C4ISR news

Hensoldt awarded ‘Quadriga' radar contract for Luftwaffe Eurofighters

By Gareth Jennings 23 April 2021
Hensoldt has been awarded approximately EUR200 million (USD241 million) to build and deliver radar sets for the Luftwaffe’s fleet of Project Quadriga Eurofighter combat aircraft.  A Eurofighter with a Captor-E radar displayed in the open nose. Hensoldt will now upgrade the current Radar 0 into the Radar 1 for the Luftwaffe. (Hensoldt)  The German company announced on 23 April that it is to provide radars for 38 Eurofighters, although the number of radars that will likely include spares was not disclosed.  “The contract placed by Airbus Defenc...

UK looks to increase contribution to NATO AGS

By Tim Ripley 21 April 2021
The United Kingdom has begun discussions with NATO on increasing the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) contribution to Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) and its five RQ-4D Phoenix unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) based in Sigonella, Sicily.  NATO declared the initial operational capability of AGS in February. (NATO)  The move aims to fill wide area surveillance capability gaps following the retirement in March of the RAF’s five Sentinel R1 airborne stand-off radar (ASTOR) surveillance aircraft, the UK’s contribution in kind to AGS.  NATO spokesper...

Automated advantage: The defence industry and AI

By Gerrard Cowan 20 April 2021
In a 2019 White Paper titled ‘Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Defense and Aerospace Applications’, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions defined machine learning (ML) as a computer system that uses patterns and inference to perform tasks, rather than following specific instructions. Pointing to an example, the company explained that email spam filters that automatically detect and redirect fraudulent emails are one simple use of ML.  A more advanced form of ML – where a machine is trained to identify and understand things using so...

US Army eyes new, low-cost emitter systems for EMSO training

By Carlo Munoz 19 April 2021
US Army researchers are delving into the realm of low-cost threat emitters, to assist combat units preparing to conduct operations in highly congested and contested electromagnetic spectrum war zones.  Officials from US Army Combat Capabilities De...

DARPA selects research teams for WARP programme

By Carlo Munoz 19 April 2021
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have officially selected several research teams to lead the agency’s work in developing technologies to expand and enhance wideband software defined radio (SDR) capabilities across the US armed forces.  The teams, consisting of participants from industry and academia, “will explore a diverse set of technology approaches” in the field of wideband radio frequency (RF) interference cancellation for current and future SDR platforms, as part of the Wideband Adaptive RF Protection (WARP) prog...

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 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...

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 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...

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 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...
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