“Coast Guard Booth Presentations at Sea Air Space 2021” –CG-9

22 meter saildrone Ocean Mapping UAS

The Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) has provided media used in the Coast Guard’s presentation booths at Sea Air Space 2021, August 2 and 3. While certainly not a substitute for being there, they do provide insights into programs and concerns.

Coast Guard Booth Presentations at Sea Air Space 2021

  • Blue Technology Center of Expertise (BTCOE)
    Overview Blue Technology Center of Expertise presentation
    Ms. Jennifer Ibaven and Dr. Peter Vandeventer, BTCOE Program Managers, Office of Research, Development, Test & Evaluation and Innovation (CG-926)
    Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, 3-3:30p.m.
  • Coast Guard Detachment at DOD’s Defense Innovation Unit
    DIU & USCG Overview presentation
    Cmdr. Michael Nordhausen, Liaison Officer to Defense Innovation Unit
    Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, 4-4:30p.m.
  • Unmanned Systems
    U.S. Coast Guard Unmanned Systems presentation
    Capt. Thom Remmers, Assistant Commandant for Capabilities Unmanned Systems Cross-Functional Team Lead
    Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, 2:30-3p.m.
  • The Future of the Arctic
    U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Policy presentation
    Mr. Shannon Jenkins, Senior Arctic Policy Advisor
    Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, 11-11:30a.m.
  • Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
    U.S Coast Guard IUU Fishing Strategic Outlook presentation
    Cmdr. James Binniker, Office of Law Enforcement Policy, Living Marine Resources and Marine Protected Resources Enforcement Division
    Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, 2:30-3p.m.

“Navy Arming Surface Ships with Drone Repellent System” –USNI

USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC-1141) prior to departure for PATFORSWA

The US Naval Institute News Service has a short post about a system that will reportedly detect and if required jam the radio frequency signals that control small Unmanned Air Systems like the commercially available hobby drones and similar control systems that might be used on larger UAS.

We noted the presence of this or a similar system on the Webber class cutters being transferred to PATFORSWA in February.

While there are autopilots that allow drones to travel considerable distances to reach fixed geographic points, operating drones that lack autonomous targeting, against moving targets, typically require two radio frequencies, one the video link from the drone back to the operator and one to control the drone, from the operator back to the drone. Jamming either of the frequencies would probably disable the drone. Generally these frequencies are UHF or VHF, limited to line of sight.

Gunner’s Mate Kyle Mendenhall shows the Drone Restricted Access Using Known Electromagnetic Warfare (DRAKE) system aboard USS Kansas City (LCS-22) on Aug. 16, 2021. USNI News Photo

If you expand the photo of USCGC Charles Moulthrope above, you can see a similar system, with its two vertical antenna of different sizes, on the mast port side, slightly below and behind the port blue flashing light, and above and inboard of the small round fixed air search radar antenna.

Bahrain Bound FRC gets Upgrades, LRAD and Short Range Air Search

(As we get into this, you may want to click on the photo to get an enlarged view.)

This Spring, the first two Webber class patrol craft are expected to go to Bahrain to start replacing the six 110 foot WPBs of Patrol Force South West Asia (PATFORSWA).  Two more will join them in the Fall and the last two in 2022. Back in 2018, I speculated on what might be done to modify them for duty in this more dangerous area. Apparently the Coast Guard leadership has had a few ideas of their own.

We have some very shape observers among the readers of this blog.

First Andy provided the photo of USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC-1141) above and pointed out the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD, the gray device mounted near rail on the O-1 deck just this side of the port forward corner of the bridge) and the four round sensors a short way up the mast two on each side. I note these systems were not on the ship when it was handed over by Bollinger (photo below).

The 41st fast response cutter (FRC), Charles Moulthrope, as delivered to the Coast Guard in Key West, Florida, Oct. 22, 2020. It is the first of six planned FRCs to be stationed in Manama, Bahrain. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Then Secundius identified the four round sensors on the mast as Sierra Nevada Modi RPS-42 S-Band Radar.

From the Company web site: “RPS-42 is an S-Band tactical hemispheric air surveillance radar system. It is a member of the non-rotating, solid-state, digital radar family Multi-mission Hemisphere Radar (MHR), developed by RADA Electronic Industries Ltd.
“The RPS-42 is a pulse Doppler, software-defined radar platform, that can detect, classify and track all types of aerial vehicles – including fighters, helicopters, UAVs, transport aircraft, etc. at tactical ranges. A single radar platform provides 90º azimuth coverage. Hemispheric coverage is achieved when four radars are employed as a system. Mobile or stationary, the system can be integrated with any C⁴I system and other radars and sensors. The software is able for On-the-Move (OTM) Operation. The radar can operate either as a stand-alone or as part of a large-scale surveillance system.
“The Antenna is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) based on Galliumnitrid (GaN) Amplifiers. Its diameter is 50.4 cm , the max width is 16.5 cm. (19.8″ x 6.5″ –Chuck)
“The achievable range for detection of the smallest drones (known as Nano UAV) is 3.5 km”

These radars use Galliumnitrid (GaN), the new technology in radar, that allows the AN/SPY-6 to significantly outperform the earlier AN/SPY-1 found on most Aegis equipped warships. (Reportedly a 3000% improvement)

You can get an appreciation of what this is about from this Popular Mechanics article. This Is the ATV-Mounted Jammer That Took Down an Iranian Drone.

