Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
04 Sep 19. Blighter’s Battle-proven A400 Series Counter-UAV Radar Enhanced to Better Detect Low, Slow and Small Drones.
- The Blighter A400 series radar enhanced with 40° antennas, D3 technology and an adaptable DSP platform to better detect and report Nano, Micro and Miniature drones at ranges from 10 metres up to 3.6 km (2.2 miles) and larger drones and aircraft at ranges up to 10 km (6.2 miles), even while ‘on-the-move’
- Blighter Surveillance Systems to showcase its radar technology on stand S3-235 at the DSEI Show, the world’s leading defence and security event, at the ExCeL Centre, London, 10-13 September 2019.
Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd (www.blighter.com) (“Blighter”), a British designer and manufacturer of electronic-scanning (e-scan) radars and counter-drone solutions, has enhanced its Blighter A400 series counter-drone air security radar to better detect and report low, slow and small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones.
The ruggedised Blighter A400 series counter-UAV radar has been optimised with the addition of 40° antennas, D3 technology and an adaptable DSP platform. Blighter engineers are also providing a software development kit to systems integrators, primes and the military to ease integration of the radar with other sensors, C2 systems, as well as with kinetic and non-kinetic disruptors.
Angus Hone, CEO, Blighter Surveillance Systems, said: “Countering the threat caused by rogue drones is now a global issue and an increasing concern for the military, government and homeland security forces across every continent. Our Blighter A400 series radars are battle proven as the detection element of the strategic counter-UAS AUDS system deployed since 2016 in Iraq by US forces and more recently at London Gatwick Airport.”
The new U40 antennas are now available to increase vertical elevation coverage from 30 to 40-degrees. Digital Drone Detection (D³) technology with sensitivity boost has also been added. This will allow the A400 series to better extract the tiny radar reflections from modern plastic bodied drones even when flying close to the ground or near buildings where clutter reflections are relatively large.
Blighter engineers have also developed an adaptable digital signal processing (DSP) platform to accommodate moving ground clutter and thereby enable the radar to be deployed ‘on the move’.
The solid-state all-weather A400 series radars are optimised for the detection of small UAVs carrying video cameras, wireless communication systems, narcotics, explosives and other undesirable payloads. The radars detect and report Nano, Micro and Miniature drones at ranges from 10 metres up to 3.6km (2.2 miles) and larger drones and aircraft at ranges up to 10km (6.2 miles) at speeds from full flight down to hover-drift.
Mark Radford, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO), Blighter Surveillance Systems, said: “Our symmetric transmit/receive e-scan architecture allows pin-point focus in complex cluttered environments and its use of ‘Ku Band’ spectrum with 2cm wavelength is ideal for interaction with small drones. What’s more, our e-scan technology combined with micro-Doppler signal processing allows us to manage clutter on-the-move yet still detect low, slow and small threats in the air and on the ground.”
The Blighter A400 series radars are modular non-rotating, e-scan systems using power efficient PESA (passive electronically scanned array) and FMCW (frequency modulated continuous wave) technologies to provide reliable, small and slow drone detection even in complex environments.
Blighter radars are deployed in 35 countries to deliver round the clock all-weather protection along borders, for coastal facilities, at military bases, and to guard critical national infrastructure such as airports, oil and gas facilities and palaces.
Blighter Surveillance Systems will showcase its radar technology on stand S3-235 at DSEI, at the ExCeL Centre, London, 10-13 September 2019.
05 Sep 19. Czech Gripens conduct Baltic air policing with new Litening pods. Five Czech Air Force JAS 39C fighters began a four-month rotation of NATO’s Baltic air policing mission on 1 September in their first operation with their new Rafael Litening 4i laser targeting pods.
The aircraft are armed with their usual cannons: the AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs). “The pods will be used mainly for long-range visual detection of aircraft during the day and at night,” said Major Tomás Maruscák, spokesperson of the general staff of the Czech Armed Forces. This means the pods will not be used to designate ground targets during the Baltic air policing mission. Instead, aircraft detection and airspace control will be conducted using the pod’s charge-coupled device (CCD) high-definition colour camera and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Sep 19. Counting the counter-UAS capabilities. Despite the growing maturity of counter-UAS (C-UAS) solutions and the proliferation of such technology at defence shows, some elements in industry are looking for more direction from countries regarding their national requirements and intended future planning.
