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Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

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

AOC EW Europe 2017 Call for Papers Announced

Friday, February 24th, 2017

AOC EW Europe 2017: ‘Advancing EW and Electromagnetic Operations Together’

Europe is one of the most vital areas in the world and the focus of much change in the area of electronic warfare (EW), but with change comes uncertainty. In terms of EW and electromagnetic (EM) operations, how can we make sense of all of these things?

The Association of Old Crows is once again teaming up with Clarion Events to create Europe’s premier electronic warfare event- the only event fully supported by the AOC in Europe. This partnership brings together world-class speakers in a conference programme shaped by industry experts.

AOC EW Europe will consider the future of EW and EM Operations in the changing light of current and emerging threats, including Hybrid Warfare and Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) where potential opponents are out-performing the West. It will consider the possible responses, how thinking and attitudes must change, and examine the new capabilities that will be required across all lines of development, by all services, in all countries in the free world. The Conference will consist of plenary sessions and twin-tracks focusing on operations, defence capability development, and industry inventiveness.

AOC EW Europe will be held in perhaps the world’s most iconic city – London. It will consider the future of EW and EM Operations in the changing light of current and emerging threats, including Hybrid Warfare and Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) where potential opponents are out-performing the West.

Speakers will include leaders and operators from the military, government, academia, S&T and R&D communities and, crucially industry. This is an unclassified truly-global EW networking, exhibition, workshop and conference and not to be missed.

The PLATH Intelligence Workshop will precede the EW Europe conference on 6 June 2017. For more information or to submit a paper, please visit www.eweurope.com

Please note that the closing date for the call for papers is 17 March, however we encourage you to submit papers as soon as possible as they will be considered as they are received.

Kestrel wide-area sensor makes first-time showing at IDEX

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

FAIRFAX, Va.— Feb. 6, 2017— Logos Technologies will be showcasing the upgraded, exportable Kestrel Block II wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) sensor at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX).

Designed for defense, public safety and humanitarian assistance missions, the Block II shares all the same capabilities as the original Kestrel system, which has been deployed with U.S. forces since 2011.


Each sensor, when mounted on an aerostat, creates a 440 Mpx mosaic image and can monitor an entire city-sized area at once, day and night, for weeks at a time. In addition, each WAMI system detects and simultaneously tracks all significant movers in real time, while also recording events for later forensic analysis.

Kestrel Block II mounted on an aerostat
“The key upgrade in Kestrel Block II,” says John Marion, president of Logos Technologies, “is that we have improved the operational reliability, while significantly reducing the weight, from 150 pounds [68 kg] to less than 85 [40 kg].”

This lighter weight allows the Block II to be paired up with a wider range of aerostats, sensors and communications equipment.

For more information on Logos Technologies and its innovative solutions, please visit Booth 03-B29 at the Abu Dhabi National Exposition Centre.

FLIR Systems Acquires Prox Dynamics for $134 Million

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

This purchase is a pretty big deal as the Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet, Nano class UAV gains traction, including for such programs as the US Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor effort. You can see it here in this Army commercial.

Acquisition adds unique nano-drone unmanned aerial systems leveraging Lepton capabilities to Surveillance product range

WILSONVILLE, OR — (Marketwired) — 11/30/16 — FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced today that it has acquired Prox Dynamics AS, a leading developer and manufacturer of nano-class unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for military and para-military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications, for approximately $134 million in cash.

Based in Oslo, Norway and founded in 2007 by pioneers in nano helicopter technologies, Prox Dynamics develops, manufactures, and distributes aerial sensors that are revolutionarily small, light, and covert surveillance systems. Prox Dynamics’ Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS) features their Black Hornet aerial sensor and a hand controller, a system that is pocket sized and hand-launched by a soldier in the field, enabling a significant advantage in situational awareness and mission planning. The Black Hornet aerial sensor utilizes FLIR’s Lepton micro thermal camera, visible spectrum cameras, advanced low-power rotor technology, and proprietary software for flight control, stabilization, and communications. The Black Hornet helicopter is one of the lightest, stealthiest, and safest drones in the market, offering a highly advanced, lifesaving surveillance solution for traditional military forces and special operations forces. Weighing less than one ounce, the Black Hornet helicopter can fly for up to 25 minutes at line-of-sight distances of up to one mile.

