Evolution in unmanned vehicles: specialized unmanned vehicles continue to emerge, for use on land, at sea, and in the air.
This continued emergence of different classes of unmanned vehicles (UVs) was evident at the AUVSI conference in Baltimore, MD on June 28-30, where displays included vehicles for ground operations such as surveillance and bomb detection, maritime vehicles designed to fly over and operate below the water; and aerial vehicles ranging in size from hand-held to weighing thousands of pounds.
US Navy Rear Admiral Tim Heely, program executive officer for strike weapons and unmanned aviation, compared the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) today with that of aviation in the 1920s or '30s, when the aircraft industry was still young and scattered. At the moment, with UAVs, and especially with the smaller aerial vehicles, the costs for entering the market are relatively low, so a lot of companies are introducing products that may or may not be profitable enough to remain on the market. What vehicles different military services use is likely to change significantly as well, as officials learn what works and what does not.
Some new types of UVs that are coming onto the market combine an existing vehicle with a new sensor Makers of ground vehicles for detecting explosives for instance, see opportunities to add applications such as devices for detecting biological and chemical hazards Foster-Miller (Waltham, MA) introduced a new version of a hazardous-material (HAZMAT) robot at the conference that features a chemical-agent and gas detector, a radiation monitor, and a temperature sensor. Though basically the same vehicle as one the company developed for locating roadside bombs, such ground vehicles, in general, are not yet at the point where their applications are easily removed and switched like the different attachments of a household vacuum, with its plug-in nozzles for cleaning stairs, sofas, and so on.
Now, in addition to sensors, some ground vehicles are being designed to carry guns. General Dynamics Robotics Systems (Westminster, MDI, which recently received an additional $50 million to develop an autonomous navigation system for the US Army's Future Combat Systems program, had on display an Armed Reconnaissance Vehicle. Along with its HAZ-MAT and bomb-detection vehicles Foster-Miller is also promoting an armed vehicle that, in a demonstration earlier this year at the US Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, was fitted with the Metal Storm electronic projectile system, as well as the full range of weapons that infantry soldiers typically carry, including M-16s and M-240s.
Just like remotely piloted aerial vehicles can get closer to dangerous situations without risking human life, so can ground vehicles carry weapons closer to the enemy while reducing risks to soldiers. But while installing weapons onto UAVs is fairly well accepted at this point--Predators outfitted with Hellfire missiles have been written about frequently (see "Armed Predator Shines in War on Terror." JED, December 2004, p. 17)--Foster-Miller program manager Bob Quinn said that civilians are more likely to view weaponized unmanned ground vehicles with suspicion, as if they might potentially get out of control and wreak havoc. "In reconnaissance the more autonomy you have the better," he said. "But when it comes to weapons, the world is not ready for autonomy. So with this system, instead of the soldier firing the weapons from his shoulder, he's simply firing it remotely."
Land on Water
Like ground vehicles, new types of UAVs are appearing. One notable new class of UAVs is designed to land on water, like seaplanes, or at least crash into the water and remain afloat until retrieved by a ship. Officials from the US Navy speaking at the conference noted repeatedly that their service regards the use of unmanned vehicles as just as important to future operations as any other service, but that the particular difficulties of operating in a maritime environment mean the Navy can't simply use the same vehicles designed for the Air Force or Army, or at least not without making significant modifications.
Choppy seas make landing approaches incredibly difficult. Just as fighter pilots have difficulty landing their aircraft on aircraft carrier runways, operators of remotely piloted vehicles must also contend with unpredictable sea swells, high winds, and other harsh conditions typical of open water. Given that the US Navy is moving toward developing more tactical ships such as the Littoral Combat Ship, which has less space on deck, accommodating UVs on deck will become even more difficult, in terms of both landing the aircraft and storing them (for more on the LCS. see "LCS Construction Underway," JED, March 2005, p. 20). Add in the general trend in UVs toward autonomous control--in which the vehicles fly according to pre-set coordinates and land on their own, freeing the operators to spend more time on other tasks, such as controlling onboard sensors--and the wish to acquire UAVs that can land in the water alongside a ship and be stored somewhere off the desk makes even more sense, since algorithms required for autonomous landing on ships for now remain more experimental than practical.
Two UAVs on display at the conference that attempt to address the Navy's desire for maritime landing were the Neptune from DRS Technologies (Parsippany, NJ) and the Kingfisher II Seaplane UAV from Vought Aircraft Industries (Dallas, TX). The Navy, for the moment, is spending only a relatively modest amount of money on this kind of maritime UAV. It awarded $5 million to DRS for an unspecified number of Neptune systems, each system consisting of three vehicles that are about five feet long with a seven-foot wingspan. Vought, meanwhile, earlier this year received a $497,000 contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to study the feasibility of its concept plane, which Vought business-development manager Chris Wilt said is a much larger vehicle that could potentially carry Hellfire missiles and even underwater reconnaissance vehicles that would be dropped into the water.
Big vs. Small
Besides this emerging class of maritime UAVs, aerial vehicles are clearly beginning to fall into categories based in part on their size, as evident during flight demonstrations on June 27 at Webster Air Field. Patuxent, MD, in an event co-sponsored by the AUVSI trade group and the NAVAIR program executive office for strike weapons and unmanned aviation. In contrast to the more established UAVs like Hunter and Predator, smaller UAVs are coming to market that are much quieter and cheaper than larger aerial vehicles Just as the development of smaller components allows the production of smaller personal computers, miniaturization is permitting development of smaller UAVs that can stay in the air longer and carry more sophisticated payloads.
These smaller vehicles are expected to be very useful for infantry that don't want to depend on the larger UAVs operated by other services or other units within their own service to receive imagery of what may lie over the next hill or on the next block. They can also be a lot easier to land than bigger UAVs. L-3 BAI Aerosystems (Easton, MD), with its 6.5-pound Evolution, was among the UAV manufacturers demonstrating a small UAV that breaks apart upon landing. The wings and other bits of the plane can simply be snapped back together again like the remote-controlled toy planes on which the designs of many UAVs today are based.
But while smaller UAVs can carry more sophisticated sensors than in years past, thanks to improvements in sensor technology, size does matter, argued Bruno Potte of UAV, manufacturer Sagem in a presentation on tactical UAVs. Smaller UAVs costs less and are easier to carry, but they can't carry as sophisticated payloads as larger UAVs, which will always be tempting to military planners that want to include the latest gadgets in their equipment. "While I believe the components will decrease, the expectations will increase as well, such as the capability to carry weapons." Potte said. "So the weight of the aircraft is going to grow or at least stay the same. This is what has happened with other platforms, such as aircraft and tanks, though what will happen in some cases is that countries may decide the platforms are getting too expensive and that they don't necessarily want to acquire all of the capabilities that may be available."
Officials noted that the equipment placed on unmanned vehicles is really what is the most important thing about the aircraft, as opposed to the platform itself. US Navy Admiral John Nathan, commander of Fleet Forces Command, compared UAVs to the Navy's F-4 Phantom aircraft, which was flown for more than 30 years and by 1992 was not really the same plane as it had been in 1963, although the airframe itself hadn't changed. The sensors it carried changed significantly over the years, however, as did the way the aircraft was used, and ADM Nathan said he expected the same thing to happen with UAVs.
Form does to some extent determine function, though Ted Wierzbanowski, manager director of AeroVironment (Monrovia, CA), which makes several types of small UAVs, including the Raven and Dragon Eye, said the size of a UAV, in part, determines its purpose, and that small UAVs won't necessary take over all of the duties that much larger UAVs today perform. Small UAVs may be useful for the soldier being shot at that wants to see where and how the enemy is approaching, while larger UAVs such as Global Hawk and Predator, with their ability to carry larger sensor payloads and more sophisticated communications equipment, can be used to survey the area around soldiers and provide warning ahead of time on where trouble may be located. With their superior sensors and bigger engines, allowing them to see more and in some cases fly longer, these larger UAVs can serve more "strategic" as opposed to "tactical" purposes.
