Actionable Intelligence for the Warfighter
Aviation Leader Maj. Gen. William T. Crosby PEO Aviation U.S. Army
Volume 3, Issue 1
Recon Rotary Wing O Situational Awareness O Night Vision UAS Requirements O Manned Airborne Assets
TACTICAL ISR TECHNOLOGY
April 2013 Volume 3, Issue 1
Cover / Q&A
Unparalleled Awareness Situational awareness on the battlefield is absolutely essential to today’s warfighter, and the demand for this situational data is insatiable. Both bottom-up and top-down intelligence gathering and dissemination are of critical importance to modern combat missions. By J.B. Bissell
16 Major General William T. Crosby
PEO Aviation U.S. Army
Manned Airborne Assets
Meeting Common Requirements in the Sky
Reconnaissance Rotary Wing Aircraft
Owning the Night
While UASs command much media attention, manned airborne assets are critical to DoD strategy. Moreover, the aviation industry is focusing more and more on multi-mission ISR integrated platforms. By Nikki Maxwell
Diverse unmanned aircraft systems are created for accomplishing different missions. Each modern UAS fills an intrinsic space specified by the service that requires it, and future UASs are poised to follow. By Hank Hogan
2 Editor’s Perspective 3 ALL INT 4 People 5 u.s. Army unmanned aircraft systems 14 ISR KIT 27 Resource Center
Rugged multi-purpose rotary wing aircraft have become the focus of today’s defense contractors. This is a development of their own anticipation of the replacement of older rotary wing platforms such as the Army’s Kiowa Warrior. By William Murray
Night vision technology has come a long way since WWII. We provide an overview of the new technologies that allow our warfighters to “own the night” in the battlespace. By Heather Baldwin
Industry Interview Stephen st. mary
Executive Vice President Digital Results Group
Tactical ISR Technology Volume 3, Issue 1 • April 2013
Actionable Intelligence for the Warfighter Editorial Editor Chris McCoy email@example.com Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly firstname.lastname@example.org Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis email@example.com Copy Editors Sean Carmichael firstname.lastname@example.org Laural Hobbes email@example.com Correspondents J.B. Bissell • Heather Baldwin • Henry Canaday Hank Hogan • Nikki Maxwell • William Murray
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EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE The rebalancing of forces from the Middle East to the Pacific region will bring with it a series of ISR challenges and demands. The Pacific region is host to many of the world’s most sophisticated militaries and air defense systems. As a result of this change, ISR missions in the Pacific region need special capabilities that allow ISR systems to compete in contested airspace. The threat of North Korea’s large military and its emerging nuclear weapons program is one example of a sophisticated military that requires careful monitoring by our ISR platforms. Already, the number of antiChris McCoy ballistic missile interceptors in Alaska is being increased from 26 to 40 at a Editor cost of approximately $1 billion. Luckily, the North Korean regime has yet to develop sophisticated rocket technology that enables functional ICBMs; however, their technology is quickly improving. The theme of future conflict in contested airspace has already altered one high-profile combat training exercise. Recently, the Air Force ISR Agency took part in the Red Flag 13-3 war-game. This was the first time in 38 years that the Air Force ISR Agency has played an integral role at the event. The Red Flag 13-3 exercise, conducted north of Las Vegas at the Nevada Test and Training Range, allowed Air Force intelligence experts the opportunity to practice methods meant for operating in contested airspace. In our next issue we’ll follow-up on the Air Force ISR Agency’s role in Red Flag 13-3 with an exclusive interview with the agency’s commander Major General Robert “Bob” Otto. Aside from the highly relevant issue of contested airspace in the rebalancing to the Pacific region, another aspect is readily apparent to anyone with access to a map. The Pacific region is an incredibly large area to operate in. Due to this, persistent wide-area surveillance systems such Gorgon Stare are part of the variety of ISR systems that meet the demands for ISR data collection there. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see future ISR platforms built with the Pacific region in mind, as the military rebalances towards this region. As usual feel free to contact me with any questions or comments for Tactical ISR Technology.
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Army Software and Systems Engineering Contract
Air Force MQ-1 O-level Operation and Maintenance Contract Awarded
The U.S. Army selected Lockheed Martin to compete for task orders through a new Software and Systems Engineering Services Next Generation (SSES NexGen) program. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract will support the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance community across the Department of Defense and in civilian agencies. “Timely, actionable information saves lives. Lockheed Martin’s focus for SSES NexGen is to provide warfighters in the field with reliable software and technical solutions that help them complete their missions effectively and safely,” said Judy Burke, vice president of mission support at Lockheed Martin’s global training and logistics business. Ten other prime contractors were selected to compete for projects through SSES NexGen. The program has a $7 billion ceiling value over five years. Lockheed Martin supports numerous software development and sustainment projects for the Army Communications-Electronics Command’s Software Engineering Center, including the Distributed Common Ground System, the Reprogramming Analysis Team, Ground Station Branch, Communications Software Support and the Sensors Branch Software Support programs. These efforts directly support deployed U.S. and coalition troops.
Battlespace Flight Services LLC, Arlington, Va., is being awarded a $13,740,356 contract modification for MQ-1 O-level operation and maintenance services. The location of the performance is Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and deployed sites worldwide. Work is expected to be completed by March 31, 2013. The contracting activity is Air Combat Command AMIC/PKC, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
$31 Million U.S. Navy Contract for Additional Low Band Transmitters Awarded Cobham has been awarded a $31.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command to manufacture the AN/ALQ-99 low band transmitter-antenna (LBT) Group for Navy and Marine Corps EA-6B and EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft. The contract funds the sixth fullrate production lot, and includes the first installment of a two-part procurement for a foreign military sale to undisclosed customers. This award brings the total number of production orders to 314 of 337 required transmitters, and to date, 230 transmitters have been delivered. The AN/ALQ-99 LBT Group, developed by Cobham Defense Electronics, has been in
production since 2005. The LBT is designed to protect strike aircraft, ships and ground troops by disrupting enemy radar and communications. It is flown on U.S. Navy EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G aircraft and Marine Corps EA-6B aircraft, and has been used in combat operations. This award continues a long tradition of Cobham’s support to the Navy’s mission success in harm’s way. Cobham’s support to the Navy extends beyond airborne electronic warfare. The Low Band Transmitter complements other ALQ-99 work, as well as the Next Generation Jammer, the Next Generation Airborne Electronic Attack study and the fleet’s Integrated Topside and Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program.
Tactical Mission Controller with Double the Processing Speed and 4x Faster 3-D Graphics Black Diamond Advanced Technology introduced its next generation modular tactical system (MTS), a wearable multi-mission unit that controls mission-critical peripherals on a central display. The new unit has double the processing speed and is four times faster displaying 3-D operational graphics, while also eliminating battery and equipment redundancies to lighten load-out. The MTS is primarily used by U.S. and international special operation forces for a variety of missions including precision targeting, C4ISR, SA, EOD and UAS/UGV control. The MTS has been
fielded in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since 2010 as a technology readiness level nine solution. The MTS tactical mission controller (TMC), which is the heart of the MTS kit and houses a computer, power management system and embedded radio interface electronics, now employs a dual-core Intel processor. The TMC dual-core provides a processor more than twice as fast as its predecessor and a 3-D graphics engine more than four times as fast—all for the same size and weight while maintaining
backward compatibility with fielded MTS accessories and cables. The dual-core processor also provides the ability for simultaneous dual-video output and support for new radios, as well as other feature improvements. The modular lightweight load-carrying equipment-compatible TMC is worn on the back of the tactical vest or can be configured in a pack or carry-bag. “The TMC dual-core improvements are being offered to help future-proof the MTS kit for our customers,” said Norman Lange, director of product development at Black Diamond.
TISR 3.1 | 3
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Fire Scout Program Selects Multi-Mode Maritime Surveillance Radar Telephonics Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Griffon Corporation, announced that its AN/ZPY-4(V)1 multi-mode maritime surveillance radar was selected by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems for use on the U.S. Navy’s MQ-8B vertical take-off and Landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV) as part of the U.S. Navy Fire Scout radar “rapid deployment capability” program. For the MQ-8B platform, the radar is configured to uniquely enable the VTUAV to conduct broad area intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from land and surface ships. The radar will be integrated to enable remote
ground- or sea-based control by U.S. Navy operators. In conjunction with the on-board electrooptical sensor, the radar will markedly increase the VTUAV surveillance area rate coverage and operator efficiency. “The integration of the AN/ZPY-4(V)1 multimode radar onto the MQ-8B Fire Scout will bring an all-weather sensor that provides wide area situational awareness capability to the platform” said Kevin McSweeney, Telephonics’ chief operating officer. “The AN/ZPY-4(V)1 will provide enhanced ISR benefits to the U.S. Navy while performing seaand land-based unmanned operations.”
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany. Kohler is currently serving as director, intelligence operations, N2/N6, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Brig. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart
Marine Corps Brigadier General Vincent R. Stewart has been nominated for appointment to the rank of major general. Stewart is currently serving as the director of intelligence, Headquarters Marine Corps, Arlington, Va.
Rear Adm. (lower half) Matthew J. Kohler
Navy Rear Admiral (lower half) Matthew J. Kohler will be assigned as director, J-2, U.S.
4 | TISR 3.1
Wiser Company promoted Eric Nelson to vice president of intelligence programs. Army Colonel Mark W. Gillette has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Gillette is currently serving as the senior defense official/defense attaché to Cambodia, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Brig. Gen. Sheila Zuehlke
Air Force Brigadier General Sheila Zuehlke has been
nominated for appointment to the rank of major general and for assignment as mobilization assistant to the commander, U.S. Cyber Command; director, National Security Agency; and chief, Central Security Service, Fort George G. Meade, Md.
Col. Paul D. Nelson
Air Force Colonel Paul D. Nelson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Nelson is currently serving as the vice commander, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, deputy chief of staff, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, Fort George G. Meade, Md.
Spanish Army Order Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection Solution Chemring Group PLC announced that the Spanish government will procure the Husky mounted detection system (HMDS) with ground penetrating radar (GPR) as the vehicle-mounted mine detection solution for the Spanish Army from its U.S. subsidiary, Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Inc. (NIITEK). NIITEK, along with its partners—Critical Solutions International (CSI), maker of the Husky 2G, a two-seat variant of the Husky, and Eleycon 21, a Spanish based company representing NIITEK and CSI in Spain—were awarded a contract in excess of $20 million by the Spanish Army for six systems plus spares and training for delivery this year. The NIITEK portion of this one-year contract is $4.87 million for six GPR systems, initial spares and training. The contract awarded will support Spanish combat engineers and troops deployed to Afghanistan. The NIITEK HMDS is a high-performance GPR system which functions on blast-resistant vehicles to provide realtime identification of anti-vehicular landmines and other explosive hazards on main supply routes and open areas such as minefields. “We are honored to have been selected to provide the combat-proven HMDS to a key NATO ally and are looking forward to working with the government of Spain and the Spanish Army,” said Juan Navarro, president of NIITEK. “The Spanish Army joins the growing list of NATO partners that have acquired this key component of the route clearance package. The HMDS system has proven to be a useful technology against the threat of buried explosive hazards and IEDs that Spanish soldiers and NATO coalition partners face in the current theater of operations.”
