Tag Archives: shephard

Leaves of change

Autumn, or Fall for our US friends, is now in full effect, and as the fallen leaves start piling up outside of Shephard Towers, we are looking at our sense of change.

In September, we refreshed our branding and rolled out a new fully responsive website, and we are now focusing on, among other things, developing our email content and delivery.

Please do get in touch with any feedback or if you would like to learn more about accessibility email me at: marketing@shephardmedia.com


US Army advances robotic mule use


Ten unmanned systems will be taking part in the US Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) programme with trials currently taking place at Fort Benning, Georgia, Shephard has learnt…

Frigates and OPVs parade three by three in Australia


Frigates and OPVs were a major focus at the Pacific International Maritime Exposition in Sydney last week, with each programme – Project Sea 5000 and Sea 1180 respectively – shortlisted to three contenders each after RfTs were earlier issued.

KAI unveils T-50A variant


Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled its latest variant of the T-50 advanced jet trainer (AJT) at this week’s Seoul ADEX, being held from 17-22 October.


BAE showcases SHORAD for Bradley

Rheinmetall Canada displays armed UGV

Helitech 2017: Show review 


Event highlights

Defence & Security 2017

This year’s Defense & Security event in Thailand kicks off next week and we will be providing both news and video coverage. If you are there, please visit us at Booth B 15.


Dubai Airshow 2017

From 12-16 November, we will be covering this year’s Dubai Airshow. If you are at the show, make sure to drop by our booth (1882) and say hello.

I/ITSEC 2017

We will be providing news and video coverage of this year’s I/ITSEC, from 27 Nov to 1 Dec, in Orlando, Florida. Come see us at Booth 2117.

Other events

In November, we will also be attending Global MilSatCom and the Commercial UAV Show in London; Milipol in Paris; and AOC Annual in Washington.

If you would like to learn more about Shephard please visit www.shephardmedia.com

Andreea Tomut, Marketing Manager



RIAT 2017: Tattoo markings in the sky

This year’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford did not disappoint with its wide range of aircraft on static display and those flying across the skies above.

Among those on flying display was the Airbus A400M transport aircraft. While the aircraft has been blighted by cracks in the propeller gearbox, despite this in March of this year Indonesia confirmed its intent to purchase four A400Ms.

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Another crowd pleaser was the RAF’s Chinook which demonstrated its prowess by wowing the crowds with its balancing act on its rear wheels and then taking off again.

Also present at the show were strategic strike bombers such as the US Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress and, in a rare appearance, the U-2 ISR aircraft.

The US Air Force aircraft has recently been involved in intelligence gathering operations in Afghanistan and has now been operated by the air force for more than 50 years.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s E-7A Wedgetail was on display with its radar mounted on its fuselage – the aircraft present at the show had recently been conducting ISTAR missions in the Middle East.

Fighter aircraft displaying their wares included the F-15 and the Eurofighter Typhoon while rotorcraft present included the HH-60G Pave Hawk and the AW159 Wildcat amongst many others.

For more news from the show, please visit https://www.shephardmedia.com/show-news/air-power-conference-2017/

From fiction to action

I recently met with Bell Helicopter’s design and engineering team about the aesthetics of their concept aircraft the FCX-001.

When looking at the aircraft it is easy to see elements seemingly influenced by film and TV such as Star Wars and Flight of the Navigator, and this was deliberate. The team told me how at the drawing board stage they went with their imaginations before the final design.

While Bell might be prioritising the technologies on board the FCX-001 over the platform itself; the capacity to experiment and play with designs brings excitement to an industry which has seemed gloomy in relation to the oil and gas market.

Levi Bilbrey, senior brand strategist at Bell Helicopter, explained further. ‘We are using virtual reality as an experimental tool for market as a design tool[and] looking at augmented reality as a pilot and a passenger experience. We are thinking that the cockpit of the future is going to be a heads-up display.’

Here at Quill we’ve had a bit of fun looking at the wider aerospace market and how sometimes art (in the loosest sense of the word) imitates life.

On AvGeek forums we have been wrestling with fellow enthusiasts over whether Thunderbird 2 resembles the KC-390 or the An-124. What do you think?

Heli-Expo 2017: Shephard hits town

The Shephard team arrived in Dallas, Texas on Saturday night for a week of helicopter excitement at Heli-Expo 2017.

After some steaks, birthday cake and a good night sleep, the team went out and about to explore.