Even larger UAVs are emerging that are intended for operations in high altitude, say 60,000 feet. The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAVs under development by AeroVironment and other manufacturers offer the potential to serve not only as surveillance platforms but also as portable, instant sources of communications relay, when satellite connections may not be available or may be too expensive. AeroVironment at the AUVSI conference introduced a prototype HALE UAV called Global Observer that operates on liquid hydrogen and could potentially stay airborne for a week at a time. QinetiQ (Farnborough, Hampshire, UK) announced it had received a contract from VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research, to develop a solar-electric-powered HALE UAV. The advantage of using liquid hydrogen as fuel, said Wierbanowski, is that aircraft can operate anywhere in the world at any time of year, in situations that can ground solar-powered vehicles.
Whether liquid hydrogen or solar power eventually turns out to be the optimal means of powering such UAVs remains for now up in the air Like the rest of the unmanned-vehicle industry, the technology behind the aircraft continues to evolve, as demands by the military dictate what new features are added to the vehicles, and trials and real use in the field determine what works and what does not. As much as technology developers attempt to anticipate future needs, end results usually wind up resulting from a lot of trial and error.--Ted McKenna
US Military Aims to Zap IEDs in Iraq
The US military is preparing to deploy a new technology to Iraq in order to counter the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that are a favorite weapon of insurgents there (see "Blast From the Past," JED, June 2004, p. 43). The new system, dubbed the Joint IED Neutralizer (JIN), literally zaps the IEDs and causes them to detonate without putting troops or engineering personnel in harm's way.
Developed by Ionatron, Inc. (Tucson, AZ), the JIN is a directed-energy-discharge system mounted on a remotely operated armored vehicle. The system uses high-voltage electrical discharges from a remote-controlled boom to prematurely detonate IEDs Though development of the system is still ongoing, deliveries of the JIN to the US military are already underway. The Department of Defense (DoD) has ordered 12 JIN systems at just under $1 million each, and the first of these was expected to be in Iraq by the end of July, according to Ionatron CEO Tom Dearmin. "This will save lives the minute it gets there," he said. "It doesn't need to be perfect. Just get it there."
The idea for the JIN was sparked back in November of last year, Dearmin said, when Ionatron officials were invited to a DoD-sponsored meeting on the IED threat at Ft. Belvoir. VA, where the latest data from Iraq was presented. In January, Dearmin said, Ionatron proposed its solution--the JIN--to the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, then Paul Wolfowitz, Initially, Ionatron told the Pentagon that the company could have a system ready in 12 months but was told that troops needed something more quickly.
In just four weeks, then, Ionatron began testing a prototype technology demonstrator based on the company's proprietary Laser Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) technology. The LIPC produces a directed discharge of electrical energy that can be set to shock, stun, or stop a person. With some modifications, however, the technology was adapted to neutralize IEDs.
The initial JIN prototype gave way to an improved version, dubbed JIN II, which was developed with the guidance from the US. Air Force's Force Protection Battlelab (Lackland AFB, TX). The JIN II has enhanced remote-control capabilities that enable it to be operated by a technician-level soldier using a radio-linked joystick, and it is more rugged, with increased armor that can with-stand 155mm shells.
A series of tests of the JIN II at Davis-Monthan AFB in mid-April was witnessed by a large contingent from the Pentagon, Dearmin said. These tests were also supported and supervised by US military explosive-ordinance-disposal (EOD) specialists, all of whom had served in Iraq, and test IEDs were placed to simulate actual conditions in theater. Out of nine tests, the JIN successfully detonated eight test IEDs--including one that was 164 feet away from the JIN. The one that didn't detonate, however, was itself faulty, so it could be said that the JIN was a perfect eight for eight. "If you get enough of these out there." Dearmin said. "you will eliminate the IED as we know it. It will go away."
The major advantage of the use of this technology over the radio-frequency (RF) technology currently being, employed to combat IEDs. Dearmin said, is that the JIN is a permanent solution. A vehicle using an RF solution to defeat IEDs merely jams them, preventing them from detonating as the vehicle passes. The IED, however, remains behind and could detonate later, killing or injuring other coalition troops or even unwitting Iraqi civilians. The JIN, on the other hand causes the IED to explode so that it no longer poses a threat to anyone.
The JIN technology can also be put on other platforms and used for other types of operations. Dearmin noted It could, for instance, be used to clear mines, and results of testing of the JIN for this application, he said, "look pretty good so far." Indeed, the US military has already expressed an interest in using the JIN for mine-clearing missions, and Ionatron has been contacted by non-profit agencies from around the world that engage in similar activities.
But the focus right now is getting the JIN systems to Iraq to protect troops from IEDs. All 12 systems are expected to be in theater by the end of this year, and a follow-on contract for more is already in the works--a pretty rapid pace for a procurement program that really only got underway in January.
The JIN system has also attracted the attention of the US Congress. A May 3 report on the FY05 emergency supplemental-spending bill from the House of Representatives urged the DoD to acquire and field JIN systems as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, further testing and development of the system continues in parallel to Ionatron's production efforts, and Dearmin said the system will be adjusted as necessary after the after-action reports are received on the initial deployments.
While the JIN program was initiated from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the US Army has its own program aimed at countering the IED threat (see "US Army Seeks New System to Counter IEDs." JED, April 2005, p. 22). The Army is looking for a new system to replace the Warlock RF jammers currently in use (see "New Protection Systems for Forces in Iraq," JED, April 2004 p. 33). Further details on the Army effort, however, are not available, and sources indicate that the program is now classified.--Brendan P. Rivers
New Sensors for FCS Ground Vehicles
In early May, the Multi-Function Radio-Frequency (MF-RF) sensor was designated as the common radar for the US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) family of ground vehicles. The MF-RF sensor, being developed by Raytheon Network Centric Systems (NCS) (McKinney, TX), is a Ka-band, active electronically scanned array (AESA) that will provide FCS vehicles with full hemispheric coverage for search and track of both airborne and ground-based threats. In this respect, the MF-RF sensor is just a radar, but its capabilities don't stop there.
Planned for all eight manned FCS ground vehicles (and possibly two unmanned vehicles), the MF-RF sensor can also provide a cueing track for the active protection system that will equip each vehicle. Although the active protection system has yet to be selected, a request for proposals (RFP) for the short-range element of the system is expected to be issued this summer, with an RFP for the long-range element to follow sometime later. Using an integrated interrogator subsystem that will be fitted on all FCS ground vehicles, the MF-RF sensor also provides cueing for the FCS Combat Identification (CID) system, which is also being developed by Raytheon NCS. In addition, the MF-RF sensor will provide high-band voice and data communications to augment the vehicles' other communications systems, such as the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS).
Development of the MF-RF sensor is an outgrowth of Raytheon's work on a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program, called the Low-Cost AESA, which sought to employ ASEA technology as part of a missile seeker explained Johnny Garrett, program director for FCS ground sensors at Raytheon NCS. The sensor system consists of four arrays, mounted about the periphery of each ground vehicle, providing full hemispheric coverage. Each array measures only about 6X6 inches (7X8 inches with the necessary packaging) and is mounted conformally to the surface of the vehicle. It can cover its entire field of regard in milliseconds, Garrett said, providing near-simultaneous data to the vehicle's crew. There is also great potential, he added, for fusion with electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors on the vehicles, which Raytheon plans to pursue down the road.
Raytheon has already built a prototype array that recently completed its first battery of risk-reduction tests. The results of those tests, which exceeded expectations, have been briefed to the Army, and Army officials were very pleased, Garrett said. Up next for the MF-RF sensor is a system-requirements review this month. The system is planned for qualification for FCS requirements in the 2007-2008 timeframe and will spiral out to the Army's Stryker vehicle for experimentation in 2008. There is no specific timetable set for production of the system. Garrett explained, as any such decision is tied to the production of the ground vehicles under the FCS program. The Army, though, is expected to issue a production decision for the ground vehicles in October 2012.
Along with the MF-RF sensor, Raytheon NCS is also developing the aforementioned CID system and the medium-range EO/IR sensor for the FCS family of ground vehicles under three separate contracts, awarded in August 2004, around the time that the US Army restructured the overall FCS program and provided an additional $6.4 billion in funding for system design development and demonstration (see "US Army Restructures FCS Program," JED September 2004, p. 16). The three contracts are worth a combined total of $222.9 million.
