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Defense and Security

Introduction

KACST has started developing advanced defense and security technologies, in partnership with different institutions, in response to the challenges that the Kingdom faces because of various environmental factors.

 

Introduction

The defense and security sector is an important sector in the Kingdom. Thus, KACST, through its National Center for Electronics and Photonics Technology and its National Center for Sensor Technology and Defense Systems, in cooperation with global partners, has invested in all possible competencies to localize the latest global technologies. These efforts have resulted in the transfer and localization and then development of these technologies.

Radar and Electronic Warfare Technologies are considered the main actors in modern surveillance and armament systems, due to their ability to operate in all climatic conditions, their accuracy in sensing surrounding hazards, and their ability to collect information and to identify and disable threat if necessary. Command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance are key technologies in modern defense and security systems. The programmable radios are one of the most advanced technologies in this regard. Laser technologies and their military and security uses are important tools that countries are keen to acquire, along with high-resolution thermal and night imaging techniques.

KACST conducts joint research with leading research institutions in order to achieve the following strategic objectives:

  • Developing high value technology.
  • Constructing an advanced engineering infrastructure.
  • Building national capacities and competencies for the production of modern technologies.
  • Promoting excellence in engineering research, systems engineering, research methods and project management.

Projects

Muasher is a human tracking device designed and developed to be wearable on the arm. The device uses GPS to locate the device holder using satellite communication. This method allows the user to be tracked in areas without communication availability. The device also has a heart rate sensor to detect heart beats in order to make sure that the device holder is alive. It also monitors the wearers biometric results. The device has a two-way communication tool to allow the host station to be remotely configuration. The battery life will last for an average of 24 hours. It can potentially last longer depending on the transmission period. Another feature of Muasher is its distress button for an emergency call. This feature allows the holder to send an instant request for help. The battery can be replaced and recharged easily. Muasher is small in size and highly usable, with waterproof capabilities.

This device is designed and developed to capture the hand palm vein. It works by sensing the blood Hemoglobin using the IR. The captured picture has a very low False Rejection Rate (0.01%), and False Acceptance Rate (0.0001%). This methodology works by placing the hand at a distance of 5 cm away from the sensor. The device design is highly usable to make the capturing technique easier for the user. The device comes with a touchable display to allow configuration, and to show the device information. Oroq is powered either through Ethernet or through a power supply. The device can also be hung on a wall or on top of a flat surface. The device memory is 32 GB and can be extended to be 64 GB. It has a trigger to control door access once the user is verified. The device is designed to be used for highly secured access areas and for more hygienic access options such as in hospitals.

With the recent development in robotics industries, several companies, factories and military entities started deploying robotics platforms to perform precise and accurate tasks. This will decrease the number of human error, and saves money and lives of whom are involved in dangerous tasks. This project is initiated to transfer the knowledge of robotics and smart systems and to develop local platforms to be used in different scenarios. Recently a flying robot has been developed to control another robotic platform on ground. This flying robot has the capability to stay in flying mode for several hours thanks to the lightweight with the mix of battery and fuel engine. This robot is also used in exploration missions and take live pictures sent directly to the operation room to help other robotics platform on ground avoid obstacles and barriers. On the other hand, a development project of the platform MR110 is carried out to convert the initial prototype into real production with the collaboration of our Korean partner, Hanool.

This is a transportable electronic system which has been designed to measure radar cross-sections (RCS) of moving space or maritime targets. The system used a highly accurate calibration scheme to assure a very accurate result can be obtained. The system also has the capability to identify these types of targets by analyzing different radar signal characteristics. In order to cover most anticipated radars, the system operates on a wide frequency domain and can be easily moved to carry out in-field tests. Qeyas is equipped with optical cameras to track the target. The system can be used to create a database for friend or foe fighters. It can also provide logistical support to forces in battlefield situations by suggesting the appropriate areas for placing weapons and arms and identifying the appropriate angles for attacking targets. It can also be used to identify the efficiency of electronic tricks and deceptions.

This project aims at enhancing the national capacities in tracking air targets. The tracking system, which is a mobile radar, specialized for tracking air targets, offers a flexible working platform with high capabilities, that allows researchers to develop target tracking software.

The system consists of an advanced radar signal processor, equipped with the most-up-to-date algorithms specialized in processing radar signals, allowing the system to track more than two targets at the same time (within the radiation range). The system is also able to alter frequencies between signals, as it shows great flexibility at high speed, enabling the system to be an ideal research environment for those interested in developing algorithms for defense systems. It is also characterized with the easiness in adding or developing processing algorithms, due to its structure and the quality and ease of documentation.

The system is also equipped with a large memory to save the radar signals in a high capacity. It is provided with eighteen screens to display the radar signals, covering all its phases, and facilitate the implementation of research tasks. Digital cameras to follow-up and identify targets, are also included within the system.

The system consists of two separate rooms; one is dedicated to the devices and equipment, and the other is dedicated to the operation process. Such a design provides a suitable working environment for researchers.

