Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Digitization’ Category

DSEI 23 – Thales Lithgow Arms F90D

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

Thales Lithgow Arms has unveiled their new F90D which is also available for their Australian Combat Assault Rifle as the D Model. The D designation is for digital.

The heart of this new capability is a network sighting system which uses the Thales Squad Net radio for communications.

It uses a laser to designate an item of interest on the battlespace. Because the rifle knows where it is, and what direction the weapon is pointed, it triangulates the “target” and allows the user to characterize it as friendly, enemy, or target of interest. The system is Laser agnostic and will work with most on the market.

The information collected by the system is then shared with the squad (and others if desired). This includes friendly information so that if you sight on a target, you will know if it is friendly or not. The information is shown on the sight as you can see here. I’ve looked at it and it’s clear to the eye.

The battery is contained in the buttstock. Here you can see the version for the ACAR.

Here you can see the hub used on the ACAR for power and data. It is Picatinny compatible.

The team is continuing to work on integrating additional sensor inputs.

SOSA Aligned, Cybersecurity-Enabled U-C8500 from Aitech Ideal for High Performing Applications in SWaP-C Environments

Friday, July 28th, 2023

Chatsworth, Calif. July 2023 – Aitech Systems, a leading provider of rugged boards and system level solutions for military, aerospace and space applications, has announced that its SOSA aligned U-C8500 3U VPX SBC has successfully passed environmental qualification testing.

Aligned with The Open Group Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) Technical Standard, Aitech’s U-C8500 is based on Intel’s ground-breaking SWaP-C optimized Tiger Lake UP3(TGL-UP3) SoC, which combines a high-performing CPU with a strong internal GPU and an advanced Image Processing Unit. The SBC also incorporates highly integrated memory technology (LPDDR4X) for better graphics processing performance as well as high-speed PCIe Gen4 and 10 Gbps Ethernet.

The combination of the U-C8500’s high-performing technologies facilitates artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) processing capabilities in a wide range of rugged military and aerospace data-sensitive applications.

Alex Trigoub, Director of Board Level Product Line for Aitech, noted, “AI in military electronics continues to grow in complexity. Developed specifically with faster memory, PCIe and Ethernet connectivity, as well as to optimize SWaP-C and align with DoD MOSA initiatives, the U-C8500 is capable of processing large amounts of data without any loss of performance, while staying within an optimized power envelope. This combination ensures the SBC can meet the demands of military systems today and makes it capable of handling the needs of next-gen military technology tomorrow.”

Designed from the ground up with security in mind, the U-C8500 provides a comprehensive cybersecurity framework – AiSecure, which includes both standard and advanced system protection. The inherent security features enable both firmware and data protection as well as prevent reverse engineering and tampering with system integrity, while allowing secure transmission and storage of sensitive data.

Now that the U-C8500 has completed successful environmental qualification testing, the SBC can be effectively incorporated into several harsh military and aerospace applications that need highly integrated functionality and unique SWaP-C optimization to provide reliable data processing. These environments include unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles (UAV/UGV), cockpit/display and mission computers, digital signal and image processing as well as signal intelligence (SIGNT) and electronic warfare (EW).

The U-C8500 is part of Aitech’s U-C850X series that combines the three pillars of modern data processing on the same board: CPU, iGPU and optional large FPGA. Potential future enhanced variants include the U-C8501 (with PCIe Switch for enhanced Expansion Plane and XMC connectivity), the U-C8502 (with integrated Xilinx MPSoC FPGA) and the U-C8503 (with integrated TSN Endpoint).

For more information please visit bit.ly/U-C850xSeries or e-mail [email protected].

USARCENT Tests Phone App That Detects Unmanned Aerial Systems

Friday, July 28th, 2023

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — U.S. Army Central’s Task Force 39, the team dedicated to developing innovative ideas throughout USARCENT, facilitated a test of CARPE Dronvm at McEntire Joint National Guard Base and Poinsett Range on July 18, 2023.

CARPE Dronvm is a DoD funded application developed by MITRE Corporation that uses crowd-sourced information to detect unmanned aerial systems, or UAS. This test used a version of the application on cell phones to detect a UAS. Maj. Travis Valley, the Task Force 39 operations officer, said the potential for crowd-sourced UAS detection increases force protection capabilities.

“The CARPE Dronvm experiment, or proof of principle, was a huge success for ARCENT.” said Valley. “This was the largest experiment ARCENT has conducted to date. We expanded the experiment footprint, covering 50 kilometers, with multiple individuals in the area using the CARPE Dronvm app. This was all to prove the CARPE Dronvm app works. It did, in fact it exceeded my expectations on the simplicity of use and the program’s drone detection ability. This has the potential as a force protection multiplier, adding another tool to help protect Soldiers in a deployed environment.”