The CID system, which Garrett described as the Battlefield Target Identification Device (BTID) "on steroids," will be installed on all FCS ground vehicles. It employs millimeter-wave technology on vehicles and will eventually use laser and RF technology on dismounted soldiers to discriminate between friend and foe in order to avoid fratricide. Current development efforts are focused on reducing the size and configuration of the CID system, along with--and perhaps more important--cost, as it will eventually equip over 30,000 vehicles.
The medium-range EO/IR sensor, meanwhile, is based on technology developed for the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Like the EO/IR sensor for the Predator UAV, the system for FCS ground vehicles will be a turreted one and will include a forward-looking IR (FLIR) sensor. Eventually, it will also include a laser for target designation, rangefinding, illumination for Iongrange combat identification, and training (a la the Army's MILES). The new system will be fitted on two manned FCS ground vehicles--the Infantry Carrier and the Mounted Combat System--along with the unmanned Multifunctional Utility. Logistics, and Equipment (MULE) vehicle and both versions of the Armed Robotic Vehicle. For the latter, the attack variant will receive a hardmounted version of the EO/IR sensor system. while the reconnaissance variant will have the system mounted atop a telescoping mast for greater ranges.
An industry team of Boeing and SAIC is leading the development of the FCS, with Raytheon (Plano, TX) serving as ground-systems integrator. The subcontracts for the development of the individual ground sensors for the FCS vehicles were let by Raytheon to individual Raytheon units--in McKinney, TX, for the MF-RF sensor, in Ft. Wayne, IN, for the CID system, and in Plano and Dallas. TX, for the EO/IR sensor. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (Orlando, FL) also received contracts in August 2004, valued at $85.2 million, for an Aided Target Recognition system and the mast for the FCS Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle.--Brendan P. Rivers
US Army Airborne [C.sup.2] System to Control UAVs
Although the US Army Airborne Command and Control System (A2C2S) has already been fielded as part of US-led operations in Iraq, that doesn't spell the end of its development. The Army is currently working towards a Block 2 of the system that would include the capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The Army is looking to transition technology developed under its Hunter-Killer Standoff Team (HKST) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) to the AN/ASC-38 A2C2S. The HKST concept itself is an outgrowth of the Airborne Manned/Unmanned System Technology ACTD, focused on providing Level 4 control--control of everything but takeoffs and landings, including the UAV's electro-optical/infrared payload--to users onboard the AH-64D Longbow Apache (see "The Robot's Got Your Back," JED, January 2003, p. 50). Now that capability will be extended the A2C2S-equipped UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter, designated the EUH-60L.
The A2C2S program, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, AL, has been working on getting a UAV-control capability with the US Army Aviation and Missile Command's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate in Ft. Eustis, VA, which is running the HKST ACTD. Both have complementary requirements. The HKST ACTD has a requirement to be able to communication with the EUH-60L. while the A2C2S program has a requirement to add the capabilities necessary capabilities for Level 4 control of UAVs as part of the operational-requirements document for Block 2 of the system.
The HKST ACTD has successfully conducted demonstrations in which Hunter UAVs have been controlled from an Apache helicopter Providing such a capability to the EUH-60L would enable far greater situational awareness to the helicopter by allowing it to access imagery from the UAVs under its control and to direct the UAVs to look at areas of particular interest to the command-and-control ([C.sup.2]) helicopter, and situational awareness is really the foundation of command and control.
The technical key to getting such a capability for the EUH-60L is communications, according to A2C2S systems engineer Dave Stamm. The ACTD with the AH-64D Apache has been moving along fairly well, he said. In addition to the communications systems already onboard the helicopter, Stamm said the addition of Link 16 and the Tactical Common Datalink (TCDL). Link 16 would enable to the EUH-60L to connect with any platform on the network--be it another helicopter, such as an AH-64D Apache, a Hunter UAV, or even non-Army platforms. In fact, Stamm said the A2C2S program is hoping to conduct a demonstration in the near future linking the EUH-60L with assets including an Apache and a Hunter UAV, along with fighter aircraft from one or both of the other services. The TCDL, meanwhile, would be used for direct communications with UAVs. Additional antennas are being added to the EUH-60L for both Link 16 and the TCDL, Stamm said and flight demonstrations are scheduled to occur around year's end at the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
Right now, the UAV being used for the demonstrations--both the earlier ones with the Apache and the ones planned for the EUH-60L--is the Hunter, which is supposed to have been replaced by now with the Shadow. The Shadow, however, is carrying as much payload as it can handle, sources say, and cannot accept the TCDL.
The A2C2S currently consists of five workstations, large-screen displays, and two communications-equipment racks that can be installed in or removed from a UH-60 Black Hawk, allowing the helicopter to conduct ([C.sup.2]) or its traditional transport missions. When outfitted with the A2C2S, a Black Hawk helicopter will be able to serve as a corps, division, maneuver-brigade, or attack-helicopter commander's tactical command post, providing C2 and situational awareness on the move using systems from the Army Battle Command System (ABCS), the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS), and the Blue Force Tracking (BFT) system. The All Source Analysis System (ASAS), a subsystem of the ABCS, provides battle-management and information-warfare capabilities by fusing intelligence data. The core of the ABCS, the Maneuver Control System is used for planning, coordinating, and controlling tactical operations and compiles and disseminates a common operating picture for all command posts. The Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), the fire-support node of the ATCCS, enables battle management and decision support. The Force XXI Battle Command-Brigade and Below (FBCB2) system links platforms through the Tactical Internet, and the Aviation Mission Planning System (AMPS) serves as a planning and battle-synchronization device.
Raytheon (McKinney, TX) was selected by the Army in 2001 to develop the A2C2S but was then asked to provide aircraft for rapid deployment to meet urgent operational needs. To date, the EUH-60L has logged more than 2,000 hours in support of combat and peacekeeping missions in the Middle East, including 18 months of combat support to Army's 4th Infantry Division, according to the company. There are currently five EUH-60Ls flying (an undisclosed number of which are in Iraq), Stamm said, with five more on the way by the end of the year Five more EUH-60L's will follow in 2006, with full-rate production of the A2C2S-equipped Black Hawks, at a rate of 10 per year, to begin in 2007. While the A2C2S is initially being installed on L-model Black Hawks, the new M model will become the standard platform for the system down the road. A full-rate production decision is expected for the UH-60M in 2007, the same as for the A2C2S, simplifying such a transition to the new helicopter.
In addition to its role with the US Army, the National Guard is also looking at the EUH-60L for homeland-defense applications. On Feb, 24, during a Homeland Defense Communications Module concept demonstration in Huntsville, AL, the A2C2S proved that it could track and control first-responder vehicles retransmit video, and "crossband" otherwise incompatible communications systems (e.g., transmit HF radio signals over UHF satellite communications). Using a scenario based on a tornado that struck Huntsville in 1989, the A2C2S demonstrated how it might have helped in the disaster-recovery effort. Arizona and Pennsylvania are said to be particularly interested in getting such a capability for their National Guard units and are currently seeking the necessary funding.--Brendan P. Rivers
Coalition Demo Addresses Failure to Communicate
At least the six blind men in the old story about touching an elephant--the leg appears to be a tree, the trunk a vine, the tail a rope, and so on--were able to understand one another's words, if not the meaning of the object in question. In the context of military or law-enforcement situations, the difficulty of collective understanding can be not just about reconciling different interpretations of reality Basic communications among people during a crisis--say, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001--can itself be impossible, perhaps if National Guard soldiers and police use radios that don't operate on the same frequency.
Looking to solve such communications problems, as well as improve other aspects of coordinating combined operations, whether among different military services, other countries, or domestic law enforcement and other civil agencies, the US Department of Defense on June 13-23 held its latest annual Coalition Warrior Inter-operability Demonstration (CWID), hosted this year by US Northern Command in Colorado Springs, CO, and managed by US Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, VA. (For an account of a previous version of the exercise, see "Coalition C4 Tests Conclude," JED, August 2003, p. 38.)
Two basic types of scenarios formed the basis for this latest exercise: one focused on multi-party responses to fictional domestic crises--the derailment near Washington, DC, of a train carrying chlorine gas was one of the situations--and the other testing international response to a crisis involving the fictional, oil-rich African country of Lumbia, where two civil factions are attempting to destabilize the government.
