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Special Section:

Unmanned Systems

Efficient Instructor Brig. Gen. Jon A. Weeks Commander Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center Air Force Special Operations Command

August 2013

Volume 11, Issue 7

GeoPDF Project O FMV O SOCOM & AFSOC Opportunities UAV Weapon Systems O Encrypted Communications Systems

Dual Mode Brimstone® Missile Defeats moving and maneuvering targets

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•AffordableandavailablenowforUS unmannedandmannedplatforms •Lowriskofcollateraldamage •Combat-provenofffighteraircraft inAfghanistanandLibya •DualModemmWand SALseekerforthemost challengingtargets See us at AUVSI and Learn more at:

Special Operations Technology Features

Cover / Q&A



Special Section: Unmanned Systems

The GeoPDF Project

A small number of professionals are able to use complex GIS applications effectively, and many soldiers don’t have the time, training or resources to translate geospatial data into actionable information. The U.S. Army Geospatial Center has discovered and embraced an innovative means of converting complex, intricate National GeospatialIntelligence Agency and U.S. Geological Survey GIS/map data into a GeoPDF format, allowing users to exploit data without advanced training. By Raymond Caputo

Increasingly, missions ranging from ISR to highrisk EOD work are being executed by unmanned systems, which often have far greater endurance than humans. It means that combatants aren’t placed in harm’s way. By Peter Buxbaum


Full Motion Video Warriors need to know where the enemy is and what he is preparing to do next. Full motion video can provide that critical information, and also keep friendly forces informed of each others’ location. By Jeff Campbell

August 2013 Volume 11, Issue 7


Encrypted Communications Services

Keeping phone calls, texts and online communications private is a must for SOF operators. We look at systems that ensure only the sender and intended recipient(s) are privy to the communications via encryption services. By Jeff Campbell

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



Traditionally, UAVs performed ISR missions to locate potential enemy targets, which then would have to be taken out by land or air forces. But now, UAVs—after discovering targets— can also eliminate them, saving critical time. We examine key UAV weapon systems. By Scott Nance

New business prospects continue to open up for vendors large and small. We break down SOCOM RFI for a mobile SIGINT system, and an AFSOC Special Operations Weather Team RFQ for a small tactical upper air sensing system. By Jeff Campbell

UAV Weapons Systems

SOCOM and AFSOC Opportunities

Industry Interview Mark Belanger

Director of DoD Robotic Products iRobot Corporation, Defense and Security Business Unit


16 Brigadier General Jon A. Weeks

Commander Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center Air Force Special Operations Command

“I emphasize that our new instructors and evaluators keep safety and discipline as their number one task, while maintaining credibility and proficiency, not just currency, in their current mission.” —Brig. Gen. Jon A. Weeks


Special Operations Technology Volume 11, Issue 7 • August 2013

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

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

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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 Trade Show Coordinator Holly Foster Receptionist Vania’ Jones Operations, Circulation & Production Operations Administrator Bob Lesser Circulation & Marketing Administrator Duane Ebanks Circulation Barbara Gill Data Specialists Raymer Villanueva Summer Walker

With more than two decades in uniform, many retired SOF operators can think of a gear modification or two that would help them better complete a mission—and they’re keen to go into business for themselves. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has published some interesting facts about veteran-owned small businesses: Veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no military experience to be entrepreneurs; veterans own nearly one in 10 of all businesses nationwide; and 8.3 percent of those owners have service-related disabilities. These facts are according to SBA Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) Associate Administrator Rhett Jeppson, a lieutenant colonel in the Jeff Campbell Editor U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, who has served at SOCOM and Special Operations Command Central. The OVBD serves the veteran-owned small business community by acting as liaison, advocate and ombudsman. The OVBD has several programs to help veterans get on the right track to small business ownership, including boots to business (B2B). “SBA and its partners are working with the DoD to provide entrepreneurial training to servicemembers transitioning out of active duty,” Jeppson said. “B2B is designed to assist approximately 250,000 veterans annually to seek self-employment opportunities, and to develop a feasibility survey and a business plan.” SBA also chairs the interagency task force on Veterans Small Business Development. “In 2011, the task force identified goals and since has been advocating for policy changes to increase veteran entrepreneurial opportunities for both potential and existing veteran business owners,” Jeppson said. Copies of the 2011 and subsequent 2012 report are available at The website is also a one-stop shop for veteran entrepreneurs. “SBA instituted a new online contracting tutorial to help veterans and military spouses who own small businesses identify and win federal contracting opportunities,” Jeppson said. Both the “Full Motion Video” and “Encrypted Communication” features in this issue include small businesses led by veterans with extensive experience in special operations. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about SOTECH.

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Communications Headset Milestone Permanent hearing impairment is the number one service-related disability among U.S. veterans. The 3M Peltor tactical communications (COMTAC) III advanced communication headset (ACH), now in its fifth year of full-rate production, supports servicemembers’ operational effectiveness and helps preserve their hearing. The COMTAC III ACH helps personnel maintain clear tactical communications by attenuating loud sounds—such as weapons fire or vehicle noise—to safe levels. The device also helps maintain situational awareness in quieter environments, enabling warfighters to hear ambient sounds.

The COMTAC III ACH is fielded the Joint Special Operations Command, the U.S. Army Rapid Fielding Initiative, and special operations forces.

HD Battlefield System Tested Raytheon Company’s 3rd generation forward looking infrared (3rd Gen FLIR) Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS) and fire control successfully achieved proof of concept in a series of laboratory and field tests at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Preliminary evaluation of the impact of firing all versions of the tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire command-link guided missile was also performed. “Raytheon’s FLIR improvement program provides warfighters with better clarity at all ranges, allowing them to identify targets and differentiate between combatants and non-combatants at greater stand-off ranges,” said Jeff Miller, vice president of combat and sensing systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. “Implementing 3rd Gen ITAS FLIR improvements will continue to give our warfighters in the field an unfair advantage in the fight.” During the test, the 3rd Gen ITAS FLIR demonstrated improved sensor performance and enhanced situational awareness. The demonstration was conducted in the presence of program office personnel from the U.S. Army’s Close Combat Weapons Systems and Army Aviation and Missile Research and Development Engineering Center.

Next-Gen UAS Improved General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA ASI) has announced the successful first flight of the U.S. Army’s Improved Gray Eagle (IGE), a nextgeneration derivative of the combat-proven Block 1 Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that has accumulated over 70,000 flight hours since 2008. The flight occurred at the company’s El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. “Improved Gray Eagle will provide a gamechanging capability, adding more endurance, more payload carriage, with increased reliability for our Army customer,” said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “The first flight of this aircraft ushers in a new era in unmanned aviation, building upon the successes of its predecessor and providing unmatched, lifesaving support for our troops abroad.” IGE is a capability enhancement over the Block 1 Gray Eagle configuration and was designed for increased endurance, with 23 additional hours for reconnaissance missions. The aircraft’s payload capacity features 50-plus percent more payload carriage than Gray Eagle, while also offering 50 percent more fuel capacity via its deep belly fuselage. Gray Eagle is currently operational and anticipates a full-rate production decision in June.

SOTECH  11.7 | 3


Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Successful Flight Test BAE Systems and United Technologies Corporation have completed a flight test of the multi-service standard guided projectile (MS-SGP). The test, conducted at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., demonstrated the MS-SCP’s performance from a 5-inch 62-caliber Mk 45 Mod 4 Naval Gun System. “Currently the U.S. and its allies are using significantly more expensive solutions to address fire support and tactical targets,” said Chris Hughes, vice president and general

manager of weapon systems at BAE Systems. “The projectile can provide the U.S. forces with an affordable, long-range, and precision gun-launched projectile to greatly expand our fire support capability.” The program aims to address stationary or moving targets at a fraction of the cost of current alternatives by providing a single projectile capable of tactical fire. The MS-SGP has an accuracy rate of less than five meters at a maximum range of nearly 100 kilometers.

PEOPLE The 2013 Ranger Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held at the Maneuver Center of Excellence headquarters building on Fort Benning. The Ranger Training Brigade and the 75th Ranger Regiment inducted retired General Peter Schoomaker; retired Lieutenant General Gary Speer; retired Lieutenant Colonels James Dabney and Frederick Spaulding; retired Major Carleton Vencill; retired Command Sergeants Major Andrew McFowler, Doug Greenway, Bill Smith, Charles Williams, Robert Gilbert and Joe Mattison; retired Sergeants Major Matthew Berrena and Pat Hurley; and retired Master Sergeants Howard Mullen,

4 | SOTECH 11.7

Support Contract Awarded SOCOM has awarded a contract to Herndon, Va.-based Northrop Grumman Technical Services Inc. to provide exercise and training support to command staff, battle staff and theater special operations commands. Some work will be performed at various exercise locations throughout the United States and overseas, while the majority of the training will take place at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. The contract uses fiscal year 2013 operations and maintenance funds, and is expected to be complete by June of 2014.

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Thomas Bragg and Vincent Melillo. Lieutenant General Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander, presided over the 27th Special Operations Wing Change of Command during which Colonel Tony D. Bauernfeind took command from Brigadier General Buck Elton.

Director Colonel Michael J. Warmack has been nominated to the rank of brigadier general. Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Maitre relinquished command of the 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron to Lieutenant Colonel Jay Pelka during a change of command ceremony at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Joint Special Operations Command Chief of Staff Colonel Mark C. Schwartz has been nominated to the rank of brigadier general.

Colonel Bryan P. Fenton, currently director of operations, Joint Special Operations Command, SOCOM, Fort Bragg, N.C., has been nominated to the rank of brigadier general.

U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center Civil Affairs Branch

During the 353rd Special Operations Maintenance

Squadron change of command ceremony at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Emory took command from Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Maitre. Lockheed Martin has appointed Chandra McMahon vice president of commercial markets for the company’s information systems and global solutions business. McMahon, who has more than 25 years of experience in the information technology industry, will lead Lockheed Martin’s cybersecurity capabilities and associated portfolio of information technology solutions.

Future-proofing FMV systems to work well with coalition partners.

