MBDA awarded first contract for Albatros NG system
Posted on Mar 3, 2021

MBDA has been awarded a first contract for Albatros NG, a brand new CAMM-ER based air defence system for naval applications.

This first order, from an undisclosed international customer, marks a further validation of the wide appeal of the CAMM air defence family on the global marketplace and paves the way to further acquisitions by the same customer and other Navies.

Albatros NG is a new generation Naval Based Air Defence (NBAD) system, based on the CAMM-ER, which is the extended range variant of the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) family already delivered to customers around the world for both ground based and naval air defence.

Under the terms of this recent order, Albatros NG will be in service in 2024. Albatros NG, deriving its name from the legacy Albatros systems which have been in service with the Italian Navy and several export customers for years, is suitable for different kinds of vessels providing air defence capability for platforms ranging from patrol vessels and corvettes to destroyers. It also allows a complementary layer for larger vessels such as frigates and destroyers already equipped with a long range air defence system. It can be easily integrated, without significant changes, in the ships’ design; its Command & Control (C2) is designed to enable flexible integration with both new and existing naval Combat Management Systems (CMS).

The CAMM-ER missile is capable of providing self and local area defence against the evolving airborne threat at ranges exceeding 40km; it will be integrated in the new ground based air defence systems for the Italian Army and Italian Air Force. CAMM family systems have already been delivered to the British Army, to the Royal Navy and to several export nations.

Air defence systems utilizing the CAMM and CAMM-ER missiles can provide armed forces with advanced protection against the ever-evolving air threat, including manned and unmanned aircraft, precision guided munitions, terrain-following/sea-skimming missiles, and low radar cross section (RCS) targets; all in the presence of the latest countermeasures.

MBDA, jointly owned by Airbus (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%), and Leonardo (25%), is the only European defence group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air). With a significant presence in five European countries and the USA, in 2019 MBDA achieved revenue of 3.7 billion euros with an order book of 17.5 billion euros. In total, the group offers a range of 45 missile systems and countermeasures products already in operational service and more than 15 others currently in development.

IAI continues technology transfer to Canada
Posted on Jan 14, 2021

Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) policy is designed to leverage defense and security procurements to create jobs and economic growth in Canada.

Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) is a long-time supplier of military technologies to Canada’s defense market, and has been investing in Canadian companies for over a decade. IAI has shared some of this technology and created strong relationships with local Canadian companies, both large and small, that have assisted in deploying successful military and security programs in Canada and abroad.

IAI is the largest defence and aerospace company in Israel. With more than 15,000 employees, IAI is the leader in new technology development and patent registration in Israel. The company provides cutting edge technologies and solutions for air, land, sea, cyber and space. Some key products and technology include remotely piloted vehicle systems based on its Heron family of products, radars and electronic intelligence, satellite and space systems, and missiles and loitering weapons.

IAI is constantly innovating and has expanded its expertise to the latest technology domains. Its three key divisions – Military Aircraft Group, ELTA Systems, and Missiles and Space Systems – specialize in technologies that have been instrumental to Canada’s defence sector over the last decade.  

From providing Canadian surveillance and reconnaissance capability in Afganistan with Heron unmanned aerial systems, to Canadian maritime surveillance with its radar products, IAI has created strategic partnerships with several leading Canadian defense contractors, transferring technology that is built and maintained in Canada by Canadians.

Strategic radar solutions have been provided by IAI's ELTA division to Canada’s Beechcraft King Air, De Havilland Dash 8 aircraft, and to Canada’s new C-295 Fixed Wing Search and Rescue aircraft. The company has also provided air defence capability to the Canadian Armyrmy with its popular medium-range radar. A key part of these programs include the investment and building of sustainment centers which are manned and maintained by Canadian defence companies.  

IAI-ELTA’s medium range radar is now built and maintained in Quebec, and is being considered as an export from Canada to international customers. Developed by IAI, this radar quickly became one of its most successful products as part of Israel’s renowned Iron Dome Defence solution.

Israeli Aerospace Industries continues its commitment of technology transfer to Canada

For several years, IAI has maintained cooperation with many small and medium sized Canadian companies which produce radar and aircraft components that are used in the IAI supply chain for products shipped world-wide. The company’s philosophy towards technology transfer has enhanced Canada’s defense sector by increasing technological expertise, military independence, and expanding exports by providing local companies access into new global markets.