In all, CWID 2005 connected five US and 11 international sites for the purpose of testing 41 different types of systems or software for sharing information or communications, with the sites including Hanscom AFB, MA: the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, VA, and sites in New Zealand, Norway, and the UK among other countries. One of those 41 applications was a homeland-defense-type system called the Incident Commanders' Radio Interface (ICRI), designed to serve as a go-between for incompatible radio and communications equipment.
Following the crash of commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center, thousands of fire fighters, police officers, and other New York City law-enforcement and emergency personnel rushed to help, but the response was chaotic. Effective command and control was absent, radio communications among different departments was often ineffective, and more people than expected may have died as a result. It is exactly this type of situation that the ICRI is designed to aid, said participants at the Dahlgren, VA, Navy site of the exercise.
In the case of the domestic crisis arising from the chlorine gas spill, exercise participants, including officers from the Missouri National Guard, tested a system called Insta-Know, which operates like a search engine and provided information on the characteristics of chlorine gas and how weather might affect where it could spread, methods for cleaning it up, and other information that planners would otherwise need to collect through many phones calls in coordinating their response to the crisis. One of the systems tested in the multinational response to Lumbia's crisis, meanwhile, was MAIIIC, which integrates airborne and ground intelligence collected from a number of different platforms, regardless of the service or nation that owns them.
What will be the result of this and other trials of technology that took place during CWID? They may or may not be developed into larger programs and put in the field, organizers said. Such is the point of such trials, to determine whether the technology shows promise. Interoperability trails, especially those with other countries, are also not done simply for the purpose of testing whether the technology works, but how different services can effectively communicate during a mission Lt. Col. Tony Hill of the New Zealand Defense Force noted that effective communications means understanding that vocabulary may differ from one nation to another, even those whose mother language is English. "There's no technology that gets around that, that I know of." Lt. Col. Hill said.
Hosting CWID next year will be the US European Command, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany, and was one of the participants in this year's demonstration.--Ted McKenna
Orchestrating Tactical Communications
The US military is developing new software for managing communications that are growing increasing complex--and critical--on the battlefield.
In a military theater all types of communications may be up and running, from Link 16 for pilots to communicate with one another and their air-operations centers, to ground networks for infantry units maneuvering over unfamiliar territory. Knowing which communications are up and running and which are down making sure frequencies in use don't encounter interference, making adjustments to connections if there are problems--services have to date used a hodgepodge of systems for these sorts of needs.
But a new, approximately $40-million contract announced June I by the US Air Force Electronic Systems Center in San Diego, CA, should provide a universal tool for management of communications in tactical situations Called the Joint Interface Control Officer (JICO) Support System, this tool will be used to manage tactical communications networks before, during, and after operations, allowing operators to make changes in bandwidth allocations, add users to communications networks, and see who is having communications problems and whether or not transmissions are reaching their intended destinations.
In describing the benefits of JICO, Mike Twyman, vice president of the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' Communications & Information Systems unit, which beat General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin in the competition for the contract, said the system will help the US Department of Defense meet its general goal of conducting "network-centric warfare" For example. JICO should aid in time-sensitive targeting--one major aspect of net-centric operations--by allowing commanders to know whether their messages have reached, say, the aircraft tasked with a mission. (For more on time-sensitive targeting, see "Right on Time," JED, April 2005, p. 44)
Also, the system should allow operators to "dynamically" manage their communications networks. "In the past, you could see problems with the network, but you had a limited ability to actually affect the network during operations," Twyman said "Now with the JICO Support System, you will be able to dynamically alter the topology and the quality of service of those networks."
The Australia, UK, and Norway, among other countries, have expressed interest in adopting some version of the JICO system for their own forces, and Foreign Military Sales involving JICO could, at some point, follow the awarding of this new contract, said Twyman. Low-rate initial production of the JICO system is scheduled for the first quarter of 2007. If various options are awarded, the contracts could eventually be worth as much as $124 million through July 2008, according to Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman Information Technology previously was awarded a contract to develop an interim version of JICO; this new version will offer connectivity for additional tactical networks like Link 22. Twyman said.--Ted McKenna
US Military Slow to Adapt to Net-Centric Warfare
Talk about "network-centric warfare" is one thing. Getting the US military to acquire the technology for it fast enough is quite another.
Several speakers at the Transformation, TechNet show, sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International trade association and held June 21-22 in Hampton VA. said that the US Department of Defense (DoD) remains as slow as ever in adopting new technologies, though with some exceptions.
That data networking permits effective joint operations is clear, said keynote speaker Maj Gen. Svante Bergh (ret.) of Sweden, not surprisingly an advocate of new technology given his current job as vice president of strategic marketing for Ericsson Microwave Systems.
He described a fictional command-and-control center set up in downtown Gothenburg, Sweden, to protect VIPs participating in a conference at a local landmark building nicknamed "the Lipstick." At a joint operations center, a common view is established with information either collected or needed by various military, law-enforcement, emergency medical, and other groups involved in protecting the building and responding to any crises that may arise.
Tools for operating this center include a "whiteboarding service"--a kind of electronic blackboard on which the various information coming from different sources can be written. This information includes imagery collected from TV cameras set up in the area surrounding the Lipstick; a map showing streets, other buildings, the locations of security checkpoints, and so on; information on ships within the harbor: and the location of aircraft detected by radar in relation to the no-fly zone created around the city.
Tools also include an electronic chat room in which the various authorities stay informed on events that have occurred in the process of protecting the Lipstick, even if they join the chat room at a late stage, since they can go back in time to read up on the chain of events that have occurred. Allowing such connectivity among different authorities and their information databases is what Maj. Gen. Bergh called a service-oriented architecture that permits different networks to be tied to together, thanks to the use of open standards.
Such talk of network architecture and open standards make military commanders sound more like Bill Gates than Norman Schwarzkopf, and indeed military planners around the world are looking to the commercial industry for innovation of what are essentially their standard tactics (see "Military Takes Page From Consumer World," JED, July 2005, p. 28). But in the US at least, many organizations within the Defense Department are having difficulty acquiring what it is readily available on the open market to the average business.
US Air Force Maj. Gen Timothy A. Pepper (ret.), currently president of the Greater Hampton Roads Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association, said that in the case of the US Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), based in Suffolk, VA, commercial businesses interested in proposing new ideas for the military frequently run into dead ends "JFCOM needs to tell the industry where to go, and I don't believe that has happened in the past," General Pepper said. "Current perceptions of JFCOM include 'Closed off'; 'Not user friendly'; 'Process cumbersome and not timely'; 'Where have our comments gone? Did they go into a black hole?'"
Representatives of JFCOM said they are working hard to address such complaints, and General Pepper noted exceptions like the US Marine Corps, which he said, in the last nine months, has developed some 170 new technological capabilities because of the service's willingness to acquire technologies commercially "off the shelf" as opposed to requiring modifications that may make the technology a bit more suited its own use but significantly slow down the acquisition process.
But overall, while the theme of the Transformation TechNet conference was "turning ideas into reality," according to organizers, the reality seems to be a sluggish DoD that--because of official requirements for technology before beginning the process of acquiring it; various rules about ensuring sufficient competition for contracts: and other rules--often unintentionally stifles acquisition of technology that its services need to improve their effectiveness.
US Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald F. Hoffman, director of requirements for Air Combat Command Headquarters at Langley AFB, VA, noted that developing and fielding complicated technologies take time. Space-based radars are not just going to walk in the door and say, "Here I am; love me," he noted. But money set aside for research and development of innovative technologies often gets siphoned away when budgets are tight, as they are now in the US, which is fighting a couple of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The laws the US DoD must follow regarding competition also serve as a kind of barrier to innovation, Maj. Gen. Hoffman said. They may have helped address problems notorious in the 1980s (insert joke about $800 hammers here) but are not without their drawbacks.
"I don't know how many times we've reformed the acquisition process since then, but at this point, it ought to be damn near perfect," said Maj. Gen. Hoffman, who described the Defense Department as seeming to commercial businesses like a monolithic structure, intimidating because of its Byzantine acquisition practices. "If I were on the outside looking in, I don't know if I'd want to get involved with the government, to be honest. The small company with the good idea has a very hard time flourishing in an environment like this."
