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14 Sep 21. Viasat Introduces Next-Generation Data-At-Rest Encryption Storage Device for Global Defence Customers. Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of global communications company, Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), today announced a next-generation encryption storage solution, the data-at-rest cryptography solid state drive (DARC-SSD), as the latest addition to Viasat’s hardware encryption family, providing secure data protection for government and defence agencies around the world. Data-at-rest technology safeguards against when a device is stolen, lost or attacked, enabling the data to be entirely protected and secure, even without the device on hand. With threats increasing from adversaries, new encryption technology is critical to maintaining secure control over Intellectual Property (IP), personal and financial data, as well as protecting sensitive mission information that could put military operations at risk.
DARC-SSD expands on Viasat’s successful line of Eclypt® encryption solutions and is the first encryption storage device in Viasat’s new family of data-at-rest solutions. Unlike previous Viasat encryption solutions, the DARC-SSD uses a Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) interface, which offers increased compatibility and integration with the latest commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) devices. Its small hardware footprint (M.2 2280) is designed to offer defence customers advanced data-at-rest encryption capabilities for protecting sensitive information on smaller, more compact laptops, tablets and small form factor (SFF) machines at Top Secret level and below.
“As the volume of mobile devices used by government and militaries grows, there are increasing concerns about the security of devices if they fall into the wrong hands,” said Andrew Dobson, chief technology officer, Viasat UK. “However, with our DARC-SSD technology and its tamper evident design, we are confident that if a device is lost or stolen on the battlefield, the data will remain protected and secure at the highest levels of data security. Our continued investment and innovation in encryption and data-at-rest cryptography aims to help customers stay ahead of modern adversaries and have solutions that meet evolving device and operating system security needs.”
DARC-SSD was built with direct input from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to meet the requirements for securing highly sensitive defence and national security information. The military level 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) hardware offers full drive hardware encryption for all data and the operating system. The DARC-SSD works by decrypting data upon bootup of the device with the proper mandatory two-factor authentication and then encrypting data immediately when the device is powered off. Unlike software encryption done by the operating system, hardware encryption has no impact on overall device performance. Additional benefits of DARC-SSD include quicker loading times and lower power consumption, and it will be available to defence customers in 256GB, 512GB and 1 terabyte (TB) storage options.
14 Sep 21. Head of UK’s Space Directorate warns of space terrorism. The head of the United Kingdom’s new Space Directorate warned that increased access to space increases the possibility of “space terrorism,” drawing parallels to the way terrorists were able to use commercial aircraft during the 9/11 attacks.
“We all have witnessed what happens, and what particularly happens when the air domain became accessible to all — terrorists turned airliners into weapons. If such a trend holds true for space, when will we have to deal with our first example of space terrorism? And are we prepared for such a dramatic strategic shock?” said Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth at the DSEI 2021 conference in London Sept. 14, just days after the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
The decreasing cost of launch and the increasing capability of relatively cheap, small satellites makes it easier than ever for governments, corporations and academics to access space. This development has been hailed for the possibilities it’s introduced in the commercial and defense spheres, but Smyth argued that it also opens up new challenges.
“The cost of access to space has fallen dramatically throughout this last decade, from $20,000 per kilogram to less than $2,000 today, with an aspiration to get below ten with an end point of $2 per kilogram. Pretty much anyone can now access space, and with this accessibility can come potential threat,” said Smyth.
Existing rules for space are not fit for the new, shifting space environment, said the director. To that end, the UK is pursuing the establishment of globally agreed norms of behavior for space within the United Nations General Assembly. Smyth characterized the progress being made to that end as “exceptionally positive.”
Domestically, the UK has reorganized its military space efforts over the last 18 months. It established the Space Directorate, led by Smyth, to coordinate space activities across the whole of government, while creating UK Space Command earlier this year to oversee space-related defense programs and forces.
“We have a much more ambitious and new broad ranging defense space program, way beyond where we were 20 months ago — which was effectively centered on Skynet alone — with an approved and new funding profile which focuses on space domain awareness, globally secure SATCOM in the form of next generation Skynet, digitally networked architectures, multi-spectral [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] constellations and specific protect and defend capabilities, alongside a federated space education and training program,” said Smyth.