During the test, Soldiers used government provided cellular devices to test the functionality and capability of the application by capturing images of a UAS. The UAS used in the test flew from McEntire JNGB to Poinsett Range to provide the maximum amount of testing space available.

CARPE Dronvm is the result of a U.S. Air Forces Central initiative to develop systems to detect UAS. U.S. Army Central is testing the ability to operate this application at the Soldier level.

“Countering the drone threat in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is essential to keeping our personnel, aircraft and equipment safe,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Norris, AFCENT counter-UAS cell chief. “Our MITRE partners have been helping make CARPE Dronvm a reality since 2019. Every single warfighter can help sense and warn, creating a comprehensive layered defense that will tie into our existing command and control architecture and increase awareness of threats in the region.”

In recent years, the threat posed by UAS increased as malign regional actors continue to use and experiment with this relatively cheap weapons system. Due to its low cost to entry, it is becoming the weapon of choice for potential adversaries resulting in rapid technology proliferation and increased employment. Lt. Gen. Patrick Frank, the USARCENT commanding general said his command is focused on developing technologies to counter this threat.

“The UAS threat is a shared security challenge for the U.S. and our regional partners,” said Frank. “To combat this threat, CENTCOM and USARCENT will test and field counter-UAS systems. The advanced measures we intend to pursue regarding innovation and experimentation will provide critical, real-time data to inform Army and defense decisions on counter-UAS technologies.”

United States Army Central is the U.S. Army service component command for United States Central Command and is responsible to the Secretary of the Army for the support and administration of more than 12,000 Soldiers, including those assigned to joint task forces and embassies, across the 21 countries in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

Story by CPT Richard Moore

Photos by SFC Michael Behlin, SSG Leo Jenkins, and SGT Amber Cobena

SOF Week 23 – Thales Soldier System

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

During SOF Week, Thales showed their Soldier System concept. They’ve got quite a bit of experience working on various Future Soldier programs throughout NATO but rather than showing an entire system, they were discussing individual systems which can be used alone or all together.

Rather than concentrating on PPE, they are offering an ecosystem which will work with any equipage to make command and control and sensors more useful to the individual Soldier. This allows them to be more adaptive to a wider range of customers, particularly those who are looking for niche capabilities or do not want to make a wholesale change.

We’ll start at the top and work our way down.

Quad Night Vision Goggles – These should get a lot of notice, if for no other reason than aesthetics.

However, there are other reasons to take note. First, it’s 100 grams lighter than other systems on the market. Second, it has a 126 degree field of view. Their main competitor has a 97 degree FOV. But, you’ll have to wait. Final versions won’t be available until 2025.

Heads Up Display – It’s a simple monocle device to display data from the End User Device.

IS1500 GPS Denied Navigator – Currently at TRL 6, this device utilizes bread crumbs and can reference them to correct errors.

Gun Shot Detection System App – Compatible with ATAK, it displays information from the gunshot detection system.

Pre-Shot Detection System – Although they didn’t go into details, this system looks for potential shooters.

XTRAIM Sight – The XTRAIM weapon sight we previewed at SHOT Show is now in production.

The operator can select direct view, full IR view, and outline mode. XTRAIM offers 500m target recognition with 250m PID of a man sized target. Those ranges are extended to 600m and 320m respectively when used in conjunction with a 3X magnifier. Here’s what the screen looks like in outline mode.

It features an uncooled sensor with 12 micron pitch and 640×480 resolution. Additionally, the operator can configure it in conjunction with a clip-on night vision (I2) sight.

Sophie ULTIMA handheld thermal imager – They displayed one other item. Although not worn on the Soldier, the Sophie ULTIMA handheld thermal imager is a cooled, 4-in-1 handheld target locator weighing 5.5 lbs. It can identify a tank at 6 km at night and at 7 km during the day.

In addition to a day capability it adds MWIR and their patented VisioLoc system offers GPS-denied Cat1 targeting. The VisioLoc Resilient Positioning Navigation (RPN) system uses an embedded goniometer combined with Geographic Information System (GIS) data. You use the camera to capture three points of interest and the system will determine your geo-location within five minutes.

Development of these systems continues, with new capabilities constantly under development. We will keep you posted as additional information becomes available.

New Fischer KEYSTONE 6-port Hub Delivers Easy Connectivity and Efficient Power Management for Soldier-Worn Digital Equipment

Wednesday, March 29th, 2023

Fischer Connectors, the Swiss-based global leader in high-performance connectivity solutions, announces the launch of the Fischer KEYSTONE™ 6 wearable power and data hub for dismounted soldiers.

• The Fischer KEYSTONE™ power and data hub developed by Fischer Connectors is an innovative wearable solution to the tactical connectivity challenge.

