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World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine

Rotary Wing Leader Col. John R. Evans Commander 160th Special Operations

Aviation Regiment (Airborne)

April 2013

Volume 11, Issue 3

Non-Standard Aviation O Airborne ISR Payloads O SOFIC Preview Power Generation


Special Operations Technology


Editorial Calendar issue

Cover Q&A

Trade Shows

Closing Date

SOCOM Program Management Updates

IED Detection & Defeat Global SOF Training Rapidly Deployable Networks Robotics Technology SOF Tactical Vehicles

SOFIC* May 14-16


Equipping the SOF Warrior

Logistics at the Edge SOF Sustainment Programs SatCom K-9 Warriors

Technet Land Forces* 8th Night Vision Systems*


Geoint and SOF

Human Geography Strategic Mission Planning 3-D Flash LiDAR

Soldier Equipment and Technology Expo Fort Bragg*


Unmanned Systems

Full Motion Video UAV Weapon Systems Precision Strike Technology

AUVSI* Aug 13-16


Situational Awareness

EO/IR Radar & Sensor Systems SOF Sniper/ Designated Marksman Training & Gear

Modern Day Marine* Sept. 25-27


SOF Unplugged

Comms at the Tactical Edge Portable Power Transportation Non-Traditional ISR

AUSA Annual* Oct. 21-23 SOFEX Fort Bragg*


Medical Simulation & Training

Game-changing Innovations Battlefield Surgery SOF Personal Protection (CBRNE/Armor/Eye/Ear)

SOMA* Special Operations Summit East*


Special Section


2013 SOCOM Program Management Updates

MAY 11.4

Admiral Bill H. McRaven Commander SOCOM

JUNE 11.5

Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli Deputy Commander Naval Special Warfare Command

JULY 11.6

Konrad Trautman Director SOCOM J2 Intelligence

Special AUVSI Issue

AUG 11.7

Brig. Gen. Timothy Leahy Commander 23rd Air Force

SEP 11.8

Maj. Gen. Mark Clark Commander Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

OCT 11.9

Lt. General Charles Cleveland Commander USASOC

NOV/ DEC 11.10

Colonel Steven Swann Command Surgeon SOCOM

*Bonus Distribution This editorial calendar is a guide. Content is subject to change. Please contact Scott Sheldon at or 301-670-5700 x116

Special Operations Technology Features

April 2013 Volume 11, Issue 3

Cover / Q&A

SPECIAL SECTION: SOF UAV FLEET From tiny craft to substantial platforms, special ops uses remotely piloted assets as eyes in the skies—and more. Whether it’s scouting enemy locations, pinpointing targets or firing weapons to take out a threat, these remotely piloted assets do it all. By Henry Canaday



Colonel John R. Evans



These aircraft may look like civilian planes, but they provide SOCOM with military capabilities including intra-theater airlift and logistics support. We check out these unusual birds. By Scott Nance

Take an advance look at the World Series of special ops trade shows, the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Fla., on May 14-16, 2013. See who will exhibit new platforms, and check out the list of first-rank speakers. By Dave Ahearn

Non-Standard Aviation

SOFIC Preview

Departments 2 Editor’s Perspective 3 Whispers 4 People 14 BLack WAtch 27 Resource Center



The systems that special operators use to gain a bird’s-eye view of the enemy are awesome, including tiny cameras that can provide video filling a huge screen on the ground. See the systems that operate aloft to make a lifesaving difference on the ground. By Dave Ahearn

Electrical units provide power to SOF and forward operating bases. New power providers answer multiple requirements, from highly mobile capabilities for fast-moving special operators, to cleaner energy demanded by Pentagon leaders. By Thomas Withington

Airborne ISR Payloads

Power Generation

Industry Interview Paul A. Gierow

President and CEO GATR Technologies


Commander 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)

Special Operations Technology Volume 11, Issue 3 • April 2013

World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine Editorial Editor Dave Ahearn Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis Copy Editors Sean Carmichael Laural Hobbes Correspondents Henry Canaday • Hank Hogan • William Murray Scott Nance • Marc Selinger • Leslie Shaver Thomas Withington

Art & Design Art Director Jennifer Owers Senior Graphic Designer Jittima Saiwongnuan Graphic Designers Scott Morris Eden Papineau Amanda Paquette Kailey Waring

Advertising Associate Publisher Scott Sheldon

KMI Media Group Publisher Kirk Brown Chief Executive Officer Jack Kerrigan Chief Financial Officer Constance Kerrigan Executive Vice President David Leaf Editor-In-Chief Jeff McKaughan Controller Gigi Castro Marketing & Communications Manager Holly Winzler Operations Assistant Casandra Jones Trade Show Coordinator Holly Foster Operations, Circulation & Production Operations Administrator Bob Lesser Circulation & Marketing Administrator Duane Ebanks Circulation Barbara Gill Data Specialists Raymer Villanueva Summer Walker

EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE Just when DoD leaders are trying to reduce stress on the force and families after a decade of war, laws on the books are about to hamper those good efforts. In SOCOM, for example, top leadership has noted for years that the longest conflict in U.S. history has been accompanied by a “fraying of the force.” Now, on top of that, laws impose $487 billion of DoD spending cuts over 10 years, and another $500 billion of sequester cuts, plus continuing resolutions that freeze funding at the old, lower fiscal year 2012 levels, instead of rising to higher FY13 levels. But even more, the bitter fiscal times mean tens of thousands of men and women in uniform, and others who are DoD civilian employees, are going to be Dave Ahearn cashiered, out on the street. Editor They will not only lose their jobs and paychecks, forced to find civilian work for which they may have few skills, but they also will lose their retirements. For example, if a master sergeant has 18 years in service when he or she is expelled, that enlisted person can’t put in the final two years needed to receive retirement benefits needed for later years. This raises enormous uncertainty for those in uniform. For someone who has, say, 10 years in service, will it seem a good bet to risk trying to stay in for another 10 years, knowing that a termination notice could end a career just short of retirement? The cuts also come at a time when global threats are rising, despite the end of war in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted before the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that “risk is on the rise” across the globe. He explained that “the probability and consequences of aggression are going up as a result of two trends. For one, power is shifting below and beyond the state.” That referred to terrorist groups, insurgents and others who possess weapons and the ability to plan and execute attacks. And even among national governments around the globe, risk is rising, he said. For example, “Middle-weight militaries now have intercontinental ballistic missiles. Cyber has reached a point where bits and bytes can be as destructive as bullets and bombs. Our homeland is not the sanctuary it once was.” For all these reasons, it is clear that the United States needs a military force, including special operations organizations, at the peak of its power, on its best game. It is time for a reassessment of those spending cuts and reductions in personnel, before the United States again winds up with a hollow force.

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New Wideband Team Radio Introduced Harris Corp. introduced the Falcon Wideband Team Radio, the first true nondevelopmental solution to address requirements of the U.S. Army’s Rifleman Radio and NettWarrior programs, according to the company. The new Falcon RF-330E delivers voice, data and situational awareness to the squad member and is the smallest and lightest soldier radio addressing the requirements of these key Department of Defense programs, Harris stated. The RF-330E is a lightweight, wireless radio for connecting front-line soldiers to the tactical Internet to facilitate command and control. The radio delivers real-time position location information and multiple talk groups, while also supporting additional combat applications. “The new Harris radio demonstrates that competition works. Given the opportunity by DoD, Harris developed a breakthrough team radio with significant performance improvements over the current JTRS program of

record radio,” said George Helm, president, DoD business, Harris RF Communications. “We also are investing in solutions for nextgeneration manpacks and vehicular wideband radios using this same commercially oriented business model, which is proven to deliver continuous innovation across our entire tactical radio portfolio.” The RF-330E is a non-cryptographically controlled item that meets Type-1 Secret and Below information security requirements. The radio hosts the soldier radio waveform, which delivers simultaneous voice, high-speed data and real-time position location information. The RF-330E utilizes the same widely fielded battery and charging systems as the Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152A, easing the logistical burden, reducing sustainment costs, and lightening the soldier’s load. The radio leverages Harris’ expertise as the leading tactical radio provider to the DoD, while taking advantage of the broad range of tactical radio accessories already available.

Personal LED Flashlight Introduced Streamlight introduced the Logo keychain light, a personal LED flashlight with four lighting modes and a convenient auto-off feature that conserves battery life. The flashlight features a 5 mm LED, which is impervious to shock and provides a 100,000-hour lifetime. It offers four lighting modes: high (10 lumens), medium (5 Lumens), low (2.5 Lumens), and blink. Users quickly press the light’s center for on, off and mode changes. “The Logo is a great light for a variety of personal uses, such as illuminating a car door lock or reading a map in darkness, or hooking onto a jacket’s zipper pull when you’re outdoors at night,” said Michael F. Dineen, Streamlight vice president, sales and marketing. The Logo also features an auto-off warning, which is activated after four minutes of continuous run time. The feature is designed to warn users prior to turning off the light, while also conserving batteries. Constructed from impact-resistant polycarbonate and thermoplastic elastomer, the Logo uses two 2016 size, lithium coin cell batteries. It measures 1.8 inches in length and weighs just 0.37 ounces with included batteries. The weather-resistant light features a non-rotating snap hook that attaches to a keychain or zipper pull. The Logo has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $12 and comes with Streamlight’s limited lifetime warranty.

The RF-330E was introduced and demonstrated at the recent Army Expeditionary Warfighting Experiment at Fort Benning, Ga. Soldiers deployed the radio during the exercise in a configuration supporting the Army NettWarrior End User Device. Harris developed the RF-330E-TR under its commercial business model in response to the Army’s request for non-developmental Rifleman Radio and NettWarrior solutions. The Army is now including compliant non-developmental solutions for these two programs, leveraging investments made by industry rather than spending the taxpayers’ dollars. “One of the strengths of our business model is our ability to listen to the user,” Helm said. “Armed with invaluable feedback, we have developed a power-efficient radio that offers extended battery life for reduced total mission weight, and state-of-the-art network monitoring capabilities that provide the user with crucial information on radio and network status.”

Digital Modular Radios to Gain Upgrade General Dynamics C4 Systems received a $40 million contract modification from the Navy to port the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) waveform and the integrated waveform into the AN/USC-61(C) digital modular radio (DMR). The MUOS waveform allows the four-channel DMR to communicate using the MUOS satellite communications network, the military’s next-generation narrowband satellite communications system. MUOS provides high-speed voice and data connectivity across a worldwide network that extends into the most remote locations. General Dynamics developed the MUOS waveform as part of the MUOS program and has integrated it into the Handheld Manpack Small Form Fit (HMS) AN/PRC-155 Manpack radio. The company is also building the four MUOS ground sites that support worldwide communication from the ground to the MUOS satellites and from one end-user to another. The Integrated Waveform increases the communications capacity and efficiency of legacy satellite communications networks. “With more than 500 Digital Modular Radios in the Navy’s current communications fleet, the decision to upgrade the radios with these two waveforms is extremely costeffective and leverages the Navy’s investment,” said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems. In addition to the new MUOS and integrated waveform capability, the four-channel DMR enables maritime and shore-based communications using high frequency, very high frequency and ultra high frequency (UHF) line of sight communications and UHF satellite communications. The option modifies a contract initially awarded in September 2010. The contract is managed by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, for the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I). Work will be done in Scottsdale, Ariz., and supports more than 100 jobs.

