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SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Integrated Airborne Surveillance Solutions Airborne Platforms and the Greater Network – Past, Present and Future 21st Century Next Generation ISTAR Capabilities Intelligence, COIN and Trends in Technology Helicopters and Surveillance Daring to Predict the Future And the Future is Now... Practical Problems and Future Solutions

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Integrated Airborne Surveillance Solutions Airborne Platforms and the Greater Network – Past, Present and Future 21st Century Next Generation ISTAR Capabilities Intelligence, COIN and Trends in Technology Helicopters and Surveillance Daring to Predict the Future And the Future is Now... Practical Problems and Future Solutions

SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Contents Foreword

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Airborne Platforms and the Greater Network – Past, Present and Future

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Mary Dub, Editor

Roger Smibert, President and CEO of HISS, Inc, a Canadian based international Surveillance Mission System Integration company

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor Mary Dub Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2012. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

Early Developments The Need for Secure Real-Time Voice and Data Communications New Challenges of ‘God’s Eye’ Operational Environments Getting Data to the Right Place at the Right Time Problems of Compatibility The Importance of Real Time Data Continuing Development of Technologies The Movement Towards Modularity The SABIR System Compatibility is the Key

21st Century Next Generation ISTAR Capabilities Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

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A Range of Air Platforms for ‘Eyes on the Target’ Needed Upgrading Defense Platforms in an Age of Austerity Modernization of ISTAR for the British MOD

Intelligence, COIN and Trends in Technology Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

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Ways of Delivering 21st Century Technical Surveillance Aerostat “Operating Costs of Hundreds of Dollars per Hour Compared to Thousands for a UAV” Aerostats Deliver Rapid Relay Capability for US Marines Aerostats Offer Sustainability in Hostile Environments The Wide Spectrum Platforms for Integrated Surveillance Upgrade

Helicopters and Surveillance

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Meredith LLewelyn, Lead Contributor

The United States Has Been Following the Upgrade Path The Advantages of ASTAMIDS

Daring to Predict the Future

Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

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What’s New? But How to Deal with the Data Deluge? Sensors for War Conditions Where Surveillance is Being Denied Sensing of Tunneling and Underground Activities ATAEM

And the Future is Now... Practical Problems and Future Solutions Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

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British MOD Plans for the Future DARPA Investigating Deep Insight into Buildings

References

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Foreword

T

his Report looks at how integrated

The second piece assesses the needs of legacy

airborne sur veillance systems

aircraft to update to 21st century standards with 5th

can deliver Situational Awareness and

generation capabilities. Here the drive to update

Understanding. High quality intelligence

has been the Libyan campaign, ‘Operation Unified

from cost effective surveillance systems is

Protector’, where the rules of engagement have

a fast growing market where armed forces

dictated ‘eyes on the target’ before engagement to

in the United States, Europe and the Middle

protect against potential civilian casualties.

East are aware of the need to take on the

The third and fourth articles in this Report look

latest technology and update their legacy

at how the spiraling demand for intelligence has

aircraft. Integrated airborne surveillance

led to the increasing use of a range of platforms,

systems are one of a range of cost effective

cheaper than fixed wing aircraft, like tethered

solutions to the problem of obtaining the

aerostats, blimps, UAVs and utility helicopters for a

maximum surveillance “bang for the buck”.

range of surveillance activities. All of these platforms

The Report opens with an article that traces the

can potentially be fitted with integrated airborne

development of navigation and display systems

surveillance systems.

from the early analog instruments dating back 100

The last two articles look at research into future

years, to the advanced fully digitized information

surveillance capabilities being undertaken in the

systems in use today. It emphasizes the need for

United States by the Department of Defense funded

secure real-time voice and data communications

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects

between airborne, ground and marine-based mobile

Agency) and in the United Kingdom by the Ministry

assets and fixed command centers. Advances in

of Defence funded DSTL (Defence, Science and

the processing of data have resulted in airborne

Technology Laboratory). While it is hard to assess

platforms now being able to play a greater role in a

the exact date when these new technologies will

larger network of fixed and mobile sensing platforms,

be transferred to the field, the speed of the

while command centers with ‘God’s Eye’ operational

development of software, algorithms and new

environments can now see a total view in real-time

materials research combine to make the probability

of all in-theatre assets. The direction for airborne

of their early reality high

mission system integration is towards modularity and the article looks at SABIR as an example of such a system.