• Fischer KEYSTONE™ allows dismounted soldiers to connect and manage multiple communications and digital devices through a single hub.

• Fischer KEYSTONE™ is designed to meet the requirements of soldier modernization programs and new soldier-worn digital systems.

The new tactical connectivity solution comprises a 6-port tactical hub, Fischer KEYSTONE™ 6, a power management app plug-in for the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK), and customized cable assemblies with connectors designed to meet Nett Warrior and NATO STANAG 4695 standards.

Fischer KEYSTONE™ is an easily deployable MIL-spec solution to the tactical connectivity challenge presented by digital modernization programs, i.e., more data, higher speeds, greater power and less weight in harsh environments.

Fischer KEYSTONE™ enables soldiers to connect and power their digital gear easily and reliably, and to efficiently manage the flows of data (USB 2.0 and SMBus) and power (100 W – 5 A max) through a single source controlled from an easy-to-use app on their EUD.

“The soldier is the center of the digital transformation in armed forces,” highlights Jonathan Brossard, CEO of Conextivity Group, parent of Fischer Connectors. “Our experts have tackled the soldier connectivity challenge with a Swiss-engineered hub which meets tough military standards. Soldiers already know how to use it – they wear it, connect it, and go.”

Fischer KEYSTONE™ provides military OEM integrators with a competitive solution comparable to the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Hub (NGH). Olivier Thormann, Fischer KEYSTONE™ Product Manager, explains: “Fischer KEYSTONE™ is a complete connectivity solution that meets the performance requirements of soldier modernization and digital transformation programs such as U.S. Army 2030.”

Fischer KEYSTONE™ is a complete connectivity solution. (Image: Fischer KEYSTONE™ brochure available on Fischer Connectors’ website)

Fischer KEYSTONE™ is Swiss-engineered for MIL-spec digital connectivity with Fischer Connectors’ world-renowned technologies in ruggedness, sealing, miniaturization and data transmission. Main technical specifications include:

Featured for tactical digital connectivity:

– Manages power (100 W – 5 A max) and data (USB 2.0 and SMBus)

– Meets MIL-STD 810 and 461

– Secure firmware

– ATAK plug-in

– USB-C bidirectional power delivery

Chosen for soldier modernization requirements:

– Connects to Nett Warrior / NATO STANAG 4695 standard components

– Simple operation with no training required

– No maintenance or repair parts

– Competitive multiport tactical hub

– Manages all digital equipment for soldiers

Fischer KEYSTONE™ features cable assemblies with Nett Warrior / NATO STANAG 4695 compatible Fischer UltiMate™ 80 connectors.

Full technical specifications in Fischer KEYSTONE™ Tactical Connectivity Solution.

Army Software Factory, USAREUR-AF Partner on Tech Modernization

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, many organizations strive to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology and innovation. The Department of the Army is no exception, and its efforts to modernize and streamline its operations have recently taken a leap forward due to the agile software development processes of the Army Software Factory, or ASF.

The ASF is a significant step forward in the modernization of military operations. By streamlining an agile software development cycle, minimizing the need for external acquisition and promoting collaboration, the ASF is positioned to deliver innovative solutions to the military.

“The idea here is that we’re trying to meet Soldiers where they are at,” said 1st Lt. Aanand Shah, a software engineer for ASF. “What that means here in Europe is we are able to develop solutions that can work across multiple networks with Allies, partner countries and nations as well as internally within theater.”

During a recent interoperability exercise at 7th Army Training Command the Soldier-led ASF, in collaboration with U.S. Army Europe and Africa Mission Command Support Branch, developed new solutions directly addressing issues that in the past created challenges for U.S. and NATO allied system interoperability.

“My developer initially wrote an application that would bridge data between U.S. and NATO systems from the Army Tactical Assault Kit,” said Martin Christian Dudel, a civilian senior software engineer with USAREUR-AF. “The Army Software Factory came to Europe and helped us modernize the code and take it from a standalone application that must run on a server, into a container that can operate in a cloud native environment on the tactical edge bridging U.S. and NATO systems. This is a capability that we didn’t have before.”

The solution opens an entirely new range of possibilities as now essentially any application can be developed, deployed and seamlessly interact with the data of a partner nation’s application operating at the tactical edge.

“We’ve developed a path to production where apps go from origin to security scanning to deployment into Kubernetes clusters that will run on a TSI stack here on the edge of the battlefield,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Millett, a platform engineer with ASF.

At the heart of ASF is a commitment to continuous improvement and a focus on collaboration. Teams within the ASF are encouraged to work together and closely with their end users to cultivate user stories, share ideas, determine best practices and learn from each other. This helps foster a culture of innovation and ensures that everyone is working toward a common goal of delivering high-quality software solutions to meet the needs of the military.

