Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
20 Feb 20. Streamlight® Inc., a leading provider of high-performance lighting and weapon light/laser sighting devices, announced it has improved the output of four of its TLR® high lumen (HL) gun-mounted lights, including the TLR-1 HL®; the TLR-2 HL®; the TLR-2 HL® G, and the TLR-1 HPL®. Each model now delivers 1,000 lumens of blinding white light.
“Tactical users and outdoor enthusiasts alike will appreciate the increased brightness of these rugged, yet compact and lightweight TLR models,” said Streamlight President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Sharrah. “The TLR-1 HL, TLR-2 HL and TLR-2 HL G are designed to provide full situational awareness, offering a wide beam pattern that is similar to a floodlight for a variety of tactical maneuvers such as clearing a dark room, searching alleys, or other outdoor uses. The high performance TLR-1 HPL also functions as a high lumen light, while delivering a brighter hotspot which puts more light on a target at a distance.”
In addition to their enhanced lumen capability, the TLR-1 HL, TLR-2 HL, and TLR-2 HL G also now offer 20,000 candela and a 283-meter beam distance, while the TLR-1 HPL provides 60,000 candela and a 490-meter beam distance. Each light has a continuous run time of 1.5 hours. The TLR-2 HL also is equipped with a 640-660 nanometer integrated red aiming laser for long-range targeting, while the TLR-2 HL G features a 510-530 nanometer green aiming laser to improve focusing on targets, particularly in daylight.
The upgraded lights feature the latest in LED technology, including a shock-proof high-power LED. All four models also feature strobing capability, offering the added benefit of being able to signal in the field or disorient targets.
The enhanced TLR models can be quickly and safely attached to most weapons, without the need for users to put their hands in front of the muzzle. They mount directly to all MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) rails and handguns with Glock-style rails, and offer highly accurate sight repeatability when remounting. A key kit with six interchangeable keys is included to securely fit each light to the broadest array of rails.
All of the models are fabricated from 6000 series machined aluminum, feature impact-resistant construction and have been extensively live-fired tested. They each use two included 3-volt, CR123A lithium batteries.
The TLR-1 HL weighs 4.32 ounces with batteries, while the TLR-2 HL and the TLR-2 HL G both weigh 4.88 ounces with batteries; all three lights measure 3.39 inches in length. The TLR-1 HPL weighs 5.6 – 5.9 ounces and measures 4.83 – 5.25 inches with batteries, using a standard or remote switch, respectively.
The TLR-1 HL and TLR-1 HPL are IPX7 rated for waterproof operation to 1 meter for 30 minutes, while the TLR-2 HL and TLR-2 HL G offer an IPX4 rated design for water-resistant operation.
The TLR-1 HL, TLR-2 HL, TLR-2 HL G, and TLR-1 HPL have MSRPs that range from $243 to $634. Each light comes with Streamlight’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.
19 Feb 20. Augmented reality headset stands out in US Army 2021 budget request. The Army’s budgeting process has endured shakeups over the past few years thanks to the zero-based budgeting process called “night court” — and the 2021 $178bn request is no different.
But with an increased focus on modernization, this year’s request has a clear standout: the initial fielding of augmented-reality infused night goggles called IVAS.
Lt. Gen. Thomas Horlander, Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) said at an Association of the U.S. Army event Feb. 18 that such tech investments were key to the “deterrence factor.”
“We’ve done a pretty vast redistribution of funding within that [research, development and acquisition] portfolio,” Horlander told reporters following the event. “It’s the deterrence factor. Nobody goes and picks a fight with a guy they know they can’t beat up,” he said. “So to have all these capabilities at a good state of maturity, that’s what we’ve got to achieve.”
The Army wants to procure 40,219 Integrated Visual Augmentation System units that overly data, including map displays and simulated images for training. The heads up display is also connected to a soldier’s weapon sensor onto a single platform that also combines individual assessment and biometrics information.
Those units are expected to go to 100,000 close combat forces, Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, the Army’s budget director told reporters Feb. 11, who will use IVAS in the course of their normal training events.
The Army has been testing and developing the system since 2018 and no units are slated to be purchased in fiscal 2020. The final version of the heads up display, based on the Microsoft Hololens 2, will likely be fielded by the end of fiscal 2021.
Such tech investment is largely dependent on other transaction agreements, a mechanism that allows DOD to quickly buy technology. IVAS is an OTA product and a process that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said ultimately saves money.
“Contractually it is a little more latitude to work with a contractor to study through prototyping the types of characteristics you want because they may have a better way of getting to the outcome than we want so we were doing this with the IVAS program, we are doing this on our next generation squad weapon,” McCarthy said during a Feb. 15 speaking event at the National Press Club.
“So we tried doing it the old way and…we missed pretty big, but we learned a lot. We spent $23m instead of spending $2.3bn like we would have done a decade ago.”
The Army’s research, development, and acquisition portfolio for fiscal 2021 rose slightly (0.3%) but cuts were also made on the tech side.
