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Archive for the ‘ISR’ Category

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

Army Scientists Create Innovative Quantum Sensor – Covers Entire RF Spectrum

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

ADELPHI, Md. — A quantum sensor could give Soldiers a way to detect communication signals over the entire radio frequency spectrum, from 0 to 100 GHz, said researchers from the Army.

Such wide spectral coverage by a single antenna is impossible with a traditional receiver system, and would require multiple systems of individual antennas, amplifiers and other components.

In 2018, Army scientists were the first in the world to create a quantum receiver that uses highly excited, super-sensitive atoms–known as Rydberg atoms–to detect communications signals, said David Meyer, a scientist at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. The researchers calculated the receiver’s channel capacity, or rate of data transmission, based on fundamental principles, and then achieved that performance experimentally in their lab–improving on other groups’ results by orders of magnitude, Meyer said.

“These new sensors can be very small and virtually undetectable, giving Soldiers a disruptive advantage,” Meyer said. “Rydberg-atom based sensors have only recently been considered for general electric field sensing applications, including as a communications receiver. While Rydberg atoms are known to be broadly sensitive, a quantitative description of the sensitivity over the entire operational range has never been done.”

To assess potential applications, Army scientists conducted an analysis of the Rydberg sensor’s sensitivity to oscillating electric fields over an enormous range of frequencies–from 0 to 10^12 Hertz. The results show that the Rydberg sensor can reliably detect signals over the entire spectrum and compare favorably with other established electric field sensor technologies, such as electro-optic crystals and dipole antenna-coupled passive electronics.

“Quantum mechanics allows us to know the sensor calibration and ultimate performance to a very high degree, and it’s identical for every sensor,” Meyer said. “This result is an important step in determining how this system could be used in the field.”This work supports the Army’s modernization priorities in next-generation computer networks and assured position, navigation and timing, as it could potentially influence novel communications concepts or approaches to detection of RF signals for geolocation.

In the future, Army scientists will investigate methods to continue to improve the sensitivity to detect even weaker signals and expand detection protocols for more complicated waveforms.

The Journal of Physics B published the research, “Assessment of Rydberg atoms for wideband electric field sensing,” in its special issue on interacting Rydberg atoms. Army scientists David H. Meyer, Kevin C. Cox and Paul D. Kunz led this research, as well as Zachary A. Castillo from the University of Maryland. This work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

By US Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

US Army G-2: Intel, Cyber Soldiers ‘Duking It Out’ Daily With Enemy

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army’s senior intelligence officer likened intelligence and cyber Soldiers to those in the combat arms since they fight on networks everyday with adversaries.

“Our intelligence professionals and our cyber operators are duking it out,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier said. “I kind of think of ourselves, cyber and military intelligence, as sort of combat arms. I know it’s hard to get your head around that, but we’re the ones who are kind of doing that right now.”

Berrier spoke Wednesday as part of the Association of the U.S. Army’s breakfast series on threats the Army is facing in today’s era of great power competition.

RUSSIA

Since the end of the Cold War, the general said Russia has transformed its army to be smaller with new capabilities that it has been able to test in operations in nearby countries.

Using those lessons, he said Russia now uses those capabilities in Syria, which include air and air defense, precision targeting, special operations and contract forces, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.

The capabilities have also created standoff for Russia as it presses back against NATO presence in Europe, he said.

“We’re watching that very, very closely,” Berrier said. “[We] don’t think [Russia] wants to get in a toe-to-toe fight with the U.S. [It] wants to be regionally dominant and to be a global player.”

CHINA

In the Pacific, he said China aims to be a global economic hegemony by 2049, and at same time gain military parity with the U.S. to push American forces out of the region.

“It really [wants] to establish a new world order,” Berrier said. “They are jealous of the economic system that we have.”

The general added that China would one day like to see its currency, the yuan, replace the U.S. dollar as the global currency.

To achieve its ends, China has started to militarize islands in the South China Sea, creating an effective defensive line.

