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RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE

Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems

www.blighter.com

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08 Aug 19. New Axeon Absolute Zero Eases Sighting. The new and improved patented and proven Axeon® Absolute Zero® makes sighting in your rifle absolutely easy. Using two precision lasers it guarantees you hold your rifle in the exact same place while sighting in thereby providing the ability to completely eliminate hold error and establish a zero in just one shot. The Absolute Zero from Axeon Optics includes a new mounting system making it the easiest, most efficient, and accurate way to find your zero at 25 yards giving you the ability to zero at 100 yards with cold barrel accuracy. It comes with an adapter that fits your rifle’s Picatinny or Weaver rail. It also comes equipped with a quick disconnect mount that allows the unit to mount onto any scope that has a 1-inch or 30 mm tube. Adhesive backed reflective grids are included with each Absolute Zero making the red lasers easy to identify and locate even in bright sunlit conditions.

Using the Hancosky Method the Absolute Zero utilizes twin lasers to aid you in precisely aligning your point of aim with your rifle’s point of impact. Once attached to your rifle and the locations of the two lasers are noted on the reflective grid a round is fired to establish a point of impact. With the lasers fixed on the original noted locations the point of aim of your rifle’s scope or dot sight is adjusted to correspond with the point of impact giving you an easy one-shot sight in.

The Axeon Absolute Zero makes sighting in your rifle scope, dot sight or reflex sight easy. Find your zero at 25 yards in just one shot. Based on your ballistic rise or drop at 100 yards, you can then calculate the adjustment for 100 yards and adjust your aiming device without firing another round.

The Absolute Zero saves you time, money, ammo, and your shoulder! It works across multiple platforms and calibers, eliminates cant and movement and is ideal hunters who depend on cold barrel accuracy! The Absolute Zero has an MSRP of $79.99.

08 Aug 19. RAF Typhoon jets to receive key sensor upgrade. With a complex weapons integration program squared away, giving Royal Air Force Typhoon jets more punch, key sensors on the jet could see an upgrade. The RAF’s test and evaluation squadron is already test flying the Litening 5 targeting pod in order to optimize its operation by Typhoon pilots. Work is also underway to update and improve the reliability of the jets Pirate passive infrared airborne track equipment, said Andy Flynn, BAE System’s Typhoon capability director.

Known as Project Centurion, the British late last year completed integration of MBDA’s Meteor, Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles on Typhoon in 47 months. At a cost of around £425m, or $515.83m, the program allowed the RAF to stand down the entire fleet of Tornado jets that had provided the primary strike capability.

Flynn told reporters during a briefing at the company’s Warton combat air site in northwest England Aug. 7 that the sensor work was “the next iteration of Centurion.”

“Agile spiral development and keeping the aircraft relevant is the phase we are in. We have done the big leap and it’s now about keeping it relevant,” he said.

The Tornado was a two-seat aircraft, whereas the Typhoon is single seat. Flynn said the work on the Litening 5 was about easing pilot workload.

“What we are doing now is getting the feedback from customer and operations teams on how to make that tasking simpler and really increase the cycle time on ops. We’ve already got Litening 5 pods up in the air as an iteration and we are seeking feedback from 41 Squadron [the test and evaluation squadron],” he said.

The plan is to get the enhanced capability “out to the front line by the end of next year,” said Flynn.

Development phase work is also underway on a new iteration of Pirate as well improving the reliability and robustness of the sensor.

“That work is in the development phase and we are doing that over the Autumn period. What we are doing on Typhoon overall is really enhancing the sensors capability as well making the workload easier for the pilot,” said Flynn.

The sensor changes are a small part of a wider capability update on the Typhoon to keep aircraft relevant until they go out of service, currently set for 2040.

On the horizon for the RAF is a new e-scan radar, known as Radar 2, which is being developed for the British by Leonardo; the new BAE Striker II helmet; and networked enabled weapons.

But, Eurofighter, the Airbus, BAE, and Leonardo industrial partnership responsible for the development and production of the Typhoon, is also conducting a review of future potential updates to the fighter. Eurofighter announced at the Paris Air Show in June a deal valued at 53.7m euros with the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency, or NETMA, to undertake a long-term evolution review of the fighter and the EJ200 engine over the next 19 months. NETMA represents the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments.

