Emerging Constellations Maxar introduces its next-generation â€˜WorldView Legionâ€™ Earth Intelligence capability In 2021, Maxar Technologies launches its latest satellite constellation designed to provide customers throughout the defense and intelligence sector with a game-changing and next-generation Earth Intelligence (EI) capability. The deployment of WorldView Legion will deliver continuity and dramatically expanded capabilities to Maxarâ€™s existing customer base, which includes the United Statesâ€™ National '&&"**& +"'&$ Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense (DoD) as well as international customers. The expanded
capacity will also serve new customers and use cases. Featuring a series of next-generation technologies, supported by emerging %!"& $)&"& & )+""$ intelligence (AI) algorithms, WorldView Legion will provide tactical to strategic overmatch for end users operating across increasingly complex and contested environments. Ever since the terror attack on the World Trade Center, New York City in September 2001, the world has witnessed nearly two decades of counter-terrorism Advertising Supplement
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and counter-insurgency campaigns where airborne and space-based assets have been heavily relied upon to gather actionable intelligence in support of predominantly ground-based forces.
In November 2019, Maxar published a Situation Report highlighting probable ballistic missile bases in Iran. A study of archival imagery illustrated the construction of seven hardened launch positions as well as the presence of four surface to air missile systems protecting the air space around the Hajiabad facility.
However, such concentration on asymmetric warfare is quickly being replaced by demand for next-generation technologies more suited to handling emerging threats from near peer and high capability adversaries in the form of the Great Power Competition (GPC).
& ')+! ') & *" &"&+$0 "%(+ the successful deployment of airborne ISR assets including autonomous platforms.
Many of these emerging operational requirements call for greater levels of agility in terms of the provision and processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data, including more timely availability of space-based EI assets.
With many unmanned aerial vehicles * ') /%($ ,&$ +' 0 in these contested environments, commanders will demand alternative means of collection across stacked layers ' ($+')%* ()+",$)$0 /"$ solutions capable of providing â€˜eyes on targetsâ€™ over the course of the day.
In the contemporary operating environment, existing EI satellite payloads are able to revisit areas of interest (AOIs) up to twice a day, often working on predictable schedules which allow adversaries to employ countersurveillance tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to evade detection and recognition.
â€œThe pendulum is starting to swing towards the GPC but people are still operating in an asymmetric mode, slow +' )+ +' )+ ('.) '& "+ "& )+"& regions. As a result, we are starting to see agility as a key requirement for EI but we have to adjust accordingly and apply the same agility techniques on a much grander scale,â€? Frazier added.
According to Maxar Executive Vice President of Global Field Operations, Tony Frazier, WorldView Legion will bridge the capability gap between asymmetric ISR requirements and those expected to be demanded across the GPC.
According to Maxar Chief Technology ) $+) '++ '+! contemporary and future operating environments will demand even greater area collection by EI-assets over millions of square kilometres as well as a balance of selective point collect use cases.
In terms of contemporary CT and COIN missions, Frazier explained how Maxar EI payloads can be tasked to detect, identify and monitor an array of military assets and their activities during and ',+*" +"- '& "+ )'** "-)* & austere environments.
â€œActivities happen throughout the entire day and there are parts of the world where there is more demand than the entire global EI industry is currently able to serve,â€? Scott warned before outlining intensifying end user requirements including greater continuity and area coverage; higher resolution; increased capacity over high demand areas; and 24/7 capabilities.
In the GPC, coalition forces could be driven to operate in anti-access area denial (A2AD) environments where state adversaries such as China, Iran, Russia
WorldView Legion 2021
Currently imaging in orbit
In 2021, Maxar will deploy its initial six-strong WorldView Legion constellation, providing end users with *" &"&+ ,($"+ "& ("$"+0 '-) its legacy EO constellations including WorldView-1, GeoEye-1, WorldView-2, and WorldView-3, along with MDAâ€™s RADARSAT-2 radar imaging satellite. WorldView Legion will dramatically enhance the operational effectiveness of end users as they seek to streamline decision-making processes. With WorldView Legion, Maxar will offer up to 15 revisits over high demand AOIs throughout the day and generate IMINT at sub 30 cm resolution and 8-Band VNIR multispectral imaging. As Maxarâ€™s CTO Walter Scott described, the internally funded program grows Maxarâ€™s imaging capacity to not only satisfy existing contractual obligations but also service new customers and new high revisit use cases. Designed on the back of a deep understanding of customersâ€™ geospatial needs, WorldView Legion satellites will operate in a mix of Sun-Synchronous and Mid Inclination orbits, providing frequent access to some of the most operationally active areas around the world from sun-up to sun-down.
