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Landmark Discovery Could Improve Army Lasers, Precision Sensors

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — An Army-funded landmark discovery at New York University could change the way researchers develop and use optical technologies, such as lasers, sensors and photonic circuits over the next decade.

After years of research, the team of scientists achieved what many thought was perhaps impossible–they developed a method to create colloids that crystallize into the diamond lattice. This photonic technique, published in Nature, could lead to cheap, reliable and scalable fabrication of 3D photonic crystals for optical circuits and light filters.

These 3D photonic crystals—self-assembled formations of miniscule materials in a stable assembly—could open the door to lightweight high-efficiency lasers, precise light control with 3D photonic circuits and new materials for managing thermal or radio signatures.

High-efficiency lasers are key to Army modernization priorities, including Air and Missile Defense, as they play a key role in both precision sensing and directed energy systems. Likewise, efficient lasers and integrated photonic circuits will play a key role in next-generation technologies like light-based quantum computing, atomic clocks and gyroscopes for precision navigation and timing, and optical systems with improved size, weight, and power.

“This long-sought demonstration of the first self-assembled colloidal diamond lattices will unlock new research and development opportunities for important Department of Defense technologies which could benefit from 3D photonic crystals,” said Dr. Evan Runnerstrom, program manager, Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory.

Colloidal crystals, made up of spheres hundreds of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, can be arranged in different crystalline shapes depending on how the spheres are linked to one another. Each colloid attaches to another using strands of DNA glued to surfaces of the colloids that function as a kind of molecular Velcro. When colloids collide with each other in a liquid bath, the DNA snags and the colloids are linked. Depending on where the DNA is attached to the colloid, they can be programmed to spontaneously create complex structures.

This process has been used in the past to create strings of colloids and even close-packed cubic colloidal crystals, but not the diamond structure—which displays an optical band gap for visible light. Much as a semiconductor filters out electrons in a circuit, an optical band gap completely rejects certain wavelengths of light. Filtering light in this way is practical only if the colloids are arranged in a diamond formation, a process previously deemed too difficult and expensive to perform at commercial scale.

“There’s been a great desire among engineers to make a diamond structure,” said Dr. David Pine, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “Most researchers had given up on it, to tell you the truth – we may be the only group in the world who is still working on this. I think the publication of the paper will come as something of a surprise to the community.”

The investigators discovered that they could use a steric interlock mechanism that would spontaneously produce the necessary staggered bonds to make this structure possible. When these pyramidal colloids approached each other, they linked in the necessary orientation to generate a diamond formation. Rather than going through the painstaking and expensive process of building these structures through the use of top-down approaches like nanofabrication, this mechanism allows the colloids to structure themselves from the bottom-up without the need for outside interference. Furthermore, the diamond structures are stable, even when the liquid they form in is removed.

The team and their collaborators—including researchers from the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal – CNRS, Pessac, France; and Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, South Korea—are now focused on converting these colloidal diamonds into 3D photonic crystals that can be used in a practical setting. They are already creating materials using their new structures that can filter out optical wavelengths in order to prove their usefulness in future technologies.

“I am thrilled with this result because it wonderfully illustrates a central goal of ARO’s materials design program — to support high-risk, high-reward research that unlocks bottom-up routes to creating extraordinary materials that were previously impossible to make,” Runnerstrom said.

The National Science Foundation also funded this research.

By US Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Aeronautics and its American Partner, Prevision, have been selected by the BIRD Foundation for a joint development project

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

The BIRD Foundation is to invest in an initiative to develop a Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) sensor with an automated interface to an electro-optics payload on Aeronautics’ platforms.

Yavne, Israel, September 7 2020. Aeronautics Group – a leading provider of integrated turnkey solutions based on unmanned systems platforms, payloads and communications for defense, HLS and civil applications – has been awarded a special grant from the BIRD Foundation to promote a joint development project with American company, Prevision

Projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are reviewed by evaluators appointed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Israel Innovation Authority.

