Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
29 Aug. 19. American Panel Corporation (APC) completed a month-long trial of its advanced vehicle display at the British Army’s Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) at Bovington, Dorset, UK. Supporting in this evaluation were Kent Modular Electronics (KME), TECNOBIT (TNB), and Foxbury Solutions.
A next generation of thermal imaging sensor to display capability was successfully trialed at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) during 10-28 Jun 19. This new capability included a latest generation Thermal Imaging (TI) Castor HD sensor from TNB that provided 10-bit video with a specific gamma rate correction setting to a native 10-bit (30-bit RGB) APC and KME display.
This capability not only transforms the user experience by furnishing the commander with video that is easier to interpret; but crucially also enabling the commander to Detect, Recognise and Identify (DRI) targets and objects at far greater ranges than with legacy, 6 or 8-bit sensor and display capability on in-service Remote Weapon Station (RWS).
By using these enhanced capabilities, the commander will be able to effect at greater ranges as well – particularly in the new era of vehicles and weapon load modularity. This capability will enable simpler and faster changes of weapons systems (both direct and indirect) on a single multi-weapon mount, giving commanders true variety and choice to their tactical capability.
The objectives of the trial were to:
- Determine the Detection, Recognition, Identification (DRI) capabilities of a 10-bit video input display.
- Undertake comparative testing against a current in-service Remote Weapons System (RWS) 6>8-bit based thermal imaging sensor and matched video viewing/control screen.
- Understand the benefits of the TNB Castor HD sensor (10-bit) when used in conjunction with the APC / KME display (10-bit).
- Showcase the combined capability to key UK MoD and Defence Industry personnel.
Jamie Boulet of APC said, “The development of longer-range thermal sensors has required MoDs and industry alike to look at a range of similarly advanced displays to accommodate the images obtained from longer range. This is particularly important to avoid collateral damage involving civilians or potential fratricide. Our unique 10-bit technology, addresses this challenge. The ATDU trial was undertaken on the basis of an 8-bit (24-bit RGB) vs. APC’s 10-bit (30-bit RGB) display. The results exceeded even our expectations.”
APC believes the trial was successful in proving that in comparison to the legacy in-service RWS, the trialed system of matched HD sensor 10-bit video and 10-bit display appears to have exceeded existing crew DRI capability and provides a much clearer picture at all distances.
This new DRI capability is believed to surpass anything in current service with UK Land Forces. As a result, this step change means that crews should no longer have to rely on additional assets to perform or confirm DRI, at increasingly greater ranges. It is worth noting that while the appetite for collateral damage remains very low, the increased detail afforded by these enhanced capabilities, allows the operator to make better informed decisions on engagements, and in so doing reduces the risk of using imperfect identification information, especially in time-critical situations.
The Local Situational Awareness enhancement afforded by this system is expected to aid operations across the whole mounted fleet; and will undoubtedly reduce the risk of fratricide on own, friendly or civilian elements by increasing Positive Identification ranges and certainty, thereby enabling greater (and more certain) prosecution of targets in low and no light.
It should be noted that this alignment display of thermal imaging and 10-bit video systems was only a first step in determining what is possible today. It is recommended that further testing both in controlled lab conditions and in an operational context could provide valuable information and further insight into delivering more precise identification and the potential for engagement.
American Panel is displaying its range of advanced vehicle displays in Booth No. N5-263 at DSEI 2019.
For further information about APC display products or technology, please feel free to contact Mr. Jamie Boulet () for further information.
30 Aug 19. DST to support commercialisation of SA start-up radar tech. DST has signed an agreement that will assist a small South Australian start-up to further develop and commercialise DST technology for the next generation of high frequency radar.
The 10-year agreement was signed with technology company FrazerLab during DST’s flagship industry engagement event, SCINDICATE. FrazerLab provides specialised services in high frequency radar and related support systems to clients in Australia and the US.
Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro described the agreement as ground-breaking and a future road map for DST in fostering new defence industries.
“The agreement is a valuable example of how DST can successfully spin-off intellectual property to new start-up companies while at the same time strengthening Australia’s defence industry, enhancing future Defence capability and boosting exports,” Professor Monro said.