Flynn said there were more than 50 separate candidate technologies being considered by the evolution review. Some of those potential upgrades could also find themselves cross decking to the Tempest sixth-generation fighter now being proposed by the British.

Clive Marrison, the industrial requirements director for Team Tempest, the industrial/government partnership leading the next-generation fighter work , said both jets could benefit from close development ties.

“Typhoon could benefit from some of the technologies that Tempest is looking at and by the same token Tempest could benefit from some of the technologies that Typhoon is investing in,” said Marrison.

For example: Some of the cockpit and helmet work BAE is doing might allow industry to offer some of those technologies back into Typhoon, said Marrison.

While the BAE executives were looking into the future for British combat air capabilities, the Typhoon approaches a landmark of sorts to be celebrated. Sixteen years after taking delivery of its first Typhoon, the RAF is preparing to receive the final aircraft ordered for its fleet in the next few weeks, said Flynn.

The final aircraft in a British order for 160 Typhoons made its test flight recently and is due to be handed over to the RAF in the coming weeks.

Completion of the order leaves 24 aircraft destined for Qatar on the order book for BAE, although it is also building parts of the Typhoons sold to Kuwait by Eurofighter partner Leonardo.

Three equipment sets have so far been completed at BAE’s Samlesbury plant near Warton, destined for the Leonardo assembly site in Italy.

Flynn said the Qatar build program was just getting underway. The 24 aircraft order will see deliveries start in 2022 with completion set for 2024. (Source: Defense News)

08 Aug 19. Operators of NATO’s surveillance plane reveal what they want in its replacement. As NATO looks to replace its E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet, it has asked operators for feedback on what technologies to incorporate in its future system. While NATO leaders have not yet decided whether a single platform or a family of systems will take over the early airborne warning mission, “I think the most essential thing is the capability … be absolutely interoperable. I think that’s the key, that is the most essential thing,” said Lt. Col. Hans Growla, a crew member and public affairs officer for the NATO E-3A component in Geilenkirchen, Germany.

But Growla declined to comment on what specific technologies could be integrated into an AWACS replacement to grow its capability, citing sensitivities.

In June, the head of the NATO organization that manages the E-3A inventory told Reuters that the organization was racing against the clock to choose an AWACS replacement.

NATO plans to spend $750m for the final service life extension of the aircraft, which would keep it flying until 2035, said Michael Gschossmann, director of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Programme Management Agency. But if it delays making a decision on a replacement for too long, it could get stuck paying for additional work on the current E-3A aircraft.

“We have to get moving on this. We have to ensure that the studies move along quickly. We need a reality check,” he said.

One option, Gschossmann said, would be to purchase the E-7 Wedgetail, a Boeing aircraft currently operated by Australia, Turkey and South Korea. The United Kingdom also plans to purchase the aircraft. “That would give us a basic capability that could be expanded in the future,” he said.

Like the units that conduct Baltic air policing, the NATO E-3A component has found itself similarly taxed after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, with the number of surveillance missions increasing.

“There is a clear shift from training to real world missions/operations,” Growla said, with a growing presence over the skies of Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. “Flying in northeast Poland gives you a great view into the Baltic states. We don’t need to be physically flying in the airspace of the Baltics, we can stay a bit more south and see everything.”

Despite the high operational tempo, Growla said NATO’s E-3A component is making do with its 14 AWACS planes.

“The Ukraine crisis was starting when we were still deployed to Afghanistan. … [For a time] we had more or less two tasking, and then ISIL,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “We were really busy.”

Currently, 17 nations participate in NATO’s early-warning-and-control force, which operates 14 E-3As and six E-3Ds: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Canada announced in February it would rejoin the NATO E-3A mission, after dropping out in 2014 to cut costs.

Earlier this year, NATO wrapped up a two-year-long effort to modernize its E-3A aircraft, replacing the fleet’s 1970s-era flight instruments with glass cockpits that include five full-color displays and modern avionics that are easier to maintain.

One of those upgraded AWACS planes made the trip to Amari Air Base, Estonia, for an air show commemorating the Estonian Air Force’s 100th anniversary. It was the first open display of a NATO E-3A in Estonia, with visitors able to walk inside the aircraft to view the cockpit and crew stations.

“We want people to see the NATO asset that is flying more or less daily, touch it, and see the guys who are making their airspace safer,” Growla said. (Source: Defense News)

07 Aug 19. Soon to come to the US Army: A high-power microwave to take out drone swarms. The Army is planning to field a high-power microwave capability to take out drone swarms as part of its Indirect Fires Protection Capability system in development. Through the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) the service is looking to get the capability fielded to a unit by 2024 with a demonstration of the capability planned in 2022, the RCCTO director said August 7 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.

RCCTO’s job is to serve as a bridge between the science and technology community and the program executive offices, helping bring technology out of development and into soldiers’ hands, first on a small scale and then a larger scale when passed off to program offices. The RCCTO right now is focused entirely on hypersonics and directed energy weapons.

The IFPC system is being developed to counter rockets, artillery and mortar, as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems, and the means to do that would be through a system featuring multiple types of missiles and also a laser capability to take out threats. Adding lasers to the mix means decreasing the number of expensive shots that would be taken against very inexpensive weapons.

The Army is working to initially field a 100-kilowatt laser capability on a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles as part of the IFPC program with a plan to demonstrate the capability in 2022 and then field prototypes to a unit. And the RCCTO is also looking at how to field even more powerful lasers for the IFPC mission between 250 and 300 kilowatts.

But the service recognizes it might be easier to disrupt the flight of multiple drones at once rather than try to take out each one with a laser.

“Lasers can do things but if you are a combatant commander, there is a toolbox of things you need to be successful on the battle space,” Thurgood said. “It’s not just one tool but a series of tools.”

So the program is teaming with the Air Force’s effort to develop a high power microwave capability, he said. The Air Force will do the research and development work, but the Army will supply them with funding to build prototypes.

The goal is to demonstrate a high-power microwave capability in 2022 and then field the capability to a small unit, much like what the RCCTO will do with the IFPC high-energy laser system.

If the laser and high-power microwave capability both work well in small units, then they will transition to programs of record within the IFPC program, Thurgood said.

Earlier this year, the Army awarded a contract to Dynetics, who is partnered with Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce, to build the 100-kilowatt laser system for IFPC. The Army is also rapidly fielding a 50-kilowatt laser on a Stryker. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are competing to build the system and, in FY21, the two lasers will be tested on difficult threats. The service will choose on to build prototypes that will be fielded to a Platoon in FY22. (Source: Defense News)

07 Aug 19. Re-scalable Aperture for Precision Targeting Radar uses building block approach for scalability. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has received a contract award from the U.S. Army to develop the next generation tactical radar antenna. The Re-scalable Aperture for Precision Targeting Radar (RAPTR) will be composed of small radar building blocks to allow the antenna to be scaled to fit a wide range of mission and platform requirements.

Northrop Grumman’s Re-scalable Aperture for Precision Targeting Radar (RAPTR), composed of small radar building blocks, will provide advanced surveillance and precision targeting capabilities for a wide range of missions and platforms.

RAPTR will improve upon the precision and range of the previous, combat-proven Northrop Grumman tactical radar family to provide a greater level of situational understanding to warfighters. The system will operate in multiple radar modes, including Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground Moving Target Indicator, to provide a comprehensive operating picture.

“RAPTR’s building block architecture allows us to scale the antenna up or down to suit a wide range of platforms and missions, so it is well suited to the demands of today’s multi-domain battlespace,” said Brent Toland, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman.

The system will take advantage of common building blocks, allowing for rapid, cost effective production for a variety of applications.