IAI is committed to the Canadian market and to the successful bi-lateral arrangements between Israel and Canada, and the continued transfer of latest technology developments to Canadian industry enhances Canada’s sovereignty and contributes Canadian exports to the global supply chain.

© 2021 FrontLine sponsored content

Germany to receive new logistics vehicles
Posted on Jan 6, 2021

Rheinmetall Group has announced they will be supplying the German Bundeswehr (unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities) with additional logistic vehicles. The total contract tops €500 million, with almost €390 million coming from Germany’s pandemic recovery package.

Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-service Support, or BAAINBw, has placed an order with Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) for a further 1,401 military trucks with a gross total value of €543 million.

The trucks come under the Bundeswehr rubric of Unprotected Transport Vehicles, or UTFs. Funding for the extra procurement of a thousand of these vehicles comes from the German federal government’s pandemic recovery package. Delivery is scheduled to take place in 2021 and 2022. A framework contract for the procurement of modern military trucks signed in July 2017, which originally envisaged the purchase of 2,271 vehicles, has now been augmented to enable procurement of a further 1,000 trucks, bringing the current total to 3,271 UTFs.

The current call from the original framework contract comprises a total of 292 5-tonne trucks and 109 15-tonne trucks. Including related services, the 401 vehicles in this call will total €154 million, including value added tax.

Delivery is to be complete by the end of 2021 and another 1,000 trucks – including 150 5-tonne vehicles and 850 15-tonne models – are expected to be purchased in 2021 and 2022. They represent sales of €389 million, including VAT. Funding will come from the German government’s economic recovery package, with delivery to be complete by the end of 2022.

Dedicated to the twin modern imperatives of security and mobility, the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Group is thus playing a significant role in modernizing the Bundeswehr’s fleet of logistic vehicles, which numbers thousands of trucks. Most of the principal components – including the engines, axles, transmissions and build-ons – are made in Germany; assembly of the vehicles takes place at the RMMV plant in Vienna.

Particularly when it comes to multinational operations, the wide use of RMMV vehicles offers major advantages when it comes to interoperability and logistics. Among others, the armed forces of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark all rely today on trucks from Rheinmetall. Norway and Sweden have each placed substantial truck orders with RMMV as well.

IAI Innovation in unmanned aerial systems
Posted on Dec 21, 2020

Governments must rise to the domain awareness challenges of watching over vast territories to manage complex and varied missions, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have become the go-to solution for many reasons. Today, UAS taskings can range from sovereignty missions, to observing the effects of climate change, to patrolling borders and coastlines, and protecting troops in close combat – and must accomplish all this while flying longer missions, carrying heavier payloads, and reaching higher altitudes. 

To accomplish all of this and more, the IAI Heron family of multi-mission UAS has taken yet another technological leap forward. With the TP model, IAI has developed a larger, more capable, powerful and flexible platform that redefines what unmanned aerial systems are now capable of. 

“These capabilities demand high reliability and solid designs that address different operational needs and doctrines,” says Avi Bleser, Vice President Marketing and Sales at IAI’s Military Aircraft Group. “The experience we have gained in four decades of operations with more than 50 customers worldwide has shaped the ongoing evolution of the Heron family.” 

Optimum availability means deploying from high altitude runways, operating in temperature extremes from +45°C to –40°C, and through extreme weather, strong winds and heavy rain or snow, and across expansive territory. These capabilities make the Heron TP ideal for Canada, particularly in its vast Arctic region. 
Most recently, on 16 September 2020, the Heron made history by demonstrating its ability to land and takeoff at a major international airport alongside commercial flights using only satellite technology and its “Long Runner” operating system. This puts the Heron TP in a class by itself.

IAI began developing its Heron family 25 years ago, launching the first variant in 1994. It was a platform weighing 1.18 tons on takeoff, with a remarkable ceiling of 30,000 feet, propelled by an engine that enabled it to fly clandestine intelligence gathering missions without the distinctive ‘sawmill’ noise that other drones made. Highly flexible and adapted to a wide variety of missions, this platform was a revolutionary step forward. 

In 1998, the Heron Mk 1 introduced the world’s first multi-mission UAS. This version supported a payload which included an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sighting device, surveillance radar, signals intelligence (SIGINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) electronics surveillance and a broadband datalink to transmit sensor data to the ground control station. 