She said that it was important that DST align itself with small start-ups and that the transfer of DST’s intellectual property “was critical in fostering new defence industries to meet the unique capability needs of the Australian Defence Force”.
The commercialisation agreement was signed by the chief of DST’s Intelligence Surveillance and Space Division, Andrew Seedhouse, and FrazerLab chief executive Dr Gordon Frazer. (Source: Defence Connect)
29 Aug 19. USAF awards funding to start-up for drone image recognition tech. Z Advanced Computing (ZAC) has received funding from the US Air Force (USAF) to develop 3D image recognition technology for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
The company’s drone image recognition technology is based on explainable artificial intelligence (AI). ZAC will work on developing image recognition technology for drones to meet the USAF’s aerial image / object recognition requirements.
The start-up demonstrated its explainable AI (XAI) capability, which allows recognition of details of 3D objects from any direction.
ZAC CTO Dr Saied Tadayon said: “With our superior approach, complex 3D objects can be recognised from any direction, using only a small number of training samples.
“You cannot do this with the other techniques such as deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs), even with an extremely large number of training samples. That’s basically hitting the limits of the CNNs.”
According to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), XAI will help future troops to understand an ’emerging generation of artificially intelligent machine partners’.
Stressing on the need for developing XAI, DARPA stated that the autonomous systems developed using machine learning models pose challenges for humans as they are difficult to understand.
Dr Saied Tadayon added: “For complex tasks such as drone vision you need ZAC’s superior technology to handle detailed 3D image recognition.”
ZAC’s technology has the ability to allow image search to be performed in several applications, including e-commerce, ad network, autonomous vehicles, medical imaging, satellite imaging, face recognition, video, and security.
In May, the USAF signed an agreement with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to start an AI accelerator programme to improve airforce operations and deliver innovations in disaster response and medical readiness. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
28 Aug 19. Northrop Grumman Common Infrared Countermeasure Systems Enters Operational Testing. New capability for the Army’s helicopter fleet has begun Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) systems for the U.S. Army has entered Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). Northrop Grumman’s Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) system will help protect U.S. Army aircraft from current and emerging infrared threats. The system, in low rate initial production, has begun Initial Operational Test and Evaluation.
CIRCM is a lightweight countermeasure system that uses laser energy to defend aircraft against infrared threats. Its modular, open systems architecture allows it to be integrated with systems and sensors to address current and emerging threats.
“Exercising our production systems in operational testing will further validate CIRCM’s advanced performance, and is a key enabler on the path to full-rate production and wide deployment of this life-saving system to our warfighters,” said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman’s infrared countermeasures systems have been installed on more than 1,500 aircraft, representing more than 80 different aircraft types, including large and small fixed-wing, rotary wing and tilt-rotor platforms.
27 Aug 19. Powerful New Radars Level Up Our Protection Against Threats. Aircraft, missiles, rockets, mortars and artillery in the wrong hands pose an increased risk to the safety of U.S. service members, allies and civilians. These threats can be sophisticated or improvised, coming from hostile nations and non-state actors alike. The challenge of countering the wide range of threats is being met by systems with advances in integration, gallium nitride semiconductor technology and radar expertise. In production now, Northrop Grumman’s S-band ground radars are ready to operate within Department of Defense command and control networks.
Northrop Grumman is leading the way with a new generation of integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) systems.
“For decades, Northrop Grumman has been a radar innovator, and that expertise shows in the exceptional capabilities of the company’s ground-based radars and IAMD systems,” said Christine Harbison, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman.
Harnessing the power of GaN for ground-based radars
At the heart of any air and missile defense system is the radar, and at Northrop Grumman, radars have become more powerful, efficient and reliable through the introduction of gallium nitride-based microelectronic components.
Gallium nitride, or GaN, components operate more efficiently, unlocking cost and performance benefits that can include enhanced system sensitivity and reliability.
Northrop Grumman, with government partnership, has invested more than $350m in GaN development, and this investment has seen the development and integration of GaN into a wide variety of land, air and space-based military radar systems. Highly reliable and high bandwidth GaN radars can perform multiple missions simultaneously, from air traffic control to fire control, while giving operators a complete picture of what is happening in each sector.
