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06 Mar 20. DoD Winnowing Efforts To Counter Small Drones. “We’re looking across the spectrum at the detect, track, ID, and defeat systems,” Geaney said. DoD will finish down-selecting “best of breed” systems to counter small drones in April, as a first step in a longer-range plan to streamline the myriad programs across the services, according to Army Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, deputy director for force protection on the Joint Staff
The goal, he told the Association of the US Army (AUSA) here today, is to “eliminate redundancy and excess across the joint forces.”
Gainey heads the new Joint Counter Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-sUAS) Office that the Army stood up to manage its 2019 mandate from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to serve as DoD’s C-sUAS Executive Agent (EA). The EA is charged with finding joint solutions to the threat caused by small drones, and to ensure that the services are not duplicating each other’s efforts. Esper approved the EA implementation plan on Jan. 6.
Gainey showed a chart that laid out the C-sUAS EA’s deliverables for its first year: a DoD Directive; a Joint C-sUAS threat assessment; a DoD counter-drone strategy; down-select of Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) counter-drone systems; and a Joint Capability Development Document including delivering capabilities to the warfighter.
Afterward, Gainey told me that his office is in the midst of reviewing the some 40 currently deployed systems across all the services to narrow down to those that work the best for each part of the counter-drone mission.
“We’re looking across the spectrum at the detect, track, ID, and defeat systems,” he said. Those chosen will be grouped into types, Gainey explained, because DoD has different needs. “We need some for fixed sites, we need some for CONUS, we need some that are mobile.”
Perhaps most importantly, he said, there is a need for a common command and control system to tie the various systems together and provide a common air picture.
Some of the systems being eyeballed, Gainey said, include:
- the Marine Corps’ Marine Defense Air Integrated System (MADIS), built by Ascent Vision, a variant of which took down an Iranian drone in the Straits of Hormuz in July 2019;
- the Army’s Raytheon-built KRFS radar;
- the Air Force’s Medusa system of systems that in part relies on SRC’s Silent Archer, and
- the Army/Missile Defense Agency Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD, built by Lockheed Martin) C2 system.
He didn’t specify, however, what happens to the systems that don’t make the cut — though one would naturally assume those would be phased out over time.
The next step, Gainey explained, will be to match the best of the current capabilities for finding, tracking and killing small drones with the joint requirements now being fleshed out, and then take a look at how ongoing prototype programs might fill those needs.
Gainey told the AUSA meeting that his office would be working with the Army’s Rapid Capabilities & Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), led by Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood, to rapidly develop prototypes for fielding. According to his presentation, Central Command has the priority for first fielding.
One of the ways DoD susses out new counter-UAS technologies is via the classified Black Dart exercise, that according to the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is a “joint, interagency demonstration focusing on rapid development and implementation of C-UAS technology from readily-available commercial and government vendors.”
According to a 2019 study by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), DoD spent about $900m on counter-drone efforts across the services. A Feb. 12 report by the Congressional Research Service said that in 2020, DoD plans to spend at least $373m on counter-UAS (C-UAS) research and development and at least $200m on C-UAS procurement. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
05 Mar 20. Armenia receives weapon location radars from India. Armenia has recently acquired four Indian weapon locating radars for USD40m to enhance its counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) and counter-battery fire capabilities. Military officials in New Delhi told Jane’s on 29 February that the Swathi radars, designed by the government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation and manufactured by state-owned Bharat Electronics, were selected over competing systems from Poland and Russia following trials in 2018–19.
In service with the Indian Army since March 2017, the passive electronically scanned array weapon locating radar has a 360° scan capability to detect and track incoming heavy artillery rounds up to a range of 30km and rockets up to 40km. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Mar 20. Liteye & Citadel Push the Envelope for State-of-the-Art in Countering UAS Threats. Liteye Systems, Inc., a Colorado-based Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) manufacturer along with long-time Colorado based teammate Numerica recently worked closely with Citadel Defense, an industry-leading drone mitigation solutions provider, and together have combined technologies to provide a first -of-its-kind, world leading capability in drone defense.
Liteye’s US AUDS (Anti UAS Defense System) is a backbone for Counter UAS solutions, layered with multiple capabilities to Detect, Track, Identify and Defeat malicious threats. Citadel’s Titan 3 technology applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to reliably detect, identify, track and defeat unauthorized drones operating across the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Together, these companies are leaders in the US Defense market with over $100M in combined sales respectively, providing the most reliable systems for Countering the growing UAS threat.
