Finmeccanica’s “Falcon Shield” Takes on Errant Drones | Elbit Unveils “Seagull” Anti-Submarine System | Philippines to Increase Surveillance CapabilitiesFeb 10, 2016 00:20 UTC
- Mini-UAVs causing a nuisance? Well Finmeccanica may have found a solution that has the ability to find, fix, track, identify, and defeat threats from small UAVs that end up where they shouldn’t. Dubbed “Falcon Shield”, the system combines radar, infrared search and track, a high-performance electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera, and acoustic sensors to identify and track a mini drone. The Falcon Shield operator can then take control of the drone and either destroy or capture it by using a non-kinetic electronic attack capability. The system is currently being pitched to customers within the US Department of Defense, and may come as a potential alternative to the use of actual eagles recently trialed in the Netherlands.
- A drive to speed up the development of electronic warfare capabilities has been brought about by two US senators. The Electronic Warfare Enhancement Act is being brought to the floor by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and comes a year after the Pentagon announced a group called the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee, which is focused on innovations and strategies in electronic warfare across the entire Defense Department. The bill aims to cut through the red tape at the DoD, as it will require the committee to supply Congress with a strategic plan for enhancing its electronic warfare capabilities, through cross-service cooperation, streamlining acquisitions, and improving training and advancing offensive capabilities.
- US Navy baseline funding is to drop by 3.5% for Fiscal Year 2017 to $152.9 billion from $159.9 last year. The dip in funding is expected to last only one year, with funding expected to increase again in FY 2018 to $159.7 billion. Fiscal pressures have resulted in budget readjustments that will see fewer vessels bought, and uniformed personnel decreased. The Navy will also see the permanent elimination of a tenth carrier air wing and four aviation squadrons, and a new request to take seven cruisers out of service in 2017 to undergo modernization. The change in congressional directives and fiscal planning is aimed at making substantial savings for new long term modernization goals.
- Last week, NASA astronaut Richard Arnold visited the families and staff of the Meggitt Sensing Systems at their facility in Irvine, Calif. Arnold’s visit was in recognition of the efforts made by both Meggit and Boeing in their contributions towards supplying mission-critical technologies for NASA‘s new heavy-lift rocket for deep space exploration. Boeing is responsible for the design, development, test, and production of NASA’s Space Launch System’s (SLS) core stages and chose Meggit to supply sensors for the system. Their IEPE sensors will be used to ensure the accuracy and reliability necessary in this and future space missions.
Middle East North Africa
- Elbit Systems has unveiled a prototype for an unmanned system to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions known as the “Seagull”. Developed with input from both the Israeli Navy and Israel’s Ministry of Defense, the vessel is apparently capable of complementing or even replacing expensive, manpower-intensive frigates or aircraft currently used to hunt submarines at sea. As well as anti-submarine capablilties, the Seagull is equipped with a modular mine countermeasures (MCM) suite, which includes dipping sonars and robotics to identify and neutralize undersea threats without risking manpower.
- MBDA has started deliveries of a number of Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air missiles (ASRAAM) to the US for integration on the UK’s F-35B fighters. The ASRAAMs will be the first British built missiles to be used on the jet, and will be used during test flights and air launches later this year. The missile can be seen in use on the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoons and Panavia Tornados. The British contribution to the manufacture of the F-35 program stands at about 15% of every fighter, with BAE Systems responsible for the production of the aircraft’s horizontal and vertical tails, aft fuselage, and wing tips. 138 F-35Bs will be bought for use by the RAF and Royal Navy.
- Finland has approved the purchase of missiles for its 22 recently upgraded Lockheed Martin M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs). 90 M31A1 Unitary Missiles and 150 M30A1 Alternative Warhead Missiles are expected to be delivered at a cost of $78.4 million. The Finnish Ministry of Defense had initially set a maximum budget of $150 million for the acquisition when their procurement intentions were made known last November. Deliveries of the warheads are expected to be completed by 2018. Finland, along with other Baltic and Nordic allies, are in the midst of major missile defense and equipment acquisitions, as fears regarding Russia’s military capabilities continue to be reported. NATO recently announced that the Russian air force had successfully simulated a mock nuclear attack of Swedish installations during war games in 2013.
- The Philippines have announced the purchase of three ELM-2288 radar defense and air traffic control radars from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary Elta Systems. The $56 million deal had initially been agreed upon in December 2015, but is only being announced now. A rapidly deployed medium range and fixed site extended range variant of the system are available; with the Philippine Air Force most likely to be gaining the latter. The radars will go toward increasing surveillance capabilities of territory in the South China Sea, and to compliment the capabilities of the recently acquired KAI FA-50PH light fighters. The Korean made planes are equipped with Elta Systems ELM-2032 multi-mode airborne fire control radar.
- Elbit System’s unmanned ASW Seagull system: