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02 Oct 19. The search for the counterdrone ‘silver bullet.’ When it comes to defending infrastructure, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The combined drone-and-cruise missile attack on an Aramco refinery in Saudi Arabia that took place Sept. 14 revealed limitations of the particular defenses in place, and companies that make counterdrone systems leapt at the opportunity to promise an answer to at least some of the threat. One such company is Liteye. The Denver, Colorado-based company has been in the sensor system business for decades, and traces its counterdrone offerings to an incident on the Korean Peninsula in 2014.
Radar built by Liteye and deployed along the DMZ to look for movement on the ground, like people and vehicles, instead detected flying objects. They were drones, flown by North Korea.
“That was the start of the counterdrone business for us,” said Kenneth Geyer, CEO of Liteye Systems. By 2015, Liteye had a prototype system to detect, identify, track and defeat drones, aimed at the military market. By October 2016, Liteye received a contract from the Air Force, demonstrated a system, and then had three systems deployed to Iraq.
Geyer says the systems saw action in the Battle of Mosul, the retaking of Raqqa, and alongside forces in Syria.
The Army’s Mosul Study Group published a report in September 2017, noting that soldiers adapted a stationary counterdrone system in a mobile platform, which both “[increased] the level of protection for their partner forces and combat advisors from ISIS unmanned aircraft systems” and “affected both friendly and adversary systems.”
“Counter-unmanned aircraft systems typically conflict with a majority of the organic systems in the electronic inventory of the U.S. Army and partner forces,” the report continued.
The challenges of countering drones while advancing on defensive positions held by opposing forces is certainly different than setting up point defense around critical infrastructure, though it is not wholly irrelevant. Jammers and other electronic warfare defeat capabilities are broadly prohibited from use in domestic contexts, and even some tracking systems may run afoul of privacy concerns under state and federal regulations.
In areas where the military is more likely to encounter armed, hostile drones, drone detection and mitigation systems can fit into a larger picture of aerial defense. Geyer points to Liteye systems used in conjunction with 30mm cannon from Orbital ATK and Raytheon’s PHASER microwave weapon system as ways sensors could pair to other tools capable of knocking a drone out of the sky.
“Bigger radar systems out there, they don’t detect close-in; we fill that gap,” says Geyer. “Our detection, track, identify piece fills the gap from 0 km out to 3.5km today; the next iteration gets us out 0-5 km.” This is focused largely on Group 1 and 2 drones, those ranging from hobbyist quadcopters to smaller military scouts, about the size of a ScanEagle. The larger the drone, the further away it can be detected.
As for actual eagles, the system could sometimes pick up big raptors, but that’s being addressed.
“Some of our new radar software that we’ve been introducing for the Air Force’s use, we distinguish between birds and something that’s being flown,” said Geyer, pointing to the difference between how, say, props show up on radar compared to feathered wings. “Our operators do not spend time looking at birds.”
As for the roughly ScanEagle-sized drones used in the attack on the Abqaiq refinery, close-in detection, combined with an electronic warfare capability that can reach beyond the range of Liteyes sensors, might be a partial solution.
“If there’s something coming in — the Saudi drone attack is a perfect example — we could’ve stood that off at a lot greater distance than 3 km,” said Geyer. “Drones would have been the easier portion of that to defeat. I think there’s a lot of what that attack was that we could have prevented.”
Geyer clarifies that this is only an answer to the drone part of the Abqaiq attack, not the cruise missile part. Remotely piloted drones, or those relying on GPS or GNS signals to navigate, struggle without those signals. Cruise missiles and loitering munitions, meanwhile, can use other guidance tools, which makes defense against those threats trickier.
“We’ve never had an opportunity to try on cruise missiles, so hard to know if we would have had an effect or not had an effect, said Geyer. “If you look at what happened at Saudi, there needs to be a layered approach. So if you had our system in there, with different layers, you would have electronic warfare capability with possibility of working; you could have had 30mm cannon, a gun that could have been put on target, may have affected different parts of the target, cruise missile. There is no silver bullet for one technology to be able to do all things.”