Progress is being made in introducing new technologies and practices to the military, of course. In contrast to the hypothetical version of data networking offered by Maj. Gen. Bergh, US Navy LCDR Danelle Barrett, communications officer for Commander Carrier Strike Group 12, described how her group implemented new "knowledge-management" practices to reform a patchwork of databases and networks the US had been using at a command-and-control center in Iraq. In a panel discussion at the conference on "Warfighters' Success Stories," LCDR Barrett said Iraq was cowboy country when it came to setting up data infrastructures--different groups within different services were setting up their own networks left and right, with the result being data service in disparate databases often not easily accessible by other groups
There was no policy on data management, LCDR Barrett said, and while this seems like a boring and inane issue, it's nevertheless very important. Recognizing that forces in Iraq, as they were managing what otherwise would be civil responsibilities such as utilities, would eventually need to pass along their data, a portal was set up to serve as a bridge for all the various Web services in use, data was tagged using commercial software so that it could be sorted through by topic and provided to the Iraqis, and some rudimentary language software was used to help Iraqis understand English-language data. Were all the solutions implemented perfect? "No," LCDR Barrett said. "But we were willing to take 25%, because that's better than less than 0%, which is what we had."
This willingness to implement technologies that may not fully meet operational requirements is one way the military will, in general, be able to more quickly acquire new capabilities, conference participants said. "Transformation" may otherwise never come about, if people are not willing to go with what's good enough for now.--Ted McKenna
DIRCM Flies on CV-22 Osprey
The Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, IL) Directed Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system integrated on the US Air Force Special Operations Command's CV-22 Osprey flew for the first time in early June and successfully passed its initial tests at Edwards AFB, CA.
According to industry sources, the DIRCM system had performed well in simulation testing outside the aircraft, but the tests of the system on June 9 at Edwards AFB were the first with the system actually integrated onto the tilt-rotor, vertical/short-takeoff-and-landing (VSTOL) CV-22 Osprey, built by Boeing (St. Louis, MO) and Bell Helicopter Textron (Ft. Worth, TX). These flights were part of the first phase of flight-testing of the DIRCM system on the CV-22.
CV-22 Aircraft 25 flew 1.8 hours of DIRCM testing on June 9 and successfully completed 10 out of 10 test conditions in airplane mode (as a tilt-rotor aircraft, it can turn its rotors to operate either as an airplane or as a helicopter). The aircraft's DIRCM system detected, tracked, and defeated all threat stimulations. The same aircraft flew 2.7 hours on June 13 and completed nine out of nine test conditions in airplane and conversion (in between helicopter and airplane) modes, during which its DIRCM system once again detected, tracked, and defeated all stimulations. Test conditions for the second mission included the DIRCM system jamming two separate threats simultaneously. According to Bell Helicopter Textron, the DIRCM system handled the two threats with good hand-off, jammer allocation, and tracking.
The AN/AAQ-24 DIRCM system for the CV-22 is essentially the exact same type of installation as that which is being provided for the US Air Force (USAF) C-17 and C-130 transports (see "LAIRCM for USAF Transports," JED, October 2002, p. 34), according to one source, although the system for the CV-22 is referred to as the DIRCM, while on the C-17 and C-130, it is called the Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-measures (LAIRCM) system. Like the LAIRCM systems being installed and fielded on the service's transports, though, the DIRCM systems for the CV-22 provide laser-based countermeasures, as opposed to the earlier lamp-based systems. This also likely means that the Osprey will also employ a single jamming transmitter as well (see "USAF Wants LAIRCM--Stat!" JED, February 2003, p. 20). Interestingly, even though the USAF's C-17s and C-130s began receiving their LAIRCM systems before the CV-22, the CV-22 program was actually the first to initiate development of the laser-based version of the DIRCM system, and the LAIRCM program, the source said, benefited greatly from the CV-22 program's investment in laser development.
The CV-22's DIRCM system provides just one part of the aircraft's electronic-countermeasures (ECM) capabilities. Other systems on the Osprey for the Air Force Special Operations Command include a chaff/flare dispenser and the ITT (Clifton, NI) AN/ALQ-211 Suite of Radio-Frequency Countermeasures (SIRFC), which completed its testing back in October 2002 (see "CV-22 SIRFC Completes Testing," JED, December 2002, p. 35).
The CV-22 Osprey will replace the Air Force Special Operations Command's MH-531 and MH-60G helicopters and will augment its MC-130 fleet. A separate variant of the Osprey, the MV-22, will replace US Marine Corps CH-46E and CH-53D medium-lift helicopters. The MV-22 program, though, currently has no requirement for the DIRCM system.--Brendan P. Rivers
More Than Just Targeting for US Navy's ATFLIR
The US Navy's Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pod, which just completed its third deployment on the service's F/A-18A+/C Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, is providing more than just targeting capabilities.
Feedback on the Raytheon (El Segundo, CA) AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR pod from its most recent deployment on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom has been very positive, according to Dave Goold, the company's director of business development for the ATFLIR, who noted that the pod has been employed for more than just its basic targeting function. The pod has also been used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), including enabling the Hornets and Super Hornets to serve as escort-reconnaissance platforms for US and coalition ground forces in Iraq.
"If you put the pod in the hands of tactical operators." Goold said," they'll find additional things to do with it."
The ATFLIR-equipped Hornets and Super Hornets, like many of the US and coalition aircraft serving in Iraq, are charged with remaining on station for extended periods of time to provide air cover for allied ground forces. But they have also been used to look for disruptions in roadway, pipelines, and power lines--information that is provided to the necessary command-and-control ([C.sup.2]) elements, which then send out personnel to fix the problems Hotspots and gather points for insurgents in Iraq have also been monitored using the ATFLIR, and when any activity that might be of concern is detected, this information, too, gets relays to the appropriate [C.sup.2] elements.
As an escort for ground troops, Hornets and Super Hornets with the ATFLIR pod can, at high altitude and at long range, can clear the path in front of those troops, letting them know that the rooftops are clear and that there are no impediments to reaching their objectives. The ATFLIR pod is also used to monitor the actual targets for the ground troops--for instance, making sure no one is slipping out of the back-door of a building as US and coalition ground forces are entering from the front. The aircraft can then escort the troops out of the area and, if necessary, provide immediate assistance in the form of air support.
Further enhancements to the ATFLIR pod itself are also in the works Goold said that Raytheon will soon be installing a Ku-band datalink into the pods to provide two-way, encrypted voice and data communications. This streaming datalink capability will be fit, demonstrated, and fielded by the end of the year.
The datalink will enable the transmission of data collected by the ATFLIR pod directly to and will be fully interoperable with forces on the ground, including forward-air controllers, as well as other C2 elements, from US Navy shipborne and US Marine Corp ground-based C2 centers to combined air operations centers. Sharing data with other aircraft will come later, as they receive new Joint Tactical Radio Systems and other communications capabilities. Currently, data acquired by the ATFLIR must be sent over a C-band link, Goold said, but Ku band is "the band of the future," which will provide a bigger "information pipeline." He equated the difference between C and Ku band with that between a dial-up Internet connection and a digital subscriber line (DSL), noting that C band and the Multifunction Information Distribution System (MIDS) currently used by the Hornets and Super Hornets have throughput issues, especially with streaming video. This additional capability, Goold said, will make the ATFLIR pods--and, by extension, the Hornets and Super Hornets carrying them--critical nodes in the US military's command, control, communications, computer, and ISR (C4ISR) network.
Although work on adding the datalink capability is based upon an urgent warfighting requirement put forth by the Navy, Raytheon had begun on its own, using its own research and development funding. A contract from the Navy for the upgrade isn't anticipated until late summer. The company is in the process of choosing a vendor for the Ku-band datalink, with a selection expected in the next couple of weeks, Goold said Right now the work is in the risk-assessment phase, he said, including a study of potential electromagnetic interference with the platform. Once this is completed, attention will then turn to the actual packaging of the datalink within the ATFLIR pod.
At press time, the Navy had taken delivery of over 75 ATFLIR pods, and earlier this year, Raytheon received a contract covering deliveries of about 40% of the Navy's planned procurement of 574 of the pods.