There is more here: Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System [LMADIS] (globalsecurity.org)

I’m only guessing, but I would think the FRC would also have the same or equivalent complementary equipment as the LMADIS, e.g. small EO/IR camera, Skyview RF Detection system and Sierra Nevada MODi RF jammer (Photo below, I may be seeing the jammer–pictured below–located above and behind the port side RPS-42 radar arrays, visible between the radar arrays and the tripod legs). The cutters of this class are already normally equipped with electro-optic devices, both on the mast and on the Mk38 gun mount, which can provide a kinetic counter to UAVs.

Sierra Nevada MODi RF jammer. From the company web site, “SNC’s Modi II is the most modern & highly-capable dismounted EMC system in the DOD inventory.”

This was probably what the Commandant was talking about, when he said that Coast Guard PATFORSWA had a counter UAS role in a recent interview.

I am thinking, this radar might also be used on some of our other cutters as well, perhaps the 210s and the six 270s to be FRAMed, to provide them better control of their helicopters on approach in bad weather. The 210s have no air search radar and the 270s will almost certainly lose the Mk92 fire control system which provides their only air search radar currently. Reportedly the radar has a range of up to 30km and an instrumented range of 50km at altitudes from 30ft to 30,000 feet. Apparently the Marines are also using it to direct fire for their short range air defense systems. which includes a 30mm gun and Stinger missiles.

Thanks to Andy and Secundius for kicking this off.

Martin V-BAT “Guard evaluates new technology for unmanned aircraft system operations” –Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9)

Below I have reproduced a story from the CG-9 Website. To put this into perspective the V-Bat system has a slightly smaller wing span than the ScanEagle (9′ vs 10’3″) and weighs about twice as much (88 lbs (40 kg) vs 44-48.5 lb. (22 kg)), heavier, but still easily handled. There is a skid under the nose to allows the V-BAT to be laid on the deck. Cruise speeds are similar. Dash speed is actually a little higher for the V-BAT (90 vs 80 knots). V-BAT has “Wind Limitations: 20 kt + 5 kt gust spread” for takeoff that should be relatively easy to achieve by adjusting course and speed to minimize wind over deck, but it might be a factor if we want to launch during a chase. V-BAT has a 182cc 15 HP 2-cylinder EFI engine which can use either a Gas-Oil Mix or JP-4/5/8. It has a remote start and can provide 500 watts onboard electrical power. It has a 350 mile range (statute miles I presume, so about 300 nautical miles) and has a highly accurate fuel monitoring system

Martin V-BAT UAV

Interestingly, for operation from say a Webber Class FRC, there is also a smaller electric eV-BAT.

  • Wing Span: 5 ft
  • Length: 4 ft
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Ceiling: 5k ft
  • Speed: 50 kts
  • Propulsion: 3 HP electric motor

The electric eV-BAT is probably both very reliable and very quiet. I am guessing, based on what I know the technology it has an endurance of about 20 minutes. Its sensors would be limited by the lower payload weight.

Don’t believe any of these smaller UAVs have a “sense and avoid” system to prevent mid-airs so they, and the surrounding air space, has to be monitored while they are airborne.

The News Release:

—-

Guard evaluates new technology for unmanned aircraft system operations

V-BAT vertical take-off and landing

A V-BAT vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial system prepares to land on the flight deck of the Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead during a C4F “innovation cell” test of the VTOL. Photo courtesy of Martin UAV V-BAT.


The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC), Coast Guard Atlantic Area and U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) conducted a collaborative unmanned aircraft system (UAS) pilot program utilizing a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAS Aug. 13-14. The pilot program utilized contractor-owned, contractor-operated UAS services on-board Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility for a short-term deployment.

“SOUTHCOM has long had interest in the demonstration of this technology, and we are always looking for opportunities to advance our knowledge of its capabilities,” said Cameron Stanley, command science adviser for USSOUTHCOM. “This was a great opportunity to evaluate the potential use of this technology alongside our critical interagency partners to advance the state of practice and enable our collective response to common operational challenges.”

The Martin UAV V-BAT was used for this program; it is the first-ever VTOL medium range UAS to be evaluated during an operational Coast Guard patrol. Because of the vertical takeoff, a VTOL UAS does not require any additional gear on the flight deck to support operations, unlike other UAS that require launch and recovery devices.

The deployment is providing the RDC invaluable data for supporting future VTOL medium range UAS capabilities and efforts involving Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations. While the evaluation is looking at how successfully VTOL systems take off and land on board a Coast Guard cutter, patrol data can be used to refine the concept of operations and requirements for installing and integrating VTOL UAS across current and future cutter classes.

UAS technology has already proven to be a game changer for the Coast Guard. Information provided by sensors aboard UAS “impacts timelines for obtaining a statement of no objection for boarding vessels, provides situational awareness for boarding crews prior to embarking on targets of interest and provides a better covert means for tracking targets of interest,” resulting in enhanced maritime domain awareness and mission execution, explained Stephen Dunn, RDC aviation research scientist. “The VTOL system takes things a step further by reducing the footprint of the UAS for future Coast Guard cutter acquisitions,” Dunn said.

For more information: Research and Development Center program page and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program page

“Coast Guard to develop drone interception capability” –Defense Systems

Defense systems reports that,

“The U.S. Coast Guard is developing a counter-drone capability to both protect its own locations and to guard protected assets under special circumstances as provided for under a recent law.”

Ever since a quadcopter crash landed about two meters from German Prime Minister Angela Merkel in 2013 there has been a recognition that these systems might be used for sinister purposes.

Terrorist have started using drones as a cruise missile, lite.

The R&D Center has apparently already had a successful test.