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17 Sep 20. Space Force issues $298m contract for new anti-jamming satellite design. Northrop Grumman was awarded a $298m rapid-prototyping contract to design a new anti-jamming communications satellite payload for the U.S. Space Force, the Space and Missile Systems Center announced Sept. 16.
Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will build a payload for the Evolved Strategic SATCOM (ESS) program, a next generation constellation that will provide secure, jam-resistant, survivable communications for military leadership all over the world.
The new system will be interoperable with the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites currently on orbit. The Space Force wants ESS to have enhanced resilience and cybersecurity capabilities. And unlike AEHF, the new satellites will have polar components to provide communications over the Arctic. Currently, the Enhanced Polar System satellites are used to extend the AEHF network to the polar regions.
The Space and Missile Systems Center could award up to three rapid-prototyping contracts in 2020, according to the Space Force’s fiscal 2021 budget request, before selecting a final contractor to build out the constellation.
It’s not immediately clear how many ESS payloads would be in the constellation, or what satellites they’ll be hosted on.
“Northrop Grumman looks forward to building on more than 40 years of successfully delivering protected satellite communications solutions to our customers,” said Cyrus Dhalla, vice president, communications systems, Northrop Grumman. “ESS is critical to extending our nation’s secure satellite communications infrastructure, as it will provide strategic users with assured, uninterruptable connectivity without fear of discovery anywhere on the globe.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
18 Sep 20. Northrop Grumman seeks Australian industry capability for Space Systems Project. Northrop Grumman is actively seeking to identify and collaborate with industry to develop sovereign Australian space capabilities, as the local space industry base continues to grow from strength-to-strength.
This industry-wide request focuses on a broad range of civil and military space-based programs and capabilities, including launch, space segment, ground segment, control segment and facilities.
Northrop Grumman aims to enable Australian industry to take advantage of disruption in the space sector — from emerging private sector ‘new space’ start-ups, to leveraging mature capabilities in satellite communications.
Northrop Grumman is seeking expressions of interest from suppliers with capabilities from design and advanced manufacturing to next-generation communications technology, including optical and quantum communications. Opportunities extend beyond the space vehicle and control segment technology and include construction and maintenance of ground stations in regional and remote Australia.
Potential opportunities under the Space Systems Project include:
- Software development;
- Systems integration;
- Facilities construction;
- System operators; and
There are also opportunities to participate in the supply chain through the manufacture and supply of sub-systems and components.
The Space Systems Project presents an opportunity for Australian and New Zealand industry to participate in a strategically important program to build and maintain an enduring Australian space capability with an opportunity to enter export markets.
Australia is increasingly reliant on satellite-based capabilities and services, particularly where digital data and information drives decision-making. Through the 2020 Force Structure Plan, the Commonwealth has outlined its approach for investing and developing space capabilities to improve Defence’s resilience and enhance a large number of space-dependent capabilities across the Joint Force. These include:
- The acquisition and sustainment of sovereign-controlled satellites, and ground control stations will be under sovereign Australian control, increasing our self-reliance and resilience;
- Enhancing space domain awareness to enable better tracking and identification of space objects and threats, such as space debris, as well as predicting and avoiding potential collisions;
- Developing capabilities to counter emerging threats to Australia’s free use of the space domain including capabilities that assure our continued access to space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance;
- A rolling upgrade program to assure access to position, navigation and timing information in a contested environment; and
- Acquisition of a sovereign space-based imagery capability to enhance coverage of the Indo-Pacific region.
As a leading provider and integrator of space, aeronautics, defence and cyber space systems and solutions, Northrop Grumman works with Australia’s Defence Force to ensure border and Pacific-region and joint operations missions are successful.
Northrop Grumman is deeply committed to building Australian defence industry capability through partnerships and collaboration, and will continue to assist small business and medium-size enterprises to deliver innovative capabilities and technologies to a global market.
You can submit an expression of interest (EOI) through the ICN Gateway. EOIs should describe your company’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities, certifications, business size, and other relevant information. (Source: Space Connect)
17 Sep 20. Australian Space Agency expands investment in real-time space tracking. The growing quantity of space debris and orbiting satellites complicates the survivability of future satellites and other space-based systems. In response, the Australian Space Agency has provided grants to Industrial Sciences Group to protect this critical infrastructure.
Industrial Sciences Group is one of 10 successful grant recipients from the Australian Space Agency’s International Space Investment initiative.
They will develop a new tool to help satellite operators assess the risks to satellites from collisions with space debris. Currently there are more than 20,000 satellites and pieces of debris tracked in orbit around the Earth.
Industrial Sciences Group is developing a new decision support system to enable satellite operators to make decisions with greater certainty and speed.
David Shteinman, managing director of Industrial Sciences Group, explained that collisions have a low probability of occurrence but are a high risk in space: “We will need to actively manage the ‘traffic’ on the ‘roads’ in space, but there are no highway police up there. Even if something as small as a screw flies into a satellite, it can break the satellite apart and create more junk and debris.”
‘Space junk’ consists of debris from previous space missions and whole satellites that are no longer operational, current tracking techniques can monitor space junk down to a size of 10 centimetres in diameter.
These passive pieces of debris travel in different orbital altitudes at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometres per hour.
Debris is not controlled or manoeuvred – collisions between space junk and satellites are a major concern in the space community, especially in low-Earth orbit (LEO).
With more than 2,200 active satellites in LEO, these can move to avoid a collision, but this costs fuel, time and effort.
Currently, possible space collisions are predicted ahead of time. But there is a lot of uncertainty when determining if a collision will actually occur.
Industrial Sciences Group is tackling the problem with specialist expertise in statistics, mathematics and astrodynamics.
“There is no global approach to assess the risk and probability of a collision occurring in space, but we are here to add some science and rigour to the decision-making process,” Shteinman explained.
The NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) is responsible for protecting all NASA satellites from catastrophic collisions. CARA has developed a concept for a Decision Support System (DSS) to assist satellite operators make collision avoidance decisions in real time.
Industrial Sciences Group will develop the concept into an operational tool. They will use advanced maths and statistics to analyse CARA’s data on previous collision warnings to develop a rigorous approach for assessing and acting on the risk of collision.
This new software has the potential to be a major contributor to space traffic management. The final outcome will be a decision support tool for satellite operators. (Source: Space Connect)
16 Sep 20. Esper: Air Force, Space Force Leading Charge to New Technologies. New technologies are fundamentally changing the character of war and the two Air Force services are leading that charge, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said at the Air Force Association’s Virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference today.
In this time of COVID-19, Esper addressed the group virtually.
The secretary stated that America’s air, space and cyber warriors “will be at the forefront of tomorrow’s high-end fight.”
That means confronting near-peer competitors China and Russia. That means shifting the focus from defeating violent extremist groups to deterring great power competitors. It means fighting a high-intensity battle that combines all domains of warfare, he said.
“In this era of great power competition, we cannot take for granted the United States’ long-held advantages,” Esper said.
The last time an enemy force dropped a bomb on American troops was in the Korean War. “China and Russia, seek to erode our longstanding dominance in air power through long-range fires, anti-access/area-denial systems and other asymmetric capabilities designed to counter our strengths,” he said. “Meanwhile, in space, Moscow and Beijing have turned a once peaceful arena into a warfighting domain.”
China and Russia have placed weapons on satellites and are developing directed energy weapons to exploit U.S. systems “and chip away at our military advantage,” he said.
Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and some violent extremist groups also look to exploit cyberspace to undermine U.S. security without confronting American conventional overmatch. “They do this all in an increasingly ‘gray zone’ of engagement that keeps us in a perpetual state of competition,’ the secretary said.
The military guidebook for the future is the National Defense Strategy. The strategy calls on the military to divest legacy systems, reinvest savings in higher priority systems and make the tough choices required to break from the status quo and continue outpacing the competition, Esper said.
The fiscal 2020 Defense Department research and development budget is the largest in history, he said, and it concentrates on critical technologies such as hypersonic weapons, directed energy and autonomous systems.
“In the Air Force, specifically, we are modernizing our force for the 21st century with aircraft such as the B-21, the X-37 and the Next Generation Air Dominance platform,” Esper said. “Equally important, we are transforming the way we fight through the implementation of novel concepts such as Dynamic Force Employment, which provides scalable options to employ the joint force while preserving our capabilities for major combat.”
To realize the full potential of new concepts the department must be able to exchange and synchronize information across systems, services and platforms, seamlessly across all domains, he said. “The Department of the Air Force is leading on this front with the advancement of Joint All-Domain Command and Control,” Esper said.
This concept is part of the development of a Joint Warfighting concept that will drive transition to all-domain operations, he said.
“For these breakthroughs to succeed in any future conflict … we must maintain superiority in the ultimate high ground — space,” Esper said.
The military stood up U.S. Space Command a year ago, and Congress created the U.S. Space Force. The command is charged with operations and the USSF looks to man, train and equip the force. The new service has already submitted a budget and has released its first doctrine — Spacepower.
Cyberwar is a distinct possibility and DOD is looking to the department’s Digital Modernization Strategy to improve our capabilities and policies, he said. The military is working on game-changing technologies, such as artificial intelligence and 5G, and looks to move the fight into the cloud.
The Air Force is on the leading edge of DOD efforts to harness the power of artificial intelligence. “In collaboration with academia and industry, the Air Force’s AI Accelerator program is able to rapidly prototype cutting-edge innovation,” Esper said. One example of this was the AI technology used to speed-up the F-15EX acquisition program. (Source: US DoD)
16 Sep 20. Lockheed Martin selected to integrate Missile Warning onto EGS via FORGE. Modernized satellite mission software will advance space resiliency and efficiency. The Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center awarded a $51.2m contract on Aug. 3, 2020 to Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to architect, design, develop, integrate, test and validate the Geosynchronous (GEO) Non-Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITWAA) Ops Migration to Enterprise Ground Services (EGS) (GNOME) mission software onto the next-generation Enterprise Ground System (EGS).
GNOME will integrate Mission Management and Telemetry, Tracking, and Commanding (TT&C) for the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO 5 or GEO 6 satellite onto the EGS framework, as well as serve as a command and control (C2) pathfinder for the follow-on Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) satellites.
GNOME will be rapidly developed and integrated using Agile software methodologies, which have a proven track record over a decade for many Lockheed Martin Space customers. Agile lets us deliver iterative features and fix bugs as we go. It dramatically improves the software engineering quality and delivery timelines while avoiding cost overruns that previous software delivery models sometimes face.
“We understand the OPIR mission end-to-end because we developed, launched, and sustain it, both in space and on the ground,” said Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Space Mission Solutions. “We also understand that our nation’s adversaries would also seek to defeat our defensive systems and are committed to developing advanced technology that always keeps us ahead of the threat.”
The U.S. Space Force is focused on building a more flexible, resilient and survivable missile early warning system, while also reducing long-term sustainment and operations costs. Our nation’s advanced infrared surveillance satellites will soon be integrated via the Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution (FORGE) onto the next-generation ground system, the Government-owned, open-architecture, EGS system. FORGE and EGS are programs within the Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise directorate at SMC. The directorate was established to integrate and modernize tactical, operational, and data transport ground capabilities across the space enterprise.