For the rest of the show we are hard at work bringing you all the latest helicopter news. Keep an eye on our show news site for updates through out the week.

For now enjoy the behind the scenes video:

Staying peerless on the battlefield

Shephard Media has suddenly become a lot more acquainted with the world of military special forces following our acquisition of Special Operations Forces (SOF) magazine.

As if the critical role that SOF operators play in current campaigns was not obvious enough, opening the recent AFCEA West exhibition, a former Supreme Allied Commander Europe was clear about the need for ‘peerless special forces’.

ADM James G. Stavridis, US Navy (retired), placed an unrivalled SOF capability alongside advances in cyber and unmanned systems as essential for US forces to meet current and emerging threats.

‘You are going to see some changes to that traditional force, which I would argue for the navy, for example, ought to be around 340 ships. But you are going to need better cyber capability; we are going to need bet­ter unmanned platforms, including those operating in the maritime space and the overhead; and we are going to need peerless Special Forces,’ ADM Stavridis told the gathered delegates.

He cited the example of US Navy SEAL Michael Murphy who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2005 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Red Wings.

‘Today he is memorialised in the destroyer USS Michael Murphy. We need peerless special forces like Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL, but also he represents in my mind all of the wonderful volunteers in the services who stand on the wall at night and protect us.’

One crucial element in the Pentagon’s security strategy is the role SOF units are playing in building partner nations SF capacity, which is a central theme to our second issue of 2017.

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In a comprehensive commentary, Lt Gen Ken Tovo and Lt Col Duane Mosier outline the ways in which members of US SOF continue to develop effective partner forces in countries around the world, helping them to win against determined enemies.

Providing examples from Afghanistan, Colombia and Iraq, the US Army Special Operations Com­mand (USASOC) leadership outlines how US SOF has ‘built, trained and developed effective partner forces through persistent and deliberate engagement’.

Elsewhere in the issue, we speak to the head of Special Operations Command in Spain about the new command’s success in coordinating the country’s Army, Air Force and Navy SOF.

Brig Gen Jaime Íñiguez Andrade explains that, in line with the creation of joint commands in other Western countries, the development of the new command and increased resources Madrid has allocated to SOF activities is a recognition of the importance of SF in light of current threats.

We also look at the development of SOF units across Latin America, frequently in partnership with the US, as well as the introduction of new technologies to make working within an interna­tional coalition easier and more effective.

Current operations are demanding more and more from the SOF community, forcing operators to seek new force-multiplying technologies across a widening spectrum of mission sets.

This is most prevalent across the Middle East – particularly the partnering missions with Iraqi and Kurdish forces against Daesh – and Eastern Europe, where coalitions of SOF units are central to ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaigns.

U.S. Army Soldiers from the 7th Special Forces Group prepare to fast-rope out of a UH-60 Blackhawk during Fast Rope Insertion and Extraction training as part of Emerald Warrior at Hurlburt Field, Fla., April 22, 2015. Emerald Warrior is the Department of Defense's only irregular warfare exercise, allowing joint and combined partners to train together and prepare for real world contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Norman/Released)

US Army Soldiers from the 7th Special Forces Group prepare to fast-rope out of a UH-60 Blackhawk.

From Russia’s electronic warfare capability to the (increasingly armed) airborne ISR assets developed by Daesh, emerging new threats will require SOF units to work ever harder to remain ‘peerless’ on the battlefield.

Going underground – tactical comms

By Andrew White

Since the main assault to retake the City of Mosul from Daesh launched on 17 October 2016, the progress of Iraqi and coalition security forces appears to have been halted as defending forces take the fight into the subterranean environment.

According to US DoD estimates, anywhere between four and ten thousand Daesh fighters remain in Mosul with gains made by the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) already being curbed.


USAF Colonel John Dorrian, the DoD spokesperson in Iraq, explained to the media in October, IS or Daesh had started to build tunnels throughout Mosul ahead of the openly planned offensive well before offensive actions were triggered.

Such a tactic, Dorrian conceded, would present ‘unique tactical and operational’ concerns for advancing forces conducting missions to clear miles and miles of subterranean tunnel networks that they use for tactical movement and to hide weapons.


According to Obsidian Technologies’ Charles Cavanagh, communications in subterranean environments present significant challenges for armed forces including different refraction and reflection of signals off wet, dry, tiled and irregular walls; interference from nearby high-power systems; as well as assault teams remaining in close enough contact to maintain relay linkages.