“No other system provides this level of effectiveness against both RF controlled and Silent Flight UAS,” said Ken Geyer, CEO of Liteye Systems. “We are pleased to work with Citadel’s Advancements in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence capabilities, the Citadel system has a combat proven pedigree similar to Liteye US AUDS.”
“By combining the technologies of both companies, our customers get access to some of the deepest and strongest capabilities in the industry,” said Chris Williams, CEO Citadel Defense. “We have coalesced our efforts for efficiency and effectiveness to get a superior suite of counter-UAS capabilities downrange.”
The combined system provides an on-the-move 360-degree defensive capability, while multiple layers of detection, classification and positive identification provide unmatched situational awareness and protection. The combination of Electronic Attack options for the operator provides both a sophisticated machine learning high fidelity frequency defeat and a robust directional broad-band defeat to ensure protection from the most serious threats. (Source: UAS VISION)
04 Mar 20. Team SkyGuardian® Adds Advanced ISR Capabilities. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and L3Harris Technologies completed the successful integration of the WESCAM MX™-20 Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) system onto a GA-ASI MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to provide an advanced targeting solution. A series of test flights began on February 18th to demonstrate the MX-20-equipped MQ-9’s ability to locate and track targets at long stand-off ranges.
“The GA-ASI and L3Harris teams have worked closely over the past year to ensure the successful integration of this sophisticated system,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “This is a significant milestone and we look forward to the enduring relationship and growing opportunities with L3Harris WESCAM.”
When integrated onto the MQ-9 Predator® B series of RPAS, the WESCAM MX-20 EO/IR system will support Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) missions. Field-proven through multiple deployments, the WESCAM MX-20 is equipped with high-sensitivity multi-spectral sensors for day, low-light and nighttime missions. The WESCAM MX-20 operates with outstanding detection and recognition capabilities from ultra-high altitudes.
“L3Harris is proud to partner with GA-ASI to deliver sophisticated technologies for persistent surveillance missions and evolving battlefields,” said Jacques Comtois, General Manager, WESCAM, L3Harris. “Being a Team SkyGuardian partner allows us to support our technology’s modular growth path with unprecedented levels of innovation and business opportunities globally for leading unmanned aircraft system programs.”
GA‑ASI is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of RPAS and mission related systems. Team SkyGuardian combines the best of industry with the world’s most advanced Medium-altitude Long-endurance (MALE) RPAS, the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, being developed to fulfill the world’s future RPAS requirements.
04 Mar 20. Raven Releases Advanced Coherent Radar Solution. HiPointer 100 Radar System Enhances Total Situational Awareness & Mission Success for Aerospace & Defense Customers. Raven Aerostar’s HiPointer 100 is the warfighter’s radar perception tool of choice for a wide variety of missions. Advanced autonomous tracking algorithms and a compact form enable unmanned vehicle perception as well as advanced situational awareness on an array of platforms. (Photo: Business Wire)
Raven Industries, Inc. (The Company; NASDAQ:RAVN) announced today that Raven Aerostar has added a new solution to its advanced radar suite. The HiPointer 100 is a lightweight, highly-mobile, power-efficient coherent radar that is ideal to track targets in difficult radar clutter conditions. Due to its light weight, the system is highly mobile, enabling a single person to deploy the system and move locations quickly.
Raven Aerostar’s HiPointer 100 increases persistent surveillance capabilities and enhances total situational awareness from a diverse set of manned and unmanned platforms. Offering unprecedented range detection and tracking performance, these systems provide extremely low false alarms, are fully-autonomous, and enable end-users and decision-makers to achieve success in dynamic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions spanning land, sea, and air. Raven Aerostar’s radar sensors currently defend U.S. and international borders, waters, critical infrastructure, and people.
“We have an amazing team that continually delivers the next advancements in sensor technology and integration,” said Scott Wickersham, Division Vice President & General Manager of Raven Aerostar. “The HiPointer 100 provides tremendous capabilities in a small package. Our team remains focused on Solving Great Challenges for our customers.”