The addition of the Prox Dynamics business will augment FLIR’s Surveillance segment by extending FLIR’s Airborne sensor product line and fully leveraging Lepton technology. FLIR intends to invest in optimizing the PRS platform to further enhance the range, cost, flexibility, and performance of the system. The Prox Dynamics team will benefit from close interaction with FLIR’s thermal sensor development group as well as the ability to leverage FLIR’s brand, distribution, and customer support infrastructure to better serve a global base of users. The business will become FLIR’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) line of business operating within the Surveillance segment.

“This acquisition adds a unique unmanned aerial systems capability to our portfolio. The Prox Dynamics team has created a highly-differentiated solution, incorporating our Lepton sensor, for advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance that fits well with our vision for growth for our Surveillance segment,” said Andy Teich, President and CEO of FLIR. “The team at Prox Dynamics operates with a commercial mindset, which is a great fit for FLIR’s ‘commercially developed, military qualified,’ or ‘CDMQ,’ operating philosophy. We are excited to welcome the Prox Dynamics team to FLIR and look forward to working together to further advance this remarkable system capability.”

FLIR anticipates the business and related transaction costs will be approximately $0.01 dilutive to its 2016 earnings per share.

Daddy, What Did You Do In The Army?

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Well son, I was a 98 Golf, but we didn’t have any Jeeps on a SOT-A and all that crap this smiling guy got to drive around, we carried in our rucksacks. Now help me out of this chair. My back’s acting up again.

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence Awards AeroVironment Contract for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Upgrades Valued at $10.3 Million

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
  • Includes upgrade of existing AeroVironment Raven B systems to digital data link and adoption of AeroVironment’s family of small UAS, including Puma AE and Wasp AE systems
  • Second contract from Dutch military for AeroVironment small UAS
  • aerovironment

    MONROVIA, Calif., Oct. 31, 2016 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both military and commercial applications, today announced the receipt of a contract from the Netherlands Ministry of Defence on October 14 for small UAS, upgrades and support services totaling $10,321,375. Delivery is anticipated within six months.

    The contract encompasses AeroVironment’s entire family of fixed wing small UAS and includes Digital Data Link (DDL) upgrades to the Dutch forces’ existing fleet of Raven® B systems, battle-proven Puma™ AE, Wasp® AE Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), and Ground Control Systems (GCS), as well as comprehensive support services.

    The Netherlands procured AeroVironment Raven systems for the first time in 2008. AeroVironment has provided support services to the Netherlands since 2008.

    “The Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) evaluated our extensive operational experience with the AeroVironment Raven system against competing systems available both domestically and internationally,” the DMO stated. “After careful deliberation and consideration of total value, DMO decided not only to upgrade our existing analog Raven systems with AeroVironment’s digital data link, but also to procure the complete AeroVironment family of fixed wing small UAS. This builds on our initial investment and equips our forces with the most capable and reliable small UAS in the world.”

    “There is no greater statement of confidence in our company and our products than when customers place follow-on orders with us,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “We are proud to provide the brave members of the Dutch armed forces with small UAS uniquely capable of helping them proceed with certainty, even in the most uncertain conditions.”

    About AeroVironment Small UAS

    RQ-11B Raven®, RQ-12 Wasp®, RQ-20A and B Puma™ and Shrike VTOL™ comprise AeroVironment’s Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Operating with a common ground control system (GCS), this Family of Systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that can give ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel. AeroVironment provides logistics services worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness and provides mission services for customers requiring only the information its small UAS produce. AeroVironment has delivered tens of thousands of new and replacement small unmanned air vehicles to customers within the United States and to more than 30 international governments.

    About AeroVironment

    AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides customers with more actionable intelligence so they can proceed with certainty. Based in California, AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems, tactical missile systems and electric vehicle charging and test systems, and serves militaries, government agencies, businesses and consumers. For more information visit www.avinc.com.

