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Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

AeroVironment Enhances Its Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems with M1/M2/M5 Compatible Digital Data Link (DDL) Products

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

QUANTICO, VA at Modern Day Marine, Sept. 19, 2017 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both military and commercial applications, today announced that it has delivered M1/M2/M5-compatible Raven® and Puma™ AE unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to two DoD customers, with more orders and deliveries scheduled. In addition, the company will begin taking orders in December 2017 for M1/M2/M5-configured Wasp® AE micro air vehicles (MAV) for delivery in spring 2018.

“Integrating the new M1/M2/M5 radio frequencies into our family of small UAS gives our customers the ability to seamlessly and securely conform to the Department of Defense‘s new frequency spectrum allocation and proceed with certainty,” said David Sharpin, vice president of AeroVironment’s Tactical UAS Business Unit. “By combining all three frequency bands in the same transceiver module, we’ve made it easy for users to select the frequency band associated with the part of the world in which they are operating without having to swap any hardware.”

AeroVironment today also unveiled its new Pocket DDL™ AE, a rugged, all- environment, next generation, secure digital video and data receiver that also integrates the new M1/M2/M5 radio frequency spectrum. The all-environment design of AeroVironment’s new Pocket DDL AE makes it significantly more rugged than its predecessor by offering a fully waterproof package (immersible to three feet) that supports tactical operations in a wide range of environmental conditions and difficult urban terrain.

IMG_4240

Designed for simplicity and ease of use, the Pocket DDL AE facilitates rapid and secure access to a small UAS Digital Data Link (DDL) network. Each sleek unit has no exterior buttons or displays and is completely controlled through an App. Pocket DDL AE has a standard Glenair® Mighty-Mouse connector, making it compatible with the Army‘s Net Warrior system, so dedicated cables for Pocket DDL are not necessary. It can operate from any power supply, providing between 5 and 32 volts DC.

Pocket DDL AE implements an open-systems architecture, using a USB interface and XML messaging for control of the radio functions. This enables apps designed for special purposes, such as tactical operations, search and rescue, asset tracking, long- range communications, mission command, and targeting to use Pocket DDL AE to employ small UAS to help perform their tasks more effectively.

IMG_4241

“Combined with the M1/M2/M5 upgrade to our Pocket DDL AE, this provides greatly enhanced capability across our entire family of small UAS product line for improved tactical operations,” Sharpin said. “This example demonstrates our ongoing commitment to upgrade our Family of Systems products and provide new capabilities to our existing and new customers around the world.”

AeroVironment will announce additional upgrades to its market-leading Family of Unmanned Aircraft Systems during the Association of the Army’s Annual Meeting next month.

www.avinc.com

IPS & REI Exhibiting Full Range of Electronic Detection Equipment at DSEI 17

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

IPS (International Procurement Services) & REI (Research Electronics Internaitonal) will be exhibiting their full range of electronic detection equipment at DSEI ExCel London, 12-15 September 2017

Among the range on show, will be the newly launched ORION 900 HX and ORION HX Deluxe Non-Linear Junction Detectors and the new TALAN 3 Telephone and Line Analyzer.

The new ORION 900 HX NLJD uses lower frequency to detect electronic semi-conductor components through dense materials such as bricks, concrete and soil. The longer 900 MHz wavelength enables it to detect older, less refined circuitry, to detect and locate hidden cameras, microphones, and other electronic devices regardless of whether the surveillance device is radiating, hard wired, or turned off.

Whereas the ORION 2.4 HX NLJD has a shorter wavelength of 2.4GHz, is better at detecting modern, surface-mounted circuitry and electronic semi-conductor components within normal office environments.

The ORION HX Deluxe NLJD has interchangeable 2.4GHz / 900 MHz antenna heads which are easily exchanged. The touch screen controller, automatically recognises which antenna is being used and displays the corresponding data. The Deluxe sweeps both small, modern circuitry in office environments, and older, less refined circuitry through dense materials.