Raven Aerostar fulfills its mission to connect, protect, and save lives through its unwavering commitment to quality, service, and innovation. The company ensures advanced signal processing and intelligent tracking at an industry-best value and provides a total solution when coupled with its technical integrated services. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
03 Mar 20. Citadel Defense Secures $9.2m Order for Titan C-UAS Systems. Titan AI capabilities deliver proven force protection against sUAS threats and swarms. Malicious use of small drones continues to impact military, government, and commercial operations. After extensive testing, evaluation, and operational assessments from over two dozen customer groups, Citadel Defense has received $9.2m in orders for their industry-proven C-UAS capabilities in the first two months of the year.
Citadel Defense pioneered a new proprietary radiofrequency detection method using AI and deep learning which offers significant benefits over traditional library scanning methods and demodulation solutions offered by other C-UAS sensor providers.
Citadel’s Titan C-UAS technology will be used to protect high-value assets in urban, rural, and maritime environments. In austere and uncertain environments, operator’s trust Citadel’s autonomous, full-spectrum protection to accurately detect and defeat threat sUAS targets before they become a threat.
“Drones are an asymmetric threat that require unprecedented speed for innovation. Citadel’s AI-capabilities and responsiveness give customers a cost-effective option that addresses a very large portion of the sUAS threat,” said Christopher Williams, CEO of Citadel Defense. “Strong Warfighter references and combat-proven results over the last two years helped secure this order.”
As new drones are released to the market, Titan systems receive new software to address the new threats. If Titan’s AI algorithms do not detect the threat right away, the company explained that it can deliver an end-to-end capability in 72 hours for most drones and less than 4 weeks for the most complex drone signals. The use of AI, deepnets, and adaptive countermeasures provide Titan with scalable force protection that can address the needs of the small unit, a large base, or mobile vehicle.
“We prioritize safety, security, and a clear airspace above all else,” Williams explains. “Our AI approach allows us to quickly address new threats without the risks or uncertainty that comes with hacking the drone link. Citadel is able to reliably keep customers ahead of the ever-evolving threat faster than other solutions in the market.”
The company’s Titan system is now being effectively integrated into layered solutions that combine radar, optics, and kinetic countermeasures to help customers detect, identify, track, defeat, and report on threat sUAS. (Source: PR Newswire)
04 Mar 20. Wedgetail continues to impress operators and allies alike. The Royal Australian Air Force’s E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft has continued to impress Australian, US and Japanese aircrews and warfighters as part of Exercise Cope North in Guam.
During a morning sortie, up to 60 fast jets launch into the sky from Andersen Air Force Base and a No. 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail follows the “fight” to provide battlespace surveillance of the exercise area during Exercise Cope North missions.
The E-7A is equipped with a multi-role electronically scanned array (MESA) radar that can cover 4 million square kilometres during a single 10-hour mission.
Cope North exposes No. 2 Squadron personnel to a complex battlespace environment, providing them with familiarity in monitoring and controlling a range of different aircraft types and giving coalition partners greater understanding of the Wedgetail capability.
Surveillance and Control Officer, Flying Officer Corey Nind is working as part of a trilateral team with the US Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
“We are conducting a large force employment exercise flying off the coast of Guam. Our role is to increase situational awareness to modern air operations, the E-7A is one of the world’s most capable airborne early warning and control platforms,” FLGOFF Nind explained.
He added, “During the Exercise, the E-7A collaborates with a number of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms to ‘build’ the battlespace picture of the exercise. We also provide a robust command and control moving aircraft in and out of the air space, as well as controlling the tactical flight and battle management.”
Information and instructions provided by the E-7A crew are passed to other control agencies and aircrew participating in the exercise.
Once back on the ground, the ground support team are standing by. Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor Corporal Lucas King is part of the team that ensures that the maintenance is carried out effectively and safely.
“Working on a US air base has been awesome, everything is on a much bigger scale and they provide loads of help to the Aussies during our visit. Our team has achieved 100 per cent mission success rate which reflects really well for RAAF and demonstrates the strength of the E7 capability,” CPL King added.
As an integral part of a layered ADF Air Defence System, the AEW&C capability enhances surveillance, air defence, fleet support and force co-ordination operations in defence of Australian sovereignty and national interests.
The Boeing 737 AEW&C is a state-of-the-art system providing powerful airborne surveillance, communications and battle management.
