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Phantom Works-led Arctic sensor consortium to demonstrate new concepts

The Integrated Remote Sensing for the Arctic (IRSA) Development Group (IDG) plans to demonstrate its capability for the first time from 18–25 August, consortium officials told Janes.

Exercise ‘ArcticX21’, which will be controlled from the 24,000 km2 Andøya Test Range in Norway, is to demonstrate a series of new concepts and technologies relating to multiplatform missions designed to enhance situational awareness (SA) across the Arctic.

The event will be open to “defence and security organisations within governments from allied nations”, IDG officials told Janes, adding that the exercise would detect a “dark target [non-reporting vessel] hidden somewhere in the North Atlantic”.

“This dark target detection is based on a multidomain network of sensors, artificial intelligence [AI] analysis and tasking, and operation of unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] and unmanned surface vessels [USVs],” a source said.

Established in 2019, IDG is led by Boeing’s Phantom Works and includes small-to-medium enterprises such as MDSI (Denmark), C-CORE (Canada), Andøya Space (Norway), Lange Aviation (Germany), VTT (Finland), Scott Polar Research Institute (UK), Viasat antenna systems (Switzerland), and Karl Osen (Switzerland).

IRSA aims to provide enhanced SA, broadband communications, and command-and-control (C2) for organisations operating in the Arctic. This is accomplished through a network of line-of-sight (LoS) and beyond-LoS communications with manned/unmanned and space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, supported by a tactical ‘cloud’ and machine-learning software for data analysis.

As part of ArcticX21, C-CORE will be focused on detecting dark targets based on commercial remote sensing satellites and airborne assets that will investigate and validate the presence of satellite-detected targets. MDSI will be responsible for planning the exercise, operating a mission control centre composed of space, maritime, and air cells – those cells will be operated by C-CORE, Andøya, and MDSI, respectively.

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