By Jeff Campbell, SOTECH Editor

able to provide that capability for the warYou’ll never meet an operator who wants fighter.” to go down range carrying half a dozen difA successful partnership helped them ferent pieces of communication gear, adding introduce the AN/PRC-148 with FMV receiver burdensome pounds in addition to regular mission module, the smallest video/datalink mission-essential gear. Many small and large analog/digital receiver on the market today. businesses haven’t—often because they’re “It provides simultaneous full motion video staffed with retired operators who know receive and VHF/UHF line of sight operations exactly what the active SOF team needs to for the warfighter,” Queen said. “It provides execute a mission more effectively. concurrent FMV and transmit/receive combat Full motion video (FMV) enables operanet operations all in one system, essentially tors to see what’s around the corner or farther eliminating the need to carry a separate standdown range. It can be beamed right into alone FMV receiver.” The system is about 2.5 the operator’s hand through a mission modpounds, including the battery, antenna and ule on a joint tactical radio system (JTRS)mission module. enhanced multiband inter/intra team radio In addition to decreasing the weight and (JEM). Thales Communications Inc. produces operator’s footprint, swapping modules elimithe most widely used handheld radio device, nates the need to purchase new separate the Army Navy portable radio communication systems, saving taxpayer dollars in these tight (AN/PRC-148) JEM. fiscal times. “It’s a cost-effective solution that “We have over 200,000 AN/PRC-148s provides current and next-generation techfielded to the military, quite a few to SOCOM, nology,” Queen said. quite a few to Army, Air Force and Marine Corps,” said Thales Business Development Director Travis Queen. Those customers’ Lighter, Smaller and hands are occupied with many tasks, so More Affordable having to carry separate receivers for radio, video and data wasn’t efficient. Thales works Coastal Defense Inc. President Kyle Stanwith industry partners who have video/data bro founded the service-disabled veteranlink receivers and miniaturizes them into owned small business after he retired from a smaller form factor, the mission module. the Air Force. While serving as a joint ter“Then the operators are actually able to attach minal attack controller overseas, a couple of that to their radios and then his good friends were killed. have a reduced size, weight At that time, he was using and power capability,” Queen a remotely operated video said, adding that Thales has enhanced receiver (ROVER) a reputation for working well that weighed 25-30 pounds, with partners. “We’re not the adding too much weight one button to push for every to operate effectively. The single solution out there. We ROVER worked well for vehihave our strengths, and we cle operations, but once the take a look at other companies world required mobile troops that have capabilities that we on the ground, a smaller, Travis Queen can bring over in to mission lighter option was needed. module form factors, to be “When I retired, I was really

determined to help my teammates out, so I had a receiver built and worked to get the current system to be smaller and lighter,” Stanbro said. Stanbro showed his new system around to good response, then teamed with an engineering shop and bought a machine shop and continued working to build the system smaller and lighter, until he produced the multi-band video receiver IV (MVR-IV). It’s a handheld unit that receives FMV in real time on the L, S and C bands, and weighs just 2 pounds. It all came together based on feedback from his fellow operators. “As an operator, I knew what I wanted, I just didn’t know how to get it, so when I retired, I said, ‘I’m going to get the operator what he wants,’” Stanbro said. The operator needs lighter and smaller equipment, and his boss needs it to be affordable. Coastal Defense miniaturized internal components to lighten the system, and used standard military batteries and off-the-shelf displays to minimize cost. Whether from aircraft, UAV, or ground-based video sources, MVR-IV can provide situational awareness to SOF operators on the ground. After-action reports of use in the field are classified, but Stanbro said the Marines really love it. “I work with them to integrate it into their systems,” Stanbro said, citing one instance where he sent a unit replacement cables at no charge. “They’re Marines, and they’re out doing the country’s work, so whatever I can do to support those guys, I love to help them.” The original intent of the MVR was never to start a small business, it was to help his buddies who needed a better system, but the demand increased and Coastal Defense was born. The company now has 10 employees. “Technology is always moving forward,” Stanbro said. “I think with the sequestration and engagements overseas cutting back, we’re going to have to start looking at smarter, cost-effective solutions.” One of those

SOTECH  11.7 | 5

solutions may be a mobile wireless network. Similar to a personal network at home where people connect to the Internet, an aircraft could arrive in an area of responsibility and operators could check into that network. Before that scenario becomes a reality, Stanbro’s near-term goal is to shrink the MVR system to the size of a cell phone. “That’s what I’m pushing for; that’s where I think guys are looking to go,” he said. “Right now, it’s about 50 percent bigger than a cell phone, which isn’t too bad, but I’m still working out heat displacement and video screen resolution.” Other additions in the next generation of the MVR system include making it daylight readable, extending the battery life, and making sure it works with legacy systems. The ease of compatibility is more crucial as SOCOM continues to expand the global SOF partnership. “There are so many thousands of systems out there, and [partner nations] are not going to be able to upgrade them. There’s no way you can upgrade them all,” Stanbro said. “With coalition forces having the older version, you’ve got to maintain that capability, and then you’ve got to move forward to the next capability. So we’re making our software upgradeable, just like you can update on your phone with an app.” Another Thales offering, the MBITR 2, is the world’s first and only simultaneous two-channel handheld radio, which is about the same size as the 148 design. “The cool thing about the FMV mission modules, and mission modules in general, is they can also leverage against the MBITR 2,” Queen said. “So if you have a JEM and then you upgrade to a MBITR 2, that theoretically gives the operator a three-channel handheld radio.” In that case, an operator could use two of the three simultaneously and configure it as necessary, leveraging future mission module capabilities. Having FMV and transmit and receive concurrent in one system allows the operator to pull down FMV while simultaneously transmitting and receiving on the radio, all on the same device. “Instead of them carrying another device to do voice and a device to do full motion video, they can do everything on one single device now, which is pretty significant,” Queen said. Now the operator doesn’t need to carry additional devices, just mission modules tailored to meet specific objectives. Looking at mission modules as a whole, Thales is essentially building a family of them that can be carried downrange in the operator’s cargo pocket or ruck and hot-swapped in the field to 6 | SOTECH 11.7

quickly access additional capabilities. Beyond FMV and voice, Thales is looking at more module types, such as a wave relay mission module. “We’re looking at various data, various covert-type communication solutions in the mission module form factor,” Queen said. The ultimate goal for Thales is continuing to reduce size, weight and power. “We wanted to be able to reduce, swap and eliminate the need to carry another stand-alone receiver,” Queen said, stressing that the team wanted to produce a module that has “phenomenal” battery life. “It’s not going to make sense for the operator if they slap on a FMV mission module, and then their voice and their FMV only gets two hours.”

FMV and Motion Imagery Combined Once the FMV feed is secure, intel analysts can combine it with motion imagery data to give a SOF team actionable intelligence. An enterprise solution emerged to make this possible about seven years ago at Harris. Originally from the broadcast side of the house, Harris Corporation Strategy Officer and Architect John Delay was responsible for strategic growth programs when he led the team through architecting the full motion video asset management engine (FAME). “Over a course of time, we transitioned not only the development work, but also people like myself from the broadcast division into the government segment,” Delay said. “Subsequently, the system has been deployed in enterprise networks as part of a couple different programs, and has continued to evolve capability-wise from being FMV-only to being multi-intelligence (MultiINT) enterprise management, for not only FMV but also imagery data, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, wide area motion imagery, hyper spectral imaging (HSI), and signals intelligence data (SIGINT). [It] really [is] giving you an enterprise system that allows you to search and discover any of those data types.” One of the key technologies that Harris took from the broadcasting world and implemented in the FAME enterprise system is a concept called “evolved FMV.” “Imagine being able to create what is equivalent to a CNN news broadcast but actually fuse Multi-INT data in real time, or very near real time, with the video feed and then broadcast that video feed as an outbound feed,” Delay said. The result provides context to the source, giving the operator intel about what they’re looking

at, such as what the target of interest is and what its geospatial location is. FAME can also incorporate chat sessions relevant to that mission. “So now, we’re taking what was normally just raw video that you get off of the sensor and we’re adding context to that,” Delay said. “Then that is disseminated to tactical users who are consuming that data, making the data much more relevant to them.” Once wide-area motion imagery is ingested, operators can also search and find data inside a large image. Beyond that, FAME can stream out a view port or multiple view ports of intersections of interest—particular regions mission planners may want to research—and play out that data in a very granular way. “A third example of the kind of things that we can do with this enterprise system is to take a live, incoming FMV stream, extract the geospatial reference data for where the sensor is at, and automatically correlate other data types which are in the same region of interest based on a bounding box the analyst sets up,” Delay explained. So instead of an analyst having to search to see if an up-to-date image, recent SIGINT, or any recent track data is available, FAME automatically finds that data and puts it at their fingertips. Harris’ objective with the enterprise approach to FAME is to reduce the dependency on the traditional client server application and enable the discovery of data across many different data types. At the same time, they’re recording and archiving everything. “We are trying to take the best technologies from the broadcast community and move those technologies and adapt them— there’s work that has to be done—but take those concepts and adapt them to serve the DoD intel community,” Delay said. “If you look down the road, once we get the enterprise systems deployed on a wide basis, and you get enough Multi-INT data in it, now you can start turning your attention to more production-oriented tools, like newsroom production tools that add value.” The intel community needs to give mission planners activity-based intelligence, and dealing with data on a real-time basis makes it much easier. “All of this metadata that gets ingested in the system is correlated frameaccurately to the motion imagery,” Delay said, adding that the extra benefit of motion imagery data inclusion has been eye-opening to longtime users. “We ingest it frame-accurately so you can correlate data to frames of imagery.” Through FAME, analysts can also treat imagery like FMV, playing stacks of images

like a flip book, creating motion imagery out of imagery data. “By doing this, you open up the aperture of the art of the possible of these data types, and you’re starting to look at the data from a time perspective and a geospatial perspective,” Delay said. “In most previous implementations or systems, they primarily interact with the data geospatially.” Today, the human interaction for analysts with data is data-centric. “It’s a specific data modality, and for them to try to correlate the fact that there was a SIGINT hit the same time that there was FMV on a target is a very difficult thing to do,” Delay said. “SIGINT is just one example, it could also be track data, or it could be data that you’re pulling from known target databases in the intel community.” Most of the exploitation on systems deployed today is still being done through a client server application. There is a growing user community of FAME’s data in the MultiINT environment, according to Delay. “I look at satellite imagery data and I say this stuff is unbelievably mature,” he said. “We’ve done about everything you could possibly dream

up with satellite images ... if you look at the other data types, like LiDAR, FMV or HSI, they’re all relatively new technologies to the community.” When new products come from combined multiple sets of data, there is tremendous value for mission planning. “That’s really where the opportunity is,” Delay said. “It’s not so much how people interact with data today, it’s what you can do when you can bring these data types together and make them discoverable, and then produce new derivative products from the sets of data that you can’t produce from a single data type.” Multi-INT discovery capabilities allow much better mission planning for SOF. “Their job is mission execution, which means that a lot more effort has to go into the mission planning aspect,” Delay said. “By making the data more discoverable and more standardized and closer to real time, I think the big benefit to SOF is they can collapse time for their mission planning process so that their execution becomes much more precise and much more efficient.”