China “would like to control everything out to the first and second island chain and just keep us out,” Berrier said.

Similar to Russia, China has reorganized its army to be smaller with new capabilities in air and air defense, space and ISR using intellectual property it illegally obtained.

“Much of the modernization that [its] been able to accomplish is with technology that [was] stolen from us and our partners,” Berrier said.

China has also carried out a reversal of the Marshall Plan, he said, by going into countries struggling financially and paying off their debt and building infrastructure. As a result, China then sort of owns that country and can place forces and capability inside of it, he said.

“We’ve seen this play out across Africa, we’ve seen it play with our Middle Eastern partners, we’ve seen it play in South America,” he said.

The general noted that by doing this China is also trying to connect markets to its own.

MODERNIZATION

The U.S. Army’s modernization priorities and multi-domain operations doctrine is currently tackling these near-peer threats, he said.

“The modernization that we’re doing for Russia and the modernization that we’re doing for China really will do the same thing for us in both theaters,” he said.

The Army is putting together multi-domain task forces that have I2CEWS — intelligence, information, cyber, electronic warfare and space capabilities — that will allow Soldiers to punch through enemy frontlines.

They “will help us in that boxer stance and be able to get inside, penetrate the ability that they have to keep us out,” he said.

Once complete, multi-domain operations will be backed up by “multi-domain intelligence.”

“So if you want to do MDO, you have to do MDI,” he said. “And in MDI in the future it’s all about the data and how we process and how we pull [artificial intelligence] into that.”

Army intelligence plans to have three layers of upgraded capabilities at the terrestrial, aerial and space levels.

At the terrestrial level, brigades will receive more capability that combines signal, intelligence, electronic warfare and cyber assets.

In the air, he noted, the Army will need a new platform that goes higher and can sense deeper.

And for space, the Army looks to work with its partners to take advantage of assets, whether they’re owned by the government or commercial satellites, to carry out long-range precision fires in coordination with aerial and terrestrial systems.

“Think of this sensor grid, from space to mud, that is connected through multi-domain intelligence using and fusing data at the speed of combat operations,” he said.

Known as TITAN, the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node is a scalable and expeditionary intelligence ground station that leverages space, aerial and terrestrial sensors.

A TITAN space prototype, which is expected to be delivered by fiscal year 2022, is being developed to provide targetable data from these sensors to fire networks.

“TITAN is going to be the ground station that replaces a number of these systems that we have today [and] is central to all of it,” he said.

Story by Sean Kimmons, Army News Service

Photos by Bill Roche, US Army & Luc Dunn, AUSA

Spatial Integrated Systems (SIS) Wins US Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness Pilot Study Contract

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

SIS’s SMART™ Autonomy System is unmatched for cooperative missions

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., February 25, 2020 – Spatial Integrated Systems Inc. (SIS) of Virginia Beach, VA, has been awarded a contract with the US Coast Guard (USCG) to demonstrate an autonomous Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) System to examine the feasibility of improving Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the remote Pacific Ocean. SIS partnered with MetalCraft Marine U.S. of Watertown, NY, and Navatek, based in Honolulu, HI.  The partnership marries two mature, commercially available products, the SIS Multi-Agent Robotic Teams (SMART™) Autonomy System and the MetalCraft 7m Interceptor Boat, for commercial sale as an intelligent, goal-oriented autonomous USV. The integration of SIS’s SMART™ Autonomy to MetalCraft’s 7m Interceptor is seamless, inexpensive and will demonstrate to the USCG the opportunity to optionally unman/man any auxiliary craft in their inventory. SMART™ Autonomy is COLREGS compliant and is the leader in multi-robot control, offering unmatched capability for swarm and cooperative missions with multiple UxVs. The 7m Interceptor, which is currently being employed by the USCG Cutter Boat-Large (CB-L) Program, was specifically chosen because it can operate in extreme conditions, has been proven for launch and recovery from USCG Cutters and has a large space for future payloads. 

