C4ISR news

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...

Guam remains top priority for US Pacific Deterrence Initiative, INDOPACOM chief nominee says

By Michael Fabey 24 March 2021
The US should continue to make Guam its top Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) investment, Admiral John Aquilino, Pacific Fleet commander, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on 23 March.  “Defending Guam as US territory, in...

Portuguese Army advances its soldier modernisation effort

By Victor Barreira 24 March 2021
The Portuguese Army has given a significant boost to its dismounted soldier system programme SCS (Sistemas de Combate do Soldado) following a EUR42.8 million (USD56.9 million) contract that was awarded by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) to FN Herstal in October 2019.  In total 15,000 5.56 × 45 mm SCAR-L STD assault rifles, 940 7.62 × 51 mm SCAR-H STD assault rifles (550 of which incorporate the Trijicon VCOG 1-6 × 24 riflescope and bipod), 1,000 5.56 × 45 mm MINIMI Mk3 Tactical SB and 400 7.62 × 51 mm MINIMI Mk3 Tactical machin...

New RAN ASW capability to include towed arrays for Anzac-class frigates

By Julian Kerr 24 March 2021
The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) eight Anzac-class frigates are, about 16 to 21 years after commissioning, to be equipped with towed array sonar systems, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has disclosed.  In a 21 March notification on th...

UK Defence Command Paper: British Army to be cut to 72,500 by 2025

By Tim Ripley 22 March 2021
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed on 22 March that the British Army will be reduced to 72,500 soldiers by 2025 from its current trained strength of 76,000 personnel as part of London’s 16 March Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development, and Foreign Policy.  The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme is to be terminated under the UK’s Defence Command Paper. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  In his command paper titled Defence in a competitive age, Wallace reveals a major overhaul in the organisation of the British Army and reduces it...

US Navy seeks prototype data fusion system for CUAS

By Carlo Munoz 22 March 2021
The US Navy is seeking industry input toward 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 (CUAS) 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...

France commits to SonoFlash active/passive sonobuoy

By Richard Scott 18 March 2021
France’s Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) has contracted Thales for the full development, qualification, and production of the SonoFlash combined active/passive A-size sonobuoy to meet the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) needs of the French Navy.  SonoFlash is intended to meet the French Navy’s future airborne ASW requirements. (Thales)  The development and fielding of SonoFlash is intended to meet the French Navy’s future airborne ASW requirements by affording increased flexibility for future multistatic operations. At the same time, the...

AUSA Global 2021: Army preps for postponed RCV soldier experiment in 2022

By Ashley Roque 18 March 2021
The US Army has pushed back a soldier experiment with two ground robot prototypes until 2022 and is detailing plans to integrate autonomy software into the platforms and test out both variants prior to the event.  Leading up to this year’s virtual Association of the US Army’s (AUSA’s) Global Force conference, Janes spoke with Major General Ross Coffman, the director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, about progress with the robotic combat vehicle – light (RCV-L) and medium (RCV-M), while Alfred Grein, the acting dire...

EDA studying ‘Predator suit' adaptive camouflage systems

By Andrew White 17 March 2021
The European Defence Agency (EDA) is considering how future soldier technologies could support adaptive camouflage systems to better protect dismounted personnel, industry officials said.  Speaking as a member of the EDA’s Adaptive Camouflage for...

UK set for shipbuilding strategy refresh

By Richard Scott 17 March 2021
The United Kingdom has embarked on a refresh of its National Shipbuilding Strategy to take a broader and more holistic approach to the maritime enterprise and supply chain.  The UK’s current shipbuilding plan includes eight Type 26 frigates (pictured), five Type 31 frigates, and a projected follow-on Type 32 general-purpose frigate. (BAE Systems)  Designed to reinvigorate the shipbuilding and maritime sector across the UK regions as part of the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, the updated strategy is expected to be released in the third qu...

AUSA Global 2021: Army chief pushes for stagnant end strength numbers to pay for new weapons

By Ashley Roque 17 March 2021
A couple of months remain before the Biden administration and the Pentagon unveil the fiscal year 2022 budget request, but Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said he is prepared to sacrifice a larger force to spare new weapons programmes.  The four-star general spoke on 16 March at the virtual Association of the US Army’s (AUSA) annual Global Force conference and provided a peek into the tough budgetary options he is facing.  “Its end strength, its structure, its readiness, and its modernisation,” Gen McConville told the audience....

AUSA Global 2021: US Army standing up MDTF in Arctic region

By Ashley Roque 17 March 2021
The US Army has unveiled an unclassified version of its Arctic strategy that outlines plans to stand up an operational two-star headquarters and multidomain task force (MDTF) in the region to better ‘compete’ against Russia and China.  Released dur...

AI development, training at the tactical edge inches towards reality

By Carlo Munoz 17 March 2021
The ability for networked communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and other artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled end-user platforms to update and enhance their embedded AI algorithms, based on the data collected on the battlefield in real time, could soon be a reality.  The current slate of AI-enabled tools and associated algorithms being integrated into deployable combat and intelligence platforms for US Armed Forces and government agencies can execute “inference at the edge”, as in predictive analysis of collect...

Israel, South Korea to co-operate on unmanned airborne ISTAR

By Gareth Jennings 15 March 2021
Israel and South Korea are to co-operate in the field of unmanned airborne intelligence, surveillance, targeting and reconnaissance (ISTAR), with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on 15 March.  Showcased at ADEX 2017, KAI’s stealth UCAV is one of a number of future unmanned platforms that could be afforded an ISTAR capability under an MOU agreed between the Korean manufacturer and Elbit Systems of Israel. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The MOU between Elbit Systems and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is geared at developing future unmanne...

AI development, training at the tactical edge inches towards reality

By Carlo Munoz 15 March 2021
The ability for networked communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and other artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled end-user platforms to update and enhance their embedded AI algorithms, based on the data collected on the battlefield in real time, could soon be a reality.  The current slate of AI-enabled tools and associated algorithms being integrated into deployable combat and intelligence platforms for US Armed Forces and government agencies can execute “inference at the edge”, as in predictive analysis of collec...

China deploys more surveillance satellites

By Andrew Tate 15 March 2021
China successfully deployed three Yaogan-31 observation satellites on 13 March, with the orbits they were placed in suggesting they are part of the Jianbing-8 constellation of ocean surveillance satellites.  The Yaogan (meaning ‘remote sensing’) satellites were carried into orbit by a Long March 4C rocket that took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert in northwestern China. They are the fourth group of Yaogan-31 satellites to be deployed, with each group containing three satellites.  Previous Yaogan-31 satellites ha...
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