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Archive for the ‘Aviation’ Category

Army bans use of a COTS UAS system

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Urgent operational usage of commercial electronic equipment is nothing new.  Early in the GWOT, FRS “walkie talkie” equipment was frequently purchased by individual troops or with unit funds to address a shortage of comms at the squad level.  Later, theater orders were issued prohibiting their usage due to grievous OPSEC/COMSEC issues and this shortfall was addressed with TPE (theater provided equipment) issue of ICOM and other commercial radio systems.

In a similar vein,  Army organizations have procuring  commercial hobbyist UAV systems to provide situational awareness and ISR capabilities “on the cheap.”   However, such systems introduce a multitude of operational and cyber vulnerabilities.   For the most common systems made by DJI, telemetry, audio, video, and locational data  is sent back by default to the Chinese manufacturer.

On 2 August, the US Army prohibited the use of DJI drones:

DJI-no-fly-army

 

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, G-3/5/7

400 ARMY PENTAGON

WASHINGTON, DC 20310-0400

DAMO-AV

MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD

2 August 2017

SUBJECT: Discontinue Use of Dajiang Innovation (DJI) Corporation Unmmaned Aircraft Systems

1. References:

a. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) report, “DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities,” dated 25 May 2017 (Classified).

b. Navy memorandum, “Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products,” dated 24 May 2017.

2. Background: DJI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) products are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf UAS employed by the Army. The Army Aviation Engineering Directorate has issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organizations with a variety of mission sets. Due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products, it is directed that the U.S. Army halt use of all DJI products. This guidance applies to all DJI UAS and any system that employs DJI electrical components or software including, but not limited to, flight computers, cameras, radios, batteries, speed controllers, GPS units, handheld control stations, or devices with DJI software applications installed.

3. Direction: Cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow on direction.

4. Point of Contact: Headquarters, Department of the Army G-3/5/7 Aviation Directorate, 703-693-3552

JOSEPH ANDERSON
Lieutenant General, GS
Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7

Exploitation of data collected by these drones can provide an adversary with a inductive picture of friendly force operations, locations, and tempo.  Much like watching surges in pizza deliveries to headquarters buildings at night, an adversary can infer forward operations by spikes in data traffic.

While the technical specifics are beyond the scope and span of SSD, this decision is still quite relevant to our readership.

For further information, check out this article from our peers at SUASnews.

Saturday Night at the Movies: “Friends and Neighbors-People You Know”

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Here’s a fantastic 1970 USAF educational documentary covering the mobilization, trainup, and deployment of USAF Air National Guard F-100 units. Narrated by the late Bob Crane of the television show Hogan’s Heroes, the film chronicles the mobilization of four F-100 equipped ANG squadrons in response to the Pueblo Crisis during 1968. One particular two-ship mission is covered from pre-flight briefing to post-flight celebration.

The Super Sabre, better known as “The Hun” was the USAF’s first supersonic fighter and formed the backbone of the USAF and many NATO and allied Air Forces prior to the arrival of the F-4 Phantom.  The last Huns were retired from the Taiwanese and Danish air forces in the early 1980s, following USAF ANG retirement in 1979.

The squadrons mobilized and highlighted in the film are:

  • 120thTactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) Bobcats of the Colorado ANG (tail VS)
  • 174th TFS Bats of the Iowa ANG (tail HA)
  • 188thTFS Tacos of the New Mexico ANG (tail  SK)
  • 136th TFS Rocky’s Raiders of the New York ANG (tail SG).

These four squadrons collectively logged more than 30,000 sorties during their deployments to Southeast Asia during 1968 and 1969, with some aircraft pulling up to five CAS sorties per day.

While the film may predate many of the SSD readership, many of our fathers and uncles likely owe their lives to “Weekend Warrior” CAS.

Enjoy.

BE Meyers Helo and HMMWV Combat Application

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

BEM Helo Still 1

BE Meyers and Dillon Aero join forces to showcase the capabilities of the BE Meyers IZLID and Glare RECOIL combined with the Dillion Aero M134D. The IZLID works as a high powered targeting laser pointer, while the Glare RECOIL acts as an intelligent eye-safe Hail and Warning (less than lethal) laser which automatically adjusts it brightness to eye safe levels up to maximum distance.