The 737 AEW&C system encompasses both the Boeing 737-700 aircraft platform and a variety of aircraft control and advanced radar systems. Consisting of components created by Boeing and Northrop Grumman, the 737 AEW&C represents the standard for future airborne early warning systems. The E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C functions include:
- A steerable beam, L-band, electronically scanned array that provides optimal performance in range, tracking and accuracy;
- Radar that can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously;
- Assistance to the mission crew in directing the control of high-performance fighter aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area;
- A “top hat” portion that provides a practical solution for fore and aft coverage while maintaining the low drag profile of the dorsal array system – enabling the MESA system to be installed on the mid-size 737-700 platform without significant impact to aircraft performance;
- An integrated identification friend or foe (IFF) function that shares the primary radar arrays to reduce weight, improve reliability and simplify target correlation; and
- Advanced open-system architecture with standards-based design for cost-effective integration and add-on flexibility.
This announcement comes a week after Boeing consolidated $1.5bn worth of contracts to support and enhance the capability delivered by the RAAF’s E-7A Wedgetails.
Based at RAAF Base Williamtown, the six E-7A Wedgetails significantly improve the effectiveness of the ADF. They are capable of communicating with other aircraft and providing air control from the sky, and can cover 4 million square kilometres during a single 10-hour mission.
Australia, the US and Japan are committed to working together to continuously enhance common understanding, increase levels of interoperability and improve capability to provide support and assistance to regional partners. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Mar 20. Integration of Teledyne’s CL-360 into LiDARUSA System Signals Major Improvements for the Mapping Community In 2020. Teledyne Optech, a Teledyne Technologies (NYSE:TDY) company, has announced today that its newest compact lidar sensor, Teledyne Optech’s CL-360, is available for purchase through its second integration partnership with LiDARUSA.
Optimized for UAV and mobile applications through industry-leading scan speed, vegetation penetration and small-object detection, the CL-360 has enabled LiDARUSA to design a product that offers unmatched performance, data quality and collection efficiency for UAV and mobile projects. LiDARUSA has successfully integrated the CL-360 within its Snoopy System delivering scans with fully usable data as far as 60 degrees off nadir (swath widths of over 1,100 ft. while scanning at the 400 ft. ceiling). The scan speed of up to 250 lines per second – 25% more than competing offerings – enables the CL-360 to generate the densest and most uniform point distribution in the industry, with no blind spots. Additionally, the CL-360 offers the smallest laser beam size in its category – 40% smaller than its competition – resulting in far superior forest canopy penetration and the best detection of fine features such as power lines and railroad tracks. In short, the CL-360 delivers the highest performance and efficiency with no compromise, providing the user with new project opportunities and the fastest return on investment.
“The first CL-360 system was received at the LiDARUSA office with a lot of anticipation and enthusiasm. Years of R&D experience from both companies allowed for a smooth integration of the CL-360 into the ScanLook product family. It’s with great pleasure we can now offer this amazing system to the high-definition mapping community. The superb vegetation penetration, high data rate, long range, very good point quality and intensity will provide the quality our customers want because they expect to deliver the best,” says Jeff Fagerman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LiDARUSA
“Teledyne Optech is exceptionally proud to partner with LiDARUSA on this second integration. The success of the CL-series of compact lidar sensors is a confirmation of our ability to innovate to meet the rapidly growing infrastructure demands in construction, utilities, road and rail networks,” said Michel Stanier, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Teledyne Geospatial. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
03 Mar 20. Universal Avionics Announces Certification for ClearVision™ EFVS. First Civil Certification of a Wearable HUD and First EFVS to Land Solution for Line-Fit Passenger Aircraft. Universal Avionics (UA) announces European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for its ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) with SkyLens™ Head-Wearable Display (HWD).
“The certification of our EFVS with SkyLens is a breakthrough in commercial aviation,” said Dror Yahav, UA CEO. “Aircraft operators can now take advantage of major Enhanced Flight Vision capabilities and safety improvements with our proven ClearVision solution,” he added. “This marks the first civil certification of a HWD and the first EFVS to land solution for line-fit passenger aircraft. These achievements are yet another milestone in our heritage of introducing first-to-market breakthrough technologies and products.”
ClearVision is a complete EFVS solution providing head-up operations combined with enhanced vision (EVS), synthetic 3D terrain display (SVS), and a unique and optimized Combined Vision System (CVS). For utmost flexibility, ClearVision interfaces with a variety of display options: traditional fixed Head-Up Display (HUD) systems, head-down flight display systems, or wearable devices like the “near-to-eye” SkyLens HWD. All of these options offer pilots unprecedented situational awareness of the external environment surrounding the aircraft, enhancing what they can see with “natural vision” in degraded visual environments and adverse weather conditions, day or night. The SkyLens high-transparency visor is a cost-effective alternative to a traditional fixed HUD and provides unique capabilities with its unlimited field of regard.