Internationally, the ATFLIR is one of three candidates, along with the Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, IL) Litening AT and the Lockheed Martin (Orlando, FL) Sniper XR systems, vying for an Australian program to equip the Royal Australian Air Force's F/A-18 Hornets with new targeting pods (see "New Targeting Pods for RAAF Hornets," JED, May 2005, p. 20). A decision by Australia is anticipated sometime this month Canada mean-while, will soon be kicking off its. Advanced Multifunction, IR Sensor (AMIRS) program for the procurement of targeting pods for its CF-18s, with a draft request for proposals (RFP) expected to be issued within the next couple of months, followed by a final RFP in September Industry sources indicate that the AMIRS program will see the same three contenders as in the Australian competition.--Brendan P. Rivers
Guessing Game: Quadrennial Defense Review 2005
Military policymakers and experts in Washington, DC, are seeking both to influence and predict the outcome of the Defense Department's latest Quadrennial Defense Review, expected to be completed early next year.
What do they say are the hot topics for the 2005 QDR, which is mandated by Congress and requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to formulate a strategy for the next 20 years? One oft-heard phrase is "homeland defense."
Given the current "global war on terror" that the US government is waging, and the general alarm by officials that America could be subject to other terrorist attacks within US borders like those of September 11, 2001, the DoD is not surprisingly expected to address how the country can be better protected in light of existing threats.
Speaking at a forum on the 2005 QDR sponsored by the Washington-based Heritage Foundation on July 7. Paul McHale, US assistant secretary of homeland defense, argued that effectively protecting the US from attack means intercepting threats on the high seas and in countries around the world before they can reach the US--saying essentially that the best defense is a strong offence.
Thus, the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, which put the Taliban on the run, killed a portion of its leadership, and disrupted its communications, can be seen as part of a "layered" defense that ultimately increases US domestic security by lessening outside threats. Another type of layered defense achieved through the interception of maritime threats--perhaps ships carrying nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction (WMD)--can be better achieved through greater integration of Navy and Coast Guard missions, according to McHale. "It's my opinion that if Al Queda or other organizations acquire WMD, they will likely acquire the components for it overseas and then transport them over the maritime environment," he said (for more on maritime threats, see "Standing Watch," JED, May 2004, p. 40).
Better synchronization of the Navy and Coast Guard would help form a maritime equivalent of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, McHale said. As part of this maritime NORAD, the Coast Guard would not only support overseas operations such as Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which it helps guard ports and search suspicious vessels, but the Navy could in turn support Coast Guard missions within the US, sharing intelligence, applying force to counter threats if necessary, and so on, though still upholding limitations set by the US constitution about the power of the US military within US territory.
This melding of Naval and Coast Guard missions was also advocated by the Northrop Grumman Analysis Center in a May 24 briefing on "The QDR Capability Mix: Problems, Analyses, and Solutions" at the National Press Club in Washington.
In outlining the four main issues the 2005 QDR is expected to address--homeland defense, the global war on terrorism, WMD, and "near-peer competitors" to the US--Dr. Robert Haffa, corporate director of the center, said a national fleet created by the US could consist of not only Navy and Coast Guard vesseis, but also ships from the Marine Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other agencies. Adam Siegel, a senior analyst at the Northrop center, compared the need for a national fleet today to the 600-ship fleet that former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman described as necessary for US operations during the Cold War. "Today we have about 500." Siegel said.
The size of fighting forces, the emphasis on special forces, the continued development of data networking technologies, and the possible deployment of weapons in space are also all major issues likely to be addressed within the 2005 QDR, or at least they are the subject of speculation. As an example of how individual services are working to get their own interests met by the 2005 QDR, the US Air Force in early March issued a press release on what Maj Gen. Ronald J. Bath, the USAF's director of strategic planning, viewed as the three major capabilities of his service: global mobility, rapid strike, and command and control.
Among other things, Maj. Gen. Bath said the 2005 QDR will recognize the importance of air dominance and so will support the 381 F/A-22 Raptors the USAF says it expects eventually to purchase, even though the DoD has been steadily whittling down its production budget for the aircraft, most recently to 179 (for more on the aircrafts troubles, see "Raptor, Right or Wrong?" JED. August 2004, p. 14). Not giving himself over wholly to wishful thinking, however, Maj. Gen. Bath acknowledged that he expects the USAF to see a reduction in the number of airplanes it owns and operates, and that its missions will change.
While various players within the US military world work to influence the shape of the document, the actual consequences of the 2005 QDR are not entirely clear. Will its recommendations be closely studied and put into action by decision makers in the DoD and Congress or will it be just another pile of white paper sitting on people's desk? "I think you'd need a whole other study done to answer out that question," said Northrop Grumman's Haffa.--Ted McKenna
Big Plans for Storm Shadows, SCALP-EGs
The European customers for the Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG air-launched cruise missiles--the UK, France, and Italy--are attempting to define a common long-term spiral-development program for the weapon system over the next 15 years.
The Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG [Systeme Autonome a Longue portee de Precision Emploi General] are two different versions of the same long-range, conventionally armed, cruise missile produced by MBDA (Paris, France), optimized for use in pre-planned attacks against heavily defended, hardened, and high-value targets, the positions of which are accurately known before launch. The Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG is equipped with a navigation package including inertial, digital terrain-profile-matching, and GPS systems, which--coupled with a passive imaging-infrared (IIR) seeker and automatic target-recognition algorithms--provide the weapon with terminal-guidance accuracy within a meter at ranges in excess of 250 km. The only difference between the Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG designation lies in the missile-to-aircraft interfaces and the mission-planning system.
The UK, France, and Italy are discussing their upgrade priorities for the weapon system, hoping to identify common interests and maximize available financial resources through shared costs. An agreement on a road map for the evolution of the missile is expected within the next few months, said Luc Boureau, MBDA's director for strike weapons.
MBDA has proposed a spiral-development program, subdivided into three phases. The first, which would be completed in the 2010-2011 timeframe, is expected to include enhancements related to battle-damage assessment and improved mission planning, Boureau said. Based on ongoing activities under France's $18.5-million targeting demonstration program (TDP), MBDA could incorporate a one-way datalink, allowing the missile's seeker to send IIR images up to 150 km away to a ground station or airborne platform (either manned or unmanned) that acts as a relay node in order to ensure that the missile identifies and strikes the correct target. In parallel, the "Epoch I" phase also include improvements to the mission-planning system with the aim of reducing planning time and providing greater flexibility, as well as taking meteorological data into account.
The second phase could, by 2015, see enhancements to the missile's navigation capabilities through the addition of satellite-navigation receivers on the upper-fuselage skin of the missile that would provide increased resistance to jamming and spoofing. Other proposed enhancements include additional lethality and network-enabled deep-strike capabilities, which would require greater connectivity with networks and two-way datalinks to retarget the missile on flight, as well as an alternative or improved warhead. A new engine and new type of fuel replacement are also possibilities, based on work underway on the propulsion system for the naval version of the missile, called Scalp Naval, being developed for French Navy.
In addition, the second phase should see more platforms able to use the weapon system, Boureau noted. In addition to current aircraft that can currently employ the missiles--the Tornado, Mirage 2000, and Rafale--MBDA expects the missile to be integrated on the Eurofighter Typhoon at the start of the next decade, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter around 2015, and an undisclosed large non-penetrating aircraft in the long-term future.
The third phase, targeted for the 2020 timeframe, will see new systems such as armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), long-range loitering missiles, and weapon systems for combat UAVs. MBDA is expecting by the end of the year the results of a study on the potential use of these classes of systems.
The first customer to put the cruise missile into service was the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) in 2003. Without having completed the planned test firings before declaring the weapon system operational, the RAF employed the Storm Shadow during the opening days of Operation Telic (the UK's codename for the US-led invasion of Iraq). RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft launched 27 Storm Shadows, and the use of the weapon system, according to UK Ministry of Defense (MoD), has been extremely successful. More recently, MBDA has shown images of targets destroyed in Iraq using two missiles, one of which simply penetrated a hardened construction, followed by the other through the hole made by the first. After the Storm Shadow's employment in Operation Telic, it was formally accepted into RAF service in October 2004.
In addition to the current conventional two-stage BAE Systems BROACH penetrating and blasting warhead, the UK MoD is looking for alternative payloads, such as high-power-microwave (HPM) packages and nuclear warheads, but both the UK government and MBDA decline further comment on the subject.
