Prompted in part by the prospect of squeezed Pentagon budgets, U.S. defense groups have been consolidating operations in pursuit of higher value, higher technology pursuits.
Intelligence gathering disciplines
When it comes to defense coverage, AIN naturally focuses on airborne systems and platforms, including some very high-tech stuff, of course. But my visit to the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Conference and Exhibitionin London last month was a reminder that what happens on the ground is equally, if not more, important.
L-3 Communications is here at the Farnborough airshow highlighting some of the technology with which it has been able to assert itself as a leader in systems developed to greater capability to existing military aircraft. The U.S.
The UK’s Secretary of Defense, Bob Ainsworth, confirmed on March 22 that the Royal Air Force would receive three Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft to provide its signals intelligence (Sigint) gathering capability, the final agreement having been reached on March 19. The announcement brought to an end any lingering speculation concerning the immediate future of RAF Sigint.
The UK Royal Air Force flies three Nimrod R.1 versions that are dedicated to SIGINT (signals intelligence). They were converted from MR.2 maritime patrol aircraft, and their sensors have been upgraded regularly to monitor emerging new threats and signals. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) developed a plan for a complete replacement of the aircraft’s SIGINT suite, Project Helix, and chose L-3 Communications UK to provide it.
Urals Optical Mechanical Plant (UOMZ) is presenting its new SON-730 optical observation system here at Farnborough International (Hall 1 Stand B13), showing it in real-time use on a target-mounted screen. According to director general Sergey Maksin, the development of this technology for civilian use has been a major priority for the Russian company over the past decade.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) officially closed its public comment period regarding the proposal to remove from public sale and distribution its Flight Information Publications (FLIP), Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File (DAFIF) and related aeronautical safety-of-navigation digital and hardcopy publications.
In 1999, Operation Allied Force was a success, as Serbian forces were evicted from Kosovo. But then-USAF commander Gen. John Jumper was distinctly unhappy. He said those Serbian tanks that rolled out of hiding after the shooting stopped should have been spotted and destroyed by coalition airpower. Jumper also said he knew that the Serbian air defense system had never really been neutralized.
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