The system is used as a research facility to develop tracking radars, and analyze the effects of natural occurrences on the radar. It can also be used, in the field of cyber warfare, as a tracking device, to identify the effectiveness of methods used in this war.

The project is aiming at developing a field radar tracking method, including a radar tracker in the Excel range with an optical sensor.

The data processing controls the patterns of the target information technology and help in selecting the waves and collecting data.

Sarab is a small portable radar which can be easily mounted and moved onto a normal pick up vehicle. The radar is designed to be LPI (low prosperity of intercept) in order to make it difficult to be discovered by electronic support devices. Nevertheless, the system can still detect relatively small targets whether they are on ground, in water, or in the air. The system has two dimensional radars that are able to measure target range and the azimuth direction. The system can cover a complete 360 degrees angle with continuous scanning manner. It can detect flying targets up to an altitude of 10,000 feet. Sarab operates in different weather conditions to monitor small objects, and is used in continuous airspace monitoring operations at low altitudes, whether in a mountainous, coastal or even in desert regions. It can be used in land and coastline borders surveillance, and can be used as an efficient system in surveillance operations that require extraordinary fast presence.

The aim of this project is to develop a collaborative fundamental research program between KACST and Arizona State University (ASU), USA. The main goal of this program is to develop and advance electromagnetic (EM) scattering and antenna technologies. The program is to focus on EM scattering reduction techniques and antenna technologies using Electromagnetic Band-Gap (EBG) High Impedance Surfaces (HISs). Both areas are to concentrate on challenging low-profile and conformal flat and curved/flexible structures. Specifically, the main topics on this project are: RCS (Radar Cross Section) reduction using conformal and low-profile checkerboard EBG HIS surfaces, antenna array technology using EBG HIS conformal and low-profile structures, and beam forming and beam steering using Holographic Artificial Impedance Surfaces (HAISs). Moreover, this collaboration is aiming to build a high tech antenna lab at KACST. The lab will allow KACST researchers and students from different university to design, build, and test the flexible antennas.

This projects aims to build the electronic war information management system that has been designed fully by KACST for the Joint Electronic Warfare Center at the Ministry of Defense. The system is composed of a set of subsystems, including an electronic intelligence database and a signal intelligence database, that are equipped with the appropriate analysis tools, geographic information system (GIS), electronic document management system (EDMS), workflow system and reporting system. The entire system is protected by an appropriate set of mechanisms to enforce strong access control to the system. All the sub-systems have been integrated to function as a single coherent unit which helps in improving user experience and makes the system easy to use. The current system has the following features:

It was fully developed locally by a Saudi team.

It meets the standards of the Joint Electronic Warfare Center at the Ministry of Defense.

It helps the employees at the Joint Electronic Warfare Center simplify their daily work at all stages.

It helps in correctly assessing the current situation and making the right decision.

It is easy to integrate with other systems.

The main goal of this project is to put KACST on the international map of communities that compete on designing the most efficient security standards. The project studied the design and development of a very efficient cryptographic algorithm for two major types of applications: public networks (i.e., the internet) and ubiquitous and pervasive networks (e.g., mobile communications, and wireless sensor networks).

Most of the existing cryptographic algorithms are designed independently of each other to serve one property, either to protect the message secrecy (via encryption) or to protect its integrity. In addition, these algorithms are designed to run on both conventional computers with medium to large processing capabilities and on small devices (e.g., IoT devices) with limited capabilities.

This project comes in alignment with the strategic goal that was set by the Information Security Committee in KACST to build national capabilities in cryptography field and in designing national cryptographic algorithms to protect the information resources of Saudi Arabia.

The project aims to construct and equip a national cybersecurity laboratory containing the latest scientific tools in the field of information and network security in order to support national research in this area and to be supportive of researchers and specialists in the field of information security. The lab will enable researchers to conduct research, simulate attacks and defense techniques, and perform threat analysis.

The project is expected to finish by the middle of 2017. The goals of the project are:

To have a collaborative approach to the design, implementation and transfer of knowledge to the laboratory.

To provide structured training for the center’s employees.

To empower the center’s employees to obtain in-depth knowledge about how each stage of the laboratory is constructed and operated. This allows the employees to develop the necessary skills to effectively implement planning processes and to gain the ability to train new members in the laboratory.

To form a key role in developing the cyber lab by building other security programs, as well as increasing cooperation with national and international organizations in the field of cybersecurity.

The lab will also provide consulting services to government agencies as well as training courses for those interested in encryption, information security and networks.

The project includes providing intensive training courses for all researchers at the center. These courses covered various major cybersecurity-related topics such as cryptography, digital forensics, reverse engineering, network security, application security and penetration testing. Training was provided by specialists and experts from different countries, such as Russia, Turkey, Australia and India. Researchers were also tested in order to verify the effectiveness of the training program, in assessments ranging from 3 to 6 hours, depending on the course. The aim of these tests was to evaluate the knowledge gained by the researchers and also provide them with a chance to practice the learning materials that were taught in the course.