Lockheed Martin has worked in tandem with the U.S. military as its lead missile warning mission integrator for the past 20 years. The company has designed and launched four SBIRS GEO missile warning satellites; is modernizing the design of the SBIRS GEO 5/6 spacecrafts to provide more resiliency and efficiency; is developing Block 0 of the Next Generation OPIR GEO missile warning satellites, and has served as lead sustainment and operations contractor.
16 Sep 20. Rocket Lab launches in-house designed and built satellite. Rocket Lab has successfully launched its first in-house designed and built operational satellite, cementing the company’s evolution from a launch provider to an end-to-end space solutions company that offers turnkey satellites and spacecraft components, launch and on-orbit operations.
The satellite, named ‘First Light’, is the first spacecraft from Rocket Lab’s family of configurable Photon satellites to be deployed to orbit. Launched as a technology demonstration, ‘First Light’ builds upon the existing capabilities of the Electron launch vehicle’s Kick Stage with additional subsystems to enable long duration satellite operations.
This pathfinding mission is an initial demonstration of the new power management, thermal control and attitude control subsystem capabilities.
By testing these systems for an extended period on orbit, Rocket Lab is building up flight heritage for future Photon satellite missions planned to low-Earth orbit, the moon, and Venus.
‘First Light’ was deployed to orbit on Rocket Lab’s 14th Electron mission, ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical’, which lifted-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on 31 August 2020. Approximately 60 minutes after lift-off, Electron deployed a 100 kilogram microsatellite for Capella Space, an action that would typically signal the successful completion of a standard Rocket Lab mission.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said, “We started with launch and solved it, releasing small satellites from the time and orbit constraints experienced when flying on larger launch vehicles. Now we’ve simplified satellites, too.”
However, shortly after deploying the customer payload, Rocket Lab conducted an entirely new operation for the first time: Rocket Lab engineers sent a command to transition the Kick Stage into Photon satellite mode.
This action marked the first on-orbit demonstration of Rocket Lab’s Photon satellite as a two-in-one spacecraft, first using it to complete its conventional launch vehicle function to deploy customer satellites, then transitioning into a satellite to continue a standalone mission.
“Launching the first Photon mission marks a major turning point for space users – it’s now easier to launch and operate a space mission than it has ever been. When our customers choose a launch-plus-spacecraft mission with Electron and Photon, they immediately eliminate the complexity, risk, and delays associated with having to build their own satellite hardware and procure a separate launch,” Beck added.
Designed for launch on Electron, as well as other launch vehicles, ‘First Light’ paves the way for future, high-energy variations of Photon designed for lunar and interplanetary missions, including the CAPSTONE mission to the moon for NASA in early 2021.
Lifting off from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia, Rocket Lab will use the Electron rocket and Photon Lunar spacecraft to launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat to near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO), the same orbit planned for Artemis.
With the ‘First Light’ mission, Rocket Lab has completed its first full demonstration of its end-to-end mission services, encompassing mission design, component build and spacecraft assembly, integration and test (AIT), launch, ground segment, and on-orbit mission operation.
The process of developing the first on-orbit Photon also enabled Rocket Lab to refine and streamline production and testing processes for higher volume Photon production to meet growing customer demand.
Rocket Lab recently opened a new headquarters and manufacturing complex in Long Beach, California, to accommodate streamlined, rapid production of Photons.
The facility is also home to payload integration facilities for Photon missions, as well as a state-of-the-art mission operations centre.
The production complex is already home to extensive production lines delivering more than 130 Rutherford engines for the Electron launch vehicle every year, along with guidance and avionics hardware.
In addition to expanding its manufacturing complex, Rocket Lab recently acquired Sinclair Interplanetary, a leading provider of high-quality, flight-proven satellite hardware, to strengthen the Rocket Lab Space Systems division.
Sinclair Interplanetary products have become key features of the Photon satellite platforms, and Rocket Lab is also dedicating resources to grow Sinclair’s already strong merchant spacecraft components business.
The acquisition enables Sinclair Interplanetary to tap into Rocket Lab’s resources, scale, manufacturing capability, and innovative technologies to make world-leading satellite hardware accessible to more customers. (Source: Space Connect)
16 Sep 20. China sends satellites into space in first sea-based commercial launch. China has successfully sent nine satellites into orbit in its first commercial launch of a rocket from a platform at sea, state media reported on Wednesday. The satellites, one of which belonged to video-sharing platform Bilibili, were deployed by a Long March 11 rocket from the Yellow Sea on Tuesday, media reported.
The Long March 11, designed to be deployed quickly and from mobile launch sites such as a ship, is mainly used to carry small satellites. The rocket made its first sea launch in June last year.
“Sea launch platforms will increase the number of China’s launch areas, improve launch efficiency, and make launches safer and more flexible,” the official People’s Daily cited Li Zongli, director of the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, as saying.
China has three inland space launch centres, where used rocket stages return to earth and sometimes pose a danger to inhabited areas. Sea launches would reduce that risk.
China has made its space programme a top priority in recent years as it races to catch up with the United States and become a major space power by 2030. (Source: Reuters)
16 Sep 20. UAE space sector ‘could drive growth for next 50 years.’ Space industry could become one of the UAE’s most promising sectors and a key pillar of economic growth over the next 50 years, according to a new whitepaper released by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The report titled “Space Economy Investment Opportunities for the UAE” identifies 10 areas of the space economy that offer the most investment potential for the UAE, namely space mining, space stations, space settlements, space law, sustainability in space and recycling, space tourism, space companies, and space academies that include preparing astronauts for commercial flights, space industries, and developing and manufacturing spacecraft components.
The UAE’s mission to the International Space Station in 2019 and the launch of the Hope Probe to Mars earlier this year were major steps positioning the country as a global player in space exploration and research.
These important developments are paving the way for new investment opportunities and public-private sector partnerships that could take the UAE’s space economy to new heights, enhance the country’s economic competitiveness and cement its status as a global innovation leader.
A space race for the private sector
The global space race is no longer dominated by countries and governments, as billionaires and businesses are now among the major investors in this area, the report explained, highlighting Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic as prime examples. As the industry continues to shift towards privatisation, this trend is expected to create new business opportunities for technology startups to make their mark on the industry.
The study identified specific areas where the private sector could play a major role in advancing the global space economy, including satellite servicing, interplanetary small satellites, robotic mining, microgravity research for biomedical applications, liquid rocket engines for launch vehicles, wireless power, space communications, and earth observation data visualisation. In this regard, public-private sector partnerships could prove to be a key factor driving future development and progress.
Commenting on the whitepaper, Natalia Sycheva, Manager of Entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber, noted that advancements in science and technology are creating a wealth of investment opportunities in the new space economy.
With its eye on the future and forward-looking leadership and policies, the UAE is well-positioned to capitalise on untapped potential and collaborate with global partners that can lend valuable expertise that could help the country realise its space ambitions. (Source: News Now/TradeArabia News Service)
15 Sep 20. US Space Force confirms Space Based Infrared System detected missile attack in January.
The U.S. Space Force confirmed that its Space Based Infrared System satellites were used to detect more than a dozen Iranian missiles aimed at U.S. war fighters in Iraq in January, giving Americans and their partners crucial warning.
On Sept. 15, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond specifically credited space professionals assigned to the 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, with providing that early warning, saving the lives of American and coalition forces.
“They operated the world’s best missile warning capabilities and they did outstanding work, and I’m very very proud of them,” he said during prepared remarks at the virtual Air Force Association 2020: Air, Space and Cyberspace Conference.
SBIRS is the U.S. military’s primary missile warning satellite constellation. Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellites use exquisite infrared sensors provided by Northrop Grumman to detect ballistic missile launches all around the world. The constellation consists of four geosynchronous (GEO) satellites, with another two payloads riding on host satellites operating in highly elliptical orbits (HEO) to provide global coverage. The GEO satellites include two sensors: A scanner and a step-starer. While the scanning sensor continuously monitors the earth, the more accurate step-starer can provide coverage for theater missions. Each HEO payloads includes a scanning sensor.
A fifth geosynchronous satellite is expected to launch in 2021.
While many observers assumed SBIRS was used to detect the missiles after President Donald Trump credited an “an early warning system” for helping the U.S. avoid casualties, this is the first explicit confirmation that the system was used.
The confirmation comes nine months after the Pentagon claimed Iranian forces launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces on Jan. 7. Reportedly, 10 of the missiles hit Al Assad Air Base, although there were no casualties.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran had escalated in the days leading up to the attack.
Ahead of a potential attack, the 2nd Space Warning Squadron was able to bring the SBIRS constellation to bear, providing advanced warning of any Iranian missile launches. Raymond specifically credited Capt. Tasia Reed and Lt. Christianna Castaneda with personally planning the SBIRS mission in the lead up to the attack, ensuring optimal sensor coverage of the area.
“This optimization resulted in vital early warning getting to the theater of operations and preserving the lives of U.S. personnel and their partners,” said Raymond. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Sep 20. Government backs UK companies tackling dangerous ‘space junk.’ Seven UK companies have been awarded a share of over £1m to help track debris in space.
- Currently there are approximately 160 million objects in orbit – mainly debris – which could collide with satellites vital to services we use every day
- UK Space Agency and Ministry of Defence sign formal agreement to work together on monitoring threats and hazards in orbit
Seven pioneering projects which will develop new sensor technology or artificial intelligence to monitor hazardous space debris, have been announced today by the UK Space Agency.
The UK Space Agency and Ministry of Defence have also announced the next step in their joint initiative to enhance the UK’s awareness of events in space.
Estimates of the amount of space debris in orbit vary, from around 900,000 pieces of space junk larger than 1cm to over 160 million orbital objects in total. Only a fraction of this debris can currently be tracked and avoided by working satellites. The UK has a significant opportunity to benefit from the new age of satellite megaconstellations – vast networks made up of hundreds or even thousands of spacecraft – so it is more important than ever to effectively track this debris.
Today’s investments will help bolster the UK’s capabilities to track this space junk and monitor the risks of potentially dangerous collisions with satellites or even the crewed International Space Station.
Projects backed today include Lift Me Off who will develop and test machine learning algorithms to distinguish between satellites and space debris, and Fujitsu who are combining machine learning and quantum inspired processing to improve mission planning to remove debris.
Two companies, Deimos and Northern Space and Security, will develop new optical sensors to track space objects from the UK whilst Andor, based in Northern Ireland, will enhance their astronomy camera to track and map ever smaller sized debris.
D-Orbit UK will use a space-based sensor on their recently launched satellite platform to capture images of space objects and couple this with Passive Bistatic radar techniques developed by the University of Strathclyde.
Finally, new satellite laser ranging technologies will be researched by Lumi Space to precisely track smaller space objects.