Gray Eagle Integration The Gray Eagle has landed: in the combat aviation brigade. By Captain Glenn Anderson, Commander, F/1-227 TF Eagle Assault
The 2012 deployment of the Army’s first MQ-1C Gray Eagle company, F/1-227 (Nomads), marked a milestone in Army aviation history. The challenges faced and the successes achieved by the Nomads since their standup at Fort Hood, Texas, in February 2011 to support this first-ever fielding have paved the way and set the standard for the numerous Gray Eagle companies to follow. The Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system will eventually be fully integrated in the combat aviation brigade within each division in order to reinforce the brigade combat team capabilities by providing immediately responsive situational awareness, persistent surveillance, target acquisition, target designation, and attack and battle damage assessment capability. The in-theater success of F/1-227 has proven Gray Eagle as exactly the tactical combat enabler the Army intended it to be. Some unique characteristics of the Gray Eagle UAS include the ability to simultaneously carry electro-optical/infrared and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors, a communication relay package and up to four Hellfire missiles. The system is fully interoperable, with manned aviation platforms to enable manned/ unmanned teaming operations, and is able to carry a variety of other intelligence-gathering payloads as required. The Army previously fielded the Gray Eagle UAS as a quick reaction capability (QRC) to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009 as a platoon size element. The dual intent of the QRC was to provide much needed capability to the field and to gather operational information that would guide the development of the Gray Eagle program of record (POR). Although the QRCs are currently operated by both soldier/contractor personnel, they are entirely maintained by contractors supporting the platoon. For the Gray Eagle POR, the majority of the operations and maintenance of the aircraft, ground control station and associated equipment will be executed by soldiers. An initial task of the Nomads was therefore to conduct the Gray Eagle logistics demonstration from March through June of 2011. During this exercise, F/1-227 established the first soldier-run MQ-1C maintenance program. They successfully certified 331 maintenance tasks, established maintainer qualification for engine runs, and developed standardized launch and recovery procedures. The next hurdle overcome by F/1-227 was the successful completion of operator training. Since Edwards Air Force Base was the only place the unit was able to fly between July and December of 2011, the unit was continually rotated between Fort Hood and Edwards AFB. Readiness level progression activities and flight tasks were conducted at Edwards AFB, while soldier deployment tasks were conducted at Fort Hood. During this time the unit completed 41 readiness level www.TISR-kmi.com
progressions events and supported three National Training Center (NTC) rotations to prepare for its deployment certification exercise. In January 2012, the unit returned to Edwards AFB. With the help of Aviation Gunnery branch, the Nomads became the Army’s first Gray Eagle company to complete a gunnery program and certify 40 UAS operators. This exercise was conducted in conjunction with NTC rotation 12-04 and was completed with excellent results. The quote from the NTC Observer Controllers was, “With the Gray Eagle on station, it is not a fair fight.” In March 2012 the unit deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom. Arriving in empty hangars and bare tactical operations centers, the company established the required UAS flight architecture within two weeks and the unit began flight operations within 30 days. The company quickly completed its local area orientations and took on a full mission load making an instant impact on the fight. There is no other individual company in theater that provided as much UAS coverage as F/1-227. The company continually improved their capability and performance throughout their tour of duty. They established multiple methods for soldiers to receive full motion video, developed several manned/unmanned teaming tactics, techniques and procedures, integrated SAR capabilities, and educated supported units on how to better employ the Gray Eagle UAS. F/1-227 soldiers have risen to every challenge and have set a high standard for all Gray Eagle units to follow. The Nomad’s accomplishments include flying over 1,000 flights, recording nearly 11,000 combat flight hours encompassing over 1,700 division missions, and conducting several engagements with zero civilian casualties while laying the groundwork for full integration into the combat aviation brigade. The experience of this company proves that despite a rigorous standup, fielding and deployment timeline, the American soldier will always rise to the occasion and do amazing things. F/1-227 is comprised of the best and brightest soldiers the Army has to offer. As their deployment winds down, the Nomads will return home for some richly earned downtime with the knowledge that they have exceeded every expectation and have represented both the Army and the nation to the highest standard. O
TISR 3.1 | 5
Situational awareness in the modern battlespace. By J.B. Bissell TISR Correspondent If you saw the recent Academy Award-nominated motion picture Zero Dark Thirty, a film based on the search for and eventual killing of Osama bin Laden, you may have been surprised that the scene that depicts the actual raid on his Pakistan compound— certainly one of America’s most significant military operations of all time—is relatively short. The majority of the movie’s drama revolves around the years of intelligence gathering and data interpreting that ultimately led to the terrorist’s hideout. Those particular activities might not seem like the makings for a very exciting plotline, but they apparently are a reasonably accurate representation of the painstaking planning that goes into a 21st-century military maneuver. According to Major Christian P. Hodge, deputy director, Air Force ISR Agency public affairs, there is an “insatiable demand for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance now. Today’s commanders will not put people and assets in harm’s way without intelligence analysts involved in the mission.” Because of this, there are more people involved in each mission—whether directly or indirectly—than ever before. “Since 2001, the Air Force ISR Agency has increased its global capacity 6 | TISR 3.1
immensely, resulting in a 4,300 percent increase in executed ISR worldwide,” said Hodge. “There are more than 1,000 ISR airmen deployed across all combatant commands and areas of responsibility executing joint service ISR operations.” The upsurge in personnel, along with all the man-hours logged by that personnel, is due to one overriding principle to mission success: “Situational awareness on the battlefield is absolutely essential,” said Hodge.
Actionable Intelligence Getting that useful information to the battlefield, though, is a daunting challenge in and of itself. “Intelligence is provided to warfighters in a myriad of ways,” explained Hodge. “In general, and this is by no means the rule, raw data is collected from various sources and sensors, many of which are dedicated to a specific ongoing or upcoming mission. The collected data is transmitted, sometimes in real time or near real time, dependent on the source, to a select location where analysts process, exploit and then disseminate the data. It is only after the formal analysis that it becomes actionable intelligence.” www.TISR-kmi.com
Once it’s deemed actionable intelligence—viable situational awareness data—some warfighters will receive it directly on their Harris RF-3590 ruggedized tablet. “It’s the first tablet computer specifically optimized for the changing tactical computing and networking requirements of the warfighter,” explained Eleanor McBeth, product manager for Harris RF Communications. “The RF-3590 is a compact, rugged device with a right-sized 7-inch touchscreen that offers multiple input/output options, such as USB, SD card, Ethernet, HDMI and even RS-232, as well as a tactical radio-specific connector,” she continued. “It can be used as a standalone device with embedded WiFi or optional cellular wireless module, or it can be tethered to a radio for extended range and Type-1 information security and tactical network access.” Indeed, wideband radios are extending the computing range to the tactical edge, providing Internet-like capabilities throughout the battlefield and allowing operators to send and receive information-rich data over wireless networks from virtually anywhere. These technological advances are making it more possible than ever to provide warfighters what they need most: “relevant, accurate and timely intelligence,” said Hodge. www.TISR-kmi.com
“This comes in various forms,” he continued, “and the Agency has recently employed some amazing capabilities, from wide-area motion imagery and full motion video to hyperspectral sensors.” Amazing capabilities, however, typically require some equally amazing tools with which to work. Full motion video can’t be viewed on just any old contraption. “As network capability continues to evolve, users need devices that will allow them to process, exploit and disseminate that data,” McBeth said. “The RF-3590 addresses that requirement in two ways: First, by providing a military-optimized, lightweight standalone computer that integrates dual core processors and solid state memory, the latest 802.11 standards, and embedded 4G LTE technology, and second, by allowing for the implementation of an application-centric communications environment. Through apps, warfighters will be able to obtain voice, data and video information for enhanced command and control, and ISR activities.” In other words, the Harris tablet provides high-end computing capability and real-time data sharing at the tactical edge, while maintaining the ease-of-use and functionality of the latest trend in civilian-sector gadgetry—with one important twist. “All of its features and technologies are geared toward the TISR 3.1 | 7
application environment, but for the battlefield user,” McBeth said. “One example is our new TacMed application, which streamlines the collection of information during traumatic medical evacuation events. TacMed utilizes the RF-3590’s embedded ‘hands-free’ audio capability for automated completion of forms crucial to patient care and other benefits. The app delivers the information over the network to medical personnel waiting anxiously to treat the incoming patient.” To run the TacMed application—as well as the others, including those developed by either the military or third parties—the tablet utilizes an open-source Android operating system. This also means the RF-3590 is upgradeable as future technology becomes available.
The Future Is Now A quick glance at Rockwell Collins’ selection of helmet-mounted eyepieces might make it seem as though a good bit of that future technology already exists. “Situational awareness is critical,” noted Chris Lawler, sales manager for Rockwell Collins Optronics. “We provide the Situational awareness intelligence is available at the soldier level with the ruggedized Harris RF-3590 tablet. [Photo courtesy tools that soldiers need to be effective in every of Harris Corporation] mission and continually evolve our display techthem to make decisions faster, which is critical to mission sucnologies to meet mission requirements. The display solutions we cess,” Lawler said. provide for both mounted and dismounted soldiers deliver critical information and a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield, while enhancing the warfighter’s ability to avoid detection by keeping their All-Around View heads up and hands free.” The MicroView 35 helmet mounted display (MV35) provides Also critical to mission success is an understanding of the that bird’s-eye outlook on the battlefield via a 35-degree field-offull picture of what’s happening all around you at all times. That view arrangement of mapping, targeting, GPS, sensors and more was the impetus behind the development of SRI International’s situational awareness data. In fact, it allows for remote vision View 360 panoramic situational awareness system, an instrument access to information supplied by any NTSC/RS170 or RGB device, that makes it possible for vehicle-based operators to keep tabs including various video sights and computers. And the dashboardon what’s happening in the space that encircles them on a single style display means operators can maintain their attention on monitor. what’s happening around them, but quickly check crucial bits of “It can mount on basically any vehicle with a hatch,” said information whenever needed, much like driving a car. Mark A. Clifton, vice president, products and services at SRI The bottom line is that “our highly ruggedized display soluInternational. “There’s a long-wave IR camera up top that rotates tions improve your understanding of the battlefield,” said Lawler. at about 1 hertz. That image then feeds down to a display where What might be a little difficult to understand, though, is how the camera’s 360-degree view is displayed in a cylindrical strip all of that information can be delivered by such an undersized and around the image of your vehicle. Imagine that the vehicle is surlightweight piece of equipment. The full-color or monochrome rounded by a strip of movie film video; that’s what it looks like green display module weighs only about 50 grams and can easily on the screen.” be mounted to eyewear or a helmet. The idea behind that particular type of display was to make it “By combining the miniaturization of the display and elecmore intuitive; it feels almost 3-D, as opposed to flat video bars, tronics along with manufacturing techniques that have made and while feedback to the presentation has been positive, what the product lighter and more rugged,” Lawler explained, “we’ve soldiers seem to truly appreciate is the touchscreen capabilities. designed innovative situational awareness and network technolo“If you see something of interest, or if an alert goes off, you gies that are intended for the tactical edge of the battlefield and simply touch that position on the video cylinder,” explained covert operations.” Clifton. “It will then zoom in and you can see more detail about Innovations aside, the Rockwell Collins helmet-mounted disthat specific location on the screen. Additionally, the simulated plays do what every piece of equipment should: help warfighters vehicle will actually turn on the screen so you understand your do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. “Our displays give spatial relation to the scene that you’re zooming in on. So you get vital, easy-to-read information and alerts to soldiers, allowing detailed situational awareness, but it’s in context.” 8 | TISR 3.1
Detailed situational awareness may be an understatement. The View 360 employs a high-resolution thermal camera that when stationary can pick out crawling humans at a distance of up to 300 meters away and detect standing men and women from 1 kilometer. Automated target tracking and various customizable threat assessment features also can be incorporated. “We can also couple the View 360 with our TerraSight system,” added Clifton. SRI’s TerraSight video exploitation has a Google Earth-type display with a 3-D map of the immediate vicinity. Based on user input, it will plug information from various sensors into the digitized world and even drape video from a UAV or tower-mounted camera to provide multiple inputs of situational awareness on a common screen, including simultaneous air and ground coverage. When used in conjunction with the View 360, “operators can get a more geo location-based display in their vehicles,” Clifton explained. “Plus, other sensors and visual cues can be entered to alert you to possible areas of danger or places that need investigating.”