One way attackers could adapt to counterdrone defenses is changing control systems for the uncrewed vehicles. Machine vision navigation, in particular, is much harder to disrupt than direct control by radio frequency.
Another way to get around counterdrone defenses would be to increase the number of drones and the angles of approach.
“If they’re going to stack drones in a nice cluster that makes them easy to detect it’s one thing; when they start spreading them out over space, that’s where it becomes a bigger challenge,” said Geyer. “Nineteen drones coming in from different trajectories is a whole different case than 19 drones coming in a nice big ball.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
03 Oct 19. Drone Aviation delivers video distribution upgrade kit for US Army. Drone Aviation has delivered an advanced real-time video distribution upgrade kit for the US Army’s Winch Aerostat Small Platform (WASP) aerostat systems. The company has completed the contract to develop, test and deliver the new plug and play video distribution upgrade kit. The video kit enables enhanced integration with soldier communication handsets. The upgradeable kit will enable distribution of video captured by the WASP’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor to soldiers and the tactical operations centre (TOC) at the same time.
The full-motion video is distributed to a dismounted a soldier’s mobile device using the Android Tactical Awareness Kit (ATAK).
Drone Aviation CEO and president Dan Erdberg said: “Drone Aviation is honoured to be selected by our army customer to expand the capability of WASP by providing deployed soldiers with secure video directly on their existing handheld devices.
“Through continual enhancement and the ability to adapt to changing technology and mission requirements, WASP further differentiates itself and delivers value to our customers. We look forward to making this important new technology available and to bringing this expanded capability to our warfighters.”
The company performed the electronics design, architecture and integration work at its Jacksonville headquarters facility.
Drone Aviation delivered the upgraded equipment to the customer for integration into a WASP system that is currently fielded overseas.
The WASP is a tactical and mobile aerostat system designed to carry payloads in support of military operations. The platform can be operated by two soldiers and has the ability to extend stand-off range for detection and communication. It can provide day / night video, and multi-frequency and multi-wave form wireless communication range extension capability. The set-up to operating time for the platform is around 30 minutes. (Source: army-technology.com)
01 Oct 19. US Army depot helps upgrade USMC’s G/ATOR radar system. The US Army is helping the US Marine Corps upgrade its AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) mobile multi-mission radar system. Engineers at the US Army’s Tobyhanna Army Depot are modifying two of the G/ATOR’s subsystems, including Communications Equipment Group (CEG) and Power Equipment Group (PEG). The third subsystem, Radar Equipment Group (REG), integration and testing workload is expected to transition at the depot by next year.
Production Management Directorate ISR Program Management Division logistics management specialist Mark Capitano said: “The team developed new design concepts for a Humvee-mounted shelter system for the CEG and the PEG pallet. In addition, personnel are fabricating, integrating and testing the two assets.”
The full-rate production on the G/ATOR system’s CEG shelter started earlier this summer.
The Tobyhanna Army Depot employees contributed to the preproduction work for the incoming systems.
Team Tobyhanna has so far fielded 11 shelters under the low-rate initial production (LRIP). Two additional shelters are currently in the final phases of production.
Production Engineering Directorate Design, Development and Fabrication Engineering Division, mechanical engineer Dave Godusky said: “The marines now have an environmentally controlled place to work while in the field. We’re building all the component parts, the power entrance, power distribution, and signal entry boxes for the system.”
The new build PEG pallet is the LRIP phase. The USMC is making changes to the design to meet mission needs. The G/ATOR ground-based radar is designed to provide the US Marine Corps with air surveillance and defence, and counter-fire target acquisition capabilities. The USMC plans to field 45 G/ATOR multi-role radar systems. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Sep 19. In the illustrious history of the F-35 fighter jet, add a pony farm outside Berlin as the place where one company claims the plane’s stealth cover was blown. The story that follows is a snapshot in the cat-and-mouse game between combat aircraft — designed to be undetectable by radar — and sensor makers seeking to undo that advantage. In the case of the F-35, the promise of invisibility to radar is so pronounced that it has colored much of the jet’s employment doctrine, lending an air of invincibility to the weapon: The enemy never saw it coming.
