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surveillance and reconnaissance

Two-in-One Unmanned Aircraft

February 25, 2013
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Navy technology may allow in-flight conversion from helicopter to fixed wing.

Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are developing unmanned aircraft technology that will allow the conversion from a vertical take-off and landing system to a fixed-wing craft during in-flight operation. The conversion capability will provide the take-off and landing flexibility of a helicopter with the longer range, higher speeds and lower wear and tear of an airplane.

The technology demonstrator is referred to as the Stop-Rotor Rotary Wing Aircraft. It is capable of cruising at about 100 knots, weighs less than 100 pounds and can carry a 25-pound intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) or electronic warfare payload, such as the Expendable, Mobile Anti-submarine warfare Training Target (EMATT). “We decided to do a demonstration vehicle that could carry an EMATT. It’s like a little submarine that can generate sonar signals, and it’s for training anti-submarine warfare operators,” explains Steven Tayman, an aerospace engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory. “It’s a neat payload.”

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) includes a removable payload bay that is about 12 inches wide, 38 inches long and six inches deep with “bomb bay doors” for dropping payloads, such as sonobuoys. “You could use a UAV to deploy a sonobuoy field, which would be pretty exciting,” Tayman says. “There’s really no limit to the payload other than volume.”

Sensor, Listening
 Device Integration
 Provide Battlefield Intelligence Boon

February 1, 2013
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

Industry opens up an array of real-time imaging

Sweeping advances in sensor technologies are enabling wide-area airborne persistent surveillance on both manned and unmanned aircraft. Emerging sensor systems can provide high-resolution mosaic imagery for large swaths of the battlefield while focusing on individual objects.

These intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor systems are winning their spurs on the battlefield in Afghanistan. They are meeting combat commanders’ urgent operational requirements to provide city-size area coverage. These sensors simultaneously can focus on and track individual vehicles and dismounted hostiles.

Sensor systems such as the Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance-Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) offer radical improvements for ISR. This sensor system was developed for special operations by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). BAE Systems provides the optics and processing technologies. Argus was envisioned to be mounted in a pod on the A-160 Hummingbird (SIGNAL Magazine, June 2007, page 43, “High Hover”) unmanned rotary wing aircraft headed for Afghanistan. However, an A-160 crash during trials prior to deployment is delaying the move.

Testing with the sensor pod mounted on a Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopter continues before combat deployment. This slight deployment delay also is enabling incorporating more recent advances in both sensor and processing technologies. ARGUS-IS also may be mounted on other unmanned aircraft, such as the MQ-9 Reaper, extending time on station. The camera is being considered for additional multiple wide-area persistent surveillance programs.

Era of Change for 
Unmanned Systems

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers

The next five years will be as exciting as the last decade--but in a different way.

Unmanned vehicles will undergo an array of changes in the coming years brought about by the war in Afghanistan winding down, budgets tightening and the national strategy shifting toward the Asia-Pacific region. Adjustments may include the retirement of some unmanned air systems, a stronger focus on refining existing unmanned planes rather than fielding new ones and increased research and development of land and maritime technologies.

The U.S. military will not be fielding many new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the current war, but the situation is not all gloom and doom, says Dyke Weatherington, director, Unmanned Warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Strategic and Tactical Systems in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “The last 10 years have been very dynamic. We’ve seen rapid growth and huge increases in force structure. My guess is that the next five years will be equally dynamic in a different way. There’s huge potential for continued capability increases in ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] for the warfighter. I just think that’s going to look a little different than it has in the last 10 years.”

For the most part, that means the U.S. military will take capabilities it already has for UAVs and refine those as much as possible. Improvements could include fielding new capabilities to existing platforms, enhancing current payloads or reducing ownership costs, he explains.

Writing
 a New Spy School
 Syllabus

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

The National Intelligence University prepares for its fifth decade with a shift in focus and a change in venue.

The National Intelligence University, which provides advanced training to U.S. intelligence professionals, is transitioning from an institution primarily focused on the U.S. Defense Department to one serving the entire intelligence community. This reflects the new emphasis toward sharing and collaboration within the nation's intelligence apparatus.

To make the change a reality, National Intelligence University (NIU) leaders are rethinking and expanding the educational programs the institution offers. Plans also are underway to relocate the university to its own new campus in the very near future—in part to bolster its perception as an intelligence community strategic resource.

Dr. David R. Ellison, president of the NIU, says that the change began with the appointment of James Clapper as the director of National Intelligence in 2010. “Director Clapper recognized that if we were going to have a National Intelligence University in the intelligence community, the best place to start was with an accredited institution that had already achieved success in an academic area,” Ellison explains. He adds that Clapper went on to draft a memorandum to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, defining education as a force multiplier and a tool that must be used to the advantage of the entire intelligence community.

“What he envisioned was that the then-National Intelligence College would become the National Intelligence University, and it would provide accredited education, academic research and academic outreach to the intelligence community as a whole,” Ellison points out.

SAIC to Provide Airborne ISR in Afghanistan

July 16, 2012
By George Seffers

Science Applications International Corporation, McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $14,338,925 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services in Afghanistan. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi, is the contracting activity.

Three Firms to Compete for $874 Million in Airborne ISR Funds

March 1, 2012
By George Seffers

AAI Corporation, Hunt Valley, Maryland; CSC, Falls Church, Virginia; and Insitu Incorporated, Bingen, Washington, are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract for unmanned aircraft system (UAS) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services in support of the Department of Defense and other government agencies, as well as potential coalition military Foreign Military Sales customers. There are two separate performance-based work statements; one for sea-based requirements, and one for land-based requirements. The scope includes provision of necessary trained personnel, UAS ISR non-developmental equipment, certifications, installation, operation, maintenance, sustainment, spares/product support, and other related support services necessary to support various worldwide sea- and land-based locations. The aggregate not-to-exceed amount for these multiple award contracts is $874 million. The companies will have the opportunity to compete for associated task orders. AAI and Insitu are eligible to compete for both sea-based and land-based task orders. CSC is only eligible to compete for land-based task orders. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Five Firms to Research and Develop ISR Technologies

February 10, 2012
By George Seffers

Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, San Diego, California, is being awarded a potential $89,447,206 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, multiple award contract to provide research, development, test, and evaluation of emerging surveillance technologies, sensors and systems with potential for applicability in the areas of air, ground, and shipboard intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and information operations systems. Stanley Associates Incorporated, Fairfax, Virgina, is being awarded a a potential $77,775,689. General Dynamics Information Technology Incorporated, Fairfax, Virginia, could receive as much as $76,559,590. Science Applications International Corporation, McLean, Virginia, will receive a potential $72,642,658, and L-3 Services Incorporated, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, could receive $62,640,527. Awardees will compete for task orders during the ordering period. Each contract includes one two-year option. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.

Jorge Scientific to Demonstrate Explosive Detection Technologies for Afghanistan

August 8, 2011
By George Seffers

Jorge Scientific Corporation, Arlington, Virginia, was awarded about $8 million for the research, development, and demonstration of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, munitions detection, and counter-improvised explosive device technological solutions to address deficiencies. Work will be performed in Afghanistan. There were 999 bids solicited, with 999 bids received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Contrack to Build ISR Complex in Afghanistan

May 6, 2011
By George Seffers

Contrack International Incorporated, McLean, Virginia, has been awarded a $34 million contract for the design and construction of an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance complex in Shindand, Afghanistan. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, Winchester, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Rockwell Collins Supports Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Network

April 5, 2011
By George Seffers

Rockwell Collins Incorporated, Government Systems, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded a $13 million contract to provide for the logistic and fielding support for the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Network. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama is the contracting activity.

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