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Defending from Outer Space?

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Arrow-3, a missile-defense system capable of destroying targets in space, codeveloped by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing, has officially entered service, according to Jerusalem.

The Israeli Air Force announced that the Arrow-3, its newest missile defense system, has officially entered service. The first round of Arrow-3 installations has been delivered to the air force’s Aerial Defense Array. US Air Force Brig. Gen. William Cooley joined Israeli Ministry of Defense representatives in a ceremony marking the delivery.

“Arrow-3 is the result of many years of development efforts, based on a solution designed by Israeli Aerospace Industries, which have today come to fruition,” said Boaz Levi, Israel Aerospace Industries vice president and general manager of the Systems, Missiles & Space Group. “This is a milestone for the Israel’s Defense Establishment, and for Israel’s defense industries.”

Arrow-3 will complement its lower-range predecessor, Arrow-2, and a short-range missile-defense system known as the Iron Dome. The new missile has half the weight of an Arrow-2, and, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, offers users better “control and monitoring abilities while also expanding radar detection range.”

Arrow-3 is reported as being able to destroy targets as high as 62 miles, the boundary of outer space, also known as the Karman line. When the missile reaches the desired altitude, its warhead splits into individual ‘kamikaze satellites’ that can track and destroy targets, including long-range and intercontinental missiles. If an Arrow-3 fails, the shorter-range and lower-altitude Arrow-2 will serve as a backup. However, it is unclear whether Arrow-3 can actually hit a satellite, since ‘low orbit’ begins at the altitude of about 100 miles.

According to public data, since 2008, the United States has contributed almost $600 million to the development of the Arrow-3. In September 2016, the US and Israel signed a 10-year military-aid deal assuring Israel $5 billion in missile-defense funding from the fiscal year 2019 through the fiscal year 2028, according to Defense News.

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U.S. Commandos Want This Technology for Special Forces Raids

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For Dungeons & Dragons roleplayers, part of the fun of make-believe adventure is searching for hidden chambers where the monsters keep their treasure. For that matter, it’s a familiar theme in horror movies to have villains and vampires pop out from behind walls and bookcases.

But for U.S. commandos, hidden compartments are not entertainment. They are obstacles to a successful mission to capture fugitives, or seize documents and weapons. And on a house raid in hostile territory, there isn’t a lot of time to go tapping on walls to find a stash.

That’s why U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) wants a detector that can quickly spot where the loot is hidden. The goal of the research project is to develop a handheld device that can detect hidden chambers in an average-sized room (168 square feet) and at a range of about 6.5 feet during sensitive site exploitation, or SSE, operations.

The sensor should be able to penetrate to a depth of 2 feet and have enough battery power to run for forty to fifty minutes. However, while it needs to detect hidden spaces, it doesn’t need to scan the contents inside. “It doesn’t have to ‘see’ thru a metal surface/container; the presence of a metal chamber in a wall would be a suspicious indication,” SOCOM says.

Sensors that detect the presence of humans, such as infrared, acoustic or radar, already exist or are being developed. But current technology is either too bulky or too complicated, says SOCOM. But developing a handy device poses technical challenges. SOCOM emphasizes that the sensor must be able to distinguish between normal spaces in a wall, such as the gap between studs, and hidden compartments. It also must be able to function with a variety of building materials, including brick, cinder block, concrete, wood and sheet rock. “The system should be able to distinguish suspicious hidden cinder block openings vs normal cinder block voids in normal wall construction,” SOCOM adds.

And the device has to be easy to use and reliable. “For the operator to be willing to carry/operate an additional system, along with all of his other equipment, the system performance needs to be high; a system with low detection rates or high false detection rates will be left behind,” SOCOM points out.

SOCOM suggests that cutting-edge technologies such as modern radio frequency transmit/receive modules, advanced computer vision algorithms and modern computer processors may enable a solution to be found. The research proposal did contain links to a Wikipedia entry on ground-penetrating radar, and a Florida company called Ground Hound Detection Services that detects the presence of underground utilities before construction begins in an area.

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Persistent Systems unveils new Dual Channel Push-to-Talk (PTT) device for the MPU5

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Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) announced today that it is unveiling its new Dual Channel Push-to-Talk (“Dual PTT”) accessory for the MPU5. The Dual PTT, said company officials, will allow the MPU5’s audio capabilities to reach their full potential.

The Dual PTT allows the user to quickly and easily select between 16 talk groups as well as control volume levels for each talk group independently. When paired with a stereo headset, the two selected talk groups are heard in the left and right ears, and the volume level in each ear can be controlled independently.

Dual PTT will improve networked communications and eliminate extra legacy radios

With the MPU5 and Dual PTT, a single MPU5 can communicate on two talk groups either independently (by pressing a single PTT button) or simultaneously (by pressing both PTT buttons). In the past, when a user needed to communicate with two different groups (channels) of users, that user needed to carry two separate Land Mobile Radios (LMRs). Therefore, the MPU5 and Dual PTT significantly reduces size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) burdens on users.

This is possible because the MPU5 is an IP radio, where talk groups are multicast addresses, instead of an LMR radio, where channels are different RF frequencies.

Dual PTT will improve networked communications and eliminate extra legacy radios

“It used to be that a commander would have to carry a PRC-148 and a PRC-152,” said Brian Mcdonald, Field Operations Manager at Persistent. “Now the commander just carries the MPU5 and can use the Dual PTT to talk to both groups. Carrying one radio instead of two will both save money as well as reduce the load on the soldier, which is a major selling point with customers,” Mcdonald explained.

The Dual PTT also serves as the interface into the MPU5’s Radio over IP (RoIP) subsystem. Users can tether legacy LMR radio systems to the MPU5, and associate each of those radios with one of the 16 talk groups as a multicast address on the network. When an MPU5 user communicates on that talk group, the MPU5 “keys up” the LMR radio and transmits audio through it.

“For the warfighter, this means one can tether a TACSAT channel on a vehicle to the RoIP port on the MPU5 and talk on TACSAT from within a building or tunnel while carrying only an MPU5 and Dual PTT,” said Dr. Herbert Rubens, Founder and CEO of Persistent. “The MPU5’s RoIP capability is compatible with PRC-148s, PRC-152s, Tactical Satellite (TACSAT), Fires Net, Public Safety LMRs, or standard walkie-talkies, which means, for example, being able to talk to Command Net, Assault Net, Fires Net, etc. whenever it’s suddenly required by the mission.”

Persistent has begun accepting orders for the Dual PTT.

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