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05 Dec 19. Elbit Systems announces that two configurations of the company’s XACT family of Weapon Sights have entered operational use with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The company was recently selected to provide thousands of its XACT th65 and XACT th64 uncooled thermal imaging weapon sights to marksmen of both Infantry and Special Operation Forces of the IDF. Last year Elbit Systems announced it concluded delivery of 4,800XACTth65 weapon sights to the Australian Army.
In a Clip-on or Stand Alone configuration, the compact XACT weapon sights enable effective operation in day and night. Featuring a high resolution colored OLED display, image processing capabilities and a Region of Interest algorithm, XACT weapon sights enable effective target engagement even under degraded visibility conditions. Embedding a unique calibration algorithm, XACT weapon sights eliminate the need for Non Uniformity Calibration (NUC) or shutter-based calibration thereby enabling continuous and consistent operation. The XACT th64 provides vehicle target recognition from a 1,100-meter range and human target recognition from a 600-meter range, while the XACT th65 enables vehicle target recognition from 1,250 meters and human target recognition from 750 meters. Both weapon sights are housed in a sealed fully submersible metal housing.
Elad Aharonson, General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR Division, commented: “Since its product launch a few years ago XACT systems have been selected by numerous customers. The XACT family of systems is a good example of our continuous efforts to deliver technologies that increase both mission effectiveness and safety.”
04 Dec 19. A new kind of satellite imagery for the intelligence community? The National Reconnaissance Office expects to issue additional study contracts for commercial satellite imagery in the coming weeks, the agency’s director said Dec. 3, and at least one of those contracts will be for a new type of imagery.
“Maybe this week, maybe next week, we’ll probably be announcing some additional partnerships that we’re going to be working with in the commercial realm. Commercial is going to play an important role in the future architectures,” Christopher Scolese, the NRO director, said in a media availability.
The director declined to give specifics on who would receive the contracts or what types of imagery he was considering, but noted that at least one of the new contracts would go beyond traditional electro-optical imagery and could include radio frequency data. That choice would not be entirely unprecedented. While the three original study contracts announced in June were for traditional electro-optical imagery, in September the NRO awarded a study contract for hyperspectral imagery, a new commercial capability that uses the unique spectrum of each pixel in an image to identify an object.
The study contracts stem from the intelligence community’s 2017 decision to shift responsibility for acquiring commercial satellite imagery from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to the NRO, the agency that oversees the nation’s spy satellites.
The initial three study contracts were announced in June, prior to Scolese’s confirmation as director. The NRO said it had awarded commercial imagery study contracts to three companies: BlackSky Global, Maxar Technologies and Planet. While the value of the three contracts was not announced, the NRO stated at the time that the study contracts would allow the agency to look at the satellite imagery capabilities of the three companies and determine whether they would meet requirements set by the NGA. Those contracts will determine how the NRO acquires commercial imagery for the intelligence community moving forward.
“So far in our analysis of it and working with NGA, we’re very pleased with what we’re seeing,” Scolese said. “I wouldn’t say there are really any surprises. I think to some people the fact that it’s working well is a surprise. But we found that the commercial capabilities are really quite good. They are satisfying a need and we’re taking advantage of it.”
In September, the NRO announced that it was awarding a fourth commercial study contract to HySpecIQ for hyperspectral imagery, which would be a new commercial capability for the intelligence community. Hyperspectral images allow users to identify any object due to the unique signature it has from light from hundreds of colors across the electromagnetic spectrum. Though Scolese noted that HySpecIQ had yet to fully develop that capability, he was excited to see what opportunities arise from using hyperspectral imagery.
“We’ve recently gone into a study to go off and look at how hyperspectral imagery can be used,” said Scolese. “The company is in the process of developing the capabilities that was even before there’s a demonstrated capability. So we’re very much interested in what’s going on there.”
Moving forward, Scolese said the NRO needs to leverage new commercial technologies as they emerge.
“We have to take advantage of the capabilities that are out there by the commercial sector and our partners,” said Scolese. “We need resiliency in our system, because (adversaries are) trying to deny things and they may try and actually, you know, shoot (satellites) down or, you know, apply other techniques to disable our systems or at least temporarily disable our systems. Having a diverse … architecture that the government builds (combined with) commercial and partner systems can really help us go off and do that.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
04 Dec 19. C-130J Infra-Red Counter-Measures achieve Final Operational Capability. The Royal Australian Air Force has announced achievement of Final Operational Capability for the C-130J Large Aircraft Infra-Red Counter-Measures.