But technology leaps only last so long, and Russia and China are known to be working on technology aimed at nixing whatever leg up NATO countries have tried to build for themselves.
Now, German radar-maker Hensoldt claims to have tracked two F-35s for 150 kilometers following the 2018 Berlin Air Show in Germany in late April of that year. The company’s passive radar system, named TwInvis, is but one of an emerging generation of sensors and processors so sensitive and powerful that it promises to find previously undetectable activities in a given airspace.
What happened in Berlin was the rare chance to subject the aircraft — stealthy design features, special coating and all — to a real-life trial to see if the promise of low observability still holds true.
Stories about the F-35-vs.-TwInvis matchup had been swirling in the media since Hensoldt set up shop on the tarmac at Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport, its sensor calibrated to track all flying demonstrations by the various aircraft on the flight line. Media reports had billed the system, which comes packed into a van or SUV and boasts a collapsible antenna, as a potential game changer in aerial defense.
At the same time, F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin was still in the race to replace the German Tornado fleet, a strategically important opportunity to sell F-35s to a key European Union member state. The company set up a sizable chalet at the air show, bringing brochures and hats depicting the aircraft together with a German flag.
Showtime in Schönefeld
The most convincing pieces of marketing for Hensoldt were meant to be two F-35s flown in from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The trans-Atlantic journey marked the jets’ longest nonstop flight, at 11-plus hours, officials said at the time.
But Lockheed and the U.S. Air Force did not fly the jets during the show so that its engineers — and anyone walking by the company’s booth, for that matter — could see if the aircraft would produce a radar track on a big screen like the other aircraft.
Reporters never got a straight answer on why the F-35s stayed on the ground. One explanation was that there was no approved aerial demonstration program for the aircraft that would fit the Berlin show’s airspace limitations.
Regardless of the reason, with no flight by the F-35, companies could not try out their technologies on perhaps the most illustrious of test cases. Passive radar equipment computes an aerial picture by reading how civilian communications signals bounce off airborne objects. The technique works with any type of signal present in airspace, including radio or television broadcasts as well as emissions from mobile phone stations. The technology can be effective against stealthy aircraft designs, which are meant to break and absorb signals from traditional radar emitters so that nothing reflects back to ground-station sensors, effectively leaving defensive-radar operators in the dark.
Because there are no emitters, passive radar is covert, meaning pilots entering a monitored area are unaware they are being tracked.
There are limitations to the technology. For one, it depends on the existence of radio signals, which may not be a given in remote areas of the globe. In addition, the technology is not yet accurate enough to guide missiles, though it could be used to send infrared-homing weapons close to a target.
Hensoldt said various radio station broadcasts in the area, especially a bunch of strong Polish FM emitters broadcasting deep into Germany, improved TwInvis calibration during the Berlin show. The border is about 70 kilometers away from Schönefeld Airport.
During a system demonstration by Hensoldt at the exhibit, company engineers convened around a large TwInvis screen showing the track of a Eurofighter performing a thundering aerial show nearby. But the prized target of opportunity, the two F-35s, remained sitting on the tarmac.
As the event ended, Hensoldt kept a close eye on any movement of the heavily guarded F-35s on the airfield. As exhibitors began to clear out, it looked like the chance of catching the planes during their inevitable departure back home would be lost.
But in Hensoldt’s telling, someone had the idea of setting up TwInvis outside the airport, which ended up being at a nearby horse farm.
Camped out amid equines, engineers got word from the Schönefeld tower about when the F-35s were slated to take off. Once the planes were airborne, the company says it started tracking them and collecting data, using signals from the planes’ ADS-B transponders to correlate the passive sensor readings. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
30 Sep 19. Reflex sights are a simple concept, but in practice, they require exceptional build quality. Holosun is leading the way with the HS512T elite model. The sight offers incredible features that are setting a new industry standard. The up to 50,000-hour battery life alone makes this sight standout, and when combined with our Solar FailSafeTM technology is a set of features that has never before been available in an optic of this form factor. Holosun’s Solar Fail SafeTM ensures the onboard power storage, which is separate from the battery, remains charged allowing for three redundant power sources.
