Pound for pound (5,300 lbs), dollar for dollar, you won’t find a multi-mission defense system as effective at what it was designed to do than Liteye’s SHIELD System isn’t just another counter unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) – it’s a multi-mission, multi-domain defense machine! It does C-UAS and so much more, we’re talking detection, track, identify, and defense of drones, vehicles, aircrafts, missiles, and combatants, just about anything that moves on ground, sea, or air. This layered system with bolt on capabilities provides defense of airfields, launch pads, ports, borders, anywhere you need to create a dome of protection in a matter of minutes.
Today’s warfare has gone completely high tech, and one of the weapons of choice in the theater we’ve all heard about or seen in action on social media – those killer drones that drop grenades on soldiers and go on suicide bombings mission in the Russo-Ukrainian War. One scenario I have yet to hear about or see footage of that is bound to happen is a massive drone swarm attack. Likely, it’s probably already happened, too.
So, what can Liteye’s SHIELD System do that guns or shoulder-fired Stinger missiles can’t against these dastardly drones? Oh, let me tell you – the SHIELD System packs a devastating array of whoopass. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Because just how in tarnation did I even get myself into this precarious position of working on one of the world’s most coveted DoD weapon Systems?
From CU-Buff Boy to Star Wars
It would have seemed completely implausible that a long-haired, hippie and pacifist-looking dude, who graduated from CU-Boulder with degrees in English Literature and News Editing would ever become a proud card-carrying member of the Defense Industrial Base as a technical writer? Sounds a bit contrived or the ultimate oxymoron, right!?!?
Well, I blossomed at CU and went straight into newspapers reporting for the Sterling Journal-Advocate, Summit Daily News in Breckenridge, Colorado Daily, and did several freelance gigs for other publications, including the Boulder Weekly, Boulder County Business Report, Colorado Fishing and Hunting News
The Lockheed Martin Years
After leaving the Colorado Daily, I came across a job opening at the local Job Services Office for a technical writer at Lockheed Martin in Gunbarrel. I called Mr. Kersch about once a month to see if he had any openings. He knew I wasn’t going to stop calling either. So, one pleasant day, he relented and invited me in for an interview.
In 1998, I began my momentous trek in DoD technical writing, albeit as an associate tech writer, on Lockheed Martin’s (LM) Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Program. It was a tad frightening at first – what with all the cameras, flashing lights in corridors, background check (yes, I had to get a clearance), interrogation by a U.S. Federal Marshal, sometimes armed military guards on the grounds, and not to mention handling documents labeled “CLASSIFIED – FOR YOUR EYES ONLY!” It was one of the most exciting programs I’ve ever been on. Nobody knew what the other was doing because the program was so secret and compartmentalized. I basically wrote operating procedures as well as troubleshooting for the SBIRS operator’s console/graphical user interface (GUI).
Since, I was still making paltry pay after a year, I decided to seek bigger fortunes upon entering the E-commerce age. I took a mid-level gig making twice as much for Global Commerce Systems, which laid an egg and handed out pink slips to the entire workforce after only a year and half. Luckily, LM was happy to take me back, since I already had an active clearance. They ponied up on pay too. Near the end of the program, I had the opportunity to go to SBIRS Mission Control at an undisclosed location to document power on and power off procedures for the entire computer hardware room. While at the facility, I got to see the command center, which made the bridge of the USS Enterprise look like a 7-11 checkout counter. It even had an executive war room that rivaled any I had seen in the movies.
Once Increment 1 of SBIRs was done, things slowed down and I was offered another role on the Multi-Mobile Mission Processor (M3P), which was a hardened relay ground station with a TAMS antenna. The M3P Systems was supposed to replace Joint Tactical Ground Stations (JTAGS), but never did (I hear those units are still sitting in a depot here in Colorado).
At the tail end of M3P, I had the choice of staying on to support M3P for sustainment or join a new spy plane program called the Aerial Common Sensor (ACS). What swayed me to join that program was learning the new Arbortext XML editor to write all the documentation. That program had a lot of promise, but then Gulf War II started and the program was cancelled by Congress to save money for the war. From there I went down to Colorado Springs to work on the Cheyenne Mountain Deconfliction Program.
Combining Writing & My Passion for the Outdoors and Shooting
I opted to leave the Springs for safer pastures and landed a copywriting gigs at Cabela’s and four years later for Brownells.
If a copywriter could pass their outdoors and hunting test and could hack getting through the two-day orientation program, which felt more like a multi-level marketing/large-group awareness training session, then you got to play with the latest and greatest outdoor sporting equipment known to man at Cabela’s. Salaried employees also enjoyed the once fabled “Green Sheet” discount, which meant you could buy nearly everything (except guns and ammo) for cost.
I decided to leave Cabela’s to learn more about guns and how to build them at Brownells in Montezuma, Iowa. Here I cranked out copy about the latest in shooting technology, reloading equipment, and AR-15s and the furniture to pimp them out. Oh, and I got to play with plenty of fully automatic weapons. After a couple of years, I decided to move back to Colorado to be near my mom, who wasn’t long for this world due to COPD and emphysema. At the time, the job market was so bad that I was pulling double duty, working the gun counter at Dick’s Sporting Goods and cleaning banks at night. Luckily, I did land a great job with a small web hosting/search engine optimization company called Epic Web Results.
However, it was a long slog before I got a bite at another DoD tech writing position. Apparently, an Apache helicopter pilot came across my bio online and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) snapped me up. In the beginning, it was all Nerf guns and Google-like goofing around for about the first two years, before the program team got serious about its mission. I was the only technical writer servicing the engineering team on the Dream Chaser (DC) Program, which is being touted as the next generation space station resupply space vehicle.