Director General Air Combat Enablers, Air Commodore Mark Green said the project, delivered under AIR 5416 Phase 4B2, provided a critical defensive capability ahead of schedule and significantly under budget.
“The Large Aircraft Infra-Red Countermeasures provide enhanced protection against infrared guided missiles for Air Force’s fleet of C-130J tactical transport aircraft,” Air Commodore Green said.
“Maintaining effective defences against these prolific and increasingly sophisticated weapons is essential to the safe operation of the aircraft.
“Defence has been able to complete this critical upgrade three months earlier than projected, and under budget by $146.85m.”
Air Commodore Green said the project generated around $11m in revenue for Australian defence industry.
“Eight of the twelve aircraft were modified in Australia by Airbus Australia Pacific under a local commercial licencing arrangement,” Air Commodore Green said.
“CAE Australia has also modified the C-130J Full Flight Simulator to reflect the changes to the aircraft.”
Logistics and operational support infrastructure has been constructed at RAAF Base Richmond, including a laser test firing facility, secure storage in compliance with Defence’s obligations under International Traffic of Arms Restrictions, and an updated air base security system. (Source: ASD Network)
04 Dec 19. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO or DRO.AU) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) announced that UK Government’s Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (“CPNI”) has formally certified DroneShield’s DroneSentinelTM multi-sensor counterdrone system.
As a result, DroneSentinelTM has been included in the CPNI Catalogue of Security Equipment (“CSE”). CSE forms an approved list of products for deployment across various critical infrastructure customers in the UK, such as airports, stadiums, and other key sites.
DroneShield’s CEO Oleg Vornik commented, “The importance of this world’s first formal Government certification is that it substantially reduces procurement cycle in the nascent counterdrone space by giving prospective customers certainty of product quality. We expect this certification to drive significant additional end customer interest in UK and also globally.”
BT Group plc (LSE:BT.A) (“BT”), a global leader in telecommunication solutions with operations in 180 countries, and the largest telecommunications company in the United Kingdom, and DroneShield’s partner in the UK, has welcomed the CPNI certification.
BT’s Dave Pankhurst, Head of Drone Solutions at BT, commented “By partnering with DroneShield we’re able to provide our customers with a best-in-class, integrated and secure drone solution that will protect infrastructure from unwanted drone activity. The CPNI certification further reinforces to our customers that BT is able to provide a capability of the highest specification ensuring safety and security is maintained.”
04 Dec 19. Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (KONGSBERG) has entered into a contract with Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment (BAAINBw) to deliver a Counter Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) based on the PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Station.
The contract worth 250 MNOK was won in an international bidding process. Germany is the first country to acquire a C-UAS solution with the PROTECTOR as a kinetic effector. The emergence of inexpensive, small unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also referred to as drones, poses a relatively new threat to both military units as well as civilian infrastructure and events, such as airports, government buildings, power plants, political gatherings and sporting events. The PROTECTOR RWS C-UAS has a rapid deployment and reaction time, and is highly mobile.
KONGSBERG has studied the growing threat posed by UAS and developed technology and solutions for detection, tracking and defeat of drones. There has also been a close cooperation with the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) to evaluate possible technologies and solutions. The combination of the operationally proven PROTECTOR RWS with advanced sensors, tracking algorithms and rapid engagements provides an innovative and cost-efficient solution.
For Germany’s PROTECTOR RWS C-UAS project, KONGSBERG has cooperated closely with Hensoldt and is integrating the Hensoldt Spexer 3rd generation radar for UAS detection and tracking. The solution utilizes a 40 mm Automatic Grenade launcher with airburst ammunition, – but the PROTECTOR RWS has a variety of weapon integrations up to 30 mm and air defence missiles that can be employed against UAS.
Germany is the 22nd country to select KONGSBERGs PROTECTOR RWS, adding to the almost 20,000 systems delivered to our customers around the globe.
“KONGSBERG is very proud to win this first C-UAS competition, and we look forward to a long-term close cooperation with the German Army. With this contract, KONGSBERG combines existing and new technologies entering a new growing market niche”, says Pål E. Bratlie, Executive Vice President Protech Systems, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS. (Source: Google/https://www.kongsberg.com/)
04 Dec 19. SRI and Echodyne Combine for 3D Airport Security. Adding 3D Radar to Ground-based Perimeter Security Intrusion Systems (PIDS) Creates Comprehensive Airport Security Solution.
Echodyne, the manufacturer of innovative, high-performance radars for government and commercial markets, announced today that it will be co-exhibiting with Security Radar Integrators (SRI) at the 19th annual American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Aviation Security Summit, taking place in Arlington, VA from December 4-5, 2019.