BE Meyers Helo and HMMWV Combat Application from B.E. Meyers & Co. Inc. on Vimeo.

bemeyers.com

www.dillonaero.com

Tactical-Life.com – Boeing’s Stealth Bird of Prey

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Boeing-Bird-of-Prey-front

This week’s post from Tactical-Life.com covers the Boeing Bird of Prey. The YF-118G program, known informally as the ‘Bird of Prey’ due to its distinctive gull-shaped wings, was an advanced stealth aircraft project. Although the Bird of Prey itself was retired, technologies embodied in its design continue to be applied to current black projects.

For the full story, visit www.tactical-life.com/magazines/special-weapons/boeing-bird-of-prey

SOFIC – Sikorsky

Friday, May 17th, 2013

20130515-112242.jpg

I just thought it was interesting. It kind of looks like a Kamov and a Cheyenne had an illicit rendezvous. This would have been cool in the 60s.

20130515-112316.jpg

Constrictor Cargo System

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

The first thing the guys at MATBOCK ever showed me was the Constrictor Cargo System. As soon as I saw it, I knew what genius looked like. If you’ve ever had to build a pallet you know what a PITA the netting system is. The 463L cargo handling system design goes back to the 1950s and it shows. The real issue is with the HCU-7/E side net, the HCU-15/C top net, and the CGU-1/B Device or cargo straps. They can be assembled backward and take a lot of time to lay out for proper use due to the asymmetric construction of the pallet.

portrait instructions12x14

The Constrictor Cargo System is much simpler to use. Once you’ve built your pallet, you throw the bag on top of the load and pull the netting down. Then, you ratchet it tight to the pallet. No more misaligned net segments and no more tangled nets because the CCS stores in its own bag.

MATBOCK continues to work with interested companies and commands to field this system. Interested parties should visit their site for additional information.

www.matbock.com/products/constrictor-cargo-system

Well’s Retention Lanyard from 215 Gear

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Based on their highly popular Retention Lanyards, the new Well’s Retention Lanyard from 215 Gear provides the user with an increased flexibility not found with other brands.

215 Gear Well's Retention Lanyard

This uniquely designed lanyard allows the end user to vary the overall length of the lanyard using any of the six channels (5 ½ inch length) along the length of the lanyard. At an overall length of 42 1/5 inches, it is perfect for Aircrew and Helo-Sniper Operations. The Well’s Retention Lanyard is designed for sliding onto/girth hitching onto a riggers type belt. The unique nature of this Frog fitting enables the fitting to self close when in contact with an anchor point. This Frog fitting is more compact than a standard carabineer yet provides faster, one handed operation.

The Well’s Retention Lanyard is made with high quality Mil-Spec materials. Coming soon from 215 Gear.

Joint Strike Fighter Helmet Mounted Display System

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Developed by Vision Systems International LLC the helmet for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter integrates an astounding amount of capability into the display. In fact, the helmet is so advanced that the F-35 is the first aircraft in 50 years to fly without a Heads Up Display.

F-35 HMDS

F-35 HMDS Specs

– Binocular Wide Field-of-View
– Integrated day/night capability with sensor fusion
– Highly accurate head tracking hardware and software
– Digital image source for helmet vision displayed symbology
– Custom helmet shell, liner and suspension system for lightest weight, optimal C.G. and maximum pilot – comfort.

All of this capability means some interesting flight hours for the pilot of the F-35. The helmet provides augmented reality, to the point that if the pilot looks down toward his feet he will see ground. Wherever the pilot looks he sees battlespace with value added data superimposed over threats, items of interest, and friendlies. Additionally, the helmet facilitates off-axis target cueing which means that a pilot can look at a target outside of the direct engagement window of his missiles and feed the data to his missiles. After weapons release and initial guidance based off of data from the helmet, the missile can fly close enough to the target to utilize it’s own targeting system for terminal guidance.

Naturally, despite the advanced capability of the helmet, it would have nothing to display if it were not for the sensor suite built into the JFS as well as live feeds provided by the US Military’s Tactical Air Command and Control System. The heart of the imagery provided to the pilot is the Electro Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS), which combines the feeds from six infrared digital cameras located around the aircraft. For such technology to be integrated into Combat Vehicle Crew as well as dismounted troop’s helmets, a sensor architecture will need to be developed across platforms in addition to feeds from ISR systems. This sensor system was one of the cornerstones of the Army’s ambitious Future Combat System.

Watch the video and look for the capabilities discussed above.