Success Stories Minimizing danger—along with maximizing mission effectiveness—certainly is one of the key benefits of quality situational awareness. “A great example of how these technologies not only help target enemies but also save lives is an Air Force Distributed
Common Ground System (DCGS) success story sometimes shared by Major General Robert Otto, AF ISR Agency commander,” added Major Hodge. “The DCGS is an integrated, networked, operational system that, through our highly trained analysts, makes comprehensible intelligence available to the warfighter. Analysts at DGS-1 Langley Air Force Base, Va., identified two groups of Marines in a firefight with insurgents in Afghanistan. The first group of Marines was taking sniper fire and thought they had identified the enemy shooters. But they were actually targeting their own recon team that had become separated. The analyst relayed this information and saved the recon team from friendly fire. This sort of situational awareness is unparalleled in the history of warfare.” As is the type of situational awareness equipment—be it a tablet computer, eyepiece data display, or panoramic video surveillance system—that’s currently available to our servicemen and women. Which is very good thing, because as Hodge said, “Every time there is a conflict or campaign, battlespace requirements change radically faster, and we must identify a new need or potentially a new means to disseminate intelligence to the warfighter.” O
For more information, contact Editor Chris McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.tisr-kmi.com.
TISR 3.1 | 9
Manned Airborne Assets
ISR integration soars above the rest.
By Nikki Maxwell TISR Correspondent
Aviation pioneer Boeing began developing manned airborne assets nearly a century ago in 1916. Since then the company has grown alongside the technology. “It is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems,” said Chick Ramey, of Boeing Surveillance and Engagement. “Boeing has a long tradition of aerospace leadership and innovation. The company continues to expand its product line and services to meet emerging customer needs. Its broad range of capabilities includes creating new, more efficient members of its commercial airplane family; integrating military platforms, defense 10 | TISR 3.1
systems and the warfighter through network-enabled solutions; and creating advanced technology solutions. “Manned airborne assets are critical to the Department of Defense strategy,” Ramey said. “Each program serves a critical role in the U.S. military’s plans to defend our nation.” Ramey said one very interesting program is the P-8A Poseidon, and described it as a true multimission platform. The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, ISR aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. Onboard P-8A, all sensors contribute to www.TISR-kmi.com
a single fused tactical situation display, which is then shared over both military standard and Internet protocol data links, allowing for seamless delivery of information amongst U.S. and coalition forces. As an armed platform, P-8A independently closes the kill chain, while simultaneously providing data to everyone on the network. “The P-8A is the latest military derivative aircraft to benefit from a culture of technical innovation and the One Boeing approach to manufacturing,” Ramey said. “The P-8A is a derivative of the highly successful and reliable Next-Generation 737, and has the fuselage of a 737-800 and the wings of a 737-900. The P-8A is Boeing’s first military derivative aircraft to incorporate structural modifications to the aircraft as it moves through the commercial line,” Ramey explained. The P-8A is being developed for the U.S. Navy by a Boeing-led industry team that consists of CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, GE Aviation, BAE Systems and Spirit AeroSystems. According to Ramey, the U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft. In January 2011, Boeing received a $1.6 billion contract for low-rate initial production of the first six aircraft, spares, logistics and training devices; in November 2011, Boeing received a $1.7 billion LRIP award for seven additional P-8As. In September 2012, Boeing received a $1.9 billion contract for 11 aircraft, bringing the total to 24. P-8A initial operational capability is slated for this year. But that’s not the only new manned airborne asset Boeing is expecting to add to its fleet soon. “The KC-46A tanker is under development, and by 2017, Boeing will have delivered 18 aircraft to the USAF,” Ramey said. Another industry leader in manned airborne assets is Cayley Aeronautical Associates LLC, which has provided engineering solutions to the U.S. military since 2009. The company integrates ISR systems and sensor packages www.TISR-kmi.com
into commercial aircraft for the U.S. military, U.S. intelligence and the private sector. “This approach is a cost- and schedule-effective alternative to developing manned ISR platforms from the ground up,” said Jesse Coyle, engineering manager, Cayley Aeronautical Associates. “We also modify military registered aircraft; however, we have seen the military and other government agencies moving away from this approach.” Coyle said the Cayley team has extensive experience with ISR backgrounds in land-based solutions and airborne assets, as far back as 2001. The bulk of Cayley Aeronautical’s experience is providing manned ISR platforms to the U.S. Army. “However, Cayley Aeronautical has also provided manned ISR platform solutions to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and other government agencies,” Coyle said. “The ISR needs of each military branch are unique; however, when looking at the airborne platform itself, many similarities arise.” He said the Beechcraft King Air series of aircraft is a proven airborne ISR platform in use by the U.S. Army, Air Force and other government agencies. For U.S. military manned airborne ISR platforms, the FAA has created the Military Commercial Derivative Aircraft (MCDA) designation and issued FAA Order 8110.101 to specify the certification path for these aircraft. “These platforms provide an excellent balance of payload capability and effective range and loiter time,” Coyle said. “Many popular Army and Air Force programs are based on this platform, including the Army’s MARSS and EMARSS programs as well as the Air Force’s Projected Liberty (MC-12).” “Of course, the military is not required to operate to FAA approvals, but doing so has several key advantages,” Coyle said. “The FAA is, by law, dedicated to aviation safety; therefore, the military can be assured that an MCDA platform is certified to the highest safety standards.” The MCDA and civil approval routes produce specialized manned ISR solutions, but these programs can end up very far from their intended goal as well. “When designing airborne ISR platforms, Cayley Aeronautical always starts the process with the ISR system operator and the intelligence analysts that will be or are interfacing with the manned asset,” Coyle said. TISR 3.1 | 11
3 1. Two officers man the flight simulator at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville P-8A Integrated Training Center. The Navy’s replacement platform for the P-3C, the P-8A Poseidon, is designed to secure the Navy’s future in long-range maritime patrol capability, while transforming how the Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force will man, train, operate and deploy. [Photo courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Salt Cebe U.S. Navy] 2. An Air Force officer exits a Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C after testing the light-attack aircraft’s ability to perform a combat search and rescue mission at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. [Photo courtesy of Major Gabe Johnson U.S. Air Force] 3. An MC-12 Liberty aircraft lands on an airfield. [Photo courtesy of DoD]
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“From there, we are able to identify the core functionality desired and engineer the solutions. This guarantees the final product is the specialized manned ISR asset desired.” According to Coyle, the company’s most successful manned airborne ISR platforms are the U.S. Army Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (MARSS) and U.S. Army Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) programs. MARSS involved the modification of used King Air 200 and 300 platforms to accommodate a multitude of ISR systems. “These aircraft include COMINT and SIGINT arrays, EO/IR cameras, SATCOM data links and specialized communications suites to allow the aircraft to communicate directly with military personnel using backpack radios,” Coyle explained. “U.S. Army Task Force ODIN [Observe, Detect, Identify and Neutralize] and other task forces successfully fielded these aircraft in both Iraq and Afghanistan for the detection of IEDs.” Cayley is currently working on obtaining FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approvals for several key ISR system integration solutions. This in an effort to aid Military Commercial Derivative Aircraft programs in meeting demanding schedules and cost parameters with adaptable and maintenance friendly integrations. “Providing common sense solutions to manned airborne ISR integration is another focus,” Coyle said. “Rather than continue to heavily modify commercial off-the-shelf sensor mounting solutions that require software modifications to overcome the limitations thereof, Cayley Aeronautical is providing purpose-built solutions to these problems.” Another company developing airborne asset solutions is Avenge Inc., which has been conducting the testing, calibrating and operational flying of airborne ISR assets for over a decade, and flew more than 32,000 hours in 2012. “Avenge works with aircraft manufacturers, companies that modify aircraft and DoD, supporting the ISR mission,” said Kurt Kline, director of business development, Avenge Inc. He said Avenge has worked on programs which include experimental test flights, calibration, training, worldwide ferry and operational flights on Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) EO5 (Dash 7), Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System King Air 200 thru 350ER, Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar Dash 6, U-28 (Pilatus PC-12) and C-208 Caravan. www.TISR-kmi.com
EMARSS Sources Sought Announcement
“The key to manned airborne ISR assets success is the critical thinking the crews bring to the mission, the ability to interpret On March 15, 2013, a sources sought announcement was put forth by the radio communications that are coming from Department of the Army in order to determine possible sources for supply20 miles away, not 10,000 miles, and the ing 12 Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems real-time situational awareness the pilots [EMARSS] in addition to 42 Integrated Contractor Logistics Support for EMARSS. receive from the system operators onboard The EMARSS are to be sought for integration into the Beechcraft King Air the aircraft,” Kline said. “As the mission is 350ER. The technical specification for this announcement stipulates that the developing, the crews, utilizing sound crew King Air 350ER contain APG, COMINT and EO/IR sensors, SATCOM equipment, coordination procedures and a wealth of aircraft survivability equipment, workstations for two operators, military avionics stored knowledge that comes from executing systems and an interface with the DCGS-A, in addition to other communications the mission daily, provide a level of situational awareness that is not available to the remotely equipment. piloted crews.” He gave examples: “Is there cloud cover? “We recently began low-rate production of Commonwealth, in 1938. The airplane was How hard is it raining? Has the sun started to the Beechcraft AT-6, which is a robust, pura Beechcraft Model 18, specially equipped for rise? Which way is the wind blowing? Is the pose-built light attack and armed reconnaisaerial photography. weather deteriorating? sance aircraft.” “Today, as technology progresses, the “These kinds of little details can affect He said the AT-6 offers a solution that abilities of imagery intelligence [IMINT] are the ground battle and the manned airborne leverages prior investment in the U.S. Air becoming more capable and important to asset can adjust and report what he sees,” Force’s T-6, A-10C and MC-12W platforms, battlefield commanders, individual soldiers said Kline. “On