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RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE

Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems

 

www.blighter.com

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09 Jan 20. Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) upgrades planned for Air National Guard fighters to meet Joint Emergent Operational Need. The U.S. Air Force has completed installation of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) AN/APG-83 SABR radars on Air National Guard F-16s at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, to meet a U.S. Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need (JEON) for homeland defense. This milestone event completes delivery and installation of AN/APG-83 SABR Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars in support of the USAF’s future initial operational capability declaration.

The radar upgrade of select Air National Guard F-16s extends the operational viability and reliability of that fleet while providing pilots with 5th-generation fighter radar capabilities to defend our nation’s airspace.

“The APG-83 radar provides unprecedented, active electronically scanned array (AESA) targeting and fire control capabilities to the F-16 fleet to ensure the superior effectiveness of the Air National Guard’s mission,” said Mark Rossi, director, SABR programs, Northrop Grumman. “APG-83 was specifically designed to maximize the performance of the F-16 with an affordable and scalable architecture, based upon advancements made through the introduction of Northrop Grumman’s APG-77 AESA for the F-22 Raptor and APG-81 AESA for the F-35 Lightning II.”

The greater bandwidth, speed and agility of the APG-83 enables the F-16 to detect, track and identify a greater number of targets faster and at longer ranges. In addition, it features all-weather, high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping to present the pilot with a large surface image for more precise target identification and strike compared to legacy systems.

The SABR program draws components from a mature industry supply base. More than 200 SABR systems have been built at Northrop Grumman’s radar assembly facility in Baltimore for U.S. and international customers.

09 Jan 20. Lockheed Martin invests in imaging systems developer PV Labs. Canadian aerial imaging systems developer PV Labs has received an investment from Lockheed Martin to continue developing electro-optical / infrared sensing.

The $4m investment has been secured under the Government of Canada Industrial Technological Benefits (ITB) Investment Framework Policy.

With the investment, PV Labs will be able to expand its involvement in surveillance research as it relates to its Fifth-generation Advanced Stabilization Technology (FAST) along with the development of long-range optical sensors.

The company will continue the development of a next-generation electro-optical / infrared sensor system, which will be tested and flown later this year.

Initially, the system was demonstrated with Lockheed Martin for a US defence agency last May. It will provide improved resolution at further standoff range, as well as image stabilisation.

Lockheed Martin Canada chief executive Lorraine Ben said: “This is an important investment for Lockheed Martin in a Canadian business providing innovative technology for today’s warfighter.

“We are always looking for the best opportunities to partner with local businesses and grow our global supply chain while making a substantial economic impact in Canada.”

Under the investment, the operator will receive leap ahead sensor technology from Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin’s investment supports the ITB obligations associated with Canada’s purchase and in-service support maintenance.

It is also in support of 17 CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2010.

PV Labs CEO Mark Chamberlain said: “Lockheed Martin and PV Labs have enjoyed collaborating on ground-breaking projects for over a decade, and through this ITB this relationship will continue to grow while also providing impactful jobs in the Burlington and Hamilton, Ontario, region.” (Source: naval-technology.com)

08 Jan 20. USAF to end Raytheon’s troubled contract for ground-based radar and look for new options. The US Air Force plans to cancel Raytheon’s contract for a next-generation ground-based radar after years of technical difficulties and will look for new options to replace it, a service spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“The Air Force is changing its acquisition strategy for the Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) program and will take actions to conclude its current engineering and manufacturing development contract,” said Air Force spokeswoman Patty Welsh in a statement.

“The current contractor experienced numerous technical and supplier challenges in the development of their radar that extended the schedule,” she said. “Current market research shows that due to advancements in technology, other alternatives are now available that can deliver the capability faster.”

The Air Force plans to hold an industry day on Feb. 4 at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and release a solicitation for a replacement to Raytheon’s radar “shortly” afterwards, Welsh added.

Inside Defense was the first to report the news on the program cancellation.

Raytheon won the 3DELRR contract in 2017 after a protracted battle against competitors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The system was slated to replace the AN/TPS-75 ground-based radar used to detect and track airborne targets.

The 3DELRR, as envisioned by Raytheon, was a gallium nitride-based radar that operated on the C-band, a frequency the company said was less congested.