The event brings together senior leadership from the nation’s airports with officials from DHS, TSA, CBP and other key players in security policy to discuss the complex issues surrounding aviation security and to look ahead to challenges on the horizon, including the growing threat from drones.
The drone disruption at Gatwick Airport in December 2018 grounded nearly 140,000 passengers and cost airlines more than £50m. In the second quarter of 2019, the FAA collected reports of 714 sightings of unauthorized drones near airplanes and around airports in the U.S. With the growing number of drones in the airspace, protecting aircraft and airports from drones has become a major focus for regulators and law enforcement around the globe.
SRI, a leader in perimeter protection for airports, announced the selection of Echodyne radars as the drone detection sensor for its existing ground-based perimeter intrusion detection system (PIDS) in October. The companies are collaborating on security system design and deployment, with SRI announcing its new white paper on comprehensive airport surveillance, “Full Coverage: Combining PIDS and UAS Detection for Critical Infrastructure.” The paper highlights Echodyne’s EchoGuard 3D radar and the role that high-performance radar plays in SRI’s Airfield Radar System (ARS). Leaders from both companies will be on hand at the Security Summit to discuss drone security for airports.
“SRI has best-in-class technology and tremendous experience in designing and deploying airport perimeter security solutions,” said Dan Flynn, President of SRI. “We are excited to discuss our market-leading 3D security solution with airport executives and security leaders at the AAAE Aviation Security Summit.”
To receive your copy of the white paper outside of the event, please contact Dan Flynn at . (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
04 Dec 19. Ascent Vision Technologies Conducts Comprehensive Customer Field Training Event. Ascent Vision Technologies (AVT) recently completed comprehensive field training exercises of the X-MADIS Fixed Site system with a key international customer, demonstrating its core capabilities and operational criteria.
The training focused on critical details for successful mission execution, system installation and maintenance requirements.
The X-MADIS, eXpeditionary Mobile Air Defense Integrated System, is a fully integrated counter drone solution that detects, locates, tracks, identifies and defeats small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) by combining the capabilities of radar, optics, radio frequency detection and electronic command and control mitigation of the unmanned aircraft. The X-MADIS is unique in that it accomplishes the mission while the unit is static or on the move, at speeds exceeding 40 mph.
“The training session allowed our customer to utilize the system’s full range of capabilities and experience its effectiveness,” said Lee Dingman, President at AVT. “We simulated real-life drone attack scenarios, giving the customer the opportunity to execute the response and to experience the outcome in real time. We also demonstrated the system’s ability to detect and mitigate several drones at a time.”
The training also included system installation and set-up options, maintenance and operational techniques such as efficiently incorporating software enhancements and trouble-shooting. “The training took place over six days, giving our customer the opportunity to get more familiar with the system’s operation, as well as address any questions they had encountered in deploying the X-MADIS for their mission,” added Dingman.
“AVT is committed to making sure every customer’s operation runs smoothly and effectively,” Dingman continued. “We design and execute our customized training solutions to help customers make rapid and informed decisions when responding to sUAS threats.”
The X-MADIS is in service globally protecting some of the world’s most influential leaders, as well as combat forces, civilians and critical infrastructure. AVT has seen rapid growth this year, notching its strongest year yet for X-MADIS sales. The company is currently working with several other international customers interested in purchasing the X-MADIS system. (Source: UAS VISION)
03 Dec 19. Kollsman wins prototype project for US Army’s MDUSA targeting system. Kollsman has received a prototype project agreement for the US Army’s Multi-Domain User Sensor Architecture (MDUSA) targeting system project. The company was awarded the prototype project through the Sensors Communications and Electronics Consortium (SCEC) other transaction agreement (OTA). Kollsman is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems of America, which supplies technology-based systems for customers in defence, homeland security, and commercial aviation domains. The agreement will support the development of the MDUSA targeting system.
Kollsman’s prototype solution will provide the capability for dismounted soldiers to counter targets with handheld targeting. The small, modular, lightweight system will also help enhance situational awareness.
Key components of the MDUSA prototype project include a handheld target locator module, precision azimuth and vertical angle module, a laser marker designator and tripod. The solution will provide advantages such as greater target acquisition ranges and reduced time to acquisition.
Forward Observers will be able to adapt to new threats quickly.
Elbit Systems of America said that the solution ‘also aligns with the US Army’s modernisation efforts by enhancing lethality effects from the sensor to the shooter’.
Elbit Systems of America Ground Combat & Precision Targeting Solutions vice-president Ridge Sower said: “Our MDUSA prototype solution provides revolutionary advancements from current targeting products and equips US Army Forward Observers with information needed to dominate the battlefield.