You also have the option to switch the reticle between three separate iterations: a 65MOA ring, a 2MOA dot or the two options together. When motionless for 10 minutes, the system will enter sleep mode automatically to preserve battery life. The Shake AwakeTM motion sensor triggers the sight back into action instantly upon movement, offering a serious tactical advantage. Shake AwakeTM means you are always ready, with no fidgeting, buttons or switches required to jump back into action.
The HS512T elite offers users complete control over reticle brightness with ten daylight and two-night vision settings in manual mode. The generous window size is perfect for enhanced situational awareness, and the durability is unmatched with a full titanium housing. This optic is parallax-free at 25 yards and offers unlimited eye relief allowing for all the advantages and flexibility of a traditional red dot sight in a new, more rugged form factor.
The HS512T is mission-ready with an industry leading battery life, outstanding durability, and the versatility that comes with a number of easily customized settings. The IPX8 water and dust rating means the optic is perfect for running and gunning through rain, fog, inclement weather, and hostile terrain. Finally, the easy to use and audible windage and elevation adjustment system dials in accuracy. This sight is built to perform flawlessly for a very long time.
- IPX8 Waterproof and dust tight
- ½ MOA Windage & Elevation Adjustment Per Click
- Travel Range +/- 50 MOA
- 10 Daylight and 2 Night Vision Compatible Brightness Settings
- Window Size: 0.91*X1.2 Inches
27 Sep 19. French Navy firms up plans to buy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. A French Navy Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft. The service is looking to replace the three aircraft it fields with the same number of the latest-variant E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Source: Henri-Pierre Grolleau
France is to order three Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft in 2020, the French defence minister has confirmed. Florence Parly made the commitment in an interview published in the Les Echos national newspaper. The French Navy had been closely following the introduction of the E-2D into US Navy service, with the type to be adopted to replace the three E-2C Hawkeyes serving with Flottille 4F at Lann-Bihoué, near Lorient, in Brittany.
The E-2C has been in French Navy service for more than 20 years and the Marine Nationale is looking at the new E-2D as the obvious replacement. The newer variant is fitted with an entirely new AN/APY-9 radar with combined electronic/mechanical-scanning capabilities, more powerful processors, and an improved man-machine interface with larger screens. The airframe and engines remain the same, however, which will help accelerate and facilitate the transition from the E-2C to the E-2D.
Separately, Parly also confirmed that the contract for seven Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Albatros maritime surveillance aircraft will be inked in 2020. The type has been selected as part of the Avsimar (Avions de surveillance et d’intervention maritime, surveillance, and maritime intervention) programme to replace fast-ageing Guardians and Falcon 50s. Seven offshore patrol vessels will be ordered for surveillance missions in French overseas dependencies. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Sep 19. Meprolight adds new capabilities to M5 optic, explores connected apps for Foresight optic. Meprolight has added a capability to aim with a .300 Blackout round to its Mepro M5 electro-optical red dot sight. The M5 replaced the M21 in the Israeli army in about 2014, Ilan Abramovich, Meprolight’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing for defence, told reporters in a 24 September briefing. The battery-powered M5 enables different reticle patterns and reticles of varying brightness. It uses a one-dot reticle for faster-speed bullets, but the .300 Blackout version displays three vertical dots for targets at varying ranges, added Elad Davidson, Meprolight product manager. The M5 is starting to take the place of the M21 as the company’s best-selling optic, Abramovich said.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Sep 19. Israel’s Camero networks sense-though-wall radars to mount on unmanned platforms. Israel’s Camero is positioning its Xaver see-though-wall technology for networked use by unmanned systems, according to company officials.
