Massif Rocks!

Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

Aquabotix Joins Information Warfare Research Project Consortium

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

• Aquabotix becomes a member of the Information Warfare Research Project (“IWRP”) consortium.

• Will gain access to the US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Other Transaction Authority agreement, valued at US$100 million.

• A faster path to contracting with the U.S. Government. 

UUV Aquabotix Ltd (ASX:UUV) (the “Company” or “Aquabotix”) is pleased to announce that it has been accepted as a member of the Information Warfare Research Project consortium (“IWRP” or the “Consortium”), a consortium focused on advancing information warfare capabilities to enhance United States Navy and United States Marine Corps mission effectiveness.

Aquabotix was approved to join IWRP as a demonstrated technology leader with competencies in autonomy, assured communications, and battlespace awareness – all key focus areas for the consortium. As a member of IWRP, Aquabotix will gain access to US Space and Naval Warfare (“SPAWAR”) Systems Command’s Other Transaction Authority (“OTA”) agreement previously awarded to the Consortium. The aggregate amount of this particular OTA across the Consortium is US$100 million over the next three year period, and the OTA will be used as a vehicle to advance information warfare technologies and innovation delivery to the U.S. fleet. The OTA enables the Consortium members to engage in a broad range of activities advancing such technologies and allows for the delivery of new technology faster and more efficiently than traditional U.S. federal acquisition requirements might permit.

In a release made last month by the United States Navy, Rear Adm. C.D. Becker, commander of SPAWAR Systems Command was quoted as stating, “The IWRP OTA will accelerate acquisition and bring non-traditional sources, research and development labs, and industry together to provide new, innovative information warfare solutions.” SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic Deputy Executive Director, Bill Deligne, was also quoted remarking on the use of OTAs, stating, “This mechanism is faster and more attuned to getting something quickly that we want today, as opposed to traditional federal acquisition. […] While speed is a critical element, reaching beyond the traditional DoD industrial base, further into the commercial sector to capture new, innovative solutions, is also a key element of the IWRP.”

Whitney Million, Chief Executive Officer of Aquabotix commented, “It is a privilege to be joining other industry leaders in the IWRP. We anticipate participation in this consortium will provide access to key partners and customers while enabling rapid research and prototyping using non-dilutive funding options under the OTA to support our goal of continuing to develop innovative and leading-edge solutions and product offerings for the U.S. and allied governments.”

USSOCOM Solicits Technology for Hyper-Enabled Operator and SUAS Experimentation Candidates

Monday, August 20th, 2018

The United States Special Operations Command regularly hosts experiments intended to allow industry and academia to interact with operational personnel to identify technologies to enhance SOF capabilities.

This RFI is for TE 9-1:

Date: 5 through 9 November 2018

Themes: Hyper-Enabled Operator and SUAS

Location: Avon Park Air Force Range, FL

Experimentation Focus: The primary intent of this event is to highlight technologies that support USSOCOM’s Hyper-Enabled Operator concept and SUAS.

Technology areas to explore during the event include the following:
1 Information Edge. Ability to process data from wide array of sensor networks, communications channels, or partnered forces into information that is decision quality information.
1.1 Edge computing. Ability to derive useful information at the point of collection through sensor fusion and forwards processing without reliance on high- bandwidth, long haul communications.
1.2 Information visualization. Tailored information visualization that provides the right information, to the right element, at the right time. Includes tailored Heads Up Display (HUD), audio, haptic feedback, and predictive information management to identify and present relevant information during each phase of an operation.
1.3 Data transport with reduced vulnerability to intercept and detection, including optical and non-RF solutions.
1.4 Cross domain data access. Systems to securely run advanced data analytics across data sets on different domains.