More than $30m was cut from the Distributed Common Grounds Systems, an intelligence-based system that helps commanders visualize the operational environments and better understand threats and other relevant aspects of the operational environment, for procurement (20.6m) and research ($10.5m) due to a program delay.
Smaller cuts to research dollars for defensive cyber operations ($26,000) and procurement funds for defensive cyber tools ($1.7m) were due to schedule or operational needs “allowing for program delay.” The Army also asked for $11.7m less in procurement funds for its web-based battlefield encryption program, Key Management Infrastructure, because it has sufficient quantities.
The Army’s biggest increases go to personnel pay raises at 4.8% followed by 3.6% in operations and maintenance. But Horlander said that $178bn ask needs to increase at least 3% every year to keep pace with readiness needs.
Horlander said comprehensive audits, and “deep dives” like the night court process, should be standard to ensure taxpayer money is being well spent, but there will be friction in coming years when more than 30 of the Army’s signature modernization programs enter prototyping — unless the budget increases at least 3% every year.
“There are some real difficult decisions on the horizon,” Horlander said. “Some of these modernization programs, when we start to pilot them, then we start to want to field them, that’s when we’re going to see some really tough decisions made.”
There are 34 signature programs. Most of them, if not all of them, are on a very good course,” with prototypes scheduled to come out in 2023 and fielded in 2025.
The Army said it had $1.4bn reforms savings that matched the Pentagon’s requirements and had more than $1bn in other savings thanks to the recently adopted zero-budgeting or night court process. The Army said its cost-savings were reinvested and used to fund the Cross Functional Teams’ modernization efforts, such as network and soldier lethality capabilities like IVAS. (Source: Defense Systems)
19 Feb 20. Israeli Navy close to completing radar upgrades for ships. The Israeli Navy is set to complete all radar upgrades on its Sa’ar 4.5 and Sa’ar 5 ships in less than a year, a senior naval official has told Jane’s. The navy is currently upgrading its Sa’ar 4.5s with the IAI Elta ELM-2258 Advanced Lightweight Phased Array (ALPHA) radar. This is an active electronically scanned array (AESA) S-band system with a rotating antenna that was designed for the relatively small ships.
Two of the three Sa’ar 5 corvettes are also receiving the ALPHA. One was seen with the new radar during Exercise ‘Mighty Waves’ in August 2019.
The third Sa’ar 5, INS Lahav , has already been fitted with the larger ELM-2248 MF-Star radar, providing a testbed for the systems that will be installed on the new Sa’ar 6 ships being built in Germany. The senior officer said this radar might be swapped for an ALPHA, but a final decision has yet to be taken.
“We will soon complete the ALPHA installations. This will give us an ability to deal with very complex aerial threats and to view them in high resolution, distinguishing between all sorts of targets,” the source said.
Meanwhile, personnel from the navy’s Weapons Systems Department are working to make the radar cross section of the Sa’ar 6 ships “as small as possible”, the source said.
This effort is informed by the navy’s ongoing threat assessment, which views the proliferation of advanced coastal anti-ship missiles as a significant threat. Syria has Russian-made Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missiles that are launched by its Bastion coastal systems, while Iran has been transferring anti-ship missiles to militant groups, including the Lebanese Hizbullah.
“It has changed the rules of the game,” the source said, referring to the missile proliferation. “The navy used to train for navy-to-navy battles. That is still seen as very significant scenario, but now, because there are many shore-to-sea missiles spread out in all sorts of countries in the area, an [enemy] organisation does not need to maintain a fleet.” (Source: Jane’s)
19 Feb 20. Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking and recording sub-systems (www.cambridgepixel.com), has been selected by Hanwha Systems, a South Korean defence company, to supply its advanced SPx radar technology for installation on the Republic of Korea Navy’s fleet of Chamsuri II-class patrol boats and FFX-II frigates. Engineers at Hanwha Systems in Gumi City, South Korea needed advanced and field-proven radar processing components – including radar acquisition, radar display, radar scan conversion, radar distribution and radar recording – for the development of its latest multi-function display console, the FFX-B2.
It was vital that the software modules provided by Cambridge Pixel could be built into Hanwha’s own application code thereby enabling Hanwha’s development team to deliver a native solution to the Korean Navy which can be maintained and supported locally. Cambridge Pixel will supply Hanwha Systems with radar interfacing and distribution capability for a number of different radar types, along with software for radar scan conversion, network distribution and multi-channel radar recording. Each FFX-B2 display console will be equipped with Cambridge Pixel’s radar scan conversion software to convert the polar format network data into a PPI image, which is presented with application graphics as part of the multi-function console display. By using Cambridge Pixel’s world class off-the-shelf SPx radar components, Hanwha Systems will reduce the development time for its new console and save money. Furthermore, the software modules selected will deliver all the functionality needed for this programme and provide access to new features as the software is updated.