Optimized to support naval operations, the Maritime Heron was equipped with maritime search radar, Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver for ship identification and tracking, EO/IR and Electronic Support Measures (ESM). Using satellite communications to extend missions beyond the horizon, Maritime Herons often deploy on long-range patrols or in support of naval task forces utilizing shipborne forward mission control elements. The Heron has demonstrated its extensive adaptability and payload variety to suit a variety of mission needs. 

The Heron family continues to evolve to meet ever changing and more specific customer needs. The Heron TP is faster, larger, and higher-flying and can be tailored to meet any country’s unique requirements. Powered by a 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine, manufactured in Longueuil, Quebec, the Heron TP flies at 220 KTAS, more than twice the speed of the Mk 1. 

Despite being almost five times heavier, the Heron TP climbs faster – up to a ceiling of 45,000 feet, and can carry over one ton of payload, providing the highest power-to-weight ratio in its class. This powerful platform has been described as both a “beast in the sky” and an engineering beauty.

The TP’s modular building-block architecture makes it readily adaptable to different missions and varying national requirements, and provides security separation between the platform and the payload – enabling use by NATO and Five Eyes (FVEY) nations. To achieve this, it can be built, integrated, qualified and maintained in a host country, thus allowing continuous technological improvements by incorporating advanced C4ISR capabilities as technology progresses. Furthermore, the Heron TP provides ease of operations and maintenance that enables in-country sustainment through its life-cycle support. This modern architecture and enhanced sensor payloads are now used throughout the Heron family. 

Integration of other assets with the Heron TP is also part of its design, utilizing open architecture, communications protocols and information sharing to allow operation with the BirdEye 650D Small Tactical UAS and the Vertical Takeoff and Landing Panther family. 

Interoperability with NATO and FVEY standards combine with these design features to make the Heron TP among the most adaptable platforms available. Furthermore, as nations such as Germany have discovered, the ability to operate sovereign missions completely ITAR-free, and set and maintain national priorities, is the real strength of the Heron TP platform.

There is also the benefit of being part of the aircraft family. With SATCOM communications integrated, IAI Herons can now employ Long Runner to operate remotely in the air and on the ground, requiring minimal ground support at remote operating bases. The Long Runner is part of IAI’s centralized Mission Operation & Intelligence Centre (MOIC), supporting the operation of multiple Heron drones of different types, carrying various payloads, and operating at different distances and directions. MOIC provides an efficient integration of intelligence and situational perception, by flexibly allocating assets to support evolving situations and operational needs. The intelligence processing systems associated with the Heron family are also designed with powerful, semi-automatic target location, classification and designation workflow, optimizing the operator’s efficiency and capacity. 

In use throughout the world, the Heron family UAS have accumulated over 1,800,000 operational flight hours and have become the partner of choice for governments that need capability, reliability, and adaptability in a UAS platform. “The utilization has increased threefold over past generations,” notes Bleser. “Besides the robust and scalable system it provides, the exceptional operational experience and numerous technical variations have evolved to meet changing needs and have defined the Heron family as the undisputed leader in the UAS marketplace.” With Canada’s vast territory, three coastlines, and high Arctic region, the Heron TP is an inspired choice to meet any Remotely Piloted Aircraft System needs.

Contact Info:

IAI – Israeli Aerospace Industries
Headquarters: Ben Gurion International Airport, 70100, Israel
Contact: Adam Susman, Director, Corporate Marketing
Tel: +972-3-935-3111


Modernized Integrated Air Defence Systems
Posted on Dec 8, 2020

Providing a network-based, multi-layered air defense, IAI’s BARAK MX sets new standards for modern air defence capability, from short range air defense (SHORAD) to extended range air defenses (ERAD), securing the national airspace and protecting military forces theater-wide.

Recent conflicts around the world have highlighted the central role of air defence, and are driving nations to modernize their defences against air attacks, unmanned aerial systems, and cruise missiles. Legacy air defence systems that trace back to the 1980s often lack the agility to meet new threats, thus becoming vulnerable to counter-attacks and countermeasures.  

Newer technologies have brought about significant changes in the threats that air defence systems have to cope with, stand-alone weapons, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), cruise missiles and electronic warfare (EW), air-launched missiles and unmanned platforms deployed from stand-off range, out of the air defenses reach. Whereas in the past, air defence was designed to counter aerial attacks carried mainly by fixed-wing and rotary-wing manned aircraft. Attacks can be programmed to strike from all aspects, employing coordinated salvo techniques to saturate the defences, and such surprise attacks indicate no hostile intent before launch. The changing threats and their widespread use, necessitate a new need and new ways of coping with them effectively. For this purpose, a paradigm shift in the operation of air defense forces is required.