SOTECH  11.3 | 3


Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Optical Gear Chosen for MARSOC Warriors The Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8 by 24 CQBSS M5B1 front focal has been selected by Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) for use by front-line Marines in combat. The Mark 8 CQBSS was put to the test in situations ranging from advanced sniper courses to combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley. This acquisition is just the latest in Leupold’s long history of military service. “The recognition of the quality and dependability by MARSOC further strengthens the position that Leupold is well-respected in the U.S. military,” said Chris Estadt, Leupold’s director of military business development. The adaptability and power range of the CQBSS quickly made it a favorite with Marines at MARSOC. “I use the Mark 8 on my M110SASS K1 carbine, which is my primary weapon as the Marine special operations team sniper,” an undisclosed Marine reported. “I carry it on foot patrol, where I appreciate how quick and easy

it is to change the scope power. Its versatility is unmatched in the rapidly changing conditions of modern combat.” Said Joseph Sroka, force modernization officer, Marine Special Operations Regiment, MARSOC, “This optic allows [users] to dial down their power and use the illuminated 5 MOA aiming circle as they would a reflex optic when shooting in close quarters or conducting aerial gunnery, and use the same optic to win precision engagements out to the maximum effective range of a 7.62 platform. This optic is ideal for Marine special operators and the missions they conduct.” There are more Leupold long-range optics in service with the U.S. military than any other brand, according to the company. Leupold has been the designated optic on such sniper systems as the M24, M107, MK12, M110, M14 and M2012. The CQBSS has seen service as part of an optics package for the M2 heavy machine gun and MK19 automatic grenade launcher.

Work to Progress on Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Pa., was awarded a $17.9 million cost-plus-fixedfee contract modifying design and engineering services in support of the CH-47 Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, with an estimated completion date of March 18, 2017. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. The Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., manages the contract.


Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Leahy

Air Force Brigadier General Timothy J. Leahy, who has been selected for the rank of major general, commander, 23rd Air Force and director, operations, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla., has been assigned to director, operations, J-3, Headquarters U.S. Special

4 | SOTECH 11.3

Brig. Gen. John M. Hicks

Air Force Brigadier General John M. Hicks, director, command, control, communications and cyber, J-6, Headquarters U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, has been

assigned to commander, 23rd Air Force and director, operations, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. Army Brigadier General Charles A. Flynn was chosen for appointment to the rank of major general. Flynn is currently serving as deputy commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. Army Brigadier General Christopher K. Haas was chosen for appointment to the rank of major general. Haas is currently serving as

commanding general, U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Masiello

Air Force Major General Thomas J. Masiello, director of Special Programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics,

Pentagon, Washington, D.C., has been appointed to be commander, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Air Force Brigadier General Richard S. Stapp, deputy director, Requirements, J-8, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., has been appointed to be director of Special Programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.


6 | SOTECH 11.3

Eyes in the sky support and replace boots on the ground. Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) have played dramatic roles in all phases of the overseas contingency operations, from the smallest patrols on land to the global aerial hunt for terrorists, wherever they are. Large UASs can carry lethal, pin-point weapons to destroy targets without boots on the ground. Other UASs can relay communications and provide another set of eyes, high in the air and able to see both day and night, to spot adversaries, threats or dangers. UASs can go where special operators may not be able to go, or go only with great difficulty and danger. Or they can provide a measure of extra surveillance and thus security on missions that are already dangerous enough. In many cases, UASs may replace auxiliary troops on missions, serving as a force multiplier of sometimes extraordinary power. UASs can also help ensure that the fruits of any intelligence gathering are communicated accurately and promptly to intelligence consumers. In short, while these powerful devices have proven extremely useful to all branches of the U.S. military, their capabilities seem most aligned with the kind of missions undertaken by special operators. It is no wonder that Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has often been one of the earliest, most frequent and demanding users of UASs. A UAS usually consists of one or several unmanned aerial vehicles, at least one ground control station and sometimes other gear used to launch, land or support the UAV. It is the capability of the entire system, including control over the UAV and ability to extract its intelligence product, that makes UASs so powerful. UASs come in many types, suited to different missions. The most obvious classification is size and weight. But even these dimensions can be misleading. UASs are packing more and more capabilities into smaller and smaller packages. Some of the most compact packages are those made by AeroVironment, which offers small UASs

By Henry Canaday SOTECH Correspondent

that are thrown up in the air, explained spokesman Steve Gitlin. These range from the Wasp at under 3 pounds, to the RQ-11 Raven at 4.5 pounds and the 13-pound RQ-20 Puma. There is also the 5.5-pound Shrike, which is a vertical take-off and landing UAS that can perch, stare and land where desired. “All now have mechanical pan, tilt and zoom and gimbaled payloads,” Gitlin said. This enables camera operators to keep the camera trained on target while the aircraft operator controls the aircraft, to keep the field in view. The various AeroVironment UASs can operate over five to 20 kilometers and are all battery powered. “You can charge batteries while it is flying, then reload fresh batteries to get it back up,” Gitlin noted. Flying time on one set of batteries ranges from 40 minutes for the Shrike to two hours for the Puma. All have electro-optical (EO) color video cameras and infrared (IR) video for night missions. They stream live video back to operators on handheld controllers or can relay images to remote terminals or connect to telecommunications to transmit images to networks. Gitlin said these small UASs are good for many missions: target acquisition, reconnaissance, surveillance, damage assessment, perimeter security, overwatch and route reconnaissance. “It’s a portable recon tool for ground operations,” he summarized. Pumas and Wasps can also land on water, and thus can be used for littoral and riverine missions. SOCOM has procured the Raven and Puma, according to public information. AeroViroment has also delivered a new device, the Switchblade, to the Army. Similar to but not classified as a UAS, Switchblade has a long fuselage and both front and back wings, which fold so it can be launched from a tube. Unlike some UASs, Switchblade has a high-explosive warhead as well as cameras and sensors.

SOTECH  11.3 | 7

SPECIAL SECTION: SOF UAV FLEET Switchblade has some very specific duties. “It gives ground forces the ability to respond rapidly to a sniper, bomb placer or mortar,” Gitlin said. “It has ground control like the UASs and sets up like a mortar tube, although it is lighter.” Once launched, Shrike flies to the target and sends back video. With a precise view of the target, the controller can then decide to take out the target or fly back, for example because there is too much risk of collateral damage. The entire Shrike weighs just 6 pounds, and 75 were delivered to the Army in late 2012. Substantially larger, AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ RQ-7B Shadow Tactical UAS has now been operated for more than 800,000 flight hours. More than 115 systems have been delivered to the Army, Army National Guard, Marine Corps and special operations forces, and availability has averaged more than 95 percent. International users include the Australian and Swedish militaries. The Shadow has a very full range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Weighing up to 460 pounds, the RQ-7B can carry more than 100 pounds of payload, depending on the type of payload and type of mission. It flies at up to 110 knots, can reach 18,000 feet of altitude and has nine hours of endurance. The Shadow’s Plug-In Optronic Payload includes EO, IR and laser designation, laser range finder and laser pointer. The Shadow has a data-link range of 125 kilometers and can be launched and recovered from small clearings. Its One System Ground Control Station is the Army’s premier GCS. This GCS provides a payloadoperator display with automatic search features, automated marking of searched areas, an artillery adjust-fire feature, laserdesignator control and searchable digital archives. AAI has since introduced its next-generation Universal Ground Control Station, which will be fielded with Army and Marine Corps RQ-7B V2 Shadow tactical UAS. AAI’s Aerosonde is a small UAS that is ideally suited to expeditionary operations. The aircraft offers day-and-night ISR that combines EO and IR capability in a single integrated payload. This UAS combines EO and IR capability in a single gimbal. It has a one-piece 8 | SOTECH 11.3

An RQ-7B Shadow UAV is recovered after a mission. [Photo courtesy DoD]

launch-and-recovery system that enables quick emplacement and displacement with a small crew. AAI said the Aerosonde’s light weight, ease of transport and operational capabilities make it a highly affordable and extremely adaptable system for the small UAS ISR mission. Even more capabilities may be coming in this size category. Chandler/May is developing through Lockheed Martin and government agencies a tactical UAS, the Fury, for special operations purposes. John Purvis, director of unmanned integrated systems, said, “It is the smallest UAS with full mission data rates beyond line of sight. Signature management is a big thing we do on this platform, so it can support people on the ground without disclosing their location.” The Fury weighs 375 pounds, can stay in the air over 15 hours and has a maximum range of about 1,350 nautical miles. But Purvis said its true mission is to fly out about 400 nm from its launching spot and stay on-station for about four hours. Fury can carry about 100 pounds of multiple payloads, including electronic systems, communication and relay systems, and EO and IR sensors. It needs no runways for operation, but instead uses a pneumatic catapult for launch and a net for recovery. Purvis believes Fury has the best-in-class payload capability and signature management. “We look very closely at our electronic emissions, at our acoustic signature

and our visual signature,” he stressed. “And our beyond-line-of-sight capabilities are unique.” Fury has been flown in its initial configuration and some aircraft have been delivered to U.S. government customers. Chandler/May is now investing its own money in an upgraded Fury for special operations purposes and is looking forward to combat evaluation later this year. Moving well up the size and capabilities curve we find the large, often weaponized UASs made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. GA-ASI’s Predator UAS was originally acquired by the Air Force in 1994, according to Chris Pehrson, director for strategic development. The 2,300-pound RQ-1 Predator was originally equipped with an EO/IR camera for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. When the aircraft was made capable of carrying two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, the Air Force re-designated it the MQ-1. After delivering more than 250 aircraft, MQ-1 production ended two years ago in March 2011. Pehrson estimated that there are about 150 MQ-1s still flying with the Air Force and Air National Guard. The Air Force’s long-term plan is to transition from the MQ-1 Predator to the MQ-9 Reaper, a heavier UAS at 12,000 pounds. While the MQ-1 can carry two Hellfire missiles with its 500-pound payload capability, the Reaper has over 3,000 pounds of payload capacity. The

Air Force has acquired 120 Reapers and total procurement will be approximately 400 aircraft. GA-ASI also produces the Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle, a UAS about 30 percent larger than the original Predator that weighs 3,600 pounds and is capable of carrying up to four Hellfire missiles and a variety of sensor payloads. Air Force Special Operations Command flies the MQ-1 and MQ-9, while Army SOF operate the MQ-1C Gray Eagle. Just as the Predator and Reaper were developed with corporate research and development funding, GA-ASI has also invested in developing the Predator C Avenger UAS, a jet-powered aircraft. Pehrson said two prototype aircraft are flying now and GA-ASI hopes the new UAS will be part of a future Department of Defense program. The Avenger weighs approximately 18,000 pounds and has a 3,000-pound internal weapons storage capacity with external hard points capable of carrying up to an additional 3,000 pounds. Pehrson emphasized that GA-ASI’s UASs are equipped with both sensors and weapons. This means they can locate and identify targets and often take action against these targets immediately. “This drastically reduces the time required to find, fix, track, target, engage and assess threats on the battlefield,” he observed. A game-changer provided by all of GAASI’s large UASs is their persistence, or ability to stay airborne for more than 24 hours. This yields a very high level of situational awareness, with “eyes in the sky all the time,” as Pehrson put it. GA-ASI’s UASs can carry standard EO and IR sensors, precision radar that can track moving vehicles and signals intelligence systems that can pick up adversary communications and identify their locations. Hyperspectral imagers can be used to detect chemicals or explosives, potentially including chemicals used in manufacturing of illicit narcotics. Wide-area cameras, such as the Gorgon Stare system mounted on the Reaper, can cover more than 5 square kilometers at a time. Further, each sensor can cross-cue other sensors so the full capacity of the ISR system is brought to bear quickly on targets or items of interest. Weapons on these UASs can include

Hellfire missiles or bombs guided by laser or GPS. Along with the many other obvious advantages of these very powerful armed eyes in the skies, Pehrson explained how these UASs served as force multipliers for special operations missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of assigning 100 troops to conduct a raid, surveillance and force protection was provided by having a UAS overhead. This enabled much smaller teams to conduct the raid itself. With the UAS providing situational awareness and

armed overwatch, it was thus possible to dramatically expand the number of raids with limited forces. This is an extreme case in degree, but not atypical in kind. UASs support soldiers by taking the place of many soldiers, and doing so with much less risk of life. They are saving lives in many ways. O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at or search our online archives for related stories at


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Non-standard Aviation Smaller planes offer large capabilities to SOF. Speed often is a requirement for aircraft that U.S. special forces rely on to successfully to complete their missions, but flexibility and reliability also are key, according to experts in the military and those at the companies that manufacture military aircraft. Special operators can choose from a variety of aircraft.