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager. Focused by a Masters in War Studies from King’s College, London, she annotates and highlights the interplay of armies, governments and industry.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Airborne Platforms and the Greater Network – Past, Present and Future Roger Smibert – President and CEO of HISS, Inc, a Canadian based international Surveillance Mission System Integration company

INTEGRATED HUEY II (HD EO/IR, MOVING MAP, DVR)

O

NCE UPON a time (well, within the last 100 years), aircraft were mostly used to carry pilots, people and cargo. Display systems were analog instruments used by the pilots to fly the plane. When such aircraft were “missionized”, they added guns and bombs, and crop dusting equipment, and surveillance systems consisted of binoculars or telescopes. Sensors were magnetic compasses, mechanical wind speed and direction sensing and indication devices. Ground to Air communication was limited to visible markers and light or smoke signals. A network was some basic maps and note pads and the effective theater was limited to the range where such basic information could be transmitted or coordinated via the most basic of means (e.g. telegraph, telephone, courier).

Early Developments As technology and needs advanced (and skipping lightly over 80 years of developments), more precise navigation and display systems were introduced, first with mechanical spinning gyros, adding on-board processors, digital instruments, LED and LCD displays and multiple digital busses for avionics data. Mission systems were expanded to include long range sensors such as radar, high sensitivity antenna arrays for remote signal detection, passive and active stabilized multi-spectral scanning or large array staring sensors for medium range imaging. With the addition of high capacity data and image recorders, high accuracy moving maps or tactical workstations for full integration of all mission systems, the capability of the aircraft as a sensor and processing platform was enhanced and expanded. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 3


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Data processing power on the average aircraft now exceeds that which an entire company would possess only 30 years ago.

HUEY II COCKPIT OPERATOR STATION (HD EO/IR, MOVING MAP)

External communications were upgraded from basic narrow band audio RF, to secure digital multiband communications for both voice and data.

The Need for Secure Real-Time Voice and Data Communications Today, even video information is becoming fully digitized, along with all the data flowing through the aircraft, whether avionics or mission equipment sourced. Data processing power on the average aircraft now exceeds that which an entire company would possess only 30 years ago. Advances in signal, graphics and image processing, along with the development and implementation of data formats and communications protocols, allow a single airborne platform to perform complex Surveillance missions including combinations of COMINT, SIGINT, ECW, Surveillance and SAR as well as tactical support. Even smaller aircraft with a single back seat operator can perform complex operations including radar, EO/IR, Map and Communications functions. With such capabilities in the air, there is an even greater need to provide secure real-time voice and data communications with others, including airborne, ground and marine based mobile assets and fixed command centers. Initially, serial data was transmitted via narrow band RF links, or on microwave side bands, with the center frequency reserved for analog video transmission. Audio communications has been 4 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

converted to digital, allowing more channels, better signal quality and more reliable security. With the development of video digitization and compression, video became data as well. COFDM (Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex) microwave systems significantly improved the quality and resiliency of digital video transmission and diversity receive systems allowed simultaneous multiple antenna systems to be used to further stabilize the quality of the received signals, providing clearer images at longer ranges in difficult terrains or higher clutter environments. Compact, rugged, low cost GPSs (Global Positioning Systems) and IMUs (Inertial Measurement Units), along with precision motion control, allowed high accuracy antenna pointing systems, enabling increased bandwidth in both air-to-ground and airborne Satcom solutions. A high powered airborne workstation can process large volumes of airborne acquired data in real time and appear to a remote site as nothing more than an IP node on a computer network providing continuous streams of aircraft, target and theatre data. Such advances now allow airborne platforms to play a more intimate role in a larger network of fixed and mobile sensing platforms, that can also be commanded for active mission support.

New Challenges of ‘God’s Eye’ Operational Environments Command Centers with “God’s Eye” operational environments can now not only see


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Although there is a wide range of good data and communication standards in use today, there are many manufacturers of products and each seems to have their own versions of data communications and protocols. what a remote aircraft can see in real time, but can merge that information with a broad range of geo-referenced, temporally and tactically coordinated data from multiple sources, giving the theatre commander and his staff the ability to rapidly assess any tactical situation and have active coordinated command of all his in-theatre assets. The new challenges are RF communications bandwidth, security, compatibility, link reliability, network stability and a common precision standard across the network (e.g for tags such as time and location), and multi-mission flexibility.

Getting Data to the Right Place at the Right Time There is so much data being produced in real-time by so many data gathering platforms, and the theater is so large that the ability of getting all that data reliably to the right places at the right times is a huge technical challenge. Although digitization of signals and on-board pre-processing of data does provide some data volume relief, and the latest broadband communications systems can handle impressive amounts of data, most of these systems require

line-of sight for optimum communications reliability. Using airborne relays or subtheatre mobile command assets (e.g. AWACS) provide additional range relief but at a significant cost. Satellite communications relieve the line-of site limitations, but reduce bandwidth as the uplink antenna is necessarily smaller than typical ground stations and even the smaller broadband antennas need to be stabilized. Larger, flat array satellite antennas are a more recent solution, but are typically available only to larger aircraft. Data security depends as much on access to the signal as it does on encryption of the data. Encrypted security actually increases the challenge of bandwidth limitations due to the additional data it generates. Encryption also adds to the challenge of communications reliability in that additional data increases the probability of a data dropout. Directed signals such as narrow band directional higher frequency microwave transmissions add to data security, especially when one or both ends of the signal are mobile, or airborne, because it is very difficult to intercept such a signal in mid path. Such tracking antenna systems are available and in common use today, for all types of platforms, including airborne platforms.

