroneTracker Software and RF sensor is configured automatically, and updates are automatically integrated into a customer’s DroneTracker software, supported by a 99.9% uptime rate. RF-100 and RF-300 sensors are both supported by Dedrone Cloud. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
15 Jul 19. DroneShield launches pistol-shaped drone jammer. DroneShield has announced the launch of its DroneGun MKIIITM, a portable pistol-shape drone jammer, weighting under 2kg. DroneGun MKIIITM is designed to be an alternate rather than a replacing product for its DroneGun TacticalTM unit, having a shorter effective range of 500m versus 1-2km for DroneGun TacticalTM. DroneGun MKIIITM can also be used in combination with other DroneShield products, including the RfPatrolTM body-worn detection device and the DroneSentinelTM stationary multi-sensor detection system.
According to the company:
“The DroneGun MkIII is a compact, lightweight drone countermeasure designed for one hand operation. The product provides a safe countermeasure against a wide range of drone models. It allows for a controlled management of drone payload such as explosives, with no damage to common drones models or surrounding environment due to the drones generally responding via a vertical controlled landing on the spot, or returning back to the starting point (assisting to track the operator), with an immediate cease of video back to the drone pilot. RF disruption activation will also interfere with any live video streaming (FPV) back to the remote controller halting the collection of video footage and intelligence by the drone operator.”
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29 Jul 19. Liteye and Red Six Team Against sUAS Threat. Liteye Systems, Inc. has announced that it is teaming with a red team strategic advisory company, Red Six Solutions, LLC. Liteye is the manufacturer, integrator, training, and services provider of the Anti-UAS Defense System (AUDS) currently being utilized by the U.S. Government for countering Unmanned Aerial System threats being used by adversarial militaries and terrorist organizations worldwide. With over $60m in government contracts, Liteye is an industry leader in the counter UAS market. Likewise, Red Six Solutions is a highly regarded red team company specializing in the global analysis of the small UAS threats. Red Six provides its clients “over-the-horizon” insights into the UAS challenges being posed against our military and law enforcement.
Kenneth Allen Geyer, CEO of Liteye System explains, “Liteye is constantly improving our AUDS offerings to ensure they are an effective counter UAS system against relevant threats. Working with Red Six analysts allows Liteye to plan and test against emerging threats, ensuring the safety and mission of our military forces”. Mr. Geyer goes on to say “the modifications we’ve made to our original prototypes were largely based on red teaming exercises. Red Six provides that look into-the-future that has allowed AUDS to be effective in combat against threats being used by ISIS, Iran and others”.
Red Six Solutions has extensive knowledge and expertise in replicating the capabilities and tactics of UAS threats. According to Dr. Scott Crino, CEO, Red Six Solutions
“Our industry leading experts travel the globe to learn about the threat and to assess the commercial counter UAS marketplace. Our technicians dive deep into the components being used or expected to emerge on battlefields around the world.” Dr. Crino said, “We can take the state-of-the-art components, build replica threat UAS and test them in relevant environments against Counter UAS systems like AUDS. Sharing this information with teammates like Liteye, gives them a significant advantage in maintaining their edge over the threats.”
Liteye and Red Six will continue to participate in US Government tests and exercises. Liteye will showcase AUDS and other Liteye capabilities this September, in Las Vegas at the InterDrone Conference and Expo 2019. There, Scott Crino will join Ken Geyer as a subject matter expert to explain the threat posed by UAS to the Warfighter, protected government facilities and critical public and private infrastructure. (Source: UAS VISION)
29 Jul 19. Is the future of military binoculars robotic contact lenses? There is no military sensor system more prolific than the Mk1 eyeball. The default visual perception organ coded into humans from birth – in other words, your eye – is sophisticated, powerful, and so absolutely normal that it has earned its own dismissive euphemism, letting specialists joke about what enabled their detection of an object via the visual spectrum. Consider, for a moment, a future where the Mk1 eyeball isn’t just a punchline: what if the human eye could, with imperceptible mechanical aid, become a far more advanced sensor system.
What if the soldiers of tomorrow could wear soft robots on their eyes?
Corrective lenses have of course existed for centuries, and modern contact lenses date back to the late 19th century. Correcting vision to be baseline functional is not, itself, new. Enlisting robots to do the corrections, however, is distinctly modern. And if successfully miniaturized, it could become a powerful tool that grants almost superhuman vision simply by being worn.
“A Biomimetic Soft Lens Controlled by Electrooculographic Signal,” published July 16 in Advanced Functional Materials, details how a research team at the University of California San Diego created an interface that allows human eye movements to control the focus and zoom of a robotic lens.
There are, at present, several profound limitations to the design.
“The prototype only functions in a special rig using several components that will have to be dramatically miniaturized before a human could wear it, and the test subjects look less than comfortable with a series of electrodes placed on their skin around their eyes,” Gizmodoreported.
Still, if the miniaturization is accomplished, the technologies promise both a novel lens, and a novel control scheme. By measuring the electrical fields of the wearer’s eyes, the lenses focus and angle, moving and clarifying in a manner similar to the musculature of the human eye.
The immediate applications for the technology are corrective and restorative, working with people to grant vision with minimal adjustment period or special movement required. That alone is worthy, but consider the implications of a squad wearing lenses that could, at conscious command, instantly magnify their field of vision. Right now, high-magnification long-range sensors come attached to weapons, drones, or binoculars, but mounted on an eyeball, it could provide that same long-range vision literally onto the eyes of the people who most need it for situational awareness.
