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Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

AeroVironment Selected by U.S. Special Operations Command for $22 Million Beyond Line of Sight ISR Services Award Under Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems IV Program

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

• First award for satellite communications-enabled beyond line of sight (BLOS) on competitive Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MEUAS) IV program

• AeroVironment receives task order to provide ISR services at additional customer location

• AeroVironment JUMP 20 is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), fixed-wing unmanned aircraft that AeroVironment uses to provide advanced multi-sensor intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services


JUMP 20 is a VTOL, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft system that can be deployed quickly and requires no launch equipment or runway. (Photo: AeroVironment, Inc.)

ARLINGTON, Va., July 13, 2021 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems, today announced it was awarded a competitive task order valued at approximately $22 million on May 21, 2021 from the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for ISR services using JUMP® 20 medium unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at an undisclosed customer location. The ISR services include the first SATCOM-enabled unmanned aircraft system for beyond line of sight operations as part of the existing Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) MEUAS IV contract. The task order specifies a 12-month period of performance and multiple follow-on option years for ISR services.

“The JUMP 20 delivers an unmatched level of versatility, with runway and infrastructure independence, multiple payload configurations, class-leading endurance and a track record of reliability and ruggedness,” said Gorik Hossepian, AeroVironment vice president and product line general manager for medium UAS. “The inclusion of a SATCOM payload adds beyond line of sight operation to the JUMP 20, providing our customer with expanded reach and situational awareness, and representing another game-changing, market-leading capability.”

The AeroVironment JUMP 20 is the first fixed-wing unmanned aircraft system capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) to be deployed extensively in support of U.S. military forces. Ideal for multi-mission operations, JUMP 20 delivers 14+ hours of endurance, a standard operational range of 185 km (115 mi) and is runway independent. The system can be set up and operational in less than 60 minutes without the need for launch or recovery equipment and has a useable payload capacity of up to 30 pounds. The JUMP 20 also features a common autopilot and ground control system architecture providing a highly customizable, modular platform which can be custom-configured to meet operational or customer requirements.

Need a SCIF in a Jiff?

Monday, June 14th, 2021

These days it’s quite common to drop a pre-fabricated building, configured as a Secure Compartmented Information Facility into a deployed location, rather than setting up a tent which is vulnerable to a wide variety of hazards, both environmental and man-made.

ADS Inc offers multiple solutions including the Armag A.R.C. Vault (Armored, Rapid-deployment, Compartmented Vault), a custom manufactured, modular SCIF providing a significant level of TEMPEST, ballistic, and forced entry protection that meets or exceeds ICD 705 and SAPF requirements. The A.R.C. Vault is manufactured to customer size specification (from 200 sq ft, to 10,000 sq ft) from continuously welded 1/4″ steel and designed for rapid deployment, offering turn key, plug-and-play, and rapid integration.

To learn more about the various solutions offered by Atlantic Diving Supply, visit www.adsinc.com/news/the-importance-of-scif-rooms-in-the-military

USMC Modernizing Intel System, Reducing Size

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marine Corps Systems Command is in the process of fielding a modernized version of an intelligence system that provides critical information to commanders on the battlefield.

The Distributed Common Ground/Surface System-Marine Corps is a mobile, secure and integrated intelligence system that Marines can leverage to inform commanders about threats and other information on the battlefield.

“DCGS-MC brings all the information on the battlefield to a central location, where it can then be analyzed to support the commander’s decision-making,” said Gunnery Sgt. Travis Godley, with DCGS-MC at MCSC.

This new version of DCGS-MC comprises updated computer hardware and software connected to the Marine Corps Enterprise Network. The system includes sensors to collect data, antennas to receive information, and workstations for analysts to review info and produce reports.

The modernized technology also includes a geographic intelligence capability that collects satellite imagery and intelligence information. This enables Marines to create maps and other intelligence products to inform the commander’s decision.

“The new DCGS-MC capability is a modern approach for the Marine Corps to perform intelligence tasks,” said Master Sgt. John Phillips, an MCSC representative who contributed to the DCGS-MC project. “This system will ultimately make Marines’ jobs easier.”

