C4ISR news

US Air Force seeks EO/IR sensor options for MQ-9

By Carlo Munoz 13 April 2021
US Air Force Material Command’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) directorate is gathering industry input for a slate of “alternative and improved” options for electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors, designed for the air service’s MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial system (UAS) and other medium altitude UAS platforms.  “As a critical component of the current MQ-9 weapon system, the EO/IR sensor’s capabilities are integral to the combined ISR and Strike mission,” according to a 9 April request for information (RFI). “As such...

Lockheed Martin contracts L3Harris for Viper Shield F-16V Block 70/72 electronic warfare system

By Pat Host 13 April 2021
Lockheed Martin in February sole-sourced L3Harris a cost-plus development contract to put its new AN/ALQ-254(V)1 Viper Shield electronic warfare (EW) system on the F-16V Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft.  The Viper Shield will have software-defined technology components that reveal digital radar threats and provide robust countermeasure capabilities in a fully-integrated, internally-mounted system, according to a company statement. The baseline version of the Viper Shield will be integrated into the aircraft’s fuselage, saving spac...

US Navy starts RFCM pod trials from P-8A Poseidon

By Richard Scott 12 April 2021
The US Navy (USN) has begun flight testing a new pod-mounted radio frequency countermeasure (RFCM) prototype developed for the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.  A member of the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 puts a pod-mounted radio frequency countermeasure system on a P-8A Poseidon. (US Navy)  A first airworthiness flight was completed by the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX 20) on 12 March at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Atlantic Test Ranges. The pod has subsequently undertaken further test...

US, UK surge surveillance flights over Ukraine and Black Sea

By Tim Ripley 12 April 2021
US and UK surveillance aircraft have surged their operations in response to Russia’s military build-up along Ukraine’s eastern border and in Crimea since the end of March.  USAF E-8C JSTARS aircraft like the one pictured have been tracked flying along Belarus’s western border four times since 1 April. (USAF)  Open source tracking detected the increase in allied airborne surveillance flights following the reported increase in US European Command’s (USEUCOM’s) watch condition (WATCHCON) from “possible crisis to potential imminent crisis” after...

US Navy seeks GPS alternatives for hypersonic weapons

By Carlo Munoz 10 April 2021
The Department of the Navy is seeking prototype proposals for a non-GPS-based position, navigation, and timing (PNT) system, that will eventually be integrated into the sea service’s future arsenal of hypersonic weapons and platforms.  The solicitation, issued by the navy via a Request for Solutions (RFS) notice by the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) other transactional authority (OTA), has yet to be formally released to industry for response. But programme officials noted in the presolicitation not...

Pentagon budget 2022: White House reveals USD715 billion topline request

By Ashley Roque & Michael Fabey 09 April 2021
The Biden administration has notified Congress that it will request USD715 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Defense (DoD) next year, an increase over this year’s enacted topline budget.  On 9 April the White House’s Office Management and Budget (OMB) announced that it will request USD753 billion in national defence funding for fiscal year (FY) 2022, with the bulk of which is for the DoD. The Pentagon’s coffer would get a 1.6% increase over the FY 2021 enacted funding level of USD704 billion. However, with roughly a 1.7% 12...

New US Space Force directorate drafting ISR, intel requirements

By Carlo Munoz 09 April 2021
The US Space Force’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) chief is pressing ahead with two service-level initiatives that will lay the requirements and capabilities framework for the newest US military branch for the coming years.  The US Space Force (USSF) ISR personnel have created an internal working group to facilitate the stand-up of the National Space Intelligence Centre (NSIC), and also to help determine what the make-up of the service’s contribution will be to the new centre, and what the path ahead could look like, s...

DARPA issues contracts for WiSPER secure comms development

By Richard Scott 08 April 2021
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded contracts to three companies to investigate and develop wideband secure and protected radio interface technologies for next-generation tactical radios.  The respective contracts, awar...

Germany's blackned, Rheinmetall team to develop new IdZ soldier system

By Giles Ebbutt 08 April 2021
German company blackned has partnered with Rheinmetall to develop the next version of the German Army’s Infantryman of the Future (Infanterist der Zukunft: IdZ) soldier system, incorporating blackned’s Guardstack android-based smartphone app as the...

JAIC looks to link AI development platforms across Pentagon, services

By Carlo Munoz 07 April 2021
The US Department of Defense’s artificial intelligence (AI) directorate is weighing whether to link its new AI technology development platform with other similar Pentagon and service-led platforms in an effort to create a unified system of systems that will drive future advances in military AI.  Officials from the Joint AI Center (JAIC) are exploring development of a so-called ‘joint common fabric’, which would consist of various AI development platforms like the US Air Force’s Platform One and elements of the US Army’s AI Task Force among ot...