Ready for fully integrated air and missile defense
To provide an optimal defense against airborne threats, warfighters need a single, unambiguous view of the battlespace and a network of sensors and shooters than can identify and neutralize targets. Designed to function as part of any net-centric command and control (C2) system, these versatile radars can detect and share data about incoming hostile fire and cue interceptors.
The combination of Northrop Grumman’s software-defined radars with other powerful systems on the C4ISR network is a potent warfighter advantage. The Department of Defense continues to integrate Northrop Grumman’s radars with its C2 systems.
The Army and Marine Corps announced recently that they are working together to bring Northrop Grumman’s premier S-band ground radar into the Integrated Battle Command System. The Marine Corps has further plans to demonstrate the radar with Iron Dome, a system that the Army is acquiring for interim cruise missile defense. The Army has stated that missile defense is one of its top modernization priorities.
“While our radars provide effective protection as stand-alone systems, they become true force multipliers when they function within C2 networks,” said Harbison.
Tested and ready
Future threats are likely to multiply in type and numbers, presenting new challenges for the integrated air and missile defense mission. That is why Northrop Grumman’s radars have been tested during hundreds of hours of realistic combat scenarios in the lab, at the range and in complex joint exercises. Open architecture, C2 integration and the power of GaN have come together in Northrop Grumman’s S-band radars to enable a new level of protection and situational understanding for warfighters.
Sidebar: A radar made in the U.S. Ready to serve anywhere.
“Over decades, we have built a network of trusted partners who can provide the expertise and performance needed to deliver these mission-critical systems,” said Jeanie Wade, vice president, operations, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.
In full rate production now, Northrop Grumman’s program-of-record S-band radars are the product of collaboration on a national scale. With a supply base spanning 28 states, these radars benefit not only warfighters, but also local communities across the country.
20 Aug 19. Haiti orders Airspace Drone integrated ATM/UTM system for lower airspace management. The Office Nationale to L’Aviation Civil in Haiti has commissioned French UTM company Airspace Drone (ASD) to develop an integrated UTM/ATM system for the country. Installation and development work will start in September 2019.
Haiti’s lower airspace is busy with helicopter operations from non-governmental organisations based in the airport and around 400 drones operating in the country tracking migrations of people and supporting aid missions throughout a nation which is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
“We use a combined, low-cost radar/LIDAR system which can track both cooperative and uncooperative targets in areas of the world not covered by GPS – so it fits very well into the requirements of the country,” said Françoise Derout President, ASD co-founder. ASD has a cooperation agreement with CS Group, which has developed the first integrated French anti-drone system, BOREADES developed to detect and identify non cooperative drones and locate remote pilots.
“This means we are able to detect drones and aircraft of all types in the lower airspace, whether or not they are carrying transponders,” said Françoise Derout.
ASD has UTM systems operating in Singapore – in conjunction with partner organisations Airbus and local authorities – and in Monaco. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
19 Aug 19. German airports “planning new drone detection systems and procedures.” Germany is planning a new drone detection system – an 11-mile exclusion-zone – around airports, reports German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung and the UK’s Daily Mail. The exclusion area would extend up to 1,300m above airports and seek to prevent its closure due to drone fears – a fate Frankfurt Airport has already suffered twice this year.
According to newspaper reports: ‘The operation of unmanned aerial vehicles near airfields is a significant risk for the safety of flight operations,’ said an air traffic control spokesman. The plan would see the development of a new technology for drone surveillance and its registration….Especially for the detection of uncooperative drones, a reliable technology must be procured,” said the spokesman.
Experts suggest it may include new radar surveillance, jammers and the setting up of sensors that sound an alarm when they sense signals between the remote control and the flying object. State and federal police would manage the equipment, but the proposed project is not yet funded: the airport managers are reluctant to pay for protection far away from the airport perimeter.
German drone operators are already banned from flying closer than 0.9 miles (1.5km) from the airports. In March Frankfurt Airport stopped flights for around 30 minutes following a drone sighting. Another 48-minute stoppage occurred weeks later, leaving dozens of flights delayed or cancelled. Passengers were stranded on the tarmac as a helicopter sought the drone.
Frankfurt airport ran military anti-drone trials earlier this, which included the use of jammers..
For more information
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.