Raytheon was first selected as the provider for 3DELRR in October 2014, but Northrop and Lockheed quickly lodged protests over the decision with the Government Accountability Office. Days before the protest window was to run out, the Air Force voluntarily announced it would re-evaluate the contract award, a move seen as a sign that the service expected the GAO to side with one of the protesting companies.

As a result, Raytheon lodged a suit against the service, one which was ultimately rejected by a U.S. court. The Air Force then relaunched the competition, with Raytheon once again nabbing the $52.6m fixed-price-incentive-firm contract for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program.

At the time of the contract award, Air Force officials indicated that a replacement to the AN/TPS-75 radar had been highly anticipated.

“We are excited about what the future holds, particularly as it relates to the performance and affordability of 3DELRR,” said Lt. Col. Michael Alexander, then the deputy program manager for 3DELRR, according to a 2017 news release. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

08 Jan 20. Saudi Arabia is developing a new counter-drone system. Saudi Arabian Military Industries is working on a new national counter-drone system to address asymmetric threats to the country and protect critical infrastructure and domestic military bases.

The new system, under development with international partners, is in the testing stage and is expected to be rolled out in the near term, SAMI CEO Andreas Schwer told Defense News.

“This system will have the ‘soft kill’ option and various types of ‘hard kill’ options to counter all types of drones from very small ones — the kind of Phantom IV type of threats — up to the professional militarized threats. Moreover, the system includes radars, command-and-control stations, and advanced networking capability,” Schwer said.

On Sept. 14, drone swarms and low-altitude cruise missiles attacked Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities. The installed air defense systems were unable to stop the assault.

Schwer explained that the new system is based on a modular concept and can be deployed as a stationery platform or as a mobile one. “We are testing the effectiveness to tailor the solution for the various applications because it makes a difference whether you put it on the borderline, civil airport, mosques or football stadium in the middle of the town, or a military site outside,” the executive explained.

Schwer confirmed the system will be available for export. (Source: Defense News)

07 Jan 20. FLIR Systems and ANSYS to Speed Thermal Camera Machine Learning for Safer Cars. FLIR to Integrate a Thermal Sensor into ANSYS’ Leading-Edge Driving Simulator to Model, Test, and Validate Thermal Imaging for Autonomous Vehicle Development. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) and ANSYS (NASDAQ: ANSS) are collaborating to deliver superior hazard detection capabilities for assisted driving and autonomous vehicles (AVs) — empowering automakers to deliver unprecedented vehicle safety. Through this collaboration, FLIR will integrate a fully physics-based thermal sensor into ANSYS’ leading-edge driving simulator to model, test, and validate thermal camera designs within an ultra-realistic virtual world. The new solution will reduce original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) development time by optimizing thermal camera placement for use with tools such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), pedestrian detection, and within future AVs.

Ansys and FLIR announced a collaboration to integrate a thermal sensor into ANSYS’ leading-edge driving simulator to model, test, and validate thermal camera designs within an ultra-realistic virtual world. Real-time thermal camera simulation allows developers to test automatic emergency braking systems and autonomous vehicles. (Photo: Business Wire)

Having the ability to test in virtual environments complements the existing systems available to FLIR customers and partners, including the FLIR automotive development kit (ADK™) featuring a FLIR Boson® thermal camera, the FLIR starter thermal dataset and the regional, city-specific thermal datasets. The FLIR thermal dataset programs were created for machine learning in advanced driver assistance development (ADAS), AEB, and AV systems.

The current AV and ADAS sensors face challenges in darkness or shadows, sun glare and inclement weather such as most fog. Thermal cameras, however, can effectively detect and classify objects in these conditions. Integrating FLIR Systems’ thermal sensor into ANSYS® VRXPERIENCE® enables simulation of thousands of driving scenarios across millions of miles in mere days. Furthermore, engineers can simulate difficult-to-produce scenarios where thermal provides critical data, including detecting pedestrians in crowded, low-contrast environments.

“By adding ANSYS’ industry-leading simulation solutions to the existing suite of tools for physical testing, engineers, automakers, and automotive suppliers can improve the safety of vehicles in all types of driving conditions,” said Frank Pennisi, President of the Industrial Business Unit at FLIR Systems. “The industry can also recreate corner cases that drivers can see every day but are difficult to replicate in physical environments, paving the way for improved neural networks and the performance of safety features such as AEB.”