“This next-generation system performs in GPS-denied and other contested environments, offering increased situational awareness in all battlefield environments.” (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Dec 19. PAL Aerospace ISR aircraft spotted in Mozambique. A Bombardier Dash 8 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft operated by Canada’s PAL Aerospace has been spotted in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. According to Moz24, the aircraft (C-GFMX) was seen last week at Pemba, the capital of insurgency-hit Cabo Delgado.
According to Africa Intelligence, PAL Aerospace has been carrying out maritime surveillance flights in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Seychelles since September at the request of the US military’s Africa Command (Africom).
The Dash 8-300 aircraft (C-GFMX) was most recently recorded flying from Victoria Seychelles International Airport on 3 December, according to FlightRadar data. It had been spotted there in mid-September as well.
PAL Aerospace’s aircraft is modified for ISR missions and includes a drop hatch for the deployment of stores, life rafts, smoke markets and illumination flares. It is fitted with the Thales AMASCOS mission system that can support different radars, cameras etc. The aircraft is fitted with a Thales Searchmaster maritime surveillance radar and MX-15 electro-optical/infrared camera system.
The modified Dash 8, named the Force Multiplier, was unveiled by PAL Aerospace in late 2017 as an on-demand intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance special mission platform. The company says this was brought to market in 2018.
PAL Aerospace describes itself as an international aerospace and defence company providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; in-service support (ISS); aircraft engineering and modification; and environmental service solutions.
Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has been hit by an Islamist insurgency for the last couple of years, which has killed hundreds of civilians as well as dozens of Mozambican security forces and several Russian security contractors linked to the Wagner group. It is not clear if the PAL Aerospace aircraft was in Mozambique to monitor the insurgency or had arrived there as part of its maritime surveillance of the Mozambique Channel/Seychelles exclusive economic zone.
The United States has awarded other contracts to private operators to provide maritime surveillance for the Seychelles. For example, in March 2019, the US Department of Defence awarded United States-based Forward Slope Inc a contract worth $442 000 for “Seychelles maritime domain awareness and maritime security efforts”.
Forward Slope said it designed and implemented border and coastal surveillance systems as the prime contractor to a US Navy programme. The shore-based border and coastal surveillance systems “are comprised of national and regional command centres, associated radars, sensors, and software as well as facility improvement.”
Forward Slope has also provided Mozambique with a shore-based maritime monitoring system for its armed forces, the company said, under a US Navy programme. (Source: Google/https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
03 Dec 19. RADA USA Opens 25,000 Square Foot Headquarters and Manufacturing Facility in Germantown, Maryland. New Space Underscores Commitment to U.S. Government Customers; Enables RADA USA to Locally Develop the Market of Tactical Radars for U.S. Defense Forces.
RADA Technologies LLC (RADA USA), a leading provider of advanced radars for land applications, today announced the grand opening of its new headquarters and manufacturing facility located in Germantown, Maryland. The 25,000 square foot office currently houses 30 employees, with plans to reach a total of 80 employees in the next three years.
As the threats facing U.S. service members around the world continue to evolve, RADA USA selected Germantown, MD for its close proximity to its core customer base of U.S. military and civilian agencies. The company’s pulse-Doppler, multi-mission Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars detect all types of aerial vehicles, including Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUASs), missiles, rockets and mortars. They classify the threats, provide and display tracking, and deliver data to external communications, command, control and intelligence (C4I) and air defense weapon systems over Ethernet.
“The team at RADA is focused on delivering advanced, innovative radar solutions and services that empower American defense agencies to fulfill their mission – and the opening of our new headquarters and manufacturing facility enable us to accomplish that in a cost-effective manner,” said Bill Watson, CEO, RADA USA. “Our team is grateful for the assistance of the State of Maryland, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and the Maryland/Israel Development Center for their support in bringing our team to Germantown, and we look forward to continuing to work with you all in the years to come.”
RADA USA’s air surveillance radars are the system of choice for current and emerging tactical Integrated Air & Missile Defense weapon systems, whether based on guns, missiles, directed energy, or other threat defeat technologies. Its tactical radar systems are ideal gap-fillers, complementing medium and long-range air surveillance systems. The radars can work in various installation methods depending on the mission: fixed or on-the-move onboard tactical land vehicles or aboard littoral combat and patrol ships. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
03 Dec 19. Concerns as US Navy scales back Poseidon purchase, limiting allied anti-sub capability. With half of the world’s combat submarines expected to be operating in the Indo-Pacific in coming decades it would seem anti-submarine capability would be at the forefront of requirements – however, the US Navy’s 2021 budget request seeks no new money for advanced anti-submarine aircraft to meet the rising Chinese and Russian submarine threats.