most RPVs the information programs and people. and to civilian law enforcement,” said Roger the crew can relay to the ground commander “Beechcraft AT-6 capabilities cover a Hubble, Beechcraft Marketing product manis limited to what comes through the ‘soda wide-mission spectrum that includes trainager, Special Missions, Trainer & Attack straw view’ of the camera. A crewed aircraft ing, manned intelligence surveillance and Aircraft. “As the number of our military can see smoke coming down a mountainside reconnaissance, and light precision attack, troops decreases, it is vitally important to that may obscure the battlefield in the near while at the same time offering nontradiprovide them with far better intelligence. In future, a muzzle flash or fire in the distance, tional capabilities for homeland defense and modern warfare today, a soldier can expect or pick up a broken radio transmission from civil support missions,” Hubble said. “The to know who and what is an adjacent unit. It’s the small AT-6 is the best solution to meet the crosson the other side of the details that a manned aircraft can cutting needs of austere counterinsurgency wall—and see it in real provide that make the difference in and building partnership capacity missions time. On today’s battlemilitary operations.” around the world.” field, timely and subject According to Kline, the biggest The most recent airborne asset develmatter significant imagtrend right now is the desire to creoped by Beechcraft is the Baron G58 ISR ery intelligence is key ate multi-mission aircraft. aircraft, based on the very popular Baron, to winning any military “Manned airborne assets may with a state-of-the-art EO/IR camera system, conflict.” be called upon to conduct border recorder and tactical communications radio Hubble said Beechsurveillance in support of stopthat allow the aircraft to see, with imagery craft supports the U.S. ping drug smuggling over the Roger Hubble intelligence, activity day or night, communimilitary with airborne water one week. Then they may be cate with military and/or police units on the assets in a wide spectasked with listening in on comground—and record the entire mission for trum of potential scope, ranging from merely munications over the desert the following evidence and criminal prosecution. providing the basic unmodified aircraft, to week,” Kline said. “Due to limited financial Hubble said the Baron G58 ISR aircraft the installation of relatively straight-forward resources and a global mission, the future has received a lot of interest in the marketmission equipment. requires a ‘Swiss Army knife’ approach.” place because of its relatively low acquisition The company currently provides the He said the trade-off is that there are cost, low operating cost and because it is Beechcraft King Air 350ER and 200s to the some missions a single mission aircraft could such a popular civilian aircraft. U.S. military and its contractors for use in perform better, but the days of having three Ultimately, as technology improves and surveillance and utility/transport missions, to five different types of aircraft are over. He airborne assets continue to develop, the and continues to produce and deliver the added that the need to standardize the traindebate about manned versus unmanned also T-6 Texan. The Beechcraft T-6B/C features ing and reducing the logistics footprint also continues. But the overwhelming benefits of an integrated glass cockpit and an advanced drives the need for a multi-mission aircraft. manned airborne assets are clear. O Esterline CMC Cockpit 4000 avionics suite Speaking of multi-mission aircraft, the that Hubble said greatly expands advanced first Beechcraft airplane procured by the U.S. training opportunities. military as a “manned airborne asset,” was For more information, contact Editor Chris McCoy “Whereas the T-6 has been in full proreceived and accepted by Lieutenant Colonel at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories duction for well over a decade, the AT-6 Dwight Eisenhower, Chief of Staff of the at www.tisr-kmi.com. production is just beginning,” Hubble said. American military mission to the Philippine www.TISR-kmi.com
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ISR KIT New Product for OpenVPX High-Performance Embedded Computing Solutions Mercury Systems Inc. has expanded its product line to offer the industry’s first embedded processing module using the Intel 3rd generation Core i7 quad-core Ivy Bridge mobile-class processor and dual Mellanox ConnectX-3 host adapters for a total of four InfiniBand fabric connections. The new LDS6523 (low-density server) is an industry model for open architecture high-performance embedded computing solutions, offering unparalleled data plane bandwidth with four 40 Gbps fabric ports. The product can be configured to support double data rate, quad data rate and 40 GigE speeds. Solutions based on the LDS6523 are suited for multi-dimensional applications requiring high throughput, determinism and low latency—such as cyberINT, IMINT, SIGINT and radar.
Customized Chemical Warfare Simulators to Train Canadian Forces in CBRN Defense Argon Electronics’ Canadian representative Patlon Aircraft & Industries Limited has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to equip the Canadian Forces with Argon’s chemical warfare training simulators. The simulators will be used to train Canada’s military on the equipment and procedures for detecting chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. Argon will supply the company’s flagship PlumeSIM training systems, as well as simulators for several of the Canadian Forces’ chemical detectors, including the Proengin AP4C detector and the S4PE surface sampler, as well as simulators for the Smiths Detection LCD3.3 personal detector and LCD-Nexus fixed-site detector. The simulation systems are to be
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deployed at the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training facility at Canadian Forces Base Borden and several other bases throughout Canada. “Argon and Patlon Aircraft Industries have worked extremely hard together to secure this important contract, which will be delivered over the next 18 months,” said Steven Pike, managing director of Argon. “This contract represents a huge vote of confidence in both our simulation products and our company. That confidence results from not only the performance but the cost-effectiveness of our systems. For example, the PlumeSIM system has a modular and highly flexible architecture, enabling our customers to expand and adapt the system in the future as their CBRN training needs change.”
Digital Extreme Low-Light CMOS Camera Photonis USA introduced Nocturn, a new digital extreme low-light complementary metal oxide silicon camera (CMOS). The Nocturn camera is designed for high performance under both daylight and low-light conditions. Nocturn fits applications where highresolution detection and ultra-high sensitivity are required 24/7. Its small size, weight and power make this camera module ideal for integration into aerial, mobile and handheld surveillance systems. The Nocturn is a rugged low-light camera module that features high-definition resolution, high sensitivity and high dynamic range with low power consumption. It provides monochrome real-time imaging capabilities—from daylight to bright starlight—in the visible and near infrared spectrum. Nocturn is powered by the Photonis Lynx CMOS sensor. The sensor enables the camera to provide a consistent read noise below 4e- at rates up to its full 100 fps, with superior signal-to-noise performance due to its large 9.7μm2 pixels and high fill factor. The Lynx CMOS is a solid-state sensor with full super extended graphics array resolution (1280-by-1024) that operates in both daylight and low-light levels as low as bright starlight. The Nocturn digital extreme low-light CMOS camera provides a broad range of spectral responses, from 400nm to near-IR (1100nm). With a power consumption under 200mW (10 times lower than current industry standards) providing a direct digital output, the Nocturn camera is ideal for man-portable systems and unmanned remote posts where 24/7 closed-circuit television image availability is required. It can also be used for machine vision and scientific imaging applications requiring the combination of high speed, high resolution and low light sensitivity. Nocturn family of cameras starts its offering with two versions: the XS model, which provides the basic module for custom system integration, and the XL, which provides full connectivity via USB, NTSC/PAL or a CameraLink compatible platform. Additionally, the camera is equipped with a range of on-board image correction features to optimize the image as required. The Nocturn Camera is the latest in the Photonis line of low-light imaging sensors and cameras. In 2012 Photonis announced the Lynx digital CMOS sensor, and in 2011, Photonis released a digital scientific camera, the xSCELL, with its exclusive InXite sensor to support extremely demanding scientific imaging applications. www.TISR-kmi.com
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Thermal Imaging Unit for the Leopard 2 Tank Cassidian Optronics GmbH, previously known as Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH, will supply the new Attica thermal imaging unit for the commander’s periscope in the Bundeswehr’s Leopard 2 battle tanks. After extensive trials, the German procurement authority BAAINBw (Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support) has awarded this Cassidian subsidiary an order to deliver the Attica to a value of almost 7 million euros. The third generation of thermal imaging equipment from Cassidian Optronics thus becomes the standard for the commander’s Peri R17 periscope, which is also supplied by Cassidian Optronics. The use of the Attica thermal imaging device significantly enhances the tank commander’s ability to acquire targets, thus improving the safety of the crew. With the Peri R17, the commander is able to supply the gunner with marked targets by day and night, to then be able to acquire other targets without delay. The acquisition of targets can thus be separated from their engagement, which enables quicker reactions. The Attica system meets the complex requirements presented by today’s mission scenarios. This equipment, which has already been selected for the Puma armored infantry fighting vehicle, is thus developing into a unit which is used across the Bundeswehr, especially in the tank force and mechanized infantry, as well as in the artillery. This results in logistical benefits and a reduction in operating costs when using thermal imaging equipment from the same family of products. As a consequence of this German decision, other states in the LEOBEN association of Leopard user states are also planning procurement of the Peri R17. This will further standardize the level of configuration for the LEOBEN states.
Navy Triton Program Development and Demonstration UAV Platform Northrop Grumman Corporation is building a company-owned unmanned aircraft for use as a development and demonstration platform for at-sea surveillance under the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton program. Triton provides a detailed picture of surface vessels to identify threats across vast areas of ocean and littoral areas. With its ability to fly missions up to 24 hours, Triton complements many manned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. Wing sections were joined to the aircraft’s fuselage at the company’s production facility in Palmdale, Calif. The aircraft will be outfitted with the same intelligence-gathering sensors and communications suite as the Navy’s Triton program. “The aircraft will initially be used to further testing efforts for the Navy as we prepare Triton to be operational in late 2015,” said Steve Enewold, Northrop Grumman’s vice president and program manager for Triton. “Eventually, we will use the aircraft as a test bed to improve system performance, incorporate new intelligence-gathering capabilities and conduct demonstrations.” All production efforts related to this system were funded internally by the company. Northrop Grumman has also built other company-owned unmanned systems such as Fire Scout, using them to demonstrate new control software and sensor payloads. “We’ve proven that company-owned systems allow us to reduce risk in testing efforts and deliver capabilities faster to our customers,” said Enewold.