Problems of Compatibility Although there is a wide range of good data and communication standards in use today, there are many manufacturers of products and each seems to have their own versions of data communications and protocols, and integration of new systems on older platforms with older equipment can create their own challenges. Even with all new equipment on a new platform, fully integrated and functional, may not be compatible with an existing network or data infrastructure. In theatres where European and North American systems must coexist, that becomes a greater challenge as both regions deliberately adopted different standards. When such systems include a secure data requirement, equipment selection options may be very narrow indeed and frequently require multiple fleet upgrades. Even moving map systems are not standardized and conversion from one map format to another is a frequent and painful requirement, even within fleets. The ultimate goal is complete networkwide data communications reliability, such that all data paths appear to the system as hard-wired broadband links. Data WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 5


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

With such a wide range of mission requirements now expected of today’s commands, it is becoming increasingly difficult to dedicate platforms for specific sensors and missions systems.

AIRBORNE SINGLE OPERATOR WORKSTATION (EO/IR, DVR, MOVING MAP)

formats, protocols, data security systems, point to point communications paths, bandwidths, frequencies, data rates, types, network architecture and link management must all be carefully considered in order to come close to The Goal. Network Servers, Data Processors, Operating Environments and Memory systems must work together seamlessly to ensure data is collected and processed as it arrives. Any bottlenecks anywhere in these systems will result in loss of data. Power systems and backup systems play a crucial role in ensuring no links or data are lost due to a power loss anywhere in the network, which in effect enhances network stability.

The Importance of Real Time Data It is up to the system designer to ensure that all data that is displayed to any operator is valid and up to date. Real time data is only real time if it arrives with an almost transparent latency. Real time data from multiple sources with different data latencies or with different data accuracy can result in wrong decisions. Multiple sensor types must be matched for accuracy, and data presented to the operators from multiple sources (e.g moving maps, radars, imaging sensors, uploaded target lists) must be tightly coordinated and carefully integrated to ensure misleading information is not displayed. Map systems are the most challenging of these systems since maps by their very nature contain old or misleading 6 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

information, no matter how recently or accurately they have been produced, especially in an active theatre. This is still a developing technology, but continues to be a hard requirement of large networked systems.

Continuing Development of Technologies The sensor technologies (e.g. X-Band radar, hyper-spectral imaging sensors, common aperture sensors, wide area, high resolution staring arrays, laser gated imagers, compact long range designators), will continue to advance both in capability and resolution. Display technologies (e.g. very large area displays, 3D displays, lightweight Heads-Up Displays) will continue to develop in resolution, brightness, contrast and write speed to allow airborne operators to more effectively absorb and interact with a wide range of information. Active peripherals (e.g. laser guided rockets, focused energy systems, liquid and powder dispersal systems), will demand tighter integration with both airborne sensing and processing systems and remote command centers. Integrating such subsystems into stable, flexible and resilient architectures that collect and merge data into a secure and accessible network is the next focus of aircraft integrators, who, to be successful, must also be masters of the mission system integration as well as external communications and processing systems to be able to


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

C130 WITH SABIR (CLOSE-UP VIEW)

provide airborne platforms that are able to fully integrate into the greater sensing and command network.

The Movement Towards Modularity With such a wide range of mission requirements now expected of today’s commands, it is becoming increasingly difficult to dedicate platforms for specific sensors and missions systems. The direction for airborne mission system integration is towards modularity, where the same hard-points on aircraft are used to rapidly adapt the aircraft for a wide variety of mission systems. It is fairly typical for aircraft to be provisioned for a particular mission system in such a way as to allow that system to be rapidly installed and removed, but now systems are being developed to allow aircraft to be used for a wide variety of missions without the requirement to modify or provision the aircraft.