With enhanced mission planning, SOF teams can better predict how long operations might take. “For example, say a SOF unit was doing a mission where the target was a building,” Delay said. “They can create a 3-D model from FMV source data and LiDAR data and fly over that target, changing the perspective of mission planning, compared to just having a two-dimensional video and a three-dimensional point cloud.” When the two are combined, the unit now knows exactly what they’re looking at and what its dimensions are. “All of that work today is very manual and human intensive,” Delay said. “If you can turn your attention away from the manual production of the analysis of that problem and automate major parts of it, then you can collapse the amount of time it takes to develop your mission plan, and then make your response more effective.” O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

SOTECH  11.7 | 7

Special Section

FMV sensors and UAVs combine to form an indispensable tool.

By Peter Buxbaum SOTECH Correspondent The recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have promoted the advancement and proliferation of two important ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) technologies: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sensors that capture and transmit full motion video. Combining these two technologies by mounting video sensors on UAVs has created an indispensable tool that today’s warfighters, commanders and analysts rely upon. They rely on video for ISR, force protection and situational awareness. The use of FMV by U.S. forces exploded in Iraq and Afghanistan with unmanned aircraft and other platforms providing massive amounts of ISR data. The accelerated demand for video over the last few years has led companies providing UAVs equipped with video camera payloads to constantly make improvements 8 | SOTECH 11.7

to their platforms and sensors. Recent advancements have included the continued miniaturization and bundling of sensors, more robust data links to provide broadband transmission service, and more user-friendly ground devices on which to capture and view the video. All of this allows U.S. forces to maintain unswerving surveillance of adversary activities. “Small unmanned aerial systems have been employed in a variety of reconnaissance and surveillance roles, ranging from simple target identification and location to assessment of attacks, route

reconnaissance, weather reconnaissance and, in some cases, declaration of presence,” said Jeffrey Golliver, Air Force Special Operations Command Unmanned Systems branch chief. “In general, all are battery-powered flying cameras. A wide variety of tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance terminals can receive the video.” “We are integrating new sensors into our unmanned aerial platform,” said Johan Hansson, vice president for marketing and sales at Saab North America. “Sensors are getting smaller and are becoming more capable of providing better imagery. More systems are going from analog to digital. There are still a lot of systems using analog to transfer signals, but many are moving to complete digital solutions.” Also contributing to the increased usefulness of video, noted Hansson, is advanced software that addresses vibration and enhances and improves the resulting images. AeroVironment has expanded the bandwidth available for video transmissions from its Raven, Puma and Wasp platforms by transitioning from analog to digital video. “Our original analog Johan Hansson system operated on four nels,” said Steve Gitlin, a company vice president. “Our digital video operates on 30 channels and integrates digital signal encryption so that it is very difficult for anyone else to view it.” The U.S. Air Force has completed a buy of 55 RQ-11B Raven systems for Air Force Security Forces. “Air Force Special Operations ComSteve Gitlin mand recently purchased 10

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Special Section

The Saab Skeldar medium-range UAV system is fully autonomous and designed for a range of land, maritime and civil applications. [Photo courtesy of Saab North America]

Smaller UAVs also have improved their Wasp-AE unmanned aerial systems with capabilities as far as capturing and transmitresidual funds from the Battlefield Air Operating full motion video. Prioria’s Maveric micro tions Kit,” said Golliver. UAV is in the process of being outfitted with AeroVironment’s sensors have also a high-definition video camera. The Maveric evolved from six separate digital sensors to a measures 28 inches, weighs 2 pounds, and is bundled, gimbaled payload that incorporates equipped with bendable, carbon fiber wings, color and infrared sensors as well as a laser allowing it to be stored in a 6-inch tube. illuminator into a single unit that can move “Many UAVs today use a video camera independently of the direction of the aircraft. that can transmit 30 frames per second A gimbal is basically a ball, often containing with a resolution of 320-by-240 pixels,” said a multi-sensor payload that is able to rotate Derek Lyons, Prioria’s vice president for sales on an axis. and marketing. “We are now working on Better imagery is brought about through integrating a camera capable improvements in both comof 640-by-480 resolution as puting power and optics, well a compression board that noted Hansson. “We have seen can transmit high-definition requirements in the last couvideo over the existing pipe.” ple of years for high-definition The Canadian military video imagery,” he said. “This operated 60 Maveric systems presents a challenge because in Afghanistan and the U.S. of bandwidth issues and data Army recently put in an order links primarily over longer disfor 14 systems, the first for tances. Sensors can produce the United States. An upgrade high-definition video imagery. Derek Lyons kit is going to be made availThe challenge is to transfer able to Canada, according to that to the ground.” Lyons, so that they can take Another of AeroVironadvantage of higher-definiment’s innovations comes tion video. in the form of a new handThe Skate, a 1-kilogram held ground station. “This is system from Aurora Flight a third-generation controlServices, is equipped with ler that incorporates a color a video camera capable of monitor had that makes it capturing high-definition easier for the user to operate images. The Skate uses one the system,” said Gitlin. “The payload at a time in order to advanced data link integrated save on weight, which can into all systems enables more Carl Schaefer be swapped out for different efficient use of the frequency missions. spectrum.” 10 | SOTECH 11.7

A new development involves incorporating video processing on board the aircraft. “The video is stabilized on board the aircraft,” said Carl Schaefer, director of small UAS products at Aurora Flight Services, “and the stabilized image is sent down to the ground control station or remote video terminal. That way, you don’t need dedicated hardware on the ground to stabilize the imagery.” Saab is also taking advantage of opportunity to digitally filtering out vibrations. “There are better algorithms available now for this purpose,” said Hansson. Saab North America is the maker of the small Skeldar, a rotary wing unmanned aircraft. The Skeldar’s ability to hover or fly at low speeds benefits the collection of data from some types of sensors, according to Hansson. Saab also works to enhance video imagery by reducing the vibration on the Skeldar. “Dealing with vibration is important especially on rotary wing air vehicles and especially when you are getting to higher definition and longer ranges,” said Hansson. “What we have done is to provide additional damping on the transmission, the engine and the rotor system to make it as free from vibration as possible and to generate improved video quality. When you get to longer ranges, it becomes pretty important to have a good environment for the sensor.” High-definition video also requires greater bandwidth there is more data to transfer to the ground. “That means we need the best possible data links,” said Hansson. “We have focused on integrated high-capacity data links to support high-definition video and encryption on the Skeldar.” “Digital processing of frequencies allows for much more efficient utility of if the frequency spectrum,” noted Gitlin. “A lot of it comes down to the ground control segment,” said Hansson. “You need the right antennas of the right sizes because you never know what frequencies you will be allowed to use, and things are getting congested in the frequency space. You have to be prepared to switch to a different frequency depending on how the spectrum is being allocated. That puts a challenge on the whole system, including antennas, modems and receivers that are capable of handling changes in frequencies. Data links are getting more advanced and better at dealing with different bands and frequencies, but the laws of physics make it difficult to use different antennas on different bands. That requires more equipment.”

There have been a growing number of more advanced data link solutions in the marketplace in recent years, Hansson observed. “There appears to be more competition and more alternatives for data links,” he said, “so it is possible to tailor a link solution to specific context and for specific price range. The really high-end data links have an impact on system price.” Challenges of bandwidth, frequency and the overall demand for video have necessitated the addition of hardware, especially on the ground side. “You don’t want to put too much more equipment on the UAV,” said Hansson. “With higher bandwidth requirements you may need more equipment on the ground. On the UAV it needs to be the right equipment to get longer ranges. It is easier to put a large antenna on the ground. You definitely don’t want to put heavier equipment on air vehicles.” Sensors available for UAVs have been shrinking in size. “We can get the same quality from an 8-inch gimbal today that we got from 10-inch gimbal a coupe of years ago,” said Hansson. “This decreases the weight of the payload, which is important for UAVs. You can still get the best quality from the high-end 10-inch gimbals. The point is that there are now more alternatives than ever for smaller gimbals.” “We have been looking at developing gimbaled housing for the sensors over the last few years,” said Gitlin. “In the past, the infrared sensor was a separate device form the electro-optical color video sensor. The new payload strategy is to integrate both of those into a single package so that you don’t have to swap them out. You just switch from video to the thermal. If not for the fact that these sensors are getting smaller and lighter, we would not have been able to deploy them in the way that we have. We have benefited from ongoing technology advancements in the commercial markets.” The problem that arises is that the way AeroVironment’s systems purposely crash land in harsh environments makes it hard on the sensitive gimbaled sensor package. “We developed different solution for each platform that incorporate tougher materials to protect the sensor package during landing,” said Gitlin. AeroVironment has modified the design of some of its air frames in order to accommodate integrated sensor packages. AeroVironment’s Wasp UAV, in its latest Wasp AE

iteration, a 2.85-pound system, was recently redesigned to carry a 275-gram sensor package. The company changed the way the aircraft lands so that it flips over to land on the reinforced side of the vehicle, protecting the payload. “In the case of the Raven, [a 4-pound system with a 5-foot wingspan], our innovation team integrated electro-optical and thermal cameras as well as a laser illuminator in a gimbal small enough to fit in the nose cone of the vehicle,” said Gitlin. Ground stations have also become smaller and more portable. “When we developed our

original Pointer system, [approximately 20 years ago], ground stations were the size of a piece of rolling luggage,” said Gitlin. “Now they are the size of a handheld video game and they work the same way too, so the men and women who operate the ground controllers are very familiar with the layout and usage of the system. A simplified user interface means simpler usability of the system.” O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

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W W W. D AV I D C L A R K . C O M