Ilan Abramovich, Camero (and sister company Meprolight) senior vice-president of sales and marketing for defence, said the company’s Xavernet, a wireless Toughbook-based networking capability, enables the handheld sense-through-wall radars to be operated from 100–200 m line-of-sight. The concept places the radars on robotic or unmanned platforms for remote control. Currently, four radars can be controlled at once, Abramovich said. It works with the Xaver 100 and Xaver 400 systems, he added. The Xaver 100 hand-held radar was designed for teams breaching a room or a door, to give them a ‘go or no-go’ decision by simply showing if a person was behind the wall by displaying an arrow that indicates if the person is moving towards or away from the wall. All the Xaver series systems are radar-based, and use ultra wide-band radio signals between 3 –10 GHz. They have a 120° field of view (FOV) and can see through drywall, concrete, and various structures, though not solid metal. Metal drywall studs or concrete reinforced with rebar can block the signal as well, but can still make the system function if a non-metal through-spot can be found, Abramovich said. The larger Xaver 400 is still handheld, although it weighs about 3 kg and requires two hands to press against a structure for a steady radar picture. It offers several operating modes, including presenting targets as coloured squares and shows movement. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Sep 19. Raytheon to deliver high power microwave to US Air Force to combat drone swarms. The US Air Force will test Raytheon’s prototype High-Power Microwave (HPM) counter-drone system, designed to disable multiple targets at one time. The HPM system will be deployed to troops overseas to destroy hostile drones. The contract follows a separate US Air Force contract awarded to Raytheon to build two prototype High-Energy Laser (HEL) systems, also to be deployed overseas. The HPM and HEL contracts follow successful demonstrations of Raytheon’s directed energy systems to the US Air Force and US Army, and the systems are designed to be deployed independently or together to counter unmanned aerial systems threats. (Source: https://www.unmannedairspace.info)
26 Sep 19. Citadel Defense supplies Titan C-UAS equipment to US Customs and Border Protection agency. The US Customs and Border Protection agency has awarded Citadel Defense a contract for over USD1 m for a Titan Counter Drone defence solution to prevent unauthorized drones from carrying drugs and weapons along the southern border into Texas, Arizona, and California.
According to the company: “Drones are being used by the cartel to transport illegal contraband and help migrants illegally cross the border. CBP will use Citadel’s proven counter drone technology to prevent these drones from compromising border security…. Working alongside the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Aviation Administration, Citadel’s technology was developed to minimize interference with communication signals and surrounding electronics. Citadel’s Titan system is small, lightweight, and portable allowing it to be used at fixed locations, aboard security vehicles, or for dismounted operation at high risk locations.”
According to Citadel’s CEO, Christopher Williams: “Drones have become a greater challenge along the border. Our nation’s border agents deserve the safest and most advanced technology available. Citadel’s automated solution provides front-line operators with awareness of drone threats and decision-making to respond faster than the adversary.”
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23 Sep 19. South Korea plans counter-drone system. South Korea’s procurement agency – Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) – plans to invest 88bn won (USD74m) in counter-drone technology according to Channel News Asia and Reuters. A DAPA statement says the system known as Block-I aims to track and destroy small drones and other aircraft by locking invisible optical fibre razors on a target at close range. “We aim to improve the system so that it will ultimately be capable of intercepting a fighter jet and satellite,” said senior official Song Chang-joon. The announcement is thought to be prompted by incidents of drones from North Korea straying over the border. A North Korean drone was found in 2017 on the South Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone separating the two Koreas. About 550 photographs of the site of a US anti-missile defence system, taken with a built-in camera, were recovered from the drone. In 2014, a North Korean drone crashed while returning to the North after reconnaissance missions that included flying directly above the South’s presidential Blue House and taking pictures of it, according to the South Korean military.
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28 Sep 19. UN says night vision devices are being supplied to the Taliban in increasing numbers. A recent UN report claims that commercial and military night vision devices are being supplied to the Taliban in increasing numbers. Afghan officials cited in the report said the Taliban had at least one night vision device and sniper rifle “for each unit of 10 to 16 Taliban fighters,” the UN report reads.
“The type and origin of such equipment varies and suggests that a number of commercial and military stock items are being supplied in increasing numbers,” according to the report.
The devices may be finding their way into the hands of the Taliban through corruption, battlefield losses or the arms black market in the region.
“The Taliban enjoy robust supplies of weapons, ammunition, funding and manpower, with 60,000 to 65,000 fighters and half that number or more of facilitators and other non-combatant members,” the report reads.
The report, prepared by UN’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, detailed that most of the devices appear to be rifle rail mounted devices such as thermal and night vision scopes.