SIS will demonstrate a comprehensive ability to detect threats and safeguard our homeland, prevent illegal fishing, and stop intrusion into protected marine sanctuaries. “We are excited to demonstrate the maturity of our technology and the flexibility to employ multiple optionally manned platforms affording a Coast Guard Commander tremendous opportunities,” said Sam Lewis, SIS’s President & Chief Operating Officer. The open ocean demonstration will be conducted this summer approximately 30 miles south of Oahu, HI, in a 20 square mile area. Spatial Integrated Systems is proud to have been chosen by the USCG to conduct this demonstration and to play a leading role in the sustainment of America’s edge in autonomy and unmanned systems. 

ADS Showcases Updates To Hydroid REMUS 600 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

In the past, Hydroid’s REMUS Underwater Vehicle would complete its mission and it would take 10 hours or more to download the datasets. With the addition of the new HISAS 2040 Module, the data is processed during the mission, so users get high-def images in near real time. Here is the ADS press release.

Hydroid Integrates HISAS 2040 Module with In-Mission Processor onto a REMUS 600 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle.

The in-mission processor (pictured in red) allows real-time processing of HISAS data, giving operators the ability to download high-resolution images immediately when the vehicle returns from its mission.

Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) play a crucial role within the defense space with their ability to carry out unique missions. UUVs provide many advantages to the fleet with their autonomy and long endurance, making missions safer and easier to accomplish. Their modularity allows for them to be outfitted with different payloads for varying mission requirements.

REMUS 600 UUV applications include:

·         Mine Countermeasure Operations

·         Hydrographic Surveys

·         Search & Salvage Operations

·         Marine Research

·         Environmental Monitoring

·         Debris Field Mapping

View Product Details

The REMUS 600 UUV from Hydroid, Inc. is positively buoyant and is designed to operate to depths of 600 meters. With mission duration capability of up to 24 hours, the REMUS 600 delivers unprecedented endurance. Sonar technology is used on these UUVs to capture images for organic mine countermeasure, hydrographic surveys, area searches, and surveillance and reconnaissance.

HISAS 2040 provides up to 2cm by 2cm resolution across a 300-meter swath. Synthetic aperture sonar uses algorithms to synthetically lengthen the aperture, providing consistent resolution across the entire swath, both along and across track, as opposed to traditional real aperture side scan sonars. Because of the high resolution of HISAS, the files are very large and can take several hours to download after a mission is complete.

To help solve this problem, Hydroid, Inc. integrated an in-mission processor on a REMUS 600 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) with the KONGSBERG High-Resolution Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar (HISAS) 2040.

Pictured: High-resolution Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar (HISAS) 2040 images from a REMUS 600 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

With the in-mission processor, HISAS data is processed and compressed in real-time along with the navigation data, allowing immediate download of the sonar imagery when the vehicle returns from its mission through a 10GB Ethernet switch. This is ideal for time-sensitive missions like mine countermeasures, where faster data access means safer, more efficient operations. Other HISAS applications include hydrographic surveys, pipeline inspection and rapid environmental assessment.
Learn more about Hydroid’s core capabilities »

Nellis Threat Training Facility

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

SSD Reader and fellow AFSOC Veteran MSgt Steve Venski (USAF, Ret) sent us this write up of his recent visit to the Nellis Threat Training Facility, or as commonly known the “Petting Zoo” near Las Vegas. He thought other readers would be interested as well. We agree.

Deserts rarely give up their secrets willingly. And the deserts of Nevada are no exception. Outside of Las Vegas, off to the northwest, lies the Nevada National Security Site; euphemistically known as N2S2. Covering almost 1400 square miles of Nevada, there are legends and secrets galore. However, much closer to Sin City, is Nellis Air Force Base, home to U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School. The most widely known exercise, is RED FLAG. While the movie TOP GUN has received much press and movies made, the fact is, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) trains all branches of the service (except the Coast Guard; still haven’t figured out how to make those boats fly…) in what’s termed ACM; Air Combat Maneuvering, dogfighting. The airspace of RED FLAG, lies within what’s known as the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR); over 5,000 square miles of Nevada. Get your head around that one.