Canada issues CASSAR contract to Centum

By Pat Host 06 April 2021
Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) issued Centum Research & Technology a USD1.3 million contract, including taxes, for its Cellular Airborne Sensor for Search and Rescue (CASSAR) programme on 26 March.  Centum will provide five of its Lifeseeker software-defined radio systems as part of the award, along with training material for operators, and maintenance and user manuals for each unit. The DND had a requirement to procure between five and eight operational CASSAR systems. The device will allow the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)...

US Army weighs new radio subsystems for OMFV, FVL

By Carlo Munoz 05 April 2021
US Army network communications and information technology experts are mulling over options on which software-defined radios (SDRs) and other intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) subsystems service leaders will need to integrate into the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) and Future Vertical Lift (FVL) platforms once both the programmes become fully operational.  Senior service leaders are weighing SDR requirements that will aid the OMFV and FVL to integrate into the mesh networks that will populate the army’s Integrate...

Leonardo updates Type 163 laser target designator for DACAS

By Giles Ebbutt 05 April 2021
Leonardo is continuing to develop its Type 163 laser target designator (LTD)/laser rangefinder (LRF), and plans to integrate a digital magnetic compass, Andrew Sijan, head of Advanced Targeting Campaigns at Leonardo, told Janes.  Sijan said more than 700 units of the Type 163 LTD had been sold to 23 countries, including approximately 450 to the US. The most recent customer was Slovenia, which had placed an order, the size and value of which were not disclosed in January 2021.  He said that the Type 163’s design leverages Leonardo’s experienc...

US Navy, CENTCOM seek solutions for stratospheric ISR operations

By Carlo Munoz 05 April 2021
The US Navy and US Central Command (CENTCOM) are seeking industry solutions to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to enhance the use of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for stratospheric intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, according to a joint solicitation.  The Strategic Command, Control, Communications, Computers and ISR (C4ISR) to Operationalize the Stratosphere (SCOS) programme will be led out of CENTCOM and the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division (NSWC-Crane). The...

US Army leaders eye tactical cloud network applications

By Carlo Munoz 05 April 2021
US Army leaders are working potential options to drive cloud-computing capabilities down to deployed combat formations, as part of an overall effort by the US armed forces to push advanced computing and networking capabilities to the tactical edge.  The near-term focus of army information technology engineers on potential tactical-level cloud-computing options centres on the use of pre-programmed edge node-based networks, said US Army Brigadier General Robert Collins, the programme executive officer for the service’s Command, Control, and Co...

US Army awards Microsoft USD21.9 billion IVAS contract

By Ashley Roque 01 April 2021
US Army soldiers will begin receiving the new Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) later this year, and to prepare for the fielding the service has awarded Microsoft a USD21.9 billion production contract.  On 31 March, the service announced it was moving the company’s militarised HoloLens 2 augmented reality (AR) system from a rapid prototyping effort into production and rapid fielding. The goal is still to have the first unit equipped with the capability sometime between July and September.  In a separate email to Janes, the service...

RAF retires Sentinel

By Gareth Jennings 31 March 2021
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has retired its fleet of Raytheon Sentinel R1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) wide-area ground-surveillance aircraft.  After 14 years of near continuous operations, the Sentinel R1 ASTOR has now been officially retired from RAF service. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The formal withdrawal of the fleet on 31 March came just over a month after 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron flew the type’s final operational mission out of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire and near the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, as well as Belarus, on 25 F...

JGSDF forms new EW unit to defend Japan's southern remote islands

By Kosuke Takahashi 30 March 2021
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has established a new electronic warfare (EW) unit at Camp Kengun in Kumamoto Prefecture on Kyushu Island to enhance its ability to defend Japan’s southern remote islands.  The JGSDF activated a new EW unit on 29 March to enhance its ability to defend Japan’s remote southern islands. (JGSDF)  The unit, named the 301st Electronic Warfare Company, was officially activated in a ceremony at the camp on 29 March, JGSDF officials told Janes. The company, which is under the command of the Western Army, co...

Slovakia and Israel sign defence export agreement for MMR radars

By Yaakov Lappin & Nicholas Fiorenza 29 March 2021
The Israeli and Slovak ministries of defence (MoDs) on 25 March announced the signature of a EUR148 million (USD174.5 million) export agreement the same day for 17 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) radars for the Slovak Air Force. The signing came after the deal was reached in January.  The Slovak MoD and IMoD signed an export agreement for 17 IAI radars for the Slovak Air Force on 25 March. (IAI)  The Slovak MoD said on its website that the radars would be delivered from April 2023 to 2025, with payments divided int...

US Navy seeks prototype data fusion system for C-UAS

By Carlo Munoz 25 March 2021
The US Navy is seeking industry input towards the development of a new High-Level Data Fusion (HLDF) prototype system architecture, designed to augment command and control capabilities (C2) aboard current combat platforms to support counter unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) operations.  The crux of the new HLDF prototype will be a new open systems architecture “that can fuse data from multiple sources to provide object assessment, situational assessment, and threat assessment”, particularly those posed by small UAS (sUAS) platforms, according to...
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