The night vision devices allow the Taliban to “effectively harass isolated Afghan National Defence and Security Forces checkpoints” and “has proven to be a successful tactic in both gaining and holding territory, as well as being a catalyst for demoralizing the Afghan Forces at such checkpoints,” the report detailed.
Night vision equipment observed by the sanctions monitoring team include BAE’s OASYS universal thermal monocular device, PULSAR and ATN ThOR-HD night thermal scopes, according to the UN report.
The monitoring team said it had also seen Soviet military 1PN night vision scopes.
“Equipment is normally rail mounted onto rifles and becomes most effective in combination with the Taliban’s use of Dragunov 7.62 x 54 mm sniper rifles, which allow effective targeting at up to or even above 800 meters,” the report reads. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military Times)
28 Sep 19. Software-defined EMP company Epirus wins USAF technology accelerator contract. Epirus, a US company developing software-defined electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology designed to take down dangerous drones, recently won a new type of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the US Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC)—located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo—as part of its AFWERX technology accelerator programme.
According to a company press release: “Epirus was awarded the contract for its novel architecture that makes multi-beam phased array systems extremely affordable and scalable while greatly accelerating their development timeline and reducing development costs. That enables Air Force Special Operators and other satellite communication and phased array customers to be more lethal and survivable in any operational environment.
“The Air Force established the AFWERX program in 2017 to develop cutting-edge solutions for dynamic security threats through partnerships with private companies and using a technology startup-inspired approach. Simply put, it helps companies working on some of the most critical national security technology get it to market without losing valuable time working through bureaucracy.
“The Air Force is rapidly changing the way it does business by increasing innovation and welcoming new ideas and new technologies. This SMC contract will help us better understand the needs of the warfighter and make our technology better able to fulfill those needs,” said Epirus CEO Nathan Mintz. “Also, the opportunity to work with other industry stakeholders and seek their input as part of this contract is important and speaks to the Air Force’s goal of breaking down barriers to provide the best thinking for the next generation of high-tech warfare.”
Epirus, based in El Segundo, developed a novel architecture for using commercial off-the-shelf field programmable gate arrays (FPGA), semiconductor devices commonly used in electronic circuits, as ultra-wideband radio frequency (RF) transceivers. It is, says the company, a significantly more resource-efficient approach than other FPGAs, while being much cheaper and faster than ASIC-based transceivers. Using this new architecture, it becomes much faster and more affordable to develop RF systems for digital beamforming and channelizing, which has multiple uses in communications, electronic warfare and even radar.
“It is relevant to any RF application, including the company’s technology designed to neutralize unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. The company has been using this technology to develop the world’s first solid-state, software-defined, phased array High Power Microwave directed energy system.” (Source: https://www.unmannedairspace.info)
30 Sep 19. Royal Canadian Navy tests TRAPS sonar aboard HMCS Glace Bay. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has successfully tested GeoSpectrum Technologies’ Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar (TRAPS) on board the Kingston-class coastal defence vessel HMCS Glace Bay. TRAPS is a low-frequency sonar designed to detect, track and classify submarines, surface vessels and torpedoes. The testing completes the final assessment of the sonar system. The performance trials of GeoSpectrum’s TRAPS sonar with HMCS Glace Bay were conducted by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). Glace Bay is the second vessel in the class to serve as the platform for operating the sonar system.
GeoSpectrum Technologies president Paul Yeatman said: “We are very pleased to see the system operated well on HMCS Glace Bay. I believe this is an ideal system to augment Royal Canadian Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities and allow Canada to better support missions such as anti-narcotics operations.”
The company has stated that TRAPS performed as per expectations and met predicted ranges in target detection in both passive and active modes against different targets. The sonar system also showcased the capability to be easily deployed and recovered by a single operator. GeoSpectrum is positioning TRAPS as an attractive solution for small, large and unmanned vessels.
GeoSpectrum said in a statement: “Its unique and demonstrated ability to offer towed active sonar capability for low, medium, and high frequencies, as well as passive sonar in the system, are generating interest from multiple customers.”
TRAPS can be used for small combatants and in support of littoral operations, as well as naval defence and surveillance.
