UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
27 Sep 21. Aerospace Xelerated has today announced that MOD has joined as a programme partner. Applications are currently open for its third cohort, with the programme being led by industry partner Boeing.
DASA finds and funds innovation to support UK national security quickly and effectively, and support UK prosperity. On behalf of the MOD, DASA will support startups by providing insights from and access to front line commands, aligning them with the MOD’s interest in national security and innovation priorities.
Anita Friend, Head of DASA, commented, “The MOD is keen to understand how early engagement between start-ups and MOD in programmes such as this can lead to improved outcomes for Defence and for the companies involved. By partnering in Aerospace Xelerated and helping the companies understand the needs and opportunities provided by Defence, we hope to accelerate our own learning as well as theirs.”
Nichola Bates, Managing Partner at Aerospace Xelerated and Head of Global Accelerators and Innovation Programs at Boeing commented, “As a programme, we’ve already been fortunate enough to work with the DASA team as mentors and experts, and I’m delighted they’ve joined as the lead for MOD’s partnership in our third year. They bring not only their expertise to our cohort but also provide access to wider MOD capabilities. There is a great opportunity for startups applying to our programme to learn from the team and make valuable connections that will make a difference to their businesses. We’ve had applications from all over the world so far, and we’re encouraging startups to get applications in early before they close on October 8th!”
Aerospace Xelerated will be investing in startups building autonomous and AI solutions that advance the way aircraft are built, from the factory floor all the way to the passenger journey.
The two previous cohorts have gone on to raise £20M in additional funding and create over 100 jobs across the UK. Organisations to work with past cohorts as partners or mentors include GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, PWC, Chevron Technology Ventures and EasyJet. Further programme partners will be announced in the coming weeks.
Startups accepted on the programme will benefit from an optional £100k equity investment from Boeing. They will also have access to strategists and technical experts from the industry and support in developing proof of concept opportunities.
Through Aerospace Xelerated, startups will be introduced to a network of angels, venture capitalists and the wider aerospace industry, throughout the 12-week programme and wider ecosystem events. Successful companies will also receive mentoring from a global network of experienced entrepreneurs, mentors and investors, plus over £100k in programme perks from partners including startup providers Google, Amazon, Stripe, Digital Ocean and many more.
Aerospace Xelerated is looking for startups across the following areas; assured autonomy; autonomous navigation; generative design; smart maintenance; adaptive learning; reduced workload and Aerospace AI Applications. Companies must be late seed-stage, software only, and working with AI or autonomous technology. (Source: ASD Network/UK MoD)
28 Sep 21. Meeting of Secretaries of State for Defense of the Eurofighter Typhoon Program. On September 27 and 28, the ministerial meeting of Secretaries of State for Defense of the Eurofighter Typhoon Program was held in person in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in which the progress of the program was assessed and the future guidelines agreed. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary of State for Defense, Esperanza Casteleiro, and was attended by her counterparts from Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy. In addition, representatives of the main industries of the nations participating in the program, as well as the CEOs of Eurofighter and Eurojet, have been present. During these two days, the various ongoing projects that will allow the next integration into the Eurofighter fleet of important capacities have been reviewed, and a common route has been agreed for the so-called P4E capabilities package, which will allow the operation of advanced radars. of electronic scanning, as well as the development of the ‘Long Term Evolution’ concept, which will be the basis for the evolution of the platform to a new generation of aircraft, maintaining the Eurofighter as a relevant weapons system and technological reference, capable of being integrated into the future FCAS concept. The slogan chosen for the ministerial meeting, “Ubi Concordia, ibi victoria” (United for success), summarizes the need to reach solid agreements that allow the development of this ambitious project. This meeting has also served to strengthen, even more, the ties that already exist as allies and partners in the common project. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/: Spanish Ministry of Defense)
28 Sep 21. Greece signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Naval Group and MBDA opening negotiations for the supply of three FDI HNs and one optional. On September 28th, Nikólaos Panayotópoulos, the Greek Minister of Defence, Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, and Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to open negotiations to provide the Hellenic Navy (HN) with three Defence and Intervention frigates (FDI HN) and their equipment as well as an optional additional
frigate. The FDI HN frigates will be built in the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient, where the second in the series for the French Navy has just entered production. The FDI HN will be an asset of power and sovereignty for Greece. With the FDI HN, the Hellenic Navy will have a state-of-the-art, high-performance surface fleet. As a first-rank frigate, the FDI HN is a compendium of the best technologies of Naval Group, Thales and MBDA, which will notably supply the ASTER 30 B1 and Exocet MM40 Block 3C missiles. It will be fully interoperable with European and NATO fleets.