Dornier 228 NG U.S. special forces may have even more capability and flexibility if the military decides to acquire the Dornier 228 New Generation, an aircraft produced by the Swiss firm Ruag. Although not currently in use by U.S. special operators, special forces from several other nations are using the Dornier 228 NG, according to Vince Macri, president of the Colorado-based International Airborne Solutions, who is helping launch the Dornier 228 NG in the United States. The aircraft’s manufacturer is working to introduce the aircraft to U.S. special forces through Africa Command, Joint Special Operations Command, Southern Command and others, he said. The company also is seeking to “find a major strategic partner” with a major U.S. 10 | SOTECH 11.3

company, such as one of large defense contractors, to market the Dornier 228 NG in the United States, Macri said. “There are a number of conversations right now with the operators and prime contractors, but it’s too early for me to elaborate,” he said. The Dornier 228 NG is a “perfect match for a variety of missions” for special operators and offers “true [short take-off and landing] aircraft performance,” Macri said. “This is the true multi-role aircraft. It allows for higher payload and higher speed than the direct competitor.” Among its features is that the aircraft is unpressurized, Macri said. “That allows for a square fuselage, which is clearly easier to retrofit with stretchers or foldable side-wall seats, or consoles, or cargo pallets—every one of them.” Among its uses is as a maritime patrol aircraft, which is “pretty much its natural role because the aircraft can stay nine hours in the air with very reasonable payloads and low-level loitering altitudes,” Macri said. The government of Thailand uses a number of them for that purpose, he added. The Dornier 228 NG also is used as a border patrol aircraft, Macri said. Worldwide, the aircraft is used in a variety of environments, from desert to

By Scott Nance SOTECH Correspondent the bush in Africa to the Arctic, Macri said. “It’s used as a true tactical lift aircraft” by African countries including Malawi and Nigeria. For U.S. special forces, the aircraft particularly could serve as a tactical lift aircraft, and a number of sensors can be mounted on it, including any 15-inch camera, Macri said. An optional rolling door allows it to be opened mid-flight to drop either people or cargo, he added. The Italian military uses the Dornier 228 NG as a paratrooper aircraft since up to 20 paratroopers can jump from it. Another mission which could be of particular interest to U.S. special forces would be for medical evacuation, since the Dornier 228 NG can be outfitted with up to six stretchers, Macri said. “Some of the airplanes have been retrofitted as true air ambulances—flying hospitals.” The aircraft easily can be forwarddeployed and can operate out of unprepared runways such as grass or dirt. “The airplane is built like a tank and can take a lot of abuse,” he said. “And because of its simplicity, it also allows for a very high dispatchability and reliability. It is extremely simple to operate and extremely simple to maintain. For special ops, this is an important

factor because sometimes you are in very remote areas and you need to be able to rely on your aircraft.” Moreover, sensors and other payloads can be mounted on the wing, including weapons, which the Thai government has done with its Dornier 228 NGs, Macri said.

ATK, Alenia Meanwhile, ATK and Alenia Aermacchi have “just started” talking with U.S. special forces about the MC-27J concept, a multi-mission variant of Alenia’s C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft which the companies have partnered on, according to David Sharpin, ATK’s vice president of business development and strategy. “What we’re bringing to the table is the ability to take a cargo aircraft, and turn it into a multi-mission aircraft using roll-on/ roll-off pallets,” he said. “On those pallets, you could have a mission system on one pallet, a gun system on another pallet, and a precision-guided munitions system on a third pallet.” The companies’ intent is to keep modifications to the aircraft minimal “so it can be rather quickly configured” within four hours to transform the cargo transport into a special-mission aircraft, Sharpin said. The MC-27J also will use the GAU23 guns found on AC-130 gunships, he said. “Having a mission-system pallet and a gun pallet, you basically have a gunship,” he added.

It’s designed to withstand hostile environments and perform medical evacuation, troop transport, paratroop drop, ISR and other missions, said Brad Hayes, ATK director of business development for special mission aircraft. ATK and Alenia expect at the Paris Air Show in June to brief customers on the capabilities of the MC-27J, pitching its multi-mission abilities and the capability of the GAU-23 gun, Sharpin said. “Basically, what we’re trying to do is provide 80 percent of a full-up AC-130 gunship at a much-reduced cost,” he said. Cost has become a critical factor for many defense procurement programs, because of the heavy cuts in defense spending caused by sequestration and by freezing funding at old fiscal 2012 levels instead of planned higher FY13 amounts.

Pilatus Yet another non-standard aircraft is the PC-12 and U-28A made by Pilatus, a Swiss manufacturer. The PC-12 and U-28A are part of Air Force Special Operations Command’s nonstandard aviation (NSAv) mobility fleet, a general program term that encompasses several light and medium aircraft that perform utility missions for the Special Operations Command. The PC-12 provides flexible, rapid transport of special operators, while the U-28A is a variant of the PC-12. It is a single engine, manned fixed wing aircraft that can provide

intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of special operations forces. The PC-12 provides special operations forces with the flexibility to move smaller amounts of people and cargo to remote or austere airfields that are unavailable to larger aircraft. The U-28A and PC-12 are used for a variety of missions. The PC-12’s mission is primarily moving small amounts of personnel and cargo around intra-theater airfields. Both aircraft have been used by AFSOC since 2005, and there are 21 U-28As and 16 PC-12s in AFSOC’s current fleet. The rapidly changing and diverse special operations mission requirements have generated a need for light and medium aircraft with short takeoff and landing capabilities. The U-28A and PC-12 are complementary for special operators, as special operations forces are more apt to be engaged in remote or austere locations that require the flexibility and capabilities of a smaller aircraft to rapidly move operators and cargo. While AFSOC will not acquire more PC-12s or U-28As in 2013, there are seven PC-12s on contract to be converted to U-28As with the first delivery expected in September. O

For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at or search our online archives for related stories at

Make your mission a success. Special operations with the Dornier 228 NG.

Please visit us at the Quad-A, 10 to 13 April 2013, Fort Worth, TX, booth 1112 RUAG Aerospace Services GmbH | RUAG Aviation P.O. Box 1253 | Special Airfield Oberpfaffenhofen | 82231 Wessling | Germany Phone +49 8153 30-2162 | |

SOTECH  11.3 | 11

Top-ranked special ops show sold out amidst fiscal concerns. The ultimate trade show, Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), will be jam-packed when it opens May 14 in a time of momentous changes for special operations, and for the entire Department of Defense. This trade show, held each year in Tampa, Fla., comes just when leadership, warriors and policy-level captains of industry in the defense sector have myriad unanswered questions, amidst unprecedented financial uncertainties. Not surprisingly, SOFIC exhibition space is sold out, with those who supply critically needed systems to SOCOM rushing to this must-attend annual event. There were more than 350 exhibitors last year filling the Tampa Convention Center, and this year is likely to be a similar crowded scene. 12 | SOTECH 11.3

By Dave Ahearn, SOTECH Editor

SOFIC will feature senior leaders—including Admiral Bill H. McRaven, commander, SOCOM, and SOCOM Acquisition Executive James W. Cluck—who may provide some answers for those urgent questions. Those queries are prompted by devastating defense spending cuts. Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta termed so-called sequestration spending cuts a “mindless mechanism” that savages good and less urgent military programs alike. And even before sequestration, DoD was suffering deep spending cuts because Congress failed to pass a fiscal year 2013 budget, leaving the military to continue at the old, lower FY12 spending levels provided in a continuing resolution (CR).

The object also is to help special operators That CR alone has imposed an immense $1 bilwho have served in combat for a decade decide lion reduction in SOCOM outlays, McRaven said to remain in the toughest fighting force for recently in response to a SOTECH question, a another 10 years. huge sum considering that the entire annual Faris and other senior enlisted personSOCOM budget runs about $10 billion. Then nel will discuss key issues in a SOFIC panel add on the budget sequestration and other forum from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, cuts, and some 23 percent of SOCOM funding May 15. is disappearing. (Please see SOTECH Volume As for industry, there will be a massive 11, Issue 2, page 21.) turnout at SOFIC, so that exhibit space is McRaven may elaborate on the implicasold out, with a waiting list in case some tions of the fiscal challenges when he addresses space becomes available. a SOFIC audience at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May Exhibits at SOFIC will run the gamut, 14, at the opening of the general session. The showcasing everything that SOCOM buys commander will be preceded by Cluck, who to equip warriors who face the toughest will have remarks at 1:05 p.m. combat challenges on a daily basis. Booths Their comments are likely to draw rapt will display a panoply of the wares of attention from the audience, which will war, ranging from huge vehicles down to include special ops leadership, top officials of personal gear. defense contractors and the media. For example, makers of major military Further, McRaven, Cluck and SOF comvehicles such as Navistar Defense and BAE ponent commanders will meet and mingle Systems will have their rides ready for inspecwith senior industry executives at a forum tion in SOFIC booths. But smaller items where they can discuss mutual issues of how also will be displayed, such as BAE Systems to ensure special operators in harm’s way get showing the crowds its Headborne Energy what they need, when they need it. Analysis and Diagnostic System (HEADS). Program-by-program details of specific That is a system that can measure the acquisition efforts can be expected the impact that a warfighter’s head endures following day, when program executive in rough off-road missions, or when an officers detail their current acquisition proIED or RPG detonates. HEADS can tip off grams of record, at 1 to 2:30 p.m. in sepamedical personnel if they should check for rate break-out sessions. SOCOM procures possible brain injuries. an immense array of cutting-edge military Aside from the comprehensive views that gear used by the foremost fighters, special will be presented by McRaven and Cluck, there operators. (Please see the Program Managewill be a more detailed picture presented by ment Updates, and Cluck’s introductory the SOCOM component commanders in letter, in our next issue, SOTECH Volume The BAE Systems Releasable Body Armor adapts quickly to warfighter needs, while the Headborne Energy Analysis System a panel session at 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, May 11, Issue 4.) measures stresses and impacts upon a combatant’s head. 15. They are: Throughout the special operations com- [Photos courtesy of BAE Systems] munity, in both the military and industry • Lieutenant General Charles T. Cleveland, commander, U.S. sectors, the key questions are what effects fiscal privations will Army Special Operations Command have on specific programs, and on the ability of special operators • Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus, commander, Naval Special to perform their critical missions in harm’s way. Warfare Command These difficult issues, unfortunately, arise just as special ops • Lieutenant General Eric E. Fiel, commander, Air Force combatants may be pressed to meet an even more demanding Special Operations Command op tempo while regular forces are drawn down in Afghanistan. • Major General Mark Clark, commander, Marine Corps Forces These special operators already have fought a long battle, which Special Operations Command Panetta noted at the National Press Club is “more than a decade • Lieutenant General Joseph L. Votel, commander, Joint Special of war, the longest extended period of conflict in the history of the Operations Command United States.” McRaven repeatedly has shown concern for those he comThey likely will shed light on how—despite an era of defense mands. Both he and his predecessor, Admiral Eric T. Olson, have austerity—even more special operations missions may be pernoted a “fraying around the edges” among combatants tested time formed during the coming drawdown of the major U.S. and allied and again, night after night and year after year. services in Afghanistan. O McRaven, SOCOM Command Sergeant Major Chris Faris and their wives have advanced a multi-faceted program to help relieve that stress on special operators and their families. They have proFor more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at or search our online archives moted initiatives such as providing predictable time with families for related stories at and other assistance.