The system features directional passive towed array, vertical projector array, an armoured tow cable, and other components. GeoSpectrum is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems. (Source: naval-technology.com)
25 Sep 19. Why cross-domain technology is key for radar and sonar data sharing. The amount of data the Defense Department collects has exploded with the number of increasingly sophisticated sensors on ships and submarines. And to tackle this, DOD will need to embrace cross-domain technologies. Radar data, for example, is extremely time-sensitive and can offer crucial situational awareness beyond just the defense system. But there’s a catch: it must be securely shared.
That can be a complex challenge for military officers who need to routinely access information at multiple classification levels. Administrators must be able to take classified radar data and make it available to other internal unclassified systems, such as air traffic control systems.
Cross-domain technologies assist with this issue by fostering communication between networks and classification levels that would otherwise be kept separate. Without it, transferring radar data from a classified DOD system to an unclassified air traffic control wouldn’t happen because they don’t interconnect.
Cross domain technologies closely monitor data transfers to ensure only correct and authorized information transmits, allowing for increased data utility of any given system.
Radar data can be shared with other parties only after being analyzed, downgraded, and scrubbed of any details that shouldn’t be available for lower security levels. Being able to share that data allows for cost savings in the millions of dollars.
Ships and sensors
But there’s a different set of concerns for ships and other water vessels. While ships have more systems and sensors, they still have a limited amount of space. It’s only logical to leverage sophisticated, and long term cost-effective, sensors in a holistic manner, especially since doing so means more people will be making critical mission decisions based on larger amounts of high-quality information.
Cross domain technologies can also work in both directions, allowing information to go from a low classification to high. For example, the air traffic control system needs to adjust the power of the radar system to get more information about a certain area. It can send a request up through the cross domain guard, which looks at the data, makes sure it complies, then transfers it to a higher classification where the radar system is operating.
Another example of a low-to-high transition is with sonar data. With adversaries ramping up their submarine abilities, sonar is crucial to detecting unseen threats. Imagine a sonar mission system, allowing combat ships to track submarines in near-shore environments, protecting not just themselves, but also battle groups and other critical resources. A sensor sonar system gets dragged behind the ship or dropped as a sonobuoy that listens for sounds to detect nearby submarine adversaries. The data collected in this process is not classified, but often needs to be pushed up to a classified environment. This is much more practical and cost effective than installing and dragging two different systems—one classified, one unclassified—behind the ship.
Secure access across networks
Radar and sonar are just two examples of a long list of platforms ships are now equipped with, but the reality is that many are legacy stovepipe platforms with just one specific function. It’s crucial to consider how the data collected from one platform can be used across domains. Far too often, the existence of disparate platforms and the possibility that information could be transferred between parties of varying classification levels is completely overlooked. This leads to unnecessary spending, redundant systems, and sub-par operations—which all have tangible impacts on mission fighters in the field.
Cross domain technologies can remedy this situation. They provide secure, simultaneous access to multiple sensitive networks and allow critical data to be accessed and shared with the right people and systems, so they can keep all of us safe. Today the best cross domain solutions undergo significant security testing, such as meeting stringent guidelines set forth by the National Security Agency (NSA) Raise-The-Bar initiative. (Source: Defense Systems)25 Sep 19. New night vision adds punch from the squad to the battalion. PEO Soldier FWS-I night vision demonstration. The Army’s most advanced night vision goggle is in the hands of soldiers at the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
The Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular delivers a rapid target acquisition capability that increases both finding and shooting the target. There’s no more green glow, now users will see a white phosphorus contrast and have thermal and day/night optic in the binocular vision.
And data from location of friendly troops to wayfinding points for navigation can be displayed in view, keeping the soldier’s head up while patrolling.
Brig. Gen. Dave Hodne told reporters in a media roundtable discussion Wednesday that what happens next will help the Army at all levels.
That’s because the soldiers of the “Dagger Brigade” will be the first to use the device beyond testing and at scale from the squad to platoon to company and battalion level.
With so many advanced sets on the heads of so many soldiers, leaders and researchers can more easily gauge how they’re using all of what the capability provides and what that does to the proficiency of the squad and higher-level unit performance.
