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12 Jul 18. UK nears decision to buy Boeing AWACS planes – sources. Britain’s government is nearing a decision to buy four to six surveillance planes built by U.S. aerospace giant Boeing, sources familiar with the plans said on Thursday, a move that could stir a growing debate over UK and European defence jobs. The contract to replace its six ageing E-3D Sentry airborne early warning (AWACS) planes with a fleet of Boeing E-7 Wedgetail jets would, if confirmed, be worth over $1bn (£0.8bn). But the decision, which could be announced in coming weeks, is likely to anger some UK lawmakers who have called for a full competition, and may also spark formal protests by European defence companies keen for the business. Airbus, which is said to be teaming up with Sweden’s Saab to offer an alternative, is anxious to try to prevent the deal being awarded without competition and does not rule out mounting a legal challenge, a person close to the matter said. A spokesman for Britain’s defence ministry said, “We tender contracts competitively wherever appropriate. It is too early to comment further at this time.” Boeing and Airbus had no immediate comment. The decision over whether to order the equipment from the United States or to look to continental Europe reflects broader divisions over Britain’s external relations after it leaves the European Union, with thousands of high-tech jobs at stake. U.S. President Donald Trump, whose support is vital as Britain seeks to forge new trade deals outside the European Union, extolled the benefits of buying from U.S. arms firms including Boeing after a NATO summit on Thursday. But Airbus, which recently clashed with the UK government over delays in negotiating Brexit, is expected to defend a European solution based on its A330 jetliner and Saab’s Erieye radar and will argue Boeing trade actions put UK jobs at risk. “It would mean the UK is no longer a trustworthy place to do business,” a person close to the company said.
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The chairman of the British parliament’s defence committee this month posted a letter dated June 26 to the procurement minister, arguing that open competition would save money. Boeing’s supporters say the E-7A planes – based on the 737 jetliner and already in use by Australia, South Korea and Turkey – would speed delivery to the UK military, which had deferred purchases to devote resources to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boeing is willing to offer British firms a significant share of work on the programme, one of the sources said. It would fly 737 jetliners to the UK and allow firms there to do work needed to turn them into airborne surveillance and command posts. It hopes that would sweeten the deal for Prime Minister Theresa May’s fragile government at a time when firms including Airbus are talking of reviewing UK investments due to Brexit. Defence analysts say Boeing is keen to patch up a row with the UK last year over Belfast jobs placed at risk by an unsuccessful trade case against Canada’s Bombardier. The spat briefly threatened May’s parliamentary majority by leaving her exposed to a Northern Irish party representing many Bombardier workers, and prompted warnings from the then-British defence minister that Boeing could lose future UK business.
Airbus allies say awarding the airborne surveillance contract to Boeing would “reward bad behaviour”. But Boeing sources say it already plans to double the number of employees in the UK and that competing AWACS products only exist on paper. (Source: Reuters)
13 Jul 18. Holographic radar developed by Aveillant, a Thales company, to track flight displays by fast jets at Royal International Air Tattoo. The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), which takes place at Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford in Gloucestershire from 13-15 July and is staging the worldwide celebration of the RAF’s centenary this year, will feature flight demonstrations by numerous fast jets. Like last year, all the high-speed manoeuvring jets will be tracked using Gamekeeper holographic radar developed by Aveillant, a Thales company*. Gamekeeper radar, designed primarily to detect and track small unmanned air vehicles (drones), also has the capacity to detect and track the aerobatic performances of fast jets, giving full 3D location, speed and heading.
Andy Armstrong, CEO of the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, organisers of RIAT, said, “We’re delighted to give Aveillant the opportunity to demonstrate the performance of their radar at this great show, whose displays are amongst the very best in the world.”
Commenting on the deployment, Aveillant CEO Dominic Walker said, “It is a honor to be working at RIAT with the RAF Charitable Trust, particularly this year as the Royal Air Force celebrates its centenary. We are used to detecting one type of difficult target – very small drones – but fast, agile jets is a different kind of problem. Fortunately it is one that, with the right processing parameters in place, the radar manages very well.”
Thales helps its customers deal with unwanted drone intrusions into the complex environment of their infrastructures, enabling them to make fast, effective decisions at every decisive moment. Aveillant’s holographic radar technology is also part of the Hologarde solution used to detect drones approaching sensitive sites. Since June 2017, a Gamekeeper radar has been installed at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport.
