B5 Systems

Archive for the ‘Comms’ Category

AeroVironment’s Unmanned Ground Vehicles to Use Persistent Systems Mobile ad hoc Network as Preferred Network for Platforms

Monday, September 19th, 2022

Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), a leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET), announced today that AeroVironment’s unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) business has joined Persistent’s Wave Relay® Ecosystem.

The Ecosystem is a growing industry alliance of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UGVs, and sensor companies all utilizing Persistent’s Wave Relay® MANET as their preferred network for command-and-control and communications functions.

“We are very excited to have AeroVironment’s UGVs join the Ecosystem,” said Nick Naioti, Senior VP for Business Development for Persistent Systems. “In building the networked battlefield, we are providing the warfighter with increased situational awareness while also reducing size, weight, and power.”

At the core of the Ecosystem, the Wave Relay® MANET enables tactical teams to receive critical information from unmanned systems and their sensors which facilitates improved decision making, increasing both soldier safety and effectiveness.

According to the agreement between the two companies, the following UGVs will incorporate Persistent’s MANET hardware:

• telemax™ EVO PRO;
• telemax™ EVO HYBRID;
• telemax™ EVO PLUS;
• tEODor™ EVO; and
• EVO Upgrade Kit.

These ruggedized, all-terrain UGVs perform a variety of dangerous missions, including explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), hazardous materials handling (HAZMAT) and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threat assessment.

“Persistent has established itself in the market as a network provider that delivers extended range, high throughput and robustness against radio interference, all of which are critically important to our customers’ life-saving missions,” said Brian Young, AeroVironment vice president and product line general manager for UGVs.

In addition, Wave Relay® MANET gives companies the opportunity to move beyond simple point-to-point solutions and build whole constellations of connected air and ground assets, Naioti said.

USAF Selects Persistent Systems for Airborne Network for African Partners

Monday, September 12th, 2022

African countries interested in AERONet following successful Continued Light Attack Experiment (CLAE)

Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), a leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) technology, announced today that it received a request from the U.S. Air Force to supply the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AERONet) to a country in Africa.

The request comes on the heels of a successful demonstration in May of the exportable AERONet airborne communications relay at the Continued Light Attack Experiment (CLAE).

“We showed partner nations how AERONet could be used to support missions such as close air support and high-value target takedowns,” said Robert Truglia, AERONet program manager for Persistent.

At CLAE, U.S. Air Force pilots taking off from Moody Air Force Base, in Georgia, flew AT-6E Wolverine turboprop aircraft with Colombian, Nigerian, Thai, and Tunisian personnel and conducting simulated bombing runs and high-value takedowns, in which the aircraft aided in the capture drug smugglers and violent extremist role players.

During this experiment, the platform-agnostic AERONet kit provided the communication backbone for participating nations linking aircraft, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, and three geographically dispersed command-and-control centers in Georgia, Florida, and Arizona, Truglia said. This allowed partner nations to view full motion video and participate in the event from their home countries.

Lt. Col. Gerald Ferdinand, CLAE collaboration director, called CLAE a success, concluding, “AERONet can advance joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) capabilities by expanding our network with existing partners.”

As part of the post-CLAE AERONet order from the African country, Persistent Systems will supply equipment and services to both the U.S. Air Force and the partner nation. Meanwhile, interest in light attack aircraft for surveillance and strike missions grows elsewhere.

“We’ve just seen the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Armed Overwatch program sign an IDIQ contract with L3Harris for AT-802U Sky Warden aircraft,” Truglia said. “Like the aircraft tested in CLAE, these Sky Wardens will be used in coordinated close air support and precision strike efforts in irregular warfare operations.”


Update: system going to Nigeria and Tunisia.

Arctic Warriors Round Out Capability Set 21 Fielding

Monday, September 12th, 2022

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — All good things must come to an end. But when it comes to the Army’s capability sets, the end is only the beginning for the next iteration of advanced battlefield network technologies.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division is the final unit to be fielded capability set, or CS, 21’s Integrated Tactical Network. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team joins multiple brigade combat teams across the globe to obtain Integrated Tactical Network — or ITN — capabilities, with CS21 paving the way for CS23 Stryker and CS25 Armor vehicle ITN capabilities.