One recent European national tender for a C-UAS capability had the budget set at just €150,000 ($165,000) for a three-system requirement. Full-spectrum capabilities typically run to costs far in excess of this figure.
Among trends in Poland and elsewhere, is the need to educate clients about the technology in order to effectively deliver to requirements.
However, companies showcasing such technologies at MSPO near Kielce, Poland, were keen to talk up their respective capabilities, citing numerous examples of systems in use throughout Europe.
For example, the UK continues to test and deploy a range of C-UAS systems at sites of critical national interest, which differ from some systems used for military base protection.
An official at Poland’s Advanced Protection Systems revealed that a UK military base in Q2 of 2019 began using its Control+Sky system (pictured) for C-UAS protection.
The Control+Sky system uses radar 3D radar, EO, RF and acoustic sensors to detect a drone threat at prosumer size up to 3km away before jamming the link between it and the operator.
The system, in development for four years, is also used at Stavanger airport in Norway and the Czech police force. In Q4 this year an Estonian prison is expected to bring the system online, the official added.
Elsewhere and Enterprise Control Systems, which displayed the AUDS system at MSPO in 2018, has decided to not repeat the exercise this year due to logistical reasons. The system, standing at TRL 9, since 2016 has completed numerous tests with the US military and multiple deployments to countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
A containerised version of the system is currently deployed in the UK protecting US military assets, while Warsaw Airport is also thought to be preparing a trial.
Hertz Systems was also present with its Hawk anti-drone system which again seeks to provide a full spectrum of detection and countermeasure solutions to the military and civil market. The company claims that its system can detect a small drone at 5km range and classify the threat at 1.3km.
Other sensors such as sector radar, acoustic detection, optical and RF scanners all work to assist in the detection, after which neutralisation options from jamming to kinetic force can be used. A hand-held ‘neutraliser’, in its latest Mk 3 variant, was debuted at Targi Kielce.
The system, in part or whole, is utilised in the Middle East, Mexico, among other locations, officials said.
Interestingly, on 3 September a UK Defence Committee briefing session, discussing the threats posed by non-state actor use of drones within its territory, one expert claimed that countering UAS remains a technical challenge that has not been properly overcome.
Other issues raised included response time for C-UAS, which was suggested to be a matter of a minute or less, once the threat has been properly identified. It was further stated that C-UAS had been successful in being capable of stopping a single drone heading to a secure site, but that when confronted with more complex scenarios technology started to show its ‘immaturity’. (Source: Shephard)
04 Sep 19. MAIR missile warning system carried out first flight. Leonardo has carried out the first flight of its Multiple Aperture Infrared (MAIR) missile warning system. When integrated onto an aircraft it provides crews with spherical missile warning, hostile fire indication, and day and night imaging and infrared search and track capabilities, and for its first test flight that took place in Italy, it was flown on a rotary testbed to assess its ability to collect data. Further flights will now take place to verify MAIR’s full suite of modes, Leonardo says, adding that while the testbed was a rotorcraft, fixed-wing platforms can also carry the system.
MAIR uses a series of distributed IR sensors to provide spherical coverage of an aircraft, and was developed in response to a growing demand for systems that can respond to the threat of heat-seeking missiles.
In missile warning mode, MAIR is able to detect incoming missiles and differentiate them from other heat sources, delivering detection and early warning with a low false alarm rate, even in cluttered environments.
This is possible due to MAIR’s processing techniques that draw on Leonardo’s experience in providing IR search and track systems for the Saab Gripen E and Eurofighter Typhoon fighter programmes.
MAIR can also automatically cue protective measures including Leonardo’s Miysis directed IR countermeasure system in response to threats. In this scenario, MAIR would detect, track, classify and declare if an incoming missile is a threat and then pass the information to Miysis, which would subsequently steer the missile away from the aircraft. (Source: Shephard)
05 Sep 19. Embraer delivered today to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) the first multi-mission airlift KC-390 at a ceremony held at Anápolis Air Base, in the mid-western state of Goiás, starting preparations for the aircraft’s entry into service by FAB’s First Troop Transport Group (1st GTT). Embraer has been conducting theoretical and practical training with the Air Force teams to start operations. The KC-390 was developed as a joint project between the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer to set new standards for efficiency and productivity in its class, while presenting the lowest life-cycle cost in the market. The program represents a significant advance in terms of technology and innovation for the Brazilian aeronautics industry and an operational improvement for FAB’s transport aviation. In 2014, FAB signed a firm order for 28 units of the KC-390 aircraft and initial logistical support. The aircraft are produced at the Gavião Peixoto factory, in São Paulo state.