CONCEPTS OF OPERATION
WorldView Legion has been designed to support the full spectrum of EI-enabled mission sets, supported by its in-house data analytics capabilities including ML/ AI algorithms which enable end users to handle ever-increasing volumes of data across the full spectrum of mission sets demanded throughout the COE. â€œCustomers care about where people live and with 70 percent of the worldâ€™s population living in urban areas we have focused on building our global coverage of metropolitan areas around the world
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along with areas of high geopolitical instability,â€? Frazier explained. Key use cases include Monitoring for National Security; Military Mapping for Mission Support; and Maritime Domain Awareness to name a few. Additional use cases continue to emerge. In cases of national security monitoring, WorldView Legion revisit capacity will *" &"&+$0 &!& +"%$0 '-) ' locations and events to support multilateral treaties and the enforcement of international sanctions. For commanders planning military operations in remote areas, WorldView Legion offers the most up-to-date geospatial information, allowing tactical units to plan, rehearse and execute missions with a current and accurate representation of ground conditions; enhancing situation awareness and reducing risk during missions.
in the maritime security market,â€? he explained.
In combination with Maxarâ€™s Vessel Detection Service (VDS), which delivers actionable intelligence for broad area monitoring, WorldView Legion will compliment this data with even further "&*" !+ +' ++) '%+ "$$ $ *!"& maritime pollution, piracy, and human& ), +)#"&
â€œAs maritime agencies seek to manage a variety of threats including human and ), +)#"& $"%+ !& *)"+0 of resources, and violations of sovereignty throughout economic exclusion zones, it is imperative that they have actionable Earth intelligence capabilities to satisfy maritime mission requirements.â€?
According to Tom Vanmatre, Director of Business Development across International Defense and Intelligence at Maxar, the immediate future of WorldView Legion will * *" &"&+ ,+"$"+0 ' *(* across the maritime environment.
Maxar provides the US Army with access to imagery at the tactical edge, with the plan to have WorldView Legion data accessible when it comes online. Across a number of operational theatres, personnel are already equipped with tactical remote ground terminals providing small unit teams with a deployable ground station which will be capable of downlinking
â€œThere are strong demand signals for commercial, space-based ISR assets
â€œOur goal is to seamlessly ingest multidomain intelligence such as RF signals, radar signals, or AIS data as a tip,â€? Vanmatre added. â€œThen we can quickly and precisely cue the WorldView Legion constellation to take an image of the area of concern to help our customers better identify nefarious activities at sea.
During Broad Area Search missions, intelligence analysts can often be tasked with monitoring hundreds or even thousands of points of interest without adequate capacity to cover them *,"&+$0 ! '%"&+"'& ' $"& $ ')"+!%* & .')# '.* $'& ."+! +! )%+" "& ,/ ' )"! ,))&+ "% )0 ."$$ *" &"&+$0 "%()'- +! *( ' +!"* process and insights derived from it.
In the maritime domain, the integration of multi-source intelligence with ')$". "'& ."$$ *" &"&+$0 enhance maritime agenciesâ€™ ability to identify and respond to threats. The ability to quickly obtain clear, forensic level intelligence on activities and vessels of interest will substantially enhance maritime agenciesâ€™ ability to focus resources and evaluate, prioritize and respond faster than ever before.
â€œWorldView Legion will change the core mapping missions as well as many of the emerging intelligence missions as we move into the resurgence of the GPC,â€? Frazier added. â€œWe are enhancing our support of mapping and monitoring missions with a more robust and current intelligence feed.â€? improvements in size, weight and power to WorldView Legion spacecraft which have been designed to provide 10X
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"& $ '&"+"'&* )'% ')$". Legion within 10 minutes. WorldView Legion imagery will also be compatible with the DoDâ€™s Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) which comprises a chest-mounted end user device designed to support the situation awareness of individual operators. Maxar is also working closely with Amazon to support Cloud operations across multiple mission environments. â€œThis is an emerging requirement which will see WorldView Legion feeding those types of end users at the tactical edge,â€? Frazier described.