The SABIR System An example of such a system is the SABIR (Special Airborne Mission Installation & Response). Developed specifically for the C-130, this system can be installed or removed in under one hour onto any model of C-130, with no impact on cargo operations. The main element of SABIR is an external arm that securely holds and deploys a wide variety of sensors fully below the aircraft for 360 degree coverage, while lifting the mission payload up for safe take-off and landings. Any payload that can

be adapted to attach to a standard BRU-12 Weapons rack can be deployed. The only real physical limitation to the type of mission system that SABIR can deploy is external sensor weight (under 400 pounds). SABIR can be installed on either the right or left side of the aircraft at the rear Paratrooper doors, and can also be installed on both sides for more complex missions, as is typical of airborne platforms integrated with Ground Networks. Such systems incorporate antenna arrays for a mix of broadband and multiband communications, as well as ELINT and COMINT missions. SABIR includes a replacement pressurized door, with an F-16 canopy quality bubble window which, along with its fully articulated chair, provides the operator with previously unavailable viewing range while sitting safely and comfortably. To enhance missions system flexibility, up to two 19 inch equipment racks are available (per aircraft side) to provide space for mission system electronics. A foldaway workstation is also available instead of one of the equipment racks, for more complex mission system operations. All racks and operator stations are designed to be rapidly installed without modifications to the aircraft. In cases where multiple sensors are required, a standard Pod is available for integration of all external sensor systems. For deployment of mission stores from the aircraft, even while pressurized, a breach loaded Stores Ejection System is available WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 7


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

As a result of the increase in digitization and integration of airborne mission systems, aircraft are becoming highly capable and flexible mission platforms, to be located to the site of operations and oriented for optimum performance.

C130 WITH SABIR (FAR VIEW)

which deploys the stores through a valved opening in the door. All mission system power is provided via a standard C-130 power plug located near each of the two rear doors. SABIR is operational in several US Government agencies and has recently been delivered to the Canadian DND. It is flight certified by the US Air Force. The C-130 SABIR is the first of a family of products designed to allow airborne platforms to readily adapt to meet a wide variety of mission requirements without the high cost of fleet modification and without the need to bring down aircraft from operational availability for long modification programs. It is an integration tool available to all fleet operators to further develop their capabilities to meet their wider roles

8 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

to support the networks of platforms, air, sea and ground that make up the Theater Networks of tomorrow.

Compatibility is the Key In summary, as a result of the increase in digitization and integration of airborne mission systems, aircraft are becoming highly capable and flexible mission platforms, to be located to the site of operations and oriented for optimum performance, and mission platforms are becoming part of a network of sensing and operating nodes, to be managed and commanded from central command centers. The design of the communication infrastructure is the key to the network effectiveness and stability, and the design of the architecture of the airborne platform must be compatible with that of the Greater Network.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

21st Century Next Generation ISTAR Capabilities Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

General Mark Welsh III, Commanding General USAF Europe, commenting on NATO ‘Operation Unified Protector’ over Libya 2011: “Given the importance of real-time information in this campaign, ISTAR will be critical for future operations. However, it is an area in which European forces are lacking. Less-wealthy NATO nations might consider choosing cheaper ISTAR assets over more expensive combat platforms when modernizing their air forces as there was a critical need for these capabilities”.1

W

HAT IS this ISTAR capability that we less wealthy European nations lack in the 21ST century? The National Defense University, in Washington DC, in the United States attempts to answer the question. They suggest that the key advance over network centric warfare is computer processing of data allowing decision making to be distributed throughout the battle-space: “As fifth-generation aircraft enter service in larger numbers, they will generate not only greater firepower, but also significantly greater integrated capability for the non-kinetic use of aircraft and an expanded use of connectivity, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), communications, and computational capabilities built around a man-machine interface that will, in turn, shape the robotics and precision revolutions already under way. The capability of air assets to connect air, ground, and maritime forces throughout the battle-space can support the decision making of ground and maritime command elements. Indeed, the command, control, communications, computers (C4) and ISR envisaged in networked operations are becoming reshaped into C4 and ISRD, whereby decision making (D) is shared across the battle space.”2 A second key feature of next generation capabilities is stealth, but it is not the key defining feature. “Non-experts tend to think the shift from legacy aircraft to fifth-generation aircraft is largely about the airframe or stealthiness. Stealth is important, but it is the conjunction of stealth and other capabilities that creates a different capability for a flying force…Legacy aircraft rely on target data from other platforms to launch strikes and may not be able to identify and target mobile systems.

Incorporation of stealth and sensors in one aircraft puts mobile targets within the scope of effective strike actions.”3

A Range of Air Platforms for ‘Eyes on the Target’ Needed In Libya in 2011, NATO’s Rules of Engagement meant that coalition forces would not engage a target unless there were ‘eyes on the target’.4 So NATO and coalition forces have upgraded and are still upgrading a wide range of platforms to deliver the surveillance intelligence that modern forces now need. This has meant the upgrading of legacy platforms like C-130s and the extensive use of UAVs. There has also been an increased use of airborne platforms like tethered aerostats which have the capability to deliver an inexpensive but quick to deploy, persistent and durable surveillance capability in difficult terrain like Afghanistan, where fighter aircraft or even UAVs are inappropriate given the wide area, dullness and difficulty of the material sought.