The KC-390 was granted the Type Certificate by the Brazilian civil aviation authority ANAC (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil) in 2018, when it achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC), which ensures that the necessary conditions have been met for the aircraft to start operations.
“The incorporation of the KC-390 into the Brazilian Air Force is a milestone in military aviation. Its modernity will bring an implementation and improvement in the doctrine of use of this multi-mission vector, greatly contributing to the fulfillment of the mission to control, defend and integrate the 22 million square kilometers under our responsibility”, said the Brazilian Air Force Commander, Lieutenant-Brigadier Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez.
“The entry into service of the KC-390 by FAB represents an important milestone for the program and it will certainly increase the growing international interest for this aircraft, consolidating the path to new sales”, said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. “We are confident that the KC-390, in addition to successfully fulfilling the missions required by our Air Force, will have a positive economic impact on job creation and new investments in Brazil, as well as high value-added exports.”
In order to maximize the operational availability of the KC-390 fleet in the fulfillment of the respective missions, FAB and Embraer Services & Support signed a comprehensive five-year services and support contract. Under the agreement, Embraer’s portfolio of solutions TechCare will be responsible for logistical and engineering support, maintenance control, component repair, support staff for the aircraft entry into service, materials supply and an additional package that includes structural analysis, maintenance bulletin development, and aircraft painting, among other services.
The KC-390, which was recently ordered by the Portuguese Government, can carry out various missions including humanitarian support, medical evacuation, search and rescue, forest fire fighting and superior cargo and troop transport and launch capabilities, as well as aerial refueling.
Equipped with two International Aero Engines V2500 turbofan engines, the latest avionics, a rear ramp, and an advanced cargo handling system, the KC-390 is capable of carrying up to 26 metric tons of cargo at a maximum speed of 470 knots (870 km/h), with ability to operate in austere environments, including unpaved or damaged runways. The aircraft can carry troops, pallets, armored wheeled vehicles and helicopters.
The performance of the KC-390 benefits from a modern fly-by-wire control system with integrated technology that lowers the workload of the crew and increases the safety of its operation. Furthermore, the KC-390 can refuel other aircraft in flight, with the installation of removable internal fuel tanks. The aircraft can also be refueled in flight, thus providing greater flexibility for longer missions. An advanced self-defense system increases the aircraft’s survival capability in hostile environments.
05 Sep 19. BAE Systems announced that it has finalised the prototype of its AR glasses in the form of a lightweight headset, bringing its engineers one step closer to creating one of the highest performing, brightest, and most durable AR glasses on the market.
The milestone marks the penultimate stage of the product’s development and demonstrates the technology’s future capabilities. When finished, the head-worn display will offer unrivalled head-tracking and imagery stabilisation, capable of operating in the harshest of environments and on moving platforms. The final product will fit comfortably, like a regular pair of glasses and use free-space tracking technology to display guidance, targeting, and mission information to the user, along with sensor video.
Improvements to the system since the concept demonstrator was launched in late 2017 include the transition from monochrome to a full-colour display, a two-fold increase in the field of view (now 40° x 30°) and the introduction of an inertial head-tracker, similar to that found in the company’s flagship Striker® II head-mounted display. A key discriminating advantage of the AR glasses is the brightness of the display, allowing daylight readability in the outside world.
Nigel Kidd, director of head-mounted displays at BAE Systems, said: “We’ve made significant progress since the conceptual demonstration of the AR glasses. Our engineers have been working closely with end users, in both military and commercial domains, to ensure the technology meets and exceeds customer expectations.
“The final product won’t just be a world-leading display, it will provide its user with peace-of-mind that this is a system which from concept, is being designed with end user safety and product reliability at the heart of every decision.”
Continuing to push the boundaries
BAE Systems will continue to develop its AR solution to meet the desired size, weight, and power requirements indicated by potential customers, dependent on their particular use case for the product. Engineers are already working to explore the integration of AR onto bridges of naval ships. This capability would allow the officer responsible for the ship’s safety to work outside of the operations room and still be able to see tactical situation data and other vital information from anywhere on the ship.