David Johnson, CEO, Cambridge Pixel, said: “We are delighted to continue our well-established relationship with Hanwha Systems for the supply of radar processing components. We have been working with Hanwha now for nearly ten years and they regard our engineers as an extension to their own development team.
“Our aim is to give partners, such as Hanwha, flexibility and control over the project by supplying our hardware-agnostic C++ software modules from our SPx library for integration with their own systems.”
Chamsuri II-class (project name PKX-B) patrol boats are a new, smaller, class (230-tons) of South Korean Navy patrol boats intended to replace the aging Chamsuri-class vessels built for the navy in the 1970s. FFX-II, an improved variant of Incheon-class (FFX-I) frigates, is intended to replace the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy’s ageing fleet of corvettes and frigates.
SPx is Cambridge Pixel’s integrated radar processing and display software based on COTS software and Open Standards. The SPx suite of software libraries and applications provide highly flexible, ready-to-run software products for radar scan conversion, visualisation, radar video distribution, target tracking, sensor fusion, plot extraction and clutter processing.
Cambridge Pixel’s radar technology is used in naval, air traffic control, vessel traffic, commercial shipping, security, surveillance and airborne radar applications. Its systems have been implemented in mission-critical applications with companies such as BAE Systems, Frontier Electronic Systems, Blighter Surveillance Systems, Exelis, Hanwha Systems, Kelvin Hughes, Lockheed Martin, Navtech Radar, Raytheon, Saab Sensis, Royal Thai Air Force, Sofresud and Tellumat.
18 Feb 20. Rafael’s Drone Dome intercepts targets with new laser technology. Rafael has completed a demonstration of its Drone Dome C-UAS in which it intercepted several manoeuvring UAVs using its hard-kill laser beam director.
The C-UAS achieved a 100% success rate in all test scenarios.
The Drone Dome is fully operational and is already deployed around the world offering modular infrastructure with electronic jammers and sensors which can provide detection, full identification and neutralisation of UAV threats. It is in use for the protection of both military and high-risk civilian sites such as airports and border zones.
According to Rafael, the Drone Dome is unique in its capability to integrate laser technology with C4I functions to allow locking and hard-kill. This laser can be fitted to the ground station control vehicle. (Source: Shephard)
19 Feb 20. DGS Announces Drone Detecting Surveillance Radar. Dynamite Global Strategies, Inc (DGS) announced a new series of drone surveillance radar sensor and information systems in the DroneMaster Anti-Drone Counter-UAS System family that can detect Class 1 and Class 2 drones in low-altitude airspace.
The new DSR-3X Drone Surveillance Radar offers advanced 3D radar capabilities to detect, track, classify and respond to security threats posed by aircraft in low-level airspace, along with humans, animals, and vehicles on the ground. It covers 360-degree field of view— detecting, tracking, classifying, and responding to intruders with an unprecedented detection range of up to 15 km, including the drone detection of Class 1 and Class 2 drones at 5 km range. It also measures the elevations of 2D tracks in real-time.
“DroneMaster Anti-Drone Counter-UAS System has been an effective counter drone solution for our customers. Combined with a series of drone detection sensors and countermeasures, it has been used primarily for surveilling and responding to low-altitude airborne threats. Since we have seen an expansion in the use of drones, we decided to expand our family of products to respond to the evolving threats posed by commercial drones,” said Daniel Chou, CEO of DGS. “Going beyond most current ground surveillance radars, our new DSR-3X Drone Surveillance Radar can monitor low-altitude airspace for drones, while simultaneously monitoring the ground for other threats. This means DSR-3X can also track the human controllers of drones, making it possible to interdict and investigate intrusion events like never before. This added capability will make the DroneMaster family even stronger.”
The DSR-3X Drone Surveillance Radar is built on the latest technology of high resolution radar imaging and able to detect swarms of drones. Each of the surveillance sensors allows customers to enhance situational awareness at critical sites. All platforms can be integrated with existing EO/IR cameras, video management systems, physical security information management systems, asset management systems, and other security assets. (Source: UAS VISION)
18 Feb 20. Streamlight®, Inc., a leading provider of high-performance lighting, launched the Waypoint® 300, a rechargeable high lumen, pistol grip spotlight with enhanced down-range lighting capability.
Featuring 270,000 candela, a 1,039-meter beam distance, and 1,000 lumens on high, the Waypoint 300’s powerful long-range targeting beam is portable and runs for 3.75 to 87 hours on high, medium, low, respectively.
“The Waypoint 300 not only features extreme brightness, but also includes a beam that reaches over 1,000 meters,” said Streamlight Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Michael F. Dineen. “It can be used as either a handheld mobile searchlight, or, with its integrated stand, as a hands-free scene light to illuminate a scene. It’s the ideal spotlight for boating, camping and other outdoor pursuits, as well as for first responder and law enforcement applications.”