    Logos Technologies – Tower Mounted Version Of Serenity Hostile Fire Detection System

    Thursday, July 7th, 2016

    My first job after retiring from the Air Force 10 years ago, was with Logos Technologies. At the time, a lot of the company’s work was focused on airborne, wide area imagery systems. It’s great to see how far they have come in developing other sensors. For instance, they developed the Serenity hostile fire detection system which fuses data from both EO/IR and acoustic sensors. Typical EO/IR-based Fire detection systems look for flashes, and these can present false detections due to things like reflections from glass. Acoustic sensors listen for certain sounds and can characterize types of fire as well as direction. By fusing the two sensors, not only are false detection rates lowered because they validate one another’s data but more information can be collected simultaneously. In the case of Serenity, a sensor from Hyperion Technology Group listens for an acoustic event within a certain time frame in order to validate the flash picked up by the optical sensor.

    image

    Initially, Serenity was mounted to aerostats, but there are a lot of places where you don’t want to park a dirigible over a facility. Consequently, the Army asked Logos to creat a mast mounted variant which can be attached to existing antenna towers at deployed locations. But, I can now imagine a lot of other places that could deploy this system, including fixed facilities. Naturally, there’s give and take here. A mast mounted version of Serenity makes it available to a wider audience, but it also means that the ranges they’ve seen with the aerostat variant will be much shorter. It just won’t be mounted as high, so line-of-sight is less. Although it’s still a ways off, the Logos Team told me that they see a mobile version in the future. In the near-term, Logos Technologies is also working on an export license for Serenity, now that it can be more easily deployed, which is great news for our allies.

    Below is the press release on Serenity from Logos Technologies, LLC.

    FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Logos Technologies announced today that a new, tower-mounted version of its Serenity hostile fire detection system has passed a live fire test this past May in Yuma, Arizona.

    Designed to detect sources of enemy fire, Serenity is typically mounted on a high-flying tethered blimp, or aerostat, in order to provide city-sized coverage area. With the latest modifications, the system now provides coverage from towers.

    “In mounting the system on a lower altitude mast, we needed to compensate for differences in range, and we’ve succeeded in doing that,” says Frank Plew, Serenity project manager at Logos Technologies.

    The success of the May demonstration now means that Serenity is one step closer to being put up on masts at U.S. bases and installations in combat zones.

    “We’ve already delivered a total of 15 Serenity units to the Army,” says Plew.

    A dual-sensor system, Serenity combines two electro-optical (EO) pods with an acoustic sensor, developed by Hyperion Technology Group, to help friendly forces better react to incoming enemy fire by locating its point of origin.

    Serenity’s optical sensor picks up the flash of enemy mortar or rocket fire and then calculates its point of origin and range from the sensor. The system’s acoustic sensor will then validate that enemy fire has indeed been detected by measuring the lag time between flash and bang.

    Working together, these two Serenity sensors dramatically reduce the false alarms typically associated with other hostile fire detection systems.

    “There are legacy hostile fire detection systems out there, and while they’ve proven the concept, Serenity reduces false positives and does a better job pinpointing sources of enemy fire,” Plew says.

    Serenity weighs less than 80 pounds, light enough to go on unmanned aerial vehicles. It can transmit its fused optical/acoustic data to available full motion video cameras or wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) sensors.

    Logos Technologies began working with the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) on Serenity in 2013, with the mast work starting in 2015.

    Although the original concept was for Serenity to go on an aerostat with the Kestrel WAMI system, “Logos Technologies and ARL always envisioned it going on other platforms,” Plew states.

    RRT THiEF System

    Friday, February 5th, 2016

    While visiting with Regulus Global during SHOT Show, something caught my eye.  It was Tactical Handheld Emitter Finder System from Radio Reconnaissance Technologies.  THiEF provides intercept and Radio Direction Finding Line of Bearing against VHF and UHF, analog, single-channel, push-to-talk transmitters.

     

    I’ve used a variety of radio direction finding systems when I was in the service. But, they were much larger, and heavier. Take a look at the THiEF’s antenna head. It’s so compact, it could be integrated into a helmet or other equipment as a body worn system.

    The Controller/Display weighs just 15 oz and the Receiver/Antenna comes in at 16.5 oz.

     

    THiEF uses a custom controller to provide the operator with an intuitive, easy-to-learn User Interface with full audio recoring and playback along with a map display.

    RRT’s THiEF is available for qualified international customers through Regulus Global.

    For Those Who Remember When The US Army Had An ECM Capability

    Sunday, November 1st, 2015

      
    Now, only available in HO Scale, the AN/TLQ-17.

    Thanks Fly On The Wall!