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RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE

Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems

www.blighter.com

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11 Feb 20. At Singapore Air Show, HENSOLDT and MyDefence announced their cooperation on a delivery of a counter-UAS system for an unnamed Southeast Asian customer. The system will be integrated into anti-drone vehicles to monitor the challenging airspace of urban environments. The order marks another chapter in the success story of HENSOLDT’s modular counter-UAS system Xpeller and MyDefence’ robust RF-sensors and C2-system.

“Drones are becoming smaller and smaller. In an urban environment, where potential targets are grouped closely together, monitoring the airspace to detect unmanned threats and take action is a crucial and challenging task,” explains Markus Wolf, Head of Sales and Business Development at HENSOLDT Ventures. “Our modular approach enables us to easily join forces with partners like MyDefence to offer the customer a perfectly tailored solution for his needs.”

The system for the civilian customer consists of one unit of HENSOLDT’s Spexer 360 radar. MyDefence from Denmark adds their networked Watchdog 200 Direction Finding radio frequency drone detector (WD200) as well as the command and control alarm system. The system will be used in an urban environment, a new challenge for the counter-UAS solution. The counter-UAS suite allows the user to see a threat detected by the system on a map with an overlay of chosen zones. An alarm is instantly displayed on the server screen.

“Since 2014 we have worked extensively to mature our RF sensing capabilities to detect, classify and locate drones in urban environments, where the wireless spectrum is heavily congested from various types of wireless signals,” says Dan Hermansen, CEO at MyDefence. “Through our cooperation with prisons, stadiums and police forces we have created a best-in-class solution that works as stand-alone as well as in larger solutions like Xpeller”.

HENSOLDT’s modular Xpeller system proved its performance several times in 2019, monitoringthe G7 Summit in Biarritz, protecting Paris Air Show in Le Bourget and securing the French national parade on the 14th of July in Paris. MyDefence’ RF sensors have been in operational use since 2015 for military and civilian customers, and in largest numbers it has protected soldiers in the US Army at both rural and urban conflict areas.

11 Feb 20. Singapore Airshow 2020: TRD Singapore unveils Orion H+ portable C-UAS system. TRD Singapore, a locally based developer specialising in the design and manufacture of counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) technology, has taken the opportunity at the Singapore Airshow 2020 to launch its new Orion H+ lightweight C-UAS jammer.

According to company specifications, the Orion H+ is a portable and IP65-rated ruggedised system that weighs less than 6 kg without its optional scope. It is powered by a hot swappable 22.2V 5000 mAh lithium polymer (Li-Po) battery that supports over 60 minutes of continuous operation or up to 48 hours of standby runtime.

Sam Ong, managing director of TRD Singapore, told Jane’s that he believes the Orion H+ is the first of its type in the world to be capable of disrupting up to six radio frequency (RF) bands including the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) RF bands of 433 MHz, 915 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz as well as other specified global navigation satellite system (GNSS) frequencies – such as Beidou, GLONASS, and GPS – at ranges of up to 1,000 m depending on the type of UAS being intercepted.

The Orion H+ offers an angle of coverage of between 30 and 35° directly ahead of the operator, and comprises up to six jammer modules that each offer a rated power output between 3-5 W. Each module can be individually triggered, although the system can also activate all six modules simultaneously.

“The coverage is effective against most widely used commercial and DIY [do-it-yourself] drones and even military class [UASs],” said Ong. “ORION-H+ is designed to disrupt the remote control, telemetry, video link and GNSS transmissions and [triggers] their automatic landing or return home protocols in less than 20 seconds.” (Source: Jane’s)

10 Feb 20. Thales and MKU to develop ELFIE night vision device for armed forces. Thales and defence company MKU have agreed to co-develop the ELFIE night vision device (NVD) for armed forces in India and the world. Announced on the sidelines of DefExpo 2020, the development further solidifies the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the companies in 2018 with regard to strategic co-operation on developing optronic devices.

Under the latest agreement, the ELFIE devices will be co-developed at MKU’s facility located in Kanpur in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The first pre-series of ELFIE integration at the facility is slated for completion in the first half of this year. Thales noted that a true model of the ‘Made in India’ ELFIE device is expected to be available next year.

Thales International Development senior executive vice-president Pascale Sourisse said: “We are enthusiastic about taking our strategic association forward with MKU with the co-development of ELFIE. This embodies the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Coming up in the Defence Industrial Corridor of Uttar Pradesh, this versatile night vision device will be offered to the armed forces in India, as well as across the world.”