SOTECH  11.3 | 13


What’s Hot in Special Operations Gear

New Boat Crew Suits Launched Mustang Survival The Sentinel Series boat crew dry suits are waterproof breathable constant wear boat crew dry suits designed for small boat operations. Constructed with military grade Gore-Tex BD6.5 waterproof breathable fabric, these dry suits are ideal for crewmembers who don’t intend to enter the water but require hypothermia protection in case of accidental immersion. Sentinel dry suits are in use by Naval Special Warfare and water rescue professionals, and others. Available in standard or heavy duty, the standard boat crew dry suit is ideal for regular duty and provides 1050 Denier Ballistic

Nylon reinforcement in high wear areas such as the knees, elbows and seat. This heavy duty dry suit is ideal for higher hazard and abusive environments. The innovative two-layer suit includes an inner Gore-Tex dry suit layer and a heavy duty Cordura protective outer layer that is reinforced in key areas with 1050 denier ballistic nylon to guard the entire inner layer from grease, oil, rips and tears. The outer layer can be easily removed for cleaning, repair and replacement when required, and is only 8 ounces heavier than the standard suit.

Tower Security Light is Released

SEALs at Sea May Gain Unlimited Drinking Water

Larson Electronics

Lockheed Martin

Larson Electronics Magnalight announced the release of the WAL-TSL300W-LED LED tower security light. Modeled after the successful metal halide light series, the LED version of this security light features instant on and hot restrike capabilities. Designed to deliver all the power of its 1,500 watt metal halide sibling, this 300 watt LED security light continues to offer the operator the ability to easily pan and tilt the light beam as needed. The light is mounted to the top of a wall or tower deck and operators in military installations can use the light to identify issues up to 1,000 feet away. While the metal halide models had to warm up, these LED lights are on immediately when the light is energized. Until now,

14 | SOTECH 11.3

only high wattage incandescent turned on instantly; however, those bulbs get very hot and require constant replacement. The WAL-TSL-300W-LED is a modern alternative that produces light that exceeds the output of metal halide in distance, color correctness, intensity and longevity. “We have missed out on opportunities in the past to help security customers with elevated security lighting, because we couldn’t deliver an instant on capability,” said Rob Bresnahan with Larson Electronics’ “We have taken one of our most powerful LED lights and integrated it into our tower security light form factor, which should meet the needs of prisons and other elevated security application customers.”

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a patent for Perforene material, a molecular filtration solution designed to meet growing demand for potable water. The Perforene material works by removing sodium, chlorine and other ions from sea water and other sources, so SEALs could be able to use sea water for drinking water. “Access to clean drinking water is going to become more critical as the global population continues to grow, and we believe that this simple and affordable solution will be a game-changer for the industry,” said Dr. Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin. The Perforene membrane was developed by placing holes that are one nanometer or less in a graphene membrane. These holes are small enough to trap the ions while dramatically improving the flow-through of water molecules, reducing clogging and pressure on the membrane. At only one atom thick, graphene is both strong and durable, making it more effective at sea water desalination at a fraction of the cost of industrystandard reverse osmosis systems. In addition to desalination, the Perforene membrane can be tailored to other applications, including capturing minerals, through the selection of the size of hole placed in the material to filter or capture a specific size particle of interest. Lockheed Martin has also been developing processes that will allow the material to be produced at scale. Lockheed Martin is currently seeking commercialization partners. The patent was awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Thermal Camera Video Integration

New Monitor is Legible in Sunlight


Tru-Vu Monitors SightLogix announced integration of the SightLogix video analytic solution with Vicon Industries’ ViconNet video management software (VMS). SightSensor video analytic cameras, which detect objects that violate perimeter security rules, can now send video and alarm information over the network for display within the ViconNet video management system. SightTrackers, which automatically steer PTZ cameras, now send the PTZ’s video to the ViconNet system for up-close, alarm verification. The combined solution can trigger actions within the ViconNet system to initiate alarm processing, such as recording or alarm notification. The integration provides accurate, costefficient outdoor security for protecting critical assets. “Our customers need accurate, detailed information about threats to their security or operations,” said John Romanowich, president and chief executive officer, SightLogix. “The integration with ViconNet incorporates powerful outdoor detection functionality into the operating environment of ViconNet

to expand the value of both systems in support of our customers’ security.” “ViconNet’s open-platform, enterprise VMS solution provides added value to its users by making integration, such as what we’ve done with SightLogix, as easy as possible via an event manager system. Through a simple process of assigning relationships between data fields from the SightLogix cameras and ViconNet, the user benefits from a perfect combination of video verification and analytic event triggering,” explained Guy Arazi, Vicon’s director of product management. SightLogix has transformed video analytics technology to deliver accurate, cost-efficient outdoor security, and new mainstream pricing makes the solution available to a broader range of applications. Their innovative camera solutions provide a higher level of image processing to supply superior images, accurate detection, and lower cost, according to the companies. The cameras integrate with third-party video management, physical security information management and access control systems.

Tru-Vu Monitors announced the newest addition to its family of sunlight readable industrial-grade LCD monitors. The new SRM-17S features a 17-inch highbright LCD screen with 1,000 nits brightness. This makes it ideal for use outdoors, or in any bright or harshly-lit environment. The SRM-17S will produce clear, sharp vibrant color video images even with bright sunlight falling directly onto the screen. The screen is compatible with analog cameras and other devices with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The SRM-17S can be deployed in a wide range of military, industrial, commercial, law enforcement, marine, aviation, surveillance, transportation, inspection and other applications.

Next-Gen Mobile Router Offers High Bandwidth in the Field General Dynamics General Dynamics Canada has introduced its next-generation tactical mobile router, the TMR 200, a compact, modular and flexible router that can be easily configured and integrated in a variety of platforms and wireless networks. With the ability to handle high-bandwidth applications, it ensures reliable and secure communications even where wireless network infrastructures do not exist or when nodes are overloaded or off the network. It is ideally suited for tactical environments where network and vehicle electronic architectures are becoming more complex, with high-definition cameras and sophisticated sensors streaming gigabits of information. “The TMR 200 has been designed from the ground up to enable defense and public safety personnel to quickly establish secure wireless networks and communicate critical situational awareness information through high-quality video and images,” said David Ibbetson, general manager, General Dynamics Canada. “It improves the safety and efficiency of deployed personnel and vehicles wherever they are by ensuring they always have the most relevant information at their fingertips.” Engineered specifically for in-field communications, the TMR 200 allows defense and public safety personnel, mobile command centers

and central commands to share high-bandwidth applications such as situational awareness information or battle management applications, along with critical voice and data. The TMR 200’s intelligent management automatically adapts to network changes and maintains reliable connections in harsh environments. It uses advanced networking technologies to store and forward vital communications if a network connection is broken. This feature provides unprecedented flexibility for defense and public safety personnel who need immediate access to high-quality information over a tactical wireless network. The TMR 200 offers the advanced networking features needed to interconnect with a vehicle’s electronic architecture and command, control, communication, computing, and intelligence systems. In addition, it can easily interface with other systems to enable remote control of communication devices in a tactical mobile network. SOTECH  11.3 | 15

Rotary Wing Leader

Q& A

Providing Critical Air Support for High OPTEMPO SOF Missions Colonel John R. Evans Regimental Commander 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) Colonel John R. Evans Jr. is a 1988 Distinguished Military Graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the aviation branch. His past assignments include Apache platoon leader, assistant S-3 and regimental aviation liaison officer with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; commander, B Company, 3-229th Attack Helicopter Battalion at Fort Bragg; battalion flight operations officer, platoon leader, battalion operations officer, and company commander, 1st Battalion., 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky.; Regiment S-3, 160th SOAR; battalion commander, 2nd BN 160th SOAR (A); commander, Regiment Operational Assessment Element; and deputy commander, 160th SOAR (A). He assumed command of the 160th SOAR (A) in July 2012. His military education includes the U.S. Naval War College, Army Command and General Staff College and the Armor Advanced Course, Combined Armed Services and Staff School, Aviation Officer Basic Course, Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Course (High Risk), Airborne School, and the Air Assault School. His awards and decorations include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with numeral two and “V” device, the Combat Action Badge, the Master Aviator Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Canadian Airborne Badge.

we have the right combination of people and skills to meet that demand. We are constantly seeking new avenues and incentives to attract talent to the regiment. A fundamental SOF truth states that humans are more important than hardware. With this in mind, we continue to develop programs and resources that support and nurture families across our force. I consider these efforts a priority in developing and maintaining our resilient Night Stalker families.

Q: Since taking command of the 160th SOAR, what goals have you set?

Q: Concern has been expressed over fraying at the edges of special operations forces after a decade of combat. How have you helped personnel to lessen stress levels?

A: Let me start by saying what an honor it is to lead this fine organization. The number one goal of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment [Airborne] remains to provide precision rotary wing support to our nation’s most elite special operators in the most complex environments anywhere in the world. It is imperative that we sustain our precision rotary wing assault and rotary wing fire support to the nation’s special operations forces. We do this through tough realistic training in CONUS and through precision execution of combat missions in our theaters of conflict. We must also find ways to grow and retain a highly trained special operations aviation force of dedicated volunteer professionals. The demand for our specialty remains high and it is essential that

A: In order to mitigate the physical stress that comes with the high operation tempo [OPTEMPO] over the last decade, the SOF community is using the Tactical Human Optimization Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning [THOR3] program. THOR3 uses strength and conditioning coaches, dieticians and physical therapists to help SOF soldiers get into the best possible shape to avoid injuries while training and reduce the risk of injuries while deployed. THOR3 also supports working directly with injured soldiers to reduce healing time. Preservation of the Force and Families [POTFF] is a Special Operations Command [SOCOM] initiative aimed at the behavioral health and social components of readiness and resiliency to help our soldiers cope with the stresses associated with the high OPTEMPO.