Last year there was a close call in which a £100m spacecraft operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) had to light up its thrusters to dodge a satellite. A clash between the spacecraft was far from certain, but the trajectories posed enough of a threat that ESA concluded that they need to manoeuvre the spacecraft out of harm’s way.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Millions of pieces of space junk orbiting the earth present a significant threat to UK satellite systems which provide the vital services that we all take for granted – from mobile communications to weather forecasting. By developing new AI and sensor technology, the seven pioneering space projects we are backing today will significantly strengthen the UK’s capabilities to monitor these hazardous space objects, helping to create new jobs and protect the services we rely on in our everyday lives.”
Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency said: “People probably do not realise just how cluttered space is. You would never let a car drive down a motorway full of broken glass and wreckages, and yet this is what satellites and the space station have to navigate every day in their orbital lanes. In this new age of space megaconstellations the UK has an unmissable opportunity to lead the way in monitoring and tackling this space junk. This funding will help us grasp this opportunity and in doing so create sought after expertise and new high skill jobs across the country.”
The funding coincides with the signing of a partnership agreement between the Ministry of Defence and UK Space Agency to work together on space domain awareness. This civil and military collaboration aims to bring together data and analysis from defence, civil and commercial space users to better understand what is happening in orbit to ensure the safety and security of UK licensed satellites.
Building on the UK’s current efforts, which has seen the UK Space Agency and RAF analysts working together since 2016, this agreement will further improve our space domain awareness capabilities.
It could also provide opportunities to work alongside global allies, such as the US, to support our continued work to enhance space sustainability and maintain the UK space industry as a global leader.
The UK is already a world-leader in small satellite technology, telecommunications, robotics and Earth observation, and our universities host some of the best minds in the world for space science. Space surveillance and tracking (SST) is a growing international market which space consultants Euroconsult and London Economics forecast could potentially reach over £100m. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
15 Sep 20. Space Force Chief: U.S. Doesn’t Want War in Space, Must be Prepared for It. The United States doesn’t want to engage in warfare in space, but like in all domains, the U.S. military must be prepared for such a conflict, and that’ll take a lot of preparation and change, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond, said.
He said the U.S. does not want to get into a conflict that begins or extends into space.
“We want to deter that from happening. However, if deterrence fails, a war that begins or extends into space will be fought over great distances at tremendous speeds,” Raymond said.
The chief of the newly-created Space Force spoke during a presentation that was part of the 2020 Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference, held this year virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To plan for warfare at the speeds and distances required to operate in space, the Space Force must be lean, agile and fast. The new military service has been working on all of those things since it stood up in December, Raymond said.
A big part of the leaning effort, he said, is the reduction of bureaucracy.
“Since establishment, we’ve been in the business of slashing bureaucracy, delegating authority and enhancing accountability at every crossroad,” Raymond said. “My opinion: big organizations are slow. We must move at speed to outpace the threats that we face.”
The general said the Space Force, in an effort to reduce bureaucracy, implemented a large-scale reorganization that involved removing two echelons of command, including a numbered Air Force and an O-6-level command.
“We’ve also reduced the size of our planned staff at the Pentagon,” Raymond said. “Back when we started, the Pentagon staff was going to be over 1,000 people. That was the initial plan. We’ve slashed that by 40%. We’re shortening the distance between decision makers and you, the experts, conducting our mission.”
Also part of eliminating bureaucracy, Raymond said, is a hard look at the agencies that exist now that are involved in acquisition for the space enterprise. He said Congress has identified some 65 different organizations involved in space-related acquisition.
The Space Force chief said there is a mandate for change, adding that we must bring unity of effort across the department, reduce duplication of effort, all while slashing costs, and increasing our speed.
“If we get this right, we will be the envy of the other services, because we are not tied to business of the past,” Raymond said.
The Space Force is also proposing a new acquisition system for space, something Raymond said Congress agrees with.
“We’ve already begun implementing that,” he said. “We’ve already delegated the head of contracting authority down from the Pentagon staff to the acquisition experts in the field. We know from experience this kind of delegation speeds up acquisition decisions, and makes us better partners for the industry.”
Partnership is also key, both inside the Defense Department and outside. Partnerships with the intelligence community, sister services, the total force and space allies are all being looked at for development, Raymond said.
As part of partnership development, he said the Space Force established a chief partnership office at the Space and Missile System Center, and that team is working to expand space partnerships with nations such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Right now, he said, Space Force is working with Norway, for instance, to host American payloads on Norwegian space launches. That combined effort, he said, will save the U.S. about $900m and also put those capabilities into space sooner. The U.S. is also working with the Japanese to put U.S. capabilities into Japanese satellites.
“These efforts improve our capabilities, and they strengthen our partnerships between our great nations,” he said.
Raymond also drew attention to verbiage on a display at the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. On the floors of both the north and south pavilions are etched the words “Victory on Land, Victory at Sea, Victory in the Air.” Now, he said, those three domains are no longer enough to ensure victory. Today’s security environment, he said, requires even more of American warfighters.
“I am not confident that we can achieve victory or even compete in a modern conflict, without space power,” he said. “I am not willing to lose in order to learn. Today the Space Force in answering that call to compete, forging a warfighting service that is always above.” (Source: US DoD)
15 Sep 20. AEHF-6 Protected Communications Satellite Completes On-Orbit Testing. The sixth Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) protected communications satellite successfully completed its On-Orbit Test (OOT) period on Aug. 27, 2020.
“Successful OOT demonstrates that all space vehicle performance requirements have been met and that we are on track for satellite control authority handover to Space Operations Command before the end of the year,” said Erik Daehler, director of Lockheed Martin’s Protected Communications mission area. “This is a great accomplishment for the industry-government team, bringing incredible capability for our warfighters.”
AEHF-6 will be part of a geostationary ring of ten satellites in the AEHF-MILSTAR constellation delivering global coverage for survivable, highly secure and protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The satellite adds increased resiliency and advanced capabilities to this constellation, which ensures the ability to transmit data anywhere, anytime.
Besides U.S. forces, the AEHF system also serves international partners Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
AEHF-6 was successfully launched about five months ago, on March 26, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket. The launch was the first mission launch for the U.S. Space Force.
As prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Space developed and manufactured all six AEHF satellites at its production facility located in Sunnyvale, California.
The AEHF team is led by the Production Corps, Geosynchronous Earth Orbit/Polar Division, at the U.S. Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California.
14 Sep 20. US Army to award contract for GPS alternative by end of September. The U.S. Army plans to select a contractor for its Mounted Assured Position Navigation and Timing program by the end of September as a way to ensure soldiers know where they are even if GPS isn’t working, program leaders said Sept. 10.
In the meantime, the service will continue to give soldiers access to an earlier version of the program over the next two years.
“We are nearing an award to a single vendor who will go forward with that program of record,” said Col. Nickolas Kioutas, program manager for position, navigation and timing within the Army’s Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. “Right now we have fielded our MAPS Gen 1 and we’re continuing to field MAPS Gen 1 over the next two years, and then we’re transitioning to our MAPS program of record.”
Mounted Assured Position Navigation and Timing, or MAPS, is the Army’s solution to ensuring soldiers know where they are even if the GPS signal is denied, degraded or spoofed. MAPS will be able to fuse PNT data, ingesting information from a variety of sensors providing timing, barometer measurements and inertial navigation to provide an independent alternative that can validate or replace GPS.
“Sensor fusion also lays the foundation to operate without GPS or without (radio frequency), because if you can take in velocity or barometer or an (inertial navigation unit), those are not jammable or spoofable. You can know where you’re at and still report where you’re at,” said Lt. Col. Alexander Rasmussen, product manager for Mounted Positioning Navigation and Timing.
MAPS will also be able to deliver M-Code — a more secure military GPS signal — to soldiers. Additionally, the anti-jam antenna being developed with MAPS can be used as a sensor to locate interference, enabling the Army to counter jamming or spoofing.
In 2019, the Army outfitted a number of Stryker vehicles with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany with MAPS Gen 1 — its initial “Fight Tonight” capability.
“That Gen 1 capability is enabling protection from GPS threats so they can continue to shoot, move, and communicate in a contested environment,” Rasmussen said. “And a key part of that is not just knowing where you’re at—it’s so that command and control can know where you’re at.”
Even as the Army moves forward with MAPS Gen 2 as a program of record, it plans to continue fielding the Gen 1 capability.
“While we’re continuing to move forward with the [program of record] solution […], we’ll continue to get this to the soldiers and forces that need it in order to support their mission downrange in support of Army operations,” Rasmussen said.
Specifically, the Army plans to outfit even more of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s vehicles. And in preparation for their deployment, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and tanks used by the 1st Infantry Division with the 1st Brigade at Fort Riley, Kansas, will be receiving the MAPS Gen 1 upgrade.
Up to this point, the Army has been working with two vendors—on phase two of an Other Transaction Authority to develop MAPS Gen 2. Service leaders hope to award phase three to one vendor by the end of September and move towards Milestone C authority of the MAPS program of record and begin production, said Rasmussen.
Later, MAPS Gen 3 will evolve to the C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards, or CMOSS. CMOSS is effectively a common chassis being developed by the Army that will enable new capabilities to be installed via plug-and-play cards. For instance, at a recent test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Army was able to test out a new PNT capability that was delivered as a card plugged into CMOSS chassis installed on a Stryker vehicle. Along with an anti-jam antenna, that card was able to deliver the MAPS capability to the war fighter.
With CMOSS, the Army hopes to both save space by using a common space for multiple capabilities and get new capabilities out to the field faster using that plug-and-play dynamic. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
14 Sep 20. Ball Aerospace Selected by NASA for Three Studies to Develop Future Sustainable Land Imaging Technologies. Ball Aerospace was selected by NASA to move forward with three studies to develop and demonstrate innovative Sustainable Land Imaging (SLI) technologies for potential use on future missions of the Landsat program, a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that is entering its fifth decade of existence.
The studies leverage previous SLI Technologies, including the Ball-built Operational Land Imager 2, which will fly on the Landsat 9 mission launching in 2021.
“We are honored and excited that Ball was chosen by NASA for three studies to explore next-generation technologies for the Landsat Program,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. “These studies reflect the importance of continued advancement and the development of creative solutions. We are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible when it comes to innovating robust, precisely-calibrated sensors in increasingly compact packages.”
The selection came on the heels of the final airborne science flights of two other Sustainable Land Imaging (SLI) technology demonstrations – the Reduced Envelope Multispectral Imager – Airborne (REMI-AB) and the Compact Hyperspectral Prism Spectrometer – Airborne (CHPS-AB). Both were designed to demonstrate improved Landsat mission performance in compact instrument packages.
The three studies include:
- Landsat Calibration Satellite (LCS) – This study builds on the CHPS instrument and aims to provide the cross-calibration and validation capability required to knit together a future Land Imaging Constellation. LCS-B focuses on the key technical challenges to providing an on-orbit reference instrument – specifically, differences in spatial and spectral performance between disparate platforms, such as Sentinel-2, Planet, and Landsat-8.