BAE Systems has 60 years of experience in the design, development, and production of high-integrity displays, with expertise in moving and controlling light. Whether head-worn or head-up, the company’s intuitive displays provide users with essential information when and where it’s needed most. BAE Systems continuously invests in display technology and innovation to provide its customers with unparalleled situational awareness — giving them the critical edge they need, no matter the environment.
30 Aug 19. These Tactical Glasses Could Give Marine Grunts an F-35 Pilot’s View of the Battlefield. As seen through a night-vision device, Marines sit aboard an MV-22B Osprey before conducting a raid on a mock enemy compound during a composite training unit exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on July 24, 2015. New technology may someday allow Marine infantrymen to see through the floor of an aircraft and track terrain features as they approach their attack objective. Marine Corps photo
Marine infantrymen may soon be able to see through the floor of an MV-22 Osprey and track terrain features as they approach their attack objective.
It sounds like science fiction, but Marine Lt. Col. Rory Quinn of the Pentagon’s Close Combat Lethality Task Force says it could become reality if the Marine Corps decides to field the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), a sophisticated Microsoft technology that the Army is developing to give soldiers a new level of situational awareness in combat. In October, the Army will hold its second round of soldier evaluations, known as Soldier Touch Points, on what will eventually consist of a special set of tactical glasses that will display a soldier’s weapon sight reticle and other key tactical information they will take into battle.
Army officials say IVAS will be ready for initial fielding in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021.
into a fifth-generation fighting force similar to the way fighter aircraft such as the F-35 Lighting II have evolved into fifth-gen technology.
“Effectively, we have a third-generation infantry,” Quinn told an audience Tuesday at the iFest 2019 symposium, put on by the National Defense Industrial Association.
The lethality task force was stood up in 2018 by then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis with the goal of resourcing the U.S. military’s close-combat forces to become far more deadly than they are today.
“In the MV-22, the windows are [not that big] so if I am lucky, I am next to one and … I can see … the river path and I can see that we went on this side of the river, so that confirmed that we went in the right direction,” Quinn said. “But the F-35 pilot has cameras on the outside of the airplane and looks through the floor of the airplane. … He can look through the wing and see someone who is down low at six o’clock on his right flank.
“IVAS is coming, and it’s going to create an F-35 [technology] for grunts, so I will simply look through the skin of the aircraft and see that I have turned 180 degrees out. I otherwise wouldn’t be able to see that, and it creates chaos,” he added.
The Marine Corps has not committed to IVAS, but officials at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Combat Development and Integration, “are watching the [Soldier Touch Points] and watching to see how the results occur versus what the metrics had to be” on the system, Quinn said.
Roughly 50 Marines participated in the first Soldier Touch Point and the same number of Marines will likely be involved with the second evaluation in October, he said.
“The Marines often follow and trace the Army — let the Army do the research and development,” Quinn said.
The Army awarded a $480m contract to Microsoft in late 2018 to develop its HoloLens technology into IVAS. The system is also being designed to provide soldiers with a synthetic training environment that will feature enemy avatars capable of learning soldier tactics so training scenarios are never the same, Army officials say. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/military.com)
30 Aug 19. Nevada test site evaluates drone detection technology. A drone detection demonstration carried out at Nevada UAS Test Site brought together US and international technology companies to evaluate drone detection technology under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Pathfinder Program. The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the State of Nevada conducted its first international Desert Drone Detection (ID3) demonstration to advance airspace safety and surveillance and detection technology in early August. Participants hope to advance legislation that would make it easier to fully test the potential of drone detection, surveillance, and airspace protective technologies and protect the National Airspace System from rogue drone operators with unintentional or malicious intent to violate FAA regulations. Drone detection technology was provided by Avisight, RelmaTech, WhiteFox Defense, 911 Security, and Fortem Technologies.
In 2016, the FAA expanded its Pathfinder Program that focused on detecting and identifying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying too close to airports. In November 2016, the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted drone-detection research at the Denver International Airport for the FAA’s Pathfinder Program on UAS Detection at Airports and Critical Infrastructure. The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the State of Nevada acted as the air boss for flight operations for the Denver evaluations. Industry partners involved in the Denver flights included CACI International, Liteye Systems and Sensofusion – all of which are Nevada Teammates. The ID3 continues the evolution of drone-detection research that started with the FAA in 2016.
