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  • Following industry trend, Airbus dives into data

    July 18, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Following industry trend, Airbus dives into data

    By: Andrew C. Jarocki WASHINGTON — Airbus has created a new advanced data analytics system for the defense market, gathering data from vehicles to better plan maintenance and study mission performance. The firm announced the program, SmartForce, at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow. The program is meant to “enable substantially more efficient maintenance by drilling into the wealth of data acquired by new generation helicopters and aircraft,” according to a company news release. The company added it will “more rapidly perform root-cause analysis and faster trouble shooting.” The use of artificial intelligence to make sense of data has become a growing focus for the defense and intelligence community, as has cloud computing for handling the massive volumes of data. “Our digital analytics services support the goal of enhanced mission readiness of our operators' aircraft," said Stephan Miegel, head of military aircraft services at Airbus Defence and Space, “and they provide predictive solutions which all contribute to reduced workload and costs.”

  • Netherlands signs deal for unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drones

    July 18, 2018 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    Netherlands signs deal for unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drones

    By: Valerie Insinna FARNBOROUGH, England — The Netherlands on Tuesday inked a deal to purchase four MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 drones from General Atomics, marking the first sale of unmanned aerial systems since U.S. President Donald Trump signed off on a policy to loosen up arms sale restrictions. During a ceremony at the Farnborough Airshow, Vice Adm. Jan de Waard, the director of the Netherlands' Defence Materiel Organisation, and Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, head of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, signed a letter of offer and acceptance. Such a letter cements a foreign military sale between the United States and a foreign nation. The sale of MQ-9s to the Netherlands has been in the works for a long time. “It's a party time today,” de Waard said. “We started this program in 2003. We postponed it in 2005, then we revitalized it in, I think, in 2010, and then we postponed it again.” The U.S. State Department first approved the Netherlands for a potential MQ-9 sale in 2015, when it valued the order at about $339 million for four air vehicles, six Honeywell TPE331-10T turboprop engines, ground stations, Lynx radars, and a variety of other subsystems and spares. The deal is for the unarmed configuration of the Reaper. Hooper said the Dutch MQ-9s would “not only accentuate their own domestic national security capabilities but will add to their capability to contribute to NATO as a part of that alliance and coalition.” The announcement of the deal with the Dutch comes just a day after Trump approved an implementation plan for his new export reform policy, called the Conventional Arms Transfer policy. U.S. government agencies been awaiting guidance about how to interpret new arms transfer rules. The Royal Netherlands Air Force will join Spain and the U.S. in operating the Block 5 variant of the MQ-9, the former of which will begin receiving its aircraft in 2019. France and Italy additionally operate Block 1 systems, as does the U.K., although the British Royal Air Force is acquiring the new certifiable MQ-9B version via its Protector program, which is expected to enter service in the early 2020s. India is additionally looking to acquire 22 of the Sea Guardian variant from the U.S., and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. sources claimed that a letter of offer and acceptance for this is expected to be signed by the end of 2018. There is an option to retrofit the Block 5 to carry the wings and tail of the SkyGuardian, although no detail has been provided on whether or not any of the other nations are currently planning on selecting the option. Dave Alexander, president of GA-ASI, told Defense News that while there is no immediate demand for either the SkyGuardian or the retrofit option from the largest Reaper operator, the U.S. Air Force special operations forces have shown an interest in it due to an ability to operate from a shorter runway in support of expeditionary operations. The company has orders to fulfill production of the Block 5 MQ-9 for another five years, he added, noting that GA-ASI is planning to expand its production capabilities to enable it to fulfill forecast orders from India and three other customers. Aside from the deal with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, a number of agreements were signed between GA-ASI and partners throughout the Farnborough Airshow, an apparent move by the company to demonstrate its willingness to transfer work and technology to customer nations. Leonardo UK announced it signed an agreement with GA-ASI for the companies to jointly offer the former's Sage electronic support measure system for both the SkyGuardian and Sea Guardian variants. It will be integrated without the need for an external pod and will be available to order from 2019. Furthermore, General Atomics and GKN Aerospace signed a letter of intent July 17 to facilitate the development of composite tails for the MQ-9 in the U.K., while Dutch company Fokker has developed landing gear subsystems for the UAV since 2016.

  • Is the ‘Google Translate’ of sensor systems coming?

    July 17, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Is the ‘Google Translate’ of sensor systems coming?