- TransCal – This is an innovative calibration approach using Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal material to continue the precise on-orbit calibration method used extensively in the Landsat program, while significantly reducing the size and complexity of the calibration subsystem. This study aims to reduce resources needed (e.g., cost, size, volume and mass) for next-generation SLI instruments, while meeting or exceeding the current Land Imaging capabilities.
- Reduced Envelope Multispectral Infrared Radiometer (REMIR) – This study will design and build a single, full spectral range (visible through thermal infrared) instrument suite that represents the next step in meeting the thermal infrared band requirements for future Landsat missions. The proposed technology leverages the previous success of the REMI instrument, as well as NASA and Ball investments in new detectors, innovative calibration subsystems (e.g. the NASA Compact Infrared Radiometer in Space CubeSat mission, built by Ball and currently in orbit) and a scanning approach that enables significant reductions in size, weight, and power compared to the existing Landsat architecture.
Ball Aerospace has more than six decades of experience providing leading-edge systems and instruments to help predict the weather, map air quality and monitor the Earth’s environment. Ball has played a key role in the continuity of the current Landsat program having built the OLI instrument flying on the Landsat 8 satellite and the OLI-2 instrument for Landsat 9. As a partner on the NASA SLI-Technology program, Ball has developed and demonstrated innovative instruments that provide for a flexible and sustainable next-generation Landsat architecture. (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Sep 20. Rocket crashes in Alaska after failed launch. Space start-up Astra is preparing a second launch into orbit after its first attempt failed due to unexpected guidance system oscillation.
On Saturday (12 September), US-based space start-up Astra announced that its test flight into orbit from its Kodiak launch site in Alaska failed despite a preliminary data review indicating that the rocket “performed very well”.
‘Rocket 3.1’ crashed after its guidance system experienced “slight oscillation”, which caused the rocket to “drift from its planned trajectory”, prompting a commanded shutdown by the flight safety system.
“We didn’t meet all of our objectives, but we did gain valuable experience, plus even more valuable flight data,” Astra stated.
“This launch sets us well on our way to reaching orbit within two additional flights, so we’re happy with the result.
“We are incredibly proud of what the team [accomplished].”
According to Astra, the launch was the first flight of a rocket “designed from the ground-up for low cost mass production and highly-automated launch operations”, adding that the launch system was deployed by six people in less than a week.
“Astra’s strategy is to learn fast through iterative development. Although we’re pleased with [the] outcome, we still have more work to do to reach orbit,” Astra noted.
“Once we reach orbit, we will relentlessly continue to improve the economics of the system as we deliver our customers’ payloads.”
Astra revealed that it has commenced preparations for a second launch, with ‘Rocket 3.2’ “built and ready for another big step towards orbit”.
“Over the next several weeks, we’ll be taking a close look at the flight data to determine how to make the next flight more successful,” the start-up added. (Source: Space Connect)
14 Sep 20. Kleos Space issues Scouting Mission update amid COVID delays. The ASX-listed firm has announced a new date for the planned launch of four satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India.
In February, space-powered radio frequency reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company Kleos Space dispatched four Scouting Mission nanosatellites to India in preparation for launch aboard PSLV C49 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
However, the launch — taking place as part of a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc and managed by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) — was delayed due to the “prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation”.
Kleos has now been informed that the Scouting Mission has been re-scheduled for the first half of November 2020, “based on the current status of planning of activities”.
However, the ASX-listed firm stressed that the schedule is subject to change due to “operational circumstances beyond NSIL control”.
NSIL is expected to confirm the exact launch date via Spaceflight Inc once the activities at the launch base “progress successfully”.
Kleos’ Scouting Mission satellites are designed to detect and geolocate maritime radio frequency transmissions to provide global activity-based intelligence, enhancing the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of governments and commercial entities when Automatic Identification System (AIS) is defeated, imagery unclear or targets out of patrol range. Used with other data sources, Kleos’ independent geolocation data will assist the detection of hidden maritime activity, such as piracy, drug and people smuggling, and illegal fishing. (Source: Space Connect)
10 Sep 20. SAR-Based Land Displacement Monitoring Service Rolls Out From Synspective. Synspective Inc. has launched their first “Land Displacement Monitoring” service that enables ground movement monitoring in millimetres, obtained through image analysis of SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellites data.
The “Synspective Land Displacement Monitoring” service originates from InSAR*2 analysis that is capable of detecting timely, vertical land displacement, in millimeters, over a wide area. This Service enables periodic observation and understanding of land subsidence and deformation.
It takes a lot of time and labor to understand the risk of land subsidence and landslides over a wide area. By leveraging Synspective’s new service, cost and time is reduced, when compared to the traditional observation and control techniques associated with these ground change risks.
This new service’s expected use is multifaceted and can be applied in many land risk management projects such as construction projects, airport maintenance projects, and subway development projects, among others. In addition, remote are/site surveying can be extremely relevant in disaster struck areas where human access is restricted or dangerous, or where social movement is restricted due to the recent COVID-19 virus impact.
Synspective offers this solution on a subscription basis through a SaaS(solution as a service) format and subscribers can access the platform without installing the software and are able to check the analysis results on the web. User-friendly UI/UX enables users to intuitively understand the analysis results without any prior knowledge of satellite data.
Capability and functionality of this service were tested through preliminary utilization projects with several companies and organizations, including through participation in a PoC project by Singapore Land Authority, a statutory board under the Ministry of Law of Singapore. Through the insights and lessons learned from this PoC project, further utilization models were developed. This project also provided Synspective with feedback for improvements to the service, which has been incorporated in the current release.
Solution services with Synspective’s own SAR data Synspective plans to launch its own small SAR satellite “StriX-α” in 2020. In the near future, the company can provide solutions with higher frequency and stable monitoring by use of data obtained from the firm’s own SAR satellite constellation.
Synspective’s Solutions Development Department General Manager, Tomoyuki Imaizumi, said, “Land Displacement Monitoring will be Synspective’s first official service. We plan to continuously improve the service based on user feedback and increase the frequency of monitoring by utilizing our own satellite constellation. We are also planning to develop services that combine user-owned data based on this service.” (Source: Satnews)
09 Sep 20. General Atomics’ Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Concept Delivered To NASA. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has delivered a design concept of a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars for a NASA-funded study.
The study, managed by Analytical Mechanics Associates (AMA), explored a design space defined by key performance parameters as well as figures of merit. The GA-EMS design exceeded the key performance parameters and optimized the NTP reactor for manufacturability, the highest ranked figure of merit.
GA-EMS’ NTP reactor concept leverages advancements in modern nuclear materials and manufacturing methods with valuable experience from the company’s involvement on NASA Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Project Rover in the 1960s; one of the first programs to demonstrate the feasibility of space-based nuclear thermal propulsion.
GA fabricated approximately 6 metric tons of the nuclear fuel kernels for the project. In 1965, the company was also directly involved in nuclear fuel testing and characterization for the SNAP-10A reactor, the only U.S. nuclear power reactor launched into space, which powered the satellite for 43 days.
The fuel used for that reactor is the same fuel that has been used since the 1950s in the 66 Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics (TRIGA®) reactors built in the U.S. and around the world. GA-EMS continues to build upon these technologies today.
The GA-EMS design proposes new features that address issues observed in historical designs, such as fuel element corrosion, and achieves a compact core using High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) instead of High-Enriched Uranium (HEU). As a result, GA-EMS was invited recently to brief the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Space Nuclear Technologies.
“GA-EMS is uniquely positioned to develop and deliver a cost effective, safe NTP reactor system to progress future space missions,” said Scott Forney, President of GA-EMS. “This is an exciting effort that directly aligns with our 60+ years of nuclear energy research and development, including nuclear reactor design and deployment and our expertise in space systems. We are excited to contribute our ideas to the next generation of space exploration for our country and our world.”
“Our team was extremely honored to present our ideas for a NTP reactor design to the NAS committee,” said Dr. Christina Back, VP of Nuclear Technologies and Materials at GA-EMS. “NTP systems for NASA Human Mars Missions are achievable in the near-term, and our solution takes advantage of cutting-edge advances, especially with nuclear fuel and high temperature ceramic matrix composite materials. By applying modern science and engineering methods, GA-EMS is reducing risk in space NTP technology development and rapidly advancing the state-of-the-art.” (Source: Satnews)
08 Sep 20. Upcoming Quantum Event Will Explore The US-China Quantum / Geospatial Rivalry. In the wake of the U.S. White House announcing a $1bn research push for AI and quantum computing for national security, Geospatial Alpha is hosting an event on September 10 entitled, “Quantum Technologies and Geospatial Intelligence.”
This event will feature Dr. Rupak Biswas, the Director of Exploration Technology at NASA Ames, who also leads the emerging quantum computing effort at NASA.
The Geospatial Alpha quantum event will also feature Christopher Savoie, Founder and CEO of Zapata Computing who will explain the US-China Quantum Race.
Geospatial Alpha was formed in 2019 to build the authority in geospatial intelligence, as a thought-leader, investor, mentor, and advisor, in order to expose and engage the potential in geospatial data and intelligence. Geospatial Alpha is a leader in deep, geospatial tech and advises private investors and enterprises, such as ESA and Airbus, and is a leader in geospatial mentorship with a global portfolio of ground-breaking startups.
The Geospatial Alpha quantum event will also expose the potential of quantum sensors for geospatial intelligence with…
Rachele Cocks of L3Harris
Tatjana Curcic of DARPA
… who will probe the future of quantum computing for distributed vehicles.
Also joining this informative event will be Sreeja Nag of NASA Ames and Nuro and Gaurav Bansal of John Deere, and finally, project the impact of quantum computing for climate risk investing with Bob Liscouski of Quantum Computing Inc., Mark McDivitt of State Street Corp., Libby Bernick, formerly of Morningstar and S&P Global, and Kyle Story of Descartes Labs.
Register here: https://webinar-portal.net/webinars/ga/registration_200910.php
08 Sep 20. Advanced Battle Management System Field Test Brings Joint Force Together Across All Domains During Second Onramp.
The Department of the Air Force, in partnership with U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Space Command, held a second, more complex and rigorous field test from August 31 to September 3 of an innovative and evolving approach to joint warfighting known as the Advanced Battle Management System. In the latest exercise, known as an “onramp,” operators used ABMS to detect and defeat efforts to disrupt U.S. operations in space in addition to countering attacks against the U.S. homeland, including shooting down a cruise missile “surrogate” with a hypervelocity weapon. The Advanced Battle Management System, or ABMS, allows a joint force to use cutting-edge methods and technologies to rapidly collect, analyze, and share information and make decisions in real time.
“Future battlefields will be characterized by information saturation. One of the key objectives of this onramp was to present a dizzying array of information for participants to synthesize, just like they would see in a real operation,” said Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. “This compelled commanders and operators to trust data analytics and artificial intelligence to understand the battle. Valuing data as an essential warfighting resource, one no less vital than jet fuel or satellites, is the key to next-gen warfare.”
ABMS collected and fused information in new ways by also making the information available instantaneously across geographically-separated forces spanning the operational to tactical levels of combat.