It might also turn Mk1 eyeball from a punchline into clear context, a useful predecessor for the Mk2 eyeball. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
19 Jul 19. South Korean researchers “develop AESA algorithm to detect small drones at 3km.” UAS Vision and AJU Daily report that South Korean researchers have developed a detection system capable of identifying small drones more than three kilometres away that can be used to monitor and stop spy drones or unmanned operations targeting high-risk facilities such as nuclear power plants, according to press reports.
“The Collaborative Robots Research Center at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) teamed up with a team led by Youngwook Kim of California State University, Fresno, to develop the new system, the Ministry of Science and ICT said in a statement on Tuesday,” according to newspaper reports. “DGIST’s system is superior enough to match technology developed by RADA, an Israeli company specializing in defence electronics, as it can detect small drones such as Phantom produced by China’s DJI more than three kilometers away, the ministry said, adding commercialization would be possible at the end of 2019 or early 2020.”
Reports continued that DGIST researchers led by Oh Dae-gun have successfully detected a drone, which is 55 centimetres wide and 40 centimetres high from a test spot more than three kilometres away, the ministry said.
“We will make further efforts to improve the status of domestic radar technology by changing the landscape of the market,” Oh was quoted as saying. The ministry said the new system would greatly contribute to the development of related industries and the reinforcement of defence capabilities.
The South’s defence ministry purchased detecting equipment from foreign companies after several North Korean spy drones crashed south of the border in 2014. The science ministry said the algorithm for tracking and identifying drones was developed jointly with a team led by Kim. Oh’s team has applied AESA (active electrically scanned array) radar technology to improve the maximum detection distance and ultra-high-resolution radar signal processing technology to accurately locate drones. Radar cognitive technology based on artificial intelligence generally increases the recognition rate as more data is learned, but it’s not easy to secure large-scale data for learning. Researchers will enhance the system’s identification performance with radar recognition technology based on generative adversarial networks (GNAs), a deep-learning AI algorithm that can create similar data by learning on its own even if the amount of data is small
(Image: Oh Dae-gun (RIGHT), a DGIST researcher, posing with other researchers at an unmanned aerial vehicle testing field. Courtesy of DGIST)
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29 Jul 19. US Homeland Security launches study to assess UAS threat to airports. Industry experts have been invited to participate in a study to assess UAS threats at airports conducted by the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC). The research comes in response to a congressional mandate in the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the 2019 ‘Countering Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) Threats’ survey covers critical infrastructure sectors and domestic large hub airports. The purpose is to gather information from stakeholders on the existing and potential threats to infrastructure from UAS, and existing procedures to counter such threats. The survey ends on 12 August 2019 and the information will be used to produce a report to Congress.
HSOAC is a federally funded research and development centre operated by the RAND Corporation under contract with DHS.
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29 Jul 19. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) has been accepted for membership in ACI (Airports Council International) Europe. ACI Europe represents over 500 airports in 45 European countries, including virtually every major European airport. Based in Brussels, ACI Europe leads and serves the European airport industry and maintains strong links with other ACI regions throughout the world.
ACI Europe membership is comprised of airport operators of various sizes, along with national airport associations, educational establishments and world business partners. The members work together in an active association to ensure effective communication and negotiation with legislative, commercial, technical, environmental, passenger and other interests.
The association’s members facilitate over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe, accounting for 2.3 billion passengers, 21.2 million tonnes of freight and 25.7 million aircraft movements in 2018.
DroneShield is the only counterdrone company that has been accepted for membership in ACI Europe. DroneShield’s CEO Oleg Vornik commented, “As the drone threat to the airports increases, DroneShield is excited to work with ACI Europe member airports to help mitigate this threat. In addition to the well-publicised Gatwick Airport disruption in December, there have been scores of lesser known shutdowns at airports around the world. Our drone detection and mitigation products are a rapidly growing necessity for airports globally, and DroneShield having been accepted as the sole counterdrone provider into this top tier group illustrates that.”
29 Jul 19. HENSOLDT’s passive radar demonstrates its suitability for air traffic control. ‘Twinvis’ demo monitors air traffic over South Germany. The sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT has demonstrated the capabilities of its ‘Twinvis’ passive radar system when deployed for air traffic control during a comprehensive measurement campaign. A passive radar sensor cluster was installed at four sites in South Germany for the tests, from which air traffic above this region could be monitored and tracked in real time. This showed that passive radar systems can track aircraft with sufficient precision in order to be used for air traffic control. The sensors were positioned in Nuremberg, Roth, Erding and Ulm, while the data was processed centrally at HENSOLDT’s Ulm site.
Working as mere receivers which don’t emit any radiation, passive radar systems detect aircraft by analysing the signals that they reflect from existing third-party emissions. The Twinvis system excels with a comprehensive overview of the airspace covered, which is obtained by simultaneously analysing a large number of frequency bands. For example, up to 16 FM transmitters (analogue radio) plus 5 frequencies used by several DAB and DAB+ transmitters (digital radio) as well as DVB-T and DVB-T2 (digital, terrestrial television) can be simultaneously analysed for the first time. Furthermore, a new generation of software provides unprecedented performance in terms of range and precision of detection.
In civil applications, passive radar systems make cost-effective air traffic control possible without any additional emissions and without using transmission frequencies, which are in short supply. In military applications, the system enables wide-area surveillance using networked receivers, while offering the advantage that passive radar systems cannot be located by the enemy and are very hard to jam. Moreover, no agreement is required with any other public authority, as there is no radiation, which allows the system to be quickly ready for deployment in new locations and to also be used in urban areas. This results in another advantage of the new technology: the system can be used in places where coverage was previously inadequate, for example, in mountainous regions.
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.