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Creating maps for the non-mapper. By Ray Caputo Organizations that utilize geospatial data employ professionals that are intimately familiar with geographic information systems (GIS) in order to retrieve and utilize the valuable information stored and managed by today’s complex GIS applications. These GISproficient users represent a small number of people able to use these applications effectively, posing a significant challenge to those attempting to transfer this information to less-skilled end users. The Army’s operational and humanitarian missions rely heavily on such data; however, many of its soldiers do not have the time, training or resources to translate it into actionable information. U.S. Army Geospatial Center (AGC) discovered and embraced an innovative means of converting complex, intricate National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) GIS/map data into a geo-referenced portable document file (GeoPDF) format that allows users to understand and exploit data without requiring advanced training in GIS applications. The GeoPDF was developed to afford GIS professionals the ability to share geo-referenced maps and data with soldiers and other

users who may not be GIS application-savvy, using Adobe’s PDF format. A GeoPDF can be sent to field personnel from engineers on the scene of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or to soldiers in the field, who can utilize Adobe Reader to manipulate maps. Most computers in the world are equipped with Adobe Reader as part of their baseline software and each Army Geospatial Engineering Team has the full assortment of tools to enable them to produce mission-specific products in the GeoPDF format; therefore, a free, user-friendly plug-in from TerraGo Technologies, known as the “TerraGo Toolbar,” is the only requirement for command chain users to view GeoPDFs. The Toolbar allows users to exploit and understand data without requiring advanced GIS training. This plug-in has an Army Certificate of Networthiness and has loading approval for many other government agencies. The files are small and nimble, yet are embedded with powerful capabilities that allow engineers to work in connected or disconnected modes. There are two types of GeoPDF files: “raster” and “vector.” Both formats provide a scalable display of the digital map or image

with crisp, clear delineation of roads, rivers, contour lines and other features as the user zooms in for a closer look. The raster files are comprised of paper maps that are scanned or developed from existing electronic map files that are saved in a PDF format and geo-referenced using the TerraGo Composer solution. The vector GeoPDF format has an added function that enables users to turn data layers on and off to help clarify their analysis of map displays. The use of these applications with GIS software, such as ArcGIS and Intergraph’s GeoMedia, publishes these vector GeoPDFs. The AGC created “for official use only” GeoPDF Country DVDs for most countries of the world through its partnership with NGA, which produced GeoPDFs of most of their standard map aeronautical and topographic map sheets. NGA has been producing, maintaining and replicating the GeoPDF Country Coverages since 2010, with dissemination via the Defense Logistics Agency’s map catalog; these DVDs are available now in the map catalog. Copies of the NGA GeoPDF country DVDs are accessed from DLA reference Series Code “GPDF.”

GeoPDF data sets are available at the following websites: PKI (Common Access Card required): index.cfm



Copies of the GeoPDF Country DVDs may also be ordered using the AGC’s Common Map Background product request form at cmbrequestform.cfm.

To view the data that is the basis for the DVDs online, see (DoD Common Access Card required).

GeoPDF state data sets are available for viewing on all AGC websites including the open internet website at geopdfmaps/usgsdatasets.aspx.

12 | SOTECH 11.7

The AGC also had a hand in converting all of the USGS’s nearly 60,000 Digital Raster Graphic GEOTIFF files into GeoPDF using TerraGo Publisher for Raster. USGS posted the files on its online store’s website, where the availability of GeoPDF files has proven to be a great success based on the almost 200,000 downloads it averages each month, compared to the 4,000 downloads/month prior to the availability of GeoPDFs. USGS now has a new product based upon the GeoPDF file format called “U.S. Topo,” which is the next generation of digital topographic maps arranged in the traditional 7.5-minute quadrangle format. U.S. Topo contains raster data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Imagery Program and vector data from USGS’s own national map. U.S. Topo files are also available from the USGS store website at via its Map Locator application. The AGC created and distributes GeoPDF state coverages for all 50 states, the three U.S. territories [Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands] and the District of Columbia based upon the USGS

GeoPDF data. USGS also has begun to convert their historical archives to GeoPDF. These maps date back to the late 1800s and are available from USGS’s online store. The AGC developed its urban tactical planner in the GeoPDF format, along with its engineering route studies, urban water graphics, country overviews, BuckEye Mapbooks, cultural maps, historical photo analysis reports and the AGC’s Geospatial Information Library’s non-NGA maps and atlases. The center’s imagery office, which is the Army’s primary point of contact for commercial satellite imagery data sources, has an online imagery distribution system that exports its repository of selected commercial images/ products to GeoPDFs, along with a number of other formats. The AGC continues to work to ensure that handheld/mobile GeoPDF software and apps meet Army requirements. The center co-funded the development of a new threedimensional GeoPDF file format with NGA. Three-dimensional GeoPDFs are viewed using Adobe Reader with the free TerraGo

Toolbar. The AGC has created a whole country and a few select areas of NGA maps in the 3-D GeoPDF format, along with some USGS maps over National Parks and imagery from AGC’s BuckEye Program. The AGC also funded the creation of a free tool called “Memento” as well as additional features in Voyager GIS’s web style document search tool. Memento allows U.S. government users to view multiple GeoPDFs seamlessly for free, while the Voyager GIS tool allows users to manage and search documents, which now include GeoPDFs and LiDAR data. O Ray Caputo works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a geographer with the Army Geospatial Center’s Terrain Analysis Branch of the Warfighter Geospatial Support & Production Directorate.

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

SOTECH  11.7 | 13

BLACK WATCH Combat King II to Moody Lockheed Martin

Password App Enables Biometric Security Battelle

The first Lockheed Martin HC-130J Combat King II to be assigned to Air Combat Command’s (ACC) 347th Rescue Group at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., was recently ferried from the company’s Aeronautics facility. Major General H.D. Polumbo Jr., commander, Ninth Air Force, Air Combat Command, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., flew the Super Hercules to Moody AFB. The Lockheed Martin HC-130J Combat King II is the

U.S. Air Force’s only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform and is flown by ACC and Air Education and Training Command. This C-130J variant, which replaces existing HC-130P/N aircraft, specializes in tactical profiles and avoiding detection to support recovery operations in austere environments. This HC-130J is one of six Super Hercules on contract designated for assignment at Moody AFB.

Battelle has released SignWave Unlock, a new app for the Leap Motion 3-D motion control device that makes advanced biometric security technology available. Available in the Airspace Store, SignWave Unlock verifies the user’s identity and unlocks the computer with a wave of the hand in front of the Leap Motion Controller. Programmers from Battelle Cyber Innovations developed the software that works by measuring the geometry of the user’s hand. “Battelle SignWave Unlock is able to identify the unique characteristics of your hand to build a biometric profile, so your hand becomes the password that can unlock your computer,” said Nicholas Vidovich,

technical development lead for the software. A future application for Battelle SignWave Unlock could include use by operators who need quick access to secure facilities in rugged environments. “These are exciting times for the Cyber Innovations business, as this app represents the first of a number of innovative products that will be launched in the months ahead,” said Lisa McCauley, general manager of Battelle’s Cyber Innovations business. Battelle was part of the early developer program for Leap Motion, and the Battelle SignWave Unlock app was selected as one of the first 75 available in Airspace.

More UGVs iRobot Corp.

Camera Pack Introduced Pelican Products Pelican Products Inc. has unveiled the Pelican ProGear S115 Sport Elite Laptop/Camera Pro Pack. The S115 features a rugged laptop case integrated with a water-resistant front compartment with padded dividers that hold and protect multiple camera bodies, lenses, flashes and other camera equipment. The laptop case is an impact resistant compartment that can fit any 15-inch notebook up to 1 inch thick. Among the S115 compartments are air mesh lid organizer pockets, internal pouches for cables and memory cards, and three external side pockets for water bottles and other accessories. In addition, the pack has a front plate to protect camera gear from impact and side straps to attach full-sized tripods. The laptop compartment is rated watertight to 3.3 feet for 30 minutes and the pressure equalization valve prevents vacuum lock within the case. It also features a chest clip and removable waist belt.

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IRobot Corp. has been awarded a $30 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract by the U.S. Army’s Robotic Systems Joint Program Office. The four-year contract, which replaces an expiring IDIQ, allows for the delivery of iRobot PackBot FasTac robotic systems and associated spares. An initial $3 million order under the contract for spares has also been placed. Deliveries under this order will be completed by the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013. “IRobot is proud to provide robotic capabilities that help our warfighters accomplish their mission,” said Frank Wilson, senior vice president and general manager of iRobot’s Defense & Security business unit. “The Army recognizes the value of the PackBot FasTac robotic system on the battlefield, and we look forward to continuing our work with RSJPO to ensure the Army is well equipped to maintain its fleet of PackBot FasTac robots in the years ahead.”

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Aircrew Training System Recompete Awarded L-3 Communications L-3 Communication’s Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) division has won the recompete for the U.S. Air Force’s Predator Mission Aircrew training System (PMATS) program. The recompete contract awarded to L-3 Link by the U.S. Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, includes transitional funding that extends through September 2013, in addition to six one-year contract options. “The U.S. Air Force became our first unmanned aircraft system training customer in 2005 and we are honored to have been selected to continue as prime contractor on the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System,” said Steve Kantor, president of L-3’s Electronic Systems Group. “Our PMATS system is a proven, efficient and cost-effective platform for unmanned aircraft simulation, and we remain committed to providing MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper combat operators with a maximum level of training realism as they prepare to undertake missions of global vigilance, reach and power.” Initial transitional funding will be used to provide L-3 Link’s ongoing contractor logistics support and Training System Support Center activities for all 26 PMATS devices located at Air Force installations throughout the continental United States. The Air Force could exercise contract options calling for L-3 Link to build over 50 additional PMATS devices. L-3 Link will also be responsible for follow-on concurrency between PMATS devices and the unmanned aircraft through 2019.

Advanced Night Vision Goggle Accessory Matbock • • •

Provides ability to see objects at all distances without adjusting focus on night vision goggles (NVGs) Clear front sacrificial lens to protect lens of NVGs and prevent dust and debris from entering apparatus Allows optimal amount of light into NVGs and maintains auto-focus capability

Matbock, a Virginia Beach, Va.-based service-disabled veteranowned company, has released the Tarsier Eclipse, a NVG accessory that assists soldiers on dark nights and inside buildings. One of the NVG limitations is the ability to only focus at one specific distance, not various distances at the same time. When focused on the horizon, images very near become blurry and vice versa. Many soldiers poke small holes in the end of their protective covers to solve this problem, but it creates another: by decreasing the amount of light entering the NVG, the light sensors cannot amplify the photons enough to create a clear picture for the soldier. This is not an issue in areas with enough light, but under very dark conditions, the soldier will not have enough light to see. The Tarsier Eclipse solves that problem while retaining the autofocus capability.