“It’s incredibly rewarding for our Soldiers to assist USAREUR-AF in accomplishing its challenging mission while we help Army Futures Command design the Army of 2040,” said Col. Vito Errico, director of ASF. “The Army has exceptionally talented Soldiers who can help lead us through digital transformation at the lowest levels.”

Upon meeting with representatives from the 7th Army Training Command’s public affairs team, Col. Michael Kaloostian, a senior leader and decision maker with USAREUR-AF’s G-6 division, confirmed the ongoing collaboration and solutions from ASF’s efforts.

“Our relationship with the Army Software Factory is essential to the command’s digital transformation,” said Col. Kaloostian. “The European theater’s digital landscape is complicated, and it’s our responsibility to simplify it by innovating software-based solutions that are shareable with our mission partners at the speed of conflict. Incorporating a DevSecOps model into our cloud environment assures that we can rapidly meet the command’s operational priorities and truly become data-centric.”

One of 7th Army Training Command’s core missions is to lead the Army in developing Allied and partner nation interoperability by providing the Army with an active learning, near-peer environment to press modernization initiatives. Working with ASF to furnish a realistic operational training environment for U.S., NATO, Allied and partner nations to introduce solutions to the military’s modern challenges is one of the ways 7th ATC works toward accomplishing that mission.

Story by CPT Darryl Padgett

Photos by SSG Ashley Low

Major Order from the Bundeswehr: Rheinmetall to Modernize the Command and Control Equipment of the “Future Soldier – Expanded System” for 476 troops

Sunday, January 29th, 2023

The German Bundeswehr has contracted with Rheinmetall to modernize the command and control equipment of its soldier systems. A total of 14 “Future Soldier- Extended System” platoon systems are to be delivered to the troops. These comprise equipment for 476 individual soldiers. Worth a figure in the mid-double-digit million-euro range, the order was booked in December 2022, shortly after the budget committee of the German Parliament appropriated funding from the country’s €100 billion special procurement fund.

The VJTF 2023 version of the “IdZ-ES” soldier system links dismounted troops to the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, which serves as their “mother ship”. For the German Army, the “System Panzergrenadier” represents a significant step in the process of digitalization. It offers two essential advantages. First, it is now possible for all mounted and dismounted personnel to access the same information. Second, they can disseminate this information between each other much more precisely, more quickly and in a more robust manner. Close networking of sensors and effectors of both the soldiers and infantry fighting vehicle minimizes the time between target detection and target engagement. Melding these capabilities into a total system of systems enables more effective tactical interaction between dismounted troops and their infantry fighting vehicle, in turn enhancing the combat effectiveness of mechanized infantry formations. As a longstanding partner of Germany’s armed forces, Rheinmetall leverages in-depth expertise gained in the IdZ-ES programme.

Fuse Conducts Successful Live-Flight Demo of Tactical Edge Networking Capability for the Office of Naval Research 

Friday, November 4th, 2022

WASHINGTON, November 2, 2022 – Fuse Integration, a warfighter-focused engineering and design firm, today announced another successful live-flight demonstration of its Tactical Edge Networking capability in support of a Technical Concept Experiment hosted by the Office of Naval Research. In the joint multi-domain exercise, which replicated expeditionary operations in a contested littoral environment, Fuse enabled the interconnecting of distributed nodes and provided persistent sea-to-shore networked communications via text, voice and live video feeds. 

“Today’s warfighters are routinely operating in multi-domain joint operational environments that rely on dependable and secure connections and communications,” said Rebecca Unetic, Director of Strategy at Fuse. “Fuse capabilities are built for operational relevance and this Navy-Marine Corps exercise further demonstrates the readiness and applicability of our products and technologies on board ships and aircraft today.” 

Throughout the multi-day exercise, held along Camp Pendleton’s Red Beach training area in California, Fuse engineers and technical personnel effectively integrated user data from various technologies into the overall event network architecture. The team provided data linkages over disparate mesh and CDL networks in a highly terrain-challenged environment; securely connected beyond-line-of-sight command posts and tactical units; extended the range of communications to enable joint amphibious operations and naval mine countermeasures; and facilitated text and live video across the multi-domain, multi-link network with cyber-secure IP and TDL gateways.   

As with previous Navy-Marine Corps exercises, the Fuse TEN architecture demonstrated persistent, secure and resilient networked communications from sea to shore in a constructive command and control/denied and degraded environment. The TEN architecture is designed to accelerate the sensor-decider-shooter cycle and enhance data-informed decision-making critical in the modern battlespace, enabling the U.S. Defense Department’s JADC2 initiative. It also facilitates rapid prototyping with joint networks and “speed to fleet” deployment across multi-domain platforms.