Through its demonstrated Visual Advantage, ClearVision provides relief to approach bans under Part 121 operations and allows operators to use its Enhanced Flight Visibility to meet the flight visibility required to depart to a destination or begin an instrument approach. ClearVision enables airlines to operate efficiently and without interruptions in low visibility conditions, generating significant financial savings and unparalleled customer service.
02 Mar 20. Former space acquisitions head to lead new satellite company. Former space acquisitions official retired Major General Roger Teague will serve as the CEO of PredaSAR, a new satellite company specializing in synthetic aperture radar, the company announced Mar. 2. Before retiring in 2017 and joining the Boeing Company’s Space and Launch Systems division, Teague served as the director of space programs for the Air Force’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition. In that position, Teague directed development and purchasing for Air Force space programs. Teague worked closely on a number of major military satellite programs since his commissioning in 1986, including commanding the 4th Space Operations Squadron and the Space-Based Infrared Systems Space Group and Space Wing.
Now Teague will lead PredaSAR, whose stated desire is to build and operate the world’s largest commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite constellation. Unlike optical sensors, SAR satellites create images with radar, allowing the satellites to collect data and create imagery regardless of weather or lighting conditions. SAR can also be used to detect data that goes beyond optical imagery, including material properties, moisture content, precise movements, and elevation. SAR can create either 2D or 3D images.
Established in 2019, PredaSAR completed a $25m seed financing round, the company announced March 2. That money will be used to build and launch two SAR satellites.
“PredaSAR has been carefully planning and developing the very best commercial SAR satellite system capabilities, while building an incredible leadership team,” said Teague in a statement. “We are completely focused on our intent to clearly observe the surface of the Earth, anywhere and at any time, so that we can provide actionable data to government and commercial customers. We are excited for PredaSAR’s future as we rapidly prepare to deliver compelling SAR products and services to our clients.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
02 Mar 20. US Navy Invents sUAS Radar with Mini-Mic on Propeller. Two U.S. Navy scientists have invented a passive, onboard collision avoidance system for small drones by attaching miniature microphones to the tips of propellers. In an official U.S. patent application, the Naval Information Warfare Center-Pacific explains why engineer Paul Swanson and mathematician Stephen Hobbs devised the device, which can be used for UAV navigation, UAV collision avoidance, and counter-UAV systems.
“Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) do not have the weight capacity to employ radar-based collision avoidance systems while still performing their original function,” the document states. “Ground-based UAV tracking systems have difficulty tracking the location of all UAVs in a dense swarm. A fixed array of microphones similarly requires a significant footprint. Passive radar tracking is only feasible in scenarios where the tracked UAV emits a radio-frequency (RF) signal. Active radar employed on-board a large number of UAVs would result in interference where the UAVs would jam one another. The inventive method utilizes pre-existing propellers on UAVs as well as Doppler-based acoustic tracking.”
The invention works with a single microphone on one blade tip that collects acoustic versus rotational angle data over its complete rotation. The larger the diameter of the propeller, the greater the accuracy. A second microphone mounted on the drone chassis records background noise for filtering out.
“A fixed acoustic sinusoidal source could provide a beacon for exact global positioning in the absence of a GPS satellite signal. Additionally, recording the angle of the propeller may not be necessary if a fixed acoustic source on the unmanned aerial vehicle itself is used as a reference for the direction of the unknown sources,” according to the patent application.
The Navy’s patent application, which contains MATLAB experiment data, also describes the invention as a “low-cost and lightweight tracking system,” that with sufficient data processing, would enable one drone to track multiple drones with the same acoustic signature, as well as “drones positioned behind other drones.”
Joan Wu-Singel, senior technology manager at TechLink, called it a clever utilization of new technologies and mathematics. She said now that the tech has been made public, private companies can potentially leverage the Navy’s R&D and license the intellectual property rights.
“The number of potential commercial and military applications for this is large,” Wu-Singel said. “And through technology transfer, which allows government inventions to get transferred to companies, it’s a good business opportunity.” (Source: UAS VISION/TechLink)
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.