2 Next generation Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR). Technologies of interest include the ability to:
2.1 Find, fix, finish, exploit and analyze.
2.2 Without owning the air domain.
2.3 Includes the space and/or cyber domains.
2.3.1 Exploit the cyber domain and digital patterns of life on social media to support ISR missions.
2.3.2 Includes high-altitude persistent solutions between traditional air and space.
2.3.3 Exploit the space domain to “fix and finish,” to include on-demand payloads.
2.4 Ability to exchange data with distant sensors to perform Time Difference of Arrival/Frequency Difference of Arrival geolocation.
2.5 Enabled by advanced automation advanced standoff multi-modal
biometrics, real-time sensor fusion, action detection, and “smart systems” that tailor collection focus and fidelity based on requirements.
2.6 Small, low power autonomously emplaced ground sensors capable of meshed operation and long-dwell. Tailorable sensors including electro optical, infrared, Hyper Spectral Imaging (HSI), LIDAR, electronic warfare, and others capable of contributing to biometric analysis from 200-1000 meters.
2.7 Precise time and position correlation to full motion video.
2.8 In modular payloads that permits installation across full range of SUAS in the next section.
2.9 Leveraging Human Language Technologies (HLT) to:
2.9.1 Reduce operator workload.
2.9.2 Reduce communications bandwidth requirements.
2.9.3 Increase probability of detecting specific speakers.
2.9.4 Increase effectiveness of unfamiliar languages.

3 Small Unmanned Aerial Systems.
3.1 Expeditionary ISR. Family of group 1-2 UAS’s, featuring modular
payloads, open architecture, small footprint and minimum logistics support. 4.3.1.1 Line of Sight (LOS) and beyond LOS data link.
3.1.2 Accurately locate targets.
3.1.3 Runway independent launch and recovery.
3.1.4 Two sensor capable, (e.g. high definition full motion video, electro optic/ infrared, electronic warfare, signals intelligence, HSI, LIDAR).
3.1.5 Autonomous operation, including meshed swarm capabilities.
3.1.6 Alternative power through environment (power lines, renewable, etc.).
3.2 Unmanned aerial blood delivery system. System must be vertical takeoff and landing capable (VTOL) or runway independent. USSOCOM will provide a blood surrogate for the event.
3.2.1 Systems should be capable of transporting a minimum of 10 pounds of blood.
3.2.2 The cold chain must be maintained and monitored throughout flight. Blood must be kept at 2-8 degrees Celsius from time of loading, transit, delivery, and unloading. Systems using passive cooling are preferred.
3.2.3 Consideration must be taken to minimize shock to blood payload for any proposed delivery concept.
3.2.4 System must have an operational range of 100 or more miles. Command and control of the aircraft must be maintained at all times.
3.3 Nano VTOL UAS
3.3.1 Extremely small, lightweight Nano VTOL UAS with a takeoff weight of 75 grams or below are desired with the following characteristics. 4.3.3.2 Day and night imaging capability.
3.3.3 Autonomous flight modes.
3.3.4 Indoor flight capability with augmented collision avoidance,
operator in the loop control.
3.4 Micro VTOL UAS
3.4.1 Small, lightweight micro VTOL UAS with a takeoff weight of 750
grams or below are desired with the following characteristics. 4.3.4.2 Day and night imaging capability.
3.4.3 All-weather capability.
3.4.4 Autonomous flight modes.
3.4.5 Autonomous indoor flight capability with collision avoidance. 4.3.4.6 Operation in Global Positioning System (GPS) denied environment and confined spaces (including subterranean).
3.5 Small Fixed Wing UAS
3.5.1 Hand launchable or VTOL fixed wing UAS with no launch or
recovery equipment (bungee, net, etc.) is desired with the following characteristics.
3.5.2 VTOL configurations not to exceed 3.5 kg takeoff weight. 4.3.5.3 All-weather capability.
3.5.4 Day and night imaging capability.
3.5.5 Autonomous flight modes with GPS denied capability. 4.3.5.6 Minimum of 90 minutes endurance at sea level.

4 Managed signature. Technologies of interest are those that help avoid physical detection by acoustic, thermal, radar, visual, optical, electro-magnetic, virtual, and near infrared means.
4.1 Technologies which help manage digital presence within the realm of social media.
4.2 Technologies that assist in providing resistance to biometric tracking.
4.3 Technologies that exploit publicly available information to obscure or deceive to deny information about actions and intentions.