16 | SOTECH 11.3

Behavioral health professionals embed within units to work directly with soldiers and their families, making the providers and mental health care assets more readily accessible. This reduces the requirement for soldiers to seek care in traditional medical treatment facility settings. While not developed specifically in response to concern about fraying, the regiment has always sustained a focus on the behavioral health care needs of the soldiers and families in recognition of the unique mission requirements of the unit, and the stressors that are experienced as a result. Recent initiatives include the addition of an active duty psychologist within the training battalion, and for the past four years there has been a civilian psychologist working for the regiment with significant expertise in marital and family issues. The religious support team [RST], Contactors from General Atomics load Hellfire missiles onto an MQ-1C Gray Eagle at Camp Taji, Iraq. [Photo courtesy of DoD] which consists of chaplains and chapthe support we provide to the special operations community lains’ assistants, is an integral piece to both the THOR3 and POTFF through deliberate efforts to combine multiple training events programs. With a view toward overall comprehensive fitness, RST and more efficiently employ our rotary wing assets and personnel. members focus on the spiritual enhancement and resiliency of We have always worked closely with our supported ground forces, service members and their families. This is accomplished through but we’ve recently endeavored to educate key personnel across the varied services and events, i.e., Strong Bonds training events for special operations force to better understand our capabilities and single soldiers and married couples, pastoral counseling sessions limitations, how to maximize training opportunities and mutually and visits, religious services and ceremonies, etc. Collaboration benefit from planning joint training objectives. We also helped between the RST and behavioral health professionals is key to the institute a reoccurring asset allocation meeting at the SOCOM level overall success of both programs. to synchronize requirements and prioritize available assets. These efforts have enabled us to provide a level of support beyond all Q: How is current night vision gear working for the Night Stalkers, historical precedents, but the reality is the requirement for ARSOA and are you acquiring any new-technology night vision equipment? rotary wing assets routinely exceeds the assets that we have. A: We use the same night vision goggles as the conventional force; Q: Recently you integrated the Gray Eagle UAS system into your they are extremely useful tools and perform admirably. We conformation. Can you discuss the Gray Eagle significance on the tinuously monitor technology improvements for ways to increase battlefield? effectiveness and suitability while reducing risk. The near future will bring sensor fusion capabilities to night vision systems. We A: The 160th currently employs two quick reaction capability expect that aircrews will use composite imagery from multiple [QRC], platoon-sized UAS elements that are each equipped with sensors in the coming years. Aside from different sensors and wavefour MQ-1C Gray Eagles. The first QRC was initially fielded in Iraq forms, we are interested in night vision systems which reduce crew in August 2009, before it moved into Afghanistan in September workload by expanding the field of view and increasing resolution. 2010. The second of the QRCs moved into Afghanistan in SepWe work closely with the conventional force as well as the DoD scitember 2010. These systems were initially fielded with only an ence and technology community to balance technology insertion electro-optical/infrared sensor. Today the Gray Eagle has added and risk management. the synthetic aperture radar ground moving target Indicator, air data relay, and the Gray Eagle is also weaponized with the Hellfire Q: Are you currently finding you have an adequate amount of missile. The introduction of the Gray Eagle provides the regiment rotary wing assets? a persistent reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capability. The QRCs have flown over 22,000 combat hours in supA: Over the past 11 years special operations forces have grown subport of conventional and special operations forces. The regiment stantially, and the 160th is no exception. Despite the growth of the has plans to continue development of UAS systems and begin the 160th, the ground forces we support have grown on a much larger integration of its own Gray Eagle companies at the end of 2013. scale and the demand for ARSOA rotary wing support has never The establishment of two permanent Gray Eagle companies within been higher. Nevertheless, we have made great gains in optimizing

SOTECH  11.3 | 17

160th SOAR (A) will be a major milestone for Army Special Operations and provide immeasurable support to both the regiment and the ground force commanders.

between ARSOA and conventional combat aviation brigades [CABs] [SOTECH Volume 10, Issue 9]. Is there anything that you can add from the regiment’s perspective?

Q: Are there any systems that would be helpful for the 160th to obtain?

A: Our relationship with the Army’s conventional CABs has never been stronger, and we will continue to work closely with conventional CABs in the coming years. On an almost nightly basis, the 160th is conducting combined combat operations involving assault and close air support aircraft from conventional CABs. The proficiency and bravery displayed by our conventional counterparts has been critical to mission success on many occasions. We regularly participate in training exercises and informational exchanges where we discuss tactics, techniques and procedures with the conventional CABs to facilitate their integration into special operations missions.

A: The 160th abides by the SOF truth that people are more important than equipment. Our highest priorities are recruiting, training and retaining the most capable aviation and aviation support soldiers in the Army. We do, obviously, have an equipping function that is secondary to manning. In that light, the 160th actively pursues technologies, systems and capabilities to provide the most effective and safe support for our ground customers. For mission equipment, we are involved in the development of high-fidelity, low-weight sensors to reduce risk in degraded visual environments. These systems will allow aircrews to maintain a high level of situational awareness in brown-out conditions. We are also developing multispectral hostile-fire indication systems to bring early warning and situational awareness to unguided projectile engagements. Finally, we are interested in technologies which will allow our unmanned systems and rotary wing attack platforms to provide extremely precise, low-collateral-damage close air support. Q: Colonel (P) Clayton M. Hutmacher, commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, spoke on the relationship

18 | SOTECH 11.3

Q: Do you have any closing thoughts about the 160th and the men and women who move out and perform every day? A: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you about this very special group of soldiers and families. I am amazed at what our Night Stalkers accomplish on a daily basis and I could not be more proud to serve with this remarkable group of soldiers, families, civilians and contractors. The successes of the regiment would not be possible if it were not for their hard work day in and day out. Night Stalkers Don’t Quit! O



Aircraft, systems save lives by exposing emergent enemy threats. Eyes in the sky can allow special operators to avoid ambushes, but, more positively, they can show special ops personnel how to defeat the enemy. Here, we focus on marriage of the right aircraft with the right ISR systems in a well-integrated package, producing intelligence that provides SOF with an unfair advantage. Airborne ISR is especially well suited for the type of conflict that has emerged in the 21st century, in which the massed forces seen in wars of yore are replaced with lone operatives hidden in populations, slithering in the shadows, so that airborne ISR may be the only means of bringing their treachery to light. For aircraft, it is critical that they be able to remain on station for hours, while consuming relatively little expensive fuel in an era of military budget cutbacks. As well, the aircraft must have a low sticker price and a modest operating and servicing cost, when every nickel spent by a combat unit may be scrutinized closely. Then there is the ISR system itself, which also must be affordable while still providing top performance in ensuring that mountains of sensor data can be made comprehensible. One platform well suited for special ops ISR missions is the Beechcraft King Air, according to Dan Keady, senior vice president of special missions. Beechcraft is a Wichita, Kan., firm. The King Air 350 turboprops have a lengthy legacy of ISR capabilities, since they are an aircraft with the size and characteristics well tailored to special operations missions, Keady noted. “Versions of the King Air have been operating in a surveillance role since the early 1970s,” he observed. And in that time, the platform has only improved. “The aircraft has been operating in a signals intelligence … role for some time, and now, as the electronics have gotten smaller and smarter, it has allowed a lot of the equipment that used to go into larger airplanes [to be integrated] into the King Air platform,” he stated. Beechcraft works with third-party providers, independent integrators, to enable King Airs to perform the ISR mission for both U.S. government forces and foreign militaries. Those integrators include Selex Galileo, L-3 Communications, Raytheon, Boeing and others. Boeing itself makes much larger ISR aircraft, such as the P8A Poseidon sub-hunting and anti-surface coastal craft, giving Boeing substantial experience in ISR systems and their integration, a background that can benefit the King Air. “Obviously, that’s a significantly larger aircraft,” Keady continued. “Yes, we can take advantage of systems that were perhaps

By Dave Ahearn, SOTECH Editor

designed for a larger aircraft, and those can be scaled to work in a King Air.” For example, systems in the Lockheed Martin C-130 series might be scaled for integration into the King Air. The King Air also accommodates an array of other systems. To cite a few, the King Air has “the ability to drop life rafts or sonobuoys … and then still have mission stations on board that support a 360-degree search surveillance radar. And [there is] also a thermal imaging device providing vivid imagery both day and night, even at safe stand-off distances,” Keady said. What kind of ISR missions can the King Air execute? “A great example is the Liberty project in Afghanistan for support of ground troops, command and control, able to obviously see what’s going on on the ground and be able to communicate with the troops on the ground, and then also be able to communicate … back to either a larger aircraft or be able to call in air support, and/or direct troop movements,” Keady outlined. “The Liberty Project has been quite successful.” The Air Force acquired 42 of the MC-12 Liberty aircraft, planes, which are based on the King Air 350. The King Air is a platform with endurance and range. “All of the King Airs have great payload and range in general, but specifically, with respect to special missions, we developed the King Air 350ER, and that’s the extended range version of the King Air 350,” Keady stressed. “It has an additional approximately 236 gallons of fuel on board, which allows and an increased gross weight, which allows it to stay on station for a longer period of time than what the standard King Air 350 would.” Keady said just how much extra time on station is possible would be dependent on variables such as the payload that the King Air carries, the number of crewmembers aboard, and the like. However, he was able to say that the time on station can be substantial. “Seven to nine hours on station is not unheard of with that particular platform,” he recalled, which can be sufficient to last as long as a typical special operations mission. One factor in the background of every military platform program is the new reality of extremely tight defense finances, stemming from $487 billion of military outlay cuts over 10 years already in place, another $500 billion of sequestration cuts over a decade, and a continuing resolution that freezes spending at the lower fiscal year 2012 levels in place of any budget that would have provided higher FY13 outlays. Here, the King Air story has two parts, Keady indicated. “Sequestration and the continuing resolution are both good and bad for us SOTECH  11.3 | 19

as a company,” he said. “It has certainly affected could potentially affect some of our programs that involved the King Air and the continuance of funding for those particular programs. So that’s the frustrating end of it.” However, in a time of constrained resources, the King Air can shine. “We also feel that there’s a value proposition in the King Air, in that it can go out and do the mission,” dependably and affordably, Keady asserted. “And that’s been proven in Afghanistan and Iraq, with very, very high dispatch rates—I believe, over 98 percent.” Any asset that saves the military money is attractive in this fiscal environment, he added. “The acquisition price, the operating cost per hour, and the number of crew [needed] to operate the King Air, in order to do some of the same missions as the larger platforms” is going to be welcome. A smaller, less expensive aircraft that still possesses significant capabilities thanks to smarter electronics is key, he said. “If you run a four-engine C-130 with a crew of eight, versus a crew of three [in the King Air]—a single operator in the back is not out of the question, and two pilots—and you’re running two PT6A [engines]—that’s significantly less expensive” than the C-130, he observed. Also, Beechcraft has a worldwide logistics and service network already in place, which doesn’t need any costly startup, he said. “There have been over 7,000 King Airs produced, so this is highly supportable,” he added. The Army operates a King Air variant, the RC-12 Guardrail, as an intelligence platform. With the Guardrail, there are no operators

in the back of the aircraft. “So that means more fuel [saved] and more time on station and less cost in order to go get the job done,” he emphasized. In these tight fiscal times, if a compact and efficient King Air still might seem a bit expensive for a military unit, there is an even less costly alternative. “We also have sold the Beechcraft Baron, the twinengine piston aircraft, [for] what we call a light ISR type mission to some foreign special operations organizations, and we’re currently now building a Baron demonstrator that will have a FLIR ball on it for EO/IR type operations” where electro-optical infrared capabilities are desired, Keady concluded.