In May of this year, the Army redesignated U.S. Army Alaska headquarters as the 11th Airborne Division. The two brigade combat teams in Alaska — the 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division were redesignated as the 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division, respectively.

“Their focus will be on dismounted and Arctic mobility and capabilities of sustained operation in the Arctic [and] extreme cold weather,” said 11th Airborne Division Commander Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler.

ITN Capabilities

The Army’s CS21 ITN inserts commercial capabilities into the Army tactical network to provide a flexible, simplified network solution from battalion to dismounted Soldiers. Components include radios, variable height antennas, small satellite terminals and commercial phone technology.

“The ITN creates a resilient network that allows tactical commanders the ability to communicate with joint and coalition partners, provides a robust primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency plan for both line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight, allows the battalion to operate independently of the brigade and provides situational awareness down to the platoon level,” said Jerry Harper, product manager for helicopter and multi-mission radios, under Project Manager Tactical Radios, Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical.

New Equipment Fielding and Training

The CS21 ITN fielding to the 2/11th has consisted of both mounted and dismounted capabilities. From vehicle installs to classroom training, a hands-on approach has been critical to ensure Soldiers retain their ITN skills when they shift to an operational environment.

When completed this month, ITN technicians will have integrated manpack and leader radios into a combination of approximately 400 heavy, medium and light tactical vehicles.

“Hands-on training is just as critical in the classroom,” Harper said. “We have set a 75 percent hands-on training goal because we know that PowerPoint alone is not sufficient.”

Demonstrating this goal, the 2/11th classrooms have been piled high with equipment for training on the multiple ITN tactical radio variants and the Nett Warrior end-user device, which when integrated into the dismounted radios, provides real-time, map-based position information location and other relevant operational information.

“From the beginning of our mission, we have encouraged the unit to send Soldiers down to the motor pool to de-install legacy equipment and observe the new installs,” said Mark Rotarius, platform Integration team lead, under Project Manager Tactical Radios. “For many of these Soldiers, this is the first time they have seen the system, and they could feel overwhelmed if they don’t put their hands on the equipment.”

CS21 Fielding Across the Force

In some instances, 2/11th Soldiers who were formerly with CS21 ITN-fielded units, including the 82nd Airborne Division, Security Force Assistance Brigades and the 173rd Airborne Brigade, provided insight on the enhancements they had seen since first operating the capability.

“I first used the ITN while I was with the 173rd Airborne,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Ryan Hall, communications section chief for the 1-40th Cavalry, under the 2/11th. “The capability is much easier to use now, and as a cavalry unit, I’m very much looking forward to implementing the TSM waveform, which will help us create the networks our scouts need to send information back to the commander.”

The TSM commercial mesh waveform is the primary waveform used with the ITN. It requires line-of-sight and provides a multi-node relay, where every radio is a repeater for all network traffic.

The Security Force Assistance Brigades were the earliest adopters of CS21’s ITN and helped launch what is now a regular battle rhythm of fielding, training, operational exercises, and feedback to ensure frequent, iterative and modern capability improvements.

“As a former [Security Force Assistance Brigade], it’s been good to see the junior enlisted NCOs operate the radios very rapidly by the end of the course,” said Cpt. Michael McCarty, the 2/11th airborne chief of operations, responsible for the current operations and synchronization across the entire brigade. “By the end of the course, they were sending each other pictures, drawing operations graphics and sending messages to each other.”

The 82nd Airborne has been pivotal in providing feedback on the ITN capability over the past two years. In addition to using the ITN for real-time position information following jumps into the drop zone, the 82nd ITN with Nett Warrior device has also aided medics in managing Soldiers’ critical battlefield medical needs.

“I was a platoon medic with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division where I first received training on the ITN equipment,” said Sgt. Elisha Eagleroad, treatment squad leader under the 2/11th, who oversees the aid station for treating patients throughout battalion.

The medics would use ITN and Nett Warrior end user device to drop location pins for casualty collection points, he said.

“It was a lot quicker to be able to get that 10-digit grid right off the phone and describe terrain and what routes or fire breaks to take,” Eagleroad said. “We were able to expedite patient evacuation because we had a more accurate description of where we were going.”