    By: Mark Pomerleau A recent flight test has demonstrated how a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program could help legacy systems communicate with newer ones. The program, called System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation, is a collaboration between Lockheed Martin and DARPA. Using live assets and virtually simulated systems, the partnership exhibited interoperability between a ground station, flying test bed, a C−12 and flight test aircraft, transmitting data between them through an unknown partner capability called STITCHES. John Clark, vice president of ISR and UAS at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, boiled down STITCHES to a simple analogy: it aggregates the data of one sensor type and interprets it for another type much the way Google Translate detects English and delivers Italian. This specific flight test looked at ISR and shortening decisions to strike, explained Clark. “It was all centered around the idea of kill chain timeline reduction and showing how information could be gathered,” he said, speaking to reporters at a media roundtable July 12. The current five-year program is nearing its end, but Clark shared that the objective was not to transition the capability to a service. “The whole premise behind it was to go prove that these types of system of system architectures could be employed much faster and this distributed idea was much nearer than we thought,” he said. The military services are striving to more seamlessly integrate information, systems and operations across the five domains of warfare, however, so any lessons learned could one day prove valuable.

  • From the Spider to the Griffo, Leonardo launches radar and comms systems

    July 17, 2018 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    From the Spider to the Griffo, Leonardo launches radar and comms systems

    By: Andrew C. Jarocki WASHINGTON--Leonardo announced a host of new defense systems, including a communications intelligence system and a radar array. The Italian contractor unveiled the new offerings at the 2018 Farnborough Air Show in the U.K. The ‘Spider' communications intelligence system promises to “detect, intercept, identify and geo-locate complex target communcations” in real time, according to the company. The array, designed to fit on drones or manned aircraft, weighs less than 20kg (44 lbs) and fits in a 1.5 x 0.5 x 0.5m pod. The Griffo E-Scan system, the latest model of electronically-scanning radars, uses a matrix of hundreds of tiny radar modules to ‘steer' an electronic beam, rather than the radar physically moving to point a beam at a target. This allows the beam to move quickly and for “the radar to perform multiple tasks simultaneously" according to a company announcement.

  • IDEaS Communiqué - Second Call for Proposals for Innovation Networks

    July 17, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    IDEaS Communiqué - Second Call for Proposals for Innovation Networks

    As outlined in Canada's defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, adapting and innovating quickly are crucial to developing and maintaining capabilities that address the challenges presented by today's evolving global defence and security environment. To this end, innovation, knowledge, and problem solving are essential for Canada and its allies to mitigate threats and meet evolving defence and security needs. In that context, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program will foster creativity and ingenuity in Canada by enabling the creation of networks of experts, providing support and opportunities to innovators, and by facilitating the integration and adoption of new capabilities for the defence and security communities. Multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary teams, termed Micro-nets, are invited to submit research proposals on the following Innovation Challenge area from the defence and security community: · Autonomous Systems: Trust and Barriers to Adoption The IDEaS Second Call for Proposals for Innovation Networks will provide non-repayable contribution funding to seed and sustain Micro-nets of at least five investigators from a minimum of three separate institutions or organizations from the academic, non-federal government, public and/or private sectors. A Canadian university must administer the contribution funds. Full details are available in the Innovation Networks Application Guide. Micro-nets must propose interdisciplinary research programs aligned with the Innovation Challenge. Funding will be provided by the IDEaS Transfer Payment Program, a federal government contribution program administered by the Department of National Defence. The total budget for this call is $9,000,000. Each Micro-net can request up to $1,500,000 over three years. Co-funding is not mandatory, however participants from for-profit organizations will be required to contribute up to 50% of their costs. Important dates: Online portal for submission of Letters of Intent: opens July 16th, 2018. Deadline for submission of Letters of Intent: August 31st , 2018, 12:00 pm (noon) EDT. Deadline for submission of the Full Proposal: November 30th, 2018, 12:00 pm (noon) EST. An information session will be held in English on July 31st, 2018. To register for this session please click on the link by July 26th, 2018. Please visit our website to learn how to register and apply for this call, and for more information about IDEaS. You may also contact us by email at

  • NATO summit boosts cybersecurity amid uncertainty

    July 16, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    NATO summit boosts cybersecurity amid uncertainty

    By: Justin Lynch Amid uncertainty over NATO member's defense spending, energy deals with Russia and the very future of the alliance itself, combating Moscow's campaign of digital war quietly emerged as an item of agreement for the 29-state body during a summit in Brussels. Consider: Few previous NATO meetings of world leaders have included so much discussion over cybersecurity. In a joint declaration, the word “cyber” appeared 26 times. In what appears to be a first for the alliance, leaders twice mentioned the threat of “disinformation campaigns,” that have spread chaos through western countries. The declaration devoted two sections to digital security. Leaders agreed to create two new bodies: A cyberspace operations center in Belgium and a “Joint Force Command” headquarters based in Norfolk, Virginia, that is focused on protecting transatlantic lines of communication. The alliance also agreed to integrate cybersecurity into NATO operations, although it is not mandatory for countries to do so. The joint decleration followed a recent announcement by the organization that it would boslter its joint cyber operations. If nessecary, alliance members can coordinate a response to a malicious cyberattack, strengthening the pact's agreement of collective self-defense. “We don't accept cyber, propaganda, interference in domestic political processes,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stolenberg during a press conference on June 11. He added later in the day that NATO will continue to assist Ukraine in “cyber defense,” amid its upcoming elections. The focus on cybersecurity and online warfare may be caused by the digital battering that alliance members have experienced in recent years. As NATO members posed for a “family” photograph on Wednesday, it was difficult to pick out members of the transatlantic partnership where Russian disinformation or cyberattacks have been absent. There was Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro, Emmanuel Macron of France, and Jüri Ratas of Estonia, Theresa May of Britainand Angela Merkel of Germany; just a sample of NATO countries who have confronted Russian hackers and propaganda. However experts say that the alliance's cyber provisions depend on the strength of the organization itself, which came into doubt during a “turbulent” morning, according to sister-site Defense News. After Trump apparently indirectly threatened to leave NATO if countries did not boost their defense spending, the alliance held an emergency meeting. But in a press conference afterword, Trump praised the alliance and said that “the United States' commitment to NATO is very strong.” While he claimed that countries agreed to boost their military spending, The Associated Press reported that Macron disputed the claim. Trump also criticized Germany on Twitter for paying “billions of dollars” for Russian oil on Thursday morning. “Not acceptable!,” Trump tweeted. But the test for NATO's cyber commitments may come during a meeting next week between Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Trump, himself a beneficiary of Moscow's digital support, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment. Last week, Klara Jordan, director of the cyber statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council, told Fifth Domain that the meeting has risks. “Trump may do something similar to what he did after the summit with Kim of North Korea, where he calls for physical exercises not to happen on the border of Russia, and this may include cyber-exercises.”

  • L3 acquires two information security firms with eye toward multiple markets

    July 16, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    L3 acquires two information security firms with eye toward multiple markets

    By: Daniel Cebul ASHINGTON ― L3 Technologies on Wednesday acquired two information security companies, Azimuth Security and Linchpin Labs. The acquisitions are expected to strengthen L3′s C4ISR, cyber defense and combat systems businesses. The acquired companies, which will become L3 Trenchant, were purchased for approximately $200 million. But “the purchase price is subject to an upward adjustment of up to AUD$43 million (approximately USD$32 million), payable in L3 common stock," according to an L3 news release. This depends on post-acquisition sales from June 30, 2019, to 2021. The acquisition follows L3′s $540 million sale of Vertex in May. “These acquisitions sharpen our capabilities, heighten our responsiveness and advance L3's prime position as a C6ISR solutions provider,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, L3's chairman, president and CEO. “We are making targeted investments in cutting-edge technologies and integrating them with existing capabilities to support our domestic and international customers in strategically important business areas.” In a previous interview with Defense News, Kubasik said the company's acquisition strategy is based on addressing strategic needs and capability gaps. “In several cases after discussions with our customers and looking at the National Defense Strategy, we're looking for different technologies and capabilities” he said. " We look at our strategy, we go out and find things to fill the gaps." Some of the gaps L3 is looking to fill in the U.S. and overseas are related to underwater unmanned vehicles as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms. Kubasik said he hopes to capitalize on increased interest in sensor and communication technologies. “Internationally, we visited customers in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” he said. “There is a lot of entrants, especially in the Mideast for ISR platform[s]. ... And of course that's in our sweet spot.” Canada-based Linchpin Labs specializes in custom software development and brings experience working with government clients on computer network operations, cross-platform and low-level systems development, and information technology services. Based in Sydney, Australia, Azimuth Security is an information security consultancy firm that focuses on in-depth software analysis, including threat modeling and design, configuration, and source-code review. “These pioneering intelligence solutions — the ‘I' in ISR — give our customers an intelligence advantage through next-generation network security and threat mitigation,” said Jeff Miller, L3's senior vice president and head of the firm's sensor systems unit.