Upgrading Defense Platforms in an Age of Austerity Although upgrading legacy platforms like combat aircraft, is always an option, while budgets are under very tight scrutiny in both the United States and Europe, integrated surveillance systems have value as well as on-board upgrades. On both sides of the Atlantic, the awareness of the need to enhance ISTAR capabilities while under stringent budgetary constraints is a constant. In a White Paper on “affordable and integrated army equipment modernization”, Gen Martin E Dempsey Department of the Army noted5 that WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 9


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

While conducting a strategic defence review and draconian cuts on procurement and manning AIRBORNE TACTICAL WORKSTATION – US COAST GUARD

levels, there has been a sustained awareness of the need to maintain and enhance ISTAR capability levels.

FIXED GROUND COMMUNICATIONS TOWER (DIVERSITY AND POINT TO POINT MICROWAVE LINKS)

it was necessary to follow Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates recommendation that: “Any new proposal or initiative – large or small, be it policy, program, or ceremony – come with a cost estimate. That price tag will help us determine whether what we are gaining, or hope to gain, is really worth the cost, either in dollar terms or in the diversion of limited manpower and resources from other missions.” But also Gen Dempsey orders a continuation of the process of modernization “to develop and field new capabilities to meet specific gaps through traditional and rapid acquisition processes; and secondly, modernize existing equipment continuously to adapt to future needs through upgraded capabilities, recapitalization and divestment”.6

Modernization of ISTAR for the British MOD While conducting a strategic defence review and draconian cuts on procurement and manning levels, there has been a sustained awareness 10 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

of the need to maintain and enhance ISTAR capability levels. Air Vice Marshall Nickols underscored the importance of good surveillance in counter insurgency operations like Afghanistan. Giving evidence in front of the House of Commons Defence Committee he said: “For the style of operations, particularly the counter-insurgency style of operations, the ability to loiter over an area for very long periods, which allows you to watch what we call “pattern of life” so you can build up a picture of what is happening in a particular location is one of the great needs”.7 Air Vice Marshall Butler described the process of ISTAR in the British armed forces as DCPD (Direct, Collect, Process, Disseminate). In front of the Defence Committee he was frank about British forces need to improve: “All of these aspects could be improved, but the MOD probably needed to concentrate more on the direct, process and disseminate parts of the chain”, as “generally in collection terms now we are getting reasonably good”. He added that: “you can always improve on all of them. It is just that the DPD is probably the bit where we need to make slightly more effort now than we have done hitherto”.8


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Intelligence, COIN and Trends in Technology Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

“Perhaps the biggest intelligence challenges presented by COIN (Counter Insurgency Operations) arise from the difficulties friendly forces face in identifying insurgents and in understanding complex cultural environments.”9 Major Dan Zeytoonian, U.S. Army Military Intelligence officer who has served in various command and staff positions within the XVIII Airborne Corps.

T

HE EMERGING dominance of intelligence gathering and analysis in counter insurgency operations is laid out in the American Field Manual FM3-24. What’s more the tactical need to retain the initiative in operations in Afghanistan means that increasing emphasis must be placed on the analysis of human intelligence alongside technical data. “While COIN demands that we break our reliance on technical collection and put renewed emphasis on HUMINT, the other intelligence disciplines – SIGINT, IMINT, and MASINT – still have value.” 10

Ways of Delivering 21st Century Technical Surveillance Since 2001, large aerostats have been used in Iraq to gather surveillance data. For example, the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) system is a 10,200-cuft system that carries a FLIR Systems Star Safire video camera. The U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan has deployed more than 60 of these 55-foot long aerostats provided by TCOM. The Canadian armed forces have also used them in Afghanistan. Raytheon is the prime contractor. The Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) followed the RAID system into service with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004. The Akron, Ohio facility of Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors delivered the PTDS. The company handed over 37 units by the end of 2010 and gained a $184 million contract for 29 more last June (2011). They have a volume of 56,000, 64,000 or 74,000 cu ft. ILC Dover has produced most of them for Lockheed Martin. The payload is 500 pounds, consisting of a Wescam Mx-20 EO/IR camera, an acoustic sensor and a communications relay. The maximum altitude from sea level is 5,000 feet (or 2,500 feet from a 6,000-foot location).11

Aerostat “Operating Costs of Hundreds of Dollars per Hour Compared to Thousands for a UAV” At this year’s Dubai Airshow 13-17 November 2011, there were many aerostats on display. They are used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US armed forces and by the Gulf States, including United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, to monitor borders and airspace: “The use of aerostats by the U.S. military for persistent surveillance of war zones is gaining real traction as a cost-effective alternative to unmanned vehicles that require a significant investment,” said Lon Stroschein, vice president and general manager for the Aerostar International division of Raven Industries. This U.S. company is supplying aerostats for the latest U.S. Army program, called the Persistent Ground Surveillance System (PGSS). Such an aerostat, with a length of 80 feet and a volume of 25,000 cu ft., and carrying an L-3 Wescam Mx-15 EO/IR video camera, has an operating cost of hundred of dollars per hour, compared to many thousands for a UAV.12