Greece will become the second customer of this multi-mission frigate, bringing the number of units produced from five for the French Navy to eight in total, plus one as an option.
27 Sep 21. Navantia shortlisted to develop combat system for Polish frigates. The proposal is based on Navantia Sistemas-developed CATIZ CMS. The Polish Ministry of Defence has shortlisted Navantia as a potential partner of the PGZ-MIECZNIK consortium for the navy’s future frigate combat management system (CMS). The PGZ-MIECZNIK consortium includes the PGZ Group and PGZ Stocznia Wojenna (PGZ SW). Navantia’s proposal submitted for the tender was based on CATIZ CMS, which has been developed by Navantia Sistemas. During this stage, Navantia Sistemas will develop a CMS proposal to meet the needs of the Polish Armaments Inspectorate (AI). The company will focus on the integration of suitable sensors and weapons systems in its proposal. According to the company, the contractor decision is expected next year. The Miecznik programme involves the construction of three multi-mission frigates at the local PGZ naval shipyard in Gdynia through a ToT contract with an international firm. It is part of a strategic plan launched by the Polish Government to upgrade its armed forces with an investment of €115bn until 2035. (Source: naval-technology.com)
28 Sep 21. DoD Publishes Federal Register Notice for Input on Supply Chain Vulnerabilities and Opportunities. As part of the department’s one-year response to Executive Order (EO) 14017, America’s Supply Chains, the Department of Defense published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) soliciting comments from industry on key supply chain challenges and recommendations to strengthen the defense industrial base. The department seeks comments about supply chain vulnerabilities and opportunities in four focus areas: select kinetic capabilities, energy storage/batteries, microelectronics, and castings and forgings. The department also welcomes inputs on vulnerabilities across five systemic enablers in these supply chains, including: workforce, cyber posture, interoperability, small business, and manufacturing. Details regarding the four focus areas and five systemic enablers are provided in the FRN, in addition to specific questions for response. The focus areas and strategic enablers were selected through ongoing supply chain analysis efforts across the department, interagency, and White House, and align with the secretary’s guidance. Input from industry partners is critical to the department’s efforts to address supply chain challenges in the defense industrial base. While the FRN is the primary avenue through which DoD is collecting written feedback from industry, the Office of Industrial Policy will also leverage existing industry engagements and ad hoc events to solicit feedback over the coming months. DoD’s one-year report in response to EO 14017 will be published in February 2022. The Federal Register Notice is open until Oct. 13, 2021. The original language of Executive Order 14017 and the 100-day assessment published on June 4, 2021 can both be found on the White House website. (Source: US DoD)
24 Sep 21. Serco completes US DARPA NOMARS Phase 1A concept design.
DARPA has also down selected Serco’s Voyager team for the Phase 1B preliminary design phase.
Technology and management services provider Serco has completed Phase 1A concept design work for a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) programme.
Called ‘No Manning Required, Ship (NOMARS) X-Ship’, the programme aims to build and demonstrate an unmanned surface vessel capable of autonomous operations at sea for extended periods of time.
In addition, DARPA down selected Serco’s Voyager team for the programme’s Phase 1B preliminary design work.
The team also comprises Metron and Wartsila Defense.
Serco programme manager Nate Miller said: “DARPA has enabled us to do something cutting edge in Naval Engineering. We not only interrogate why a concept is a superior performer, but we now pinpoint each concept on the frontier of dominated alternatives.
“We can then consider it against the customer’s measures of merit, which not only helps create confidence in a particular ship point design, but we are able to quantify the relative trades, allowing for better informed requirements.”
Serco noted that DARPA expects to award Phase 2 contracts in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022 (Q1-FY22). A demo event is planned for Q3-FY24.
The programme’s second phase involves risk reduction, construction, and initial at-sea demonstration efforts.
Serco Lead Reliability Engineer Ryan Maatta said: “We really wanted to push the limits with this design, and DARPA has structured this contract in a way that allows us the freedom to consider a wide range of traditional and emergent technologies, it really is an exciting time to be in the field, it’s the kind of work that if you are lucky comes around a few times in a career and really makes it all worth it, we have a great group of engineers and sharp industry partners.”
Last year, DARPA said in a broad agency announcement that it wants to ‘explore the NOMARS design space from Conceptual Design Review (CoDR) through Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and system definition.’ (Source: naval-technology.com)
20 Sep 21. AFRL Invites New Science, Technology Ideas Through Air Force, Space Force Tech Connect. On behalf of the Department of the Air Force, as one laboratory supporting two services, the Air Force Research Laboratory has developed the Air and Space Forces Science & Technology Front Door, to connect potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities. The Department recognizes that innovative ideas often come from small businesses, industry, academia, or even a project in your neighbor’s garage that can help solve problems the department has identified.
Everybody has ideas. Many people have had an idea for a new product or technology only to have it dismissed or neglected. Sometimes we later find that others had the same idea, but were able to get it in front of the right people, resulting in their product on the market, not ours.
Ideas are relatively easy to come by; inventions and innovations are more difficult. It takes knowledge, time, money and effort to refine an idea into a workable solution, even on paper. There are formidable tasks and substantial barriers in the path of those who pursue innovation. Accomplishing these tasks and overcoming the barriers typically requires much careful planning and input from others.
The Department of the Air Force recognizes that innovative ideas often come from small businesses, industry, academia, or even a project in your neighbor’s garage that can help solve problems the Department has identified. In April of 2019, the Air Force announced its Science and Technology 2030 Strategy which lays a path forward for the U.S. Air Force science and technology ecosystem to rapidly develop warfighting capabilities.
By expanding and strengthening our partnerships, and leveraging the innovation networks within industry, small business, academia, and government laboratories, the Department is committed to delivering an effective service to connect that will ensure more external innovations have a transformational impact on the Air Force and Space Force. On behalf of the Department, as one laboratory supporting two services, the Air Force Research Laboratory has developed the Air and Space Forces Science & Technology (S&T) Front Door, to connect potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities.
Partnering or connecting with the DAF science and technology enterprise can be challenging due to its structure and various platforms of engagement. The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect website was built to help address this and support S&T ecosystem awareness, learning, engagement and unsolicited idea submission intake. The website provides access to current S&T opportunities, S&T events and other S&T enterprise connectors. It also provides innovators a portal where they can share their ideas and capabilities with an AFRL subject matter expert for potential feedback, collaborations and opportunities. With a nationwide scope to invite and nurture game-changing ideas and technology that might come from anywhere and anyone that can ultimately benefit the warfighter, the S&T Front Door’s long-term goal is to expand the science and technology ecosystem involvement beyond AFRL to include more mission-aligned organizations and organizations of the larger Department of Defense science and technology network.
Another partnering S&T entity, and also part of the AFRL team, AFWERX is expanding technology, talent and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability through three efforts: AFVentures, Spark and Prime. AFVentures, which is AFWERX’s commercial investment arm for the Air Force, creates simple pathways for commercial innovators and private capital investment to help the Department of the Air Force solve problems. Spark connects Airmen and Guardians to commercial innovators while Prime is all about accelerating emerging commercial markets using military missions and equities. Both Tech Connect and AFWERX are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen both our air and space forces and aim to make connecting potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities easier than before.
“The National Defense Strategy forecasts a highly-contested future fight with complex threats,” said Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, AFRL commander. “Peer competitors are driving to overtake the United States as the science and technology superpower. The global commercial sector is outpacing our investment in S&T and exploding with innovative technologies. Nonetheless, we remain clear-eyed about the challenges ahead.