05 Aug 19. Echodyne Announces Immediate Availability of EchoGuard High-Performance 3D Radar. EchoGuard receives FCC Equipment Authorization allowing widespread deployment of the radar for security, surveillance, and airspace management applications. Echodyne, the manufacturer of innovative, high-performance radars for government and commercial markets, announces that it has received approval from the FCC for widespread deployment of its EchoGuard radar for radiolocation and radionavigation in the United States. The FCC equipment authorization allows the radar to be used throughout the United States for ground and airspace surveillance applications that detect and track potential security threats with high accuracy and for ground-based airspace management applications that ensure safe navigation of commercial drone missions. Echodyne’s innovative metamaterials technology and powerful software combine to create an electronically scanning array (ESA) radar in a compact, solid-state format at commercial price points for the very first time. The radar has been demonstrating award-winning performance for government, law enforcement, security, and UAS / UTM customers for some time via experimental licenses.

“We are excited that EchoGuard has received this authorization allowing its widespread adoption in the US,” said Eben Frankenberg, CEO of Echodyne. “With the growing number of troubling drone incursions at airports, stadiums, and other facilities, there is tremendous demand for high-performance radar sensors. Our innovative radar technology and software greatly increases the ability for security systems to accurately detect and track drone threats, as well as improves ground tracking of people, vehicles, and vessels. Our radar outperforms every other radar in its class, is priced for commercial markets, and has proven to be the best mid-range surveillance radar in the market.”

Features of the EchoGuard high-performance radar include:

  • True electronic beam-steering with market-leading C-SWaP attributes;
  • Long-range detection with high reliability and accurate tracking of multiple, concurrent air and ground targets; and
  • Easy integration into sensor fusion and security systems for unmatched 3D situational awareness. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

06 Aug 19. Missile Defense Agency’s Long Range Discrimination Radar Reaches Major Milestones. The Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) program has completed delivery of its first radar panel to Clear, Alaska and placement of the final beam on the radar shelter as the program continues to successfully achieve all milestones and work towards delivery to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in 2020 at its Clear, Alaska site. The radar system will serve as a critical sensor within MDA’s layered defense strategy to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks.  On the heels of completing System Technology Readiness Level 7 testing in December 2018, the LRDR program has been steadily ramping up to full-rate manufacturing. “Completion of Technology Readiness Level 7 testing provided Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the MDA customer confidence that the program was ready to ramp up production of the radar,” said Chandra Marshall, director of Lockheed Martin’s MDA Radars. “Lockheed Martin utilized production representative hardware, as well as tactical back end processing and software in our Solid State Radar Integration Site (SSRIS) to successfully demonstrate system performance in an operational environment in 2018.” Lockheed Martin invested in this state-of-the-art radar facility to reduce risk to execution of the LRDR program.  LRDR combines proven solid state radar (SSR) technologies with proven ballistic missile defense algorithms, all based upon an open architecture platform capable of meeting future growth. “Solid state radar is the cornerstone of our current and future radar development,” said Dr. Rob Smith, vice president and general manager of Radar and Sensors Systems at Lockheed Martin.

First Radar Panel Arrives in Alaska

The LRDR program successfully manufactured and shipped the system’s first radar panel to Clear Air Force Station in Alaska. The 5,000-mile trip began at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Moorestown, N.J. The panel, which is approximately 27 feet tall, left the site via truck.

The panel is just one of 20 that will be shipped to Alaska in the coming months as manufacturing and construction of the radar site continue to progress on schedule. The panels will make up the radar’s two antenna faces, both approximately four stories high and wide.

The installation and integration of the radar system will begin this year followed by the transition to the testing period.

LRDR Construction Milestone

Construction of the framework for the facility in Clear, Alaska, which will house the radar system, has been completed. The final beam, painted in red, white and blue, was installed in June. Approximately 1,800 tons of steel will be used to build the facility.

“Crews from Lockheed Martin, Haskell Davis Joint Venture and local Alaskan contractors have worked through challenging conditions, including sub-zero temperatures, in constructing the radar facility,” said Marshall. “We’ve made the necessary safety accommodations so that our team remains on schedule to ensure LRDR’s critical capabilities will be delivered to MDA to defend the homeland.”

LRDR will provide around-the-clock threat acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to enable defense systems to lock on and engage ballistic missile threats.