The Waypoint 300 uses power LED technology and a deep-dish parabolic reflector for long-range targeting with optimum peripheral illumination. On the medium setting, the light offers offers 550 lumens, 135,000 candela, and a 735-meter beam distance. On low, the light provides 35 lumens and 10,000 candela, with a beam distance of 200 meters.
The new light uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery that fully charges in four hours. A convenient LED charging indicator provides charging status.
The rugged Waypoint 300 features an unbreakable polycarbonate lens and is O-ring sealed. With a trigger-style switch for momentary or click on/off operation, the light boasts a cushioned handle grip that eliminates user hand fatigue. The light includes an adjustable, high-strength wrist lanyard, and features an integrated stand for hands-free lighting.
The lightweight Waypoint 300 weighs 1.52 pounds and measures 6.75 inches long by 7.14 inches high. It features an IPX8-rated design for waterproof operation to two meters, and is impact-resistant to one meter.
The Waypoint 300 is available in black and yellow and has an MSRP of $214.20. It comes with Streamlight’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.
17 Feb 20. The U.S. Army recently awarded LONGBOW Limited Liability Company (LBL), a joint venture of Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), a five-year sustainment indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for up to $235.8m to provide post production support services for the AH-64 Apache helicopter AN/APG-78 LONGBOW Fire Control Radar (FCR) to international customers.
The IDIQ contract value is estimated over five years and now provides tailorable services as individual orders for foreign military sales customers. Post-production sustainment services include program and logistics management, repair of system modules as required, replenishment of depot parts, field engineering support, and operator and maintainer training for AH-64D and AH-64E configurations.
“With a tailored sustainment approach, customers have the flexibility to add services as needed based on fleet demands,” said Jim Messina, LBL president and Lockheed Martin program director. “This contract also enhances LBL’s agility to achieve our customers’ sustainability requirements.”
The sustainment IDIQ contract includes initial task orders for 12 foreign military customers in 11 nations, three of which have been awarded, with others planned for transition by year-end. Additional customers may also be added during the five-year contract period of performance.
“A significant benefit of the sustainment IDIQ contract vehicle is rapid contract award timeline for our international allies,” said Shalini Gupta, LBL vice president and Northrop Grumman director for LONGBOW programs. “LBL can now be awarded sustainment task orders within weeks after Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) signature, versus the previous timeline of years to complete the contract process.”
The LONGBOW FCR provides Apache aircrews with automatic target detection, location, classification and prioritization, while enabling rapid, multi-target engagement in all weather conditions over multiple types of terrain and through battlefield obscurants.
During the U.S. Army’s AH-64E Apache Follow-On Test and Evaluation II (FOT&E II), the modernized Version 6 LONGBOW FCR successfully demonstrated many new operational modes and capabilities, including maritime, single target track, and 360-degree surveillance mode, as well as extended detection range capability against land, air and sea targets. To date, nearly 500 LONGBOW FCR systems have been delivered to the U.S. Army and 12 nations.
17 Feb 20. Surveillance-Ready King Air 350ERs Start Maritime Patrol Duties Following Delivery by Leonardo.
- Two Beechcraft King Air 350ERs, which Leonardo delivered with built-in surveillance sensors and ATOS mission system, have flown their first missions with an African Navy
- Leonardo was prime contractor for the surveillance capability, drawing on its broad expertise to offer the platform, sensors and mission system as a fully integrated package
- This ‘surveillance-ready’ model allows customers to procure a complete capability from Leonardo directly, choosing from a range of in-house or third party platforms and sensors and receiving a mission-ready surveillance capability
Leonardo has revealed that two King Air 350ERs, equipped as Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), have gone into service with an African Navy following their delivery by the Company, which acted as prime contractor and systems integrator for the aircraft. The MPAs, equipped with Leonardo’s ATOS mission system and full complement of sensors including its Seaspray E-scan surveillance radar, will be used for a range of missions including search and rescue, littoral security and the monitoring of illegal migration, fishing and pollution.
As prime contractor, Leonardo procured and integrated all required elements and delivered a mission-ready aircraft, certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as ready to fly. Leonardo sees this model as a growth area for the Company, with its ability to draw on its broad in-house expertise in sensors, mission systems and platform integration allowing it to offer a tailored, mission-ready aircraft to customers in a cost-effective manner. Leonardo also offers this service for mid-life upgrades, taking an existing aircraft and equipping it with advanced new sensors, all controlled through its ATOS mission system.
The suite of surveillance sensors on-board the two King Air 350ER Maritime Patrol Aircraft includes Leonardo’s market-leading E-scan ‘Seaspray’ maritime radar, which comes with a range of modes including a patented small-target-detection function. An Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder and interrogator, Link 11 datalink and third-party electro-optical turret were also integrated, with Leonardo’s ATOS mission system bringing everything together and fusing the data into a workload-reducing ‘single tactical picture’ for operators.