The joint project will see the two companies develop a real-time persistent surveillance system (WAMI) with an automated interface to an electro-optical camera. Designed specifically for use with unmanned aerial vehicles, the system will automatically detect any change that occurs in the field, and alert the operator to the exact location of the target, handing over the target to the EO/IR payload to meet the mission objectives.

“We are proud to have been selected as the defense company leading this joint development project with our American partner,” says Moshe Elazar, Aeronautics’ CEO. “This project will continue to strengthen the bond between the two countries in the interests of maintaining security, especially in these challenging times. Aeronautics Group’s goal to be at the forefront of technology is reflected in this future development.”

TacJobs – JSOC Intelligence Brigade

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

The Joint Special Operations Command Intelligence Brigade (JIB) is looking for service members in the Intelligence career fields to join a selectively manned joint organization that drives the JSOC’s targeting enterprise.

Applicants must be motivated and ready to help illuminate the enemy with unfailing precision. If interested, please email [email protected].

New Intelligence Training Keeps Sky Soldiers Proficient

Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Grafenwoehr, GERMANY – Intelligence Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade recently completed the Army’s Military Intelligence Training Strategy (MITS) Tier II training on July 25, 2020, as part of the 173rd Brigade Field Training Exercise 20. This training is designed to build combat readiness and prepare the Brigade for the upcoming training event, Exercise Saber Junction 20.

MITS validates that Military Intelligence staff and units are prepared and proficient in their core tasks, through several qualifying events in the Human Intelligence, Intelligence Electronic Warfare, Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence, Analysts and Geo-Analysts Platforms.

“This tier II event is important to us, because it gives us an opportunity to aggressively train in our critical intelligence tasks that our jobs require.” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chuck Damboise “It allows us to tell the brigade commander that we are ready to fight and win any mission that the 173rd has.”

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deployable forces to the United States European, African and Central Command areas of responsibility. Forward deployed across Italy and Germany, the brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build partnerships and strengthen the alliance.

“The only [other] time that we get validations is when we’re at the school house [(Advanced Individual Training)].” Said Paratrooper Pfc. Aaron Wilkerson, a Human Intelligence Collector (35M). “Outside of the school house no one is really coming by to make sure you know what you’re doing. MITS is to ensure you know what you’re doing at your job.”

As part of his tier II validation, Wilkerson conducted a role-play scenario in which he practiced tactical questioning on a person pretending to be a detainee. In turn he passed the intelligence gathered to the other intelligence platforms for their validations.

MITS is a four tier strategy executed as individual stand-alone events and sequenced in order from Tier IV – Individual training, Tier III – Intelligence Crews, Tier II – Intelligence Platforms, and Tier I – the entire Intelligence War Fighting Function during a brigade exercise. The progression of the four tiers allows intelligence leaders and paratroopers to conduct focused training toward defined goals that are expected to be completed prior to a brigade-level combat training center rotation, like those executed at the National Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center, or the Joint Multinational Readiness Center. Earlier this year, in late March, the 173rd started using this new training strategy.

Due to COVID-19, the unit had to work around the virus prevention measures in order for training to go smoothly. Tier II validation was scheduled to take place in April. However, this validation was rescheduled to the Tier I validation period. The largest issue that the unit faced in this particular training was the tier II Human Intelligence validation. The Human Intelligence Collectors are required to conduct tactical questioning of Human Intelligence Collectors from other units that pretend to be detainees. In order to combat the spread of the virus, both parties were required to sanitize, maintain appropriate social distancing, and utilize personal protective equipment.

Tier II played an important role in the operability of the brigade’s intelligence platforms. This training allowed Danger Company to remain technically and tactically proficient in their skills as intelligence platforms, as well as to provide the commander with an assessment on their capabilities and operational status.

The final portion of MITS, tier I; the War Fighting Function validation, for the 173rd Airborne Brigade was previously scheduled for late July or early August this year. However, the validation has been rescheduled for early 2021 due to COVID-19 spread prevention in mid-March. The War Fighting Function validation requires the cooperation of all the intelligence platforms to conduct an operation as a whole. This factor demands that all information, evaluations, and decisions must be precise and accurate in order to complete the mission.