The new TALAN 3.0 Telephone and Line Analyzer has enhanced VoIP traffic analysis on phones and networks, patent pending FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) algorithm for visual display of VoIP traffic, earth/ground testing for modified connections to extraneous wiring and an advanced input panel to accept and test shielded ethernet cables.

The TALAN 3.0 analyses digital, analogue and VoIP phone systems and wiring for faults, anomalies and security risks using a suite of telephone tests including an automatic switching matrix. By capturing and analysing the network stream for fast identification of unauthorised VoIP traffic it can quickly detect if a VoIP phone system is passing data packets even when the phone is not in use.

The easy-to-use interface allows users to visually observe patterns of consistent, repetitive traffic. Common VoIP services will often display a unique set of characteristics that can later be used to visually identify similar sets of traffic. Extensive, advanced filtering makes it easier to locate and identify suspicious packet information.

Stand N5–334

www.intpro.co.uk

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.

USSOCOM Announces Joint Threat Warning System Industry Day

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Joint Threat Warning System is the SIGINT Collection architecture for USSOCOM.  The current manpack version is the AN/PRD-13(V)2.  


While I used an early version of this system in Haiti over 20 years ago, it has come a long way from the AN/TRQ-30 DF loops first fielded to 3rd Group in 1990. They were the height of 1950s technology and the receiver used like 30 D cell batteries. 

As communication technology evolves, so must the equipment used to collect signals. Consequently, PM-JWTS is hosting an Industry Day, 13-14 July, 2017.

The Program Manager is specifically interested in signals intelligence technologies, ideas and solutions which advance One or more of the following Key Interest Areas:

1) Unique Signals of Interest

2) Modular and scalable open architecture systems (please see additional guidance below)

3) Remote C2 and Data Viewing

Further Clarification:

Modular and Scalable Open Architecture Systems: Need to allow the operator to choose relevant SIGINT applications and tailor the system to best support individual mission requirements. JTWS is seeking potential solutions with the below criteria as initial guidance but not formal direction:

• Hardware: Provide VPX (VITA 46)/Open VPX (VITA 65) based solutions that are modular and scalable from a body-worn or small UAS form factor to a vehicle/maritime platform to an airborne chassis. Focus should be on a 3U card size in order to maximize reuse between form factors. If use of VPX standards for small form factor solutions is not possible, alternative standards-based options that do not violate the remaining guidelines should be brought forward.

• Data: VITA 49 should be implemented for the data transport layer and output data using the Tactical SIGINT Data Model (TSDM). Systems should be JICD 4.x (currently 4.2) compliant at the sensor level for reporting, tuning, and collaborative geolocation.

• GUI: Partners should deliver capabilities with the ability to conduct full command and control and visualize mission data in RaptorX.

• Software: The adoption of the OpenVPX standard reduces the need for a pure open architecture solution across the program, but systems should still seek to implement open architecture solutions on individual cards in order to combine capabilities and maximize the capacity of each card within the system. Examples include GNU Radio and REDHAWK, but could be extended to any number of current industry and government developed environment.

Remote Capabilities: This capability needs to be Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS), however the program office would prefer Over-the-Horizon (OTH) with minimal latency delays.

Vendors interested in attending the Industry Day should visit www.fbo.gov.

75th Ranger Regt To Stand Up 5th Battalion

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

On Monday, 22 May, 2017, at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 75th Ranger Regiment will stand up a fifth battalion. There haven’t been five active Ranger Battalions since World War II.

However, this battalion is a little different. It’s the Military Intelligence Bn (Provisional). The battalion’s two companies will offer expanded capability beyond the current MI Co in the Regiment’s Special Troops Bn. It’s mission is to provide multi-discipline, full-spectrum, worldwide, expeditionary, and reach back intelligence capabilities for the 75th Ranger Regiment enterprise. Furthermore, it institutionalizes and professionalizes the find, fix, finish, exploit and analyze (F3EA) targeting methodology required to counter enemy combatant forces’ tactics, techniques, and methods.