Many ISR Platforms Cessna, a Textron company in Wichita, Kan., has a lengthy history of producing aircraft well suited to the ISR mission, a heritage that dates all the way back to World War II, noted Carl E. Craig Jr., vice president, government and special missions. With Cessna, there are multiple planes that can fill the ISR role, he explained, with one of them being the Cessna Grand Caravan, a turboprop seen around the world. “Most of our aircraft could be configured with an ISR package,” Craig said. “Cessna has historically been able to develop ISR capable aircraft in all product segments, from jets to the Grand Caravan and even our single-engine aircraft.” Cessna planes run the gamut, from the pure jet Citation to the turboprop Grand Caravan, to piston-powered platforms. There are

Weapons can bust targets with precision—without busting the budget. By Dave Ahearn, SOTECH Editor In an era where collateral damage and civilian casualties can create ill will toward the United States, guided munition strikes must be precise, taking out only the intended target. That’s where MBDA Missile Systems can provide a solution to nullify the problem. The GBU-44/E Viper-E provides precision strike thanks to two guidance systems: a GPS Inertial Navigation System unit, plus a semi-active laser guidance system for the final approach to the target. The Viper-E, the latest version of Viper Strike, addresses another problem as well: the unprecedented austerity in defense funding. The weapon provides precision strike on a budget, a low-cost solution when financial resources are scarce. Viper-Es are produced on a hot assembly line at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., meaning no expensive outlays for start-up costs. The weapons also had a low development cost, because they were created from an already-existing asset, the Brilliant Anti-Tank (BAT) submunition. The Viper-E is dropped from an aircraft, anything from a Cessna Caravan up to a large Marine Corps KC-130J. The latest iteration of the Viper Strike stand-off precision attack guided munition aced tests when fired at high-speed ground vehicles racing across White Sands Missile Range, N.M., an MBDA leader noted. The weapon is performing exceptionally well in tests, said Doug Denneny, vice president for business development, government relations and communications, pointing to recent performance of the munition. Deployed from a Cessna Caravan, Viper-Es scored hits on eight vehicles moving at extremely high speeds in a two-day U.S. government-

20 | SOTECH 11.3

sponsored test at White Sands. The Viper Strike hit each vehicle in the spot where the laser indicated. The Viper Strike munition has been used in combat by both manned and unmanned aircraft. For example, the first combat drops of the Viper Strike were from the MQ-5B Hunter UAV in Iraq. When the parent aircraft drops the Viper Strike out of a common launch tube, at first it hangs from a parachute, then separates from the chute and begins gliding to the target. The Viper Strike uses large control surfaces to execute tight turns in case the target vehicle attempts evasive maneuvers. By not having a motor, the Viper Strike is silent, thereby not emitting noise to warn a fleeing enemy. A wide variety of aircraft can each carry many Viper-Es, a munition that weighs only 44 pounds. The launching aircraft can be off to one side of the target or directly over it at launch. Viper Strike can approach the target obliquely, from the side, or can come straight down on the target. Another weapon that can take out such targets is the Hellfire II missile from Lockheed Martin. This 100-pound-class air to ground asset—which can be launched from various platforms, including aircraft—is called the AGM-114R Hellfire II, or Hellfire Romeo. It offers precision-strike capability, thanks to semi-active laser seekers and a three-axis inertial measurement unit that permits the parent aircraft to engage targets laterally or from other points without maneuvering into position before launching Hellfire.

numerous military organizations worldwide that operate Cessna aircraft, ranging from the Cessna 172 to the Citation X. “Historically, Cessna’s Citation Jet aircraft have been modified for aerial surveillance and interdiction,” Craig recalled. “These aircraft are still operating in various parts of the world.” The Citation has twin jet engines mounted aft of the cabin windows on the fuselage. As for the ubiquitous Grand Caravan, it “has a useful load of over 4,000 pounds, and with the new Caravan EX 867 SHP this platform has a 30 percent increase over the legacy Grand Caravan,” Craig observed. Then there are smaller, lighter aircraft that nonetheless can perform the ISR mission, including those employing electro-optical infrared systems. “The single engine 172, 182 and 206 have been used by law enforcement agencies and Civil Air Patrol with EO/IR ISR missions internationally and domestically for many years,” he said. So how do these varied air platforms work to provide warriors with cutting-edge knowledge, keeping them apprised of and ahead of enemy actions? “Cessna aircraft have been modified for intelligence-gathering via surveillance and reconnaissance from a stand-off range, using electro-optic and infrared (EO/IR) technologies, and for C4I, C2I, command and control, airborne relay data-link information (piggyback), and weapons delivery systems,” Craig explained. In addition to all those capabilities, Cessna planes have other skills in their resumes. For example, “Cessna has modified the CJ1,

CJ2+, CJ3 and Grand Caravan for aerial mapping,” he continued. “The Grand Caravan has also been used for humanitarian relief flights, dropping packages to those in distress, and special forces operations.” Another strong point for the Cessna offerings, in addition to having a wide array of aircraft so just the right size can be selected, is that they entail cost savings versus larger platforms—a key point in an era of defense austerity. “Cessna is a leading proponent of [efficient and clean-running platforms] and working with our suppliers to produce and manufacture engines that not only [yield] lower fuel consumption and emissions, but also lower noise emissions,” Craig stressed. “For example Cessna has employed the Environmental Management and Operations [EOM], a trip-planning tool for all new aircraft. The EOM also calculates the amount of carbon dioxide generated for each planned trip.” Another cost-saving angle for Cessna is that it has produced thousands of planes, with a worldwide parts logistics and service network already in place, rather than having to spend money to create that capability. “Cessna as a world leader in aviation manufacturing, coupled with our worldwide network of service facilities, excels in valueadded construction and functionality processes,” Craig remarked. “And with legacy military support since World War II, Cessna aircraft are generally lower in acquisitions cost, operating costs, and overall life cycle costs [compared to] other competitors in each segment.”

With an improved warhead, the Hellpremier precision-strike air-to-ground fire Romeo can take out hard or soft tarand ground-to-ground weapon system, gets, as well as enclosed targets, so that he concluded. the launching aircraft can strike various Another asset, the Griffin missile kinds of targets of opportunity. produced by Raytheon, is an air and The Hellfire can be deployed from ground-launched weapon used in the various aircraft such as the Apache, full spectrum of combat operations. The Kiowa Warrior, Cobra and Seahawk helimissile’s flexible guidance options procopters, along with the Tiger Armed vide the operator the ability to select Reconnaissance helo for Australia and how to guide the weapon precisely to the the Tiger Hélicoptère d’Appui Destructarget—using GPS coordinates, inertial tion for France. It also can be launched navigation or laser designation. Addifrom the KC-130J Harvest Hawk and the tionally, Griffin’s effectiveness against Cessna Combat Caravan. a broad array of stationary and moving Hellfire II-compatible platforms The Viper Strike is a 44-pound munition that glides silently to its target. targets is facilitated by a simple, easy-to[Photo courtesy of MBDA] include rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, operate, graphic user interface enabling ground-based tripods, ground vehicles and boats, a Lockheed Martin the user to shape an attack against targets using either point detonaspokesman said. The Hellfire II can be launched autonomously or with tion, height-of-burst or delayed fuzing options. remote designation. Designed with low collateral damage in mind, Griffin measures only A new multi-purpose warhead enables the Hellfire II to neu43 inches long, weighs just 44 pounds in the launch tube and carries an tralize a broad target set previously requiring multiple Hellfire waradvanced 13-pound warhead. This considerable weight and size savings, head variants—from armor and air defense systems to patrol boats combined with Griffin’s all-weather precision guidance, provides the oneand enemy combatants in buildings, open areas, SUVs or caves, shot, one-kill capability desired by combat operators. As a result, Griffin he explained. is ideally suited for platforms that face weight and space constraints, Offering multi–mission, multi-target capability and precision–strike such as scout and attack helicopters, light attack fixed-wing aircraft and lethality, the Hellfire II missile is the primary 100-pound-class air–to– light infantry units.   ground precision weapon for U.S. armed forces and many other nations. Griffin also provides flexible integration options and uses off-theWith more than 47,000 rounds produced for the U.S. and 19 shelf components to rapidly equip fixed- and rotary-wing platforms with international customers, the laser-guided Hellfire missile is the world’s precision lethality.

SOTECH  11.3 | 21

Another consideration is that the planes have the chops to perform substantial missions. For example, “with a designed reserve of 45 minutes and a nominal fuel consumption rate at max cruise speed at 10,000 feet [altitude], that allows the Grand Caravan to fly over 900 miles, or a 450-mile combat radius,” Craig said. What that means is that “with a reduction in power, loiter time will increase to over six hours, reducing fuel burn and the need to refuel and reposition—saving time and extending the operational efficiencies of the mission,” he explained.

Integration Aside from having the right aircraft for the ISR mission, it also is crucial to have a firm with superior expertise to integrate ISR systems on the aircraft. That’s where SAIC, headquartered in McLean, Va., comes in, with a world of experience in this area. “Since 2006, SAIC has provided integrated ISR solutions for the U.S. military, including special operations end users, with project Angel Fire—the first tactical wide-area motion imagery capability utilized in combat,” according to Nick Gritti, SAIC vice president and director for program development, Airborne Systems Integration Operation. SAIC offers myriad capabilities, including sensor integration with airborne platforms, sensor-to-sensor integration, datalink/ SATCOM integration with sensor systems and ground stations

A New

(for both line of sight, or LOS, and beyond line-of-sight, or BLOS), and more. The company can handle ground station construction, integration and operation, along with processing, exploitation and dissemination. Also, SAIC can handle systems on board the aircraft, at ground stations that are LOS or BLOS, and systems that are nearreal-time or forensic. As for locations in the world, SAIC can ensure information integration at site of analysis/use, whether that is in theater or in CONUS. To guard against data falling into the wrong hands, SAIC can ensure there are multi-level security guards and gates to allow multiple levels of data to be utilized, including both data sharing across security domains and data sharing with allied nations. Turning to how the systems work, “SAIC provides multiple versions of airborne ISR to operators based on mission needs,” Gritti stated. For example,“In the case of Saturn Arch, a counter-IED capability utilizing hyperspectral imaging, the sensors, satcom transmitter and analysts are on board the DHC 8 aircraft, and data is relayed to the tactical operator in real-time as well as transmitted beyond line of site for further, longer term analysis,” he noted. In the case of Blue Devil Block 1, it offers full motion video, wide area day night imagery/motion imagery, and signals intelligence [SIGINT] capability currently resident on a King Air 90 aircraft. This is transferrable to other manned or unmanned platforms.