The French Air Force declared the SCALP-EG operational onboard the Mirage 2000D in June 2004, and integration work on the Rafale has been completed following successful trails from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in December 2004. The French Navy will employ the SCALP-EG from Rafale Ms operating from the Charles de Gaulle and as part of the air-combat group of the future PA-2 aircraft carrier. In addition to the Mirage 2000D, the French Air Force will equip the Rafale with the SCALP-EG, starting with the F2 model that is expected to enter service by 2006. (For more on Rafale's future, see "Storm Warning," JED, June 2005, p. 40.) The French MoD has also expressed interest in alternative warheads, in particular a HPM (in French: Micro-ondes de forte puissance, MFP) payload.
The Italian Air Force will employ the Storm Shadow initially on the upgraded version of the Tornado IDS and later on the Eurofighter Typhoon (for more on the Typhoon, see "Eye of the Storm," JED, July 2002, p. 61). Training rounds have already been delivered, and MBDA is preparing to begin initial deliveries of the actual missiles this summer so that the Italian MoD can begin its qualification evaluation of the system. The initial inservice date is scheduled for later this year. (The UK MoD is procuring the missiles on behalf of the Italian military and will manage deliveries according to customer requirements.)
In addition to the three major European customers, in the summer of 2000, Greece also selected the SCALP EG to equip the Hellenic Air Force's Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 aircraft. Outside Europe, an early version of the weapon system was acquired in December 1998 by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), under the "Black Shaheen" program for the country's Mirage 2000-9 and F-16 Block 60 aircraft. In order to comply with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) international treaty, the weapon system has a reduced range, compared to that which is being acquired by European customers, along with other undisclosed modifications. Pre-series deliveries to the UAE have already been made, with full operational capability on the Mirage 2000-9 slated for 2007.--Luca Peruzzi
Last French Air Force Mirage IVs Retire
After over four decades of active service with the French Air Force, the last three Dassault Mirage IVs finally waved goodbye during an official ceremony held at Mont-de-Marsan AB on June 22, 2005.
One of the last Mach-2-capable bomber aircraft in existence today, the Mirage IV was, over a period of some 30 years, the number-one instrument of French nuclear deterrence, having been introduced to service in 1964 under General Charles de Gaulle's presidency with France's first atomic bomb, the 50-kiloton (Pu239)-AN 11.
Playing a key role in French international policy, 62 Mirage IVAs were built, and these gradually equipped, from 1964 to 1966, a total of nine escadrons de bombardement (bomber squadrons) dispersed over the whole of French territory, as well as one training unit. Dubbed the Force de frappe' (strike force) by de Gaulle, this bomber force, supported by 12 Boeing C-135F Stratotankers acquired from the US, was in full swing from 1966 to 1976 and was armed with the 70-kiloton (U235)-AN 21 freefall nuclear bomb. Likely targets spanned all of Warsaw Pact Eastern Europe to the Urals.
From 1976 onwards, under the presidency of Giscard d'Estaing, the French Mirage IVA bomber force was gradually reduced in several steps from nine to six then four squadrons, leaving the Bordeaux-based Escadron de Reconnaissance et d'Instruction (reconnaissance and training squadron) with the task of providing Mach-2 strategic reconnaissance using the one-ton CT52 camera pod. Meanwhile, France's first silo-launched and submarine-launched strategic nuclear ballistic missiles became operational, rendering the Mirage IV's role less important.
Finally, starting in 1986, two squadrons of modernized Mirage IVP (P for Penetration) aircraft--18 in all--maintained an airborne low-level nuclear-attack capacity with the 300-kiloton ASMP cruise missile until 1996, at which point all remaining airframes were reallocated to a single outfit: Escadron de Reconnaissance Strategique (ERS) (Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron) 1/91 based in Mont-de-Marsan with the sole task of flying long-range high-altitude recce sorties using the CT52 pod. ERS 1/91 missions, thus, led the two-seater Mirage IVP over remote areas of the globe, gathering strategic reconnaissance material over Africa, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan in support of NATO- and UN-led operations.
Besides being the cornerstone of French deterrence, the Mirage IV paved the way for 100% of France's national breakthough in the field of electronic warfare (EW). As such, the French technological leap of the late 1960s in the electronic-countermeasures (ECM) domain was a direct result of the strenuous efforts made by Thomson-CSF (now Thales), Matra (now part of MBDA), and Dassault Electronique (now part of Thales) to develop an autonomous and national-based ECM industry.
The strategic reconnaissance role of the Mirage IVP will only be resumed in 2008-2009 when the first Rafale 'Standard 3' aircraft become operational in the French Air Force (for more on the Rafale, see "Storm Warning," JED, June 2005, p. 40). The Standard 3 aircraft will employ the Thales Reco-NG stand-off reconnaissance pod, and 24 of these new-generation real-time digital pods have been ordered for service with the French Navy and Air Force.--Jean-Michel Guhl
Post 9-11, Japan Gets More Militant
Though officially pacifist since the end of World War II, Japan has sharply increased its involvement in security affairs both regionally and internationally in the last few years.
Speaking at a forum on "Japan's Emerging Security Role in East Asia" at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, on June 14, a number of experts noted that while no official Japanese government document exists to explain Japan's current security strategy, various actions within recent years indicate a definite shift away from past, more passive policies.
These actions include decisions to deploy ballistic missile defense (see "US BMD Drops Anchor in Sea of Japan," JED. November 2004, p. 22), more aggressively patrol Asian waterways threatened by piracy and terrorism (see "Standing Watch," JED, May 2004, p. 40), launch satellites for conducting surveillance and reconnaissance (see "Japan Completes First Launch of ISR Satellites," JED. May 2003, p. 26), and support the US-led military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Is Japan completely reversing its post World War II stance of foreswearing the right to wage war as a means of resolving conflicts? Sak Sakoda, a former US State Department official and currently a partner with Armitage International said no "My sense is that this is very close to heart in Japan, and there's very little wish to change that," Sakoda said. "But there is support for altering the official role of the country's defense forces, since Japan already uses them for various operations."
But just how far Japan may move to alter its approach to working with other countries in military operations remains to be seen, given that the public is generally ambivalent about their country playing a more prominent role in security affairs, despite the recognition of threats Japan faces, such as that of a possibly nuclear-armed North Korea. Japan's involvement in Iraq, for instance, would not have occurred if not for the very public pressure the Bush Administration placed on Japan, said Ayako Doi, former editor of the Japan Digest Publications.
Currently, some confusion exists about what exactly Japan's prohibition against collective self-defense means. Sakoda said. Article nine of the country's constitution allows Japan to defend itself, but not in partnership with others. This permits joint operations--such as the Army and Navy working together--but not combined operations such as the kind that South Korea and the US conduct, in which officers from various services within the two countries may operate side by side, wholly integrated.
Instead, Japan conducts bilateral missions, in which operations with other countries are kept separate, and which sometimes lead to rather ridiculous situations. When Japan began providing assistance to forces in Iraq, military planners had to ponder whether Japanese forces, in providing fuel to American aircraft, for instance, could be allowed to put gasoline nozzles into the aircraft, or if that would violate the Japanese constitution. "They weren't sure," Sakoda said.
Almost wholly prompting many of the changes seen in Japan's security stance over the past few years is Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has pushed to strengthen ties between the US and Japan, according to Doi. "In the early 1990s, the cliche in Japanese foreign policy debate was that Japan was moving away from the US and toward the rest of Asia, that it was stepping back from its traditional alliance with the US," Doi said. "But what we're seeing today is a sea change. Japan is solidly anchored in the US alliance."
What might happen following the departure of Koizumi, who will be in office only until 2007, is not clear, Doi said. A key factor in the choice of a successor to Koizumi within the current ruling political party--opposition parties in Japan are expected to remain relatively weak--will be the views of that person, whoever he or she may be, on dealing with China, an age-old political, economic and military rival to Japan Bitter feelings over Japan's occupation of Manchuria during WWII may or may not be lessening, but the two countries remain historic rivals.