Towards that end, realistic training is essential. Our adversaries don’t fly the same gear we do. Over the decades, the U.S. has acquired (by hook or by crook), quite a few airframes of what the bad guys would be flying. There exists a formerly classified facility on Nellis Air Force Base, known as the Threat Training Facility. Many years ago, I visited this place, and it took a full-on security clearance to gain admission.

Fast-Forward 20 years….the proliferation of weapons by countries hostile to the U.S., has resulted in explosive growth of the TTF, and a re-thinking of who needs to know about these weapons systems, and why. The classification has come off of the Threat Training Facility, and access has been granted to almost all. Rumor has it, that all the ‘Alphabet Kids’ (The CIA, FBI, NGA, DIA, NSA, NRO), come thru the TTF, for not only hands-on inspection and recognition, but to learn how each piece of equipment works, and to understand its’ capabilities, so as to be able to use it, or to disable it, if necessary. That’s right folks, this is not just a museum where you just look at things, but you’re invited and encouraged to go give things a feel. Because of that, the facility has been given the name of ‘The Petting Zoo’. Seriously. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

-I mean, I could,…but I didn’t.

Once I heard about the ability to enter the ‘New & Improved’ Petting Zoo, I couldn’t wait. While in Las Vegas for SHOT, I made plans for my colleagues and me, to visit the ‘Zoo’.

Let me say this: It does NOT disappoint. The Cliffs-Notes are this: There is more shit in there, than a Corsicana Texas Fruitcake. All small arms and weapons from the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact relatives, are there. Additionally, there are crew-served weapons, and light and heavy artillery. Moving on, there’s armored personnel carriers and tanks. Since the aviators from all branches will be moving through what’s known as ‘Denied Territory’, there’s a very real possibility they will encounter Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs). For visual recognition, the Zoo delivers. All possible types of shoulder-fired missiles, and ground radar systems are present. Every type of Surface-to-Air radar-guided missile system is also there.

Holy Hannah, does it get any better than this? -Oh yeah. Like the man on the commercial said, “But Wait! There’s MORE!” Fixed- wing aircraft, from a MIG-15, all the way up to a MIG-29! Rotary-wing aircraft, include not only the smaller utility helicopters, but the big, honkin’ HIND-24 Russian Attack Helicopter. In Texas parlance, It’s a big sonafabitch. I can imagine it struck fear into the hearts of the Afghan tribesmen when those huge things came roaring over the mountains. -Right up until the time the mujahedeen got their hands, on U.S. Stinger missiles…. Gotta love technology.

As a former member of Air Force Special Operations, I knew ‘The Back-Story being the Real Story’, and I had to ask where all these artifacts had come from. Some of the articles were ‘gifted’ from defectors, as part of their ‘Desperately Seeking Asylum’ deal. Others came from our allies, as they swept thru their adversary’s armies and air forces. Some of them were what’s known as ‘Battlefield Pick-Up’; sorta like Pick-Up Sticks, only with weapons and stuff. -And others were rumored to be outright stolen by some of the ‘Alphabet Kids’, in their missions to acquire the bad guys goodies. Looking out in the five-plus acre lot that just houses the larger aircraft and missiles, I couldn’t help but wonder what stories these things could tell, if they could talk.

Finally, in closing, I will offer this: I have been told there is a base out in the ‘upper reaches’ of the Nevada Test Range, where MIG-21s, 23s, and 29s reside, and are flown by U.S. Aggressor squadron pilots, to train our U.S. military pilots, on tactics and capabilities. 

Lies? Cock-and-Bull story? Like the poster says: “The Truth Is Out There.’ 

-But since you can’t get there, I urge you to go visit ‘The Petting Zoo’, at Nellis AFB.

V,

SENDS

About the author:

MSgt Steve Venski spent 20 years in the United States Air Force, working in the Avionic Sensors career field.