5 Next generation Military Information Support Operations (MISO). Technologies should be operable in limited or denied connectivity environments.
5.1 UAS/drone supported broadcasts.
5.2 Linguist expertise and regional dialects.
5.3 Demographic and culturally adaptive.
5.4 Operable in multiple spectrums, e.g. microwave, IR, etc. 4.5.5 Real time feedback.
5.5.1 Biometrics and patterns of life. 4.5.5.2 Data analysis.

6 Human Performance and Biomedical. The optimization of SOF operator’s ability to perform at very high levels for long durations, process information and make the right decisions in a timely manner, while operating in extreme environments, under high levels of stress will significantly improve their operational effectiveness. SOF requires the capability for far-forward austere casualty care to sustain critically injured personnel until they can reach the next higher level of care. SOF medical personnel place a premium on medical technologies that are small, lightweight, ruggedized, modular, multi-use, and designed for operation in extreme environments. The equipment must be easy to use, require minimum maintenance, and have low power consumption. Drugs and biologics should not require refrigeration or other special handling.
6.1 Enhanced cognitive performance

The deadline for nomination package(s) is 10 September, 2018 at 12:00 Noon Eastern Time.

Future experiments include:

TE 9-2 Sensitive Site Exploitation/Hyper Enabled Operator, 25-29 March, 2019, at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, IN.

For full details, visit www.fbo.gov.

ARCYBER provides Soldiers with Array of Capabilities for Battlefield, Commander Says

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

WASHINGTON — A misconception of U.S. Army Cyber Command’s mission is that it’s only about defensive and offensive cyber, said Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty. But equally important, he said, are other “tribal members” of ARCYBER — signals intelligence, electronic warfare and information operations.

Fogarty, commander of ARCYBER, spoke Thursday during an Association of the U.S. Army-sponsored forum on cyber warfare.

PFC Nathaniel Ortiz of the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade sets up deployable cyber tools overlooking the mock city of Razish at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., May 5, 2017. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Bill Roche)

ARCYBER needs to provide the combatant commander with an entire array of options from each of those communities that will provide him or her freedom of movement on the battlefield and deny the same to adversaries, Fogarty said. “We want to present multiple dilemmas to the enemy, not just cyber.”

Fogarty added that next week he’ll convene a meeting with leaders in ARCYBER to discuss the roles each of them play and how they can more effectively be utilized in the future, such as by better synchronizing their efforts.

U.S. Army Cyber Command is a relatively new organization, stood up just eight years ago, he said. Over the course of that time, particularly within the last two years, ARCYBER has been able to assess what it has gotten wrong and right so far.

ARCYBER operators “are in the fight every day,” he explained, and in the last two years that fight has heated up as peer adversaries acquire new technologies and capabilities and test those of the U.S. and its allies.

That high-intensity fight has enabled ARCYBER to accelerate its learning and evolve much more quickly than ever before, he said. The backbone of that effort has been the excellent ARCYBER workforce.

Lt. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, Army chief information officer/G-6, said he wants to ensure that the ARCYBER workforce of 13,600 individuals has the right skills and training to meet the higher demands that will be placed on them as they defend the U.S. network and work to disrupt the network of the enemy.

NETWORK MODERNIZATION

Today’s effort to modernize the network is the largest in 35 years, Crawford said. In the early 1980s, he said, the Army was just getting a grasp of how software and the Internet would fundamentally change the character of warfare. The Army’s network modernization effort now is being led by two cross functional teams: the Assured Position, Navigation and Timing team and the Network team.

Advances in information technology, particularly within the last two years, mean that the Army must get a grasp on how this new technology can shape the modern battlefield and how to best take advantage of that by working closely with partners in industry and academia, he said.

Crawford said that if he had to pick the top three IT developments that will shape the nature of war, they are cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and identity, credential and access management.

Peer adversaries, he said, are working hard on developing these three as well, and some have even suggested that whoever reaches a breakthrough in AI first will obtain world dominance.