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Maintaining Long-Term Perspective in the Face of Steep Budget Cuts
Major General William T. Crosby PEO Aviation U.S. Army
Major General William T. (Tim) Crosby assumed duties as the Program Executive Officer, Aviation on December 12, 2008. Crosby entered the Army as a field artillery officer after graduating from The Citadel in 1979 and was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division serving as fire support team chief, battalion fire direction officer, special weapons officer and battery executive officer. Following this assignment, Crosby entered flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he was awarded his aviator wings in May of 1982. Upon completion of flight school, he attended the CH-47 transition and was assigned to the 205th Aviation Company in Mainz Finthen, West Germany, where he served in successive positions as flight platoon leader, executive officer and operations officer. Crosby then returned to Fort Rucker to attend the Aviation Officer Advanced Course, was awarded a research and development functional area, and was assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Development Test Activity in January of 1986 conducting developmental flight testing on CH-47, UH-60 and fixed wing aircraft. In February of 1990, Crosby returned to Europe to command the VIIth Corps CH-47 unit and deployed his unit to Southwest Asia to participate in Operations Desert Shield and Storm. He commanded the unit for just under two years followed by an assignment as a battalion executive officer. Following staff college, Crosby was assigned to PMO Comanche in 1993, where he held the positions of logistics management officer, assistant program manager (APM) for training and simulation, APM for MANPRINT, and APM for test and evaluation. Crosby left Comanche in June of 1996 to serve as a weapons system program evaluator in the J8 Directorate of the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After a two-year tour on the Joint Staff, he was assigned to serve as the first product manager for the Improved Cargo Helicopter Program, now known as the CH-47F. Crosby attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base and earned a master’s degree in international and strategic studies. While at War College, he was selected for promotion to colonel and was selected to be the project manager for the Army’s Cargo Helicopter Program. 16 | TISR 3.1
He completed his tour of duty as the Army’s cargo helicopter project manager and conducted a change of charter on August 24, 2006. He was immediately reassigned as the interim project manager for the newly formed Armed Scout Helicopter Program Office on August 25, 2006 and remained in that position until the command-slated Armed Scout Helicopter Project Manager arrived on October 17, 2006. He then served as the PM Reset charged with integrating the effort to preset and reset the aircraft going to and returning from combat deployment. In May 2007, Crosby became the Deputy Program Executive Officer, Aviation. He was promoted to the rank of major general in February 2011. Q: Could you describe your duties as the program executive officer of U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Aviation? A: As the PEO for Aviation, my mission is to provide overall direction and integration of assigned weapon system programs and assure effective interface with our higher headquarters—the Assistant Secretary, Acquisition, Logistics and Technology [ASAALT]— the U.S. Department of the Army, as well as other services, combat system developers, and supporting commands and activities. www.TISR-kmi.com
One of my primary responsibilities is to provide overall direction to our eight project management offices, which include: • • • • • • • •
Apache Attack Helicopters Unmanned Aircraft Systems Utility Helicopters Fixed Wing Aircraft Cargo Helicopters Aviation Systems Armed Scout Helicopters Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aircraft
These project offices direct the day-to-day operations required for cradle-to-grave, life cycle management of all Army aviation product lines and weapon systems. What we seek between PEO Aviation, our aviation enterprise partners and our industry partners is always a balanced approach to get the best return on investment for our taxpayer dollars. Modernization efforts, sustainment of our aged fleet and the development of a future vertical lift [FVL] continue to be top priorities for Army aviation. Q: How do you expect the force drawdown in Afghanistan to affect Army aviation? Will there be a more global focus due to freed-up resources? A: It is too soon to tell how this will occur. While courses of action are being examined, no specific determination has been made as to how aviation resources will be deployed/redeployed. Because of the inseparable link between Army aviation and the ground forces they support, it is imperative that the right ratio exist between the two. As with the rest of our Army, we strive to ensure that the balance of our rotary wing assets is sufficient to meet our global commitments, but not in excess of our requirements. To that end, we are constantly assessing the size and scope of the rotary wing fleet to determine if we have the right number of units, if we have the right force structure within those units and if we have the right mix of aircraft in that force structure. We also carefully examine how emerging technology can be infused into our aviation units to assist in maintaining the best balance and provide the finest support to our troops on the ground. Q: How can Army aviation maintain its network of private industry suppliers in the face of large fiscal cuts? A: We are very fortunate that the Army aviation community— which includes the different commands and organizations in the aviation enterprise, our industry partners and the academic community—has very strong relationships. It would be impossible for us to continue our mission without the assistance and the cooperation of all our partners. We know they are also struggling to determine the best way forward. More than ever, it is critically important that we have seamless communication with each other relative to the technologies that we are pursuing, and that we keep each other apprised of our current situations. As we prepare for the tough times ahead, the larger companies in the defense industry will be able to absorb the foreseeable impacts and keep their businesses afloat. What I’m worried www.TISR-kmi.com
about are the second, third and fourth tier vendors, some of whom will be severely impacted by the difficult decisions our Army and our nation may have to make. Again, communication is going to be the key, and we need to take advantage of the forums that allow us to conduct that necessary dialogue in order to strategically plan ahead. We need to find ways for us to bridge gaps and mitigate the impact to the suppliers that support us. We cannot address the problem if we do not get to the heart of the issues, and the only way to accomplish that is to have that continuous, consistent and straight dialogue with each other. Q: In your four-plus years as the program executive officer, how has Army aviation changed? Could you tell us about any current programs, projects or initiatives within Army aviation that our readers might find especially fascinating? A: There have been several fundamental advances in Army aviation over the past 10 years that have been multipliers on the battlefield, and as a result, American industry and Army teams have produced advances that are unmatched on the battlefield. The integration of unmanned capabilities at all levels of the tactical space, from the soldier to the battalion and above, has provided our forces with surveillance and reconnaissance data never before available. Improved sensor systems on manned and unmanned aircraft have extended our ability to detect, identify and target the threat. The fielding of the CH-47F Chinook, the HH/UH-60M Black Hawk and the AH-64E Apache modernized systems has breathed new life and capability into our fleet. Each has implemented critical air vehicle technologies such as flight control improvements and digital architectures to further integrate battlefield information like Blue Force Tracker, developed manned/unmanned teaming capabilities, added digital mapping, navigation, voice communications, improved man machine interfaces and increased aircraft survivability, and bettered our soldier systems. Even though the U.S. Army has the greatest aviation fleet in the world, there is still much to do to integrate current and nearterm technologies. Fly-by-wire [FBW] technology is proven and fielded on many systems, but we have yet to provide this important technology in our helicopters. FBW-controlled aircraft can provide the next great leap in safety and capability. Our soldiers deserve that. FBW systems are also a critical element of our strategy on degraded visual environment [DVE]. Air vehicle control, stability and workload reduction are fundamental to operations in DVE. We can better integrate our aircraft survivability systems to increase performance and add capability to better protect our air crews. Sensor technology continues to improve at high rates and we must plan to include these technology insertions in our acquisition planning to increase our capability in reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting, and to allow pilotage and operations in degraded environments. Army Aviation will always be a critical partner in the Army’s operating environment, and so we must continue to expand collaboration between science and technology and military program management. We can ill-afford to pursue capabilities that do not support either FVL or modernize our current platforms. Collaboration, coordination and communication are crucial and will continue to be even more so between all our partners in the next few years. TISR 3.1 | 17
Q: During this time as program executive officer what have been the greatest challenges you’ve confronted? A: We in PEO Aviation face unique challenges on a daily basis, but the most challenging in the past four years that I’ve been PEO is the current fiscal environment we see ourselves in today. Short-sighted decisions will undermine the larger strategic effort. We in Army Aviation are looking at this from the perspective of the entire aviation portfolio and impacts to other aviation programs. Our senior leaders are looking at this with the entire Army strategy in mind and must make decisions that reflect on and impact the capabilities of the Army. This is a tough time for our country, and we must all do our part in shouldering some of that burden. We will not be able to get everything we want, and we have to accept the fact that we may need to make trades in other capabilities. We are all looking at this with the soldier always in mind. Some of us may have to do without so that the soldier we support always has what he or she needs. We must continue to do everything we can to ensure that they are always supported and continue to be successful in future missions. Q: What are some of the benefits of the smaller tactical UAVs such as the RQ-11B Raven? Have any proved useful in ways unanticipated? A: There are currently two small unmanned aircraft managed by the Project Office for Unmanned Aircraft Systems: the Raven and Puma. However, there are plans to generate a third component to this office portfolio classified as a “micro UAS” which will be used for short-range UAS needs. The RQ-11B Raven supports battalion and lower maneuver elements. The hand-launched aircraft provides day and night real-time imagery directly to the operator and leaders. Raven is present throughout the Army in maneuver and supporting units and is a key system in Operation Enduring Freedom [OEF]. In August 2012, the Army started fielding the new gimbaled payload incorporating day and night sensors and the infrared illuminator. The larger RQ-20A Puma All Environment Capable Variant is operating with route clearance patrols and brigade combat teams. The Puma’s increased endurance and longer ranges make it ideally suited for more demanding environments and operations. The two systems, Raven and Puma, employ a secure digital data link and share the same multi-functional control station. Both are compatible with receivers such as the One System Remote Video Terminal and Video from Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Interoperability Teaming-Level 2 found in manned aircraft. Operators normally fly missions autonomously via preplanned waypoints but may adjust the mission in real time. Q: Could you tell us anything about the MQ-1C Gray Eagles? Are they integrating well within the Army? A: The Gray Eagle is one of four programs of record maintained by the UAS Project Office, and is currently in the production and deployment phase. There are two quick reaction capability [QRC] Gray Eagle units deployed in support of combat operations in OEF. Each QRC is comprised of four aircraft. The first complete operational Gray Eagle Company [F/227th-1st CAV] out of Fort Hood, 18 | TISR 3.1