Integrated Air Defence System

Integrated Air Defence Systems (IADS) include multiple combined assets such as sensors, command and control nodes, and fire units, woven in a mesh-based net-centric operation. With modern systems like BARAK-MX, commanders can effectively delegate tasks and targets for complex threat mitigation and override the damage caused by the destruction or isolation of singular nodes. In effect, parallel operations of several attack missions are possible, unlike in the past and earlier systems – in which only linear operations were possible.

The BARAK MX System

Barak-MX is currently operational with several prestigious customers worldwide.

BARAK-MX system was developed and designed by IAI from the ground up as a true net-centric IADS surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. A flexible, network-enabled, open architecture enables a networked and fully independent operability of the system, couples different sensors and employs an advanced battle management system. 

It is centered around the Barak MX Smart-Launcher concept that provides an autonomous “Fire-Unit-in-a-Box”, a compactly integrated element that functions as an entire SAM battery. Its architecture can support a classic battery Fire Unit (FU) in a stand-alone mode or merge both operating concepts in a hybrid model.

Another aspect of BARAK MX agility is the choice of three types of interceptors using a common missile core design. These include the BARAK MRAD for short to medium ranges intercept (up to 35km), BARAK LRAD (Interception range up to 70 km), and the BARAK ER (effective at ranges up to 150 km).

The BARAK-MX System was designed from inception to be complemented by IAI-ELTA’s revolutionary ELM-2084 Multi-Mission Radar (MMR). The ELM-2084 radar combines capabilities of air surveillance and air defence within a single advanced radar system. Together with the BARAK-MX’s true net-centric capabilities, these sensors provide exceptional operational cost/benefit advantages for the integrated air defense system. The system’s open architecture enables integrating different radars and battle management assets, including legacy systems already operating by the customer.

The BARAK-MX Battle Management System (BMS) conducts all interceptions and supervises the smart launchers associated with the system, whether local or remote, thus achieving the highest success rate while maintaining the most efficient battle economy. As an advanced and innovative system, the BARAK-MX is suitable for operations both at sea and on land. The advanced control systems enable the cooperation between the batteries in all operating scenarios, separately (sea or land) or in combination.

As Israel’s national strategic missile producer and a pioneer of cutting-edge air and missile defence systems, IAI has developed and fielded the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 Ballistic Missile interceptors, along with the Barak-MX system.

IAI considers cooperation with nations seeking to equip advanced air defence systems as essential. This is to leverage, improve and reap long term benefits; gaining access to technological know-how and the economic benefits derived from such investments. In line with IAI's long-standing local teaming strategy, IAI continuously explores opportunities for overseas partnerships, including subcontracting and through-life support.

Most military forces have recognized the need to modernize their air defences. Many recent tenders are geared towards IADS systems with full net-centricity, offering the highest operational advantage, affordability, and economic advantages in facing current and future threats.

© FrontLine sponsored content 2020

FrontLine Innovation Platform 2020
Posted on Dec 4, 2020

Every year, FrontLine highlights a select group of organizations that make innovation a serious priority. From R&D to advanced technologies, these companies are making a difference for the future.

The list below is in alphabetical order by company. Click on the company names for more information on each of these Top Innovators.

Tactical Edge Network – a groundbreaking new solution for Defence and Public Safety organizations when establishing, managing and maintaining complex and possibly multinational communications networks. A single, intuitive user interface simplifies the end-to-end administration of sensitive communications networks. 

Beretta Defence Technologies / Stoeger Canada
By providing government and law enforcement agencies with a unique combination of services, weaponry and equipment, from enhanced tactical clothing to firearms, ammunition, optics and electro-optics, Beretta can match every operational need to cover a wide range of complex scenarios.

Collins Aerospace
To fill the need for intelligent and secure communications, simulation and much more, Collins Aerospace delivers connected solutions that ensure their military, government and civilian customers can successfully complete their most complex and critical missions.

D.S. Raider
Transporting soldiers or security personnel and equipment through rough terrains requires tactical solutions that can navigate in terrain previously only reached by foot. The Israeli-developed EZ Raider personal transportation system for security personnel and soldiers will soon have an autonomous version.