Cloud-based Solutions Accreditation Achieved QinetiQ North America QinetiQ North America (QNA) has announced its accreditation to evaluate cloud-based solutions for federal government agencies as a Federal Risk Authorization and Management Program (FedRAMP) third party assessment organization (3PAO). The FedRAMP program was recently established by the General Services Administration (GSA) to establish a universal framework for federal cloud-based solutions. The governmentwide program provides a standardized approach for the federal government to adopt and use cloud services from commercial providers. In order for a federal agency to adopt a commercial cloudbased solution, GSA requires that an accredited 3PAO perform an independent assessment, which is evaluated by the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board before cloud offerings can be implemented in a federal environment.

“It is critical now more than ever to ensure our customers are adopting cloud solutions that are trustworthy,” said J.D. Crouch, chief executive officer, QNA. “As services are steadfastly moving to cloud formats, the FedRAMP program is necessary, and one we are proud to be a part of.” This 3PAO accreditation will enable QNA to help civilian, defense, intelligence community and commercial customers as they develop their cloud migration strategy, integrate their existing cloud offerings and ensure compliance with federal regulations. “We are excited to be one of the first in our industry to become a 3PAO,” said QNA chief information officer, John Lambeth. “We look forward to the opportunity to help our customers achieve their strategic IT goals while ensuring compliance with federal standards.” SOTECH  11.7 | 15

Efficient Instructor

Q& A

Arming Air Commandos with the Best Training

Brigadier General Jon A. Weeks Commander Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center Air Force Special Operations Command

Brigadier General Jon A. Weeks is commander, Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center, Air Force Special Operations Command [AFSOC], Hurlburt Field, Fla. As commander, Weeks organizes, trains, educates and equips forces to conduct special operations missions; leads AFSOC irregular warfare activities; executes special operations test, evaluation and lessons learned programs; and develops doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures for Air Force Special Operations Forces. Weeks has commanded at the Squadron, Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component and Wing level, with more than 12 months of combat command in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Additionally, Weeks has flown more than 400 hours of combat time in support of operations Just Cause, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and has also deployed in support of operations Uphold Democracy and Southern Watch. Prior to his current assignment, Weeks was special assistant to the commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field. Q: With capabilities of various units under one command, what are some efficiencies you’ve seen realized early on? A: With the integration of some of our operational and training units, together with the total force integration [TFI] of our Reserve component, the 919th Special Operations Wing, we have gained synergies with our overall maintenance effectiveness and with manning our continuation training and formal training unit flights. We are now better able to tap into our additional available personnel to fill seats on various flights. Also, with the Classic Reserve Associate relationship, we are now better able to fully provide aircraft maintenance, both at home and down range. Our aviation foreign internal defense [AvFID] and building partnership capacity [BPC] mission are more aligned now that we have the educational benefits of our USAF Special Operations School tied directly with our training and operational AvFID and BPC squadrons. 16 | SOTECH 11.7

Q: While we’re in the middle of furloughs, what are some ways center training with sister services and other partner nations helps save the nation money in the long run? A: The Air Force Special Air Warfare Center [AFSOAWC] integrated many irregular warfare activities that were previously spread throughout various units and levels of command within AFSOC. Pulling these capabilities under the oversight of a single organization allows our special operators to better advise on and execute irregular warfare missions in support of our joint and international partners, as well as develop doctrine, train and equip the next generation of irregular warfare warriors. Q: What are some of the similarities to the Special Air Warfare Center of the 1960s that are applicable in AFSOAWC today? A: Just like the Special Air Warfare Center, AFSOAWC is tasked to organize, train and equip Air Force SOF and train the air forces of friendly foreign nations in many aspects of unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency air operation, and military information support operations, in addition to developing Air Commando doctrine, tactics, techniques, procedures and hardware.

Q: Are there lessons learned from AFSOAWC’s early months that are being applied already, or is it too early to tell? A: One of the most significant lessons AFSOAWC has identified thus far is how critical total force integration with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve is to the mission of the center. In fact, the center could not conduct its mission without the synergies realized through this vital partnership. One example is the center’s associate relationship with the 919th Special Operations Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit. Their integration with the 6th Special Operations Squadron, to conduct the center’s aviation foreign internal defense mission, is key to global AvFID operations and providing needed training in our schoolhouses. Q: Having previously commanded the 919th Special Operations Wing, how have you seen the AFSOAWC aid in total force partnership between active and reserve airmen? A: Probably the most significant element that has come out of this TFI venture is that we have built a force that is comprised of active duty, Reserve, Guard and civilians that are working in unison toward a focused mission. Thus far, our AFSOAWC TFI endeavor has surpassed all of our expectations, and should continue to do so in the future.

Q: Are there advances in training systems you’re looking for to keep the center current with the latest technologies? A: We depend on emergent technologies to make our training programs more efficient and effective. This includes fielding automated and interactive computer-based systems to supplement, and in some case replace live training events. Highfidelity aircrew and battlefield airman simulators can improve cognitive and motor skills without the high cost of flying real aircraft. We have initiatives to deliver some of our courseware through online media instead of traditional brick and mortar classrooms. These “distance learning” events will provide our aircrew and battlefield airmen global, uninterrupted access to electronicallybased mission qualification and continuation training materials. We are pursuing improvements in database generation, aerodynamic modeling, and networking with other geographically separated training systems. This enables us to use simulators to conduct mission qualification, continuation training, readiness/ rehearsal training, and core joint SOF component skills training in frequent and challenging specialized scenarios. Improving our training systems allows us to link simulators into exercises with live personnel on military ranges throughout the world. This gives us an opportunity to train at home station in realistic and complex combat missions without the high costs of flying aircraft, traveling, or spending time away from the base.

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This is a transformational approach to getting the best training short of actual combat, but without danger and risks to life and property. Q: How do you assess training of the current family of SUAS? A: The small unmanned aerial system [SUAS] formal schoolhouse at Navy Outlying Field [NOLF] Choctaw is the formal schoolhouse for the Air Force and for SOCOM. AFSOC, as SOCOM’s agent for SUAS, is responsible for SUAS instructions and courseware, standardizing operations and training across an extremely wide group of users. The FAA has recognized the 371st Special Operations Combat Training Squadron’s Detachment 1 as a model for aircraft integration. They have granted us permission to conduct simultaneous manned and unmanned aircraft operations at NOLF Choctaw; one of the few locations in the U.S. A CV-22 Osprey aircraft flight engineer from the 8th Special Operations Squadron performs a preflight inspection on Hurlburt Field, Fla. [Photo where such operations occur. Detach- courtesy of U.S. Air Force] ment 1 SUAS instruction is accredited A: My number one goal for the center is to have the capability by the Community College of the Air Force, which means our to provide AvFID or BPC assistance to our allies that desire the students can earn college credit towards their degree. opportunity. With the ever-expanding reliance on coalitions and importance of regional security to combat global threats, AvFID Q: What are some teaching devices you learned during several or BPC contributes greatly to the overall deterrence capability years training pilots on the MC-130E that you’ve been able to of the United States and its allies. By arming our partnering pass on to instructors at the center today? nations’ security forces with the proper “know-how,” they can prevent or engage any situations from turning into global crises. A: It’s vital to use instruction time wisely. Prepare by carefully My number two goal is to accomplish a comprehensive evalureviewing the lesson material before every presentation. Focus on ation of all qualification courses and continuation training to what the student needs to know and try to avoid teaching minutia. identify optimization and efficiencies initiatives. Right-sizing Demonstrating a commitment to your students will make our training through the use of advanced technologies to provide you a more effective teacher. Ensure students receive a detailed Air Commandos realistic mission rehearsal and distributed misdebrief after every mission and offer time outside the classroom to sion operations in support of joint and multinational users will review, quiz or offer additional ground training events if required enable us to not only maintain the unparalleled support AFSOC or desired. has provided to SOCOM, but allow us to enhance that support. A good instructor needs to have mastery over the material My number three goal is to further educate our U.S. forces and be a credible expert in the eyes of the student. Use a variety in our various special operations courses and language specialof methods to teach material and demonstrate familiarity with the ties so that they will be equipped with the necessary tools to be subject matter. For instance, I would draw systems and explain premier “servicemember-ambassadors” of the U.S. when called certain performance calculations on a blank sheet of paper/whiteupon. board while I explained what the components do and how they interact. It was challenging and kept me in the books. When able, Q: What closing thoughts do you have about the military memI would involve the students in the preparation and presentation bers and civilians serving under your command? of a lesson in order to increase their retention. At every certification board that I chair, I emphasize that our A: On a daily basis, I am in awe of the men and women that I have new instructors and evaluators keep safety and discipline as their been offered the opportunity to command. They come from all number one task, while maintaining credibility and proficiency, aspects of this magnificent Air Force and from all corners of this not just currency, in their current mission. It all boils down to one great country. The amazing thing is that they have come together simple fact: instruct as you would like to be instructed. to form one synergistic entity with a very focused vision. I’m extremely proud of the team we have formed and I look forward to Q: What are the top three goals for the center that you’d like the great things we have in store in our future. O implemented before your next assignment? 18 | SOTECH 11.7