Lockheed Martin Missile Defense

The LRDR program is built upon S-Band radar technology and is the latest in a long line of S-Band radars developed by Lockheed Martin, including the Aegis Combat System, Space Fence and Aegis Ashore. Lockheed Martin has demonstrated its commitment to advancing SSR technology and addressing emerging and evolving threats. In 2018, the Missile Defense Agency awarded the company a contract to design, manufacture and construct the Homeland Defense Radar for Hawaii.

As a proven world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin delivers high-quality missile defense solutions that protect citizens, critical assets and deployed forces from current and future threats. The company’s experience spans missile design and production, hit-to-kill capabilities, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, radar and signal processing as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests.

06 Aug 19. Dedrone Provides UK With Protection Against Drone Terrorism and Threats. Key to the success of integrating drones into UK airspace is collaboration that embraces the speed of innovation, while also addressing and preparing for the emerging security gaps that drones pose. In an interview this week with German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, the EU Commissioner for Security Union, Julian King, shared that drones are becoming more powerful and smarter, which makes them more and more attractive for legitimate use, but also for hostile acts. The advancements in drone technology has far outrun the pace at which government leaders can regulate and oversee the market. As a result, the public has access to inexpensive, powerful technology to support enterprises such as aerial mapping, video production, and product delivery, but also for nefarious purposes, such as spying, distributing contraband, and damaging property.

“Drones are here to stay, and preventable incursions, such as those at airports, correctional facilities and stadiums, will only increase and escalate in impact,” shares Joerg Lamprecht, CEO and co-founder of counterdrone technology company Dedrone. “Dedrone is the global leader in airspace security and helps organisations protect both public and private assets from drone threats. It’s critical to heed this call to action from EU leaders to measure drone activity in critical airspace, and apply this information to protect civilians from all drone threats.”

Dedrone’s platform is deployed across the UK and enables security teams to build procedures to defend against the escalating drone threat. In response to the Gatwick and Heathrow drone incursions, Dedrone published the UK Airport Airspace Security Study, which revealed drone activity data collected across multiple UK airports, and the steps taken to prevent interruptions. Worldwide, Dedrone also protects open-air events, such as the RBC Canadian Open, and works directly with US and European armed forces, including the US Department of Defense. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

05 Aug 19. The United States Army recently awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) three contracts to produce additional Q-53 systems and outfit the radar with enhanced capabilities, including extended range and counter unmanned aerial system (CUAS) surveillance. The flexible architecture of the Army’s most modern radar allows for these upgrades, which support adaptable growth of the system to address aircraft, drone and other threats in the future.

“We realize the warfighter needs new and improved capabilities. The Q-53 represents a fast path to respond to current and emerging threats,” said Rick Herodes, director of the Q-53 program at Lockheed Martin. “The flexibility of the architecture continues to allow the Q-53 to provide capabilities far beyond the original mission and allows for additional upgrades in the future.”

Full Rate Production

The Army awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for a third lot of 15 Full Rate Production systems. Once this contract is delivered the Army will own 189 Q-53 systems. The Lot 3 systems will continue to be produced using gallium nitride (GaN) transmit-receive modules. This will provide the radar with additional power, reliability and the possibility for enhanced capabilities including extended range, counterfire target acquisition (CTA) and multi-mission, which delivers simultaneous CTA and air surveillance.

Surveillance

Lockheed Martin was also awarded a contract to enhance the Q-53’s CUAS capability. This true multi-mission capability delivers simultaneous counterfire, CUAS and air surveillance.

Extended Range

Lockheed Martin was also awarded a contract by the Army that will extend the operating range of the Q-53 system by utilizing recent next-generation technology insertions already available in the radar.

About the Q-53

The primary mission of the Q-53 is to protect troops in combat by detecting, classifying, tracking and identifying the location of enemy indirect fire in either 90 or 360-degree modes. The Q-53 has protected warfighters around the world since 2010.

Lockheed Martin uses an open GaN foundry model, leveraging relationships with commercial suppliers that utilize the power of the expansive telecommunications market to provide military-grade GaN modules while taking advantage of commercial cost efficiencies.