Navies throughout Indo-Pacific Asia have increasingly recognised the tactical and strategic advantages provided by submarines, leading to growing numbers of increasingly advanced and capable submarines operating in Australia’s direct proximity.
This has largely been driven by the rapidly modernising capabilities of China’s Navy, which has seen a transition from a brown/green water navy into a fully fledged blue water force capable of long-range strategic deterrence, power projection and sea control operations throughout the region.
Submarines, of both conventional and nuclear propulsion are serving to provide the Chinese Navy with a rapidly growing qualitative and quantitative edge of potential regional competitors, including Australia, Japan and to a lesser extent the US Navy.
Russia has also emerged as a resurgent Indo-Pacific submarine power deploying a growing fleet of conventional and nuclear powered vessels drawing on the operational precedent established by the Soviet Navy throughout the Cold War, conducting long-range patrols throughout the region and into the Atlantic Ocean, fielding a fleet of advanced submarines.
In response, the US, which has global responsibilities has sought to respond through a modest increase to its own fast attack submarine fleet, spearheaded by the Virginia Class vessels and the planned acquisition of at least 138 advanced P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine, anti-surface and maritime patrol aircraft to replace the Cold War-era P-3 Orion series.
The US-led response has also prompted allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia to embark on their own respective submarine and anti-submarine aircraft modernisation programs, culminating in programs like Japan’s Soryu Class and Australia’s Attack Class vessels and a growing allied network of P-8 Poseidon aircraft operating throughout the Indo-Pacific.
At the periphery of these established powers, nations like India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand have all sought to capitalise on the tactical and strategic advantages provided by conventional and nuclear submarines, further exacerbating a regional arms race and paradigm shifting operational environment.
In light of the emerging tactical and strategic predicament, it would be reasonable to expect that the US would continue to expand its investment in anti-submarine capabilities, complementing the capabilities of its allies while expanding the strategic certainty provided by a reliable US presence in the region.
Evidently, budgetary constraints are limiting even America’s capacity to meet its global defence obligations, with the US Navy’s FY2021 budget proposal seeming to stop the acquisition of critical anti-submarine patrol aircraft, namely the Boeing-designed P-8 Poseidon at 117 aircraft, well short of what the Navy believes is a “validated warfighting requirement” of 138 aircraft.
The glaring reality of America’s very real limitations
The emergence of an increasingly capable Chinese submarine force and resurgence of Russia’s own submarine fleet, both of which are rapidly closing the qualitative and quantitative lead long enjoyed by the US Navy is placing increasing strain on the US budget and the Navy’s capacity to meet it’s global obligations.
These growing limitations to US tactical and strategic deterrence are going to place increasing pressure on allies like Australia, Japan and South Korea to increasingly collaborate to fill the void left by the US in the event that it needs to respond to contingencies in the Middle East or Atlantic.
It is critical to understand that the US deployment of operation of their Poseidon fleet goes beyond merely patrolling the maritime boundaries of the continental US and its outlying territories, deployments of Poseidon’s to the Middle East, the Indian Ocean fortress island Diego Garcia, and Pacific locations like Guam, Hawaii and Japan all serve to provide an integrated, linked anti-submarine patrol force.
Poseidons also form the backbone of America’s surveillance operations over the contested South China Sea and through other regional hot spots, providing a persistent US presence and long-range anti-submarine capabilities.
Recognising this, it is clear that any reduced acquisition will place increasing strain on both the US Navy and its Indo-Pacific allies like Australia, Japan and South Korea as hostile submarine forces growing increasingly stealthy and numerous.
This reality is something Dr Malcolm Davis, Senior Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has discussed with Defence Connect at great length, saying: “We need to burden share to a much greater degree than before, and accept that we can no longer base our defence planning on the assumption that in a major military crisis or a period leading up to a future war, the US will automatically be there for us.
“In fact, if we want to avoid that major military crisis, we have to do more than adopt a purely defensive/denial posture, and be postured well forward to counterbalance a rising China or to be able to assist the US and other key allies, notably Japan, to respond to challenges. We can’t be free-riders.”
This is further reinforced by the United States Studies Centre (USSC), which articulated concerns about the declining nature of the US military and its capacity to provide strategic deterrence in the face of renewed Russian and rising Chinese assertiveness:
“America has an atrophying force that is not sufficiently ready, equipped or postured for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific — a challenge it is working hard to address. Twenty years of near-continuous combat and budget instability has eroded the readiness of key elements in the US Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps. Military accidents have risen, ageing equipment is being used beyond its lifespan and training has been cut.”
