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Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

AATC Tests Enhanced Intelligence Gathering Capabilities with MQ-9 Reaper Upgrade

Monday, June 5th, 2023


The Air National Guard-Air Force Reserve Command Test Center partnered with the 174th Attack Wing and 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron to test an upgraded satellite communications capability of the MQ-9 Reaper during exercise Northern Edge 2023 at Eielson Air Force Base.

Northern Edge 23 is a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command-sponsored, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces-led, multilateral, joint field training exercise at main operating bases Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson AFB.

The MQ-9 is a remotely piloted aircraft primarily used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Air National Guard pilots, using the SATCOM upgrade, can now fly ISR missions in real-time almost anywhere around the world from remote bases in the United States.

The MQ-9’s upgraded SATCOM system uses advanced satellite technology to transmit data and communications over long distances. It is capable of flying at high altitudes for extended periods and its sensors can provide real-time intelligence on adversary positions, movements and activities. The ANG plans to deploy the upgraded MQ-9 to support ongoing operations around the world, as well as for training exercises and other missions in support of U.S. national security objectives.

“The speed at which this modernization effort and test program has been accomplished highlights the Accelerate, Change, or Lose vision from General Brown,” said Maj. Ryan Nastase, Test Program manager.

“This SATCOM upgrade will allow pole-to-pole operations while increasing the amount of data or bandwidth the MQ-9 can transmit and receive by more than double and reducing the latency or time of transmission by a factor of 10.”

Maj Ryan Nastase, Test Program Manager

With the upgraded SATCOM capability, the MQ-9 can continue to modernize by integrating more advanced sensors that require increased bandwidth. The upgrade enhances the aircraft’s ability to provide real-time situational awareness to combatant commanders around the world.

“This upgrade is a game-changer for the MQ-9 and the Air National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Harris, Hancock Field ANG Base test pilot at Syracuse, New York. “We can better support our combatant commanders and provide critical intelligence in real-time.”

The SATCOM upgrade is one of many advancements being fielded on the MQ-9. The ANG and its partners are continually working to enhance the capabilities of these critical assets and provide combatant commanders with the best possible support.

by SSgt Van Whatcott, 162nd Wing Public Affairs

SOF Week 23 – DefendTex DRONE40 Update

Monday, May 15th, 2023

I first wrote about the DRONE40 during SOFIC 2019. Since then Australian manufacturer DefendTex has continued development.

Above is the latest version. Although it is designed to be launched from a side opening grenade launcher like the M320, it can also be hand launched after delpoying the four rotors which keep it aloft via an internal battery (10W). Playloads include ISR as well as kinetic options.

Below is the original model I mentioned in 2019. As you can see, the updated model is a bit longer.

It weighs around 190 grams depending on payload. Max loitering time is up to 30 minutes with a max flight distance of 20km and a max dash speed of 20m/s. It can be controlled via various apps on an EUD along with ISR downlink. However, it also offers autonomous flight characteristics (GPS-based) which also allow use of swarm tactics. Although there are explosive payload options, the DRONE40 can be reused for distraction, ISR, and EW missions. Below is the new stored form factor for safe transport.

DefendTex also developed a cassette launcher for the DRONE40 called HIVE, for up to six systems, which can be deployed as a stand-alone launcher or mounted to other platforms like the BANSHEE I wrote about during last fall’s Land Forces exhibition in Brisbane, Australia.

RGB Spectrum Mission-Critical Video Solutions Continue Industry Momentum in Military

Monday, May 8th, 2023

New Product Innovations on Display at SOF Week with Partners Samsung and DTI (Deployable Technologies)

Named Best Monitoring Solution Winner for 2023 ‘Govies’ Award

Secured Million Dollar Customer Wins in the Aerospace and Defense Sectors

ALAMEDA, California – May 4, 2023 – RGB Spectrum®, an industry leader in mission-critical video for real-time decision support, today announced its continued market momentum for its mission-critical solutions for defense, aerospace, and military applications. These include a new joint product innovation, an industry honor, and a series of customer wins.

RGB Spectrum is a pioneer in visualization solutions and builds and supports video distribution, display, and recording systems for global organizations across various markets. Specifically designed for these include technology platforms such as C5ISR, flight simulators, and command and control operations.

