Page 20 - Australian Defence Magazine Oct 2018
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Counter-drone tech tackles more than just drones
MUCH of the hype at Land Forces focused on the various drones hanging over stalls, racing through obstacle courses, or weaving their way in between unaware delegates.
Less flashy were the counter-drone solu- tions on show, although by no means less interesting. Department 13, an ASX-listed company partnered with Brisbane-based EPE, launched the first mobile prototype of its Mesmer counter-drone technology.
D13 worked with EPE and Thales to de- velop the system and fully integrate the pro- totype into a command-variant Bushmaster on display. Mesmer software operates on the Bushmaster’s Electronic Warfare Plat- form, which is one of the mission systems equipment and integration capabilities that Thales offers in the vehicles.
“I am very pleased to be able to announce the integration of Mesmer onto a mobile platform,” Jonathan Hunter, Chairman and CEO of D13, said. “This comes as the result of a collaborative effort, with D13, EPE and Thales Australia.”
The mobile integration on Australian Bushmasters comes on the back of a num-
ber of successes for D13’s technology, which recent- ly came third out of 450 in the US Special Opera- tions Command’s Thun- derDrone II competition.
ADM was on hand to talk to D13’s CTO and founder Robi Sen and co- founder Ben Smith about how Mesmer is counter- ing the threat posed by the proliferation of drones and other technologies on the modern battlefield.
“The basic question is, can we trick electronics into doing what we want?” Sen said.
The Mesmer counter-drone software operated from inside a Bushmaster at Land Forces.
In short, yes. The system works by taking advantage of the common protocols systems use to communicate over networked links.
Unusually for counter-UAS technology, Mesmer uses less than one watt of power.
“Most jammers are unhealthy to be around,” Smith said. “Bleeding from the nose, sterility, that kind of thing. Not good. This thing? I can stick the antenna in my mouth and I’ll be fine.”
Mesmer, however, is only one part of a much bigger story. With the aid of improve- ments in machine learning, D13 aims to eventually use the technology to protect soldiers from robots, self-driving vehicles, and Internet of Things devices.
“We have a system that we’re going to be slowly integrating that uses machine learn- ing,” Sen said. “You feed it signals and it fig- ures everything out.”
Defence Innovation delivers NIFTI capability to Air Force
NIFTI lives up to its name.
20 | October 2018 |
AUSTRALIAN SME Defence Inno- vation has recently delivered the Non Intrusive Flight Test Instrumentation (NIFTI) capability to the Air Force’s Air Warfare Engineering (AWE) Squadron, part of the Air Warfare Centre (AWC) at RAAF Edinburgh.
As its name implies, NIFTI is a means of obtaining flight test data without having to spend significant amounts of time and
money to specially wire an aircraft or heli- copter. The system was conceived by DST and developed by Defence Innovations in collaboration with the Air Warfare Centre.
NIFTI uses proprietary wi-fi technol- ogy to capture data from quickly removable sensors, which are attached to the airframe by double-sided tape. The system was first flight tested in 2015 and in May 2018 it was successfully flown at supersonic speeds aboard an RAAF F/A-18B Hornet at Wil- liamtown.
Speaking at Land Forces 2018, Defence Innovations chairman Warren Canning

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