The ID3 culminated in an industry panel discussion to build the first ID3 Task Force to accelerate FAA policy and procedure that can increase drone detection education, technology testing and development, and safe use of this technology for towered airports and critical infrastructure across Nevada and the U.S. NIAS and ID3 will work collaboratively with Nevada legislators in Nevada and in Washington D.C. to identify and advocate for the legislative and regulatory changes required to advance the autonomous systems industry. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
02 Sep 19. USAF F-16 pilots to get new product for improved rainstorm visibility. US Air Force (USAF) F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots are set to receive a new product developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to address visibility problems during heavy rain. Known as HydroSkip, the product has the ability to repel water from aircraft transparencies.
HydroSkip has been developed to address risks posed by fast-moving pop-up storms so that pilots can navigate the aircraft and land safely. The product works by preventing pooling or stagnation of rain on the canopy of the F-16 aircraft. A team of engineers from AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate and the University of Dayton Research Institute tested different formulations and selected the optimal formula for HydroSkip.
AFRL Aerospace engineer Mike Gran said: “We picked the best one that could be developed into a product the airforce can use in the field.”
The formula was then sent to the F-16 System Program Office (SPO) at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, for distribution to the F-16 fleet community. F-16 SPO Donald Willmoth said that HydroSkip applies to the F-16 canopy ‘like car wax’ and wipes clean within ten minutes. The product, which is manufactured by TexStars, can be used once per month and its application is as simple as that of common polish.
Keeping in view the demand for the product from various F-16 units, the SPO went through the process of changing the technical orders and issued a notification to all of the units last month.
Willmoth added: “With this change, they can go ahead and order this product.”
However, the SPO has placed a restriction on the quantity of the product that can be ordered by each unit. The temporary restriction could be lifted after TexStars achieves a stable production level for HydroSkip. The product is planned to be tested by three airforce bases, including one in the US and two overseas.
Willmoth further stated: “The plan is to fly 50 flight hours on one squadron and 60 days on the other with periodic testing to (verify) material durability.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
30 Aug 19. Saab flies third GlobalEye. Saab has flown the third GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft ahead of the commencement of deliveries to its launch customer, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), early next year.
Aircraft 9787 made its maiden flight from the company’s Linkoping facility, in southern Sweden, on 29 August as trials continue ahead of delivery of the three aircraft to the UAE Air Force and Defence (UAE AF&D) from April 2020 through to the end of 2021.
Speaking to Jane’s and other defence media in May, Lars Tossman, head of radar solutions at Saab, noted how the test campaign for the GlobalEye was proceeding well. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Sep 19. Warren AFB Selects Dedrone for sUAS Defense. Dedrone, a provider of small UAS (sUAS) detection and tracking technology announced the continuation of their license agreement with F.E. Warren Air Force Base. F.E. Warren was selected to test the Dedrone platform in June of 2018 as part of a DIU testing phase that included six DoD facilities, and has been continuously testing, evaluating and using the capability for over a year.
F.E. Warren defends America with the world’s premier combat-ready Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force. According to F.E. Warren, the Minuteman III missiles are deployed over a 9,600 square-mile area spanning Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado, and are on full alert 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Dedrone’s DroneTracker solution is a complete technology platform that collects and aggregates sUAS data and displays it in real-time. DroneTracker detects, classifies and tracks sUAS, and can be configured to automatically trigger alerts and countermeasures when a sUAS threat is confirmed.
F.E. Warren’s solicitation notice justified the need to continue licensing the Dedrone solution. “Without this system, F.E. Warren AFB will not have a reliable sUAS detection capability for specific areas of interest.” The statement continues, “DroneTracker is the only system which provides passive RF detection and immediate alerts to the appropriate parties. Loss of this detection capability will adversely affect the installation’s ability to defeat possibly hostile sUAS.”
Modern security requires a layered approach that keeps pace with the evolution of drone technology.
“Unauthorized drone activity at military installation is a threat,” shares Phil Pitsky, VP of Federal Operations at Dedrone. “Drone detection technology is an essential tool for all military installations to allow Security Forces to assess airspace activity and develop standard procedures to respond appropriately to unauthorized drone incursions.”