When privacy is paramount, operators have means to keep comms secret. By Jeff Campbell SOTECH Editor smartphones and allow people to have conversations privately For a special operations forces (SOF) team member operating around the world,” Hyder said. “What we developed was Silent in a remote location, one of the few ways to send an encrypted Circle, which secures your mobile devices.” email used to be to find a way to a U.S. Embassy when time The Washington, D.C. company’s services include Silent allowed. Retired Navy SEAL Vic Hyder, chief operations officer Phone, which has fully secure conference calling and video callat Silent Circle, a global encrypted communications service, ing, and Silent Text, which gives subscribers chat remembers heading to a consulate on the weekend capability and functionality. “It’s really simple to just to file off a quick report. For calling different use for Apple and Android devices,” Hyder said. phone numbers on a secure line, there were differ“You can attach documents, PDFs, PowerPoints, ent protocols, whether calling a cellular number videos, voice messages, and send them completely or landline for example. “I’d have to write all those encrypted to another subscriber anywhere in the down and make sure I knew exactly how to call,” world.” The transmission is encrypted peer-to-peer Hyder said. from one subscriber’s Apple or Android device to Hyder joined forces with co-founders Mike another, keeping unauthorized people from underJanke, another former SEAL; Phil Zimmermann, standing the content. inventor of Pretty Good Privacy, the world’s most With an extended plan called Out-Circle Access, widely used encryption code; and Jon Callas, cresubscribers can still make calls outside the circle ator of Apple’s Whole-Disk Encryption, to form Vic Hyder that are encrypted to and from the Silent Circle Silent Circle. “Mike and Phil got together and said network. “If you’re an Android user and you pull up there’s got to be something we can do to secure

SOTECH  11.7 | 19

used for documents classified as Secret or above, but it is an added layer of protection for sensitive unclassified information. While Hyder said Silent Circle’s encryption level is engineered for top secret, it has not gone through the federal information processing standards 140 certification, but the fast-growing company plans to do so. A Privacy Boon Hyder recently got a call from a subscriber who would only say that he was somewhere in Eastern Recent media attention to privacy concern has Africa. The caller was excited that with just two boosted Silent Circle’s business by about 400 percent. bars on the local cell network, he could make a “I think the main thing is, it’s made people around Pierre Roberge completely encrypted call. “If another Benghazi goes the world aware of what’s going on,” Hyder said. “Not down and the communication infrastructure in the city just governmental interest in our transmissions, but is not available, the guys can’t run into the embassy to get secure the ability of other entities out there, from criminal activities that comms, but they can get a couple bars with a local cell or get into can use them against you, to corporate espionage, so it really has a WiFi hotspot, they can make an encrypted call and communicate raised people’s awareness.” securely,” Hyder said. With users in more than 120 countries, Silent Circle is on track Hyder said Silent Phone gives SOF members, business people to breach more than 2 million subscribers worldwide by the end of thwarting espionage, and the average private citizen the utmost the year. “It’s just exploded; 120 countries are the ones that I can security, combined with simplicity. “We’re trying to make it availcount,” Hyder said. “There are ways of purchasing Silent Circle able to the everyday person, but what we’ve found is organizations where it’s completely anonymous; therefore I don’t know where around the world are implementing it, using it for their internal some of our customers are coming from.” One of them is the Ronin networks,” Hyder said. “I’m talking to people all over the world that card, a pre-paid gift card named for the Japanese “Masterless Samuare sending me emails, giving me phone calls, and contacting our rai” that includes a subscription to the Silent Circle suite. customer support line, saying ‘I’m an international business travThe founders of Silent Circle developed the software with eler and I want to call home,’ or ‘I own a small architectural firm, deployed servicemembers in mind who get issued a limited-use and I’m really concerned about the outgoing transmission because laptop. “So guys will bring their own device, their own laptop, in of the competition that I have.’” When vying for the same contracts, order to be able to some companies will use any method they can for corporate espiohop on their personal nage to get an upper hand, said Hyder, recalling a trip to Mexico City email account, go speaking with small business owners. “Their biggest concern wasn’t on Skype and comtheir own government, it was the competition down the street trymunicate back home, ing to get an upper hand on them,” he said. pay their bills or call Hyder said SOCOM is near the end of reviewing it now for forhome and say ‘Happy mal approval. Mother’s Day.’” Before long, operators were calling Hyder saying Changing Cyber-Battlefield they’d like to look into it. “We gave them Other companies go on the offensive to turn system weaknesses some trial codes and into active defenses. Quebec, Canada’s Arcadia G.P. offers exploitalet them play with tion courses for the intelligence and law enforcement communities. it and it’s just going Arcadia G.P. President Pierre Roberge said encrypted communicagangbusters,” he said. tions are not the specialized technologies they used to be, making From a place like the battlefield much more cut-throat. Kabul or Baghdad, “Nowadays, stealthy comms might be more of a concern than operators can do a encryption by itself,” Roberge said. “Comms that are unencrypted, video chat with their cheaply encrypted or not well-designed [not stealthy] are a fatal kids and know it’s issue for offensive [or defensive] operational technologies.” completely encrypted. There are several types of offensive posture, including penetra“With the texting tion testing, hacking an enemy, or using the offensive technique ability, they’re able to defend yourself, and the latter is where Arcadia leans. “Advance to send PDF files and persistent threat [APT] hackers are more afraid of other APT hackers PowerPoint presentathan all other security teams,” Roberge explained. “Using offensive tions from their iPad security techniques is all about being at the APT hacker’s level. A or iPhone or Android decisive security posture is thus critical.” Silent Circle’s “Silent Phone” service encrypts transmissions and transfer those Whether in an offensive or defensive context, the team backing peer-to-peer from one subscriber’s device to another, keeping unauthorized people from accessing the content. [Photo courtesy documents around your security must be present and ready to operate in a decisive of Silent Circle] simply,” Hyder said. security posture. This calls for expertise above and beyond the Silent Circle can’t be industry standard, and those individuals are hard to come by. Silent Phone, it looks like a phone that you would have on an Android platform; you don’t have to learn anything new,” Hyder said. “All you have to do is dial the number, dial the user name of another subscriber that you’re calling and you go secure.”

20 | SOTECH 11.7

“Today’s security landscape is getting more fast-paced, because the defensive technologies are getting better,” Roberge said. “This, in turn, drives the enemy to operate quicker, which means we have to be ahead of them.” The Arcadia team stays ahead of by offering completely customized solutions to the intel, military and law enforcement communities, and Roberge said their expertise in those areas makes his company well-suited to assist the SOF community. “By dealing with us, you know you are dealing with people who understand your needs and understand that reliability and stealthiness are not negotiable requirements, but necessities of the business,” he said. Roberge first got interested in exploitation technology in the early days of the bulletin board system, while downloading and reading hacking magazines. “Most people are not aware of the preInternet days, but they were underground and very cool,” he said. “As for the team, I can say that we are competitive and love to win, with very similar backgrounds, highlighted by a passion to use software for purposes other than its original intent.” While there’s lots of talk in the news about individual information security, Arcadia gears their products towards tactical users and offers their new active defense services to protect businesses needing high levels of security. “There used to be a mindset that only governments were targeted by the most advanced enemies,” Roberge said, adding that cannot be further from the truth in this decade of exponential technology growth.  “Smart and successful businesses need to secure their assets.” Online theft, deceptive competition and potential blackmailing are just a few of the exploitative tactics businesses must defend against. “The high-end service we offer is unique in that it does not compete with other commercial security products at all,” Roberge said. “Many technology companies try to sell some magical anti-APT products, but the tech is 20 percent of the equation; the real effectiveness comes from the team behind it.” All of this is keeping Roberge busy now, but in the future he’s looking to expand Arcadia’s live monitoring services. “If a new mobile platform grows in popularity, we will most likely look into offering offensive solutions for it,” he said. “We understand the level of sophistication of the enemy trying to penetrate friendly networks, and we are grateful to the SOF community for getting the job done.”

Tactivo, a smart card and fingerprint reader, provides additional authentication capabilities to mobile users. [Photo courtesy of Precise Biometrics]

and gestures. We have taken the smart card desktop reader and converted it to the mobile environment both as a case for the iPhone and iPad and as a dongle for Android, Windows and desktops where supported.” What separates Precise’s Tactivo from the standard DoD card reader is the ability to take work from your desktop to the mobile space. “Potentially anything that you could do at your desktop could be ported over to mobile devices, whether tablets or phones,” Scott said, adding that without it, operators would run up against security issues and authentication factors. “The Tactivo was designed for anyone looking at securing their mobile workspace with a smart card and a biometrics.” The case doesn’t meet ruggedized military standards at this point, but Scott said he would “feel as comfortable using this case as I would a smartphone or a smart tablet in a tactical environment.” Precise Biometrics is focused on growing the ecosystem of applications that provide a range of solutions, and Stopping Attacks at the Source their continued course will be determined in part by the requests received from SOF and other comMost government workers and military members Jeff Scott munities. are familiar with a common access card reader at According to Scott, Tactivo can be seen as an their workstation, but as the SOF community operextension to the SOF workplace and the types of applications that ates on the go, authentication solutions need to come along. Vienna, could be integrated into it are limitless. “Within each application Va.-based Precise Biometrics developed the Tactivo smart card and the Tactivo can be used to authenticate and authorize actions using fingerprint reader for Apple products, and last month expanded into one’s credentials and/or one’s biometrics,” Scott said. “We look the Android and Windows environments with Tactivo Mini. The forward to working with any partner that puts applications into the reader enables users to move securely to mobile access, integrating hands of SOF that make their jobs and information more secure and any application with the embedded smart card reader and biometeasy to access anytime, anywhere—by just them, and not individuric fingerprint sensor in the case. “This allows the SOF operator als who shouldn’t have access.” O to securely access applications, email and backend systems using authentication methods like a personal identification number or For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell matching your fingerprint on your hard credential,” said Jeff Scott, at or search our online archives Precise vice president of sales for North America. “Other authenticafor related stories at tion methods can be added, like additional biometrics, geo-fencing