* Aveillant, based in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, was acquired by Thales in 2017
11 Jul 18. Greece receives EU funding for surveillance equipment. The Greek Ministry of Defence has announced two programmes for the acquisition of surveillance equipment, to be co-funded by the European Union (EU). The first programme, managed by the Hellenic Navy, concerns the acquisition of up to six electro-optical sensor systems for the service’s eight Sikorsky S-70B-6 Aegean Hawk helicopters, which are also used for search and rescue, in addition to anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. The total cost is set at EUR28.9m (USD34m), 85% of which will be financed by the EU. The second programme, managed by the Hellenic Army, concerns the acquisition of 25 surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles, together with ground control systems, for EUR1.2m. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Jul 18. Dejero and Draganfly Partner to Provide High Quality Real-Time Video Transport. Dejero, a provider of cloud-managed solutions that provide video transport and Internet connectivity while mobile or in remote locations, has formed a technology partnership with Canadian-based Draganfly Innovations Inc. The collaboration sees Draganfly’s Commander UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) quadcopter bundled together with the Dejero EnGo mobile transmitter—providing real-time video transport from the air. In addition, the companies’ combined expert knowledge will bring new and innovative solutions and services to Dejero’s broadcast customers and Draganfly’s customers across the many industry verticals they serve. This powerful collaboration enables broadcasters to integrate live video captured with UAVs into their newsgathering, sports and event coverage, and video production for television and online audiences. It will also facilitate Dejero in reaching new industries and applications, providing real-time on-board video transport over IP to the military, public safety, and government sectors that Draganfly has traditionally operated in. The Draganflyer Commander UAV is a remotely operated, unmanned, miniature helicopter designed to carry wireless camera systems. The professional quality, powerful, easy to fly aerial platform is specifically designed for high endurance applications such as public safety, search and rescue, agriculture, mapping, aerial photography, and more. Dejero’s highly versatile EnGo mobile transmitter will be instrumental in reliably providing high-quality live video from Draganfly’s Commander, which will in turn allow Draganfly to elevate its offering.
“Historically, UAV use in broadcast has been challenging, in particular when it comes to providing high-quality video with low latency and with the reliability needed for live broadcasts,” explains Kevin Fernandes, VP of Sales at Dejero. “Through our collaboration with Draganfly, we can provide an effective solution for broadcast and media organizations, as well as other industries requiring the reliability and picture quality that customers require.”
“We are thrilled to be adding broadcast-quality live video feeds to our Commander vehicle,” said Draganfly President, Zenon Dragan. “The timing couldn’t be better as we’ve recently expanded into contract engineering and custom product development. Our partnership with Dejero will greatly support this.”
Well-versed in the design of sophisticated multi-rotor aircraft, ground-based robots, and fixed wing aircraft, Draganfly also provides custom payloads, ground-up software design, electronics, UAV program development, and flight training.
“Our companies have a wonderful synergy being at the forefront of innovation in our specific industries. Bringing our technology and expertise together will ensure that our solutions develop faster and go further to serve our customers,” concluded Fernandes. (Source: UAS VISION)
09 Jul 18. New Zealand commits to the P-8 with $1.6bn deal. New Zealand has become the fifth export customer (after Australia, India, Norway and the U.K.) for Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon, with a $1.6bn order for four aircraft. Announced July 9 by Minister of Defence Ron Mark, the order includes the cost of infrastructure and training equipment. The aircraft are expected to enter Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) from 2023 and will replace six Lockheed P-3K2 Orions that have served the RNZAF for more than 50 years. New Zealand purchased five P-3B Orions in 1966 and acquired a sixth aircraft in 1985. New avionics led to new designation of P-3K in the late 1980s; they were then given new wings as part of a life extension program in 2000. New radar and digital avionics from 2011 led to the designation P-3K2. A new title for the Orion fleet was introduced too, the Airborne Surveillance and Response Force. Always operated by 5 Squadron RNZAF from Whenuapai air base, Auckland, the squadron will operate its P-8As from Ohakea. Mark says options for a complementary maritime surveillance capability will be included in the forthcoming Defence Capability Plan review, due to be completed by the end of the year. Smaller manned aircraft, as well as remotely piloted aircraft and satellite surveillance will be considered to complement the P-8s. The Annual Report of the New Zealand Defence Force shows that last year the existing P-3K2 Orions flew around 120 hours on search and rescue missions and more than 500 hours conducting humanitarian aid and disaster relief work. (Source: Defense News)
09 Jul 18. BIRD Aerosystems, the leading developer of Special Mission Aircraft Solutions (ASIO) and Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS), will showcase the advanced configuration of its ASIO solution for the first time in the Farnborough airshow. The new configuration of the ASIO integrates pre-mission intelligence planning tools along with unique mission sensors configuration and sophisticated analysis algorithms, providing unique alerts of various suspicious activities. Ideal for maritime surveillance, the ASIO MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) can detect, investigate and effectively intercept suspicious activities like smuggling operations, piracy, illegal fishery or terror threats. Prior to the flight, ASIO operators analyze satellite images, Automatic Identification System (AIS) data and other information of the sailing vessels, automatically flagging suspicious activities that will be further investigated by the ASIO MPA (maritime patrol aircraft). During the flight, the ASIO MPA surveillance sensors will supplement the pre-flight analyzed data with real-time information received from the onboard sensors, including unique integration with a Communications Intelligence (COMINT) sensor and real-time communication, providing the information to the C&C center and supporting Navy ships.