SPACECRAFT AND ORBITS
Carrying the Raytheon-manufactured â€˜Legionâ€™ payload, WorldView Legion satellites are already under construction at Maxarâ€™s facility in California. Capable of being manufactured in just a month, WorldView Legion satellites $*' ()'-" )+) ("+$ "&0 over legacy spacecraft. As an example, WorldView-4 cost approximately USD850m compared to six WorldView Legion satellites, which cost USD600 and provide 3X area capacity and 10X ("+$ "&0 At a gross vehicle weight of 750kg, WorldView Legion satellites boast *" &"&+ ),+"'&* "& *"1 ." !+ and power over legacy solutions. For perspective, the existing WorldView satellites comprise an all up weight of 2,500kg. â€œWorldView Legion is the most ("+$ "&+ & *+ ()')%"& constellation out there,â€? Scott enthused. â€œWe still need big telescopes but electronically, our new satellites are a lot smaller and require less power.â€? Maintaining Sun-Synchronous and Mid Inclination Low Earth Orbit (LEO) over the course of two launches by SpaceX, the WorldView Legion constellation will become operational in 2021. â€œStandard LEO inclinations are SunSychronous with orbits close over the Polar regions which means satellites see the same ground at the same local solar time every day. Standard in industry is 10:30 or 13:30,â€? Scott added. â€œWith a mix of Mid-Inclination orbit, we are able to blanket the entire day from sun-up to sun-down, bringing visibility into areas of the day that traditionally had
been inaccessible and therefore afforded adversaries cover,â€? he explained, before disclosing how insatiable demand around the world could lead Maxar to increasing the size of the WorldView Legion constellation in the future.
As an example, Maxar is designing AI and ML algorithms capable of handling Petabytes (PBs) and even Exabytes (1,024 PBs) of data as WorldView Legionâ€™s revisit times generate even greater amounts of intelligence.
ANALYTICS AND THE CLOUD
â€œThis is really the key to what we are trying to convey and precisely what the customer is excited about â€“ using EI as a force multiplier for a mission,â€? Frazier stressed while highlighting how greater amounts of data can be analysed by a smaller number of personnel.
â€œCustomers continue to push us on shortening timelines on collection, data processing and exploitation as well as data analytics. We are pushing data into the Cloud and running algorithms at scale against that content to deliver more valuable intelligence out to end users faster,â€? Frazier explained.
â€œWith existing capabilities, WorldView Legion will be capable of delivering imagery within 10 minutes,â€? Scott suggested before adding: â€œAI is getting faster and faster, largely because of advances in the Cloud. The time taken to move from captured images through to decision making, thanks to better hardware and algorithms as well as communications with satellites and image processing, is getting impressively short.â€?
To further enhance the operational effectiveness of its existing constellations and WorldView Legion, Maxar continues to implement AI and ML algorithms to support the PED of intelligence.
â€œBy applying AI and ML, we are able to automate the interpretation of remotely sensed data for optical and radar sensors, providing customers with automated change detection and other analytics to meet tight turnarounds,â€? he added. Supporting a number of research initiatives conducted by government customers, Maxar has built out a series of algorithms to automate a variety of mission tools across its constellations. Examples include company participation in the US DoDâ€™s X-View program which generated a data set of 80 different objects allowing algorithms to autonomously detect and classify cars, trucks and cement mixers, among other vehicles. As Frazier explained: â€œWe are looking to capabilities and GEOINT solutions to empower customers to go beyond simply describing and diagnosing situations to begin predicting incidents and prescribing intervention.â€? Ongoing developments conducted by Maxar include cooperation with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in order to collect and PED IMINT from the Cloud in under a minute â€“ as demonstrated in 2018 at the AWS Re:Invent event.
Finally, Maxar also provides customers with 3D imagery, through its partnership with Vricon, and is in the process of building the world in 3D. Maxar has been building a digital representation of the globe for over two decades, constantly generating new content for a more current and detailed view of the world. WorldView Legionâ€™s high revisit time and ability to rapidly feed 3D imagery models will expedite the development of the world in 3D. These capabilities will extend Maxarâ€™s ability to support armed forces and deliver the advantage they need in terms of mission planning and rehearsal through to virtual training environments and execution with ATAK. â€œWe are already exploring this additional capacity as an improved derivative product of WorldView Legion that will see improvements in resolution and currently with the launch of the constellation. There are some additional defense and intelligence use cases to be explored here,â€? Frazier concluded, while highlighting potential for georegistered Full Motion Video data and $'& )& ()"*"'& )* "& &" environments.
As Maxar rolls out WorldView Legion, the company is also preparing for emerging use cases as armed forces identify new concepts of operation and TTPs associated with the nextgeneration capability.
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Maxar Technologies - Thought Leadership - Janes.com March 2020