Partner Innovations to Share at SOF Week
U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has partnered with industry to host an annual conference in Tampa, FL, for over a decade. In 2021, it expanded the event to a broader convention for the entire SOF Community, creating SOF Week. The first rendition of this modified format takes place in Tampa from May 8-11, 2023.

RGB Spectrum will partner with Samsung in booth #243 to showcase the power of our processing solutions and our deep integrations with the tactical mobile team to connect and streamline communications from C5ISR to secured spaces, wheeled and tracked vehicles, tactical operations centers, and wearable tactical gear.

Behind the technology, RGB Spectrum’s Zio video wall processors power Samsung Display LED technology including The Wall All-In-One and 8K QLED Video Wall Signage. Paired with RGB Spectrum’s Zio Mobile Application on Samsung tactical mobile devices, the solution delivers unique capabilities for secure video resources and network access across domains.

Also, during SOF Week 2023, DTI will reveal a live mock-up of its Deployable Edge Network Suite (DENS). This rugged, secure communications case will incorporate RGB Spectrum technology and displays from Samsung. Visit DTI’s booth #L401 to see more of this concept come to life.

Industry Recognition
Furthering its ongoing growth within the military sector, RGB Spectrum is pleased to announce that its Zio Video-over-IP Platform has won Gold for Monitoring Solutions at the Security Today ‘Govies’ Government Security Awards 2023. The ‘Govies’ honor, representing a broad spectrum of industry voices, encompasses the world’s best in government security technology and its achievements.

Ongoing Customer Momentum
RGB Spectrum works closely with several customers to deliver military solutions and ecosystems, including the Missile Defence Agency (MDA), Dept. of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol, NASA, U.S Secret Service, U.S Veterans Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Marine Corps Quantico, and on flight simulators.

Here’s a few details about recent wins:

• Our IP codecs are the de facto standard for pilot training. They are deployed in flight simulators for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, P-8 Poseidon, F-22 Raptor and V-22 Osprey aircraft, the Global Hawk/Triton UAV, and the Apache, Kiowa, Chinook, and Blackhawk helicopters.

• For the F-35, we provided a complete signal distribution and recording solution. Our codecs are installed in each of the simulator’s pilot pods. Feeds from image generators and video cameras are encoded, distributed, and recorded, including avionics, out-the-window imagery, target acquisition, navigation, and weapons control. Decoders in the Instructor’s Operation Station (IOS) and the After-Action Review (AAR) facility are used for real-time access and debriefing.

• Our networked video platform is deployed on the U.S. Navy Littoral Ship (LCS) Fleet. From the LCS bridge to the combat information center (CIC) and throughout the ship, the Zio platform distributes critical information for command and control and tactical decision-making in the battlespace or area of operations.

“We are delighted to partner with Samsung and Deployable Technologies during SOF Week and to be recognized for our Zio Video-over-IP Platform by Security Today.” said Bob Marcus, CEO, RGB Spectrum. “We continue to work with the military technology sector to produce innovative solutions and ecosystems and work closely with our key partners to design platforms that address some of the military’s most comprehensive challenges.”

To learn more, visit RGB Spectrum at SOF Week 2023 with Samsung in booth #243 and Deployable Technologies in booth #L401 from May 8-11, 2023, in Tampa, Florida. Or visit

HENSOLDT modernizes COBRA artillery location radars

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Test equipment enables optimum deployment and system performance

Taufkirchen/Germany, 2 May 2023 – Sensor specialist HENSOLDT has successfully concluded the modernization of core test systems of the artillery location radar COBRA which is in service with several NATO armies. Under a contract worth several million euros awarded by the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement, OCCAR) on behalf of Germany and France, HENSOLDT has replaced the Radar Target Generator (RTG) and the COBRA Radar Environment Simulator (CRES), key elements of the test environment of COBRA indispensable for determining optimum deployment and testing system performance.

The RTG is designed to generate primary radar returns and can be placed in the radar’s far field in order to simulate target trajectories. The new RTG takes into account changes of the user nations’ operational requirements such as long-term deployments in stationary locations, simultaneous operation of several systems and 24/7 surveillance missions.