Dedrone’s solution is deployed to customers around the world, including US and coalition militaries, correctional facilities, airports, utility companies and other public and private organizations. Dedrone has participated in multiple government sponsored rapid prototyping and testing events, including the DoD’s Black Dart, the Asymmetric Warfare Group’s DiDex, DHS’s TACTIC, USMC’s ANTX, the U.S. Air Force’s FCE, and USSOCOM’s ThunderDrone. At ThunderDrone, SOFWERX encouraged industry collaboration to address the entire sUAS Kill Chain, Team Dedrone was selected as the top cUAS solution out of an initial 93 participating vendors. (Source: UAS VISION)
01 Sep 19. Hanwha to incorporate anti-submarine capabilities on Philippine Navy’s Del Pilar-class vessels. South Korean defence company Hanwha Systems will incorporate a hull-mounted sonar (HMS) system on each of the Philippine Navy’s Del Pilar (Hamilton and Hero) class as part of a contract to upgrade the ships. The PHP1.5bn (USD28m) contract, which was signed in late August, also includes works to install a new integrated combat management system (CMS) and radar electronic support measures (ESM) across all three ships in the class. The Philippine Navy’s Del Pilar-class frigates were formerly in service with the US Coast Guard and transferred to the Philippines as part of an assistance package. They were recommissioned into the Philippine Navy’s offshore combat force between 2011 and 2016. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Sep 19. Forget Stealth Fighters: Is This Russia’s Deadliest Warplane of All? In this case, looks might be deceiving. While radars on fighters have been getting more and more powerful, dedicated airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft are still a necessity for most air forces to be competitive in aerial warfare. While the USAF continues to use upgraded versions of the E-3 Sentry, built on the airframe of the venerable Boeing 707, Russia is currently developing the A-100 AEW&C aircraft, which is built on the latest version of Ilyushin Il-76 military transport aircraft. However, the A-100 sports an active electronically-scanned array radar (AESA) in its rotating radome, in contrast to the E-3’s passive electronically-scanned array (PESA).
But does the new airframe provide the A-100 significant advantages of the American E-3 Sentry? How big of a deal is the AESA vs the PESA array?
Starting with the radar, the A-100 has some major theoretical advantages over the E-3 Sentry. While six revolutions per minute (RPM) has been the standard rotation rate for most AEW&C aircraft with rotating radomes (the earlier A-50, E-3 Sentry, and Japanese AEW&C all rotate at this rate), the A-100 cranks this up to twelve revolutions per minute. This allows for a faster “refresh rate” on tracking targets. Also, because the A-100 is an AESA, it has the capability to output multiple scanning beams to look for a target, while the E-3’s PESA is only limited to one.
The AESA vs. PESA capability gap is often overstated though, and the E-3 saw its own PESA radar get a major upgrade in the RSIP package around the turn of the century. But other recent AEW&C aircraft such as the E-7 “Wedgetail” feature flat, non-rotating AESA radars, so in a way, the A-100’s radar may already be behind the latest Western designs. The U.S. Air Force’s canceled next-generation AEW&C aircraft, the E-10, was said to use a variant of the Wedgetail radar.
As missiles get faster, the almost-instant refresh rate of the Wedgetail’s fixed AESA will become more important. At six RPM, a single track may go ten seconds before being picked up again on radar. For a hypersonic missile going Mach 7 (ignoring the possible plasma shielding effects that hypersonic missiles bring), a missile could go twenty-four kilometers before being picked up again. At twelve, this is reduced to half that, but flat AESAs can keep track of such threats in near real-time (provided they can be detected to begin with.
However, AESAs do lose power the further they are asked to track from the normal (perpendicular vector) of the radar surface. While this can be mitigated by smart flying of an AEW&C aircraft, full power emission on all 360 degrees is not possible.
Russian sources have also hyped up the A-100’s capability to track ground and sea targets. While AEW&C aircraft are capable of such a role, the positioning of the antenna above the airframe on the A-100 makes it suboptimal for such a role. Purpose build airborne ground-surveillance aircraft like the E-8 JSTARS feature antennas under the airframe, and the A-100 has no such antenna.
But what about the airframe? The A-100 is based on the latest variant of the IL-76, the Il-76MD-90, which is can be considered a “heavy” variant of the Il-76. The increased carrying capacity of the aircraft goes towards the new avionics, radars, and computers in the A-100. The upgrade also features improved engines that are more fuel-efficient and a glass cockpit to make the aircraft easier to fly for pilots. But the E-3 has received similar upgrades, albeit in the form of retrofits to the old Boeing 707 airframes. The actual flight characteristics of the E-3 and the A-100 are still similar, with the E-3 even edging out the A-100 in range (9250 km vs 8500 km, per Russian sources).