“FLIR Systems’ recognizes the limitations of relying solely on gathering machine learning datasets in the physical world to make automotive thermal cameras as safe and reliable as possible for automotive uses,” said Eric Bantegnie, Vice president and General Manager at ANSYS. “Now with ANSYS solutions, FLIR can further empower automakers to speed the creation and certification of assisted-driving systems with thermal cameras.”

In addition to the city-specific data sets, FLIR has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry. FLIR has provided more than 700,000 thermal sensors as part of its night vision warning systems for a variety of carmakers, including GM, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Also, FLIR recently announced that its thermal sensor has been selected by Veoneer, a tier-one automotive supplier, for its level-four AV production contract with a top global automaker, planned for 2021.

06 Jan 20. Pakistan Navy inducts LUNA NG UAVs and second ATR-72 MPA. The PN inducted several aerial platforms on 4 January, including an ATR-72 MPA, an ATR-72 in “cargo/para-drop” configuration, and at least two LUNA NG UAVs. The Pakistan Navy (PN) inducted several aerial platforms on 4 January in a ceremony held at Naval Air Station PNS Mehran in Karachi that was also attended by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.

Among the new platforms is the second of two ATR-72 twin-engine turboprops converted into maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) by Germany-based company Rheinland Air Service (RAS) under a contract signed in 2015.

The aircraft, the type of which is known as the RAS 72 Sea Eagle, was handed over to the PN after being introduced to the general public at the Paris Air Show 2019, which was held from 17 to 23 June 2019. The PN’s first MPA of the type entered service in December 2018, also at PNS Mehran.

The PN also inducted another ATR-72 aircraft in a “cargo/para-drop role” that is expected to “provide added flexibility to special forces’ operations”, according to a statement issued by the service.

Also commissioned on 4 January were at least two LUNA NG reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from German manufacturer EMT, with Adm Abbasi being quoted as saying that these UAVs will further augment the service’s “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities in the maritime domain, especially in creeks areas and along the coastal belt”.

Meanwhile, the admiral also stated that that the PN’s plans include the acquisition of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to support maritime operations. However, no further details were provided in this regard.

The RAS 72 Sea Eagle is equipped with a long-range, active electronically scanned array (AESA) multimode radar, as well as electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensors to deliver aerial, maritime, and ground surveillance, according to RAS. (Source: Jane’s)

05 Jan 20. DroneShield announced that the United States Army has selected its wholly owned US subsidiary DroneShield LLC to advance to Phase II of Expeditionary Technology Search program (“xTechSearch”).

xTechSearch is sponsored by U.S. Army’s Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. It enables the selected private sector companies to collaborate with the Army to tackle the most critical Army modernisation challenges.

The Army xTechSearch program provides non-dilutive funding to selected private sector companies to demonstrate their technologies pertaining to Army challenges. The program also drives to integrate these businesses into the Army’s Science and Technology ecosystem by providing research opportunities with Army labs, including authorized access to the Army’s organic intellectual and technical capital.

DroneShield LLC has been selected on the basis of Artificial Intelligence/Machine learning algorithms within its drone detection products, including RfPatrolTM, RfZeroTM, RfOneTM, DroneSentinelTM and DroneSentryTM.

DroneShield’s CEO Oleg Vornik commented, “The United States Department of Defense (US DoD) has substantially the largest defence budget globally.Collaboration activities such as xTechSearch enable opportunities to be embedded into their ecosystem, with potential significant acquisitions following, as the US DoD seeks effective counterdrone solutions. This selection demonstrates cutting edge of DroneShield’s technologies on a global scale.”

02 Jan 20. Osprey 50 radar flies for the first time. Leonardo has carried out the first flight trials of its Osprey 50 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The flight trials were carried out in support of production for a strategic ISR platform and Collins Aerospace’s Tactical Synthetic Aperture Radar (TacSAR) reconnaissance system.

Osprey 50 is a new, larger-aperture variant of Leonardo’s Osprey surveillance radar designed for overland, maritime and air-to-air surveillance missions. With no moving parts, the radar can be installed on platforms that cannot house a rotating antenna.

Osprey 50 builds on Osprey 30 model which is available in fixed-panel and gimballed variants and is installed on the US Navy MQ-8C Firescout and the Norwegian AW101 SAR helicopter. (Source: Shephard)

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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.

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