DRDC Valcartier Research Centre
The Government of Canada is currently investing in infrastructure to provide defence scientists with modern (and green) facilities to continue cutting-edge defence research well into the future. The first to benefit is the Valcartier Research Centre, where construction began in October 2020.

Finabel – Army Innovation
This report examines the future of army innovation in Europe. Three trends have been identified as impacting army innovation the most: the increase in mobility; the shift from fossil to electric powered equipment; and adapting technology to the needs and constraints of soldiers on operations. 

IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries)
Unmanned aerial systems have become the go-to solution for sovereignty missions, monitoring the effects of climate change, patrolling borders and coastlines, and protecting troops in close combat – while flying longer missions, carrying heavier payloads, and reaching higher altitudes. 

Polar Knowledge Canada
With its main operations at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, Nunavut, it’s a key stop for marine traffic through the Northwest Passage – an increasingly accessible region that presents environmental, political and strategic opportunities.

Rheinmetall Canada
With the addition of new Canadian jobs in mind, this Canadian company recently expanded to take over production of the parent company's Mobile Start Units (MSUs). The change includes a transfer of technology and manufacturing capabilities from Germany to Canada.

Foldable transportation system for rough terrain
Posted on Oct 22, 2020

The Israeli-developed EZ Raider personal transportation system for security personnel and soldiers will soon have an autonomous version, and that is generating "big interest," says retired Brigadier-General Miki Bar, CEO of DS Raider, the company that developed the systems. DS Raider is cooperating with other companies to offer a version that will move to the commands of a Lidar laser radar and is equipped with intuitive and accurate driving system controls.

Transporting soldiers or security personnel and equipment through rough terrains requires tactical solutions that can navigate in terrain previously only reached by foot. The four wheels are connected to special suspension systems that gives every wheel an independent horizontal and vertical movement and "allows the vehicle to cope with rough terrain" BGen Bar tells FrontLine.

The EZ Raider HD 4 is an off-road electric-powered manned vehicle that without a doubt creates a new category in the field of personal tactical vehicle. The vehicle has a unique go-anywhere mobility capability, and thus acts as an operational power-multiplier for the user.

The U.S armed forces have evaluated the vehicle and, after a successful set of tests, have purchased a number of them to continue their operational evaluation.

The vehicle’s operational simplicity, reliability and durability, is intended to enhance advantages in a variety of operational scenarios with a high level of safety for the user.

Powered by two 1200 W electric motors, the vehicle can carry up to two fighters with full combat gear. It can tow a special electric-powered cart to transport additional equipment. The electric motors with high torque and precise response to user commands and powered by a 3000 W battery gives the vehicle an operational range of up to 80 km.

According to product specs, the EZ Raider HD 4 is 68.5 cm (27") wide and weighs 95 kg (209 lbs) and can be easily folded for transportation. The vehicle can carry a payload up to 168 kg (370 lbs), and an additional 250 kg (550 lbs) when equipped with the Raider electric-powered cart.

The board on which the soldier stands is 20 inches above ground, and adds to the vehicle's capability to move in rough terrain. "The soldier uses body movements like the ones skiers of water gliders use to control the movements," says Bar.

Its IR signature is also very low, a fact that adds to its stealthiness. "The electric motor emits something like 122°F and that can be lowered with simple heat shielding materials."

The Israeli police currently use the EZ Raider HD in its border police units.

Contact Info:

D.S. Raider Ltd 
Atir Yeda 15, Kfar Saba, Israel
Contact: Michal Taitelman, Marketing
Tel: +972-72-255 9880
QinetiQ report flags Grey Zone Threats
Posted on Sep 30, 2020

Grey zone attacks exploit the widest range of social, political, economic and military instruments available to achieve maximum effect. They often do not provoke a conventional military response and are sometimes not recognized as formal acts of aggression, leaving nations scrambling to adapt. "Policy makers need to drive an integrated approach, reassess defence budgets, and ensure allocated resource to new information and emerging technologies that can prepare them to manage in this new context,” says Mike Sewart, Group CTO at QinetiQ.

By examining the shifts from traditional open warfare to “grey zone” or sub-threshold tactics, the report provides six strategic defence and security recommendations. This guidance aims to help governments significantly review their defence spending and priorities in ways that will allow them to keep pace with the changing nature of warfare.

The report intends to provoke a new dialogue around how organizations can harness the potential of emerging technology to successfully adapt conventional defence and security capabilities and respond to adversarial grey zone campaigns – be they organized criminal gangs, international terrorist cells, or nation states.