The week long onramp further tested and refined technologies necessary for ABMS, which is building the “Internet of Things (IoT)” of the military that collects and makes sense of vast amounts of data supported by artificial intelligence. ABMS links weapon systems and personnel in the air, on the ground, at sea as well as space and cyber domains in a seamless manner that has not yet been available to today’s warfighters.
This latest installment of ABMS was a significant advance in both size and ambition from the first, which was held in December. The most recent onramp included 70 industry teams, 65 government teams from every service including the Coast Guard, 35 military platforms, 30 geographic locations and four national test ranges, all contributing to what officials say could be the largest joint experiment in recent history.
ABMS, which is the top modernization priority for the Department of the Air Force with a budget of $3.3bn over five years, will be the backbone of a network-centric approach in partnership with all the services across the Department of Defense. That broader effort is known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2). When fully realized, senior leaders say JADC2 will allow U.S. forces from all services—as well as allies—to receive, fuse and act upon a vast array of data and information in all domains at the speed of relevance.
In addition to the system’s embrace of a different warfighting philosophy and practice, ABMS is using an approach to developing the complex system that breaks with traditional defense approaches and practices.
Project managers say the goal is speed and utility, which means that some ABMS components are being developed from products that can be derived from commercially available technology when applicable. It requires a close working relationship with industry partners and a willingness to push experimentation of innovative ideas in order to learn what works and what doesn’t on short time horizons.
“The winner is going to be the one who is able to adapt rapidly in the face of change and uncertainty,” said Preston Dunlap, Department of the Air Force chief architect. “We have to bake agility into the recipe as its most basic ingredient.”
Managers of the exercise said the sheer size and complexity of the latest iteration of the onramp presented a challenge to the operators that accurately reflected the realities and uncertainties of a potential conflict.
Upon completion of the test, Roper said that some capabilities are ready to be used. Chief among them, he said, is using cloud computing.
Senior leaders and developers are stressing speed and setting an ambitious schedule of onramps to be held every four months or so to advance the capabilities demonstrating the most promise and provide opportunities for operational commanders to begin to use ABMS capabilities as they emerge in their day-to-day operations.General John “Jay” Raymond
“Modern warfare demands data and information at the edge, anywhere on Earth,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond. “Potential adversaries are investing heavily in these fields, and we must exploit new approaches to sustain the advantage. We are exploring how to use JADC2 and ABMS to link sensors to shooters across all battlespaces, at speed and under threat. Maturing these concepts and capabilities is necessary to fight and win in the information age.”
Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., who has previously served in leadership roles in Europe, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific, assesses that ABMS is a capability that is needed today and not later, citing its imperative for deterrence and its application for Joint All Domain Operations. “To win the contested, high-end fight, we need to accelerate how we field critical technologies today,” Brown said. “Rapid, iterative experimenting ultimately places relevant capability in warfighters’ hands faster. We cannot afford to slow our momentum on ABMS. Our warfighters and combatant commands must fight at internet speeds to win,” he said.
General Glen D. VanHerck, Commander of U.S. Northern Command, said after the field test that he was impressed. “You can be skeptical of that technology,” VanHerck said, referring to using artificial intelligence and machine learning to process information. “I am not skeptical after today,” he added. (Source: Satnews)
08 Sep 20. USSF and NOAA Begin Joint Operations of Infrared Weather Satellite. The following is an announcement from the U.S. Space Force. The U.S. Space Force has declared Initial Operational Capability of the Electro-optical Infrared Weather System Geostationary (EWS-G1) spacecraft. EWS-G1, formerly known as GOES-13, was transferred to the U.S. Air Force by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2019 under an agreement between the U.S. Air Force and NOAA for Interagency Cooperation on Collection of Space-Based Environmental Monitoring Data.
Originally launched in 2006, GOES-13 provided operational weather coverage over the United States East Coast for 10 years before being replaced in the GOES-East position by GOES-16. EWS-G1 is the first Department of Defense owned geostationary weather satellite. The satellite provides timely cloud characterization and theater weather imagery to DoD in the Indian Ocean region, addressing needs across Central Command (CENTCOM) and other operating theaters.
The transfer and relocation of EWS-G1 is the culmination of joint efforts between the USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center, NOAA and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“EWS-G1 is a prime example of innovation and the leveraging of partnerships. SMC partnered with NOAA and NASA to deliver critically needed Geostationary visible and infrared cloud characterization and theater weather imagery in the Indian Ocean region. This effort demonstrates speed by allowing the spacecraft to be moved and operated in the Indian Ocean region far earlier than a new satellite could be produced and fielded,” said Charlotte Gerhart, SMC’s Production Corps Low Earth Orbit Division chief. “The repurposing of GOES-13, and residual NOAA ground equipment, accomplished the mission at a fraction of the procurement cost of a brand new system.”
After the relocation maneuver, NOAA and the U.S. Space Force completed a thorough checkout of the EWS-G1 spacecraft and sensors. All criteria were met to declare the system operational and EWS-G1 is now providing weather data to DOD forecasters. NOAA will continue to operate EWS-G1 on behalf of the U.S. Space Force for its remaining life span, from the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland and Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station in Virginia. (Source: Satnews)
07 Sep 20. Thales Alenia Space Commissioned To Build SATRIA Satellite For Indonesian Consortium. Satelit Nusantara Tiga (SNT) and Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), have signed a Preliminary Work Agreement to start the activities of the broadband telecommunication satellite SATRIA.
Thales Alenia Space, acting as prime contractor for this program, initially signed on July 2019 for a consortium* led by the domestic satellite operator Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN) on behalf of Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo), will deliver the High Throughput Satellite (HTS) based on its Spacebus NEO full electric platform and fitted with a fifth-generation digital processor (5G).
The company will also be in charge to provide two satellite control centers (main and backup), the telecommand and telemetry stations, and the ground mission segment linked to the fully processed payload.
In addition, Thales Alenia Space will put in place a complete training program for PSN engineers, where part of them will join the project team as residents in Cannes and Toulouse during the duration of the program.
The full Ka-band SATRIA satellite, to be positioned at 146°E, will carry more than 150 gigabits per second over the full Indonesian territory. Dedicated to narrow the digital divide, SATRIA has the ambition to connect around 145,000 areas including 90,000 schools, 40,000 hospitals and public buildings as well as regional government sites not linked by existing satellite or terrestrial infrastructure. The satellite will contribute to the digital infrastructure developments in Indonesia.
“We are particularly honored to reach this important milestone with the beginning of the industrial activities for the SATRIA program, first HTS telecommunication satellite in Indonesia and the most powerful one over the Asian region”, said Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “SATRIA will take benefit of all the expertise already developed by Thales Alenia Space on its Spacebus NEO platform as well as on its HTS payloads.”
“With a capacity of 150 Gbps, the satellite can provide more than three times the combined national capacities that are currently in use. We are confident that SATRIA can be the solution to the digital gap that still exists in Indonesia,” said Adi Rahman Adiwoso, CEO of PSN.
*The Consortium — PSN has formed Satelit Nusantara Tiga (SNT) to be operating company to carry on the project. The shareholders of SNT are PSN, PT Pintar Nusantara Sejahtera (Pintar), PT Nusantara Satelit Sejahtera, and PT Dian Semesta Sentosa (subsidiary of PT Dian Swastatika Sentosa Tbk). PSN and Pintar are the majority shareholders of SNT and both will maintain majority ownership in the operating company throughout the project lifetime. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.
RADAR, C-UAS, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE
Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
17 Sep 20. Demand for More Efficient Threat Detection Radar Systems to Foster Billion Dollar Growth Opportunities. Financialnewsmedia.com News Commentary. Recent industry reports may differ in their revenue projections but they do agree that the numbers will continue to rise in the coming several years. Increasing threats from high-speed missiles and aircraft have led to an increase in demand for surveillance and fire control radars. Rise in the defense spending of emerging economies, growing regional tensions, and an increasing number of inter-country conflicts are major factors driving the military radars market. The increasing deployment of ballistic and stealth missiles in active war zones has also led to a significant increase in the demand for military radars across the globe. Other applications of military radars include airborne fire control, surveillance activities, ground mapping, and coastal surveillance. The use of military radars in all these applications is fueling the growth of the military radars market, globally. A report from MarketsAndMarkets projects that the military radars market is projected to grow from USD 14.0bn in 2020 to USD 17.4bn by 2025, at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period, while another report from Fortune Business Insights projects a higher value saying that the Military Radar market size will reach USD 24.36bn by 2027. Active tech companies in the markets this week include Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB), Plymouth Rock Technologies Inc. (CSE: PRT) (OTCQB: PLRTF), Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS), L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: LHX), Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX).
The report stated that the global market value stood at USD 14.66bn in 2019. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 2019, the total military expenditure rose to USD1917bn, globally. Rising by 3.6% from 2018 levels, the largest spenders, who accounted for 62% of the total spending, were the US, China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Growth in military expenditure in some of the strongest economies in the world bodes well for this market as this would mean increased adoption of advanced defense technologies. Military radar systems, which are critical for militaries to conduct threat detection and surveillance operations, are also likely to experience surging demand as countries look to strengthen their defense capabilities.
Plymouth Rock Technologies Inc. (CSE: PRT) (OTCQB: PLRTF) BREAKING NEWS: PLYMOUTH ROCK SIGNS LETTER OF INTENT WITH R3 TECHNOLOGIES TO BRING COMPACT THREAT DETECTION RADAR TO MARKET – Plymouth Rock Technologies (“Plymouth Rock”, “PRT”, or the “Company”), a leader in the development of cutting-edge threat detection technologies, announced that the company has executed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with New Mexico-based R3 Technologies Inc. (“R3T”) to collaborate on the market readiness, alternative use and sale of stand-off threat detection solutions to the US and international markets. R3T specializes in microwave radar detection systems, providing scientific and engineering capabilities to USA government laboratories and the US Department of Defense. PRT and R3T have collaborated to bring an ultra-compact bomb and concealed weapon detector, called CODA-1 (Cognitive Object Detection Apparatus), to market. CODA-1 is a lightweight radar detection system that uses microwave frequencies in the X-Band spectrum region, an established operating band for many security and radar applications. Due to its short wavelength X-Band is essential for basic cognitive identification and classification of both dangerous and common everyday items. CODA-1 will have its AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms set to the detection of concealed weapons, such as suicide bombs, assault weaponry and large bladed weapons from 3-10 feet. The CODA-1 has received extensive independent testing within the US Government, and will be available for evaluation and sale to government and military clients with existing checkpoint and search permissions commencing in the fourth quarter 2020.
“Over the past decade, the PRT and R3 founders have worked in collaboration with the US Army Technical Support and Operational Analysis (TSOA) and Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate on military and airport technology acceleration for the next generation of stand-off detection,” stated Carl Cagliarini, Chief Strategy Officer of PRT. “The CODA system will now be introduced to several existing US Government agencies including the Department of Homeland security APEX screening at speed directive.” (https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/apex-screening-speed)
Other key applications for the CODA-1 radar include use at military checkpoints to screen personal coming into a FOB (Forward Operating Base), transportation hub security checks such as entrance points in airports, subway, bus terminals etc., federal government facilities, embassies, sporting events and concerts.