MCSC has begun fielding the modernized system to Intel Marines. Phillips projects the first round of fielding to conclude in July 2021 and for the system to be fully fielded by the end of 2022.

Improvements over legacy system

Col. Dave Burton, MCSC’s program manager for Intelligence Systems, pinpointed notable improvements the new DCGS-MC has over the original system.

The first improvement involves weight. The system was designed to provide a flexible hardware and software solution to decrease size and power requirements while increasing the capability of Marine intelligence analysts.

The legacy system, fielded from 2014 to 2016, required multiple hardware, including up to four servers. Burton said the newer DCGS-MC decreases the amount of hardware needed for use, reducing the technology’s size, weight and modularity.

He said a reduction in weight ultimately increases overall efficiency.

“DCGS-MC is in line with the [Commandant’s Planning Guidance] to lighten the load of Marines and modernize the Marine Corps,” said Burton. “Instead of having separate servers for individual programs, you can combine a number of different servers into one.”

The system also enables increased battlefield mobility, an area of focus in 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger planning guidance. Berger emphasized the importance of employing mobile, operationally relevant and relatively easy-to-sustain capabilities.

“This system provides additional flexibility to support tactical operations as we support Marine operations,” said Thomas Roebuck, MCSC’s product manager for DCGS-MC. “It also provides a much more modern toolset.”

Roebuck said the newer capability also enables users to migrate data to the cloud. He explained that units can leverage the cloud capability to perform various tasks even when disconnected from the enterprise network.

“As we move forward from a technology perspective, [cloud migration capabilities] become increasingly important,” said Roebuck. “That allows the information to freely flow in between the tactical user all the way up to the intelligence community.”

MCSC also ensured that DCGS-MC was interoperable, allowing Marines to exchange critical information with other services, including the Army, Air Force and Navy. Interoperability fosters collaboration and increased communication among the joint forces, said Phillips.

“Not only are we interconnected with the Marine Corps Enterprise Network, but we can also support the joint mission with the Navy because this technology was designed in a way to be interoperable with Navy intelligence systems as well,” said Phillips.

The new DCGS-MC capability is a modern approach for the Marine Corps to perform intelligence tasks. This system will ultimately make Marines’ jobs easier.

Master Sgt. John Phillips, an MCSC representative who contributed to the DCGS-MC project

An expedited acquisition

According to a 2016 report, the average major defense acquisition program that reported between 1997 and 2015 took about seven years from initiation to the start of fielding.

MCSC fielded the updated DCGS-MC just over two years after initiation, as the Marine Corps has been implementing new, more agile methods of acquiring products. The expedited acquisition process puts a significant intelligence capability in Marines’ hands more quickly, said Phillips.

“The command is at a transition point, where we’re looking at more agile methods of acquisition,” said Phillips. “We intentionally pursued this acquisition cycle in a condensed timeline, and the end result will benefit all parties involved.”

Throughout 2020, MCSC held several user evaluation events for the new DCGS-MC. Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and operators from Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command tested the equipment and provided valuable feedback the DCGS-MC team used to enhance the capability.

“Seeing Marines interact with this new system and the new capabilities being provided is something incredible to see,” said Godley. “Not only Marines interacting with the capabilities, but also bringing up new ways to do things.”

Godley explained how the Marine Corps once employed “runners” who collected intelligence information on the battlefield to inform commanders. The modernized DCGS-MC provides this data through electronic means.

“DCGS-MC brings that information back to the commander to make an informed decision while also disseminating it throughout the forces so that lower-level commanders can also make decisions,” said Godley. “It allows for all levels of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to access critical information, which benefits the entire Marine Corps.”

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication, Marine Corps Systems Command

USSOCOM Moves Forward with 5 Armed Overwatch Contenders

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Last week USSOCOM selected five candidates for their Armed Overwatch program which the Command places a high priority on to provide dedicated Close Air Support, precision strike, and airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) from austere locations in a permissive environment.