As well as in Africa, Leonardo is seeing interest from customers in Asia Pacific and the Middle East for its ‘surveillance-ready’ offering. It expects to see more customers procuring a complete, tailored capability, benefitting from the flexibility in terms of platform and sensor fit that Leonardo’s end-to-end expertise and flexible ATOS mission system allows it to offer.
ATOS is already in operation on-board more than 10 different aircraft types, with more than 60 systems installed on platforms including the ATR 42(72) MP, DA-62 MSA, Dash-8, Beechcraft KA350, Casa CN235, Piaggio Aero P166, A 109, AW139, AW169, Bell 412 and AS300B3 helicopters. (Source: ASD Network)
02 Sep 19. Littoral Combat Ship. This month we take a look at the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and next-generation guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)) sonar systems, neither yet in production, with both programs presenting better opportunities for new contractors and subcontractors.
The US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) has been designed to operate one of three major interchangeable Mission Modules (MM) or Mission Packages (MP): Mine Countermeasures (MCM), Surface Warfare (SUW), and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Mission modules include weapons and sensors launched and recovered from LCS seaframes and operated from MH-60 helicopters and Fire Scout VTUAVs. The Navy planned to deliver increments of MCM, SUW, and ASW sequentially over time.
ASW Mission Package (MP) components include a torpedo countermeasures system, a Variable Depth Sonar (VDS), and the AN/SQR-20 (now TB-37U) Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA) (Lockheed Martin). Lockheed Martin’s AN/SQQ-89(V) is also the technical foundation at the heart of the LCS sonar architecture. The Aviation Module offers airborne threat localization and engagement capability through a Fire Scout VTUAV and an MH-60R helicopter with MK54 torpedoes. The individual systems are combined into three modules: Torpedo Defense Countermeasure; ASW Escort/Large area Clearance; and Aviation Module.
Despite continuing delays, with a requirement for between 30 (already ordered for LCS) and 52 (including the now-superseded Frigate (FF)) ships needing either the swap-out ASW mission module or a permanent seaframe-mounted system (yes, like a normal warship…), until 2019 this was potentially a very large sonar program. By early 2018, almost 30 LCSs were already under construction or in service.
But instead, in June 2019 the US Navy released a new final request for proposals (RfP) for its next-generation guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)). Nearly all the sensors and systems for the new FFG(X) are now required to be already-selected government-furnished equipment (GFE), mostly well-established systems already in service on other Navy ships. Instead of a version of Raytheon’s AN/SQQ-90 from the DDG-1000 class destroyer (based on Lockheed’s SQQ-89), or a version of the LCS ASW Mission Package, the FFG(X) will mount Lockheed’s well-established AN/SQQ-89(V)15 Surface Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Combat System, as well as the AN/SQS-62 Variable Depth Sonar. The Navy intends to buy at least 20 frigates, though the first contract will only cover the first 10.
Even before this, in 2018 the Navy seemed to have cut their Program of Record (PoR) requirement for LCS mission modules – essentially no longer planning to buy enough modules to provide one of each type for each LCS (which was always, come to think of it, a wasteful idea…). Instead, the Navy seemed to only plan 10 ASW mission modules, probably in part because all FFG(X)s will also mount a full ASW suite. Our forecast provides for only these 10, though there is a very good chance that a few more will be bought to fill in until FFG(X) production is well underway, especially if FFG(X) production is further delayed than we already forecast. On the other hand, the LCS may be more valuable as a littoral mine-hunter (albeit a very expensive one), and the 24 planned MCM modules could wind up as the standard, permanent LCS fit. (Source: Teal Group)
25 Nov 19. Raytheon’s Airborne FLIR Sensor Ball Systems. Teal Group’s Military Electronics Briefing covers a multitude of Raytheon’s primary airborne FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) sensor ball systems for helicopters and slow-flying fixed wing aircraft, including UAVs. Recent updates include the AN/AAS-44 MTS/MTS-N & AAS-52 MTS-A & DAS-1/4 MTS-B & AAS-53/DAS-2 CSP Multi-spectral Targeting Systems, as well as speculative forecasts for MTS/CSP-scale Future MALE UAV EO/IR Sensors and Future Manned EO/IR Sensors, which are uncontracted and “available” and might not be won by Raytheon.
Overall, the sensors in this recent report make up one of the world’s largest electro-optical programs, worth more than $300m annually for at least the next few years. In August 2010, Raytheon claimed to have surpassed one million operational flight hours on 1,000 fielded MTS systems. In April 2016, Raytheon stated it had, “delivered more than 3,000 MTS systems on a wide range of platforms… with nearly three million operational flight hours.” Teal Group questions exactly how Raytheon defines “system” for this claim, but we agree that Raytheon has delivered, “a lot of them.” Raytheon dominates the UAV EO/IR market, primarily with these systems, and should continue to do so while also holding a substantial portion of the manned ISR EO/IR market share.