The RMIB(P) will consist of a Ranger Military Intelligence Company providing all-source analysis, GEOINT, IMINT, HUMINT, and UAS functions along with a Combat Electromagnetic Activities Capabilities (CEMA) Company which will offer EW, SIGINT, Technical Surveillance and Cyber support. Additionally, there is a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.

Congratulations Rangers!

AeroVironment, Developer of the Nano Hummingbird, Unveils Snipe, A New, Stealthy Nano Quadrotor UAS

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

-Launched from the palm of a hand, Snipe™ is worn on operators’ clothing so it can spring into action immediately – first 20 systems delivered in April
-Difficult to detect, Snipe provides close-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)
-Simple to use and requires no assembly; operates in challenging and rugged environmental conditions
-Builds on breakthrough robotic Nano Hummingbird developed by AeroVironment for DARPA


DALLAS, at AUVSI XPONENTIAL, May 9, 2017 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both military and commercial applications, today officially unveiled the new Snipe Nano Quad, a miniature (“Class 0”) and field-rugged unmanned aircraft system designed to support close-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The first U.S. government customer delivery of 20 Snipe systems took place in April.

“Snipe’s tiny size belies its impressive capabilities,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “It is quick, quiet, fast, durable and packed with advanced features critical to helping our customers succeed in close-range missions.”

“Snipe enables operators to spring into action quickly,” Flittie said. “No assembly is required for the five-ounce (140-gram) nano-UAS, which is designed to be worn by its operator so it can be deployed in less than a minute.”

Equipped with electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), low-light-capable and long-wave infrared (LWIR) sensors in an integrated tilt mechanism, Snipe can relay high-resolution images and record real-time video both day and night. In addition, Snipe’s integrated UHF radio provides for excellent non-line-of-sight operation. The software-defined radio (SDR) allows Snipe to be sold commercially.

With its quiet electric motors, flight speeds exceeding 20 mph and more than one-kilometer range, Snipe is difficult to detect in operating environments with even minimal ambient noise. Its rechargeable batteries power approximately 15 minutes of flight time. Despite its small size, the durable nano-UAS is capable of operating under challenging environmental conditions – including winds of 15+ mph with gusts up to 20 mph

“While Snipe’s stealthiness makes it ideally suited for military applications, it’s an invaluable asset for anyone needing a ‘Class 0’ UAS to support their missions,” Flittie said.

Snipe is controlled using an intuitive app on a standard, ruggedized (MIL-STD 810) touch screen controller with intuitive user interface and automated operation for ease of use. Other critical functions include Snipe’s ability to return to its operator automatically if it loses its radio link.

Snipe benefits from advances in nano unmanned technology achieved by the company in its development of the internationally recognized Nano Hummingbird. “The Nano Hummingbird, the world’s first unmanned aircraft capable of propulsion and control using two flapping wings, is an example of how our breakthrough innovation has spawned a valuable new capability in Snipe that now will help our customers proceed with certainty,” added Flittie.

AeroVironment’s Snipe Nano Quadrotor will be available to order Fall 2017. Operator training requires four hours only.

www.avinc.com

An Imprecise History of the USASASODS

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Organic to each of the US Army’s Special Forces Groups are small teams of Signal Intelligence specialists operating in teams called Special Operations Team – Alpha or SOT-A. These in turn are supported by fewer still SOT-Bs. I served on a SOT-A from 1990-96 in 2nd Bn, 3td SFG(A). The SOTs-A are the direct descendants of the United States Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachments (USASASODs). While other SOF components have just recently stood up SIGINT support elements, SF has had the capability since before the Vietnam War.


Photograph: The 403rd SOD courier run – Plei Ku to Kontum – 1968 (Photo: INSCOM)

What follows is an “imprecise” history of thier existence from an ASA veteran website.