Preparing for Operations

Following the ITN training at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson, the unit will be participating in multiple exercises, including one in India for the bilateral Yudh Abhyas exercise, where they will test two of the ITN radio variants.

From there, the unit will participate in other platoon and company live fires events at their home station, where they will put the ITN kit through the paces in extreme cold weather environment. Leadership and technical support personnel are proactively identifying risks to operating technology under extreme environmental issues and putting mitigation plans into place.

“We train in negative 30-degree weather, which will provide a critical test for the ITN equipment,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Louis Mundinger. “Our plan is to wrap some of the radio batteries and make adjustments as needed with packaging.”

In March, the unit will participate in the annual Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center exercise in Fairbanks, which deploys coalition forces in a realistic and relevant arctic environment to help meet current and future regional crises and security needs.

Next Steps in Capability Set Fielding

As CS21’s ITN fielding comes to a close, the Army is fielding CS23’s ITN to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Stryker unit in Germany and to the 101st Airborne Division, which is the first division-level ITN fielding. On its heels is CS25, which is currently under test and evaluation.

The strength of CS21’s ITN fielded across seven brigade combat teams has drastically enhanced brigade and below network communications, with each Soldier being the touchpoint to deploy, fight and win using these advanced technologies.

“Our young Soldiers are open to learning new technologies,” Mundinger said. “They are excited to use the new equipment, and do not want to fall back on the legacy equipment. They are ready to go.”

By Kathryn Bailey, PEO C3T Public Affairs

Silvus Enables U.S. Army’s Integrated Tactical Network with Spectrum Dominance

Friday, September 9th, 2022

StreamCaster Radios Selected for Stryker Brigade Combat Teams in Capability Set 23

Los Angeles, California (September 7, 2022) – Silvus Technologies, Inc. (“Silvus”) today announced the award of a $2.4 million order from the U.S. Army to provide StreamCaster mobile ad hoc network (MANET) radios for deployment at scale in the Army’s Integrated Tactical Network. As part of the Army’s Capability Set 23 (CS23), StreamCaster radios were selected for their ability to connect Stryker brigade combat team (SBCTs) command posts, creating a self-organizing mesh network designed to operate in multiple spectrum bands at high data rates, with advanced interference avoidance and cancellation waveform capabilities. The order comes just weeks after Silvus StreamCaster radios and version of StreamScape firmware achieved Authority to Operate (ATO) certification from the U.S. Army.

“StreamCaster radios provide robust, high bandwidth connectivity for the Army with a MANET waveform that has been battle-proven with ground forces, on-the-move and aerial tier units across multi-domain operations,” said Mike Kell, Silvus Director of Army Strategic Accounts, Retired Signal Corps Colonel. “In concert with the Army’s PEO Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (C3T) and Army Futures Command’s Network Cross-Functional Team (N-CFT), we continue to expand Silvus’ MN-MIMO waveform’s Spectrum Dominance capabilities to thrive in congested and contested environments, critical to achieving the Army’s Unified Network modernization objectives.”

For CS23, StreamCaster radios (Joint Electronics Type Designation: AN/PRC-169) will be deployed to Stryker BCTs, providing continuity of operations for mounted and dismounted formations that will extend the distance and range of these units, thereby increasing mobility for maneuver. Previously selected for CS21 to connect key command posts at the brigade and battalion echelons, StreamCaster radios enable transmission of federated TAK data with up to 8W of output power, high data rates and dual frequency band support. Learn more about the StreamCaster family of radios on our website and follow us on LinkedIn.         

INVISIO Receives a Second Volume Order for Its Intercom System

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

INVISIO is receiving another volume order for the Intercom System, within a short period of time. The customer is the same European NATO country that placed a first order for the solution in July 2022. The new order is valued at SEK 14 million.

This is one more significant reference order for the new Intercom system. INVISIO estimates that the future needs of the customer may lead to further volume orders.

The systems are to be delivered in the third and fourth quarter of 2022 and the combined value is SEK 14 million.

“It is very gratifying that the customer now places a second order for the new Intercom system and we expect that there can come additional orders in the future from the same customer,” says Lars Højgård Hansen, CEO of INVISIO.

About the Intercom system
The Intercom system is a new solution developed by INVISIO. The system enables simple and effective internal communication in vehicles, boats and helicopters, in a considerably more flexible way than has previously been possible, at a cost that is far below that of traditional solutions.