SNC spun off the Dream Chaser Program into a subsidiary company called Sierra Space. The engineering department that I fell under had me doing everything from writing process plans (PPNs/Work Orders/and Travelers) to editing system requirements and statements of work (SOWs) to ordering non-flight consumable parts, supplies, and materials, keeping status on program metrics, and issuing engineering change numbers (ECNs) and minor corrections as engineering change requests (ECRs) on behalf of the engineers. Once design was done and the formal Concept Reviews (CR), Preliminary Design Reviews (PDR), and Critical Design Reviews (CDR) slowly came to an end, I began to get concerned as the DC we were building kept slipping its scheduled launch (in fact, as of this writing it has slipped a third launch date).
There’s Several Ways to Detect, Track, and Defeat or Destroy a Drone (C-UAS)
After having several chats, phone interviews, and meeting my future boss Marya Mista, Liteye’s Chief Marketing Officer, as well as Kenneth Geyer, Liteye’s Founder and CEO, and about three months of waiting for an offer, I became Liteye’s Senior Technical Writer.
Day one, I began building templates and writing the initial draft for the SHIELD specification sheet. One look at the SHIELD System and one gets the impression that there’s some serious radio bands happening in this beast.
SHIELD is the next generation product offering following the Containerized Anti-UAS Defense System (C-AUDS), which is designed to detect, track, identify, and disrupt/or defeat Group 1 (20 lbs maximum; 100 knots) and Group 2 (21 to 55 lbs/less than 250 knots) fixed-and-rotary winged drones aka Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The system itself integrates so much technology and customizable components, it’s mind-blowing.
- Its active Spyglass radar (created by our partners at Numerica Corporation in Ft. Collins) can detect small UAS by searching for radio signals in the atmosphere, while the radar’s scanning mode is better equipped for picking up larger UAS far away or at lower elevations.
- And, if the operator wants to get super stealthy and go into silent mode they can use D-Fend Solutions’ EnforceAir RF-cyber system to pick up unique RF signals; positively track its position; and establish the UAS type, the take-off location, and the operator’s real-time position.
- SHIELD’s antenna mast sits atop a massive moveable positioner that can slew 360 degrees in azimuth and has an inhibitor angle of 45 degrees in elevation, which is adjustable from -20 to 60 degrees.
- At the heart of this beast is SHIELD’s antenna cluster, which carries an incredible array of mitigating factors to handle unfriendly drones, including directional RF jammers that emit a cone RF energy to defeat nefarious UAS.
- Once a UAS is detected, an operator can use the mission interface for multi-domain interdiction and reconnaissance (MIMIR) command and control (C2) software system (also a Numerica integrated product) to track a possible hostile UAS by honing in with a joystick. Yes, even the miliary has gone full gamer!
- SHIELD uses medium and long-range thermal cameras from Excelitas Technologies to locate and acquire the UAS.
Once found, SHIELD locks onto the UAS to determine if it is a friend or foe (IFF). Then what? What should we do if a UAV is found to be a foe?
- That’s when the SHIELD System puts the spank on those rascals!
- Our SHIELD System is so versatile it’s a multi-domain/multi-mission monster prepared to pounce whether the foe is air, ground, or marine-based. SHIELD can be there too!
- When we say multi-mission and multi-domain, we’re not kidding. The SHIELD System is an ideal multi-mission defense system for space launch facilities, harbor ports, and obviously several branches of the military for ground and military base surveillance.
- When it comes to defeating a threat, the SHIELD System can defeat UASs or other targets with a couple of options:
- Firstly, UASs can be blasted using the active radar’s Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), ultrahigh frequency, low beam of RF energy. Drone down!
- Similarly, other targets can be handled by an operator, who can switch over to EnforceAir’s passive radar to hit it with a high-power microwave (HPM) burst. The SHIELD operator can even effectively disconnect a UAS from its controlled operation to crash it or take it over initiate a Cyber takeover to land it in a safe zone for recovery and future forensics.
That’s all fine and dandy, right?
“Well, what if the enemy sends an armada of suicide drones to take out your position?” you ask. That’s when an operator takes SHIELD full gusto and goes into SWARM Mode!
- The directional RF antennas alone can handle dozens of UAS in a tight formation or in dispersed groups. All the operator must do is slew (swing) the antenna cluster positioner at its targets and BOOM! The number of dead drones SHIELD can lay waste to is seemingly endless! Those agents of chaos could even be directly overhead, and SHIELD could deploy havoc on them.
- SHIELD also has the capability to integrate and mount a fully autonomous/automatic machine gun turret, a laser, and some other things we probably can’t even talk about here.
- The SHIELD payload can even be mounted on a trailer, an expedition modular autonomous vehicle (EMAV), a ship, or whatever platform that can handle its mass and footprint.
You know what the coolest thing about the SHIELD System probably is:
- The operator doesn’t even have to be at the weapon site.
- They could be miles, states, or even countries or continents away and still operate it.
In a world currently full of turmoil and military aggression going on, aren’t you glad we have the SHIELD System on our side? I know I am.
Liteye Company Background
Established in 2000, Liteye Systems Inc. is a leader in surveillance and defense systems for the protection of critical assets and/or infrastructure. Liteye’s suite of products includes covert thermal cameras, tactical displays, ground-based radars, and a full suite of C-UAS capabilities.
Sr. Technical Writer at Liteye Systems
Sam is the Sr. Technical Writer at Liteye Systems. He is responsible for writing operation and maintenance manuals, training material, specification sheets, whitepapers, press releases, website content, and blogs.