The AN/AAS-44 was originally built for some Predator UAVs and several US helicopter procurements, and the AAS-44(V)C (also referred to as MTS [Multi-spectral Targeting System] or MTS-N [-Navy configuration]) is now ending production for the Navy’s major MH-60R Seahawk procurement. In October 2007, the Navy contracted for AAS-44(V)C MTS-N systems for the MH-60S, also a very large procurement (ended in 2017). Minor production for international Seahawks continued in 2018.
The AN/AAS-52 MTS-A and AN/DAS-1 MTS-B have been contracted for major production for USAF and international armed Predators and Predator B Reapers. The MTS-B is a considerably different system, with longer lenses and other modifications for the much higher altitude MQ-9 Reaper. In March 2018, the USAF finally retired the MQ-1 Predator UAV and thus most MTS-As in world service.
In November 2007, the US Army contracted for a Common Sensor Payload (CSP) version of the MTS, for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) and US Army Sky Warrior ER/MP UAV (a Predator derivative). The Army’s production ER/MP is now designated the MQ-1C Gray Eagle (was Warrior and Sky Warrior…), and the sensor has been re-designated the AN/DAS-2 CSP (was briefly AN/AAS-53). Production continued in 2019.
In April 2016, the US Air Force awarded Raytheon a $90m first-lot production contract for the new “next-generation” AN/DAS-4 MTS for the RQ-9 Reaper fleet. The DAS-4 adds two spectral bands and greater fire control and Target Location Accuracy technology. In February 2016 in the FY17 procurement budget, the US Air Force scheduled major funding for the new program, with FY17 OCO funding including $107.0m for 53 DAS-4 upgrades. The USAF budgeted to buy 238 DAS-4 systems for Reaper, at a cost of about $2.4m each.
Our forecast for future production US Navy and international MQ-4 Tritons is for an upgraded MTS-B (which was used for development/testing) with similar capabilities to the USAF’s new version of the MTS-B – the AN/DAS-4. But since an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for ship tracking will be needed, and the Triton will typically operate at a much higher altitude than Reaper and in more humid maritime atmospheres and climates, we have tentatively designated the Triton EO/IR system as the “AN/DAS-X.” (Source: Teal Group)
18 Feb 20. The U.S. Air Force, Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies (NYSE: UTX), and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® (NYSE: LMT) recently completed flight testing and deployment of the latest variant of the Collins Aerospace Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) sensor, SYERS-2C, on the U-2. With this milestone, the entire U-2 fleet has been upgraded to the premier electro-optical/infrared sensor capability which provides increased optical performance and highly accurate long-range tracking for superior threat detection in a wider range of weather conditions.
“SYERS-2C represents an evolutionary step forward for the Air Force, capitalizing on a high performing, mature system to insert substantial new capabilities into the battlespace of the future,” said Kevin Raftery, vice president and general manager, ISR and Space Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “The U-2 has been the cornerstone of the Air Force’s ISR inventory and with upgrades like SYERS-2C, the system can continue to provide increasingly valuable multi-intelligence information to the warfighter for years to come.”
The 10-band, high spatial resolution SYERS-2C sensor provides unmatched ability to find, track and assess moving and stationary targets. Developed with open mission systems standards to enable command, control and data exchange with 5th generation platforms, the sensor has become a critical asset to theater commanders bringing unique advantages to joint operations across the battlespace.
“The SYERS-2C sensor is the premier intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imaging sensor and its integration into the U-2 Dragon Lady further enhances the aircraft’s ability to provide unparalleled strategic intelligence to our warfighters,” said Irene Helley, U-2 program director, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “This milestone continues our commitment to increase the flexibility of the aircraft using open mission systems to support the multi-domain battlespace.”
Flying 24/7 around the world at record-high operational rates, the U-2 Dragon Lady provides unparalleled intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to meet the needs of combatant commanders every day. More than an ISR aircraft, the U-2’s unique ability to rapidly reconfigure, collect, analyze and share data with disparate systems across the battlespace is transforming warfighting operations to ensure mission success far into the future.
18 Feb 20. UK faces ASTOR capability gap from 2021. A gap is expected to open in the UK’s airborne surveillance capability in 2021 after the retirement of Sentinel R1, pictured here operating from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus during Operation ‘Shader’ against Islamic State. Source: Crown Copyright
A gap in the UK’s airborne surveillance capability is expected to open in 2021 when the Royal Air Force (RAF) retires its remaining four operational Raytheon Sentinel R1 airborne stand-off radar (ASTOR) aircraft.
The RAF’s director for fixed-wing manned aerial surveillance platforms, Group Captain Shaun Gee, revealed in the service’s Annual Review 2020 journal published at the beginning of February, “Sentinel is currently scheduled to leave service in 2021, although no alternative source of its unique capability has been identified in that timeframe.”
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman confirmed to Jane’s on 13 February that the Sentinel aircraft will be withdrawn from service in March 2021 without being replaced.
“The Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 confirmed the Sentinel out-of-service date as the end March 2021; there has been no change to this position,” said the spokesman. “We are currently assessing a range of potential options that could deliver wide-area surveillance capability. A decision will be taken in due course.”