SOTECH  11.7 | 21

It’s not what’s in a name, but the payload that counts. By Scott Nance SOTECH Correspondent Call them unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned aerial systems (UASs) or remotely piloted aircraft—these flying drones have proven themselves effective and reliable weapons in recent years whether in-theater in Afghanistan or taking out al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. “It’s a very effective weapon of choice,” said Chris Pehrson, director of Department of Defense programs for strategic development at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a leading manufacturer of such armed UAVs as Predator, Reaper and more. “It minimizes the exposure of U.S. crews. It doesn’t put the pilot in harm’s way, and it’s very cost-effective. The cost per flyinghour for a MQ-9, for example, is about $5,000, whereas with something like an F-18, it’s going to be closer to $12,000—or $10,000 minimum.” Now that UAVs have proven their lethality, the U.S. military, UAV makers and munitions manufacturers are all busy at work developing, testing and fielding the next generations of UAV weapons systems. Pehrson said that he sees a number of trends on the horizon, and adds that “nontraditional” systems are “actually more exciting than the munitions.” 22 | SOTECH 11.7

designing [what we call] the HELAvenger. This includes electronic-warfare payIt’s the high-energy laser Avenger,” he said. loads aboard UAVs, he said. “It’s a non“We want to modularize this laser and be kinetic jamming pod. We did a stand-off able to mount it into the internal weapons jamming demonstration at a Marine Corps bay of the Avenger and have a lethal capaexercise in April where we jammed some bility with a laser.” radars [and the pod proved] The laser itself is going very effective against some to White Sands Missile of the early-warning radars,” Range for a series of tests he said. this summer. Integrating it Another option will be onto an unmanned aircraft the ability for a larger UAV probably will come in the to “drop a swarm or several “2018 timeframe, assumsmall UASs,” Pehrson said. ing the technology proves “You could have a pod itself,” Pehrson added. with several drones, and In terms of munitions, kind of swarm those out to Pehrson said he sees trends any number of missions,” he J.R. Smith toward smaller, high-precisaid. “They could do closesion, low collateral damage weapons—but in jamming, they could be kinetic with a also larger weaponized UAVs, which would warhead, they could be sensors to go out be capable of deploying “penetrating weapand do close-in reconnaissance. A lot of ons—bunker-buster type” bombs. those concepts are developmental. CusOne of the advances for the Hellfire tomers aren’t actually applying them yet. missile, which has been a workhorse But we are looking at the R&D to make aboard UAVs, is a “ripple-fire” option in that happen.” which an operator fires multiple missiles Yet another “game-changer technology at a single target in rapid succession, Pehis going to be directed-energy laser weaprson said. ons development,” Pehrson predicted. “You can have several hit the same “On our Avenger aircraft—that’s spot and it digs a deeper hole, to penetrate the new jet-powered Avenger—we are

into a hardened facility or bunker,” he explained.

Smaller Tactical UAVs and Munitions Others also see a growing trend toward a wider proliferation of small- and mid-size tactical UAVs—and are designing munitions to match. That trend already has been underway in Afghanistan, as seen in the use of the smaller RQ-7 Shadow compared to the larger MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, according to J.R. Smith, business development manager at Tucson, Ariz.-based Raytheon Missile Systems. “In the case of the Shadow, if you go back and you look at the number of hours and sorties flown over Afghanistan, what Shadow has done has far exceeded Predator and Reaper combined,” he said. “It has to do with the number of these things that are out there. The Army has well over 500 in their inventory, for example, and a lot of them are being put to use to watch over convoys, to just keep watch outposts and things—and to support operations in wgeneral. At this point, they are sort of a surveillance platform. “But the Marines established an emergent operational need a couple of years ago to weaponize Shadow because every day—literally every day—they would see something on the ground that was going on [and] they would want to intervene,” he added. “It could be someone planting an IED [or] it could be some people setting up an ambush. These are fleeting targets, so before you could get somebody in there to do something about it—maybe a fixed-wing attack aircraft or a Predator/ Reaper—they’re gone. That’s one thing that’s been kind of a trend.” That’s why Raytheon Missile Systems offers an assortment of options for arming UAVs, including a 500-pound enhanced Paveway laser-guided bomb that also features GPS tracking for foul weather deployment against fixed targets, for a UAV like Reaper, down to a small 12-pound tactical munition Raytheon developed called Pyros, Smith said. “That’s tailor-made for something more on the Shadow or TigerShark end of the scale,” he said. “Interestingly, if you look at enhanced Paveway and you look at the little 12-pound, 22-inch-long,

3.6-inch-diameter Pyros, they all have the “We think BattleHawk has some sigsame capabilities at the end of the day in nificant advantages,” he said. “One is its terms that they are both GPS/[Inertial endurance. … It has fairly large wings Navigation System-capable]. You’ve got that fold around the fuselage that enable things miniaturized now to the point that it to loiter for over half an hour. I don’t we can put it in a package that small. And believe there is any other system out they also have a semi-active laser detector there that has that ability. So you are so you get increased accuracy.” able to gain that additional time and situMBDA Inc., a U.S. missile company ational awareness while the system is up owned by MBDA, a global missile comthere—scouting out where the hostility pany, also sees the growth in smaller that you want to put an end to is coming UAVs—and is working to provide the from.” right munitions for them, said Douglas BattleHawk is designed more like J. Denneny, the firm’s vice president of a munition than a UAV, Finneral said. business development, communications “Therefore, it is very easy to use. It’s not and government relations. like flying a UAV; it’s more like a firing a The interest in weaponizing tactical weapon,” he said. UAVs extends beyond the United States, With a total weight of about 5.5 Denneny said. pounds, Finneral described BattleHawk as “For many countries, they cannot a munition that has some UAV attributes. either afford, nor do they have the same “It’s an aerial munition because that’s need for, the very large UAVs like Reaper its main function. It does have sensor and other things like that. What you’re capabilities onboard to enable it to find seeing now is an explosion in growth its target, locate its target, and then go in mid-size UAVs—ones that are more in and prosecute the target. It has its own portable [and] have a smaller footprint,” launch capability,” he said. “It comes in a he said. launch tube, which doubles as its carrying MBDA’s Small Air Bomb Extended case. That launch tube and carrying case Range (SABER) is designed can attach to a standard specifically for small- and modular lightweight loadmid-size UAVs, Denneny carrying equipment pack, said. so that the soldier has it SABER’s diamondat his disposal. He doesn’t shaped wing provides lifthave to call for fire, call ing surfaces “that allow the for fire support, he doesn’t weapon to come out quietly, have to re-task an ISR/ unguided, and fly to the tarstrike UAS to come over get and strike high-speed, and provide that close-air maneuvering targets,” he support—he has it in his said. “We are currently arsenal.” Douglas Denneny spending a fair amount of To describe the use of internal resources to con- BattleHawk, Finneral used tinue development,” with the example of a special testing scheduled this sumoperator who begins takmer, he added. ing hostile fire. Not sure exactly where fire is coming from, the operator puts When the UAV is the himself in a protected posiMunition tion, quickly emplaces the BattleHawk launcher and With BattleHawk, Texuses his smartphone-style tron Defense Systems has, BattleHawk controller to in a sense, merged the tactideploy the munition. Batcal UAV and its munition. Henry Finneral tleHawk will then loiter BattleHawk is lightto find where the hostile weight, can be carried by attack is coming from, sending streama soldier and is easy to use, said Henry ing video back to a controller to allow Finneral, vice president for advanced the operator to identify the target based, weapons and sensors for the contractor perhaps, on muzzle flashes. based outside Boston. SOTECH  11.7 | 23

Workers attach the 12-pound Pyros tactical munition to a UAV. [Photo courtesy of Raytheon Missile Systems]

“All he does is tap the screen on the muzzle flash or target, and the system will autonomously guide itself into that, and then impact, and provide a lethal capability to take out that hostile threat,” Finneral said. Textron has demonstrated for the U.S. Special Operations Command, as well as an Air Force live-fire test at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, against a vehicle and a dismounted target set, he said. “We were two for two; both units worked flawlessly,” he added. Another important goal for future UAV weapon systems is for them to offer superior accuracy while mitigating collateral damage, said MBDA’s Denneny. Another of the company’s UAV-capable munitions is called Brimstone. “It has a documented 98 percent success rate. … It can engage high-speed, maneuvering ground targets. You think about coming off of an airplane or a UAV, and you have a target that’s moving quickly—let’s say a car, [or] a motorcycle going down a dirt trail—it’s very, very effective both for high-speed 24 | SOTECH 11.7

maneuvering targets and also for stationary targets,” he said. Denneny cited President Obama’s May 23 speech at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which he defended his administration use of UAVs against al-Qaeda, but also acknowledged the need to minimize civilian casualties as a result of such strikes. “The president of the United States talked about drone strikes, and he talked about the challenges of continuing the drone strikes but balancing the collateral damage concerns that he has. … That’s what we’re trying to do with Brimstone, is to offer a solution that helps with his collateral damage concerns,” Denneny said. It’s not only the weapons themselves that require development, but also the sensor systems and related technologies in UAVs, said John Kelly, director of advanced ISR solutions at BAE Systems, a provider of UAV sensor gear. “Before you apply a kinetic or non-kinetic weapon on a target, you have to find the target … so that’s really where we’re working,” Kelly said.

BAE Systems is creating advanced technology that will better create “actionable intelligence out of raw sensor data,” Kelly said. “What that really means is: You have to have detection algorithms, you’re able to track targets, fuse different tracks into a single, long-term track, and then use that information to cross-cue other sensors to perhaps learn more about the target itself. For instance … is that a dismount? Is that a group of dismounts? Is it a vehicle? How big is the vehicle? And you can do these at fairly considerable ranges,” he said. In particular, BAE Systems is working to reduce the size, weight, and power requirements of “very mature, combatproven algorithms” so as to integrate them into smaller tactical platforms, he added. O

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

Mobile SIGINT and small tactical upper air sensing systems sought. By Jeff Campbell, SOTECH Editor The Federal Business Opportunities website, www.fedbizopps. gov, has several requests posted for industry input, including a SOCOM request for information (RFI) for a mobile signals intelligence (SIGINT) system and an Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Special Operations Weather Team (SOWT) request for quotation (RFQ) for a small tactical upper air sensing system.