is AirborNe

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Sensor operations and information processing are performed off board. SIGINT analysis is distributed between CONUS and LOS operators, so it is near real time. Data is collected from the aircraft and transmitted via data link to ground station with analysts and sensor operators, and it is processed/exploited at the ground station and shared via face-to-face or radio or Remote Optical Video Enhanced Receiver/ One System Remote Video Terminal with SOC teams and/ or other users. USAF Expeditionary processing, exploitation and dissemination cells currently process information for feeding to the Air Force distributed Common Ground System. Land lines or other ground based satellite communications relay systems send stored data to CONUS for forensic analysis. SAIC integrates systems across a variety of platforms depending on user/customer needs. “Our integration capabilities are not tied to any particular The Cessna Caravan work station. [Photo courtesy of Cessna] aircraft system,” Gritti said. “Our Tactical Multi-Int Fusion System The DVR-Mini accepts high-definition serial digital interface is currently used as Blue Devil Block 1 on a contractor-owned/ video, platform audio and related metadata, from airborne sensors contractor-operated King Air 90 aircraft, but can be transitioned to for recording on removable solid state media. Up to four chanother manned and unmanned carriers. SAIC is currently developing nels of 1080p30 full motion video can be simultaneously recorded, this payload for integration on a long-endurance, medium-altitude monitored and replayed while airborne, he noted. Airborne replay UAV, as well as integration into larger special ops manned aircraft.” supports rapid aircrew decisions, giving operators a second look at SAIC is able to integrate ISR systems that enable aircraft to head high-interest targets or activities. out on a wide variety of missions. FMV analysts gain visually lossless video playback quality greater “To date, SAIC’s integration capabilities and systems have been than required by the Motion Imagery Standards Board, he said. The utilized in ISR missions, fused system ISR missions (i.e. real-time DVR-Mini interfaces directly with many ISR video sensor systems. integration of imagery, full motion imagery—day or night and difIt supports target identification and location, threat assessment, ferent flavors of SIGINT),” and more, Gritti continued. engagement effectiveness, damage assessment, and additional funcAs well, aircraft where SAIC has performed integration are capations performed post-mission such as mission debriefings, reports, ble of missions involving counter-IED work, pattern-of-life surveilforensics and pattern-of-life studies. lance of individuals, route reconnaissance, persistent surveillance, Since weight and space are critical on aircraft, a key requirement high-value target identification and counter-network operations. is for systems that are light and take up little space, as well as requir“What makes SAIC’s multi int/multi-platform integration skills ing minimal electrical power. unique is that they are truly mission tailored/tailorable,” Gritti said. The DVR-Mini meets that challenge, because it was expressly “The ‘secret sauce’ lies in our ability to truly integrate multiple designed as a small SWaP (small size, light weight, low power) sysstove-piped capabilities into a single coherent display output. We tem weighing less than 10 pounds and typically using only 85 watts have succeeded in this integration area because we recognize that power, he said. It occupies just 185 cubic inches, with the following successful action—whether a kinetic or non-kinetic special operadimensions: 4.2 by 5 by 8.8 inches. tion—is dependent on the quality of the information used to act, Another strong point for the DVR-Mini is that it is accommodatand that information comes from a variety of sensors, systems and ing, able to be integrated on many different types of aircraft. It is platforms, rather than from a single magic bullet.” qualified for tactical fighter, combat helicopter, remotely piloted and fixed wing aircraft, as well as environmentally challenging ground applications, Hoover noted. Eyeing the Enemy Another way it is flexible is in how the information may be presented and displayed, he continued. The DVR-Mini provides FMV From the aircraft that stays on station for hours, and those who viewing over any Gigabit Ethernet local area network at a client integrate the ISR systems, we now move to an onboard system that PC or workstation supporting a browser, such as Internet Explorer. can manage the flow of ISR data to ferret out enemy threats. Any media player can be used to view the streaming video from the Here, L-3 Communications-East, in Camden, N.J., provides the recorder (monitored input video and replayed video). The easy-tomeans for intel experts to view and review data streams to find key navigate user interface is browser-based, providing international facts that can save combatants’ lives. recorder button symbols for control, Hoover concluded. O The system is the DVR-Mini, or digital video recorder-mini, according to Jay Hoover, ISR business development manager. It is the latest in the S/TAR (strategic/tactical airborne recorder) For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at or search our online archives product line and supports ISR full motion video (FMV) data storage for related stories at and airborne replay, he explained.

SOTECH  11.3 | 23

Electrical units provide clean, mobile power to SOF, FOBs. By Thomas Withington, SOTECH Correspondent

The ever-increasing level of digitization on the battlefield is resulting in an ever-increasing demand for electricity. This poses a question regarding how troops can obtain sufficient energy when deployed at the forward edge of the battlefield to ensure that their myriad of tactical radios, optronics and battle management systems can operate. These same considerations also apply to forward operating bases (FOBs) which, more often than not, are likely to be located in Spartan areas with little or no local power supply, or a power supply which is vulnerable to sabotage and disruption. These considerations have resulted in the emergence of a community of companies who specialize in providing power generation systems for deployed troops and FOBs. Several of the products available surveyed below are based on traditional fuelburning generators. However, innovative solutions that utilize renewable energy provided by wind and solar power to generate electricity are also emerging.

24 | SOTECH 11.3

Design Considerations One name synonymous with military power generation systems is HDT Global. According to Mike Stolarz, vice president of business development, several design considerations come into play when considering how to power remote military bases. “The first is designing a system that can reliably produce power in all the operational environments and conditions where the FOB will be deployed: These include very high or low temperatures, high altitude and abusive conditions that would destroy commercial equipment.” Other challenges include “designing a system that meets these requirements [and] is small enough to be mobile without using heavy equipment so it can move as the FOB relocates.” Stolarz added that the final challenge is “making a system that is rugged and mobile and as fuel efficient as possible, so the logistics load to supply the FOB with fuel is also as small as possible.” Along with equipping the U.S. military, HDT Global supplies its generator products to the Swedish armed forces, the British Ministry of Defence, the Israeli Defense Forces and the Australian military. Other design considerations are also important. DRS Technologies reports that load factors are another important issue: “Most power generation systems are overpowered for the loads they service. The power generation equipment needs to be able to provide enough power to existing equipment, [while leaving] the user the ability to add additional load. Users want to know that there is enough power generation capacity in reserve so that when they plug something in, the electricity will be available.”

HDT Global HDT Global fielded its first generator to the U.S. military in 1995 in the form of the Generator ECU Trailer (GET). The GET can be towed using a standard HMMWV, and the company says that all branches of the U.S. armed forces are using this product. Generating 25 kilowatts (kW), the GET has a rugged design and has been tested in extreme environmental conditions. Other products based on the GET that provide even more power are also available. These include the 35KW GET, which consumes around 2.8 gallons-per-hour (GPH), a slight increase on the 2.25 GPH consumed by the 25kW GET. The company adds that its products can include a high degree of customization to tailor them to specific requirements. Customers requiring semi-permanent generators at FOBs can opt for HDT Global’s 100kW turbocharged diesel engine generator. The company says that this product can be used to power small- or medium-sized shelters, or can be teamed with another generator, such as one of the firm’s GET units, for larger shelter complexes. A full tank of fuel provides up to eight hours’ operation, and the generator consumes 1.2GPH when operating at full capacity. Alongside this 100kW system, the company produces 25kW, 35kW, 45kW and 60kW versions of the turbocharged diesel engine generator. Beyond its traditional diesel generators, HDT Global has branched out into providing renewable energy solutions to equip FOBs. The use of renewable energy is gaining traction with the Department of Defense, which is under budgetary pressure to reduce its fuel consumption. Fuel delivered in theater can cost up to $400 per gallon. DoD also wishes to reduce its dependence on

energy supply routes, which, as the fuel convoy network operating through Pakistan to supply NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan has shown, can be vulnerable to terrorist attack. While it is unlikely that renewable energy will completely replace traditional fossil fuel electricity generating methods in the short term, renewable power can offer a useful supplement to reduce diesel consumption. HDT Global’s renewable energy products include the HDT 300 Series solar array product. This is built around cliptogether solar panels that can be mounted on the roof of a shelter. Each 5-foot-wide panel can be easily clipped together and the entire system can be operational in a very short time. A 20-footlong cable can be supplied with the system to provide static power to military vehicles with standard 24-volt power supplies.

DRS Technologies Large power generation systems are also available from DRS Technologies. Its product line includes the 100kW Tactical Quiet Generator (TQG) set. Using an electronically fuel injected diesel engine, the 100kW TQG also has an integral electronics diagnostic and prognostic system. The 100kW can run on a number of different fuel types and, as its name suggests, produces sound levels of 72 decibels. An aluminum frame also helps to reduce weight, with the dry mass of the 100kW TQG being 5,880 pounds. Customers requiring less power can opt for the 10kW TQG, which can be mounted on a trailer and used in a wide range of extreme environmental conditions, weighing 1,185 pounds when fueled. Eight hours of operation is possible with the 10kW TQG with a full tank of nine gallons of fuel. A 15kW TQG is also available. This product can be mounted on a trailer and weighs 2,124 pounds when fueled, carrying 14 gallons of fuel for up to eight hours of operation. Meanwhile, DRS Technologies produces smaller generators in the form of the 3kW TQG, which has eight hours operation and a 69 decibel sound level, and a 5kW TQG product that gives eight hours’ operation on five gallons of fuel while producing 70 decibels.

Dewey Electronics While DRS Technologies systems are designed to equip FOBs and static locations, Dewey Electronics builds comparatively lightweight, man-portable generators. In terms of weight, its lightest product is its 2kW man-portable diesel generator. Available in both 120VAC and 28VDC versions, this generator can be supplied with an optional electronic control remote fueling kit. “A power system that you can pick up and carry with you is absolutely essential,” said John Dewey of Dewey Electronics. He added that due to ease of use and portability, his company is noticing a major demand for 28VDC systems. “With 28VDC, people understand their power and how to conserve it. With AC systems you can require a power engineer, which you may not have access to in an austere environment.” Also, “28VDC diesel generators are the largest generators which can be picked up and moved without a forklift.” Such a voltage level also has an attraction from a safety point of view. “With 28VDC, if you short something out, you probably won’t hurt yourself,” he explained. Soldiers using such generators tend to run them for a short time to charge the batteries on their systems, helping to reduce wear and tear on the generator and reduce fuel consumption. SOTECH  11.3 | 25

Goodman Ball Similarly, small generators are available from Goodman Ball, including its Model 1110 2kW open-frame generator designed for operations in extreme conditions even at temperatures of -25 F up to 125 F. Two gallons of fuel will allow the generator to run for six hours, and its dry weight is 135 pounds. The generator can be started using either the hand start or the electric start function. The firm’s Model 1120 generator has a similar power output and fuel consumption, with an audible signature below 78 decibels. Goodman Ball’s 1130 product, which weighs in at 166 pounds, also produces 2kW of power, although the 2kW Model 1140 is a shade lighter at 130 pounds. Higher power outputs are available from the firm’s Model 2110 generator, which produces 2.5kW for four hours with just under two gallons of fuel. This product’s dry weight is 230 pounds. In the 5kW category, Goodman Ball builds the Model 4310 generator, which weighs 585 pounds. Finally, although it weighs 850 pounds, Goodman Ball’s Model 3310 generator produces 20kW, consuming up to 3 GPH of fuel.