The CRES is the key element to test and verify the COBRA radar performance in a laboratory environment with reproducible target trajectories. It generates artificial radar returns allowing to simulate all kinds of ballistic projectiles (missiles, mortar grenades, howitzer or gun projectiles) without the necessity of real transmissions.

COBRA is a mobile radar system for locating hostile artillery and missile positions and for calculating in advance the flight path of projectiles in order to give early warning and enable protective and, if required, defensive action. Its first configuration was developed by the Euro-Art International EWIV consortium comprising HENSOLDT, then Airbus Defence and Space, Thales and Lockheed Martin around the turn of the century for the German, French and British armed forces. Today, a total of more than 40 systems of various configurations have been deployed by NATO and other armed forces within and outside Europe.

Rheinmetall Supplying Ukraine with Automated Reconnaissance Systems – Order in the Two-Digit Million-Euro Range

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

At the behest of the German government, Rheinmetall is supplying Ukraine with automated reconnaissance systems. These are primarily used for monitoring large areas of terrain with as few personnel as possible. Rheinmetall is cooperating in this project with the Estonian company DefSecIntel. Known as the SurveilSPIRE, these reconnaissance systems consist of mobile surveillance towers with day and night-capable camera equipment, autopiloted mini drones and a control system. The scope of delivery also includes transport vehicles. The order is worth a figure in the double-digit million-euro range. Delivery has already commenced.

Made by Estonia’s DefSecIntel, the SurveilSPIRE surveillance towers can be loaded onto trailers and quickly transported to their area of operation. Assembly requires three personnel; operation is fully automated. The system includes wireless links (4G and Starlink) for video transmission to a mobile command post. Solar panels enable sustained operation without power cables or a fuel source. The system relies on autopiloted reconnaissance drones that conduct patrols and mission-specific flights. This enables inspection of detected threats and lets the operator initiate necessary countermeasures.

Rheinmetall is already taking part in several projects in support of Ukraine. On behalf of the German government, for example, Rheinmetall subsidiary Zeppelin Mobile Systeme GmbH is supplying Ukraine this year with a turnkey field hospital. Moreover, along with other defence materiel to help it repel the Russian invasion, Ukraine is taking delivery of 26 brand new high-mobility HX swap-body trucks.

Furthermore, Rheinmetall is a partner in multiple multilateral “Ringtausch” transactions. This procedure, developed by the German government, is designed to support the Ukrainian war effort in cooperation with Germany’s European neighbours and NATO partners. Here, NATO member nations transfer Soviet-era equipment to Ukraine in exchange for surplus Western-made systems.

HENSOLDT to Strengthen CAE Aviation Surveillance Fleet with High-Performance Radar

Saturday, February 25th, 2023

PrecISR multi-mission radar offers unique detection and tracking capabilities

Taufkirchen/Germany, 22 February 2023 – Sensor solutions specialist HENSOLDT will supply another multi-mission surveillance radar PrecISR™ to one of the biggest airborne surveillance providers, CAE Aviation, Luxembourg. CAE Aviation, which operates a large fleet of surveillance aircraft, has decided to renew its trust in HENSOLDT by awarding them with a contract to deliver another PrecISR™1000. This is the second order, after HENSOLDT having delivered the first PrecISR™ in 2021.

PrecISR™ radars are currently operated by experienced ISR operators from CAE Aviation in challenging areas of operations for various types of missions and for very demanding end-users.

PrecISR™ offers impressive Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) / Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) capabilities, enabling its operators to detect and track, in real time, a very large diversity of small moving targets of interest (troops, convoys, suspicious vehicles, etc..). PrecISR™ technology ensures a reliable and accurate surveillance of static and moving threats, despite adverse weather conditions which might obstruct the EO/IR sensor results.

“We feel really proud that CAE Aviation keeps investing in new ISR capabilities by maintaining its trust in our plug-and-play high performance radar”, said Pierre Marquis, Sales Director Airborne ISR Radars at HENSOLDT.

“The versatility of the Hensoldt PrecISR™ 1000 radar allows us to meet the needs of our most demanding customers, regardless of the mission profiles we perform “, said David Attali, CEO at CAE Aviation.