Jane’s understands that this has not yet resulted in the start of any procurement process to find a replacement system by the MoD.
A senior RAF source told Jane’s , “The UK’s requirement for Persistent Wide Area Surveillance (Land) [PWAS(L)] remains extant. There are a range of options that could meet the PWAS(L) capability both in the short term and into the future. The Ministry of Defence is reviewing the capability and solutions available as part of the annual review of the Equipment Programme. The final decision will be reviewed within the Integrated Foreign Policy, Security and Defence Review that will be carried out later this year.”
The source said that the Sentinel R1 operating unit, 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, “remains configured to continue to deliver the PWAS(L) capability on UK, NATO, and coalition operations throughout financial year 2020/21”. (Source: Jane’s)
BATTLESPACE Comment: The Achilles heal of ASTOR has been the radar which although an improved version of the U-2 ASARS-2 radar it is not a fully complaint AESA radar. One of the options offered in the original bid was for the UK to become a partner in the MPRTIP radar made by Northrop which now forms the baseline radar for Global Hawk and J-STARS and other platforms. This would have added cost to the ASTOR Programme and included more risk given how imatrure MP-RTIP was then. However with hindsight it would have been cheaper to hitch the rid eon MP-RTIP rather than a costly upgrade to the Sentinel fleet now. This would involve a brand new radar and new antennae.
17 Feb 20. NSPA signs contract with Indra to support air defence radars. Spanish company Indra has been awarded an air defence radar support contract by the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).
The performance-based contractor logistic support (PB-CLS) contract will see the company provide complete lifecycle support of surveillance radars in Lithuania.
Indra will be responsible for three long-range air surveillance radars that will receive extended life support of 19 years.
The contract includes four initial years and three-year options. The value of the contract has not been disclosed.
Indra’s performance will be monitored by NSPA through a set of indicators that exhibit the effectiveness of the services provided.
The acquisition logistics aspects for the implementation of PB-CLS contract are being led by NSPA, which has experience in executing the performance-based concept in air defence systems of various Nato countries.
The concept of this PB contract system is incorporated in the system design right from the early stages of acquisition.
In a statement, NSPA said: “The goal is to create incentives throughout the system lifecycle for all stakeholders, and notably industry, to optimise system supportability and lifecycle cost in all design and support decision.”
Nato Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) serves as the lead for the procurement phase of the radars.
In December 2019, NSPA awarded multiple contracts to support the development of the future surveillance of Nato and control its capabilities.
The contract was awarded to General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, MDA, Airbus and consortiums led by Boeing and L3Harris Technologies.
In December 2018, the Lithuanian Air Force received and deployed long-range 3D radars produced by Indra. The radars were designed for modern air surveillance capability. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
16 Feb 20. DGS announces new drone detection surveillance radar. Dynamite Global Strategies (DGS) has announced a new series of drone surveillance radar sensor and information systems designed to detect Class 1 and Class 2 drones in low-altitude airspace. The US supplier already manufactures the DroneMaster Anti-Drone Counter-UAS System family which includes the AIRDEFENSE modular counter drone system.
The new DSR-3X Drone Surveillance Radar offers 3D radar capabilities to detect, track, classify and respond to security threats posed by aircraft in low-level airspace, along with humans, animals, and vehicles on the ground. It covers 360-degree field of view, detecting, tracking, classifying, and responding to intruders with a detection range of up to 15 km, including the drone detection of Class 1 and Class 2 drones at 5 km range. It also measures the elevations of 2D tracks in real-time.
The radar includes high resolution radar imaging with capacity to detect swarms of drones. Each of the surveillance sensors allows customers to enhance situational awareness at critical sites. All platforms can be integrated with existing EO/IR cameras, video management systems, physical security information management systems, asset management systems, and other security assets.
DGS has increased its existing range of counter drone solutions in response to the evolving threats posed by commercial drones according to CEO Daniel Chou. “The new DSR-3X Drone Surveillance Radar can monitor low-altitude airspace for drones, while simultaneously monitoring the ground for other threats. This means DSR-3X can also track the human controllers of drones, making it possible to interdict and investigate intrusion events.”
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15 Feb 20. Rafael reports successful tests using new laser counter drone technology. Israeli manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems reports successful interception of multiple moving targets using its Drone Dome counter UAS solution. With 360° circular coverage, DRONE DOME is designed to detect, track, and neutralize hostile drones either by jamming their communication or destroying them using a laser beam. According to the company, it is capable of identifying unknown targets, generating alerts (based on an adaptable rules generator), and operating without causing interference to non-target airborne assets by utilizing specific jammer bandwidth and an advanced directional antenna.
In the Drone Dome’s laser-based intercept phase, the laser director receives the target position from the C4I, which allocates it to the laser effector. The effector then locks and tracks the target, and within a few seconds, the laser beam is transmitted and destroys the target. The system can interface with various external systems and also supports future growth options, which includes additional sensors and effectors. The equipment is available in fixed or mobile versions and can be controlled by a single operator.