ELFIE is a lightweight monocular and has the widest field of view. It provides better mobility and night combat capability. The device is ideal for vehicle drivers, paratroopers and special forces operators. It is suitable for left or right eye use and provides stereoscopic vision in a binocular configuration. When mounted on a weapon, ELFIE provides a red dot sight or laser pointer.

MKU managing director Neeraj Gupta said: “This association will combine Thales’ expertise with the manufacturing abilities of MKU and boost local manufacturing for the defence industry. We will develop the entire supply chain and the devices will be manufactured to exacting international standards.”

Last month, Thales and its partners secured a contract amendment from the French defence procurement agency Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) on the SCORPION programme. (Source: army-technology.com)

08 Feb 20. USAF wasted $17m on unneeded, never-delivered weather sensors for Reaper drone, IG finds. Over an seven-year period, the Air Force paid $17.7m to a company to improve the MQ-9 Reaper’s ability to measure weather data, which it thought could have helped it track how fast ice is building up on its wings in-flight and avoid crashes.

Except no such weather support capabilities were ever delivered, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released Friday — or even needed. And the money — which came from overseas contingency operations funding and not through the usual appropriations process — was wasted.

The Air Force thought such weather-tracking capability would have helped the Reaper and its predecessor, the now-retired MQ-1 Predator, operate in ice and extreme wind, the IG said in its report, “Evaluation of Weather Support Capabilities for the MQ-9 Reaper.”

When the Reaper was designed and built, the IG said, it had limited ability to track the weather. The analog sensors measuring outside air temperature and wind speed and a sensor that detected ice buildup once the ice exceeded a certain level were not enough, the IG said. And after a series of costly weather-related crashes involving Predators and Reapers, the Air Force funded a study to find better weather sensors for the drones.

The Air Force funded that project between fiscal 2010 and 2016, the IG said — but it went about it in entirely the wrong way. It used OCO funding, which typically goes to pay for wartime operations, when it should have been funded with research, development, test and evaluation funds. And when OCO funding was cut, the Air Force in 2016 pulled funding for the Reaper’s weather project.

What’s worse, the Air Force later decided that the sensor wasn’t needed at all.

Originally, the weather sensor and software was being developed for both the Reaper and the slower, less-capable Predator. But the Predator, which was retired in December 2018, accounted for six of the nine weather-related Class A mishaps that led the Air Force to decide such a sensor was necessary. And the Reaper’s three weather mishaps would not have been prevented by the sensor.

The Air Force never validated the requirement for the capabilities, which could have figured out in advance that this sensor wouldn’t have helped.

“As a result, the Air Force wasted $17.7m dollars in OCO funding developing a capability that was never delivered,” the IG said. “Had the Air Force A2/6 [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations] followed appropriate acquisition processes, it could have used the $17.7m on other Air Force OCO requirements.”

The IG recommended the Air Force chief of staff review the actions of the ISR personnel who were responsible for this project, and decide if they “should be held accountable for wasting resources on capabilities that were being developed without validated requirements” and which didn’t result in a usable system.

The Air Force’s assistant deputy chief of staff for ISR and cyber effects operations disagreed, and said the IG should conduct further interviews and review more documents. The IG said it was not satisfied by the additional documents it was provided, and is still seeking more answers.

The IG also said the Air Force’s auditor general should review how the service’s components use OCO funding to develop projects, to make sure they aren’t used for capabilities that aren’t needed, or could be cut off due to shortages in OCO funding. The Air Force agreed, and said a follow-up audit should be completed by the end of September.

And the Air Force should share the results of its MQ-9 weather study with other services that use the Reaper, the IG said. The Air Force agreed. (Source: Airforce Times)

08 Feb 20. New cybersecurity system protects networks with LIDAR, no not that LiDAR. When it comes to identifying early cyber threats, it’s important to have laser-like precision. Mapping out a threat environment can be done with a range of approaches, and a team of researchers from Purdue University created a new system for just such applications. They are calling that approach LIDAR, or “lifelong, intelligent, diverse, agile and robust.”

This is not to be confused with LiDAR, for Light Detection and Ranging, a kind of remote sensing system that uses laser pulses to measure distances from the sensor. The light-specific LiDAR, sometimes also written LIDAR, is a valuable tool for remote sensing and mapping, and features prominently in the awareness tools of self-driving vehicles.

Purdue’s LIDAR, instead, is a kind of architecture for network security. It can adapt to threats, thanks in part to its ability to learn three ways. These include supervised machine learning, where an algorithm looks at unusual features in the system and compares them to known attacks. An unsupervised machine learning component looks through the whole system for anything unusual, not just unusual features that resemble attacks. These two machine-learning components are mediated by a rules-based supervisor.