“With the complexity of this evolving landscape, we accelerate change in line with the Air Force chief of staff’s charge to us. We accept appropriate levels of risk in innovation and experimentation, as the chief of space operations urges. Above all, we recognize technological superiority is necessary to address these challenges. By expanding our presence and creating more visible and convenient virtual front doors, we are cultivating a world-wide ecosystem of research from basic to applied that drives the pace of technology and competition in the agile pursuit of innovative solutions for Warfighters and stakeholders alike,” she said.
How it Works
The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect team, currently comprised of subject matter experts from AFRL’s technology directorates, the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program, Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office, Transformational Capabilities Office and AFWERX, reviews and connects quality, relevant submissions with S&T subject matter experts and S&T opportunities. The team provides feedback and if the submission is relevant, establishes dialogue with interested Air Force S&T programs.
“By leveraging S&T advancements in government, university and industry laboratories, AFRL can move innovations further toward transformational impact within the Department of the Air Force. For those who submit an idea through the Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect, they can expect confirmation that their idea has been received by AFRL and that feedback on their idea will be provided by a Department of the Air Force subject matter expert in a timely manner,” said Elizabeth Escamilla, Science & Technology Front Door lead.
If you are an innovator with promising ideas and are interested in collaborating with the Department of the Air Force on science and technology innovation and development, then the Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect team wants to hear from you. (Source: Satnews)
27 Sep 21. DARPA Hosts Subterranean Challenge to Benefit Warfighters. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Subterranean Challenge aims to better equip warfighters and first responders to explore uncharted underground environments such as in caves, tunnels or urban areas that are too dangerous, dark or deep to risk human lives. The goal of the challenge was to find breakthrough technologies and capabilities for underground operations, Timothy Chung, DARPA program manager of the SubT Challenge, said. The challenge took place at the Louisville Mega Cavern in Louisville, Kentucky, Sept. 21 to 24. Eight teams participated in the systems competition and nine teams competed in a virtual competition, deploying autonomous systems to map, navigate and search underground spaces. The systems competition involved robots and the virtual competition took place in simulated underground worlds. Four teams competed in both situations. Teams earned points by correctly identifying artifacts placed within each environment.
Chung said the robots fielded by the systems teams quickly navigated unfamiliar underground environments in search of common items, including backpacks, cell phones, trapped “survivors” and invisible gas.
Previous. He said nine virtual teams submitted autonomy software solutions for exploring simulated underground worlds in search of similar items.
Roboticists and engineers from eleven countries participated in the final event of the challenge.
Chung said teams in the systems competition developed a wide variety of robotic systems to advance and evaluate novel mapping and navigation solutions.
Likewise, teams in the virtual competition were successful at developing software and algorithms using virtual models of systems, environments and terrain, he said.
“In time-sensitive missions, such as active combat operations or disaster response, warfighters and first responders face difficult terrain, unstable structures, degraded environmental conditions, severe communication constraints and expansive areas of operation,” Chung said. “The [Subterranean] Challenge has helped to significantly advance technological tools for tackling these impediments and safeguarding lives.”
There was $5m in prizes in the final competition, including a $2m prize for first place prize in the systems competition and a $750,000 prize for first place in the virtual competition.
Eight U.S. and international teams competed in the final systems competition event. The winner was CERBERUS, a collaboration effort involving two U.S. universities, four international universities and a Nevada corporation. Twelve teams competed in the final virtual competition. The winner was Dynamo, a team based in Spain. (Source: US DoD)
REST OF THE WORLD
17 Sep 21. DST Group, CSIRO launch D.Start Spark. In partnership with DST Group, CSIRO is delivering the D.Start Spark program for emerging and new technologies to provide game-changing capabilities for Australia’s defence and national security. Applications close on 8 october.
Supported by the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF), D.Start Spark is designed to support research-based technology with dual civilian and defence application. It will transfer practical commercialisation and venture-building skills to Australian researchers and their collaborators through a high intensity, fast-paced two-day program delivered virtually by expert facilitators in a workshop format. There is no cost to teams to participate.
D.Start Spark is designed for research teams working on science and technology with a potential defence application. It is the first step towards understanding the customer and market for their project or idea.