PRT also envisions the CODA-1 system being integrated on our X1/XV drones and currently available security robots for threat detection in unstructured crowds. These types of robots add an additional layer of security in busy parking lots/structures, shopping malls, hospitals and corporate campuses.
“For R3T, this LOI is a significant milestone with PRT,” stated Robby Roberson CEO & President of R3T. “The first product to market, the CODA-1, will commercially launch this fall, under the PRT brand. It is our intention that future R3T developments, non-classified government programs and commercial offerings will be made available exclusively through the PRT brand and sales channels.” Read this and more news for PRT at: https://www.plyrotech.com/news/
Other recent developments in the defense and tech industries include: Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, recently announced that it is offering CMMC pre-certification advisory services to commercial organizations and Department of Defense (DoD) contractors seeking CMMC compliance. CMMC advisory services currently include strategic and operational consulting services, gap assessment and remediation services, and documentation services.
As Mark Williams, Vice President, Kratos Cybersecurity Services explained: “Unlike most organizations offering CMMC Advisory services, Kratos is one of the first and largest FedRAMP third party assessment organizations (3PAO), is a member of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) and sells to the DoD. As a result, we have a unique understanding and insight into how CMMC requirements impact DIB organizations and what can/should be done to satisfy these requirements.” FedRAMP is a U.S. government-wide certification program in which all cloud service providers (CSPs) must be authorized to provide cloud services to the U.S. Government.
L3Harris Technologies (NYSE: LHX) recently announced that they will lead a team to help transform the U.S. Air Force’s flight simulator training used to help develop highly skilled air crews. The team will help the Air Force develop a set of common standards for simulator design and operation. Simulators are built by multiple providers using unique interfaces, which makes training updates difficult. SCARS’ stricter cybersecurity criteria will enable the Air Force to link simulators together, perform remote software updates and enrich the training environment.
There are approximately 2,400 simulators across 300 locations that will be updated with the new common architecture over the next few years. The initial task order covers nine sites and integrates new standards into the A-10 and KC-135 platforms.
Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) recently announced Nuvotronics, which operates within its Cubic Mission and Performance Solutions (CMPS) business division received certifications from the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) as a Trusted Source for Post Processing and Package/Assembly services. Nuvotronics is one out of approximately 80 contractors in the U.S. to be certified. Nuvotronics is now a part of the DMEA’s Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO), which provides the Department of Defense (DoD) with trusted and assured suppliers of microelectronics parts essential to combat operations.
“This certification will support the continued evolution of our innovative and proven additive manufacturing process that offers trusted solutions for the advancement of U.S. platforms,” said Martin Amen, vice president and general manager, Cubic Nuvotronics. “Additionally, it gives our customers the added reassurance in our advanced technologies particularly within 5G and Satellite Communications.”
“The Post Processing and Package/Assembly trusted services accreditation puts Nuvotronics in a unique and exclusive position to provide the U.S. government and its supporting subcontractors with a consistent, reliable and secure supply chain, free from counterfeit or manipulated electronic parts,” said Mike Knowles, president of Cubic Mission and Performance Systems. “We are honored to be included among the DMEA-accredited suppliers for the DoD.”
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX) business, and RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., an Israeli-based defense technology company, have signed a joint venture to establish an Iron Dome Weapon System production facility in the United States. The new partnership, called Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems, anticipates finalizing a site location before the end of the year.
“This will be the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel, and it will help the U.S. Department of Defense and allies across the globe obtain the system for defense of their service members and critical infrastructure,” said Raytheon Missiles & Defense Systems’ Sam Deneke, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense business execution.
(Source: PR Newswire)
17 Sep 20. DroneShield wins Southeast Asia C-UAS deal, possibly with Singapore. Australian counter unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) developer announced on 11 September that it had received an order for a DroneSentry system for the army of an undisclosed Southeast Asian country that is “allied with the West”.
Order for a DroneSentry system
The order, which is the first for the particular country, includes a complete DroneSentry package comprising of RfOne MKIIRF direction-finding sensors, RadarZero revolutionary metamaterials radars, DroneCannon electronic warfare modules, and DroneOpt electro-optic systems with the proprietary DroneOptID AI/machine learning engine for target and payload visual recognition, identification and tracking.
The sensor feeds from these detection devices can then be fused together for comprehensive situational awareness and C-UAS countermeasures using the DroneShieldComplete command and control (C2) engine.
The order, worth US$1 m, is a full capability initial order that the company believes will lead to additional sales following its deployment. The system is expected to be delivered within the fourth quarter of 2020.
Although no details of the customer had been revealed in the announcement, the island state of Singapore is widely seen as being West-leaning – despite its official policy of non-alignment – as evidenced by the large inventory of Western-made defence equipment (especially for its air and sea services), its large training footprint in countries such as Australia and the United States, and its enthusiastic participation in major US-led multilateral military exercises.
The country has grown increasingly concerned by the threat posed by small UASs to its dense civilian and military infrastructure, with the Republic of Singapore Air Force highlighting its new Jammer Gun and Drone Catcher systems in mid-2018. However, the army has yet to publicly show its C-UAS capabilities.
The latest order follows a 10 September announcement of a contract with the US Department of Defense (DoD) to introduce a range of feature enhancements for its DroneShieldComplete C2 system. The work is expected to lead to multiple purchases of DroneShield C-UAS products that would run on the enhanced C2 system.
“Combined with the recent sales to multiple European Government users, and yesterday’s announcement of a contract with the US Department of Defense, there is now a clear momentum in customer adoption of our products,” said DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik.
“Our world-leading product offering meets the requirement of some of the most demanding military and government users globally,” he added.
17 Sep 20. Thales and Leonardo to support Polish Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capability with FLASH SONICS sonars
- Four FLASH SONICS dipping sonar and sonobuoy processing systems from Thales will provide the Polish Navy with the latest-generation anti-submarine warfare capability.
- With its unparalleled threat detection and location performance, the FLASH sonar has become a major success story and consolidated Thales’s world leadership in airborne anti-submarine warfare sonars.
- Teams from Leonardo and Thales have worked jointly with local industry partners to meet the requirements of the Polish Navy.
The Polish Navy will rely on Thales to equip its helicopters with four FLASH SONICS. The FLASH system (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters) is currently the leading dipping sonar on the international market and has become the benchmark system for the world’s major navies.
To maintain control over their maritime space and protect security interests around the world, naval forces need reliable, high-performance systems to operate with optimum effect on missions including anti-submarine warfare, maritime search & rescue, defence of maritime approaches and fleet protection for naval forces on deployment. The FLASH is the leading system in the international market for dipping sonars, providing a first-rate level of protection that is recognised by a large number of naval forces, including the US Navy, the UK Royal Navy, the French Navy, the Royal Australian Navy and the navies of the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, the Philippines and now Poland. To date, over 400 Flash systems have been delivered to about a dozen navies around the world.
The key benefits of this low-frequency wideband sonar include long-range detection with broad sector coverage and low false alarm rates in open ocean as well as littoral waters. Associated with an active and passive sonobuoy processing system, FLASH SONICS provides an unparalleled anti-submarine warfare capability. Initially designed for heavy helicopters such as the Merlin AW101 from Leonardo chosen by the Polish Navy, the system is also available in a compact version equipped with an electric motor for lighter helicopters like the AW159.
Thales and Leonardo have worked jointly with local industry partners, including the Polish aerospace and defence equipment manufacturer WZL1 and the Gdansk University of Technology (GUT), to meet the customer’s requirements. This cooperation demonstrates the Thales Group’s commitment and ability to build and maintain long-term partnerships with local players. GUT and WZL1 will benefit from transfers of technology for sonar maintenance on this programme.
“The FLASH system has been proven in operational deployments with numerous navies, making it a formidable threat for all types of submarines. It is an important instrument of operational superiority for our client navies in their anti-submarine warfare operations. We are very appreciative of the trust the Polish Navy has placed in us with this new contract in partnership with Leonardo, which further consolidates the Group’s world leadership position in anti-submarine warfare systems.” Alexis Morel, Vice President, Underwater Systems.
16 Sep 20. Jacobs Completes Successful Test Campaign of KeyRadar in AgilePod. Radar system and pod demonstrates real-time processing and target detection/recognition capabilities to find concealed targets in the most challenging operational environments on tactical timelines
Jacobs (NYSE: J) achieved an important milestone in the completion of a rigorous flight campaign with the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center for certification of Jacobs’ newest version of its proprietary KeyRadar® product in an aerial system pod called AgilePod®. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center certified the airworthiness of the pod for flight testing on commercially operated aircraft under FAA airworthiness criteria, a first for this pod.
This flight activity culminates a technical maturation phase for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, a program to integrate KeyRadar into an aerial system pod and demonstrate its unique intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and target detection/recognition capabilities from manned and unmanned aircraft, with a self-contained, unpressurized rapid-on/rapid-off capability.
“The integration of KeyRadar into an aerial system pod brings unique capabilities for ISR and time-critical detection/recognition applications,” said Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions Senior Vice President Steve Arnette. “The completion of this flight campaign and certification represents a successful collaboration between our newly integrated team since acquiring KeyW and our partnership with the Air Force in delivering advanced technical solutions to the intelligence mission.”
KeyRadar is a multi-mission, multi-mode system built on a software-defined radio/radar architecture. The radar system combines multiple bands with sophisticated processing and detection/recognition software to find concealed targets in the most challenging operational environments. Jacobs’ modular open system architecture enables users to rapidly field new capabilities to operational systems, significantly lowering total life cycle costs. The program also demonstrated the utility of Jacobs’ KeyPAD™ software which is applied in KeyRadar for automated human-made object detection to improve system performance, reduce operator workload and autonomously generate high-value tactical intelligence.
The radar was packaged in the pod system – a modular, open architecture aircraft external store – to meet Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) and Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) standards. The radar and pod were operated in an unpressurized environment, varying between extreme warm and extreme cold temperatures, to include moisture saturating weather, and were evaluated against engineering, performance and environmental specifications. (Source: PR Newswire)
17 Sep 20. Triangulate to Accumulate. NATO’s CESMO initiative promises a step change in how the alliance collects electronic intelligence offering tactical, operational and strategic advantages. An accurate, timely electronic order-of-battle detailing the identity of hostile ground-based air surveillance and fire control/ground-controlled interception radars is to the Offensive Counter Air (OCA) battle what Mozzarella cheese and tomato is to pizza. Quite simply the success of Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) efforts, a key element of the Offensive Counter-Air battle, is dependent on the SEAD force possessing the most accurate Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) possible. This not only helps the SEAD force ascertain where to direct its kinetic and electronic effects against such targets, but also allows other aircraft to plan their sorties in such a way as to avoid, or reduce, the chance of detection by these radars.