Picking up the slack and allied ‘capability aggregation’
As part of this growing recognition, the USSC identifies the growing need for capability aggregation and collective deterrence in the Indo-Pacific, with both Australia and Japan playing critical roles in balancing any decline in the US and its capacity to unilaterally project power, influence and presence throughout the region.
“Prudent capability aggregation between the armed forces of Australia, Japan and the US will be critical to addressing the shortfalls that America is likely to face in its military power over the coming years. The strategic purpose of such efforts should be to strengthen the collective capacity to deter prospective Chinese fait accompli aggression in strategically significant regional flashpoints, particularly along the First Island Chain and in the South China Sea,” the USSC Averting Crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific paper identifies.
“Australia and Japan have credible roles to play in an Indo-Pacific collective balancing strategy. For capability aggregation to work, the United States must fully ‘read in’ allies like Australia and Japan, starting with more integrated intelligence sharing and evolving towards regional operational military planning. Establishing pathways towards joint operational directives are necessary building blocks for an effective denial strategy, as knowing how multi-national forces will be employed in peacetime and war is critical to the reliability of the collective deterrent.”
The growing proliferation of advanced submarines, combined with the growing naval aviation capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force have triggered a robust response from both Australia and Japan to invest heavily in a range of capabilities that will enhance the anti-submarine, maritime patrol, anti-surface and long-range strike capabilities of their respective armed forces.
“Australian and Japanese naval and maritime air forces can also make significant contributions to coalition strategic anti-submarine warfare operations. Large-scale, co-ordinated and networked ASW campaigns remain a critical area of asymmetric advantage for coalition forces in the Indo-Pacific … Over the next decade, the Royal Australian Air Force will operate up to 15 P-8s, while the JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force) will have 70 P-1s in its inventory,” the USSC states.
“Australia’s surface vessel recapitalisation is also adding sophisticated ASW capability to the entire feet, with nine new ASW frigates, towed-array sonars for the new destroyers and 24 MH-60R Romeo maritime helicopters. Taken together, these capabilities mean that Tokyo and Canberra will possess a genuinely credible capability to bring to bear in any major ASW campaign in the Indo-Pacific — finding, tracking and, if necessary, countering Chinese submarines as part of an overall defensive strategy of deterrence by denial.”
The rapidly developing qualitative and quantitative capabilities of regional surface warship and submarine fleets, namely by Russia and China – combined with the increasing proliferation of surface vessels and submarines designed and built by the aforementioned nations by emerging peer competitors – serves to stretch the tactical and strategic capabilities of the RAN.
Questions to be asked
As an island nation, Australia is defined by its relationship and access to the ocean, with strategic sea-lines-of-communication support over 90 per cent of global trade, a result of the cost effective and reliable nature of sea transport.
Indo-Pacific Asia is at the epicentre of the global maritime trade, with about US$5trn worth of trade flowing through the South China Sea and the strategic waterways and choke points of south-east Asia annually.
The Indian Ocean and its critical global sea-lines-of-communication are responsible for more than 80 per cent of the world’s seaborne trade in critical energy supplies, namely oil and natural gas, which serve as the lifeblood of any advanced economy.
Submarines are critical to the nation’s ability to protect these strategically vital waterways and key naval assets, as well as providing a viable tactical and strategic deterrent and ensure the nation’s enduring national and economic security – recognising this, the previously posed questions will serve as conversation starting points.
Increasingly alliances and platform interoperability will play a central role in the nation’s long-term national security, with submarines and anti-submarine capabilities a core component, raising the question should Australia and regional allies like South Korea, Japan and New Zealand support the US and its attempts to balance the regional submarine capabilities.
However, given the geographic area of responsibility Australia will become increasingly responsible for and dependent on, is the RAN and the recapitalisation and conventionally-focused modernisation program for Australia’s submarine fleet enough for Australia to maintain its qualitative and quantitative lead over regional peers?