“Integrating pre-mission intelligence planning tools with real-time data gathered from various airborne sensors, and analyzing the data using sophisticated real-time data analysis, the new ASIO configuration offers very high capabilities for aerial surveillance and maritime patrol” Says Ronen Factor, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Bird Aerosystems. “The new ASIO configuration is offered as a full turn-key solution that strengthen the crew’s situational awareness and leverage the effectiveness of the maritime patrol mission.”.
Together with Textron Aviation Inc., BIRD Aerosystems will present the advanced configuration of the ASIO solution installed on Textron Aviation’s Cessna Citation CJ4 aircraft. Equipped with BIRD’s ASIO solution, Textron’s CJ4 VIP transport aircraft is transformed into a sophisticated maritime patrol aircraft.
09 Jul 18. Vodafone develops drone detection system. Telecoms group seeks to diversify from mobile service into internet of things market. Vodafone has developed a drone detection system to help stop rogue devices from interfering with buildings such as power plants and prisons. The company expects the system to be fully operational by the autumn, when it plans to sell it to business customers that need to protect sensitive locations, such as airports, power stations or factories. The rising use and sophistication of unmanned aerial vehicles has raised security concerns about drones inadvertently causing security concerns or deliberately being used for malicious purposes. French officials suspect that drones were used to scout a prison in Paris before a jail break a week ago. Anne
Sheehan, Vodafone’s head of enterprise in the UK, said: “Drones can pose security risks. In the UK, we’re developing internet of things drone tracking and safety technology in a number of locations where we have important infrastructure. “We are now looking to use this technology to help our business customers in a bid to thwart drone incursions at sensitive locations. These could be energy installations, airports, prisons, military bases and public events.”
The system is based on software using CCTV cameras and sensors running on Vodafone’s internet of things network. The appearance of a drone will sound an alarm and alert both Vodafone and the customer, or its security provider, and could be used to locate the person operating the vehicle. In the race to replace declining revenues from voice calls, roaming and texting, telecoms companies have looked to the internet of things market as a substitute and drones are seen as a significant opportunity. Vodafone has 45m Sim cards installed in machines not associated with mobile phones, including smart meters, semi-autonomous cars and even in tracking equipment attached to seals. It has also met with European aviation safety authorities to position itself as a control system for professional drones in the future. Phone companies also use drones to manage and maintain their networks. They are deployed to identify the best line of sight for mobile masts, to maintain equipment on tall towers and to deliver equipment to remote locations including the Orkney Islands. Recommended Drones US loosens regulations for drone-testing programmes That can pose challenges. One drone used by BT got too close to an electricity pylon last year and had to be reset by its operator after it malfunctioned. Yet instead of coming down, the drone redirected itself to Taiwan where it had been manufactured and was later found crashed on a farm. Telecoms companies have also become frustrated at new rules introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority that could curb the use of drones. Margot James, the digital minister, was quizzed about the CAA rules at a Deloitte event last month. Adam Oliver, head of BT’s Hothouses innovation unit, argued that the regulator had become “paranoid” about the use of drones. The minister said public safety was the paramount concern but the government was enthusiastic about the further use of unmanned vehicles. “The benefits of drone technology are too great to be left to chance,” she said. (Source: FT.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.