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Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

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 events.sofwerx.org/IF6.

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: www.benning.army.mil/Tenant/75thRanger/RMIB-ABOUT 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 www.avinc.com.

Safran Optics 1 Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting System

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

www.optics1.com

SOFWERX – Federated Co-Production of 3D Geospatial Data Virtual Assessment Event 9 July 2020

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

SOFWERX, in concert with USSOCOM Program Executive Office SOF Digital Applications (PEO-SDA), seeks to accelerate the application of commercially?derived software innovation into deployable warfighting capabilities in support of Special Operations Forces (SOF).

The Technology Area of Interest is focused on new, novel, or provocative commercial solutions with architectures and technical attributes that can be prototyped via a phased approach during a 10-12 month period and operationally fielded through a number of agile iterations into a federated co-production capability.

Objectives

• Federated Co-Production Framework
• Source Data Acquisition
• Automated Data Processing
• Correlation with Authoritative Basemap
• Data Interoperability
• Portable Runtime Environment
• Error Correction and Feedback
• Open Source, Collaborative Effort

Interested parties must register by NLT 11 June 11:59 PM EST (sic).

Visit events.sofwerx.org/fed3d for details.

Trillium Engineering Tests New HD55 Gimbaled Camera System for Tactical Drones

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Replacing older HD50 model, HD55 houses sharper EO and IR cameras for better target ID

HOOD RIVER, Ore.—May 12, 2020—Trillium Engineering, an industry leader in gimbaled camera systems for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), announced today that it has begun airborne testing of its lightweight, high-definition HD55 system.

Designed for use on Group 2 and smaller Group 3 UAS, the new HD55 employs electro-optical (EO) and cryogenically cooled mid-wave infrared (MWIR) cameras, as well as an onboard image processor – all in a gimbal just 5.5 inches in diameter and weighing 1750 grams.

“At Trillium, we are constantly on the hunt for state-of-the-art technology,” said Rob Gilchrist, cofounder and president of Trillium Engineering, “and the development of the HD55, the newest addition to our family of gimbaled systems, exemplifies this approach.”

The HD55 replaces the end-of-life HD50, which came in four configurations and was first delivered to customers in November 2014. The HD50-MV was the smallest cooled MWIR gimbaled camera system on the market.

The new and improved HD55 will have the same swept volume as its predecessor but will be slightly lighter and more capable than the trailblazing HD50. “The HD55 has a narrower field of view than the HD50, allowing the new system to get a closer, more actionable look at targets,” Gilchrist said.

Trillium personnel have been flight testing the HD55 on various airborne platforms, including a small multi-rotor drone and a manned Cessna aircraft, which serves as a surrogate for a fixed-wing tactical UAS. The next step, say company officials, is to begin testing on the real thing.

“We are already getting interest from major platform providers,” Gilchrist said.

trilliumeng.com

Delivering an On-Demand Sensor to Shooter Warfighting Capability

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

The Army Modernization Strategy describes the future battlefield as high-tempo and contested, with greater weapons lethality, persistent observation, increased speed of human interaction, and proliferation of weapons of mass effects. As the operating environment changes, U.S. military forces and coalition partners will be required to sense and engage enemy targets with greater speed, better accuracy and at longer ranges to ensure overmatch. Keeping up with this new operating environment is the responsibility of the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing (APNT) Cross-Functional Team (CFT), who is enhancing the Army’s ability to detect, identify, process, and engage targets at a more rapid pace.

To do this, the APNT CFT has initiated a Sensor to Shooter (S2S) Campaign of Learning (CoL), a process by which the Army will learn the best way to employ the S2S capabilities in an operationally relevant way. The S2S CoL will support the automation of the S2S process, to support the development of capabilities that are scalable, trainable, repeatable, and sustainable. This also gives the Army the opportunity to enhance and discover new capabilities so that processes and connections are fielded and implemented immediately as new sensors and shooters become available to the force.

“Working with our partners, we are finding ways to utilize innovative resources, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to automate sensor to shooter operations,” said Mr. Ben Pinx, S2S Lead for the APNT CFT.