PrecISR™ is the right solution for an operational and battle proven multi-mission radar system. Because of its compact design, the airborne platform integration of PrecISR™ is simplified significantly compared to other radars.

The superior performance of PrecISR™ enables airborne operators to accomplish large area surveillance in one flight pass and get top-notched results in real time up to 370km range. Even in the most difficult environmental conditions and sea states, PrecISR™ operators will take advantage of an unrivalled level of situational awareness with significant flight cost savings.

RT Will Present for the First Time at IDEX its SkyStar Aerostat Family for Border and Strategic Facility Protection

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

The systems can carry a variety of payloads and provide solutions for a wide range of defense and security missions

IDEX,  Abu Dhabi, UAE, February 20-24, Hall 1, Stand #01-B10  

February 13, 2023. RT LTA Systems Ltd. – a world-class designer, developer, and manufacturer of the SkyStar™ family of aerostats for use in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and communications applications – will present for the first time at IDEX its SkyStar aerostat systems for the protection of borders and strategic and sensitive facilities. The systems, which are used for intelligence and information gathering, can carry a variety of payloads, and provide solutions for a wide range of defense and security missions.

The aerostats can be operated in all weather conditions, with a wind limit of 40 knots, for up to 3 days with only a 20-minute re-inflation break between deployments. Requiring minimal crew, the high-mobility systems have a very small logistical footprint. SkyStar aerostat systems can be equipped with any payload, including Electro-Optic, Radio, Cellular, SIGINT, Early Warning, and many other types of sensors. RT will tailor a mobile tactical system to your needs and will ensure full reliability at the most cost-effective price for purchase and deployment.

The CEO of the company, Mr. Rami Shmueli, said, “We are happy about the opportunity to present our systems for the first time at this important exhibition. During our many years of experience in the field, our systems have accumulated more than four million operational hours at locations around the world. The ability of our aerostats to carry a wide range of payloads enables our customers to support the protection of borders and sensitive strategic facilities, as well as search and rescue missions.”

20th Special Forces Group Military Intelligence Company Conducts Water Jump

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

GREEN RIVER LAKE, KY – Soldiers of the 20th Special Forces Group Military Intelligence Company (MICO) conducted a water jump at Green River Lake near Campbellsville, KY, Aug. 6, 2022. The jump was conducted to enhance the company’s proficiency in conducting airborne operations that require a water landing.

“This type of training is important to ensure that when we conduct these sorts of operations over water that our soldiers remain safe.” Said Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Lunger, a jumpmaster with the 20th Special Forces Group MICO. As a facilitating jumpmaster in the training event, Lunger ensured that all soldiers participating in the jump had a thorough understanding of the jumping process, while also training the MICO on the survival swimming required to avoid entanglement or entrapment beneath a parachute in the water – both very real risks when performing airborne operations into water.

For a few soldiers in the 20th Special Forces Group MICO, this was their first time conducting this sort of airborne jump. As new soldiers arrive to the MICO from AIT, the importance of properly training and maintaining proficiency in this skill has only increased. Jumpmasters ensured that these soldiers understood the process of making the jump, the survival swimming required after landing in water, and how to handle their parachute as it becomes waterlogged.

“Today was a special day because you don’t have to worry about landing on the ground and any sort of impact there. It’s just nice and smooth into the water.” Said Spc. John Stark. This was Stark’s first time performing a water jump with the MICO. “It’s against human nature to jump off of something at fifteen-hundred feet with the faith that something is going to catch you… I love having these [training] exercises because for me personally, it stretches me.”

Solders’ families and the locals from Campbellsville gathered by the lakeshore to watch as the 20th Special Forces Group MICO conducted the training exercise. The soldiers made a total of 4 flights over the lake. During each pass, the soldiers defied human nature and jumped into the open air. The only thing standing between them and a fatal fall was a pack full of fabric and rope secured to their backs – their parachutes. After the thrill of jumping out of the aircraft, the soldiers enjoyed a steady descent down into the lake, where Zodiac rafts pulled them from the water and brought them to shore. For many, their families watched the training and welcomed them back to shore with cheers.

Story by SPC Caleb Sooter 

133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment