Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

ThirdBlockGear – Advanced Field Sling Bag

Monday, August 19th, 2019

The Advanced Field Sling Bag was developed by a friend of mine for personal use while working initially overseas, and increasingly here at home. He wanted a bag that would keep his most needed equipment right at his fingertips.

His work requires the use of electronics and those often need to be recharged in the field.

Above is a layout of the kit he uses to teach classes.

And in case your interested in the types of electronics he uses, here are a couple of images of something he is currently working on.

But back to the ASF. Here are some key design points:
• Comfortable to wear for hours, in hot climates.
• Quick access to all your gear, without taking the bag off.
• Adjustable, ambidextrous, and quick-release design.
• Designed to fit power, communications, and sustainment gear.
• Extremely durable and rugged.
• 100% US Materials. 100% US manufactured.

I’ve had one for awhile and feel blessed anytime Jason honors me by allowing me access to his work. While it’s a very specialized piece of kit with a very specific layout, it has already been fielded to several organizations. Learn more at thirdblockgear.com/shop/afs-bag.

Warrior EAST 19 – HDT Containerized Weapon System

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

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HDT’s Containerized Weapon System integrates EO/IR sensors and weapons on a remotely operated mast. CWS can be used individually or networked with one another. It is transportable and can be set up in 30 minutes.

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Weapons and sensor options vary from non-lethal all the way to Hellfire missiles. Reloads and maintenance can be accomplished with the mast retracted, under cover.

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www.hdtglobal.com

AFSOC U-28A Aircraft Named “Draco”

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. —

After more than 13 years in service, the U-28A intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft officially received approval in May for the naming convention of “Draco”.  

Draco is the Latin term for dragon. Most aircraft commonly have a name after their numerical designation, such as CV-22 Osprey. 

Col. Robert Masaitis, 492nd Special Operations Training Group commander, Draco pilot and former commander of the 34th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, commented on the process of naming the aircraft.

“From my time in the community (2010-2012), we were split between a couple of schools of thought on the official naming of the U-28,” said Masaitis. “Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, the AFSOC commander at the time, had told us we ought to name the aircraft. Between the two, then later three squadron commanders, we could agree that ‘Draco’ was probably the obvious choice. I’m glad to see we’re bringing this initiative to fruition after all this time, as the U-28 has become so much more than the single-engine, non-descript ‘utility’ aircraft we brought into the service over a decade ago.”

The mission of the Draco is to provide manned fixed-wing tactical airborne ISR support to humanitarian operations, search and rescue, conventional and special operations missions.

 “This is fantastic recognition of an aircraft and community,” said Brig. Gen. William Holt, AFSOC special assistant to the commander. “Draco has changed the very fabric of our AFSOC DNA and will continue to be our premier ISR platform for years to come.”

The Draco reached a historic milestone on June 22, 2018, when the AFSOC aircraft reached the 500,000 flying hours mark.

Lt. Col. Chad Anthony, 319th Special Operations Squadron commander, commented on the capabilities of the aircraft.

“Over the battlefields of the global war on terror, Draco has come to mean unparalleled special operations intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, especially to the men and women on the ground in the line of fire,” said Anthony. “Aircrew and special operators who have flown and worked with the Pilatus U-28A have known it as Draco since its first combat deployment in June 2006.”

Maj. Caitlin Reilly, a U-28A Draco pilot and AFSOC director of operations executive officer, commented on the importance of the name approval and the Draco community.

“All of us in the U-28 community today are humbled by the vision and expertise of the U-28A plankholders (the original founders of the program),” said Reilly. “They created something that had never been done before, and it has evolved into an asset that is now one of the ‘minimum force requirements’ of our nation’s elite SOF teams on their ‘no-fail’ missions.”

The Draco is an integral part of AFSOC’s light tactical fixed wing fleet.

Col. Andrew Jett, 492nd Special Operations Wing commander, former 34th SOS commander and Draco pilot, commented on the significance of the name. 

“Our partners may not have known the personal names of the crewmembers, but they always know Draco,” said Jett. “There is a tremendous amount of recognition and respect when a crewmember identifies him or herself as being a member of Draco. I’m thrilled about the exceptional reputation Draco has built over the 13 plus years of the program and it’s now codified as the permanent aircraft name, and is something every member of Draco, past and present, can take pride in.”

Reilly further commented on the pride she and fellow Draco aviators take in the name.

The best thing about the U-28 community, and AFSOC as a whole, is that it is a competency-based organization, she said.

All of the U-28 aircrew are equally proud of the Draco name approval.

Every Air Commando in the U-28A community dedicates themselves to the demanding task of upholding the level of expertise and respect that the name Draco commands, said Reilly. It’s extremely challenging, and we’re all immensely proud of what this name represents.