  • No surprise, cloud tops new Defense CIO’s priorities

    July 12, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    No surprise, cloud tops new Defense CIO’s priorities

    By: Mark Pomerleau Dana Deasy, the Department of Defense's new CIO, said he sees four critical areas to support the national defense strategy and digital modernization: cloud, artificial intelligence, command, control and communications, and cyber. Speaking at an event hosted by Defense Systems in Arlington July 11, Deasy said those initiatives are listed not in order of importance, but rather in order of integration. Cloud is the foundation for many future warfighting capabilities as well as the other three priorities. As a result, the much anticipated Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure proposal is “not a longs ways off, [but] we have a bit more work to do before we release,” he said. Despite not committing to a specific release date for the multibillion dollar JEDI proposal, Deasy said he wants the overall JEDI effort to be comprehensive, clear and maximize responses. The proposal, he said, should be written in a way “that truly represents what any smart intelligence company in private industry would do in seeking to put an enterprise cloud in place.” Deasy, who has been on the job about two months, acknowledged the department doesn't have a true enterprise capability that will deliver the efficiencies on the scale it needs. Since taking over the JEDI acquisition, he said there is a top down, bottom up review of the effort. deally, an enterprise solution should allow for flexibility, management of classified and unclassified data, scalable in the form of both infrastructure as a service and platform as a service, have common governance and will eventually be a multi-cloud, multi-vendor environment. he said. In his remarks, Deasy also highlighted the recently established Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. The center, he said, will advance DoD's ability to organize AI capability delivery and technology understanding within DoD. The center will also help to attract and cultivate much needed talent in the AI space, he added, demonstrating successful intersection of human ingenuity and advanced computing to include ethics, humanitarian considerations and both short term and long term AI safety.

  • Camille Grand : « Tous les alliés de l'Otan augmentent leurs dépenses de défense »

    July 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Camille Grand : « Tous les alliés de l'Otan augmentent leurs dépenses de défense »

