Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
05 Feb 20. French Army receives first O-NYX night vision goggles. The French Army has begun receiving Thales O-NYX night vision goggles (NVGs), Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced on the website of the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA), the French armament procurement agency, on 30 January 2020. The first deliveries were to the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment (21e Régiment d’Infanterie de Marine: 21e RIMa) in Fréjus. The DGA said that the 21e RIMa and 2e Régiment Étranger d’Infanterie (2e REI) in Nîmes would receive the NVGs for the mission of units of the 6th Light Armoured Brigade (6e Brigade Légère Blindée) in Sahel at the beginning of 2020. The aim is for the DGA to receive 3,179 NVGs in 2020 and 340 in 2021. Several thousand additional NVGs are to be delivered until 2025, equipping all three armed services, the DGA added. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Feb 20. US Army Extends C-UAS Deal with SRC. The U.S. Army has awarded SRC Inc. of Cicero a $22m contract for technology that counters small, low-flying drones on the battlefield. The contract extends by six months a previous Army agreement with SRC for its counter-drone technology worth $108m. SRC’s mobile systems use radar, cameras, jamming technology and other sensors to help the Army detect, track, identify and defeat hostile drones. The Pentagon considers small, slow and low-flying drones an emerging threat to U.S. forces around the world because they are difficult to detect and can evade radar.
An Army assessment found that more than 600 types of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, were in use in more than 80 countries. The Islamic State also used small, low-flying drones in battles with U.S.-allied forces in Iraq and Syria.
SRC, a not-for-profit research and development company, has sold its counter-drone systems to the Army and Air Force since 2017.
The Cicero-based company announced plans in 2017 to double its workforce over five years by hiring about 1,000 new employees for its offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
An SRC spokeswoman said the company now employs about 1,100 people in Central New York and 1,600 worldwide.
SRC reached an agreement last year to buy a fifth office building at Beacon North Office Park in Cicero to house its growing workforce. (Source: UAS VISION/syracuse.com)
03 Feb 20. New space radar likely to go online this month. The Air Force could declare initial operational capability for its newest and most advanced radar used to track objects in space later this month, according to a report from the Department of Defense’s chief weapons tester.
The report from the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, which was released to Congress Jan. 30, claims the Air Force could declare Space Fence’s initial operational capability in February. That follows an announcement from the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Dec. 10 that the system was entering a trial period, signaling it was inching closer to being officially accepted for regular military use.
Operated by the Combined Space Operation Center, Space Fence is meant to provide space situational awareness by detecting and tracking objects in space, then feeding that data into the Air Force’s Space Surveillance Network. While the system is primarily designed to detect objects in low earth orbit, it is expected to track objects in Medium Earth Orbit and Geosynchronous Orbit as well.
By using solid-state S-band radar technology, the Lockheed Martin-built system will be able to track objects smaller than 10 centimeters, although the extent of the system’s ability is not yet clear. Experts warn that debris smaller than one centimeter can still cause damage to active satellites due to their high speeds.
Based on testing, Space Fence has already detected previously unobserved or untracked objects. The report predicts that once Space Fence is fully up and running, it will significantly expand the number of known objects in orbit.
The new radar isn’t perfect, however. Because Space Fence consists of one radar in one location—the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands—it is physically incapable of continuously tracking the smaller objects that it alone can detect.
The report further notes that while Space Fence meets accuracy requirements for objects in LEO, it has not demonstrated similar accuracy for some objects in higher orbits, including MEO and GEO.
The system has also had user-related issues, some of which have been addressed. The new system originally was not correctly planning, scheduling and conducting tasks, requiring more work on the user end for the system to work. Software patches have largely addressed that problem, according to the report. DOT&E expects to release a further report on Space Fence’s operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability in early 2020. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
04 Feb 20. CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd. – a company specializing in the field of electro-optics and IR defense and homeland security solutions – will showcase its cutting-edge systems designed for integration into a variety of counter-drone systems, at the Singapore Airshow 2020.
With today’s drones sometimes being as small as the palm of one’s hand, detection, classification and interception has become a significant challenge for defense and homeland security (HLS) officials. Once the drone has been detected, the challenge is to classify the threat with pinpoint accuracy, facilitating efficient activation of counter measures, whether jamming, interception or neutralization. New counter-drone capabilities have been implemented in a variety of CONTROP’s systems, such as the SPEED-ER system, which provides extremely long-range operations, and the SIGHT system for mobile vehicular use, while new software provides the drone identification, classification and tracking.
Suitable for installation on stationary locations or for mobile and deployed applications, the systems are slewed to the area in which a drone has been detected, and can track, automatically classify, and identify even the smallest of drones – at distances of up to several kilometers. Ideal for use in urban environments as well as airports and other strategic facilities, the multi-spectral systems incorporate day and thermal sensors, as well as Shortwave Infra-Red (SWIR) sensors. CONTROP is now offering its new software for drone classification, enabling automatic classification of drones in the video image. The advanced image-processing algorithms were specifically developed to meet challenging anti-drone scenarios, with an interface that is compatible and easy to integrate into command & control systems, and customizable to meet the customer’s exact requirements.