By SSgt Lynette Rolen, Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

U-28 Photo by photo by A1C Joel Miller

Constellation graphic by Jeff Pendleton

SOFIC 19 – DefendTex Drone-40

Friday, May 24th, 2019

The Drone-40 is the most amazing thing I saw at this year’s SOFIC. Made by DefendTex, it is a low-cost, programmable 40 mm munition, providing kinetic or ISR options.

The round is fired from the launcher in order to get it aloft. To attain flight mode, it deploys four helicopter-style rotors to stabilize, move, and provide lift for loiter.

It offers 12 minutes of flight time and/or 20 minutes of loiter time. Cruising speed is 20 m/s and range at optimum speed is in excess of 10km.

Payloads include camera, anti-armor, fuel-air, HE/frag, diversionary, smoke, counter-UAS,

With these mixed of payload types, Drone-40 can be used individually, paired, or as a swarm, to a variety of effcts. For example, a team could launch one or more ISR configured munitions along with a swarm of anti-armor payloads and loiter over an ambush spot, waiting for a vehicle column. With Multi-Round Simultaneous Impact mode, multiple effects can be acheived at once, depending on the types of payloads delivered.

(Army photo by SFC Teddy Wade, Army Materiel Command )

For those of you wondering why you need the M320 grenade launcher, it’s technologies like this. The M203 is simply no longer “good enough” because you can’t load these longer rounds into the launcher.

(USMC photo by LCpl Alexis C. Schneider, 2d MARDIV Combat Camera)

Australian manufacturer DefendTex also offers the technology in 12ga and 81mm form factors. Obviously, these come with larger or smaller payloads as well as different flight and loiter times.

ACC Announces 24th and 25th NAF Merger

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS)– —

Air Combat Command is merging 24th and 24th numbered Air Forces at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, this summer to better integrate cyber effects, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, electronic warfare operations and information operations.

The synergy between cyber, ISR, EW and IO will increase unity of effort across these capabilities, resulting in new and improved options for combatant commanders. The integration also better aligns these units with priorities outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy and delivers the first “Information Warfare” NAF for the Air Force.

“The merger of 24th and 25th is the next step in leveraging and integrating new ideas and technologies to both improve the quality and speed of decision-making and deliver improved effects for commanders,” said Gen. Mike Holmes, ACC commander. “This formalizes the existing collaborations between cyber and ISR while expanding our competitive space in EW and IO, ultimately improving readiness and increasing lethality across the range of military operations – all vital to the success of multi-domain warfighting in the 21st century.”

The new IW NAF bolsters the Air Force’s ability to present electromagnetic spectrum forces and capabilities to execute missions alongside joint and interagency partners.

While the final organizational structure has not yet been determined, ACC anticipates an activation ceremony at JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, in late summer of 2019.

Story by Air Combat Command Public Affairs. Graphic by Mr Robert Young.

CROPS ‘COS’ Tripod system

Monday, April 1st, 2019

The ‘COS’ Tripod system is a low volume, ultra lightweight sniper and close observer platform.

What I really like is how compact it becomes when stowed for transport, thanks to the roll up carbon fiber legs.

www.crops.uk.com

Marine Corps Enhances Forensics Capability to Make Gathering Data Simple

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

The Marine Corps is enhancing an existing forensics exploitation capability used to differentiate between friend or foe on the battlefield.

The Corps is updating the Expeditionary Forensics Exploitation Capability, or EFEC, with newer IT technology. The EFEC is a portable forensic laboratory used by Law Enforcement Battalions to recognize, collect, analyze, preserve and store data.

The EFEC was fielded in 2013. Since then, the Identity Operations Team at Marine Corps Systems Command has decided to update the some of the system’s IT equipment.

“We’re making the IT equipment more adaptable for today,” said Sarah Swift, Identity Operations Team Lead. “We’re moving at the speed of relevance.”

Maj. David Bain, EFEC project officer, believes employing more up-to-date equipment can benefit Marines on the battlefield.

“We want to improve the lethality of Marines in the battlespace by collecting and sharing data faster than we were previously able to,” said Bain.

The EFEC is organic to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and capable of exploiting forensic material to support forensically enabled intelligence. This includes device and digital media analysis, latent and patent print, DNA, and the collection and identification of other elements that can be forensically tied to activities.

The Identity Operations Team is working to integrate the EFEC with other intelligence systems to give Marines the ability to gain insight and information of immediate tactical value on the battlefield.

“EFEC complements and integrates with the other Identity Operations capabilities, such as Identity Dominance System-Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Intelligence Agency Identity Intelligence Analytical Cell, or MCIA I2AC,” said Swift.