The Intercom system is already used in live environments and a number of customers have also certified the solution for use in Black Hawk-helicopters. These two successes are significant for the credibility of the solution and continued marketing.

Bifrost Gear Announces the New “Valhalla” and “Ragnarok” Series of Push-to-talk Switches

Thursday, August 25th, 2022

The Bifrost Gear Ragnarok push-to-talk was engineered to be the most rugged Push-To-Talk switch available. Shock, blast and fire resistant, our PTT is designed to survive Ragnarok itself.

• IP67 Waterproof
• Shock, Blast, and Fire Resistant
• Kevlar reinforced, RF shielded cable
• Downward oriented Nexus TP-120 port prevents rain or accumulated water from accidental intrusion
• Rubber port plug for when headset is detached
• Easy to manipulate, oversized, silicone rubber push-to-talk button
• Engineered to withstand over 80,000 activations
• 73x73x28mm reinforced case housing
• Stainless steel 360 degree rotating belt clip
• NATO-US wired

The Bifrost Gear Valhalla push-to-talk was designed as a budget friendly, military grade PTT for heavy duty use in all weather conditions, all in a compact form factor.

• Military Grade
• IP67 Waterproof
• Kevlar reinforced, RF shielded cable
• Easy to manipulate, oversized, silicone rubber push-to-talk button
• Engineered to withstand over 80,000 activations
• 64x56x25mm reinforced case housing
• Stainless steel 360 degree rotating belt clip
• NATO-US wired

Both the Ragnarok and Valhalla PTT are available with the following radio connectors:
·     Ailunce HD1
·     Kenwood / Baofeng 2-pin
·     3.5mm mobile phone
·     Motorola APX
·     Motorola XTS
·     Yaesu 3.5mm right angle
·     Yaesu 3.5mm waterproof
·     Hirose universal quick disconnect
·     6-pin U329/U for PRC-148 & PRC-152 MBITR radios

(And for users who need amplified PTT’s, both the Ragnarok and Valhalla PTT’s are compatible with “The Amp” impedance matching amplifier cable from Bifrost Gear, along with our full suite of other adapter cables)

Dealer inquiries and Government orders welcome.


APNT/Space CFT Concludes High Altitude Experimentation

Thursday, August 25th, 2022

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space (APNT/Space) Cross-Functional Team (CFT) has concluded a 64-day stratospheric flight demonstration utilizing Airbus’s Zephyr 8 ultra-long endurance solar-powered unmanned air system (UAS).

Launched from Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) on June 15, the Zephyr 8 UAS ascended to over 60,000 feet into the stratosphere before executing its flight plan over the southern portion of the United States, into the Gulf of Mexico, and over South America. Once returning to airspace over YPG, the team conducted multiple assessments.

On August 18 around 2100 hours PDT, the prototype aircraft’s flight campaign ended when the Zephyr 8 UAS encountered events that led to its unexpected termination over YPG. These events are under investigation. No injuries or risk to personnel or other aircraft resulted from this incident. Further information will be released following the investigation.

“Our team is working hard to gather and analyze important data following the unexpected termination of this flight,” said Michael Monteleone, Director of the APNT/Space CFT. “Despite this event, the Army and its partners have gleaned invaluable data and increased knowledge on the endurance, efficiency, and station keeping abilities of high-altitude UAS platforms. That knowledge will allow us to continue to advance requirements for reliable, modernized stratospheric capabilities to our Soldiers.”

This flight marked a number of firsts for Zephyr 8, including its departure from U.S. airspace, flight over water, flight in international airspace, data collection and direct downlink while outside of U.S. airspace, the longest continuous duration (7 days) utilizing satellite communications, and the demonstration of resilient satellite command and control from three different locations – Huntsville, AL; Yuma, AZ; and Farnborough, UK.

During this flight, Zephyr 8 more than doubled the previous UAS endurance record, just under 26 days, and flew in excess of 30,000 nautical miles – more than one lap around the Earth. The 1,500 flight hours beat all known unmanned aircraft endurance records, marking significant capability and informing future mission requirements.