The candidate systems:

L-3 Communications Integrated Systems AT-802U Sky Warden

Leidos Inc Bronco II

MAG Aerospace MC-208 Guardian

Sierra Nevada Corp. MC-145B Wily Coyote

Textron Aviation Defense AT-6E Wolverine

Missing is the Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano or A-29, as it has been known during the cancelled USAF Light Attack Aircraft trials which seemed a serious contender when USSOCOM began talking about the need for an Armed Overwatch capability a few years ago. Even stranger, Air Force Special Operations Command is poised to begin operating three A-29s as part of their Combat Aviation Advisor mission.

It’s important to note that the Air Force also purchased several AT-6E Wolverine examples after cancellation of the Light Attack Aircraft program which it continues to experiment with.

However, the candidates selected are all noticeably different aircraft which will give the Command multiple data points to determine how to best fulfill their requirement.

USSOCOM is using the Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement acquisition strategy. To mitigate risk, they’ve looked at this from the outset as leveraging Near Non-Developmental airframes from industry.

Despite this, last year Congress put the brakes on purchasing the aircraft but allowed the Command permission to conduct an evaluation during this year.

In all, USSOCOM plans to buy 75 Armed Overwatch aircraft to satisfy their global commitments. As an offset, it looks like AFSOC’s fleet of U-28A “Draco”, a legacy airborne ISR aircraft which is based on the Pilatus PC-12 will get the axe to help free up manpower billets, ramp space and the budget. Draco can’t fulfill the Armed Overwatch mission due to its lack of close air support capability.

Noticeably absent from the candidate aircraft are unmanned systems. During a SOFIC media round table yesterday, USSOCOM Acquisition Executive Mr Jim Smith explained that the Command always anticipated a mix of manned and unmanned systems, but in the future he expects Armed Overwatch to become even more capable by controlling semi-autonomous unmanned aerial systems as part of the program.

Despite the program’s foxua on manned aircraft, Dr Michael Vickers, former Army Special Forces Officer and CIA Operations Officer who just so happened to also serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities, made an rather compelling case in an Op-Ed in the Military Times for relying on the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper for the mission. He cited the lack of risk to a manned crew and noted that the aircraft is already in the inventory rather than a new system as well as a few other points. It’s worth a read, but keep in mind that he now sits on the General Atomics advisory board which manufactures the MQ-9.

To select the right aircraft for the job, Mr Smith laid out the criteria the Command would use to evaluate the systems with emphasis on what he described as the “move, shoot, and communicate” Key Performance Parameters.

– Austere Take Off and Landing
– Range / Endurance
– Weapons Employment (they will be interested for the evaluation)
– Communications (Line of Sight and Beyond Line of Sight)
– Cockpit Configuration
– Full Motion Video capture
– Auto Pilot

They’ve allotted five weeks in June and July at Elgin AFB, Florida for the five candidates and each will make five flights. The first three flights will be used to evaluate the criteria listed above. The fourth flight is a make up and the final flight will include an AFSOC Operator in the crew.

After that, the Command will take a hard look at the candidate performance as well as the logistics chain required for the 75 aircraft. According to past comments by AFSOC Commanding General Lt Gen James C. “Jim” Slife, they hope to make a decision and begin procurement in 2022.

SOCOM Heads to Space

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

While there are a few SOF personnel who have joined NASA’s Astronaut Corps over the years, what SOCOM has in mind is placing sensors into Low Earth Orbit on Space Force cube satellites rather than operators.

During a briefing during yesterday’s virtual Special Operations Industry Conference presented by NDIA, Mr David Breede, the head of USSOCOM’s Program Executive Office – Special Reconnaissance (PEO-SR) discussed Program Manager Integrated Sensor Systems’ efforts to expand the Joint Threat Warning System, which is a SIGINT program of record, to the Space domain.

The plan is to test the capability during an Industry Demonstration Event at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana later this year.

USSOCOM Acquisition Executive Jim Smith commented that utilizing the space domain to collect information was a new thrust by PEO-SR stating, “how can we leverage space in a permissive environment?” He went on to explain that they also were working on improving how they fuse information gained from cyber, space, and small unmanned systems.

JTWS has fielded ground, air and maritime systems for decades and continues to adapt to the current operating environment.

JTWS is joined by another program of record called Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination which does exactly what the name describes to information gathered via JTWS.