Texas, deployed to OEF in March 2012. Since then the Army has fielded two additional Gray Eagle companies. The Gray Eagle provides combatant commanders a much improved, organic real-time responsive capability to conduct longdwell, wide area reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, communications relay, manned unmanned teaming [MUM-T], and attack missions [four Hellfire II Missiles]. This particular unmanned aircraft addresses an ever-increasing demand for greater range, altitude, endurance and payload flexibility, while maintaining a greater than 80 percent system operational availability rate. Overall, the Gray Eagle has flown more than 39,000 combat hours and maintained an operational availability at about 90 percent. In August 2012, the Gray Eagle completed its operational test and evaluation, successfully demonstrating its capabilities to include working in tandem with the Army’s Block III Apache attack helicopter under the MUM-T concept. MUM-T provides a capability where the Apache crew not only has the ability to view live feeds from nearby UAS in real time, but also has the ability to fly the UAS and control the sensor payload. PM UAS, PM Armed Scout Helicopter and PM Apache have worked together with the goal of making the most capable, automated, lethal and interoperable systems available to our forward deployed soldiers and allies. MUM-T capabilities are a direct result of this collective hard work. As our doctrine evolves to fully exploit the capability advantages of manned aircraft and UAS, used separately and in combination, we fully expect MUM-T to influence the optimal mix of manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems in future Army aviation fleet. Q: Is there anything we haven’t asked that you’d like to discuss? A: Decisions we make today will impact Army aviation and our support to the ground soldiers in current and future missions and for years to come. We need to continue to invest in science and technology and the development of a replacement aircraft to keep up with our aging fleet. Our Army will continue to be challenged with aging equipment. We have to build into our acquisition strategies and policies the ability to upgrade as technology progresses. The aviation enterprise is strong, and we need to keep it that way. Drawing lines and making divisions would be the easy thing to do during austere times. We will stay strong together to support the soldier. The future vertical lift continues to be a top priority in Army Aviation. Sustaining our aged fleet in the current reduced budget environment will be a challenge. It is important that we in the Army aviation community, including our industry partners, continue to find new and innovative ways to mitigate the impacts of these challenges, because we must ensure that our soldiers continue to be supported with equipment and systems they need, and the training necessary to ensure that they are ready anytime and anywhere. As we take an appetite suppressant, we have to keep focused on a balanced approach to get the best return on investment for our taxpayer dollars. Our stability and ability to forecast is key to continued success in Army aviation. Our Army has committed significant resources to support air vehicle and mission equipment technical demonstrations over the next several years. Our industry partners and the science and technology community are continuously leaning forward to ensure that we leverage the technologies available while we work to develop new and improved capabilities that will support the future of Army aviation. O www.TISR-kmi.com
The needs and demands for unmanned aircraft systems today. By Hank Hogan TISR Correspondent systems. This is aimed at meeting squad level needs and will lead to Size matters—even for unmanned aircraft systems. In general, a handheld, vertical takeoff system. the bigger they are the greater their endurance and mission dura“We work under the premise that bigger is not tion, said Rich Kretzschmar, deputy project mannecessarily always better. Each system and UAS ager for Unmanned Aircraft Systems within the U.S. satisfies a niche mission,” said Colonel Tim Baxter, Army’s Program Executive Office Aviation. That fact project manager for unmanned aircraft systems in impacts what the military looks for and requires of PEO Aviation. specific systems. As for what those missions are, the mainstay “UAS size is commensurate with the operational objective has been, and remains, reconnaissance, surgeographic ownership as it relates to the mission,” veillance and target acquisition, he said. That means Kretzschmar said. “Size is certainly considered sensor packages, such as visible and infrared imagers when determining requirements and capabilities.” and synthetic aperture radars. There also have to be At the large end, current programs of record communication links to and from the system. These include the 56-foot wingspan Gray Eagle, which Rich Kretzschmar must be increasingly hefty due to the growing data requires fixed facilities, improved runways and load from high-definition video and other high-connumerous support personnel. Aircraft of this tent sensor streams. size group generally provide support across large To this can be added weapons—if the bird is big expanses for commands consisting of tens of thouenough. An example of this is the Gray Eagle. sands of soldiers. The smallest unmanned program In the future, engine and other upgrades should of record, in contrast, is the Raven. It has a wingallow greater endurance and larger payloads. There span of only 55 inches, a 12th that of the biggest. also will be greater system intelligence, enabling more It is intended for use by a squad of 12 or so warautonomy in flight and processing of information fighters. Thus, it is man-packable, lightweight and within the unmanned platform. suitable for on-the-move deployment. An important requirement is the price. Since There currently is a capability production docuunmanned systems have no onboard countermeament circulating as part of the Army’s efforts to add Col. Tim Baxter sures, they are defenseless in the air. Thus, losses due a new category of short-range, micro unmanned www.TISR-kmi.com
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The RQ-7B Shadow V2 configuration is prepared to launch. [Photo courtesy of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems]
“The small size, weight and power requirements of our DDL make it practical to integrate in many other platforms, including larger unmanned and manned aircraft,” he said. As for weapons, AeroVironment’s Switchblade is a single-use system that transmits back live color and infrared video. This allows operators to confirm a target before instructing the system to fly to it, delivering an onboard explosive payload at the end of the journey. Switchblade was designed to minimize collateral damage while still providing a precision strike capability, Pedigo said. In general, what is required of small unmanned systems today is situational awareness. This is met through video imagery and geographic data provided by electro-optical cameras operating in the visible and near infrared while thermal imagers complete the picture. As video sensors offer higher resolution, greater frame rates or other enhanced capability, there may be a need to expand transmission bandwidth. That could impact other aspects of the payload, as could the addition of chemical and biological agent detection and radiological sensors. AeroVironment has demonstrated these capabilities in its small unmanned aircraft, Pedigo said. Another example of how requirements are being met can be found in the Shadow. A product of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, a Hunt Valley, Md.-based Textron Systems operating unit, the RQ-7B Shadow Switchblade is a loitering munitions system. [Photo courtesy of AeroVironment] has a 20-foot wingspan and carries enough fuel to stay aloft for up to nine hours. Originally, the Shadow was fielded as a brigade-level tactito this and other causes have to be factored in when determining cal asset intended only for reconnaissance and surveillance, said Vance what airframes, payloads and sensors to purchase. King, vice president of tactical unmanned aircraft systems. “Replacement cost is a major factor in technologies going forEnabling it to be more active in prosecuting targets requires takward,” Baxter said. ing one of two approaches. The first would be to incorporate weapons, For one example of how these requirements are being met, but this would force other choices to be made due to changes in consider the Raven from AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif. With a vehicle aerodynamics. wingspan measured in tens of inches, the 4.5-pound Raven is hand“Adding weapons to the Shadow aircraft would also add weight launched. It can stay airborne for at most 90 minutes and has an and drag in the form of external stores mounted to hard points on the effective operational radius of about 10 kilometers. AeroVironment wings,” King said. makes other man-portable unmanned aircraft that Parameters such as the aircraft’s ceiling, maximum are as light as 2.85 and as heavy as 13 pounds, said launch altitude, maximum speed and total flight time Rick Pedigo, SUAS director. would then have to be juggled. Keeping all of these The company is aware of the size, weight and the same would require putting an engine in with power tradeoffs required to fit into the payload more thrust. As is the case for all armed systems, there offered by such craft and has taken steps to overcome are also considerations involving targeting accuracy, some of these limitations. For instance, it developed secure control of weapons and authorization. a digital data link in order to increase the number of The other path to greater target prosecution unmanned systems that can operate in a given area involves manned/unmanned teaming. In this scenario, without a frequency conflict. Tests by the Army have an unmanned aircraft operator on the ground hands shown the technology provides benefits that could be Vance King off control to a manned asset in a defined area and at extended to other platforms, Pedigo noted. 20 | TISR 3.1
Looking forward, Poss sees a day when unmanned a defined time. The unmanned aircraft then monitors aircraft may be as large as a Boeing 747. Such cargo the target area. planes would offer as much as a 15-30 percent The Shadow’s V2 configuration is being fielded in fuel savings over their manned counterparts. The 2013 by the Army and Marine Corps. The V2 features unmanned systems could fly unpressurized at a support for such teaming requirements, King said. It higher, and more fuel-friendly, altitude. They also also has higher downlink bandwidth. Initially, this will could fly from the U.S. to Japan and return immedibe used to enable the transition from the current anaately, something manned aircraft can’t do because of log to high definition digital video. Future capabilities the need for crew rest. might include synthetic aperture radar, perhaps comCapabilities like that would be of commercial bined with an imaging payload that would be used for Melissa Hildebrandt interest and could lead to a market of tens of billions positive visual identification of radar-detected targets. of dollars. But getting there requires the safe mixing Since unmanned aircraft require a command and of manned and unmanned aircraft in unrestricted U.S air space. control component, AAI is completing development and certification Achieving that will introduce additional standard requirements of a Universal Ground Control Station. When fielded, this will provide on new systems involving autonomy and safety. The payoff will simultaneous command and control of multiple system variants. come when unmanned aircraft are treated like common planes, with “It is designed for commonality, interoperability and scalability licensed remote pilots taking off with a flight plan and checking in for user-defined installations, and incorporates an expandable archiwith controllers along the way. tecture for rapid integration of new unmanned aircraft system capaAs Poss said, “Once we cross that point, I think you’re going to bilities,” said Melissa Hildebrandt, vice president of ground control see an avalanche of commercial applications for remotely piloted technologies. aircraft.” O Commonality between unmanned systems cannot be fully addressed without considering command and control, she added. One of the ways this is being handled is through AAI’s One System Remote Video Terminal, which provides intelligence and situational For more information, contact Editor Chris McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related awareness in the form of real-time video to those on the tactical edge. stories at www.tisr-kmi.com. In meeting unmanned system requirements, DRS Technologies Integrated Defense Systems & Services of Rockville, Md., offers the Sentry. It is a Group 3, tactical-sized aircraft. The Sentry has demonstrated successful manned-unmanned teaming, as well as the ability to function as a communications relay and as a sensor-laden ISR platform. It also can deliver specialty payloads. One of the advantages it offers is a large payload bay with significant dedicated electrical power, said Howard Hudson, vice president of business development for control systems. Commonality and standardization are desired in unmanned aircraft in part because they ensure interoperability, he added. Some progress on this front has come through work by the Defense Department and NATO. Eventually, though, a commercial standards-setting body, such as the American Society for Testing and Materials International, will have to take the lead. “This will open the aperture for industry and allow a framework that will provide a balanced set of requirements to facilitate interoperability for UAS operating in the NAS [national airspace] as well as traditional restricted airspace,” Hudson said. The latter is an important point because the market for commercial unmanned systems is expected to eventually dwarf that of the military. If this happens, commercial standards and commonality in such areas as data links and controls will become increasingly important. The Department of Defense already has or is working to implement common interfaces and standards, noted retired Major General James Poss. When he left late in 2012, he was the senior career intelligence officer for the U.S. Air Force. He’s now director of strategic initiatives at Starkville-based Mississippi State University, which aims to be an unmanned aircraft center of excellence. Military standards are aimed at controls or data exchange, with these designed to allow unmanned systems to interface with one another, Poss said. This includes weather, mission track data and sensor information. The passing of data back and forth in a known format is vital, as unmanned aircraft are completely network-reliant. www.TISR-kmi.com