Aerostats Deliver Rapid Relay Capability for US Marines The MARTS (Marine Airborne Re-Transmission System) was developed for the U.S. Marine Corps on operation in Iraq. They issued an urgent requirement for a low-cost secure and reliable non-line-of-sight VHF/UHF radio communications relay. DARPA in turn developed the Marine Airborne Re-Transmission System based on a TCOM 32M tethered aerostat. The MARTS aerostat is equipped with transponders for AN/PRC-113, AN/PRC-117, AN/PRC-119 (SINCGARS) and EPLRS (Enhanced Position Locating and Reporting System) radios, and provides a 24/7 relay with a radius of 125 km (80 miles) for up to 15 days (when the helium WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 11


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Aerostats offer a good platform for next generation integrated airborne surveillance systems.

ARTICULATED SABIR CHAIR

supply has to be refilled). The blimp is designed to survive winds up to 85 km/h (50 knots), lightning strikes, and small arms fire from the ground. Current plans call for the acquisition of a total of six systems.13

Aerostats Offer Sustainability in Hostile Environments The aerostat’s tether is also the power supply and carries data from the surveillance payload to the crew in a small ground station, which can launch and recover the aerostat as well as interpret and disseminate the camera surveillance data. The crew is provided with various automatic monitoring systems and can therefore detect punctures and compensate for them. The low pressure differential means that the lower-flying aerostats can take many 12 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

hits from unfriendly fire and survive.14 Aerostats offer a good platform for next generation integrated airborne surveillance systems.

The Wide Spectrum Platforms for Integrated Surveillance Upgrade The workhorse of airlift capability, the C-130 fixed wing airplane, has also seen constant upgrade and modernization to bring it up to 21st century and next generation standards.15 Its avionics systems have been upgraded for US armed forces by Rockwell Collins16 and further modernized with surveillance systems by Elbit Systems of America Airborne Solutions. But the upgrade and integrated upgrade market place is highly competitive and many other companies offer related products for persistent surveillance.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Helicopters and Surveillance Meredith Llewellyn, Lead Contributor

“Airlift and air power are essential elements of the Afghan counter-insurgency, with combined helicopter gunship and, eventually, close air support” NATO on ANSF 2011

INTEGRATED BELL 412 (HD EO/IR, MOVING MAP, SLAVED SEARCHLIGHT, DVR)

I

N COUNTER insurgency operations, helicopter airlift is vital for troop transport and close air support. Indeed, helicopters are now frequently carrying 21st century next generation sensors and communication equipment. For less wealthy nations, the integrated surveillance capabilities that can be attached to legacy rotorcraft offer an appropriate use of resources that allows mature platforms to be given an extended life. For example, a utility helicopter can be upgraded and used for reconnaissance and/ or combat. On January 20 2011, Royal Malaysian Navy SEALs called PASKAL rescued a hijacked Malaysian chemical tanker and its crew from Somali pirates. A Fennec helicopter, made by Eurocopter, provided reconnaissance, surveillance and aerial gunfire to keep the pirate’s mother ship at bay while the Malaysian SEALs boarded the tanker.17

The United States Has Been Following the Upgrade Path The United States has a surveillance upgrade program called ASTAMIDS (Airborne Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Minefield Detection System) for use on fixed wing and rotorcraft. Since 2008, its implementation has been subject to delays.18 The Army review resulted in a strong recommendation that ASTAMIDS was pushed forward more rapidly:

“The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) direct Army acquisition managers to better define working relationships in agreements for developing ASTAMIDS as part of FCS.”

The Advantages of ASTAMIDS ASTAMIDS takes US manned and unmanned aircraft, like Firescout, a rotorcraft UAV, into the 21st century with powerful capabilities. “ASTAMIDS, which consists of a multiplemission and multiple-mode sensor package, will enhance situational awareness by providing the FCS Brigade Combat Team commanders with day and night minefield and obstacle detection for safe mobility and reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and laser designation (RSTA/LD) capabilities. In the detection mode, ASTAMIDS will automatically detect minefields and obstacles and process and send digital imagery to operators. In the RSTA/LD mode, ASTAMIDS will collect and provide imagery of sufficient quality and resolution to perform detection, recognition, identification, and tracking of combat targets by external Aided Target Recognition components. In addition to specific support to FCS, ASTAMIDS will support the Army’s battle space awareness and safe mobility functions through updates on combat targets, unit dispositions, and minefield and obstacle impediments to maneuvers.”19 WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

Daring to Predict the Future Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

“Timely surveillance of enemy territory under all weather conditions is critical to providing our forces with the tactical information needed to succeed in future wars.”