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15 Feb 20. Russia introduces special units to combat unmanned aerial vehicles. Russia’s Ground Forces have added special units specially to combat enemy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) according to the Jamestown Foundation Eurasia Daily Monitor published on 12 February 2020. The development comes in the wake of Combat Commonwealth military exercises held in the fall of 2019 and starts with initial deployment of mobile units in the Southern and Eastern military districts (MD) as a precursor to their appearance across all five MDs. The report says their primary focus is currently on detection of and interference against UAVs. However, adds the defense ministry plans to eventually equip these units with more direct means to destroy enemy drones.
Referring to Izvestia’s sources, Eurasia Daily reports the Counter-UAV units are staffed exclusively by officers and contract personnel (kontraktniki), who undergo specialised training to facilitate their new role. Initially, the units are tasked with the protection of military bases within their MDs but may expand their role. The units are equipped with small-sized radars and electronic interference systems. After the successful detection of a non-friendly drone, it is brought down using EW systems to jam its navigation system (Izvestia February 10).
The enemy drone is first spotted using a small radar and, once located, an EW asset is used to create a “noise” curtain that functions across the full spectrum of radio frequencies; at the same time, the satellite channels on which the UAV depends for navigation are jammed. This radar-EW synergy acts to bring down the enemy drone. These tactics are further augmented by the use of snipers, depending on the distances involved, and air-defense systems.
Counter-UAV units were tested during the 2019 combat military day and night exercises. Modern reconnaissance equipment was used for target detection, including portable laser devices and thermal imaging sights (part of the soldier Ratnik combat equipment kit). The manoeuvres were deemed to have been a success, reportedly with around 100 targets destroyed.
While the Counter-UAV units remain at a formative stage in their development, Russian military specialists expect these “drone hunters” to continue to grow in importance and technical capability in the future.
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14 Feb 20. Latest version of TRD’s ORION handheld jammer launched at Singapore. TRD Singapore exhibited the latest addition to its ORION family of anti-drone systems at the Singapore Air Show 2020. The ORION-H+ is a light-weight handheld jammer that operates in six frequency bands, three more than the Super Light Weight ORION-H. The Orion-H+ covers the 433MHz, 915MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz RF bands as well as GNSS frequencies L1 and L2. The bands can be used at the same time or on an individual basis and result in a drone landing automatically or returning to base. TRD says the jammer is designed to operate up to 1 km on a range of drone types and has a battery life of one hour.
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12 Feb 20. Port of Gdynia develops drone test environment and adds counter drone technology. The Port of Gdynia Authority has signed a letter of intent with counter drone specialist Advanced Protection Systems to cooperate in building an effective airspace control system and protection against unmanned aerial vehicles. The authority has also signed a letter of intent with Pelixar to cooperate in establishing a monitoring system at Gdynia Airport and maritime aviation base. The projects are part of the port’s ambition to create a complete, integrated test environment for unmanned aerial vehicles.
From 17 February 2020, operators will be able to obtain permission to fly over the Port of Gdynia via the PANSA UTM application. This capability is due to become available in the coming days at the following address: www.port.gdynia.pl
The Port of Gydnia says it will provide an immediate response to threats posed by drones, and to develop unmanned technologies alongside solutions which will ensure the highest level of security.
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17 Feb 20. Australia joins UK Phantom Echoes SSA experiment. Australia is participating in a unique UK-led trial of space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities, observing the planned rendezvous of two satellites in geostationary orbit. Called Phantom Echoes, the experiment aims to demonstrate how allied SSA sensors and processing capabilities can be integrated to enhance their performance over that of individual systems working independently. The aim is to improve space safety for satellites in and near geostationary orbit.
Phantom Echoes is being led by the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), with representatives from the Five-Eyes nations; the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The two satellites set to rendezvous are the Northrop Grumman Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) and communications satellite Intelsat I-901.
The idea is for MEV-1, launched last year, to link up to Intelsat I-901, which was launched in 2001 and remains fully functional but running low on fuel. MEV-1 will use its own onboard fuel for station keeping.
For five years of this service, Intelsat is paying new Northrop Grumman subsidiary Space Logistics an unspecified but substantial sum, which is still cheaper than building and launching a new satellite.
Phantom Echoes will feature a combination of simulation and real-world events to understand the strengths and constraints of each SSA system.
A co-operative observation campaign will be conducted using allied ground-based telescopes and space-based sensors to observe the hookup of the two satellites around 36,000 kilometres above the Earth.
The Phantom Echoes team will use this event to understand the challenges posed in observing this unique mission.
Information acquired will be used to advise the development of operational SSA architectures within the Coalition Space Operations (CSPO) initiative.
Quite what part Australia will play hasn’t been specified. Australia has a keen interest in SSA and hosts a number of ground-based SSA sensors. (Source: Defence Connect)
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