SOFWERX – Integrated Survey Program (ISP) Digital Transformation Virtual Assessment Event

Friday, May 14th, 2021

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM PEO SOF Digital Applications (PEO SDA), will host an event to be held 07 July 2021 to identify technologies for geospatial survey collection, production, dissemination, and continuous innovation of the existing data-centric, software-intensive system. 

This activity is an Assessment Event (AE) under USSOCOM Commercial Solution Opening (CSO) for Mission Support Systems. Potential prototype projects will be directly relevant to enhancing the effectiveness of software-intensive programs, platforms, components, algorithms, or processes for Integrated Survey Program (ISP) Digital Transformation. The CSO and AE will result in award for solution(s) for innovative commercial technologies through a multi?phased, competitive process.

Objectives

• Exterior 3D Capture including sUAS Technologies

• Interior 3D Capture including Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning

• Interior Mobile Collection

• 5G-enabled Cloud Computing

• Network Dissemination

• 3D Model Compression

• Game Design / Interactive 3D

• Enterprise Services & DevSecOps Pipeline

Interested parties must submit NLT 14 June 11:59 PM ET, visit events.sofwerx.org/isp for details.

SOFWERX to Host Special Reconnaissance (SR) Virtual Assessment Event Series 10-12 August 2021

Monday, May 10th, 2021

SOFWERX, in concert with SOF AT&L Special Reconnaissance (PEO-SR), will host a series of Virtual Assessment Events (AEs) to identify technologies and techniques to aid four (4) Program Management (PM) Offices with the following eight (8) Technology Focus Areas (TFAs):

1 – PM Remote Capabilities (RC): Small Satellite Communications

2 – PM Remote Capabilities (RC): Advanced On-Orbit Processing Architectures

3 – PM Remote Capabilities (RC): Collaborative Autonomy for Small UAS

4 – PM Integrated Sensor Systems (ISS): Low-Cost Simple RF Collector

5 – PM Integrated Sensor Systems (ISS): Assessing Cyber Vulnerabilities

6 – PM Technical Collection & Communications (TCC): Remote Emplacement of Sensors/Tags

7 – PM Technical Collection & Communications (TCC): Maritime Tagging, Tracking, and Locating (TTL)

8 – PM Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE): Biometrics

Interested parties should submit NLT 08 July 11:59 PM ET.

events.sofwerx.org/specialrecon

Textron Systems Unveils Its Cottonmouth Purpose-Built Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

HUNT VALLEY, MD. – Textron Systems Corporation, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced the unveiling of Cottonmouth, a vehicle purpose-built for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) program. Cottonmouth is a next-generation Naval Sensor Node as an amphibious scout vehicle that offers cutting-edge sensor technology.

Leveraging Textron Systems’ history and range of specialty military vehicle experience, Cottonmouth delivers advanced maneuverability and a synergized sensor system to enhance reconnaissance operations.

Cottonmouth has a 6×6 compact build that allows four vehicles to fit on a single Ship to Shore Connector, or SSC, enhancing the Marine Corps’ ability to support Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations. Textron Systems’ vehicle is equipped with multi-spectrum sensors, providing seamless communication between the Navy and Marine Corps to employ unmanned systems and joint-warfighting weapons systems. This provides the next-generation decision dominance needed to defeat threats beyond line of sight. Among the integrated sensors is teammate Elbit Systems of America’s IronVision™, which uses “see-through” technology to provide the vehicle with advanced visibility and 360 deg situational awareness.

“We listened to the customer and have invested in developing and producing Cottonmouth as a purpose-built vehicle to give the U.S. Marine Corps the amphibious mobility they need for quarterbacking the future fight,” said Senior Vice President David Phil lips of Textron Systems.

“Along with Textron Systems’ extensive experience designing, producing, fielding and supporting high-performance armored vehicles, our Cottonmouth offers the Marine Corps a low-risk, mission-oriented solution. It is representative of a revolutionary, not evolutionary, system” Textron Systems’ Cottonmouth began USMC requirements validation testing at the National Automotive Test Center in February 2021. This testing continues in Q2 with a validation of the amphibious capabilities.

www.textronsystems.com/capabilities/innovations/cottonmouth