“Doing this will shorten the time it takes to turn intelligence data into actionable targets, giving us the most accurate data and targeting information so that we can effectively disintegrate enemy forces.”

Reducing the S2S timeline will ensure the Army’s ability to prosecute more targets in a shorter time despite the complexity of future operating environments. To be successful, the Army must operationalize the S2S process to enable an “all sensor to all shooter” approach. Today, the APNT CFT is working closely with partners across the Army, to include the Army Futures Command, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, the Fires Center of Excellence, the Intel Center of Excellence, the Network, Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF), Future Vertical Lift, and Next Generation Combat Vehicle CFTs, the HQDA G2 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force, the Army Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities Program, and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force to increase the S2S process in order to target more effectively and efficiently.

To assess the S2S CoL, the APNT CFT and its partners are performing a sequence of exercises in U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) this year.

“Operationalizing S2S will not only shorten the time it takes a sensor to identify targets, select the appropriate effects platform, and generate a coordinated fire order,” said Mr. Nelson, APNT CFT Director. “It will also create a scalable, trainable, repeatable, and sustainable process that can be used at any echelon, on any network and any fires platform [lethal and non-lethal], within any operational environment.”

EXPLOITING THE TARGET

Multi-domain fires requires predictive, accurate, timely collection, sharing, and assessment of large amounts of data. Advanced technologies, such as machine learning and AI, have the power to drastically change the way Soldiers operate in the battlefield, reducing response time, simplifying or expanding cognitive processes, and enabling faster decision making, all of which are essential to create convergence and allow the joint force to achieve overmatch. The collective S2S process must detect and prioritize targets, conduct fires planning, and establish appropriate and permissive fire support coordination measures to enable a timely fire order to the shooter. Reaction time is critical, as this all takes place before the target moves or becomes stale. The more important the target, the more it will be protected. Deep or well protected targets in an anti-access and area-denial region will pose significant challenges to the ability to identify, track, and engage targets. All this in consideration, the CFT is finding new ways to employ deep sensing beyond the current reach of operational and tactical sensors.

The APNT CFT is integrating new space-based sensors as part of the S2S capability, which can enhance Soldier access to targets, providing responsive and resilient capabilities to the commander in the field. Additionally, the CFT is working closely with its partners to deliver a global, operationally relevant, space-based capability to provide deep sensing, which can be tasked at the operational and tactical level to produce prompt, accurate, and persistent data enabling precision fires at range.

“Space enables the processing, exploitation and dissemination of data at a rapid pace,” said Mr. Nelson. “It gives Army forces the ability to deliver accurate, effective, and predictive multi-domain fires in all areas of operational warfare.”

ASSESSING SENSOR TO SHOOTER

In February and March, the APNT CFT partnered with USAREUR personnel along with its CFT, military and Department of Defense partners, successfully conducted a series of S2S Live Fire Exercise (LFX) demonstrations in Grafenwoehr Germany.

The LFX consisted of three demonstration events. During these events the team successfully sensed and hit targets at ranges beyond line of sight using satellite capabilities that have not been responsive to ground forces until now. This shows the Army’s ability to leverage space-based sensors to pursue deep targets. As the LRPF CFT fields capabilities with far greater ranges than were previously capable, these types of sensors will be able to accurately and reliably find the targets for engagement.

“The success of the sensor to shooter live fire exercises with USAREUR shows the tactical benefit of an integrated sensor to shooter capability that can see beyond line of sight,” said Mr. Nelson. “This new capability will enable multi-domain operational forces to engage and defeat time sensitive targets and provide a robust and resilient reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capability that will shorten S2S timelines for long-range precision fires.”

Mr. Pinx explained the benefits of the exercises. “The APNT CFT is looking for technologies in the ground, air, cyber, or space domains that will provide sensor to shooter as well as APNT, situational awareness and navigation warfare capabilities. During the live fire exercise we were able to use realistic conditions to show the readiness of a unit to conduct an operation using the weapons and ammunition associated with their mission.” These demonstrations gave insight to the current capabilities of the available sensors and shooters and their ability to link in novel ways to provide a capability down to the division operational level of combat.