Traditionally, Australia has focused on a platform-for-platform acquisition program – focused on replacing, modernising or upgrading key capabilities on a like-for-like basis without a guiding policy, doctrine or strategy, limiting the overall effectiveness, survivability and capability of the RAN. (Source: Defence Connect)
02 Dec 19. China deploys aerostat in South China Sea. A satellite image shows that an unmanned, tethered aerostat has been deployed to Mischief Reef, one of the largest of the artificial islands constructed by China amongst the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The image, which was captured on 18 November, was sourced by ImageSat International (ISI). The aerostat is likely to be carrying a radar and its elevated position would significantly extend the radar horizon and therefore increase the area that can be monitored, particularly for surface vessels. China has been developing aerostats for military use for about 20 years, although the type deployed to Mischief Reef cannot be positively identified. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Nov 19. Poland introduces DroneRadar 2 app – providing prototype operational U-Space 1-3 services. Poland’s UTM company DroneRadar has released its DroneRadar 2 application, a new iOS/Android app which integrates drone users within the national PansaUTM system currently under development by Poland’s air navigation service provider PANSA, HAWK-E and DroneRadar (https://www.unmannedairspace.info/latest-news-and-information/poland-trains-tower-controllers-to-operate-pansautm-system/). Among the features of the new app are a two-way direct communications link with PANSA and a dynamic airspace status notification alert.
According to Pawel Korzec, Co-founder and CEO at DroneRadar writing in a LinkedIn post
“DroneRadar 2 allows you to use missions created and approved in PansaUTM using dFPL (Drone Flight Plan) and full two-way non-verbal communication with air traffic services (CDDLC – Controller Drone Data Link Communication). But most importantly, DroneRadar version 2 is the foundation for the rapid implementation of an entire stack of U1-U3 services.
“Upgrading to the full version two is a multi-stage process; (it) requires many organisational changes as well as the application itself. That’s why we are introducing the minimal version today. In the following days there will be more updates to correct any errors and introduce new functionalities. We will also soon provide an API for developers to create DTMs and integrate with third-party applications.”
DroneRadar2 functionality includes:
- Access to and visualization of airspace data from AIP, AIP Supplements
- Access to and visualization of airspace data from NOTAMs
- Integrated AUP data I (FUA support – Flexible Use of Airspace) through the WebCAT system
- Visualization of geographic zones (buildings, national parks etc.)
- Implementation of aeronautical data, U-Space data and local regulations by means of the DroneRadar indicator. Three lamps clearly show the possibility of performing a flight: Green – no restrictions; Orange – restrictions present (shown in tab); Red – flight prohibited, with information on how to obtain clearance in an information tab.
- 4D data management by interpreting 3D data with time constraints.
- Bidirectional, non-verbal data management between ATS and the operator, or CDDLC – (Controller Drone Data Link Communication). This is a non-verbal, bidirectional communication service which allows for receiving instructions, accepting them and sending messages to ATS services. The CDDLC link is used by the ANSP to notify drone operators of urgent requirements – such as immediate landing orders.
- Access to elevation data for above mean sea level altitude (AMSL) calculation. The DroneRadar application automatically calculates the AMSL data from the declared above ground level (AGL) flight altitude in order to position the UAV relative to aeronautical airspaces whose altitudes are always given AMSL.
- Access to Kp-index data (Global Geomagnetic Storm Index).
- Registering a flight through the check-in process by users not registered in the PansaUTM system where registration is not required by law (eg. Class G airspace with no airspace structures). User identity is confirmed by SMS.
- Registering flight through the check-in process by users already registered in the PansaUTM system
- Associating a flight with earlier defined mission authorisations processed by PansaUTM.
According to the DroneRadar website:
“In its Basic version, DroneRadar is free. The paid Premium version has enhanced user functionality such as the possibility to check airspace availability anywhere on the map. From a safety perspective, the free version has and displays all necessary data to perform a mission as the Premium version. The basic application allows you to plan and perform a mission with the same level of safety as the Premium one.”
To access all the application functions the user has to be registered with the PansaUTM drone registration scheme (https://utm.pansa.pl). “After providing your telephone number, you will be asked to input PansaUTM login data (username or email) so that you can be logged to the DroneRadar application with PansaUTM credentials….If you are not a registered PansaUTM user you will be requested to provide a telephone number where a confirmation SMS will be sent. The content of the SMS should be inputted in the appropriate field of the application.”
“You can check-in a flight only in the location that you are present, based on GPS location supplied by your device. There are two possible scenarios:
- registering a flight where no dFPL flight plan is mandatory by a user not registered with Pansa UTM (there are areas where no flight plan has to be submitted. If a flight plan is mandatory, you will be informed by the application) and
- registering a flight where a dFPL flight plan is mandatory. “In this situation you should login and create a dFPL mission (file a flight plan). Next login to the DroneRadar application with PansaUTM credentials. After receiving flight plan clearance acceptance for the flight select your accepted flight plan in the application.”
The system also allows for the reporting by the operator of loss-of-control.