Hodne spoke with reporters alongside Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, head of Program Executive Office-Soldier, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston and the Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Crosby.
All of those involved and others previously interviewed by Army Times about the device have emphasized soldier feedback in developing, and fielding, the new night vision.
Potts said Wednesday that having ways in which soldiers could say, “here’s how you make it better,” has informed changes to the device.
A small but important change he noted in a previous interview was the ability to flip the goggle lenses to the side rather than only above the helmet. That’s an assist for any soldier or Marine who’s rammed the device into the doorframe of a vehicle.
That option also allows the soldier to shift from binocular to monocular mode and keep one naked eye on the scene.
Grinston added some nuance to the “soldier feedback” description, noting that he’d given plenty of feedback as a soldier in his 31 years of service, but that new processes have changed how that’s received and acted upon.
“The soldier says, this is what I’d like to see and then a week later you’ve got the button and it works,” Grinston said.
That sped-up feedback loop differs widely from past experiments where years would go by between small equipment changes or when developers would field a piece of equipment that soldiers didn’t like upon arrival and it sat unused or underused for the rest of its lifecycle.
The device has had multiple “soldier touch points” in the past two years.
An early touchpoint included Marines from The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia; 1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division and Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
In that event, troops wore the ENVG-B while moving through an obstacle course and tunnel complex and conducted reflexive fires using rapid target acquisition, or RTA.
Hodne, who heads both the Infantry School and the Army’s Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team, said last year that a limited test of shooters found those using the RTA in the new goggle saw 100 percent improvement on M4 carbine qualification, 300 percent improvement on detecting targets and 30 to 50 percent decrease in time to employ their weapon.
Staff Sgt. Tanner Trapp said the FWS-I, or Family of Weapons Sights-Individual, would make soldiers and squads more lethal, according to a PEO Soldier release.
The FWS-I wirelessly transmits an image captured from a reticle mounted on the M4 to the goggle. This lets users see the carbine’s aim point in the goggle view.
That allows shooters to see and fire on targets from the hip or around corners or from behind barricades. The vision technology means the users can see through smoke and dust, which previously obscured the sight picture in night vision devices.
“That thing is phenomenal,” Trapp said. “The capability it provides is ridiculous.”
Army officials previously told Army Times that 10,000 units were expected to field by 2021 and that the Marine Corps would receive 3,100 units in the same time period. Officials in the most recent interview said the current fielding would inform Army leadership on how many goggles would field to which units in the coming year. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
01 Oct 19. SA’s Aero Parts to collaborate with US radar tech company. South Australian company Aero Parts Australia has teamed up with leading international research, development and manufacturing company, IMSAR, to bring cutting-edge radar technology to Australian and New Zealand markets. Marking the start of a long-term business relationship, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding recently to establish Aero Parts Australia as a representative and exclusive reseller of the US company’s products and services.
IMSAR produces high-performance multi-mode radar systems capable of all-weather imaging, moving target indicator (MTI) and maritime search. The radars are simple to integrate on manned and unmanned aircraft of all sizes and complement full-motion video (FMV) and electronic warfare (EW) systems, increasing mission capability and effectiveness.
IMSAR vice president of sales Larry Moore said the agreement will enable the company to leverage Aero Parts Australia’s defence expertise and strong connections to tap into new markets locally.
“We’re pleased to have Aero Parts Australia represent our company and our products in Australia and New Zealand. Aero Parts Australia’s expertise and excellent relationships will assist IMSAR in establishing a presence in the region and bring our life-saving technology to a growing number of worldwide customers,” Moore said.
Aero Parts Australia, based in Salisbury, SA, specialises in representation of major products within the defence sectors, coupled with repair and maintenance services. These services cater for military search and rescue and life support systems, along with aviation product support for general and regional aviation markets.
Moore added, “As with all of our global partners, we feel that they are aligned with our company values and are committed to helping us democratise radar for America’s security and all other nations that share the ideals of our founding fathers.”
The agreement is a boost to the increasing confidence in South Australia’s defence industry and capabilities and builds on Aero Parts Australia’s existing network of worldwide companies, bringing the latest technology to their customers. (Source: Defence Connect)
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