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Contractors develop twin-engine reconnaissance rotary wing aircraft for multiple missions, awaiting Army commitment. The development of twin-engine reconnaissance rotary wing aircraft for DoD, and the military’s pushing of more development responsibilities onto contractors before officially letting contracts, are leading in part to the creation and fielding of rugged, cargocarrying helicopters capable of adjusting to the needs of multiple missions. These developments, however, have not resulted in Army leaders releasing a request for proposals for the long-awaited Armed Aerial Scout procurement, which would replace the single-engine Vietnamera Kiowa Warrior helicopter. Operational flexibility is clearly important in the aircraft that is replacing Vietnam-era reconnaissance rotary wing aircraft, such as the Army’s Kiowa Warrior. The ability to accommodate additional weight through having additional engine power nonetheless leads operators to balance multiple, competing needs for “additional fuel, payload, equipment,” said James Darcy, spokesman for EADS North America Inc. of Herndon, Va. The company produces the American Eurocopter in Grand Prairie, Texas. Even with additional power on reconnaissance rotary wing aircraft, military aviators and planners have to make everyday mission decisions that involve sacrifices and tradeoffs in the field, according to Darcy, including such as “trading weight for fuel for range for altitude,” he said. “The sweet spot is to balance power, mission requirements and weight at the right cost,” Darcy said. He previously worked in public affairs at the Naval Air Warfare Center at Patuxent River, Md., so Darcy has an understanding of the military and contractor perspective. Schedule, capability and cost have certainly been issues at the forefront of Army leaders, such as Chief of Staff Lloyd Austin III, in putting the brakes on the armed aerial scout procurement in December 22 | TISR 3.1
By William Murray TISR Correspondent before the procurement plans reached the Pentagon’s chief procurement official’s desk, according to published reports. “The Army is expanding beyond ISR,” said Terry Reeves, business development manager for manned and unmanned platforms for Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Hurst, Texas. “The long-term strategy is not just ISR but long range,” and multi-mission helicopters that can fly during the day and night. He sees the Army eventually using 200 nautical miles as a baseline requirement for speedier rotary wing aircraft. The most challenging mission continues to be flying in the “high hot” environment at 6,000 square feet and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Darcy. Service officials want to purchase helicopters that can fly for 150 kilometers in such conditions. The Army could purchase up to 400 multi-mission helicopters to meet its requirements, with a request for proposals likely this calendar year, according to Darcy. To emulate that environment, EADS North America recently completed a voluntary UH-72A Lakota flight demonstration in Alamos, Colo., to show Army officials the aircraft’s qualifications to meet the service’s multi-mission needs. Army pilots, including National Guard soldiers, have completed more than 100,000 flight hours on the Lakota. EADS North America created the UH-72A Lakota helicopter for drug interdiction, homeland security, general support, logistics and medical evacuation. Using it for such purposes helps free up other rotary wing assets for deployment to hot spots like Afghanistan, according to EADS North America. Northrop Grumman Corp., meanwhile, is developing the MQ-8 Fire Scout, an unmanned autonomous helicopter, which uses a commercial Bell 407 frame to speed up development and production time. www.TISR-kmi.com
The goal for the Fire Scout, according to Northrop Grumman offiEADS North America, meanwhile, delivered its 250th Lakota cials, is to enable pilots to operate the aircraft through satellite links. light utility helicopter to the Army in March, and Darcy said that the Data links to rotary wing helicopters has been a weakness that has tried-and-tested company could produce up to 400 multi-mission plagued some systems development and field testing. helicopters for the Army within five years through its production Boeing’s AH-6 light helicopter gunships, with a gross weight of facility in Columbus, Miss. Producing a $14 million helicopter that 2,700 pounds, are optional manned and unmanned aircraft that Boemeets the Army’s needs, EADS North America also falls within the ing is positioning for the terminally-delayed Army Armed Aerial Scout Army’s Affordability Band, according to Darcy. program. In October 2012, Boeing completed a flight demonstration Charles Shepherd, manager, Bell Helicopter Textron UAS for the Army, using the AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter, Advanced Derivatives, noted that the government is also leaning an easily configurable export version of the AH-6S, which first flew in on contractors to engage in more self-funded up-front development September 2009. work using more commercial technologies. This approach clearly The AH-6 is an extended-range platform capable of day and night involves risk for the contractors, although foreign military sales can operations with a wide range of mission capability. The Kingdom of help some more immediately recoup on their start-up expenses. Saudi Arabia in January 2012 signed a letter of acceptance for 36 AH-6i The military continues to work with the Army Research Laborahelicopters, making the Saudis a launch customer for the 33-foot light tories, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of attack helicopters. Naval Research, among other funders, on developing early concepts. Not new to Army aviation, Boeing produces the AH-64D Apache An alternative to this strategy for the services would be to develop Block III dual-engine close attack helicopter in Mesa, Ariz., through capabilities more aggressively by paying for their development, but a performance-based logistics system. In Mesa, company officials also the services would take a higher risk because of a potential lack of a decided to anchor their unmanned airborne systems work, after elimisupportability platform for more cutting-edge technologies. There are nating the company’s Rotorcraft Division. clearly advantages to each approach. The Apache Block III with Level 4 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “Instead of a purpose-built helicopter, we have multi-use develcontrol is an attempt to take manned/unmanned teaming in the Army opment,” Shepherd said. In Afghanistan, the rugged terrain led the to a higher level, according to Mike Burke, Boeing’s director of Army military to lease donkeys to carry supplies to forward operating bases. Rotorcraft business development. “Aviators flying the Apache Block III The key for future development and fielding of reconnaissance rotary helicopter can deploy with an enhanced battlefield tactical advantage wing helicopters is the ability to help with emerging missions, such as they communicate with a UAV to receive and transmit real-time as those that would require a rugged, powerful helicopter with a imagery and meta-data, control and monitor a UAV’s sensor and weaprelatively small footprint that can carry up to a 1,600-pound payload. ons payload, and direct and control a UAV’s flight,” he said. As a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman Corp., Bell Helicopter Boeing officials announced in January that they were teaming is adopting a commercial aircraft for U.S. Southern Command use, with Sikorsky Aircraft in developing a next-generation under a rapid integration and fielding contract. multi-use Army helicopter. The two companies also Used by the Army, the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior teamed together on the Army Comanche program, a is a single-engine, double-bladed armed reconnaishelicopter acquisition cancelled by the service in 2004. sance helicopter, with approximately 375 units fielded. Saab North America, meanwhile, sells its Skeldar According to Shepherd, Bell Helicopter Textron is unmanned helicopter as a platform for surveillance, working to improve its payload sensor imagery and reconnaissance, target acquisition, dissemination of target engagement, anxious to extend the surface life target data, control of indirect file and immediate of the Kiowa Warrior, rather than see the Army put assessment of battle damage. The Skeldar does not yet its muscle and dollars behind the Armed Aerial Scout have any U.S. military customers, according to Johan program, through which it could acquire up to 368 Hansson, vice president of marketing and sales for vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Johan Hansson Saab North America Aeronautics in Washington, but On the other hand, Northrop Grumman’s Fire company officials are making the rounds. Scout, used by the Navy for intelligence, surveillance, The command and control data link for the Skeldar can be greater and reconnaissance and targeting, has shown its flexibility, going from than 100 kilometers using UHF, L or S-band. The minimum level of a manned to an unmanned platform, which has lowered both personpersonnel required for safe operations is one UAS operator and one nel and operating costs. The 24-foot Fire Scout played a key role in the mechanic, so the Skeldar can bring with it lowered operational expenses. Irene SL counter-piracy operation in the Indian Ocean in early 2011, The Skeldar can carry a payload up to 88 pounds. Its onboard avionaccording to published reports. The Fire Scout can double or triple the ics onboard avionics enable fully autonomous flight and consist of a endurance of a man-flown helicopter for ISR missions, according to redundant flight critical computer, redundant GPS receivers, redundant Northrop Grumman officials. inertia navigation systems, a radar altimeter and an airdata system. Despite the promise of unmanned reconnaissance rotary wing The Skeldar’s point-and-fly or point-and-see principle enables aircraft, there is some resistance in the U.S. military. “Anytime you operators to indicate a destination or a surveillance target on a map, introduce something new to a large organization such as DoD, it and the Skeldar UAS can autonomously carry out the task, making any can always threaten how the organization’s done business,” said a necessary diversions when a straight path is not possible. O Northrop Grumman official, a retired Navy aviator with 25 years flying experience. “There are technical and cultural issues.” At the same time, the introduction of unmanned helicopters in DoD is causing For more information, contact Editor Chris McCoy at email@example.com or search our online archives for related some leaders to re-examine how many people it takes to fly a helicopstories at www.tisr-kmi.com. ter and what their responsibilities should be. www.TISR-kmi.com
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A look at the night vision technology enabling warfighters to win on today’s battlefields. By Heather Baldwin TISR Correspondent
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One night in 2009, Army Staff Sergeant Robert Kussart was on patrol in Afghanistan when his point man silently indicated the presence of three enemy personnel, all with weapon systems. Kussart peered in the direction indicated but, with no ambient light for the image intensifier in his night vision goggle to work, he couldn’t see anything. Kussart then did something that wasn’t possible only a few years previously: He switched his AN/PSQ-20 enhanced night vision goggle (ENVG) to a thermal setting. Immediately, he saw “three enemy combatants not more than 10 meters away,” he said in the Program Executive Office (PEO)
after that. “This technology has really been a game changer for us,” he said. “It has allowed us to engage the enemy faster. When you walk into a building, you can see if someone is hiding under a blanket because you can see the heat, so it lets you engage them first.” ITT Exelis Night Vision is an ENVG supplier that has been in the night vision business for more than 50 years out of its facility in Roanoke, Va. Today, it is the largest producer of highperformance night vision products in the world, with a product line that runs the gamut from I2 monocular devices to binoculars for aviation to systems that fuse multiple sensors. In late 2011, Exelis announced the spiral enhanced night vision goggle, or SENVG—a “much more producible, more robust version [of the ENVG] with built-in capabilities that enable you to modernize and upgrade,” said David Smith, vice president and general manager, ITT Exelis Night Vision. At the same time, it also announced an advanced spin-off called i-Aware that enables the SENVG to transmit and receive real-time video, color imagery, GPS information and other battlefield intelligence. The information can be shared from goggle to goggle, goggle to command post, or to other platforms as needed. DRS, which has a presence in both night vision and rugged computing, said creating the connected soldier is also the next evolution in its sensors—but there are some questions to answer before it can become reality. “It’s not only about giving the soldier information, it’s: What do they Don Reago, Ph.D. do with it? How is it managed? What do you add to make the imagery more meaningful, such as location information and time of day, so that it’s useful data rather than just a picture?” said Jon Piatt, vice president of business development for defense solutions at DRS Technologies. “And how can you do all that without burdening the soldier?”
Soldier Portfolio FY2013. “We were able to decisively and very rapidly eliminate the threat. All that was possible because of the ENVG.” Advances in night vision technology such as that used by Kussart and his team have been a game changer for U.S. forces over the past few decades. In late 1990 when Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, night vision devices were first used in significant numbers by U.S. troops and major weapons systems. General Barry McCaffrey, then commander of the 24th Infantry Division, later observed, “Our night vision capability provided the single greatest mismatch of the war.” That mismatch has only expanded as technology has developed and size, weight and affordability has put night vision equipment into the hands of almost every soldier on the ground.