“One of the fascinating things about LIDAR is that the rule-based learning component really serves as the brain for the operation,” said Aly El Gamal, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering. “That component takes the information from the other two parts and decides the validity of a potential attack and necessary steps to move forward.”

By knowing existing attacks, matching to detected threats, and learning from experience, this LIDAR system can potentially offer a long-term solution based on how the machines themselves become more capable over time.

Aiding the security approach, said the researchers, is the use of a “novel curiosity-driven honeypot,” which can like a carnivorous pitcher plant lure attackers and then trap them where they will do no harm. Once attackers are trapped, it is possible the learning algorithm can incorporate new information about the threat, and adapt to prevent future attacks making it through.

The research team behind this LIDAR approach is looking to patent the technology for commercialization. In the process, they may also want to settle on a less-confusing moniker. Otherwise, we may stumble into a future where users securing a network of LiDAR sensors with LIDAR have to enact an entire “Who’s on First?” routine every time they update their cybersecurity. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

10 Feb 20. SKYLOCK’s DRONELOCK Drone Interception System. SKYLOCK – part of the Avnon Group, and an anti-drone provider of solutions for governments, critical infrastructures and HLS organizations – is highlighting the DRONELOCK system for locating, detecting and neutralizing drones using an interception drone at the Singapore Airshow 2020.

Integrated into a robust, small, fast-flying drone, DRONELOCK is highly responsive and easy to maneuver, providing a solution in situations where a hostile drone cannot be neutralized by electronic blocking. Once an unauthorized drone has been detected via radar, DRONELOCK is rapidly deployed to intercept the moving target and remove the threat. Using an array of built-in sensors on approach, the drone-against-drone system tracks the moving target, locking onto it and disabling it by means of collision. The DRONELOCK can also be mounted onto vehicles to provide protection of larger areas.

“We are proud of the unique solution developed by SKYLOCK for the protection of borders and strategic facilities against modern-day threats,” says Aviad Matza, SKYLOCK’s CEO. “The DRONELOCK system also enables interception of moving targets, providing protection of wide areas from hostile drones that are pre-programmed and cannot be jammed. It is also effective in intercepting swarms of drones – by launching several systems to intercept multiple targets.”

Operational both day and night, DRONELOCK offers advanced, effective 360° simultaneous detection coverage of up to 200 targets. The electro-mechanically modular system provides observation, detection, recognition and identification of drones at distances of up to 2.5km, while the electro-mechanical, modular electro-optical system provides has a range of up to 4km. This MIL Standard system, which is capable of destroying drones with a laser burner at a range of up to 800m, also features a RF jammer comprised of several jamming antennas, used to jam the frequency range of the target drone’s RC and video links. (Source: UAS VISION)

10 Feb 20. RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. unveils MicroLite – a lightweight, EO/IR sensor for airborne Wide-Area Persistent Surveillance missions. MicroLite joins RAFAEL’s family of advanced aerial electro-optical systems that includes the Litening advanced targeting pod, of which over 1700 Systems have been operationally fielded world-wide, the RecceLite real-time Digital ISR pod, the Toplite EO/IR System, and more.

MicroLite is an innovative, compact, lightweight EO/IR Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) system, for small aerial platforms such as UAVs, manned aircraft, aerostats and observation balloons.

By simultaneous scanning with a high-resolution MWIR and Visual HD color sensors, MicroLite enables 24/7 Wide-Area Persistent Surveillance. In addition, MicroLite may be equipped with a LASER designator for sensor-to-shooter loop closure. Certain ground-breaking technologies have been developed and integrated into MicroLite to enable these capabilities in a miniaturized form-factor.

MicroLite applies a gimballed-turret design, which enables horizon-to-horizon field of regard. The system also includes an onboard data processing and storage unit for real-time advanced image processing. An advanced suite of cyber defenses is applied.

By continuously monitoring a large area, MicroLite creates a wide footprint, by which the entire area is continuously revisited at a very high rate, enabling simultaneous high-resolution tracking and investigation of multiple targets, including small targets. All video products and analytics are geographically anchored and simultaneously disseminated to multiple clients.

First of its kind, RAFAEL’s MicroLite has been integrated onto the Orbiter-4 UAV by Aeronautics, to begin flight tests. This is the first example of the tight synergy created by a RAFAEL product and an Aeronautics platform, after RAFAEL acquired Aeronautics last year. RAFAEL will present MicroLite at the Singapore Air Show at RAFAEL’s booth.

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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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