Speakers at the forum noted that worldwide attention has turned to China as the main power in Asia, in contrast to the 1980s when Japan appeared to threaten the US as the world's economic leader. Given that China has been a dominant force within Asia off and on for thousands of years, and points of contention between Japan and China range from energy development to territorial disputes. China's latest rise in power could well help propel greater Japanese involvement in security within the region.--Ted McKenna
Thai Navy Upgrading P-3T Fleet
A Royal Thai Navy P-3T recently arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, for what is likely to be the first radar upgrade of the small Thai P-3 fleet. The US Naval Air Systems Command Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) Program Office (PMA-290) is managing the upgrade under the foreign military sales program.
A combined NAVAIR/Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAW-CAD) team is replacing the APS-80 radar system--the original P-3A/B radar in use since the 1960s--with a Sea Vue radar, made by Raytheon Surveillance Systems (EI Segundo, CA). The Thai Navy is particularly concerned with the considerable advantage the new radar will afford in monitoring small surface targets in and around Thailand's waters. The P-3T performs maritime surveillance, counter-drug operations, anti-piracy operations, and ferrying of senior personnel.
The Raytheon Sea Vue Radar is a commercially available, lightweight, X-band airborne ocean-surveillance radar with search and extended-range navigation features. It provides inverse-synthetic-aperture-radar imaging and weather detection and features a 100-target track-while-scan function. It provides superior performance to the APS-80 through its use of high resolution pulse compression, scan-to-scan video integration, and a fast-scanning antenna--all optimized for enhanced detection of small targets in high seas.
The refit is to be completed in June, with ground and flight-testing performed at Patuxent River After flight-checking the system, a Royal Thai Navy crew will be trained in its use before taking the airplane back to Asia. These crewmembers will then train their counterparts at home.
In 1994, Thailand took possession of five P-3As bought from the US--up from three initially ordered in 1989. Four remain flying, with the fifth used for parts. The 1989 date slipped because of financial problems and governmental changes in Thailand. The P-3T is essentially the same as the US Navy's Tactical Navigation Modification performed on US Navy P-3Bs in the 1980s to upgrade those ships to P-3C Update I standards with the addition of the ASA-66 tactical display, LTN-72 inertial navigator. Omega Navigation Receiver, and other improvements. Before purchasing P-3s, the RTN had been using the Grumman S-2A/G Tracker. Once they return to Thailand, the P-3Ts will serve alongside Fokker F-27 Maritime Enforcers.
A NAVAIR spokesperson said that after this first aircraft is upgraded, the PMA-290 will likely receive a request late this year to have a second RTN aircraft modified. Details about the third aircraft are unknown at this time. Asked whether the remaining P-3Ts will also be modified at Patuxent River, the NAVAIR spokesperson indicated that this had not yet been determined and depended in part on both the workload at NAWCAD and the timing of the request.
The dollar value of the work has not yet been made public. However, in 2002, Raytheon reported a $5.7-million sale for five Sea Vue Radar sets sold to an undisclosed Asian country for use in its surveillance aircraft.--Kenneth B. Sherman
Algeria Eyes Indian Su-30MKIs, T-90s
Algeria is negotiating the purchase of Russian-developed Su-30MKI aircraft being produced under license in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) (Bangalore, India). The proposed package, which reportedly includes enough aircraft to equip one or two squadrons, also includes the purchase of an unspecified number of T-90 tanks being produced under license at the Avadhi Heavy Vehicle Factory in southern India.
India is currently producing 140 Su-30MKI aircraft under license from Russia (see "Indian Su-30MKIs Nearly Ready," JED. April 2005, p. 20). The memorandum of understanding for license production of the 140 Su-30MKIs, intended only for Indian use, was signed in October 2000 during a visit of Russian President Vladmir Putin to New Delhi, and an agreement was inked the following January with Russia's Irkutsk Design Bureau for setting up a dedicated Su-30 production line at HAL's aircraft design center at Nasik. Russia's Irkutsk Aviation Production Association (IAPO) (Irkutsk, Russia) and HAL are the two industry partners in the program.
Under the agreements, Russia committed to transfer technology for production; instrumentation and fabrication equipment, and testing equipment for the aircraft's engine, weapon systems, avionics, and navigational systems. An official at the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) explained that Russia and India would have to come to a further agreement on the license production of the Su-30MKI aircraft for Algeria. This issue is being addressed as part of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) agreement between India and Russia, negotiations for which are nearing completion, the MoD official said.
Algeria is also negotiating the purchase of T-90 tanks being manufactured in India, with finalization of this deal also resting on the inking of the IPR agreement between India and Russia, as well as approval from Moscow. India signed a $650-million deal with Russian arms-export agency Rosoboronexport in 2001 for the supply and license production of 310 T-90 tanks, as well as technology transfers. Under the deal, 180 of the tanks are being produced in India.
The Indian MoD official added that the export needs for the Su-30MKI and the T-90 can be accommodated by Indian industry, but he declined to say when production for potential international customers like Algeria might be able to get underway. The Su-30MKI aircraft being produced at HAL will be completely inducted into Indian Air Force service by 2017, while the T-90 tanks would all have entered service in another three years.
An Algerian diplomat at the country's embassy in New Delhi said Algeria is also negotiating with Russia for the purchase of unspecified number of MiG-29SMT aircraft. (For more on the MiG-29SMT. see "MiG-29 Export Modernization Programs," JED, September 2004, p. 43.) Moscow has already offered these fighters for the Indian Air Force's planned acquisition of 126 medium-range multirole combat aircraft, and should it be selected, any MiG-29SMTs for Algeria would be produced by Indian factories as well.--Pulkit Singh
RELATED ARTICLE: Trouble Spots
The US military has used 20 or so different types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, so it must like them at least a bit. But in logging thousands of hours of airtime and spending about $1 billion since 2000, the US Defense Department--like other militaries acquiring UAVs--has identified a few problems.
For one thing, each UAV tends to come with its own control system, both for operating the vehicle and its payload. But operators would prefer to have a single device for operating many different types of UAVs, reducing the specialized training required for operation, cutting down on supply costs, and making the information that the UAVs collect easier to process and be understood by more people. Captain Paul Morgan of NAVAIR noted that with the focus by the US Navy on smaller ships like the Littoral Combat Ship, deck space is at even more of a premium than it usually is. Apart from the difficulty of moving equipment across decks that pitch and roll, tending to upend whatever is standing, there just isn't much space to store things.
Having one control system for both aerial and underwater vehicles might be one way of reducing the "footprint" of unmanned vehicles, CAPT Morgan said. "There is a ton of stuff that is needed to support UAVs," he said. "We need to shrink that equipment. That's what drives us nuts and keeps us awake at night."
This diversity of UAV-control systems has been a growing problem for the US military (see "Cleared for Action") that in past years may have only gotten worse because of the increased number of systems being acquired. But companies are attempting to address this problem of interoperability, or lack thereof, including Raytheon (Waltham, MA), which has developed a Tactical Ground System that has been demonstrated to operate with Silver Fox and Manta UAVs as well as an underwater surveillance vehicle.
Gerald Bazemore, the company's director of UAV Ground Systems, said the biggest benefit of making different systems interoperable is allowing more people to receive and understand the information collected by an individual unmanned vehicle. "If you have the Air Force flying something, why not let Marines collect the intelligence, too?" he said. "Otherwise you have a loss of information across the battlefield."
Besides incompatible control systems, another issue that could become much more problematic for the US military than it is today is the lack of integration with civilian airspace, noted Thomas Custer, a deputy assistant secretary of defense. "Historically, UAVs have been flown in military airspace and conflicts over-seas and, therefore, haven't come in contact with civilian aircraft, but this will change," Custer said. "UAVs must be seamlessly integrated into the US airspace architecture to enable the protection of borders and [to address] other aspects of domestic security."
US Navy Rear Admiral Tim Heely, program executive officer for strike weapons and unmanned aviation, said that, at present, only Israel and South Africa have been able to integrate UAVs into their airspace--no one else. RADM Heely said officials at the Federal Aviation Administration have told him that integration of UAVs in the US domestic airspace will take 10 years. "I don't think we can wait that long," he said.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Comment:||Evolution in unmanned vehicles: specialized unmanned vehicles continue to emerge, for use on land, at sea, and in the air.|
|Publication:||Journal of Electronic Defense|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2005|
|Previous Article:||Time for change.|
|Next Article:||People monitor.|