ThirdBlockGear – Genesis of the Observer Kit

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Mogadishu, Somalia, July 2011 – Somalia was in the midst of an ongoing civil war and a severe famine, brought about by a drought and a lack of governance. The famine ultimately kills over two hundred thousand civilians. The capital city, Mogadishu, was largely controlled by the UN-recognized Transitional Federal Government, supported by African Union troops. The Islamic extremist insurgent group, Al-Shabab controlled pockets of the city, and tribal in-fighting continued. While the city itself, the airport, and nearby port, were mostly controlled by the TFG, Al-Shabab, controlled the surrounding countryside. Fighting was ongoing, despite the humanitarian crisis killing thousands. We were tasked with evaluating if, and how, civilian aid organizations could respond to the humanitarian crisis and deliver desperately needed food, water, and medicine.

While this was not my first experience with overseas travel, conflicts, humanitarian work, and civ-mil partnerships, this was my first time totally unsupported in a place where the nearest decent hospital was the next country over, there was no infrastructure, such as phones or electricity, and we were completely surrounded by the enemy. There was no QRF, no support, no logistics, and no security beyond what the local TFG could provide. We needed to bring everything required to sustain ourselves and collect the information needed. I knew there wouldn’t be a Best Buy or even a tourist camera store in-country. And we had to keep it all under 20kg (UN flight weight restrictions), go through commercial security and customs in various airports, and be easily carried (didn’t expect luggage trolleys, turns out there weren’t any).

The plan was for a three week trip, basing out of Nairobi, Kenya while sorting transit in and out of Mogadishu, which was still sketchy. For some reason neither Orbitz nor Expedia had flights or good hotel recommendations for Mogadishu. We expected at least two weeks in Somalia. So pack two weeks of clothes, toiletries, food, water, coffee, power, comms, technical data collections gear, etc. 20kg. Cool. No problem. Right? The working model in my head was, sustainment gear stowed at the safe house and essential mission and “Oh Shit” gear carried with me in a backpack. Recharge batteries at night, do processing and uploading then, etc. What is it they say about plans of mice and men? Fortunately, I wasn’t wholly unprepared or completely wrong in my planning, but a lot of frustrating shortcomings were discovered. So now I’ll highlight the Lessons Learned that drove me to develop the Observer Kit:

1) Power, Power, Power. Looking back, my “conservative” guess about worst-case availability of infrastructure turned out to be a bit optimistic. The nature of the physical threat, the security precautions demanded, as well as the ops tempo also threw my preparations a curve ball. Working overseas is not the same as camping or hiking. Solar is great. Particularly when there is little-to-no power infrastructure. But when you are working, you are on-the-go, constantly getting in and out of vehicles, and not always the same ones. The safe house we were staying in was great. They even occasionally ran a generator for a few hours a night to give us a little power. How many outlets do you think are going to be free and how soon till a surge breaker trips? Just imagine how many others are struggling with their power budget.

2) Backpacks suck. Being constantly on the move, in and out of vehicles, walking through crowded areas, and needing quick access to your gear make the backpack form factor far less than ideal. Again, working overseas is not the same as camping. In uniform you have a plate carrier or vest rig and probably a belt where constant use items can be grabbed quickly and easily. The camera, voice recorder, or GPS sitting in your backpack, does you no good in a vehicle or on the move. You have no visibility or control over the pack on your back in a crowded market or street. And few backpacks have things like pockets for satellite antennas that need constant view of the sky. Which brings me to my next point:

Communications are critical. Mogadishu is one of the more extreme environments but disasters, conflicts, or mass scale events can also make communications difficult. We had a single (!) satellite phone for emergency use and expected to have access to some other communications networks. We needed to connect with people who sometimes had no local phone or SIM card at all. Most carriers blocked international calls. Keeping track of the different carriers required to talk to different people and the multiple phones was another complication. And my wife was Not Happy with me going dark for long stretches. If the team got separated, who had the sat phone? Over the years there have been other Lessons Learned in this category but these got me started.