The Avionic Sensors career field, began the early years of what is now called ISR; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

MSgt Venski’s ‘platform resume’ consists of F-4 PHANTOM aircraft, to include both photographic film and electronic reconnaissance. Additionally, laser-target designators, and strike systems.

No career could be complete without serving in Special Operations, of which MSgt Venski did two tours in Southeast Asia, with the AC-130 SPECTRE aircraft.

Upon being some of the last people out of Southeast Asia in 1975, he rotated back to Florida with the 1st Special Operations Wing, out of Hurlburt Field, and enjoyed touring the globe, and introducing bad guys everywhere, to the AC-130 SPECTRE Gunship.

He currently resides in Texas, with his wife and Low-Light Level attack kittens.

“The Meek May Inherit The Earth,

-But The BOLD Shall Command The Skies.”

Admiral Inman’s Rules

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Bobby Ray Inman is a retired Navy Admiral. An Officer Candidate School graduate and the first Naval Intelligence Officer to earn four stars as a Flag Officer. During the 1970s and into the early 80s, ADM Inman served as Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. Interestingly, he held these last two posts simultaneously for a period, pushing the two agencies to work more closely. He did this by sending memos back and forth to himself, approving them as he went along.

In response to the Beirut bombings of the US Embassy and Marine Barracks, ADM Inman chaired a commission on improving security at U.S. foreign installations.

Some SSD readers may know him for sitting in the Board of Directors of Academi, a corporation formerly known as Blackwater.

His list of rules are well known within the Intelligence Community and may seem at first glance only suited for senior officers working in Washington. While some are specific to that unique arena, many should be implemented immediately upon starting a career and consistently throughout.

1. Conservation of enemies.

2. When you are explaining you are losing.

3. Something too good to believe probably is just that, untrue.

4. Go to the Hill alone.

5. Wisdom in Washington is having much to say and knowing when not to say it.

6. Never sign for anything.

7. The only one looking out for you is you.

8. If you think your enemy is stupid, think again.

9. Never try to fool yourself.

10. Never go into a meeting without knowing what the outcome is going to be.

11. Don’t change what got you to where you are just to get to the next place.

12. Intelligence is knowing what the enemy doesn’t want you to know.

13. Nothing changes faster than yesterday’s vision of the future.

14. Intelligence users are looking for what is going to happen, not what has already occurred.

15. It is much harder to convince someone they are wrong than it is to convince them they are right.

16. For Intelligence Officers in particular there is no substitute for the truth.

17. By the time intelligence gets back to a user with the answer the question usually has changed.

18. Always know your blind spots, get help to cover them.

19. The first report is usually wrong, act but understand more is to come and it will be different.

20. You can never know too much about the enemy.

21. Tell what you know, tell what you don’t know, tell what it means.

22. Tell them what you are going to say, tell them, then tell them what you told them, they might remember something.

23. Never have more than three points.

24. Never follow lunch or an animal act.

25. Believe is correct, intelligence officers never feel.

26. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

27. Boredom is the enemy, not the time to any briefing.

28. If you can’t summarize it on one page, your can’t sell it to anyone.

29. Always allow time to consider what the enemy wants me to think, is he succeeding or am I?

30. If you can’t add value, get out of the way.

SOFWERX – 3D Geospatial Tech Sprint Series

Friday, December 27th, 2019

On 24-28 February, SOFWERX, in concert with USSOCOM Program Executive Office for Special Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Exploitation (PEO-SRSE), will host a 3D Geospatial Tech Sprint to further automate production and dissemination of 3D geospatial data.

Selected software engineers and developers will be afforded the opportunity to collaborate with others to combine their tools for assessment and integration during the week-long event. Selectees will receive an $8,000 stipend for participation in the Tech Sprint.

 

Submit your technology for review, related to the technology focus areas, to be considered for attendance.

Submit NLT 27 January 11:59 PM EST

For full details, visit www.sofwerx.org/3dgeo