SkyBuilt Power In terms of the other renewable energy solutions offered to soldiers in the field and FOBs alike, SkyBuilt Power has developed a series of products using both solar and wind energy. Marie Russell of Skybuilt Power said that the company offers “very ruggedized products. They are mobile and are designed so all the systems, including the solar panels and wind turbines, are quick and easy to deploy.” Large systems produced by the company include the SkyStation. This product can be airlifted by helicopter and handled by a forklift truck. The SkyStation product is built around a container which comes complete with solar panels, batteries and wind turbines. A similar mix of power systems is also included in the company’s SkyTrailer product. As its name implies, this is a towed renewable energy system that also includes a diesel generator. Generated power can be stored on the SkyTrailer and produced at 120 volts, 60 hertz AC or 24VDC or other power levels, according to the user’s needs. Any additional power collected or generated by the SkyTrailer is stored in its battery banks for later use. Should the voltage levels of these battery banks fall below a set threshold, then the SkyTrailer’s diesel generator will automatically start to charge them. Moreover, when the sky becomes cloudy, the diesel generator can be used to provide power. Remote combat outposts can employ SkyBuilt’s mobile tactical microgrid (MTM). Built on a trailer, the MTM includes energy storage, renewable energy generation and a control unit to equip remote FOBs with an electricity grid. The MTM monitors and tasks a number of different power sources, which can include diesel generators, solar panels, wind turbines and batteries. The MTM controls these sources and prioritizes the power generation systems in order to maximize fuel efficiency. 26 | SOTECH 11.3

The 3kW TQC is man portable. [Photo courtesy of DRS Technologies]

For soldiers in the field needing power, SkyBuilt’s SkyCase provides a man-portable renewable energy generation system. The SkyCase is highly portable and contains solar blankets, wind turbines and batteries to power everything from man-portable communications systems, surveillance sensors and optronics to computers and battery chargers. The SkyCase can be set up in minutes, and has a modular design enabling it to be easily scaled up when required. All of these components are enclosed in a rugged carrying case that features a lithium-ion battery with a liquid crystal display to disclose the levels of battery usage. Also included are the company’s SkyPak portable array kits, which are fold-out solar arrays that can be operational in less than five minutes. An optional small inverter system is also included to convert the power output to either AC or DC, along with an optional wind turbine. For the future, diesel generators are likely to be around for some years yet. While renewables do offer hope regarding the reduction of fossil fuels, many soldiers may feel reticent to abandon the use of their traditional generators. The reason for this is simple: How do you power your systems or charge their batteries when the sky is cloudy, or the air calm? At the same time, the move toward reducing fossil fuel consumption is here to stay, which is where such technology will certainly have a role to play. DoD, for example, wants to increase its use of renewable energy by 25 percent by 2025. The Marine Corps is pursuing renewables with even more alacrity and wants to increase use of renewable energy by 50 percent in this time frame. For Stolarz of HDT Global, “The future of FOB power production lies in the effective management of fuel-fired power generation systems, and in the integration of alternative and renewable power sources to reduce generator run time to the absolute minimum while still providing power surety for times of high load, poor renewable production, or combat situations.” O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at or search our online archives for related stories at

SOTECH RESOURCE CENTER Advertisers Index Alenia Aermacchi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 ATK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 David Clark Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 L-3 Communications Systems – East . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

MBDA Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Persistent Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Ruag Aviation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Calendar April 30-May 1, 2013 AUSA Braxton Bragg Symposium Fort Bragg, N.C.

May 7-9, 2013 SpecOps West Warfighter Expo Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash.


May 14-16, 2013 SOFIC Tampa, Fla.

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

USASOC Advisor Hearne Receives Commission The commissioning document began with the wording, “Reposing special trust and confidence in your integrity, prudence and ability, I have nominated and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, do appoint you the title, Consular in the Diplomatic Service of the United States of America, signed Barack Obama, president of the United States.” With that, Dennis Hearne, Senior Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State, was commissioned to the grade equivalence of a one-star general. A 27-year veteran with the State Department, Hearne is the foreign political advisor to the United States Army Special Operations Command. Officiating at the ceremony, Lieutenant General Charles Cleveland, Commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, praised Hearne’s accomplishments since his arrival at the command in August 2012. “Mr. Hearne is an essential member of the USASOC in his role as political advisor,” said Richard Holcomb, deputy commander at USASOC. “He is an outstanding liaison with the State Department and other U.S. government agencies. His valuable insight, experience and wisdom make a significant difference at every level within the command’s strategic, operational, and tactical actions.” A native of North Carolina, Hearne entered the United States Foreign Service in 1985 after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University. Fluent in Croatian and Portuguese, Hearne has held several positions overseas, and his extensive political experience was essential when serving as a political advisor in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s. He later worked with the International Criminal Tribunal war crimes commission for the former Yugoslavia, and recently, as the political advisor for the commanding general of all U.S. and coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Among his other assignments, Hearne held posts with the Bureau of European Affairs and with the Bureau of Political Military Affairs in the Department of State. Hearne was stationed as counselor of political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, and as U.S. consul general in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before arriving at USASOC. Hearne is the first political advisor for USASOC. “Mine is one of the many political advisor positions spread throughout the military commands and a reflection of the way the relationships between the Department of State and military have deepened due to the different situations we face today,” said Hearne. “The Career Foreign Services Officer Corps is like military officers—we are presidentially commissioned, and this appointment today was especially rewarding,” said Hearne. He is a five time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and two Meritorious Honor Awards.

SOTECH  11.3 | 27


Special Operations Technology

Paul A. Gierow President and CEO GATR Technologies Paul Gierow spent his early career developing and managing space industry projects. In 2004, he founded GATR Technologies. He and long-time collaborator William Clayton designed the GATR inflatable satellite antenna, used by U.S. and other militaries and commercial entities. Gierow is a registered professional engineer, holding many patents and publishing more than 20 papers on inflatable and deployable structures. Q: GATR Technologies is relatively new. Can you tell us a bit about it, and how it differentiates itself from competitors? A: GATR was formed in 2004. We develop highly deployable inflatable satellite communication terminals that enable highbandwidth satellite communications in remote areas. We currently manufacture 1.2-, 1.8-, and 2.4-meter antennas and also provide inflatable antenna accessories, such as outdoor ruggedized modems, DC injection units and power supplies. The key differentiator of the GATR is the ability to pack a large-aperture antenna in a small package—our most popular model, the 2.4-meter, packs into a compression bag weighing only 22 pounds, compared to 700 pounds for a conventional dish. The GATR reduces packaged weight and volume by up to 80 percent and delivers the same signal performance as a rigid antenna. Reduced space requirements during transport allow for other critical gear or personnel to be added, while reduced weight makes it less expensive to transport or ship. At the same time, it preserves the advantage of larger dishes, such as higher bandwidth, C-band capability and lower satellite power, reducing the cost required to establish a link. Also, the radome’s round shape provides increased stability in high winds. Q: GATR antenna systems take a different approach to SATCOM. How did this evolve? A: GATR is proud to say that we are the only company in the world producing inflatable SATCOM antennas. 28 | SOTECH 11.3

higher throughput communications in rugged environments. Less mechanics with virtually no tools required and ease of use offers a greater advantage of self-sufficiency, interoperability, and the preparedness needed to carry out assigned missions and tasks.

Many of the early technologies used in development of the GATR were first intended for space, but they proved even more useful in ground applications. The GATR antenna concept was further refined through internal company investment and two DoD Small Business Innovative Research contracts: one managed by the Space and Missile Defense Command and sponsored by the Missile Defense Agency, and the other with Air Force Research Labs. Additional funding was provided by the Defense Directorate of Research and Engineering. The GATR antenna met the FCC’s main beam envelope requirements and received FCC licensing for several VSAT networks in 2007. Our technology was then transitioned to SOCOM for evaluation. SOCOM soon adopted the GATR and made our inflatable antenna an evolutionary component to their deployable node family of terminals. 2009 was a big year for us. SOCOM issued a Phase III SBIR sole source procurement contract to us, and we also landed on Inc. Magazine’s List of America’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies. GATR was also named one of Inc.’s Hottest Products of the Year. We’re pleased to have maintained our presence on Inc.’s list every year since. Q: What makes the GATR antenna systems better for special operators than other flyaway systems? A: Operators often face constraints such as transportation logistics and a need for greater bandwidth in the field. Our systems are designed to be ultra-portable and highly modular by reducing the weight and volume of a large aperture antenna by up to 80 percent. This makes transport of high-bandwidth SATCOM tremendously easier and enables

Q: Does the GATR system address or resolve other communications challenges in austere environments—bandwidth, transmission speeds, network connectivity, etc.? A: Absolutely. Our product performance has been proven in multiple, distinct environments and provides higher gain in situations where smaller dishes simply underperform. The portability of our systems allows them to be utilized in scenarios and locations where rigid dishes of similar size are too heavy and too costly to use. GATR antennas provide a major advantage by allowing operators to bring in a high-quality SATCOM solution with an aperture large enough to satisfy link requirements and connectivity needs. Q: Do you see SATCOM technologies changing over the next five to 10 years? A: As U.S. and coalition forces redeploy from long-term, forward operating centers in Iraq and Afghanistan, more agile mission requirements will demand greater portability in communications infrastructure. GATR’s focus on reduced weight and volume fits well into those types of operational scenarios. Also, GATR’s fully certified X-band terminals and pending Ka-band WGS certification enable commanders to rapidly deploy high-bandwidth terminals for use on government-owned satellites, as well as commercial assets. We plan to continue developing innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of the warfighter. Q: Anything else you would like to add? A: With today’s constrained budgets, the men and women of our armed forces are required to do more with less; GATR is delivering technology that meets the performance challenges while reducing the packaged weight and volume by up to 80 percent. O

May 2013 Volume 11, Issue 4

Next Issue

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

Adm. Bill H. McRaven Commander Special Operations Command

Special Section SOCOM Program Management Updates Leaders of SOCOM procurement programs provide an up-to-the-minute assessment of where each program stands, and how it will help special operators perform the most difficult job on the planet.

Features IED Detection and Defeat Since the September 11 attacks on America, a treacherous enemy afraid to confront U.S. forces in open combat has hidden in the shadows, employing concealed improvised explosive devices that have become the leading killer of U.S. and coalition troops. We examine cutting-edge technologies to defeat IEDs.

Global SOF Training Before any special operator is sent into harm’s way, it is crucial that the warrior be fully prepared, knowing what the enemy will do, and how to defeat the foe. Take a tour of some advanced training systems that provide combatants with a cutting edge.

Rapidly Deployable Networks Knowledge is power, and that is especially true on the current battlefield. Examine with us some of the comms systems that create instant networks, funneling urgent information to combatants, including voice comms, airborne ISR video, cartography, information on blue-force locations and much more.

Robotics Technology Being a special operator is a dangerous and grueling job. Operators depend on life-saving robots for many aspects of that job—deactivating IEDs or clearing hostile buildings, covert listening, and hauling heavy loads.

SOF Tactical Vehicles We welcome you to ride shotgun as we test-drive myriad transports for special operators. These platforms can include blistering off-road speed to avoid enemy roadside bombs, comfortable rides, multiple configurations to fulfill different missions, and more.

Bonus Distribution:


Insertion Order Deadline: april 23, 2013 | Ad Materials Deadline: april 30, 2013

Sotech 11 3 final

Sotech 11 3 final