4) Semper Gumby. You’d be amazed at the Opportunities To Excel found in these environments. Being able to solve, hack, or improvise around problems that wouldn’t exist back home can have a dramatic impact on effectiveness. Things like copying and moving data that would normally be as simple as emailing someone a spreadsheet or photocopying some pages can be serious obstacles to operations. Fixing (or sometimes breaking) things in a pinch, is needed more often than you’d suspect. The Marine credo “Forever Flexible” or “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” should be taken to heart.

5) Hygiene helps. Hygiene and comfort are more difficult than you expect, but are worth tackling if you can keep it fast, light, and compact. Keeping you effective so that you can accomplish your goals is worth some effort. Time is often more scarce than running water, however.

Conclusion. At that time we were purely a consulting company with no interest in manufacturing or selling gear. The week I returned I started looking everywhere on the market for solutions and improvements. Nothing quite fit the requirements. So I reached out to a friend who runs Zulu Nylon Gear to make a custom sling bag for us and proceeded to hack, tweak, and customize the kit around this new wearable platform. Over the years it’s been refined and refactored countless times. Experiences in diverse climates like the Philippines and Iraq drove comfort tweaks. Constant heavy use and new offerings on the market improved capabilities and features. I’m proud of what’s been built and have had a lot of requests from other users in the field to purchase our kits. So now we are offering them to the general market. Everything we sell is gear that we rely on and use in the field ourselves. Take a look at our SSR Kits and our Observer System or ping us for other custom solutions.

Observer Kit in the Philippines, doing wide area assessment after Typhoon Yolanda, NOV 2013

thirdblockgear.com

This is the final bag design.

Air Force Specialty Code 14F – Information Operations Officer

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

In mid-May Chief Of Staff of the Air Force, Gen Dave Goldfein awarded four officers the new Information Operations occupational badge. Although it’s hard to see in this photo, it features a Trojan Horse, long associated with deception in war. In fact, the practitioners of this field, also have a new Air Force Specifically Code, 14F to go along with the badge. In the past, these functions were performed generally by Intelligence Officers (AFSC 14N), unrated Staff Officers (16G), and Behavioral Scientists (61B) based on ad-hoc training for duty positions.

This is an officer AFSC which uses information-related capabilities to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp the decision making of selected audiences to create desired effects.

Currently, part of their qualification includes attending Military Information Support Operations aka PSYOPS training with the Army at Ft Bragg, as well as Courses in Tactical Deception and Operations Security.

However, the Air Force is standing up a new schoolhouse at Hurlburt Field, Florida, which is coincidentally the headquarters of the Air Force Special Operations Command. A new 15-week course will come online in 2019 and focus specifically on the Air Force application of IO.

The careerfield itself remains small, but there are multiple IO Squadrons within the Air Force which conduct a wide variety of intelligence functions. This is sure to lead to confusion about the specialized focus of the 14F AFSC.

Photos via CSAF twitter feed.

SOFCON: SOF CEMA 16-20 July 2018

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Warfighter Project Submission Deadline: 20 JuneSubject Matter Expert Deadline: 27 June

Speaker Call for Papers Deadline: 27 June

SOFWERX, in Tampa, FL, will host a dual track SOFCON Working Group with the theme of SOF Cyber Electro-Magnetic Activities (CEMA). The Project Track will provide an environment for SOF related technology exploration and innovative technology use based on direct interaction and feedback with Warfighters at the event. The Speaker Track will give Warfighters the opportunity to view presentations from expert speakers and select exhibitors.

Objective

Project Track

• Allow SOF operators and engineers/hackers/makers to experiment with non-standard commercial technologies in order to develop use case concepts and build a common repository of instruction sets.
• Technical training on CEMA related topics.
• Advanced capability exploration with representatives from SANS Institute. (Check back often for details as the schedule becomes finalized.)

Speaker Track

• Informative presentations from Subject Matter Experts (SME) on CEMA related topics.
• Exhibitor presentations and demonstrations on CEMA related products & services.