I

NTELLIGENCE GATHERING surveillance equipment is a fast-moving and still relatively well-funded area of technological development. DARPA, (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), has a strong program of technologies for development. Its Integrated Sensor Is Structure (ISIS) program seeks to develop airship-based airborne sensors capable of detecting low-flying aircraft and dismounted infantry from hundreds of miles away. ISIS is developing a variety of materials technologies to incorporate a large aperture radar sensor into a high-altitude robotic airship.20

What’s New? “The Sensors and Processing Systems project develops and demonstrates advanced sensors, and exploitation technologies. These efforts provide warfighters with situational awareness and precision target identification. The project is driven by four needs: 1) integrating data from multipath sources into consistent situational assessments; 2) providing near-real-time, semiautomatic exploitation of wide-area moderate and high-resolution imagery; 3) obtaining realtime, accurate battle damage assessment; and 4) accomplishing robust, precise identification, precision fire control tracking and engagement of ground targets.”21

But How to Deal with the Data Deluge? The novelty lies in the way that the new software may be able to help deal with the data deluge and deliver the critical information for commanders in all weathers even if there is cloud cover which often renders surveillance cameras of little value during daylight. “The Exploitation Systems project develops algorithms, software, and information processing systems to extract information from massive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) datasets. In particular, it develops new technologies for detection and discrimination of targets from clutter, classification and fingerprinting of high value targets, localization and tracking over wide areas, and threat network identification and analysis.”22

Sensors for War Conditions Where Surveillance is Being Denied A key area of development is technologies 14 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

for times where surveillance is being denied, by concealment or counter measures: “Timely surveillance of enemy territory under all weather conditions is critical to providing our forces with the tactical information needed to succeed in future wars. This operational surveillance capability must continue to perform during enemy efforts to deny and deceive the sensor systems, and operate, at times, in a clandestine manner. This project will exploit recent advances in multispectral target phenomenology, signal processing, low-power high-performance computing, and low-cost microelectronics to develop advanced surveillance and targeting systems.”

Sensing of Tunneling and Underground Activities The Low-Altitude Airborne Sensor System (LAASS) program also produced by DARPA is developing an airborne sensor system to find and characterize underground facilities (UGFs) used to shield and protect strategic and tactical activities, including command and control, weapons storage, and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and tunnel networks that breach secure borders and perimeters. By passively capturing emissions associated with underground facility presence and operations, and doing so using airborne sensors (acoustic, electromagnetic, gravity gradiometry), LAASS can significantly increase the ability to seek out underground facilities and map out their vulnerabilities and backbone structure.23

ATAEM ATAEM is an even more advanced program under development by DARPA. The program is developing an active electromagnetic (EM) system for airborne imaging of subsurface structures, such as underground facilities (UGFs) or perimeter-breaching tunnels. The ATAEM system illuminates the ground with electromagnetic energy and interprets resulting distortions of the electric and magnetic fields to detect and characterize surreptitious structures. The ATAEM program will investigate and develop the component technologies, including EM illumination sources, noise-isolated sensor payloads and signal processing. ATAEM developed technology is expected to be available for transition to the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Special Operations Command.24


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

And the Future is Now... Practical Problems and Future Solutions Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

L

ESSONS LEARNED’ from operational activities with surveillance activities produce a wide range of challenges which DARPA and research centres in Europe are working on. Commanders understand that dense vegetation, cloud cover, and precipitation degrade UAV capabilities. 25 There is also an understanding that some equipment takes time to assemble and retrieve. The list goes on. There are frequent uplink communication problems. The antenna angle can cause problems with the video feed as well as real-time data feed. There is the additional human communication gap between those manning the UAV or surveillance facility and those analyzing the imagery, which can lead to misunderstandings. While these practical problems on the ground need to be addressed, the technologists are two steps ahead with grand schemes.

British MOD Plans for the Future DSTL (the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory), working with the Centre for Defence Enterprise arms of British MOD, specialize in future technologies and are looking to develop sensors that identify individual people. They can already identify vehicles. This new technology would be used for “detection and recognition of people and gestures in urban scenarios”. Such sensors would be able to identify “face, gait and shape features”, as well as “identify individuals or reacquire targets from their own signature”.26

DARPA Investigating Deep Insight into Buildings Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, the American research scientists at DARPA are planning to be able to “see” through buildings. The Visibuilding program is developing technologies and systems for new building surveillance capabilities to detect personnel within buildings, determine building layouts, and locate weapons caches within buildings.