AN IMPRECISE HISTORY OF THE USASASODS

In the history of mankind, there are fleeting moments of time where, by fate or good judgement on the part of someone, a group of people are brought together at the most appropriate time and place or places to form extraordinary military units.

One such fleeting moment of history, was the formation and life cycle of an extraordinary military unit called the United States Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachment, more commonly referred to as the ASASOD.

One may ask why the ASASODs were called extraordinary and not elite. There are many elite military organizations such as the Roman Legions, Merrill’s Marauders, Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs, etc., however, there are few extraordiary units such as the ASASODs.

Why were the SODs extraordinary? Certainly, the timing was there and so were the places. But, the thing that really made the SOD an extraordinary unit was the people… good Special Forces soldiers…good technicians…loyal, dedicated, brave men…but, most of all, trusted and true friends.

The first SOD was originally formed at Vint Hill Farms Station, VA and relocated to FT Bragg, NC during the summer of 1960 with the 5th and 7th SFG(A)s. Later in 1960, units were organized and located in Okinawa with the 1st SFG(A) and Bad Toelz, GE with the 10th SFG(A). These original SODs were then designated as the 1st (1st SF), 2d (10th SF), 3d (7th SF), and 4th (5th SF) Operational Detachments of the 80th USASA Special Operations Unit (80th USASASOU).

In 1962 these Operational Detachments of the 80th SOU were redesignated as USASA Radio Research Units (RRUs); the 10th RRU (400th SOD) 1st SFG(A), and the 11th RRU (401st SOD) 8th SFG(A) was created, 12th RRU (402d SOD) 10th SFG(A), and the 13th RRU (403d SOD) 5th SFG(A).

During 1963 the units were again redesignated to the final designations we know them as today; the 400th ASASOD, 1st SFG(A); 401st ASASOD, 8th SFG(A); 402d ASASOD, 10th SFG(A); 403d ASASOD, 5th SFG(A) until Jan 64, 7th SFG(A) until Jan 65, and then to the 3d SFG(A) until the 403d’s deployment to RVN with the 5th SFG(A) in 1966.

The SODs remained the same from 1966 until the post-Viet Nam stand down of Special Forces during the early 1970s. With the stand down of the 5th SFG(A) in Viet Nam, the 403d was deactivated and was never again reactivated. On deactivation of the 8th SFG(A) in Panama, the 401st was deactivated for a short while and later reactivated with the 7th SFG(A) at Ft Bragg, NC. In 1974, on deactivation of the 1st SFG(A), the 400th was redeployed from Okinawa to Ft Bragg with the 5th SFG(A). The 402d redeployed from Germany with the 10th SFG(A) to Ft Devens, MA.

The official end of the USASASODs as United States Army Security Agency units came with the deactivation of HQs, USASA and conversion to Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence (CEWI) organizations in December, 1976. However, even after the designation of USASA, the SODs continued to carry the ASASOD unit designations into the early 1980s when they were redesignated as Military Combat Intelligence Companies.

Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER S-100 Heading Towards Manned-Unmanned Teaming Ops

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Vienna, 30 March 2017 – Schiebel and Patria have been working together to integrate Patria’s sophisticated Compact Airborne Networking Data Link (CANDL) communication network onto the CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS).
The two European companies’ joint effort is the first step of an ongoing program of work examining how the CAMCOPTER® S-100 can be deployed to directly support manned helicopter operations.

Patria’s CANDL provides a solid backbone to explore the benefits of Manned-UnManned Teaming (MUM-T) operations, where the combined strengths of each air asset can be optimized to increase overall situational awareness and enhance decision making.

As Schiebel’s Chief Technical Officer Chris Day points out, “using the unmanned element of a MUM-T operation to provide both the forward and higher altitude view will help to keep pilots and the manned assets safe as well as improve overall mission effectiveness.”

www.schiebel.com