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25 Mar 14. Chemring Technology Solutions’ Gioconda industry consortium has been awarded an extension to an existing contract to support the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) nano-satellites research project. The work under the extension follows on from the consortium’s initial contract, which delivered a major element of Dstl’s CubeSat research project. The Gioconda consortium is comprised of Chemring Technology Solutions as prime, responsible for specialist payload system studies and innovative antenna developments; Scisys Ltd, providing space consultancy; and Clyde Space Ltd, a new member of the consortium that will enable exploitation of technologies from the commercial CubeSat domain. The consortium will deliver engineering prototypes of a nano-satellite payload to allow the assessment of their capabilities and suitability for subsequent deployment in space within a CubeSat. A CubeSat is a type of miniaturised satellite currently being developed for space research. It usually has a volume of exactly one litre (10cm cube), a mass less than one kilogram, and typically uses commercial-off-the-shelf electronic components. CubeSats offer the opportunity to demonstrate novel technologies that offer the potential for achieving revolutionary and affordable space capability in Low Earth Orbit for sensing and communications applications.
25 Mar 14. Selex ES signs new contracts worth around 60m euro for the Italian Army’s “Soldato Futuro” programme. Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, has attained further major goals within the Italian Soldato Futuro programme: the signature of two contracts, together worth about 60m euro, relating to the SWave Software Defined Radio (SDR) portable terminals and TM-NVG (Tactical Mobility Night Vision Goggles). The Soldato Futuro programme, currently being developed with the Italian Army, will lead to the complete modernisation of the systems and equipment of soldiers, aligning their operating capacities with the requirements of current and future scenarios. The first supply consists of 2726 radio SDR Hand-Helds thanks to which the Italian Army’s light infantry troops will be equipped with new wideband communication systems. This is a first batch, which has already successfully received the approval of the General Defence Staff, and is part of the lot envisaged for the next 5-6 years. The SDR, which represents the most cutting-edge synthesis of radio and IT transmissions, is a new-concept platform able to host various wave forms interoperable with systems already in use and future ones. This permits the realization of effective economies of scale for the customer, especially as regards logistical support. Selex ES is the first company in Europe to mass produce SDRs, including its portable version. The second acquisition concerns 2726 TM-NVG night vision goggles, a third-generation binocular device developed to provide state-of-the-art equipment for the nocturnal tactical mobility of the Future Soldier. This apparatus, the most advanced currently available on the market, has been designed to display all the information and map data provided by the Command and Control system on the eye-piece.
The goggles also feature an integrated camera able to return the observed scene to the Command and Control system. Hardware and software developments are expected to provide the soldier with yet further functions and for individual navigation, with the idea of further improving mobility in low-visibility conditions. The TM-NVG is also integrated in the NIMOS night mobility system, 558 uni