SABIR WITH X-BAND RADAR

“This program is developing techniques to inject and recover probing radar waveforms and unravel the complicated multipath in the return signals to enable the mapping and characterization of building interiors. Radar signals are being used to image static structures directly. Doppler processing of radar signals is also being exploited to find, identify, and perform feature-aided tracking of moving personnel within a building and allow mapping of building pathways and stairways by monitoring traffic through buildings. Multipath and propagation effects are modeled and iteratively compared with hypotheses of building structures to provide 3-D building maps and large concentrations of metal materials like weapons. Other sensing modalities and component technologies are concurrently being investigated that offer the possibility of providing complementary information about the layout of large buildings as well as their associated underground areas. Component pieces will transition to the Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (IEWS) and U.S. Special Operations Command.”27

WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 15


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS

References: 1

RUSI ACCIDENTAL HEROES Britain, France and the Libya Operation An Interim RUSI Campaign Report, September 2011 General Mark Welsh III, Commanding General, United States Air Forces in Europe ‘Partnering by Choice and Necessity’, speech given at RUSI 14 July 2011. http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Accidental_Heroes.pdf

2

http://www.ndu.edu/inss/docuploaded/DH_66.pdf A 21st-century Concept of Air and Military Operations by Robbin F. Laird Toward a New Concept 2011

3

http://www.ndu.edu/inss/docuploaded/DH_66.pdf A 21st-century Concept of Air and Military Operations by Robbin F. Laird Toward a New Concept 2011

4

RUSI ACCIDENTAL HEROES Britain, France and the Libya Operation An Interim RUSI Campaign Report, September 2011 General Mark Welsh III, Commanding General, United States Air Forces in Europe ‘Partnering by Choice and Necessity’, speech given at RUSI 14 July 2011. http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Accidental_Heroes.pdf

5

Gen Martin E Dempsey Department of the Army 26 May 2011

6

Gen Martin E Dempsey Department of the Army 26 May 2011

7

House of Commons Defence Committee The contribution of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to ISTAR capability Thirteenth Report of Session 2007–08 Report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence Ordered by The House of Commons to be printed 15 July 2008

8

House of Commons Defence Committee The contribution of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to ISTAR capability Thirteenth Report of Session 2007–08 Report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence Ordered by The House of Commons to be printed 15 July 2008

9

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/milreview/zeytoonian.pdf

10

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/milreview/zeytoonian.pdf

11

Aerostats rise through the ranks in surveillance service from AIN ONLINE by Chris Pocock. Source http://ravenaerostar.com/news/2011/11/aerostats-rise-through-the-ranks-in-surveillance-service

12

Aerostats rise through the ranks in surveillance service from AIN ONLINE by Chris Pocock. Source http://ravenaerostar.com/news/2011/11/aerostats-rise-through-the-ranks-in-surveillance-service

13

Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles Tethered Aerostats 2005 Andreas Parsch

14

Aerostats rise through the ranks in surveillance service from AIN ONLINE by Chris Pocock. Source http://ravenaerostar.com/news/2011/11/aerostats-rise-through-the-ranks-in-surveillance-service

15

Prepared by Warner Robins Air Logistics Center C-130 System Program Office Robins AFB, GA 31098 This draft, dated 19 29 April 1999, prepared by WR-ALC/LBRE,

16

Rockwell Collins website

17

bbc.co.uk ASIA-PACIFIC 22 January 2011 Last updated at 09:01

18

Report No. D-2008-129 (Project No. D2007-D000AE-0244.000)

September 10, 2008

19

Report No. D-2008-129 (Project No. D2007-D000AE-0244.000)

September 10, 2008

20

DARPA FY2010 BUDGET REQUEST UNCLASSIFIED Exhibit R-2, RDT&E Budget Item Justification: PB 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency February 2010

21

DARPA FY2010 BUDGET REQUEST UNCLASSIFIED Exhibit R-2, RDT&E Budget Item Justification: PB 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency February 2010

22

DARPA FY2010 BUDGET REQUEST UNCLASSIFIED Exhibit R-2, RDT&E Budget Item Justification: PB 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency February 2010

23

DARPA FY2010 BUDGET REQUEST UNCLASSIFIED Exhibit R-2, RDT&E Budget Item Justification: PB 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency February 2010

24

DARPA FY2010 BUDGET REQUEST UNCLASSIFIED Exhibit R-2, RDT&E Budget Item Justification: PB 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency February 2010

25

Enhancing Situational Understanding through the Employment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by MAJ Brad C. Dostal

26

Nick Hopkins The Guardian.co.uk, Monday 26 September 2011 16.18 BST

27

DARPA FY2010 BUDGET REQUEST UNCLASSIFIED Exhibit R-2, RDT&E Budget Item Justification: PB 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency February 2010

16 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM


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Special Report – Next Generation Integrated Airborne Surveillance Solutions  

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