This experimentation successfully demonstrated Zephyr’s energy storage capacity, flight endurance, station-keeping and agile positioning abilities.  Given the amount of data that was generated during the 64-day flight and the time required to analyze it, as well as the need to investigate the events that led to the termination, further flight demonstrations have been postponed until 2023.

This 64-day test flight was performed in conjunction with government and industry partners who support experimentation that continues to inform Army requirements.

-Army Futures Command

Armor Formations are Next for the Army’s Capability Set Designs

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — First came boots, then wheels and now tracks.

The Army’s Integrated Tactical Network, or ITN, continues to expand its capabilities across formations, as demonstrated during the ITN Armor Formation Field-based Risk Reduction Communications Exercise held in multiple locations across Aberdeen Proving Ground in mid-August. The exercise was designed to inform capability set, or CS, 25.

Whereas the Army’s CS21 provides ITN capabilities to dismounted troops and CS23 brings mounted to dismounted ITN connectivity for Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, CS25 will bring fully mounted ITN capabilities to multiple armor vehicle variants.

The result will be on-the-move communications in armor formations that are less dependent on command posts.

Led by the Product Manager Capability Set Development, under the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical — or PEO C3T — the exercise featured vehicle integration, in partnership with the DEVCOM Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center’s Prototype Integration Facility; personnel safety and electromagnetic testing, with support from the Aberdeen Test Center and capped off by a fires support communications thread exercise, with support from the fires community.

“In CS23, we saw the benefit of early integration prototyping used on the Stryker combat vehicles” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Judy, product manager for capability set design, assigned to PEO C3T. “We plan to leverage those same activities for CS25 with the introduction of new Armored platforms used by the Armored Brigade Combat Teams.”

This exercise is not the first time the Army experimented with integrating network capabilities onto Armor vehicles. In February of this year, PEO C3T conducted a pilot to evaluate new and emerging commercial network on-the-move technologies integrated onto armored vehicle platforms with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, to help inform CS25 capabilities.

The pilot focused on bringing high-bandwidth, satellite communications capabilities into armor formations above battalion.

Future plans are emerging to combine the ITN and satellite capabilities into one combined pilot, which will help inform holistic network designs from brigade to division level.

Gaining lessons learned is the primary benefit to the Army’s capability set process, where developers build capabilities based on each previous capability set. The process has been especially beneficial as the Army advances ITN integration from Stryker to armor formations, as engineers are reusing components already designed to integrate into small spaces.

The communications thread portion of the event featured a representative fire support element relaying a call for fires by passing data, not voice, through the fires chain.

“For the first time, we are testing the Warrior Robust Enhanced Network TSM secret and below waveform as a substitute to using [single channel ground and airborne radio systems]” said Wayne Rush, Systems Engineer for Product Manager, Capability Set Development.

The Warrior Robust Enhanced Network, or WREN, TSM is a commercial waveform integrated into the radios and dismounted Soldier end-user devices.

Using WREN, the dismounted Soldiers, in the role of forward observers, used precision fires-dismount software to send the call for fires to the fire support team at the company headquarters in the M113A3 armored personnel carrier. They then sent the request to the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System in the squadron fire support element M1068A3 armored personnel carrier, which relayed the final order to fire to the mortar fire control system housed in the M1064 mortor carrier vehicle.

“The goodness of this is that we are providing an alternate digital fires thread for squadrons to conduct digital fires,” Rush said. “We’re trying to prove range message completion rates and speed of service over operationally relevant distances using WREN [secret and below] on the test course.”

A representative from the Army Capability Manager Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, was present to collect data, which will provide to [Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System] and precision fires-dismount software developers critical data for future software requirements modifications. A Picatinny Arsenal representative was also on hand to assess WREN’s performance for the final step in the fires chain process.

Instrumented results will inform the CS25 armored brigade combat team network basis of issue in support of FY25 fielding. Follow on efforts to the Armor Formation Field-based Risk Reduction include the CS25 Preliminary Design Review in 2023, which will set the stage for initial capability set integration and the CS25 Critical Design Review in 2024, which will solidify the designs for fielding.

“The capability set process is working,” Judy said. “Our continued armor vehicle integration efforts are a yet another shining example of the way the Army should be approaching integration and pilot efforts to inform design.”

By Kathryn Bailey, PEO C3T Public Affairs