‘This is a multi-faceted problem space. In the cave and tunnel environment, Line of Sight communication is pretty
much absolute and there are added challenges such as multi-path communications; radio discipline; and command and control,’ he explained to Digital Battlespace.

Critical to any military operation is communication and the ability to successfully transmit and receive calls to, from and within the subterranean environment. This is an issue which continues to hound defence forces today, particularly prevalent for Special Operations Forces (SOF) conducting complex counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in urban environments.

Defence sources associated with ISOF explained to Digital Battlespace how Iraqi CT Forces lacked such capability on a grand scale, now required to achieve mature tactical communications connectivity across subterranean environments.

More mature SOF organisations globally have previously relied upon the use of tactical repeater systems which could be cached in sequence throughout underground areas of operation in order to relay communications via Line of Sight to the surface.

However, the market is now witnessing the emergence of specialist standalone technology as well as the development of tailored waveforms capable of being integrated on board Software Defined Radios.

Standalone options revolved around the utility of Through-The-Earth (TTE) communications, capable of penetrating ultra low radio frequency waves (300-3000 Hz) through rock and dirt. Such technology derives from the mining industry where higher frequency signals have traditionally been rebroadcast or relayed through antenna and repeater stations as well as mesh solutions such as the popular Mobile Ad Hoc Networking systems proliferating the defence and security market today.

rf-7850m-hh-multiband-networking-handheld-radio-2Additionally, significant attention must be paid to communication headsets with the US DoD selecting Atlantic Signal’s Subterranean Voice Communication System on 19th September 2016.

‘You need a headset and microphone system which can allow you to listen around corners in a very quiet environment. Radio communication needs to be separate to ear canal so some operators can prefer a microphone instead of bone conductor through the ear.

‘On top of that, operations in underground or enclosed spaces can go from very quiet to very noisy so operators need communications headsets with the capability to enhance listening but also actively protect the ears.

Atlantic Signal designed the Dominator II headset which was initially developed in tandem with the US Naval Special Warfare Command.

For more see the feature on Middle East tactical communications developments in the January/February 2017 edition of Digital Battlespace, out now!

DVE solutions

The other night, I attended the Royal Aeronautical Society’s talk on ‘tactical helicopter flight in degraded visual environments (DVE)’.

Desert operations which have taken place recently in Afghanistan and Iraq have generally taken place during brownouts and these have driven the US Army to tackle flying in instrument meteorological conditions.

Furthermore, it has been reported that US Army research states that there have been nine to ten fatalities a year between 2001 and 2015 due to DVE accidents. This works out to be around 140 lives lost over 14 years.

This loss of life is motivating the US Army to take serious action with regards to a working DVE solution with the US government.

‘We are losing lives every year, and by bringing it in-house, where the government is doing the integration, and leveraging what it has already been doing with brownout, then we can develop a solution much faster,’ Col Matt Hannah, PM Aviation Systems at PEO Aviation, told Shephard in April this year at Quad A in Atlanta, Georgia.

Further to market research, the US Army will be utilising emerging technology being developed by the Pentagon for its Brownout Rotorcraft Enhancement System.

Prospective DVE solutions were put forward by Nova Systems. One was the consideration of roadmaps which are being utilised by the UAV community and this ‘drives’ funding for roadmaps more widely because of the capability of UAVs to operate everywhere.

12th CAB Chinook conducts whiteout environmental training

The US Army will use future government technology to aid operations in challenging conditions

Technologically, the smartening of symbology could be heightened when approaching a landing site.

This raised an interesting discussion on whether pilots flying synthetically with HMDs was a proactive approach to the challenges posed by DVE.

This in turn spurred on a debate in relation to virtual reality as a false friend because if databases are not fully updated prior to flight this could effect a pilot’s approach, especially if obstacles on a landing site appear which are not within the programme.

Generations of naval aviators gather for Marine Corps Aviation Association Symposium, Marine Aviation Summit

Are HMDs a solution to DVE?

What is evident is the call for operation and operational standards, especially when trying to reach technology readiness state eight which looks at systems and subsystems development.

The talk raised some pertinent questions and challenges. The need for a solution is present but is there a demand from the wider helicopter community – commercial, HEMS to EMS? And if so can there be a collaborative approach on the issue in the UK and more widely the world?

What will be interesting to see is if the community are waiting to see what the Pentagon produces and whether that can be applied to rotorcraft going forward.

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