For more information
29 Nov 19. Russia develops multilayered C-UAS system. Russian defence equipment exporter Rosoboronexport, a subsidiary of the state-owned Rostec group, has developed a four-stage/dual-use counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capability and is now actively marketing it globally, Director General Alexander Mikheev told Jane’s.
“Rosoboronexport has embraced a new multifaceted C-UAS defence, which combines both soft-kill, or electronic warfare [EW], and hard-kill kinetic systems,” Mikheev said, adding that the company’s approach comprises at least four types of EW systems. “It can engage all types of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], both combat and commercial-off-the-shelf ones.”
The first tier includes the Repellent C-UAS device produced by JSC Defense Systems. It jams communications, control, and navigations channels within 200-6,000 MHz frequency band at a distance of up to 30km.
The second layer is made up of the Sapsan-Bekas mobile C-UAS system developed by Rostec subsidiary Avtomatika. The system is fitted with both active and passive UAV detection devices. It can visually track small UAVs up to 8km away with its TV camera and a cooled thermal imager, or up to 10km and 20 km respectively via its active radar and electronic intelligence systems. The Sapsan-Bekas can also disrupt UAV navigation and control channels within a 30 km range, as well as designating targets for external EW and air defence weapons.
The Rubezh-Avtomatika and Kupol-PRO C-UAS systems developed by Avtomatika form the third, tactical tier. These systems are designed to repel individual and swarm UAV attacks by jamming an area that is 3-4km wide and 2.7km high. The Kupol-PRO weighs 12kg and has a power capacity of 80W. The fourth tier is built up of the portable C-UAS devices, namely the Luch and the Pishchal-PRO man-portable systems. These have been designed to defeat small UAVs at distances of up to 6 km and 2 km, respectively. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Nov 19. India clears purchase of additional P-8I maritime aircraft for navy. The Indian Government has cleared a potential procurement of Boeing-built P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft as part of a wider spending plan to boost the country’s defence capabilities. The Indian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) decision-making body on matters related to procurement, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), has approved the purchase of defence equipment valued as much as Rs228bn ($3.18bn). The approval sets the stage for the Indian Navy to acquire additional P-8I aircraft that can be used for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The 39.47m-long P-8I is the Indian variant of the P-8A Poseidon, which is based on the Next-Generation 737-800 platform. Boeing delivered eight aircraft to the Indian Navy by 2015 under a contract signed in 2009.
The company is expected to deliver a further four P-8I aircraft by 2021-22. The number of aircraft approved for acquisition by the DAC on 28 November has not been disclosed.
Chaired by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the body also greenlighted the acquisition of Twin Engine Heavy Helicopters (TEHH) for the Indian Coast Guard.
The aircraft is intended to support the coast guard in tackling maritime terrorism and conducting search and rescue operations.
Meanwhile, in a boost to the government’s ‘Make In India’ efforts to boost local manufacturing capabilities in the defence sector, the MoD approved the acquisition of thermal imaging night sights for assault rifles.
Set to be designed, developed and produced locally by the Indian private industry, the night sights are meant for use by forces on the frontline.
The equipment will strengthen the capability of the troops to engage long-range targets at night and in all weather conditions. (Source: naval-technology.com)
28 Nov 19. WavDrone to Begin Flight Testing at Griffiss Airfield. WavDrone, Ltd. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Universal Power Industry Corporation announced that they will begin comprehensive flight testing of its carbon-nanotube drones and drone intercept technologies at Griffiss International Airport, formerly Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, N.Y.
Griffiss International Airport is one of just seven FAA-designated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle test sites in the United States and is responsible to the FAA and NASA to supervise operations for UAS testing. The facility is part of New York’s 50-mile UAS corridor between Syracuse and Rome, N.Y. facilitating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) testing, thus enabling the safe integration of UAS testing in U.S. airspace.
Although WavDrone test staff are FAA licensed, testing our advanced technologies in Palo Alto, California would create an extra burden due to safety concerns of certain altitudes, distances and busy airspaces and would not otherwise comply with existing federal regulations.
Griffiss Airport, a former Air Force base, is located within class D airspace and has a unique charter from both State and Federal authorities which allows us to perform the full range of tests required to meet the specifications of the commercial and military markets. The facility also certifies equipment to meet the National UAS Standardized Testing and Rating verification of conformity with government standards.
“We are very excited to begin testing, as this is the final step before submitting our first of three projects to the U.S. Air Force for review and consideration.” Said Mr. Tony Chiu President, Universal Power Industry Corporation. (Source: UAS VISION)
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