Night Vision Today
Don Reago, Ph.D., principal deputy director, countermine and science and technology in the U.S. Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD), estimates there are more than half a million night vision goggles in use by the Army today. Demand for the technology spiked with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, due both to the nature of the war and to advances in size, weight and power (SWAP) that have enabled widespread issuance of powerful systems. The result: “There’s been a huge increase in capability at the soldier and squad levels, enabling them to fight in a night environment and in an asymmetric war environment,” Reago said. “In Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s a real premium on knowing who you are shooting at. We have strict rules of engagement that require soldiers to positively identify before engaging. The resolution of today’s systems allows you to do that task. Thermal [imaging] has come of age at the right time.” Sensor Fusion Today’s warfighters are constantly looking for ways to better see, detect and identify the enemy, DRS Technologies’ Network and Imaging Systhen acquire and destroy them, said Colonel tems group develops night vision technologies out Michael Sloane, project manager, Soldier, Senof its facility in Dallas, Texas, and is a supplier to Col. Michael E. Sloane sors and Lasers, PEO Soldier. The ENVG is one the defense and security industries as well as to of the most recent and widely-used technologies other units of DRS. In addition to its work around enabling that to happen. It is a helmet-mounted device that the connected soldier, DRS is expanding into dual-color systems combines image intensification (I2) with passive thermal imagto provide even better situational awareness, said Piatt. Twoing, giving soldiers the ability to see visual detail in low-light color systems simultaneously use two different ranges of waveconditions using I2 and to see through fog, dust, rain, sleet and lengths within the IR spectrum—long-wave and mid-wave—and other battlefield obscurants with the thermal sensor. present the images from each in two different colors. It is a new I2 works by magnifying ambient light—even when there is capability for night vision that DRS will begin to demonstrate only the smallest amount of it—to provide a clear-as-day picture. later this year. Thermal imaging works by enabling soldiers to see sources of Two-color is valuable because mid-wave and long-wave IR heat—people, animals, vehicles—against a cooler background. each excel in different conditions. For instance, where mid-wave With the ENVG, users can operate in one mode or fuse the capais better in long-range target ID, long-wave (thermal) excels in bilities to leverage both at the same time, giving the equipment dirty conditions, enabling visibility in a broader range of condian advantage over night vision devices equipped with I2 only. tions and a fuller picture of what’s out in front, said Piatt. “Two The Army started rolling out ENVGs to special ops units in colors pull out more distinguishing details, allowing us to have Afghanistan in 2009, said Sloane, then to larger traditional units better situational awareness, a better understanding of whether
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objects, creating shadows and contrasts that enable soldiers to there is hostile intent and better positive identification,” he distinguish subtleties that cannot be seen with a color camera explained. or IR. For instance, with SWIR, troops can see finer details Piatt said the best application for two-color technolsuch as disturbed earth or a variance between natural and ogy today is in next-generation ground vehicle sensors and manmade foliage. aviation platforms. Down the road, he foresees moving beyond Strong said FLIR has been able to shrink SWIR technology two-color to multi-spectral imaging on a single chip. to fit inside its M24 thermal pocket scope—and shrinkage is As Piatt and others point out, the future of night vision essential to fielding new night vision capabilities. Take HD, for is about blending—of IR wavelengths, and of IR with other example. Strong said FLIR provides native resolution highcapabilities like HD and video. “In the future, the trend is definition IR, but only in larger systems. “We are now deliverdefinitely to go to a fusion of thermal with short-wave IR,” ing land-based systems with high-definition capabilities, but said Raf Vandersmissen, chief executive officer of sInfraRed, it is not yet in handhelds,” he said. “The chala Xenics company focused on customers in Asia lenge is SWAP. Taking the new technologies, and Australia. Xenics, founded in 2000, is an IR miniaturizing them and putting them into camera company that sells to system integrators, extremely challenging milspec environments some of whom make night vision products for with no more weight and power consumption military forces. is an enormous challenge. We will probably Long-wave IR cameras have been used for a start to see HD in portable solutions in the next long time, so the technology is more mature with few years—certainly in this decade.” higher resolution, enabling users to see greater One recent SWAP success at FLIR is the distances at smaller pixel sizes. Short-wave IR company’s new Recon BN6 and BN10 thermal (SWIR), on the other hand, has really only binoculars. With one thermal imaging camera evolved from a research product to one able to be Raf Vandersmissen for each eye, these binoculars provide true used by military and industrial customers in the depth-of-field capability as they replicate the last five years. Fusing these two images is com3-D triangulation that occurs naturally with plicated but valuable, as it doubles the amount of the naked eye, enabling users to judge distance. information a soldier is receiving. Until now, weight and cost have required the Today, Xenics is working on “short-wave IR use of a single thermal imaging camera, makdetectors with better sensitivity and higher resoing it more difficult to estimate distance. The lution detectors,” Vandersmissen said. SWAP will BN series is just now coming off the produccome later. “The first thing to get right is sensition line and being demonstrated to units, said tivity, because if the sensitivity isn’t there, SWAP Strong. isn’t as important.” Down the road, night vision technology will Xenics also is working on mid-wave IR enable soldiers to see and engage the enemy cameras. “At very long distances—several kilofrom behind cover and around corners. In meters—long-wave IR is usually not sensitive David Strong 2016, the Army will begin rolling out the Famenough. Mid-wave is more sensitive but it has to ily of Weapon Sights (FWS). There are three be cooled, so it is used only in high-end applicaversions—individual, crew-served and sniper—all of which tions,” Vandersmissen explained. “This year, we will introduce will use uncooled, forward-looking infrared technology. The our first mid-wave IR module with smaller size, lower weight individual version, FWS-I, transmits wirelessly a boresighted and lower power consumption. Its main military use is for reticle and thermal image to the ENVG through a feature very long distances, such as on vehicles.” The product will be called Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA). As its name suggests, named the XCO-640. RTA greatly reduces target engagement time. “You could point Short-wave IR is also getting a lot of attention at FLIR a weapon around a corner and, once the cross hairs are in the Systems Inc., which, as its name suggests, traces its roots to reticle of the eye, you can shoot the enemy without ever exposinfrared imaging systems. The company was founded in 1978 ing yourself,” explained Sloane. and today its Government Systems division supplies well over And that’s the whole job of night vision technology: to give 100 products, covering all aspects of surveillance, to military soldiers a decisive tactical advantage, no matter what the conand government end users. David Strong, vice president of marketing for FLIR’s ditions. As Colonel Sloane said, “Our motto is: Beyond ‘own the night,’ see and win the fight.” Advances in night vision Government Systems division, said short-wave infrared and capabilities are enabling warfighters to do just that. O high-definition are in high demand by warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, though SWIR technology only became available in the last 18-24 months. It is an important capability as SWIR covers the IR wavelength from 0.9 to 1.7 microns—a spectrum For more information, contact Editor Chris McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related that includes almost all the illumination emitted in night sky stories at www.tisr-kmi.com. radiance, or “nightglow.” As reflective light, it bounces off
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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.
TISR RESOURCE CENTER Advertisers Index
Ball Aerospace & Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2 www.ballaerospace.com Digital Results Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 www.drgisr.com Persistent Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 www.persistentsystems.com
April 10-14, 2013 AAAA Annual Professional Forum & Exposition Fort Worth, Texas www.quad-a.org
April 17-18, 2013 Spring Intelligence Symposium Washington, D.C. www.afcea.org
TISRâ€ˆ 3.1 | 27
Tactical ISR Technology
Stephen St. Mary Executive Vice President Digital Results Group Q: What unique benefits does your company provide its customers?
Q: Are there any special enhancements in the pipeline for Ageon ISR?
A: DRG was founded on the notion that we could deliver next-generation capabilities faster, smaller and cheaper than others in our field despite their significantly greater resources. As the war draws down and budgets tighten, we’re seeing strong demand for solutions that can simplify complex program architectures and reduce operations and maintenance cost. At DRG we’re helping programs do this while also providing solutions that are more capable and flexible than legacy solutions.
A: At DRG we’re dedicated to reducing system complexity and manpower requirements, which results in increased operator proficiency and a lower total cost of ownership for the government. We’re working to achieve this through a range of automated and semiautomated capabilities. We look at capabilities such as semi-automated system configuration, data fusion/correlation, watch-boxes, alerts, automated tagging, and exploitation clipping, storyboards and recommendation engines.
Q: Could you tell our reader about some of the solutions DRG offers to the military and other government contractors? A: At DRG we’re focused on delivering nextgeneration Multi-INT C2/PED solutions to the defense and intelligence communities. Deployed as a compact server or software only, our Ageon ISR product has the flexibility to be deployed in virtually any operating environment and can support a wide range of mission requirements. Our solutions deliver real-time and forensic intelligence from the remote tactical edge to the global enterprise and cloud. Q: Could you give us an overview of the Ageon ISR system for our readers? A: Deployed as a compact, commercial appliance or software package, Ageon ISR supports true plug-and-play compatibility with most ISR sensors and systems. Video and data from airborne platforms, aerostats, towers, mobile and ground sensors can be displayed within the context of the air, ground and maritime operating picture. An overlay of local and network-wide observation, event and intelligence reporting further enhances the warfighter’s ability to plan, protect and respond. Automated device and network detection ensures reliable delivery and responsible use of limited bandwidth. 28 | TISR 3.1
Using nothing more than a web browser on their existing desktop, laptop or mobile device, users receive and collaborate around real-time and historic video, imagery, operations and intelligence data. A mobile app allows in-vehicle and dismounted units to quickly create and share spot reports, photos, video and more. Automated video tagging, ISR coverage alerts and email notifications help to reduce the resources required to maintain awareness and identify critical activity. An augmented video scene displays geospatially positioned assets, personnel and tracks of interest. GIS tools support map layer drawing, import, export and analysis. Currently being fielded in airborne workstation, ground station and remote edge configurations, Ageon ISR was built with flexibility and interoperability in mind. Ageon ISR can be deployed as a robust standalone capability or seamlessly integrated with existing DoD or NATO systems. Q: I’ve read that Ageon ISR emphasizes interoperability. Could you elaborate on that for our readers? A: At DRG we see interoperability as nonnegotiable—it is the unifying element that connects four core objectives: 1. Seamless space, air and ground layers 2. Cross U.S./coalition security domains 3. Operations-intelligence convergence 4. Ubiquitous access to real-time, actionable intelligence
Q: Does DRG participate in the international market with its product lines? A: An exportable version of Ageon ISR is available under the name of GeoSpera. DRG has deployed airborne and ground station solutions to support a number of foreign governments in support of border security, maritime domain awareness and civil emergency/disaster response. Q: What are some interesting new programs or initiatives at DRG? A: DRG is actively engaged with a number of new customers and programs that are sensitive given both the nature of the work as well as the competitive environment. These programs span key nodes within the IC and across the services that, if fully realized, have an opportunity to dramatically enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our warfighters and intelligence professionals. Q: What is DRG doing to position itself for the future in uncertain business times? A: Interestingly it’s quite the opposite. Both government and industry are looking for robust solutions but need to dramatically reduce size, weight, power, complexity and cost. As budgets draw down and programs start to re-evaluate their architecture and cost, we’re seeing strong demand for DRG solutions. O www.TISR-kmi.com
May 2013 Volume 3, Issue 2
Cover and In-Depth Interview with:
Dyke Weatherington Director, Unmanned Warfare & ISR Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for AT&L
FEATURES Industry Roundtable: Securing Situational Awareness Data We ask senior industry leaders the following question: “In a deployed environment, with sophisticated militaries, what methods are there to best protect the collection and dissemination of situational awareness data?”
Confronting FMV Bandwidth Issues Numerous methods of assuaging the limits of bandwidth exist when dealing with full motion video ISR collection.
ISR in Denied Areas It takes a special kind of UAV to operate in regions with sophisticated militaries.
UCLASS The Navy demands an unmanned carrierlaunched airborne surveillance and strike system, and the big contractors have stepped up to the plate.
SPECIAL SECTION Air Force ISR Agency at Red Flag 13-3 In an exclusive interview, Major General Robert P. “Bob” Otto, commander at the Air Force ISR Agency, discusses the Air Force ISR Agency’s key role at Red Flag 13-3.
Insertion Order Deadline: April 9, 2013 • Ad Materials Deadline: April 16, 2013
Next-generation, Multi-INT Capability… Seamless space, air, and ground layers Scale from tactical edge to global enterprise and cloud Ops/Intel convergence (C2 and PED) Universal access to real-time, actionable intelligence Cross-agency/cross-domain security
Cross-platform Interoperability... Browser-based/thin client DoD/NATO standards compliant Plug-and-play interoperability with common platforms and systems Deploy in any computing environment from tablets to ops center Open architecture/web services
Acquisition and Operating Cost Compatibility… Deploy at a fraction of the cost of alternative or existing solutions Zero-cost technology transition assessment Quick to integrate, train, and deploy Remote operations and maintenance Ongoing dedication to increase automation and reduce manpower
Whether you’re planning a new program or challenged to maintain an existing one, Ageon ISR stands ready to support your mission. Next-generation capability, painless transition and increased mission flexibility all within today’s budget? Ageon ISR makes it possible.
Call or email today to discuss how Ageon ISR can support your mission. Stephen St. Mary I 617-517-3210 I sstmary@drgISR.com