Link-16 remains the standard track and tactical information Tactical Data Link (TDL) used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and allied nations during air operations. Few would argue with Link-16’s positive influence on air operations. One paper it can support data rates of up to one megabit-per-second, although in practice, data rates tend to be noticeably lower across the 960 megahertz/MHz to 1.215 gigahertz/GHz frequencies it uses, typically hovering around the 115 kilobits-per-second/kbps mark.
The TDL can handle tactical traffic concerning Electronic Warfare (EW), typically the J14 and J14.0 series messages it handles which relate to emitter parametric information and EW control coordination respectively. Parametric information relates to the characteristics of radar emissions in the locale of the operation. Analysing this information will often help to betray the identity of those radars. Once this is known, it is possible to decide which countermeasures will be most effective in neutralising them.
As the TDL is not designed exclusively to handle EW information, with just two albeit important categories of electronic warfare data handled by Link-16, another means of handling EW information in the air environment has emerged known as CESMO (Cooperative ESM Operations). NATO’s CESMO initiative performs an elegantly simple function: It detects and locates electromagnetic threats, notably radar, by gathering ELINT collected by several disparate aircraft and federating this to provide an accurate picture of where hostile radars maybe located at any particular time.
Naval ESMs like the ES-3701 are important tools for collecting ELINT which not only helps to enhance vessel protection, but which can also feed intelligence into the NEDB system.
Radars are located using two methods; Angle-Of-Arrival (AOA) and Time of Arrival (TOA). AOA determines the Line-of-Bearing (LOB) from on point to another, in this case an aircraft and a hostile radar. Imagine that three aircraft are flying in the vicinity of a ground-based air surveillance radar. One aircraft is flying towards the radar on a north-south bearing. The second is flying on an east-west radial away from it. The third is flying on a south-north bearing towards the radar. Each aircraft is equipped with a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). The RWR will detect and identify a radar transmission and determine its LOB relative to the aircraft. All three of our aircraft detect the same radar transmission. The RWR on the first aircraft determines a southern LOB to the radar. The RWR on the second determines a westerly LOB to the radar while the RWR on the third aircraft determines a northerly LOB. By using this information, it is possible to determine the radar’s position as the point where all three of these bearings meet. CESMO will compute this point using the ELINT derived from these aircraft’s RWRs, and fusing this with the aircraft’s positions as derived from their transmitted GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) coordinates to determine the radar’s location.
NATO’s Trial Hammer 2005 exercise represented an opportunity to trial the CESMO architecture which is now in service with a number of alliance members.
TOA works in a slightly different fashion. Sticking with our three aircraft, all of which are continuing to fly the same courses in the vicinity of the hostile radar. One aircraft is 100 nautical miles/nm (185.2 kilometres/km) away from the radar flying on north-south bearing towards it. The second is 150nm (277.8km) from the radar, flying on an east-west radial away from it, and the third is 50nm (92.6km) away from the radar flying on a south-north bearing towards it. Triangulation relies on the fact that radar transmissions travel at the speed of light; 161,595 nautical miles-per-second (299,274 kilometres-per-second). The radar transmissions will take a different amount of time to reach each aircraft’s RWR. For the first aircraft it will take the radar transmissions 0.6 milliseconds to reach the plane, for the second it will take 0.9 milliseconds and for the third it will take 0.1 milliseconds. As radar transmissions move at the speed of light, by calculating the difference in time it takes the radar transmissions to reach each of these aircraft relative to the aircraft’s position itis possible to calculate where the radar is located.
The presence of noise in the electromagnetic spectrum and the possibility of RF error propagation will mean that the AOA approach will present the location of the hostile emitter as an ellipse around a central point rather than an ‘x marks the spot’ location. The more measurements that can be obtained vis-à-vis this radar from more platforms the better the location accuracy of the radar becomes. Once a radar is located it can be avoided with aircraft flying outside its detection range. Alternatively, the radar can be engaged kinetically or electronically as part of the SEAD fight. The cool thing about CESMO is that it can employ ELINT sent from the standard RWRs used by combat aircraft for self-protection and from warships equipped with Electronic Support Measures (ESMs) which maybe supporting the operation.
At the tactical level, an ESM or RWR will detect a hostile emitter. This information will flow to the Electronic Warfare Coordination Centre (EWOC) supporting a specific air operation which will usually comprise part of the CAOC (Combined Air Operations Centre). At the EWOC the ELINT sent by these platforms will be analysed and the radar’s parameters analysed. As Jonathan Burton, a specialist engineer at 3SDL notes: “This information would then be transmitted back out on the CESMO network as well as provided to the headquarters to support situational awareness.” 3SDL is heavily involved in the CESMO initiative, providing consultancy and software support to the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory which is playing a leading role in the realisation of the overall CESMO concept including the CESMO Hub software which implements NATO’s Standardisation Agreement 4658 (STANAG-4658). STANAG-4658 governs the CESMO specifications. Within NATO, CESMO is the responsibility of the alliance’s Signals Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Working Group. It has been under development since 1995. 3SDL is offering the CESMO Hub as an operational product, Mr. Burton continues. As well as collecting ELINT, CESMO can be used to hoover up Communications Intelligence (COMINT) regarding hostile radios and communications networks.
CESMO uses IP (Internet Protocol) messaging to share SIGINT. For all intents and purposes, CESMO is a message standard used to convey the information discussed above, says Mr. Burton: “CESMO is designed to be bearer agnostic. As such it can use any bearer that supports an IP network,” he notes. These IP messages can occupy under 16kbps of bandwidth and sent across existing communications protocols. Furthermore, CESMO is a node-less network as there is no single, central point of control. Should one platform sharing SIGINT be lost, this will not cause the loss of the network. Neither does CESMO handle ELINT in a single direction. As well as sharing SIGINT with the network, platforms can receive timely intelligence in their cockpits giving them an instant view of the location and behaviour of a hostile radar. Mr. Burton continues that the CESMO messaging standard is now in service with several NATO nations. The technology’s application is not limited to air platforms: The bearer agnostic nature of the network means that any platform with a radio capable of handling IP data could share and receive CESMO information: “CESMO is designed to support integration into air, land and maritime platforms. A CESMO operation can be conducted with platforms from any and all domains so there is great flexibility to support any individual mission.”
EW databases are vital tools in the electromagnetic battle as a means of storing and sharing emitter information. The CESMO initiative will help populate these important resources; a process which will be eased by CESMO’s use of IP messaging.
CESMO has dual benefits in that it can enhance operational and tactical ELINT, while also enhancing ELINT at the strategic level. The alliance uses the NEDB (NATO Emitter Database) as the repository of electronic intelligence which is stored and shared amongst its membership. The NEDB has been in use since the early 1990s as a means by which member nations can share ELINT.
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon’s AN/ALR-67(V) series of RWRs equipping platforms like the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet series combat aircraft could share the ELINT they collect across the CESMO network.
For example, the L3Harris ES-3701 ESM equipping a ‘Iver Huitfeldt’ class frigate of the Søværnet (Royal Danish Navy) may discover a new radar waveform during a routine patrol. This intelligence maybe analysed by the ES-3701 or by ELINT analysts back at base after the mission if the detected emissions fall outside the ESM’s threat library. Once analysed, the transmission’s details and characteristics can be sent to the NEDB. Alliance members can view this information and load these parameters into their own ESMs and RWR threat libraries so that similar transmissions can be recognised and recorded in the future. CESMO represents an important milestone in the reinforcement of the alliance’s overall electromagnetic situational awareness, and that of its member nations. (Source: Armada)
16 Sep 20. Hawkeye to get HUD. The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft is to be equipped with a head-up display (HUD) for the first time in its near-60-year service life. The carrier-borne AEW&C platform, which is currently the only US Navy (USN) aircraft not to be fitted with a HUD, will undergo the upgrade via the service’s Hawkeye Cockpit Technical Refresh (HECTR) programme.
“For decades, we have improved the weapon system of the [E-2D] Advanced Hawkeye, but the cockpit has remained largely unchanged [from the earlier E-2C variant],” Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said. “HECTR solves some of our obsolescence issues and brings new navigation and communication capability. With the aerial refuelling-capable variant of the E-2D as our new baseline, HECTR makes it safer for our crews who must land on the aircraft carrier after many hours of being on station. HECTR is an essential upgrade that brings the E-2D Hawkeye Cockpit into the 21st Century.”
Announced on 14 September, the USD34m requirements phase for the engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) part of the HECTR upgrade contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman on 3 August.
“The HECTR is a critical redesign of hardware and software components of the current E-2D Integration Navigation, Controls, and Displays System (INCDS) as well as an integration of the cockpit solution into the weapon system. HECTR will use an E-2D Mission Computer Alternative, currently under development at PMA-209 [Air Combat Electronics Program Office], as part of its design. The cockpit redesign will allow the platform to achieve Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Required Navigation Performance Area Navigation capability,” NAVAIR said.
15 Sep 20. SRC Demonstrates On-the-Move CUAS Technology at Apollyon Test Event. SRC Inc., recently demonstrated an on-the-move configuration of the Silent Archer counter-unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technology at the Apollyon test event at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
SRC integrated systems from our partners Persistent Systems, Copious Imaging, and Defense Research Associates, to demonstrate the only on-the-move counter-UAS solution during the event. The Silent Archer technology detected, tracked, and defeated UAS while moving using integrated radar, optical, electronic warfare (EW) and cyber sub-systems.
SRC’s Silent Archer counter-UAS technology is a system of systems designed for rapid deployment. The on-the-move configuration consists of SRC’s SkyChaser radar, counter-UAS camera systems, multi-mission EW system, tactical radio, and mobile decision framework to detect, track, classify, and defeat hostile UAS. The Silent Archer on-the-move configuration is designed to be modular and can be reconfigured with different sensors and effectors to adapt to specific mission requirements.
“This successful demonstration confirmed the effectiveness of Silent Archer’s on-the-move counter-UAS capabilities to protect warfighters,” said Kevin Hair, president and CEO of SRC, Inc. “We are excited to showcase how this advanced counter-UAS technology is ready for the field to help support our customers’ urgent needs.” (Source: UAS VISION)
15 Sep 20. Cambridge Pixel Unmanned Surface Vessels. Applications. Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) are a rapidly expanding area of interest for navies and commercial enterprises around the world. Cambridge Pixel is at the forefront of USV development, partnering with some of the key USV developers and manufacturers across the US, Europe and Asia.
USVs find a multitude of uses, from mine hunting/sweeping to scientific research and surveying. It may be desirable to use a USV on projects that require long periods at sea or when conditions are simply too dangerous for manned craft. USVs can be much cheaper to deploy than manned vessels, while at the same time offering operational benefits, such as extended operating periods.