Executive Summary of QinetiQ Report (released 28 Sept 2020)

Read the entire document online here:

The emerging growth of Grey Zone Threats

The supremacy of traditional security and defence systems has driven adversaries towards alternative methods. These ‘grey zone’ approaches include a myriad of new threats described by multiple buzzwords, from asymmetric to hybrid and from 5th generation to sub-threshold. All these make up the “grey zone” and explore the widest range of social, political, economic and military instruments available to achieve maximum effect - but without provoking a conventional response, or even being recognized as formal acts of aggression.

Countering this requires significant change in a number of areas – from risk appetite, to the equipment used, and the skills employed. Technology will play an increasing role in each area as nations adapt to fit the way in which adversaries now behave.

The growth of Grey Zone Campaigning

Understanding what has driven the shift can help us identify how best to adapt to grey zone threats. The first driver is the increasing access to emerging technologies. The accelerating transfer of consumer technology from lab to user lowers the bar for entry, providing adversaries with greater reach and making it easier for them to instigate a challenge. The second driver is the emergence of a new world system. Global norms, rules, accords and institutions face increasing challenges. The third driver is the growth of novel domains. The pursuit of political and territorial supremacy takes place on more fronts today than ever before. Two new domains, cyber and space, are starting to rebalance power between large and small actors.

Six major Grey Zone Challenges

Grey zone tactics reveal capability gaps in both security and defence disciplines, which need to be addressed through an integrated strategy dealing with six key challenges. Below we have explored the most pressing challenges that grey zone campaigns pose.

The first is creating the information advantage. Traditional strategies dealt with conventional conflict, but now adversaries use knowledge-based tactics. Separating truth from “fake news” and creating effective counter narratives are now a priority.

The second challenge is improving cyber resilience, which remains one of highest priorities for all organizations. There are well known international aggressors online, but a significant and faster-growing threat is serious organized crime.

The third challenge is improving threat detection. The nature of grey zone campaigns is that they are disguised, so organizations can be targeted without even knowing it.

The fourth challenge is adding sophisticated capabilities. As threats become more clandestine, organizations need to increase their ability to expose hostile tactics from adversaries.

The fifth challenge is adapting at pace. Organizations struggle to react quickly enough to the changing nature of threats. Current procurement processes don’t help, with the scale and bureaucracy proving a hindrance.

The sixth and final challenge is introducing new skills. Grey zone competition is perpetual and unpredictable. In this environment, training must be linked to real operations to ensure that its always relevant.

Emerging technologies under-funded: Commercial sector continues to outspend on R&D

A report by PwC states that whilst aerospace and defence invested about $25bn in 2018, computing and electronics industries invested almost six times as much. And last year Amazon alone invested $22bn on R&D, nearly 20 times more than the nearest defence company.

Five modes of Grey Zone Hostility

Although the combinations and permutations of grey zone tactics are legion, we have grouped them into five ‘modes’. The first mode is deniability and central to grey zone competition. Adversaries may seek to sabotage a rival’s critical infrastructure with methods that can’t be traced to the instigator. The second is information operations. There are two separate but complementary elements in an information operations strategy namely the collection and the dissemination of information. The third mode is the use of proxy forces where an aggressor may leverage another nation’s forces to achieve its aims. Fourth is economic coercion; there are many ways to exert economic power, or limit that of its rivals. Lastly is territorial encroachment by offering resources to a country under false pretences or even being welcomed in as peacekeepers before gaining control.

Adapting emerging technologies to meet Grey Zone challenges

Whilst the nature of grey zone attacks is constantly evolving, QinetiQ’s research suggests that there are ten front line technology capabilities that need to be developed in order to mitigate threats.