While the A-100 will provide the Russian Air Force with a modern, effective AEW&C aircraft, it’s unlikely to be much better than its foreign competitors. The A-100’s reliance on a rotating radome when recent Western aircraft have switched to a static AESA array is also puzzling. Either this was a move by the traditionalists in the Russian Air Force, or Russian industry is unable to produce a static AESA array package similar to that being used by the E-7 Wedgetail.(Source: News Now/https://nationalinterest.org)
30 Aug 19. Dedrone to provide drone tracking platform for USAF FE Warren base. Dedrone has received an extension of its licence agreement with the US Air Force’s FE Warren Air Force Base (AFB) to continue providing its drone tracking platform. FE Warren AFB in Wyoming uses Dedrone’s DroneTracker solution to detect small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) and ensure airspace security above the base.
The base hosts the 90th Missile Wing (90 MW), which operates the LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The combat-ready force is on alert at all times of the year.
FE Warren has been testing, evaluating and using DroneTracker ever since it was selected as part of a Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) testing phase in June last year.
In a solicitation notice issued earlier this month, the base has announced that it awarded a purchase order to Dedrone on a sole-source basis.
Justifying the sole source procurement decision, FE Warren said: “Without this system, FE Warren AFB will not have a reliable sUAS detection capability for specific areas of interest.
“DroneTracker is the only system which provides passive radio frequency (RF) detection and immediate alerts to the appropriate parties. Loss of this detection capability will adversely affect the installation’s ability to defeat possibly hostile sUAS.”
The base added that it is on a constant search for counter sUAS (C-sUAS) platforms.
Dedrone Federal Operations vice-president Phil Pitsky said: “Unauthorised drone activity at military installation is a threat.
“Drone detection technology is an essential tool for all military installations to allow security forces to assess airspace activity and develop standard procedures to respond appropriately to unauthorised drone incursions.”
DroneTracker is designed to collect and aggregate and provide real-time data on sUAS systems.
The platform can detect, track, and classify drones. If a drone threat is detected, the solution automatically triggers alerts and countermeasures. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
30 Aug 19. DDTC Adjusts Export Controls on Lower Performing Radar, Continues Temporary Modification of USML Category XI. (84 Fed. Reg. 45652) – In response to public comments, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has removed certain lower performing radars from the U.S. Munition List. On February 12, 2018, DDTC published a Notice of Inquiry (83 Fed. Reg. 5970) requesting public comment on USML Categories V, X, and XI. In the public comments that DDTC received, several identified current and imminent commercial uses for certain lower performing radars, including in driver-assisted and self-driving ground vehicles and in detect and avoid systems for autonomous aerial systems. In its review of the public comments and development of a broader rulemaking on USML Category XI, DDTC and its interagency partners have determined that revisions to USML Category XI can be made to exclude these radars and radar components from the USML. The control for certain air surveillance radar in paragraph (a)(3)(ix) of USML Category XI is reserved and a note is added to Category XI that removes from the USML those transmit/receive modules and transmit/receive monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) fabricated exclusively with homojunction complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) silicon-based circuits on silicon substrates, as well as radars and radar antennas that are specially designed to use only such modules or MMICs. These radars and radar components will become subject to the Export Administration Regulations upon the effective date of this revision as a matter of law, pursuant to 15 C.F.R § 734.3(a).
In this Federal Register notice, DDTC also continues the temporary modifications to USML Category XI clarifying the he extent of control and maintain the existing scope of control on items described in paragraph (b) and the directly related software described in paragraph (d). Following the July 1, 2014, revisions (effective December 1, 2014) to USML Category XI that were part of the Obama Administration’s Export Control Reform Initiative, DDTC determined that exporters may read the revised control language to exclude certain intelligence-analytics software that has been and remains controlled on the USML. Therefore, the Department determined that it was in the interest of the security of the United States to temporarily revise USML Category XI paragraph (b), pursuant to the provisions of 22 C.F.R § 126.2, while a long-term solution was developed. The temporary revision clarified that the scope of control in existence prior to December 30, 2014 for USML Category XI paragraph (b) and directly related software in paragraph (d) remains in effect. This clarification is achieved by reinserting the words “analyze and produce information from” and by adding software to the description of items controlled. (Source: glstrade.com)
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.