A USV may incorporate a number of sensing technologies to assist with navigation, collision avoidance and target recognition. Cambridge Pixel’s expertise and products for radar processing provides a core set of capabilities for USV developers, including:
- Interface options to a wide range of maritime and specialist radars
- A highly configurable target tracker
- Fusion of tracks from multiple radars and auxiliary data such as AIS and ADS-B
- Camera control from radar, slew-to-cue and video-based tracking
- Mission recording of radar video, tracks, AIS, video and navigation data
- Display applications for remote monitoring
- Simulation and training
A feature of many USVs is their ability to navigate round obstacles autonomously. While the position of stationary objects such as land and buoys may be known ahead of deployment, the dynamic position of other ships and vehicles must be sensed as the USV moves. Radar is fundamental to detecting potential obstacles at significant ranges. Extracting and tracking targets from radar video is a core competence of Cambridge Pixel.
14 Sep 20. IAF proposes to establish Air Defence Radars in three border districts. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reportedly proposed plans to establish Air Defence Radars in three border districts.
The plan comes at a time when the country is locked in an ongoing standoff with Chinese forces on the line of actual control (LAC) in Ladakh.
The districts are in Uttarakhand and include Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi.
Additionally, IAF has planned to develop a new advance landing ground to execute the activities in the state’s mountainous areas.
Indian Express reported that Central Air-Command AOC-in-C Air Marshal Rajesh Kumar held discussions with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat regarding the proposals and requirement of land.
The government and IAF will select respective nodal officers who will work together to select the land.
A senior official was quoted by local media sources as saying: “IAF has given a proposal to set up airforce radars in three districts and are looking for a suitable site for that.
“They want land for advance landing ground, which can be used for refuelling, as well as uploading and downloading of ammunition. The state government is working in coordination with them to do the needful.”
Last week, IAF formally inducted the first five Rafale multirole aircraft at Ambala Air Force Station, India.
Last month, IAF deployed the locally developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas on the western front.
In July, the government approved the purchase of 33 fighter aircraft to strengthen its airforce. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
15 Sep 20. Sonardyne’s Solstice MCM sonar now MINTACS compatible for Royal Australian Navy. Marine technology company Sonardyne has announced that its Solstice multi-aperture sonar has been integrated into mine warfare command software used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Through a collaboration with Australian defence software engineering company Solutions from Silicon (SfS), data collected by Solstice during mine counter measure (MCM) missions can now be imported, processed and displayed in the most recent release of the MINTACs (Mine Warfare Tactical Command Software) which is in service with the RAN.
Sonardyne’s Solstice is widely considered a force multiplier for MCM operations, enabling substantially higher area coverage rates (ACR) using low-cost, low-logistics autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). It provides 200m wide swath with an unrivalled 0.15° along-track resolution and consumes just 18 Watts, maximising vehicle endurance.
Solstice is now fitted, as standard, to General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Bluefin-9 and Bluefin-12 unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). Seven Bluefin-9 and Bluefin-12s will join the RAN’s UUV fleet this year under its SEA 1778 program. They will be based at HMAS Waterhen in Sydney and will search for, classify and identify sea mines.
MINTACS provides the operator with the ability to not only read and display the Solstice data but also mark mine-like objects (MLOs) of interest and process the images with its powerful onboard automatic target recognition (ATR) capability. MINTACS is in service with host of countries around the world including the national navies of the UK, Australia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and Sweden.
“Naval Mine Warfare is currently experiencing a major generational change that once complete will see unmanned and autonomous systems take on virtually all aspects of a traditional crewed mine hunter, including detection, classification, identification, and neutralization,” says Russell Norman, Technical Director, at SfS. “With the significantly increased sonar ranges provided by Solstice, compared with traditional side-scan sonar, the goal of achieving the required area coverage rates is one step closer.”
Ioseba Tena, Global Business Manager – Defence & Robotics, at Sonardyne, says, “At Sonardyne we are really proud to be supporting SfS and their efforts to provide additional capability to the Royal Australian Navy. We’re confident that, with Solstice data now within the MINTACS database, the Royal Australian Navy will see tangible gains as part of its ongoing expansion of its deployable mine countermeasures capability in the maritime domain.”
11 Sep 20. NATO C-UAS trials feature technology supplied by 42 Solutions, Robin Radar and Rinicom. NATO Communications and Information Agency is hosting a live trial session of anti-drone technology at the Joint Nucleus Counter-UAS Test Center of the Ground Based Air Defence Command in the Netherlands from September 28th until October 2nd 2020.
Dutch software provider 42 Solutions will deploy its recently released UAV threat mitigation solution called Sparrow and will interface with multiple sensor platforms gathered for the event. Sparrow is a modular multi-sensor and fully integrated system that helps organizations threatened by rogue drone operations to respond instantly thanks to an accurate air picture. Sparrow assesses threats by incorporating UTM and ATC data and shares the situational awareness with all involved stakeholders, including ATC and security forces. Swift alerting capabilities facilitate agile and collaborative decision-making.
Sparrow uses information from multiple sources to detect UAV traffic. The system can be configured with a variety of sensor technologies and classification methods (electro- optical, radio-frequency, doppler signatures) to ensure maximized detection quality. The system has already been successfully integrated with Robin Radar’s Elvira and Rinicom’s SkyPatriot. Rinicom is 42 Solutions’ technology partner in the EUROSTARS funded Counter-UAV Protection System for Airports (CUPS) and provides Sparrow with high-performance electro-optical coverage associated with comprehensive AI-based video analytics for autonomous target identification and classification. The open architecture can also integrate additional sensors depending on the mission profile and customer requirements. Traffic is displayed on a customizable air situation display which uses ATC data, sensor target reports and UTM data. UAV traffic that is violating regulations and/or compromising safety will trigger an alert on a Command & Control (C2) position. Information can be disseminated to all parties involved on a mobile app and collaborative decisions can be taken faster to efficiently eliminate the threat.
Rinicom’s SkyPatriot EO sensors will be deployed alongside Sparrow and ELVIRA to widen the scope of detection visually and help reduce false positive by separating detections of birds and drones picked up by the radar. Furthermore, SkyPatriot will add autonomy to the overall solution to reduce the requirement of specialist operators.
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09 Sep 20. FAA seeks four airport operators to participate in UAS detection and mitigation research programme.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking airport operators willing to host a portion of the FAA’s Airport Unmanned Aircraft System(s) (UAS) Detection and Mitigation Research Programme. The Department of Transport (DoT) agency issued solicitation 692M15-20-R-00028 on 4 September 2020.
The FAA anticipates selecting four airport operators. Each selected airport operator will be required to enter into a Firm-Fixed-Price Agreement with the FAA.
Questions and comments that arise from this solicitation should be submitted via e-mail by 5:00 P.M. EST, October 8, 2020. Responses must be submitted by 5:00 P.M. EST, October 22, 2020 in accordance with the DoT document titled “692M15-20-R-00028 Solicitation for Airport Operators Interested in Hosting FAA UAS Detection and Mitigation Research Program.”
Responses to this solicitation reflect an expression of interest only and do not commit the FAA or the airport operator. The FAA will not pay for any information received or costs incurred in preparing responses to this solicitation. Therefore, any cost associated with the solicitation is solely at the interested airport operator’s expense.
Submission date: 22 October 2020
Point of contact:
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10 Sep 20. Israel’s Xtend VR, net-capture drone system “now working with the US military.” According to Israeli news outlet Haarzetz, the US military has launched a new drone project with the Israeli company Xtend, using its Skylord system to intercept enemy drones by casting nets around them from short range. Skylord been tested along the border with the Gaza Strip, says the news report, with pilots operating the drone controls with the help of augmented and virtual reality goggles.
“The deal, as part of which the company has already delivered hundreds of drones to the American military, is valued at tens of millions of shekels,” says the report. “Xtend has recently reported over USD10m in revenues since its launch. The company develops the software allowing remote control over the drones and the technology controlling the interface with the drones themselves. The firm produces the drones in Israeli factories, but will soon start producing them in the U.S. as well.
“The small drones can reach speeds of 200 kilometers per hour (124 m.p.h), and are equipped with a net on their underside, which can unfold on deployment and ensnare a hostile drone. This aspect of the system could help supplement the more common ways of intercepting drones, usually based on interference with their signaling.”
The Israeli Defence Ministry’s Directorate of Defence Research & Development is reported to be working with Xtend and funding some of its work.
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14 Sep 20. Boeing Showcases Compact Laser in Air Force Future Battlefield Exercise. During a September 3 field test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, CLWS successfully defended a force protection convoy against unmanned aerial systems while mounted on a small Utility Task Vehicle.
Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System, (CLWS) – developed to provide cost-effective, precision air defense capabilities for warfighters against unmanned aircraft systems – is one of the latest examples of a new technology that the U.S. Air Force sees as integral to the interconnected battlefield of the not-so-distant future.
ABMS is the Air Force’s concept for joint all-domain operations – the future of integrated data sharing between all U.S. service branches across the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. Once implemented, the system will enable everything from autonomous systems and piloted aircraft to ground vehicles and troops to share information via a cloud-based network to detect and respond to threats faster and more efficiently.
“In a future scenario, an integrated and networked direct energy capability – as demonstrated in this exercise by CLWS – would provide operators with vital information and a means to respond to threats at greater speeds,” said Ron Dauk, program manager of Boeing’s Laser & Electro-Optical Systems.
Throughout the exercise, CLWS transmitted live video and readings on the threats, as well as various elements of the convoy, to operators at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland – providing them with both real-time situational awareness and remote operating capabilities. During the scenario, CLWS received a target cue through the network and defeated a simulated unmanned aircraft vehicle.
“The ABMS exercise is further proof of Boeing’s combat-ready capabilities,” said Robert Green, director of Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “Military operators continue to have great success with our systems with only minimal training.”
Boeing is well-positioned to serve as a key industry partner for the Air Force in directed energy and on the future battlefield. As part of its efforts to accelerate the integration of new technologies to implement ABMS, the Air Force awarded Boeing a development contract in June to compete for individual task orders through 2025. (Source: UAS VISION)
14 Sep 20. RADA Announces $10m in New Orders since mid-July 2020.
Received new orders of $59m since start of 2020. RADA Electronic Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ: RADA) announced the receipt of $10m in accumulated new orders since mid-July 2020. To date, the aggregate amount of new orders since the beginning of 2020 has reached $59mi, compared to $35m received for the same period in 2019, demonstrating an increase of over 68% year-over-year.
Out of the $10m new orders, 70% were for RADA’s growth-engine, software-defined tactical radars, for counter UAV and counter fires (C-RAM). Most of the new radar orders were follow-ons from existing customers. Deliveries of these orders are planned to be concluded within the next six months. The rest of the orders were for digital video recorders and debriefing stations for fighter aircraft, along with maintenance orders for RADA’s avionics installed base.
RADA reiterates its recently increased guidance for 2020, provided on August 11, 2020, with revenues expected to grow to over $70m and representing an increase of over 58% year-over-year.
Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, commented, “We are very satisfied with the continuous growth of new orders. We expect that by year-end this sustained growth rate of new orders will establish significant backlog for 2021. While our radars’ business is growing at a significant rate, the repeated orders for avionics from our loyal customer base also ensure stability of this business of ours. We reiterate our expectations of sequential quarterly growth and growing operating profit throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.”
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.