“The ever-growing threat of drones in asymmetric warfare is a defense and HLS challenge which requires a sophisticated response,” says Mr. Ra’anan Shelach, CONTROP’s VP Marketing. “We are proud to present our latest anti-drone solutions at the Singapore Airshow 2020. These integrated systems incorporate cutting-edge EO/IR and SWIR technologies with such advanced capabilities that they can even classify a single drone flying in a flock of birds.”
03 Feb 20. The counter-UAV Suite Xpeller, the ISR/MPR Radar PrecISR, the Airborne Missile Protection Suite AMPS, Kalaetron and the Passive Radar TwInvis are among HENSOLDT’s main exhibits at DEFEXPO 2020. One of HENSOLDT’s core competence lies in recognizing threats and protecting end users from them. At DEFEXPO 2020 in Lucknow, HENSOLDT presents its broad range of sensor solutions for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations as well as to improve the safety and operational effectiveness for Air, Land and Security domains.
In Lucknow, HENSOLDT will be presenting a very precise picture of the airspace, covered by its true passive radar system TwInvis. The system uses several transmission sources from various locations. It can also interconnect several sensors into one sensor cluster. The transmitters and the TwInvis sensors can be separated from each other at a distance of up to 100 kilometres. Unlike systems based on passive emitter tracking, requiring aircraft to emit, TwInvis does not depend on any such transmission and is thus a true passive system.
Alongside Twlnvis, HENSOLDT also displays its innovative airborne multi–function ISR radar PrecISR 1000, providing armed forces and border protection authorities with extremely high situational awareness and an extremely short reaction time. The software-defined radar translates latest achievements in active array antennas (GaN-based AESA tiles) and digital receiver technology into a scalable high-performance sensor which can be installed aboard helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and fixed-wing mission aircraft.
Also on display is HENSOLDT’s Airborne Missile Protection System (AMPS), a ﬂexible and modular self-protection suite, comprising of a 3rd-generation UV technology-based missile warning system, a laser warning system with beam rider capabilities, the fully digital, modular and scalable radar warning receiver Kalaetron, and countermeasures. The system offers optimal weight, power and price performance for airborne platforms. The modularity of Kalaetron allows seamless scaling-up of RWR to ESM and ELINT in the future by adding additional components.
HENSOLDT is showcasing its counter-UAV system Xpeller for 24/7 protection from illicit intrusions of UAVs over critical areas – even at long ranges – offering a low false alarm rate and high probability of interception. The system is highly modular and combines numerous sensors (radar, electro-optics, direction finders) and target neutralization effectors like jammers and drone catchers through a single Command and Control system (C2), enabling all agencies to carry out their individual requirements but analyse and respond collectively.
03 Feb 20. Malaysia to convert two CN-235 transports into maritime patrol aircraft. Malaysia is set to convert two PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) CN-235 transports into maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs).
General Affendi Buang, the chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces, told Jane’s on 31 January that the mission systems on the two aircraft will be provided by the United States under the Pentagon’s Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), but provided no further details.
Jane’s understands that the mission suite is likely to include the Merlin maritime surveillance system developed by Oregon-based Integrated Surveillance and Defense, Inc (ISD). This system has been installed on three CN-235s, two of which are in service with the Indonesian Navy, the other operated by the Indonesian Air Force.
The Merlin mission equipment includes a maritime surveillance radar, an electro-optical sensor turret, and an electronic support measures system.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF’s) No 1 Squadron operates seven CN-235s in the transport and utility roles.
Gen Affendi said work to upgrade the two CN-235s is expected to begin later this year, probably at PTDI’s facilities in Bandung, Java, where the company is carrying out a service-life extension programme for the RMAF’s CN-235s as part of a maintenance, repair, and overhaul contract signed in April 2018.
Two more of these platforms could also be converted into MPAs providing more funding from the MSI programme is approved.
The option to convert the transports into MPAs was part of a USD30m contract with PTDI but this has so far not been exercised due to lack of funds. PTDI initially offered the Thales Airborne Maritime Situation and Control System (AMASCOS) and sensors for the MPA conversion programme.
Malaysia ordered eight CN-235s in 1998 and deliveries were completed in 2001. One aircraft was written off after it ditched in the sea in February 2016. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 20. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) µSASTM (pronounced “micro-sas”) will be integrated onto L3Harris Technologies’ Iver4 Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) for a 12-month test period for the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU) Next Generation Small-Class UUV program.
The µSAS is a Low-SWaP (size, weight and power), high-performance interferometric synthetic aperture sonar that enables longer sorties and higher area coverage rates for UUV missions. Integrated onto a 9-inch diameter, 99-inch long, 200-pound UUV, the installation will occur at L3Harris’ Fall River, Massachusetts facility and the system will be tested in San Diego, California by the U.S. Navy. The integration of synthetic aperture sonar on a small diameter UUV is a significant step forward in small class vehicle capability.