The director added that the UK military’s space plans will be laid out in a new strategy document set to be released before the end of September. (Source: Defense News)
14 Sep 21. Launch of Space to Innovate Campaign Bravo Drop. Contracts worth up to £400,000 available for innovations that enhance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in the space domain. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Space Programme and UK Space Agency (UKSA) are working together with the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), to launch the Bravo Drop of the Space to Innovate Campaign.
Submit a proposal: Bravo Drop
The Bravo Drop of the Space to Innovate Campaign is now open for proposals. This Drop focuses on solving two challenge sets:
Challenge 1: Novel sensing and Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) technologies
This challenge seeks to develop technologies and demonstrations of novel sensing modes for the space domain for military and intelligence applications; both space-to-ground and space-to-space. Novel modes in this context could include, but are not limited to:
- non-traditional space sensing bands (e.g. ultraviolet)
- gravimetric imaging of the space environment
- sparse aperture imaging technologies and processing
- use of novel materials (e.g. meta-materials or graphene) for space sensing applications
We are looking to develop enabling technologies for future sensing satellites. These could include:
- large aperture (optical and Radio Frequency) deployment and development
- precision timing technologies
- technologies for increasing satellite agility and pointing accuracy for military requirements
- improved assurance of ISR satellites
- technologies to improve data flow (tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination)
Challenge 2: Novel approaches to significantly improve signal-to-noise performance of space-related communications, sensing, identification or tracking capabilities for use in Defence and/or Security applications.
This challenge seeks to identify novel technologies, techniques, processes or algorithms that offer improvements to the overall signal-to-noise characteristics of electromagnetic systems used for Defence and/or Security space domain applications.
DASA is interested in such methods for enhancing the performance of systems such as electro-optical, infra-red or radio frequency systems for communications, Earth Observation or space domain awareness (SDA) applications. Areas for consideration may include (as examples, but are not limited to) the following areas:
- novel technologies to support, or be applied to, either ground-based or on-orbit capabilities: these could apply to space-to-space, ground-to-space and / or space-to-ground segments
- exploration of novel signal processing algorithms and techniques to acquire (and exploit) improved signal response or a reduction in noise performance
- novel hardware and / or software technologies and processes to enhance signal detection and / or data collection performance of imaging, sensing or communications
- exploration of novel radio frequency (RF) systems to detect, monitor or communicate with space objects in any / all orbital regimes
Do you have the solution? Submit a proposal now
Bravo Drop: Key dates and funding available
The Bravo Drop is now open for proposals until 9th November 2021. The value of funded contracts will vary from £125k to £400k, with durations of 6, 12 or 18 months. Bravo Drop projects are expected to reach TRL 3-6 at the end of the contract. DASA expects to fund up to 5 projects within this drop. The total amount of funding available for the Alpha and Bravo Drops is expected to be £2m.
What is the Space to Innovate Campaign?
The Space to Innovate Campaign seeks proposals that can maintain the UK’s freedom of action in the space domain by developing future space technologies that enhance and protect space military and civil potential.
The campaign format is unique from other DASA competitions and comprises space-related challenges that will be released in “drops” throughout 2021 and 2022. The Bravo Drop follows the output of the Alpha Drop, which focused on space visualisation and Space Situational Awareness, and builds on new areas of innovation.
What are the benefits of the DASA campaign and Drop format?
This campaign approach enables greater variation of contract values and durations to be issued by DASA, which provides larger and longer contracts for more mature technologies, whilst also enabling less mature innovations to be explored.
The campaign and drop concept enables a cycle of innovative ideas to be contracted as well as maturing existing technologies to a higher level. It also encourages proposals from a range of innovators, start-ups to established companies to universities – all ideas are welcome.
For more information, and to submit you proposal ahead of the 9th November deadline, please click here.
Submit a proposal now!
The closing date for proposals for the Alpha challenge drop is 09 November 2021. Click here for the full document and submit your idea! (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
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.