Story by SGT John Yountz, 173rd Airborne Brigade

SOFWERX – USSOCOM Virtual Innovation Foundry Event (IF6) AI for Maritime Maneuver, Intelligence, and Effects

Friday, July 24th, 2020

From 01-03 September 2020, SOFWERX will host USSOCOM Virtual Innovation Foundry Event (IF6) which covers AI for Maritime Maneuver, Intelligence, and Effects.

The objective of IF6 is to bring together Special Forces Operators and Subject Matter Experts to assist USSOCOM in understanding and applying digital age technologies to future operating environments as described in USSOCOM’s Operating Concept 2030.

SOCOM is seeking digital and intelligence age technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), miniaturized sensors, cloud and edge computing, and secure autonomous communication networks to the military functions of maritime maneuver, intelligence, and effects to develop concepts that influence the future capability needs of SOF and inform its technology investments.

Attendees will work as teams focused on the following concept areas:

1. Enable SOF tactical and operational advantage while conducting multiple mission sets in a Maritime contested and denied environment.
• In the future operating environment, how will tactical level SOF conduct Maritime missions while maintaining real-time battlefield awareness of friendly forces/resources as well as enemy forces and resources?
• How can SOF team with and employ robotic autonomous systems to improve precision effects and minimize risk to personnel, maritime craft, systems, and overall mission?

2. Enable SOF to operate with non-lethal/lethal effects while managing personnel and electromagnetic (EM) signature in a sensor saturated Maritime environment.
• How does SOF deliver lethal and non-lethal effects, interoperate with the greater joint force, and mission command forces and network connected systems?
• How can SOF create and deliver effects that integrate traditional and non-traditional means and create dilemmas for enemy forces?

3. Enable SOF to communicate and operate in an EM contested and/or degraded environment.
• How can SOF send/receive information in denied and contested operational Maritime environments?
• How can SOF install, operate, and maintain a tactical network capable of sending and receiving secure and trusted information?

4. Enable SOF to maneuver their teams, provide intelligence, and deliver effects in an environment where traditional position, navigation, and timing (PNT) systems may not be operational or reliable.
• How can SOF utilize autonomous systems ranging in size and type to maneuver in unreliable PNT environments?
• How can SOF utilize unattended/unmanned and autonomous sensors in the maritime environment to provide a comprehensive intelligence picture?
• How can SOF manage signature while completing mission requirements?

5. Enable SOF to provide tactical, operational, and strategic options to the greater joint force through unique employment of emerging technology.
• How can SOF create windows of opportunity for the Joint Force in denied environments?
• How can SOF enable the Joint Force while preserving high-value fleet assets?

Request to Attend NLT 09 August 11:59 PM EST

US Citizens Only

For full details, visit

The 75th Ranger Regiment Announces Permanent Activation of the Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

Effective June 16, 2020, the Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment is officially activated and an enduring part of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

The Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion was provisionally activated on May 22, 2017 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

It was announced in October 2019, that the battalion would became a permanent part of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

“Within Sullivan’s Charter for the 75th Ranger Regiment, we continue to evolve as an ‘awesome force composed of skilled, dedicated Soldiers who can do things with their hands and weapons better than anyone,’” Lt. Col. Timothy Sikora, Commander, Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion said.

“Today the intelligence and cyber Rangers remain at the top of their fields, able to do things with their tools that are rarely matched by their peers.”

“Each one of the RMIB Rangers earned their tan beret and scroll the same as every other military occupational specialty in the 75th Ranger Regiment formation,” Sikora added. “Everyone is a Ranger first.”

Whether it is unmanned aircraft systems operators, all-source analysts, geospatial analysts, human intelligence collectors, technical operations, electronic warfare or cyber analysts, RMIB Rangers make up the majority of Ranger-tabbed Soldiers in their specialties.

“In deployed and garrison environments, the RMIB adapts to meet the needs of the 75th Ranger Regiment,” Sikora said. “We are 75% towards our authorized fill and continue to actively recruit motivated Soldiers from all specialties to join our team.”