  1. AI, analytics and advanced computing – The ability to process massive volumes of data at pace enhances situational awareness. By drawing and fusing data from multiple sources, AI can be used to identify locations and model behaviours.
  2. Cyber and electromagnetic activities – The cyber domain is a vital front in grey zone competition. Less discussed is the vulnerability of the electromagnetic spectrum. Communications signals, including Wi-Fi and GPS, can be jammed or spoofed for service denial or misdirection.
  3. Novel weapons, systems and effects – There are a wide range of alternatives to kinetic weapons, but in the context of the grey zone, directed energy is the most relevant.
  4. Power sources, energy storage and distribution – Most frontline capability relies on electricity. In some cases, this can be drawn from the grid, but other scenarios require highly specialised energy storage and power delivery systems.
  5. Robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) – In the grey zone, the collective power of multiple systems to provide more granular situational awareness and expand the user’s sphere of influence.
  6. Secure communications and navigation – Communication lies at the epicentre of virtually all grey zone operations. Moving information around is fundamental to building a detailed picture.
  7. Sensing, processing and data fusion – The key to grey zone advantage is awareness: of adversaries’ locations, their activities and intent, of public and political sentiment, and of the physical and digital domains in which grey zone competition takes place.
  8. Advanced materials and manufacturing – The grey zone’s rapidly shifting nature means new capability must often be fast-tracked into service in response to emerging and evolving threats. The ability to manufacture quickly and at scale is therefore crucial.
  9. Human protection and performance – New capabilities cannot be introduced safely or effectively without first understanding how humans may interact with them. Unexpected human responses can undermine the advantages of technology.
  10. Platform and system design and assessment – The primary role of large platforms is to act as a deterrent against aggression. However, there is an apparent tension between their long service life and the need to adapt them quickly to tackle changing threats so their core capability must be readily augmented to serve a multitude of roles.

Multimillion-dollar defence remains important as a deterrent, but in the grey zone, it must form part of a suite of tactics. Sometimes it provides little advantage against low-cost improvised devices, or other grey zone threats such as cyber-attacks. This asymmetry is laid bare by the case in 2017 when a $3m Patriot missile was used to shoot down a $200 consumer quadcopter drone.

Shifting mindsets to counter grey zone threats

There are some underpinning principles on which to base the implementation of emerging technologies to adapt to grey zone campaigns. If adopted, they will assure these changes for operational use and accelerate the ability to deal with grey zone threats.

Develop an integrated approach: Grey zone threats don’t discriminate, they just seek to achieve their means through whatever channels are most vulnerable. Innovation underpins this approach, requiring a systemic approach to testing and experimentation with a continuous cycle of learning, development and adoption.

Make innovation mission-led: Today’s innovation process often leaves the end user without significant input, and the end result fails to deliver. A mission-led approach ensures that all new ideas are driven solely by mission outcomes.

Practice ‘positive experimentation’: This requires a shift in mindset, one which stimulates a more systemic approach to innovation. A continuous cycle of learning, development and adoption is needed.

Make testing perpetual and dynamic: To match the pace at which threats change, a more dynamic process of testing and evaluation is required.

Encourage an open architecture environment: The current architecture makes it impossible to quickly modify existing assets in order to adapt to grey zone threats. Open architectures could provide the ability to ‘plug and play’ with new innovation.

Embrace a new training philosophy: Training should be a constant process, not a set piece activity. This allows organizations to continuously adapt to changes in the environment and incorporate new skills into operations.

Read the entire document online here:

 Grey zone attacks exploit the widest range of social, political, economic and military instruments available to achieve maximum effect. They do not, however, usually provoke a conventional military response and are sometimes not recognized as formal acts of aggression. 

Canada receives new search and rescue aircraft
Posted on Sep 25, 2020

Today, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) marked the arrival of the first aircraft of its future fixed-wing search and rescue (SAR) fleet. The Government of Canada is equipping the RCAF with the modern and effective aircraft it needs to continue its critical life-saving search and rescue missions across Canada’s vast and challenging territory.

The Airbus aircraft, designated CC-295 for Canada, landed at its home base on 17 September and is the first aircraft to be delivered on a $2.4 billion contract (including taxes) for 16 new CC-295 fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft to replace Canada’s fleets of Buffalo and Hercules H aircraft. The contract, awarded to Airbus Defence and Space in December 2016, is for a period of 11 years, with the option to extend up to an additional 15 years of in-service support. Airbus has formally delivered three aircraft to date, the second of which is scheduled to arrive in Canada in the coming weeks. Deliveries will continue until 2022.

The new fleet will be called Kingfisher. The kingfisher has long been recognized among the First Nations of the Northwest for its speed and agility, as well as its keen searching and hunting skills. Found all across Canada, the kingfisher well represents the abilities of search and rescue crews to accomplish their lifesaving role.

The first CC-295 lands at 19 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Comox, in British Columbia on 17 Sept 2020  (Photo © Garry Walker)

Specifically designed to perform search and rescue missions across Canada, the Airbus CC-295 aircraft is equipped with integrated sensors that will allow crews to locate persons or objects from more than 40 kilometers away, even in low-light conditions. Its communications systems will increase interoperability with other search and rescue assets, such as the CH-149 Cormorant. The fleet of 16 aircraft will be replacing the CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130H Hercules fleets in their search and rescue role at four locations across Canada, and represents a value of $2.4 billion.