During the demonstrations, the CFT used high explosive rounds equipped with the precision guidance kit fuze. Soldiers used the M777 155 millimeter lightweight howitzer system as the fires platform and the Advanced Miniaturized Data Acquisition and Dissemination Vehicle to gain access to the various sensors.

Target data was transmitted through the Joint Automated Deep Operations Coordination System and the Advanced Field Artillery Database System for the technical and tactical fire direction processes.

“These demonstrations provide critical data and analysis as part of our sensor to shooter campaign of learning,” said Mr. Nelson.

“What we learn through these demos will influence how we introduce these new capabilities into larger exercises like Project Convergence and Defender Pacific 20. And eventually, we’ll understand how we can utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to pair sensors and shooters in real time.”

The LFX demonstrations were a training exercise for Soldiers as they prepare for the upcoming Pacific 20 demonstration this summer and Project Convergence in the fall.

CONCLUSION

The LFX demonstrations exhibited the Army’s ability to engage and defeat time sensitive targets with timely and accurate fires anywhere on the battlefield. Through continued experimentation and prototyping of individual capabilities within the S2S construct and the connection of assets from across joint, interagency, and multi-national sensors to any shooter (kinetic and non-kinetic), the APNT CFT will enhance the Army’s ability to approach targets and effects at a more rapid pace, improving the S2S process to ensure effective and efficient targeting and overall overmatch. This unification is the goal of the APNT CFT S2S effort and is required for a targeting process multi-domain operational strategy.

Story by Caitlin O’Neill

Photos by Spc Denice Lopez

Army Files Patent on New 40mm Camera Drone

Friday, April 10th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Scientists from the Army Research Laboratory have designed a camera drone capable of being fired from a 40 mm grenade launcher, researchers say, on the heels of a patent filed last month.

There are two variants of the Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System, or GLUAS, one is a is a small, paragliding system with folding blade propellers and Mylar paragliding wings to help it stay in the air, and the other is a helicopter-style that hovers on a gimbaling set of coaxial rotors, said John Gerdes, a mechanical engineer with ARL.

The GLUAS is a small projectile, 40 millimeters in diameter, can cover a long distance with a gun-launching system. The breakthrough, he said, is with how miniaturized autonomous flight hardware has become.

The drone has a 2-kilometer range with a projected battery life that could top 90 minutes, and is capable of operating up to 2,000 feet in the air, according to researchers.

After launching, the drone spreads its wings and soars at a fixed airspeed controlled by ground troops with a joystick or handheld device. On the drone, a camera is equipped to provide a video feed to a ground station below.

“In battle, there are multiple scenarios of when Soldiers would use this technology,” Gerdes said. “How it’s used depends on which theater they’re operating in.”

For example, on the mountain ranges of Afghanistan, if Soldiers found themselves under sniper fire, they could deploy the drone to check over the area and determine the enemy’s location.

The lightweight GLUAS drone is designed to increase Soldier lethality by giving them a bird’s eye view of the battlefield, he explained, and will easily integrate into most kits carried by Soldiers in the field.

“This device provides an autonomy and intelligence platform to help Soldiers perform useful missions while having a lookout from hundreds of feet in the air,” Gerdes said. “This integrates modern types of intelligence.”

“[GLUAS] is aligned with Army modernization priorities,” said Hao Kang, another mechanical engineer with ARL. “We’re trying to provide capabilities to individual Soldiers. The most exciting part of this is the viability of this platform, coupled with its gun-launched deployment capabilities.”

“Things like GPS receivers and flight controllers are very feasible to install [onto the GLUAS], which makes it easy to maintain a position or follow a ground unit,” Gerdes said. “Basically, if there is something you want to look at, but you have no idea where it is yet, that’s where the drone comes in.”

Although they’re making technological breakthroughs at ARL, the scientists aren’t working on the same timelines as other developers, Kang said.

“We’re here to develop innovative concepts for the warfighter’s needs, which generally means we bring the size and weight down of a device, and push up the range and lethality,” Gerdes said. “At ARL, we’re typically focused on the basic innovation and discovery aspects of research.”

ARL is part of the Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power.

By Thomas Brading, Army News Service