05 Aug 19. Lockheed Martin unveils evolved SkyKeeper BMC4I solution. Lockheed Martin is expected to unveil a significantly evolved version of its SkyKeeper ground-based air-defence (GBAD) battle management system at the 2019 Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London in September. An early iteration of SkyKeeper has, since December 2014, been fielded as the tactical battle management command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (BMC4I) component of the Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) capability operated by the British Army. This will eventually be superseded as part of the UK’s Future Divisional GBAD programme, which is in its Assessment Phase. Lockheed Martin has subsequently embarked on a progressive upgrade and enhancement of the system. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

03 Aug 19. Can a minimalist tool help maximize drone detection? To counter a drone, the drone must first be seen. RfZero, the latest offering from counterdrone systems company DroneShield, is a stand-alone drone detection system that can fit into a larger counterdrone apparatus, and is aimed primarily at commercial and law enforcement users, situations where passive detection without active jamming is an easier sell. DroneShield announced the RfZero Aug. 1.

“The device needs minimal infrastructure,” said Oleg Vornik, RfZero chief executive officer, specifying that a normal domestic power source would be fine. “It could also be installed at a forward operating base, with a generator or battery supply, as required.”

Each RfZero tower’s detection is omnidirectional, with a 1 km radius circle of detection, with higher ranges (up to 2 km) possible in certain environments. A network of RfZero sensors can be used together, providing broader coverage and integrating into the same software platform used by the customer.

DroneShield identifies the RfZero as a lower-cost option compared to systems like its RfOne, and gives a price range of five figures, with an optional annual database update subscription. The software can run on customer-owned tablet or computer, and so does not require specialized hardware.

“The device works by passively listening to the RF signatures of drones,” said Vornik. “DroneShield provides regular updates to the database. Government drones are not covered”

Customers looking for a specifically military detection tool will need to go elsewhere, but with the regular use of commercial and hobbyist models by nonstate actors for everything from scouting to cargo transport to even armed attacks, there’s a role for commercial drone detection on a battlefield.

DroneShield is explicitly marketing the RfZero to prisons, VIPs, commercial sites, mining industry, events and qualified corporate users, while directing airport and military customers to its RfOne offering instead. Drone detection is just part of a drone mitigation package, though perhaps the institutional entry-level price point is worth it for situations where a positive drone identification would go great lengths to determine if a threat is real or imagined. That includes airports like Gatwick, which shut down for over 30 hours following reports of drones in December 2018, and it may apply to certain military installations, too.

“A military customer may be interested in the product, where they don’t need to exactly pinpoint and track the threat (i.e., just a single circle of an alarm is sufficient),” said Vornick. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

02 Aug 19. Echodyne and Iris Automation Ensure Safety for Pioneering Drone Flight Over Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Echodyne, Iris Automation and Skyfront ensure safety of first ever BVLOS flight without human observers conducted by University of Alaska Fairbanks’ UAS IPP team.

Echodyne, the manufacturer of innovative, high-performance radars for government and commercial markets, announced today that its EchoGuard airspace management radars were the ground-based sensor for the first-ever UAS mission to operate beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight without ground observers. The ground-based sensors worked in coordination with Iris Automation’s onboard detect-and-avoid system. The demonstration of a nearly four-mile linear inspection mission along the Trans-Alaska pipeline was designed and conducted by The University of Alaska’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) and the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and is a true first for the UAS industry. All other BVLOS missions required ground observers, which is too logistically complex and costly for business applications.

“Alaska Fairbanks’ team has shown the future of UAS missions for industrial and commercial companies,” said Eben Frankenberg, Echodyne CEO. “There are many applications that require operation beyond the operator’s sight. This practical demonstration of detect-and-avoid technologies for a real-world inspection application helps aviation authorities define the sensors and tools necessary to ensure UAS safety for dozens of industries and applications.”