It is a high intensity, fast-paced two-day program delivered virtually by CSIRO’s facilitators in a workshop format. There is some pre-work required and there will be one day in between the two sessions, in which time teams will have activities to complete. The program aims to provide the skills, frameworks and mindset to determine ‘proof of problem’, demonstrating the value of a team’s research project and how it addresses a problem in the defence market.
By the end of the two-day experience, participants will be able to:
- apply effective tools to articulate and iterate the unique value proposition of their research/idea
- apply effective tools to articulate and iterate the potential customer segments of their research/idea
- understand and experience a different approach to working on their research impact
- gain experience in presenting their research in a way that’s focused on the problem they’re solving and the impact it has on the world
- better understand the potential defence application for their research/idea.
There is no cost to teams to participate. Applications are now open and will close on Friday 8 October.
For further information go to the CSIRO D.Start Spark page, or contact the D.Start team at for assistance. (Source: Rumour Control)
22 Sep 21. Australian DIN calls for proposals in Space Domain Awareness. The NSW Defence Innovation Network (DIN) is calling for collaborative research proposals in the Resilient Multi-Mission Space STaR Shot theme. Through its Strategic Investment Initiative, DIN will invest $500,000 of research funding in developing a prototype Space Domain Awareness system for defence use. Applications close on 29 October. The DIN is part of DST Group’s Australian Defence Science University Network (ADSUN); with the recent announcement that Space is one of Defence’s Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (SICP), DIN has established a Strategic Investment Initiative (SII) focused on Space. The purpose of the SII is to enable multi-disciplinary research teams to produce innovative prototypes, create lasting links to the defence industry, and catalyse commercialisation and additional R&D investment in NSW. A key objective is to build capability in the State by funding collaborative research that will enable a prototype to be made within 12-18 months, suitable for a ‘demonstration’ of the new capability of the integrated system.
The Initiative is funded by the NSW Government.
The focus of the SII is Space Domain Awareness. Proposals must demonstrate multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaboration. Projects must be led by a DIN university with substantive inputs from at minimum two DIN universities. Project teams may include Australian businesses and non-DIN member university researchers. The DIN adds that all project participants must be citizens of the Five Eyes Alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States) or NATO member countries. Researchers and the defence industry interested in participating in the call should contact DIN to register their interest. DIN will be able to connect interested parties with other potential team members on request. The project is scheduled to start on 1 April 2022. The application form is available on request at (Source: Rumour Control)
28 Sep 21. Australian IP framework critical to commercialising research – DESE. The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) is soliciting feedback from universities, researchers and industry on a new Higher Education Research Commercialisation (HERC) IP framework. This is designed to promote greater collaboration between universities and industry and boost research commercialisation in Australia.
Submissions close on 18 October. The Australian Government announced in the 2020-21 Budget it is providing $5.8 m to scope a University Research Commercialisation Scheme to better translate and commercialise university research outputs. This is in addition to the $1.2bn provided to the university research sector to maintain capability and excellence of Australian research. The scoping study will develop options for the establishment of a Scheme, drawing on advice from universities, industry and other experts and will be presented to Government for consideration.
“In my consultation with the sector, IP has been identified as a key barrier to universities and business working together,” said Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge.
“Barriers to negotiating IP include lack of money, time and expertise on both sides, and a lack of understanding of each other’s needs and objectives.”
Standardised agreements would reduce frictions between universities and business and cut down on time spent negotiating, he said.
“While Australia produces world-class research, we need to reduce the barriers that stand in the way of turning great research outcomes into breakthrough new commercial products and ideas that will create new businesses and grow our economy,” he added.
“We want our researchers and universities to be rewarded for their discoveries, and ensure collaborating partners have certainty to back their investment.”
The HERC IP Framework will provide standardised licensing and contractual agreements for intellectual property rights to establish a strong foundation for negotiating and managing successful university-industry collaborations and partnerships.
To find out more or contribute to the consultation paper, visit: https://www.dese.gov.au/urc Consultations can be submitted until 18 October 2021. (Source: Rumour Control)