Focus Areas

• Cyber
• Electronic Warfare
• Signals
• Drones
• Additional Warfighter Nominated Projects

www.sofwerx.org/sofcon

Electronic Warfare Prototypes Improve Operational Understanding Against Near-Peer Threats

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

With the Army moving EW branch personnel into Cyber branch, and the creation of Cyber Electro Magnetic Activities teams, it’s almost as if they’re putting the band back together. The one they disbanded just after the turn of the century.

MCLEAN, Va. — An adversary is spotted positioning fighters along the border of an ally nation. As U.S. Army forces are quickly deployed, one unit is under special instructions: detect and survey the adversary’s electronic warfare jammers and emitters.

As vital as this information is for the commander’s situational awareness, a few months ago mapping out the electromagnetic spectrum would have been much more difficult.

Sgt. Jessie Albert, an electronic warfare specialist assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, trains on the Wolfhound Radio Direction Finding System at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on April 11, 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon)

While only a simulated experiment, the realism of this scenario reflects how the Electronic Warfare Officers of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment must operate to ensure freedom of maneuver for ground forces. To help them do this, the Army recently rolled out its initial set of EW capabilities for brigade and below, giving Soldiers at the lowest echelons operating in a contested environment the ability to detect, identify and locate targets within the electromagnetic spectrum.

Now, just a few months after the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and other Europe-based units received the integrated package of mounted, dismounted, and command and control EW capabilities, a small group of EWOs traveled to the U.S. to see the next phase of upgrades, participate in simulated scenarios based on potential real-world missions, and provide feedback on how they would fight with the new systems. The simulation experiment, or SIMEX, helps the Army evaluate the operational value of the capabilities by determining whether the operators can accomplish the mission under the scenario-based exercise.

“Prior to this fielding, there was no equipment in the Army inventory to do what we’re doing today,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Flory, an Electronic Warfare Technician for 2nd Cavalry Regiment. “The EW community was organized around that counterinsurgency fight, and you were essentially a staff advisor for other capabilities. Now we are capable of offering the commander not just information, but decisions for him to make and assets he can deploy and control himself.”

Delivered in response to an Operational Needs Statement from U.S. Army Europe, the technologies are interim solutions designed as a bridge to enduring EW programs of record that are still in development. The Army Rapid Capabilities Office and the Project Manager for Electronic Warfare & Cyber teamed with 2nd Cavalry Regiment and other receiving units on a rapid prototyping approach to shape system design, performance, functionality and training to meet operational needs in the near- and mid-term.

“This is the short-term [solution] until something more long-term comes along,” Flory said. “So it really helps to bridge that gap. It helps the commander see the electromagnetic spectrum that he’s responsible for fighting in.”

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment EWOs came from Europe to take part in a two week-long SIMEX, designed to help improve operational understanding and effectiveness of the EW prototypes. The event played out in a MITRE lab in McLean, Virginia, which accommodates over 50 personnel representing the operational roles of “blue” or friendly forces, and “red” or enemy forces. The SIMEX lab provides the appropriate computer infrastructure to conduct simulation experiments with real military Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or C4ISR, systems.

This experiment allowed the 2nd Cavalry Regiment EWOs to use their newly fielded capabilities in various operationally relevant scenarios in order to identify best tactics, techniques and procedures. The event brought together in one room the Soldiers who use the capabilities, the engineers who are designing them, the project manager responsible for fielding the program of record solution, and the RCO team delivering the interim prototypes.

“Development works out a lot better when you have direct user feedback,” said Capt. Kevin Voss, assistant product manager for Electronic Warfare Integration. “With the SIMEX, we can modify and tweak through constant feedback and constant interaction with the operators. We can map out what they need, based on how they use it in the field.”

One scenario required the EWOs to detect communications between enemy forces’ headquarters and insurgents, then send an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to confirm. Other scenarios involved detecting enemy jammers, networks and UAV communications; determining if a report that their network is being jammed is real or false; and intercepting, detecting, identifying and locating the source of interference that is affecting their communications.