The MCIA I2AC reviews the IDS-MC and EFEC user’s submissions and other collected data to provide direct support to the submitting Marines. The I2AC rapidly produces analysis reports and related products for persons of interest and shares this information, with the collected data, throughout the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Enterprise.

MCSC is assessing science and technology agile acquisition efforts now to develop and field the next increment of EFEC capabilities by fiscal year 2021.

“Marines want more expeditionary, rugged and lightweight equipment with fewer pieces, and we are making that happen with the EFEC,” said Bain.

The Importance of EFEC

EFEC is a portable, expeditionary forensic exploitation laboratory that includes four collection kits. These kits provide squad-level tactical forensic collection capability for proper collection and preservation of evidence.

“The EFEC currently includes a chem kit, lab kit, media kit and site kit,” said Bain. “Together, the kits enable Marine operators to gather important forensic information on site to determine if a person of interest is a suspect or an ally.”

The chem kit allows operators to detect and identify hazardous and forensically relevant chemicals. The lab kit helps Marines process digital evidence, and the mobile kit helps to analyze and recover information from mobile devices.

Lastly, the site kit enables the operator to gather key forensic information, such as taking fingerprints and preserving liquids, at any location of interest.

MAGTF expeditionary forensics is one of three pillars within the USMC Identity Operations Strategy 2020 Implementation Plan. To fulfill the Marine Corps Operating Concept, MCSC continues to seek and provide Marines relevant, innovative and rapid solutions to enhance warfighting capabilities, Swift said.

“It’s important that MCSC continues to advance with technology and we stay agile with our incremental acquisition approach to evolve current capabilities,” said Swift.

Story courtesy of MARCORSYSCOM. Matt Gonzales contributed to this story. Photos by Pfc. Kindo Go.

The GUHOR Stick!

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

GUHOR Stick? What the heck is a GUHOR Stick and what does it have to do with SSD? Well, as some of you may know, I spent the first half of my career in the Army MI business, primarily as a SIGINTer. Since the Army in its infinite wisdom decided to dismantle and then stovepipe its IW capability over the past 25 years, I feel it’s important to revisit the history of the SIGINT business as it is recreated in the form of Cyber Electro Magnetic Activities, or CEMA.

The GUHOR Stick is one of the most important tool ever invented for the traffic analyst (TA). Solutions to the most intricate communications networks often began with this simple device.

No self-respecting TA was ever without one close at hand. Like the six-shooter of the old West, the analyst kept it at his or her side, always ready to draw- circles, boxes, and lines.

The GUHOR Stick, in its most recent and best known iteration, is merely a 6? by 1.5? clear plastic template. Its prime purpose is to facilitate the drawing of communications diagrams, although its secondary uses are endless. It comes equipped with a large circle at one end to draw control terminals, a smaller circle at the other end for outstations, and a small rectangle in the center for communications relays and collective (CQ) calls. The straight edges are used to connect these stations and show communications paths. With this tool, a #2 pencil (with extra erasers), some graph paper, and several pencils of various colored leads, the analyst of old was fully prepared to face any communications adversary.

GUHOR Stick! But where did this strange name come from? Putting my analytical skills to work, I set out to research the issue. To my surprise, there was a higher than expected number of individuals who had heard the name. Most were seasoned veterans from a mixture of professions, including linguists, reporters, managers, executives, and, naturally, traffic analysts. But there was more than a little discussion about what this device was and where its name originated.

The early returns were mixed, however. I was still searching for the definitive word. It was at this point when I began to get responses from members of a Communications Analysis Association (CAA) interest group.  A number of seasoned veterans recounted their GUHOR experiences and, in a number of colorful responses, gave me what I believe to be the true scoop.

GUHOR Sticks as traffic analysis tools have been around for decades. Some CAA respondents remembered seeing or using them in one form or another from at least the early 1960s. Even so, a couple of questions remain unanswered. Who invented it?  Why was it given this curious name? Someone out there knows. If you can solve the mystery, we (Station HYPO) are ready to hear a good story.

All this discussion about GUHOR Sticks may be moot. These devices are few and far between these days. The GUHOR Stick does not have a federal stock number. They were made in batches at NSA by special order; however, they are fast becoming collector items. With the advent software, many analysts are using computer graphics to diagram their targets. The traditional circles and lines on paper are becoming passé. Most GUHOR Sticks that are found are being employed for many a sundry task-not for crafting the intricate networks of old, but for drawing nondescript lines and symbols unrelated to the trade of traffic analysis.

Those on field duty in the Pacific used a similar device which they called a “pooka-maker.” Pooka is a Hawaiian word for “hole.”

Source: NSA CRYTPOLOG July, 1994 (MDR Case #54778)

Edited by Mario Vulcano

To read more history, visit Station HYPO.