Led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) team, the test deployment consisted of Echodyne radars along the pipeline path to provide airspace situational awareness and Iris Automation’s computer vision collision avoidance technology onboard Skyfront’s long-range hybrid multicopter drone. The test was operated by UAF on July 31 and was successful and safe.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s UASIPP is conducted in multiple locations across the US, and Echodyne’s sensor technology is a key part of these programs. The program encourages government authorities at all levels to cooperate with drone operators and sensor technology manufacturers to accelerate the safe adoption of drones into the nation’s airspace. The UAF team proposed several ways to pioneer safe drone use in Alaska — to deliver medical devices to remote areas, help searches and rescues, survey fish and wildlife, and monitor pipelines, roads and other infrastructure.

Operating in coordination with ground-based systems, like Echodyne radar, the Casia system from Iris Automation directs the UAS to avoid airspace collisions and assures mission safety. “The mission parameters defined by UAF really push the industry to increase sensor technology’s effectiveness,” said Iris Automation CEO and Co-founder Alexander Harmsen. “Our Casia system performed well and demonstrated that leveraging onboard detect and avoid systems is critical to mission safety and produces the results businesses are seeking.”

Echodyne’s airspace management radar, EchoGuard, combines cutting edge MESA technology and powerful software to create a true electronically scanning array (ESA) radar sensor with unprecedented performance for its ultra-low size, weight, power, and cost. Equally suited for fixed or temporary deployments, Echodyne radars detect, track, and classify objects of interest in the airspace and communicate this data to situational awareness systems to ensure safety for BVLOS missions. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

02 Aug 19. Northrop and BAE sign infrared countermeasures contracts with US Army. Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems have been awarded separate contracts by the US Army Contracting Command to provide infrared countermeasures systems and support. The army has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) systems and support services. The initial task order is valued at $82.8m and the contract has a ceiling value of $482m. The contract award will expand the production of CIRCM systems. Additionally, it will enhance the logistics support infrastructure as the programme moves toward full-rate production.

Northrop Grumman land and avionics C4ISR vice-president Bob Gough said: “This award will allow the army to extend the proven protection of CIRCM to additional aircraft and missions, providing advanced aircraft survivability where it is needed most.”

The CIRCM system makes use of laser energy to protect rotary-wing and medium fixed-wing aircraft against surface-to-air infrared missile threats.

It is flexible to support the integration of additional systems and sensors to address current and emerging threats.

The Department of Defense Milestone Decision Authority awarded Milestone C to the CIRCM system in September last year.

The system features a pointer-tracker unit, advanced Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) technology, and system processor unit.

Northrop Grumman is expected to complete contracted work by 30 July 2024. The $242.25m contract awarded to BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration involves the supply of services for the OT-225 Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures System (ATIRCM) and the AN/AAR-57(V) Common Missile Warning System. Services will include engineering, integration, logistics, and other technical support. ATIRCM is designed to defend aircraft against an array of shoulder-fired, vehicle-launched, and other modern infrared-guided missile threats. (Source: army-technology.com)

30 Jul 19. Liteye and Red Six team to improve C-UAS products. A teaming agreement between Liteye Systems Inc and Red Six Solutions aims to provide advanced Anti-UAS Defense System (AUDS) solutions for the counter UAS marketplace. Combining Liteye’s AUDS C-UAS products with Red Six Solutions’ market insight will enable Liteye to plan and test against emerging threats, for example modifying prototypes based on teaming exercises according to the company. Red Six Solutions specialises in replicating the capabilities and tactics of small UAS threats including those being used by ISIS, Iran and others. By sharing information, the team members plan to maintain their edge over such threats. Both companies expect to continue to participate in US government tests and exercises. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

05 Aug 19. US Army plans to buy DroneDefender and Wingman Squad Kit C-UAS equipment. The US Army has issued two notices of sole source awards for Firm-Fixed-Priced (FFP) definitive contracts (Solicitation numbers W31P4Q-19-R-0084 and W31P4Q-19-R-0085) for Batelle DroneDefender and MyDefence North America Wingman Squad Kits counter-UAS equipment.

According to the Federal Business Opportunities website: “Performance requirements are expected to be within the Continental United States (CONUS). The proposed contract action is for supplies for which the Government intends to solicit and negotiate with only one source under the authority of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 6.302-1(a)(2) under 10 U.S.C. 2304(c) (1).” The Army Contracting Command-Redstone is the government agency. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)

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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.

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