The aircraft received earlier this month will remain at 19 Wing Comox while the RCAF completes aircrew training, followed by operational testing. During the transition period and while the CC-295 Kingfisher is being operationalized, fixed-wing search and rescue services will continue through existing fleets, along with the CH-149 Cormorant and CH-146 Griffon helicopters.

The delivery of this aircraft marks an exciting new chapter in Canada’s long and proud search and rescue history, and this project has created hundreds of new jobs for Canadians. The CC-295 contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, continues to make investments into the Canadian aerospace and defence industry through the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy. Strategic work packages directly related to the aircraft continue to provide Canadian companies with opportunities to participate in global supply chains and create high-value jobs.

This first aircraft, tail number 501, was formally accepted by Canada in Spain on 8 December 2019, and was delivered to Comox following additional testing and evaluations.

The maintenance trainer aircraft shown above arrived at 19 Wing Comox, B.C. in February 2020. This aircraft was disassembled upon arrival, and reassembled inside the new training centre (Photo: Airbus Defence & Space).

The CC-295 Kingfisher will be based across southern Canada in Comox, Winnipeg, Trenton, and Greenwood. The aircraft will arrive in phases as crews are trained in turn at each location.

Part of this project includes the construction of a new training centre that is being built in Comox by Canadian training leader CAE. Due to be inaugurated later this year, the centre will be used to train both maintainers and aircrews. The design include ten classrooms and sophisticated training devices such as a full-flight simulator, a cockpit procedures trainer, a sensor station simulator, and an aircraft maintenance trainer. CAE is responsible for providing the complete aircrew and maintenance training solution that will populate the new fixed-wing search and rescue training centre.

Canadian company AirPro will provide day-to-day management of all in-service support for the provision of engineering, logistics, maintenance, training, IT systems, infrastructure and materiel support throughout the contracted CC-295 life cycle.

Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy applies to this contract, ensuring that Airbus Defence and Space invests an amount equal to the value of the contract in the Canadian economy. Significant high-value jobs have been and will continue to be generated from this contract with Canadian companies such as PAL Aerospace, Pratt and Whitney Canada, CAE, and AirPro.

Marking the arrival of the first Fixed Wing Search and Rescue C295 at the Canadian Forces Base Comox, Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer, Dirk Hoke commended (by video statement) the "excellent collaboration with Canadian officials" that allowed the company to overcome COVID-related challenges to deliver the aircraft. "Despite the current pandemic, we are confident of achieving the program target of six deliveries by the end of this year. We look forward to our continued collaboration and to the C295 Canada.”

Meggitt Training Systems wins Middle East contract
Posted on May 2, 2020

Quebec-based Meggitt Training Systems has been awarded a $78 million contract to design and equip a sophisticated, multi-mission, indoor and outdoor training facility in a Middle Eastern country incorporating the latest virtual and live-fire equipment.

“As the global leader in virtual and live-fire small-arms training, Meggitt Training Systems is ideally suited to deliver this program for the benefit of our Middle Eastern customer and its forces,” said company president Jeff Murphy. “We are committed to delivering a world-class training experience across multiple domains and lifelike settings through the best solutions from Meggitt and our subcontractor partners.”

The training facility will include multiple indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, combat training centers, virtual simulators and physical mockups.

“Meggitt Training Systems is honored to be chosen to lead development of this crucial national training asset,” added Andrea Czop, vice president of strategy, sales and marketing. “This win validates our strategy of pairing our live-fire and virtual portfolio of products with a global presence supporting our customers in the Middle East and elsewhere. Meggitt’s enduring success in small-arms training is built on this unique combination of customer knowledge and expertise derived from decades of employee subject matter experts in military and law enforcement experience.”

The training facilities will include a mix of Meggitt’s Stationary Infantry Targets, Moving Infantry Targets, LOMAH (location of miss and hit) systems, Range Control Systems, Special Effects Battlefield Simulators, Training Information Management Systems, plus a variety of virtual reality special warfare simulators, overhead carriers, ballistic walls and bullet traps.

As the prime technology contractor, Meggitt will also assume responsibility for the integration of all training equipment from other suppliers.