For more information on serving with RMIB, go to: or email [email protected] or [email protected].

About the Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion

The battalion’s mission is to recruit, train, develop, and employ highly trained and specialized Rangers to conduct full spectrum intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, and electronic warfare operations in order to enhance the Regimental Commander’s situational awareness and inform his decision-making process. Presently, the RMIB consists of a headquarters detachment and two companies.

The staff and command group are embedded within the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment. It leads the Regiment’s recruitment and management of intelligence Rangers, synchronizes intelligence training and operations across the Regiment and with other special operations and conventional forces, and also provides intelligence support to the Regimental staff.

The Military Intelligence Company possesses a diverse mix of capabilities which include all-source analysts, geospatial analysts, human intelligence collectors, counterintelligence agents, and unmanned aerial systems. This enables the company to conduct multi-discipline collection and production, expeditionary imagery collection and processing, exploitation, and dissemination of raw data, and all-source analysis, to further enable the Regiment’s training and operations.

The Cyber Electromagnetic Activities Company integrates and synchronizes cyber, electronic warfare, signals intelligence, and technical surveillance in support of the Regimental Commander’s objectives. The CEMA Company represents a new approach in line with the Army’s intent of fielding a modernized force capable of operations on any front. The multi-domain concept provides a non-linear approach where all events can occur across the environment at any time. CEMA places emphasis on innovation, technological advancement and electronic pursuit to support real time operations against any threat, digital or otherwise.

Rangers Lead the Way!

AeroVironment Receives $9.8 Million Raven and Puma 3 AE Awards from NATO Support and Procurement Agency under Multi-Year Contract with $80 million Potential Value

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

• Three-year base contract includes option for an additional two years of logistical support, spares and repair services for existing fleet of Raven, Wasp and Puma tactical unmanned aircraft systems

• AeroVironment’s family of tactical UAS allows customers to use the same ground control station and software for multiple UAS for added simplicity and efficiency

• AeroVironment UAS enabling interoperability across several NATO forces

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., June 10, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced its receipt of two firm-fixed-price orders totaling $9,804,448 from the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The orders, received on March 5, 2020 and April 16, 2020, encompass the procurement of Raven® and Puma™3 AE tactical UAS and spares. Delivery for the first order is anticipated by August 2020 and the second order by October 2020.

The orders are part of a three-year base contract received from NSPA in January 2020.  The contract includes an option for two additional years of logistics support for Raven, Wasp® and Puma tactical UAS. The total potential value of the multi-year contract is $80 million, encompassing the procurement and sustainment of AeroVironment tactical unmanned aircraft systems employed by the defense forces of several NATO countries.

“AeroVironment’s tactical unmanned aircraft systems, such as Raven and Puma, have helped transform the way U.S. and allied forces plan, train, equip and operate,” said Rick Pedigo, vice president of sales and business development at AeroVironment. “Both systems benefit from continuous technology improvements and pack significant capabilities into portable, man-packable platforms that provide operators with rapid and effective force protection.”

AeroVironment’s Raven system is designed for rapid deployment and high mobility for operations requiring low-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. With a wingspan of 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) and weighing just 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilograms), the hand-launched Raven provides situational awareness, day or night, with an operational range of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). The Raven’s Mantis i23 EO/IR gimbaled payload delivers real-time video or infrared imagery to ground control and remote viewing stations.

The AeroVironment Puma 3 AE is a fully man-portable unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations. The hand-launched Puma 3 AE has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters), weighs 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) and can operate for up to 2.5 hours at a range of up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) with a standard antenna, and up to 37.2 miles (60 kilometers) with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA). Capable of landing in water or on land, the all-environment Puma, with its Mantis i45 EO/IR sensor suite, empowers the operator with extended flight time and a level of imaging capability never before available in the tactical UAS class.

AeroVironment’s family of tactical UAS use a common ground control station and software, allowing for improved interoperability and decreased training and logistics costs for NATO forces. To learn more, visit

Safran Optics 1 Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting System

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020