Joint Threat Warning System (JTWS) Ground SIGINT Kit-Mobile This RFI is for planning purposes only and any response will be treated only as information. If your company is interested, remember it is responsible for adequately marking proprietary or competition sensitive information contained in the response. The government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or pay for the information submitted in response. SOCOM has established a requirement to acquire a mobile SIGINT system called ground SIGINT kit mobile (GSK-Mobile) to support tactical SOF mission needs. The system will minimize space, weight and power to facilitate a vehicular configuration with the capability to detect process and locate a wide assortment of emitters such as push-to-talk transceivers, high-powered radio telephones, satellite telephones, personal communications service wireless telephones and wireless devices across multiple bands. The intent is to identify non-developmental items that can do the following: identify companies that possess the technical, production, and support capabilities required to support proposed technical solutions over their life cycle; determine technological feasibility, supportability and readiness levels of required key attributes; and assist in formalizing requirements and the acquisition strategy for the JTWS GSK-Mobile. The GSK-Mobile will have the threshold capability to detect process and locate a wide assortment of emitters. In the high frequency band, it will detect and process, and in the very high and ultra-high (UHF) frequency bands it will detect, process and locate. The system will also detect, process and locate additional emitters such as all PCS bands, Wi-Fi, and worldwide interoperability for microwave access signals. The system will allow the operator to read equipment displays and controls in bright sunlight and during nighttime conditions (compatible with night vision goggles), having a variable brightness control. It will provide the operator with an audio headset or earpiece that provides an audible alert for a newly detected signal and provides audio of processed emitter intelligence. The

system will also provide the operator with a visual alert for a newly detected signal. GSK-Mobile will have the capability to incorporate digital terrain elevation data. It will allow the operator to select and observe geographical maps with superimposed operator position and movements, superimposed emitter signals and locations, and locations of other JTWS operators using similar equipment. The system will allow the operator to process and communicate collected signal information at the Top Secret SCI level to make the system accredited for TS/SI Information Assurance levels for U.S. Signal Information collection systems. The system will pass voice and data via the ANW2/ANW2C waveforms. GSK-Mobile will have the capability to operate from 10-36 volt DC vehicle power and 110-240 volt AC, 48-63Hz single phase electrical power. The system size will be for a mobile design, and an overall system weight of less than 25 pounds. The design will not interfere with operator’s military equipment and must provide unrestricted movements within the vehicle. It will allow the operator to store and easily retrieve emitter identification information and prepare emitter reports for communication to other similar operators using related equipment. The GSK-Mobile will allow the operator to destroy any sensitive information in an emergency situation. It will be easy to declassify for equipment transportation and shipment. The system will provide a useful service life of five years under severe environmental conditions and moderate to rough handling, given routine preventive maintenance and occasional failure repair. The system must meet the National Security Agency Information Assurance standards and common SIGINT data format standards and adhere to National Agency standards for Tactical SIGINT Data Format. The vendor will prepare a safety confirmation recommendation for submission, to the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command Test Center when conducting risk assessment and acceptance of technical or operation limitations. The safety confirmation report will identify safety operations recommendations and references. The vendor will assess system safety during operations, transport and storage. The GSK-Mobile will be delivered with a minimum three-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship. If your company is interested, review the specifications at Fed Biz Ops and provide information regarding existing or near-term mature capabilities or products that meet all of a subset of the SOTECH  11.7 | 25

identified attributes within 30 days of the RFI’s release. A request for proposals may be posted at some future time, however, the government does not guarantee any action beyond this RFI.

Small Tactical Upper Air Sensing System AFSOC has issued an RFQ for a small tactical upper air sensing system. The request calls for the contractor to provide all labor, equipment, materials, tools, parts, shipping and all other items necessary to deliver 10 small tactical upper air sensing systems— including four radiosondes, a transceiver, tank nozzle and ground station software—and 1,000 compatible radiosondes with balloons. AFSOC SOWT personnel need to accurately, reliably and quickly obtain upper-atmosphere data. This data serves many of purposes, but none are more critical than the near real-time infiltration of both personnel and equipment in, or near, mission sensitive locations. To meet current tactics, techniques and procedures currently employed within the SOWT community, the upper air sensing system must be self-contained and, single operator back-packable from both a size (volume) and weight perspective, without compromising the individual operator’s ability to carry additional mission essential equipment. Compatible upper air (UA) processing software and firmware incorporating at a minimum the following requirements, must be included. In order to obtain this data, the UA system must adhere to several performance requirements. The system must be small and lightweight; hardware and software, not including a transport case and user-supplied computer, will include a high-pressure helium cylinder with balloon filling interface and four compatible radiosondes (to include one pilot balloon [PIBAL] per radiosondes) will weigh no more than 10 pounds. The individual helium cylinder will weigh no more than 4 pounds empty and be capable of inflating a minimum of two 30-gram meteorological PIBAL balloons. The minimum balloon ascent rate with radiosondes attached will be approximately six to nine feet per second, or 360-540 feet a minute. The cylinder may

be disposable or refillable, but must be capable of maintaining 4500 pounds per square inch. The cylinder must meet all federal helium cylinder safety specifications. System compatible radiosondes will use a 30-100 gram meteorological PIBAL balloon. The system cannot rely on any proprietary laptop computer system. Its software must be compatible with Microsoft Windows 7 OS, and where required, system component connections will be universal serial bus. Individual radiosondes should weigh 2 to 4 ounces or less and be capable of accurately collecting and transmitting to the ground receive station, atmospheric meteorological data to a minimum height of 39 kilo-feet and a slant range of 60-90 km line-of-sight. The radiosondes will transmit to the ground receive station in the 400-406MHz UHF bandwidth. They will use an onboard, selfcontained dry cell type battery. Upper air data format output must conform to standard World Meteorological Organization upper air reporting format. Additional software will include precision airdrop system (PADS) and Joint PADS (JPADS) airdrop systems functionality and compatibility. The ground system must be capable of retransmitting current or archived raw and/or processed data to a PADS/JPADS capable aircraft receiver system out to 40 nautical miles, utilizing the 400-406MHz bandwidth. The software will be capable of providing cargo/computed air release point input calculation data. All processed UA data shall be displayable in near real time during the course of the balloon’s ascent against a SKEW-T (a diagram commonly used in weather analysis) background. Atmospheric meteorological data to be collected includes codecorrelated GPS wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, air temperature and relative humidity. O

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



The Navy’s shift to the Pacific inspires our twelfth title and website...


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Contact Nikki James at or 301-670-5700 to participate in the inaugural issue!

26 | SOTECH 11.7

The advertisers index is provided as a service to our readers. KMI cannot be held responsible for discrepancies due to last-minute changes or alterations.



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November 5-6, 2013 SOFEX Fort Bragg, N.C. November 20-21, 2013 SpecOps East Warfighter Expo Fayetteville, N.C. December 14-17, 2013 Special Operations Medical Assoc. Conference (SOMA) Tampa, Fla.

September 2013 Volume 11, Issue 8

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

Maj. Gen. Mark Clark Commander MARSOC Features EO/IR Electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors, both passive and active, help operators detect, identify, and geo-locate air, seasurface and ground targets. We examine advances in EO/IR technology. Radar & Sensor Systems These systems help operators determine the range, altitude, direction and speed of objects. Once those become known factors, the team can lay out a plan to intercept. SOF Sniper/ Designated Marksman Training & Gear SOF unit members in concealed positions can deliver precision fire to selected targets. They achieve those targets with the aid of highly specialized marksman training and gear.

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SOTECH  11.7 | 27


Special Operations Technology

Mark Belanger Director of DoD Robotic Products iRobot Corporation, Defense and Security Business Unit and responding with better, more capable products that are easy to use and support.

Mark Belanger is the director of DoD Robotic Products for iRobot Corporation in Bedford, Mass. He oversees the company’s portfolio of programs and products for their U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force customers.

Q: As missions shift in the near term, what challenges do you see in supporting SOF?

Q: How are your robots performing in theater? A: At iRobot we are incredibly proud of the prominent role our robots have played in keeping warfighters out of harm’s way, and the feedback we’ve received from endusers has been amazing. We have fielded over 5,000 robots worldwide over the past decade, supporting various missions, including EOD, combat engineering and infantry. The most important thing our robots do is create safe separation between the warfighter and a threat, whether that’s an IED, active enemy shooter or HAZMAT threat. Our robots give the operator situational awareness that they would not have had before. Q: What role do you see robots playing in military operations in the future? A: When robots were introduced to combat operations, one of the most obvious and successful places to use them was in counter-IED missions. We expect robots to continue to play a major role in EOD, where operators have spent years developing tactics, techniques and procedures, and concept of operations documents for working robots into their job. One of the more recent developments has been the introduction of lightweight robots to support dismounted infantry and SOF operators in gaining better situational awareness of their battle space. Our 5-pound throwable robot, 110 FirstLook, and our larger 310 small unmanned ground vehicle [SUGV] give dismounts that asymmetrical advantage by allowing them to see threats hundreds of meters away, in and around 28 | SOTECH 11.7

buildings and other structures, before they engage them. The expansion of robots into mainstream infantry operations, with more autonomy and ease of use, is one of the many areas where we are headed in the future.  Q: How is iRobot innovating to meet the future needs of our warfighters? A: What we are focused on at iRobot is delivering a user experience with our products that is unmatched. We are making systems that are more powerful and maneuverable than ever before, like our 710 robot which can lift over 320 pounds and scale jersey barriers. We are employing reliable and secure communications solutions like our mesh radio capability that allows the warfighter to get our robots deeper into culverts, tunnels and other RF-challenged environments. We are reducing the cognitive load on the warfighter and the weight on their back by introducing multi-robot controllers like that of the 110 FirstLook, which can seamlessly switch back and forth between driving a FirstLook and SUGV, or our 510 PackBot and 710 robots, which operate off the same controller with similar operating styles. We are also making it easier for our customers to introduce new sensors and technologies onto our robots, by having a clean, open interface that can be easily integrated onto. Ultimately, we are listening to our customers’ feedback based on years of experience and thousands of delivered systems,

A: One of the nice things about our family of robots is that it covers such a wide range of sizes and capabilities. We have robots spanning from 5 to 100 pounds, which allows for solutions as diverse as the many missions that SOF operators are faced with. In order to support SOF properly, our systems also need to be extremely rugged and versatile. 110 FirstLook was designed with this in mind, as it is capable of surviving a 15-foot drop onto concrete and has the flexibility to integrate various payloads through a simple payload interface. The 310 SUGV and 510 PackBot are also highly rugged and versatile, with numerous sensors, cameras and payloads able to be swapped in and out. When faced with a mission requiring extreme lift capability, our 710 robot brings a unique set of capabilities to the fight. The key is delivering systems that address numerous capability gaps, not just single point solutions. At iRobot, we are committed to doing just that. Q: What closing thoughts do you have about your company, its people, and the SOF operators who use your robots? A: As a company, we are proud of the fact that we’ve been able to respond when customers need us, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also with our law enforcement community, coalition partners and nuclear facilities. We’ve been leaning forward with innovative robotic technologies that deliver an advantage to our warfighter and will continue to do so. But what we’re really most proud of is the skill and bravery of the men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day to keep us safe, and we are honored to call them customers. O

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