By the end of the SIMEX, which concluded May 4, the Soldiers were becoming experts at utilizing their new kit of capabilities in order to command the electromagnetic spectrum.

“The SIMEX is not focused on the individual system,” said Nickee Abbott, who was one of the lead RCO engineers on the prototypes. “Instead, it’s about integration and operational understanding. It’s looking at the package of capabilities and how the Soldiers leverage that under realistic threat scenarios.”

With the engineers and operators working side by side, some of the suggested changes were made over lunch or by the next morning.

“This is a great way to give feedback,” said Staff Sergeant Justin Dugan, EW Non-Commissioned Officer for 2nd Cavalry Regiment. “It’s an opportunity to spend concentrated hours on the equipment in a simulated environment with the engineers that are developing it, [so we are] able to turn to the engineers or PM and say, ‘Why does it do that instead of this, or could it do this?’ And it’s incredible to see that information go straight from the operators’ thought process into the engineers’ thought process, and [they] immediately start working on it. ”

Flory agreed, adding that the experiment also provided valuable training experience.

“Sometimes there is a disconnect [between] the engineer level and the user at the tactical level,” he said. “We’re trying to help illustrate where we live and fight, versus where they come to work. It’s showing them what is most valuable to us, and they’ve been incredibly receptive.”

The Soldiers also evaluated some new capabilities their fielded prototypes currently don’t have, in order to inform whether future iterations of the EW prototypes or programs of record should include added features, such as a sensor that provides a potentially wider and clearer image of the electromagnetic environment, and improved signal identification. Some software updates to the fielded systems are already on track to be delivered this summer, with additional “Phase 2” upgrades to the prototypes expected throughout 2018 and 2019.

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, Army Rapid Capabilities Office

HENSOLDT Presents “TwInvis” Passive Radar for the First Time in Live Operation

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

New sensor demonstrates its capabilities during ILA in Berlin

Munich/Berlin, 25 April 2018 – HENSOLDT, the leading German sensor solutions provider, is presenting its passive radar system called “TwInvis” to the public for the first time in live operation during this year’s International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin. The new product name “TwInvis” is made up from “twin” + “invisible”, as neither TwInvis itself nor the targets to be detected emit any signals on their own, which means that they are “invisible”. The TwInvis system, which can be integrated into an all-terrain vehicle or a van, does not emit its own signals to monitor air traffic, but simply “passively” analyses the echoes of signals from radio or TV stations.

“Our newly developed, highly sensitive digital receivers now make it possible for a single TwInvis system to monitor up to 200 aircraft in 3D within a radius of 250 kilometres. This was unthinkable even just a few years ago,” said HENSOLDT CEO Thomas Müller. “This will open up completely new options for application in such fields as air defence, the protection of large events or air traffic control.”

Working as mere receivers, passive radar systems detect aircraft by analysing the signals that they reflect from existing third-party emissions. HENSOLDT’s TwInvis system excels with a very precise picture of the airspace covered, which is obtained by simultaneously analysing a large number of frequency bands. For example, up to 16 FM transmitters (analogue radio) plus 5 frequencies used by several DAB and DAB+ transmitters (digital radio) as well as DVB-T and DVB-T2 (digital, terrestrial television) can be simultaneously analysed for the first time. Furthermore, HENSOLDT’s new generation of software will provide unprecedented performance in terms of range and precision of detection.

In civil applications, passive radar systems make cost-effective air traffic control possible without any additional emissions and without using transmission frequencies, which are in short supply. In military applications, the system enables wide-area surveillance using networked receivers, while offering the advantage that passive radar systems cannot be located by the enemy and are very hard to jam. Moreover, no agreement is required with any other public authority, as there is no radiation, which allows the system to be quickly ready for deployment in new locations and to also be used in urban areas. This results in another advantage of the new technology: the system can be used in places where coverage was previously inadequate, in particular for example, in mountainous regions.

TwInvis has already shown what it can do in several demonstrations to military customers, air traffic control organisations and other interested parties. Two TwInvis demonstrators have already been delivered to potential customers in Europe.