“The Northrop Grumman µSAS advanced imaging sonar is a minehunting force multiplier designed specifically for UUVs,” said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. “This integration will help to deliver a significant increase in the platform’s ability to detect objects on the seafloor and in the water column.”
“The Iver4, integrated with µSAS, is a major advancement in small-class UUV capability for the warfighter,” said Daryl Slocum, president and general manager, unmanned maritime systems, L3Harris.
28 Jan 20. IAI/ELTA tests Drone Guard counter UAS solution at major airports. Israeli manufacturer ELTA Systems reports successful testing of its Drone Guard counter UAS system at several large international airports in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia. The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary carried out the tests during airports’ daily routine operating hours to observe how the system would detect the drones and neutralize them without hindering any flights or alarming passengers in the terminal area. The equipment is already in use, providing counter drone capability at events such as the G20 meeting in Argentina in 2019. It was also demonstrated against hostile drones, UASs, USVs and other airborne and surface threats at the REP(MUS) 19 NATO exercise in Portugal.
Drone Guard system is a transportable drone detection, tracking, identification and disruption system centred around an integrated multi-layered sensor system. Equipment includes 3D X-band radar that detects and tracks all types of drones; dedicated COMINT system that classifies the drone by its transmission (using the information to verify the target and reduce false detection rates); an EO/IR camera used to classify the detected object; and a Jammer that neutralizes and intercepts the object. All the sensors are managed by a unified command and control unit. The solution is designed not to interfere with or interrupt the airport’s normal operation and can operate in tandem with radio transmitting systems such as radars and communication systems.
For more information visit:
www.iai.co.il/iai-elta-successfully-tests-anti-drone-solution (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
31 Jan 20. Cranfield University BVLOS test flights benefit from holographic radar. The UK National Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Experimentation Corridor (NBEC), which extends 10 miles from Cranfield University airport to Blue Bear Systems Research Twinwoods test site near Oakley, now features holographic radar surveillance supplied by Aveillant, a wholly owned Thales company. The flight corridor is designed to test BVLOS flights in a safe, managed environment for unmanned aircraft experimentation, working towards a range of uses, including for the emergency services and medical industries.
NBEC is the result of a collaboration between Cranfield University, Blue Bear Systems Research, Thales and Vodafone to enable trial operations to pave the way for unsegregated flight operations.
Aveillant’s radars are already used to detect drones at several international airports, to prevent unmanned systems from entering the flight path. This same radar technology is now being applied by NBEC, with Aveillant’s Gamekeeper Radar successfully tested over the last month at Blue Bear’s facility. Holographic Radar system differs from traditional mechanically scanned radars and electronically scanned systems, requiring only a very narrow bandwidth to digitise the entire volume of airspace it sees. Dr Dominic Walker, Chief Executive Officer at Aveillant explains: “The radar successfully detected and tracked a number of different drones, with excellent correlation between the detected and real tracks. This test proves and de-risks the technology which will underpin the NBEC airspace monitoring.”
NBEC is the UK’s first national testing facility. The CAA selected NBEC along with the Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC), also under construction at Cranfield, as one of six companies selected to join the CAA ‘Innovation Sandbox’. NBEC’s test centre will be opening for use by the aerospace industry in summer 2020. Director of Aerospace at Cranfield, Professor Iain Gray, said: “NBEC is a national asset that will help unlock the potential of a modernised UK airspace. The key to future drone operations is not segregation, but full integration, ensuring fair and equitable use of airspace.”
For more information visit:
www.cranfield.ac.uk (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
31 Jan 20. RAAF C-130J trials Litening sensor pod. A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules aircraft has begun flight trials equipped with a Northrop Grumman Litening sensor pod. Mounted on a pylon underneath the aircraft wing, the AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening pod is capable of recording video in day and night-time conditions, and includes a Forward Looking Infrared camera.
The pod is being trialled to explore its ability to improve crew situational awareness for different missions, such as helping crew maintain contact with survivors during search and rescue operations, or examine conditions at an airfield or drop zone prior to delivering cargo or personnel.
The trial will also pair the Litening pod with a satellite communications antenna on the Hercules, which is expected to allow high-definition video to be shared with ground-based units or headquarters.
Air Commodore Carl Newman, Commander Air Mobility Group, said: ‘Sharing this information would have applications during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
‘A Hercules could deliver relief cargo following a cyclone, then immediately take off and record video showing the extent of storm damage to local communities and infrastructure. That information could be streamed live to local governments, emergency services and other agencies, allowing for quicker decision-making about follow-on relief missions.’
Flight trials are being conducted from RAAF Base Richmond by No 37 Squadron and the Aircraft Research and Development Unit, with support from the Air Warfare Engineering Squadron. The pod and pylon was integrated by Airbus Australia Pacific with assistance from Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. (Source: Shephard)
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.