    Camille Grand, secrétaire général adjoint de l'Otan, se veut rassurant sur les relations entre les Etats-Unis et l'Europe sur les questions de défense. JACQUES HUBERT-RODIER L'Organisation militaire qui unit les puissances occidentales n'est pas en danger, selon le secrétaire général adjoint de l'Otan. Les critiques répétées du président américain Donald Trump sur l'implication financière insuffisante des pays européens sont plutôt justifiées, selon lui, et ne devraient pas dégénérer en une confrontation ouverte. Le renforcement de l'Europe de la défense, complémentaire de l'Otan, serait également bien accepté outre-Atlantique, à condition qu'elle reste complémentaire dans ses développements. L'Otan peut-elle surmonter la tension entre les Etats-Unis, l'Europe et le Canada ? Ce n'est pas la première fois que l'Alliance atlantique connaît des tensions entre ses Etats membres. C'est arrivé avec le départ de la France des structures militaires intégrées dans les années 1960, puis au moment des décisions de déploiement des euromissiles dans les années 1980, et plus récemment lors de la guerre en Irak, en 2003. Mais les Alliés ont toujours su surmonter ces débats et il ne faut pas dramatiser ces tensions, d'autant plus que, sur les dossiers de fond, l'Otan avance et s'adapte. Certes, il y a aujourd'hui de vrais désaccords transatlantiques, mais sur des sujets extérieurs à l'Otan, comme sur le changement climatique,les questions de commerce international ou l'Iran. Ce ne sont pas des sujets sur l'agenda, quotidien ou régulier, de l'Otan. Le président Trump ne cesse de critiquer l'Otan... Malgré les critiques adressées aux Alliés par le président Trump, il y a aux Etats-Unis un consensus assez large sur le soutien à l'Otan et à la relation transatlantique. La forte critique sur le partage du fardeau financier de l'Alliance est un thème récurrent depuis des années de la part des Américains qui estiment, non sans raison, que les dépenses militaires sont trop déséquilibrées entre les Etats-Unis et les autres alliés. Les choses évoluent aujourd'hui. Européens et Canadiens font-ils assez pour leur défense ? Les Américains demandent aux Alliés de respecter l'objectif qu'ils se sont assignés eux-mêmes lors du sommet de 2014 à Newport, au pays de Galles , c'est-à-dire de parvenir à 2 % de leur PIB consacré à la défense en 2024 - dont 20 % pour l'investissement dans de nouveaux matériels et à la recherche et développement. Aujourd'hui, le tableau est contrasté : d'un côté, tous les Alliés ont augmenté leur effort de défense. Canadiens et Européens ont au total dépensé 87 milliards d'euros de plus. En 2018, huit alliés (1) consacreront au moins 2 % de leur PIB à la défense, contre trois il y a quatre ans. Dix-huit ont annoncé qu'ils atteindront cet objectif en 2024 ou peu après. La France s'y est, pour sa part, engagée pour 2025. De l'autre côté, il est vrai qu'un certain nombre de pays sont encore un peu en retrait et n'ont pas pris d'engagement clair pour parvenir aux 2 % en 2024, même s'ils augmentent leur effort. C'est un peu un débat sur le verre à moitié plein ou à moitié vide. Donald Trump accuse surtout l'Allemagne ? L'Allemagne s'est engagée fermement à parvenir à 1,5 % de son PIB en 2024. Ce qui constitue une augmentation déjà significative de ses dépenses pour une grosse économie. Parviendra-t-elle à 2 % dans un avenir rapproché ? Politiquement, c'est encore en discussion au sein de la coalition et du Bundestag. Techniquement, l'Allemagne, je pense, peut et doit y arriver car l'argument de dire « nous sommes un pays trop riche » n'est pas recevable alors que des pays plus pauvres font cet effort. Cela sera sans doute étalé dans le temps. Pourquoi 2 % ? Cet objectif existe depuis longtemps mais il est devenu politiquement très engageant depuis 2014 avec la promesse faite au sommet du pays de Galles. C'est un chiffre raisonnable si l'on compare à la période de la guerre froide où la plupart des pays de l'Otan étaient plutôt entre 3 % et 4 % du PIB, ou aux dépenses d'autres puissances majeures. Ce n'est pas une course frénétique aux armements mais une norme cohérente avec un environnement stratégique incertain et dégradé. L'Europe de la défense est-elle concurrente de l'Otan ? Ce débat est aujourd'hui largement dépassé. L'Europe de la défense et l'Alliance atlantique doivent être complémentaires. Si l'Otan plaide bien sûr pour éviter les duplications inutiles et assurer la meilleure coordination possible, les décisions récentes de l'Union européenne pour renforcer l'Europe de la défense sont bienvenues et utiles avec la mise en oeuvre de la coopération structurée permanente, et surtout avec des investissements dans le prochain cadre budgétaire européen 2021-2027 dans deux domaines importants vu de l'Otan : 6,5 milliards d'euros pour des infrastructures liées à la « mobilité militaire » et la création du Fonds européen de défense doté de 13 milliards d'euros. Certes, tout cela représente 1 % des dépenses de défense en Europe, mais cela aide à faire de l'Union européenne un acteur de la scène stratégique avec lequel l'Otan travaille dans un nombre croissant de domaines. Les relations entre les deux organisations sont denses et n'ont d'ailleurs sans doute jamais été aussi bonnes Comment voyez-vous les relations avec la Russie ? Depuis deux ans, l'Otan mène une double approche : d'une part, de dissuasion et de défense avec la consolidation du flanc oriental de l'Alliance gr'ce à une présence avancée, légère, de quatre bataillons dans les trois pays Baltes et en Pologne, et un renforcement de ses structures de commandement ; et, d'autre part, de dialogue. Depuis 2016, le conseil Otan-Russie (COR) s'est réuni sept fois. La rencontre du 16 juillet, à Helsinki, entre les présidents Poutine et Trump s'inscrit ainsi dans les échanges normaux et réguliers entre les leaders de l'Alliance et la Russie. La menace terroriste est-elle un autre sujet de préoccupation ? L'Otan est engagée dans la défense collective. C'est notre « coeur de métier ». Ce qui est nécessaire face à l'attitude russe des dernières années, comme en Ukraine avec l'annexion illégale de la Crimée. Mais elle l'est aussi dans la lutte contre le terrorisme. Plus de 16.000 soldats sous le drapeau Otan sont déployés en Afghanistan pour aider et soutenir l'armée afghane. L'organisation prépare, en outre, une mission d'entraînement en Irak. Ce qui est une contribution à la lutte contre Daech. La Turquie pose-t-elle un problème pour l'Alliance ? La Turquie est un allié majeur et toujours actif, depuis 1952, dans nos débats. Elle est confrontée à des défis de sécurité exceptionnels du fait de sa situation stratégique et de la menace terroriste. La situation dans le nord de la Syrie a pu donner lieu à quelques tensions. Actuellement, il y a cependant une feuille de route américano-turque sur la Syrie, et les tensions et les incompréhensions sont moins perceptibles.

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