UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
21 Oct 21. Show us the numbers: Can data from wearable technology improve soldier wellbeing?
DASA is seeking demonstrations to show how data gathered from wearable technology can enhance health and wellbeing in soldiers. Wearable devices are of interest in the defence community as a way of gathering data that can be applied in tools that support and protect the capabilities of soldiers. By utilising the power of wearable sensors to collect physiological data (physical or molecular parameters) in real-time, we may be able to accurately monitor for signs of injury and potentially predict these injuries before they occur. The overall objective being to maintain and improve soldier health and wellbeing.
To date, there remain gaps in the evidence base to support what metrics can be robustly measured by wearable technologies and how data from these platforms might demonstrably improve decision-making in a defence context.
The Defence and Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) therefore seeks to understand what metrics can be reliably collected to provide credible value to the defence community (i.e. are of value in supporting confident decision making). On their behalf, the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Innovation Focus Area (IFA): Next Generation Wearable Technology.
This Innovation Focus Area seeks demonstrations of what data can be gathered from wearable technology, and how this data might support more effective decision-making by defence users to prevent injury to defence personnel.
Can you help? Read the competition document now and submit your idea
How much funding is available?
DASA expects to fund proposals within Technical Readiness Level 3 – 6 (TRLs) up to £200K for a 12 month contract
Read the full competition document to find out more: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defence-and-security-accelerator-dasa-open-call-for-innovation/open-call-competition-document
Seeking demonstrations of wearable tech that provide robust, actionable insight
DASA and DSTL want to understand what metrics we can collect from wearable technology platforms, and how they add value to defence end users. In addition, we seek proposals that show how wearable technology can provide actionable insight to inform decision-making pathways regarding health and wellbeing.
What solutions are we looking for?
This IFA focuses on 2 key themes:
Demonstration of new sensor technologies and of the data generated from these sensors against existing validated measures.
Exploitation of data from current or novel wearable systems to provide prognostic insights into human health and wellbeing.
Technologies may include:
- demonstration of measurements that cannot be made by wearable technologies, such as hydration status, a stress marker, cardiac measure or other, pertinent metric
- improvements in quality, robustness and longevity of measurements that can be made using wearable devices
- form factors that enable collection of data in a minimally intrusive format and thus may be more exploitable for defence customers
- experimentation using wearable sensors in combination with data analysis to measure environmental effect on individuals
- physical, psychological and environmental stressors such as heat or cold, altitude, infection and acute and chronic stress, relative to participant specific baselines
Read the full competition document to find out more
Have a novel idea that shows the value of wearable technology?
If you have an in-depth understanding of emerging capabilities, technologies, initiatives and novel approaches that may help us understand the capabilities of wearable technologies, we want to hear from you.
Click here to submit a proposal: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/defence-and-security-accelerator-submit-your-research-proposal
The closing date for proposals of this IFA is 05 January 2022 at midday BST. A second cycle will run from 05 January 2022 to 02 March 2022.
21 Oct 21. Cycle 3 of Defence Innovation Loans now open. Loans up to £1.6m available. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to commercialise your defence solution. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch Cycle 3 of Defence Innovation Loans which has £10m to lend for innovative defence solutions.
Accessible to SMEs, and with a below market interest rate of 7.4% per annum, the Defence Innovation Loan provides an excellent opportunity to apply for affordable funds to help you commercialise your defence solutions.
Defence Innovation Loans: An introduction
How to apply?
Check out the full document and submit your idea: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competition-defence-innovation-loans
Defence Innovation Loans Webinar
On Thursday 9th September, DASA and Innovate UK hosted a live webinar to answer all of your questions about Defence Innovation Loans, where viewers spoke to our panel of experts about how to submit a successful application.
Watch our previous webinar
We received some great questions during our last Defence Innovation Loans webinar. Catch up on what you missed here.
For more Defence Innovation Loans content, check out our video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdpYW9Lm9uFm4W35SwsOXfqsYc6kXTXJo
How much is available for a Defence Innovation Loan?
The total of £10m is available for the Defence Innovation Loan competition this year, of which comprises £5m from the Defence Innovation Fund and £5m from Army.
You can apply for a loan between £250,000 and £1.6m with a below market interest rate of 7.4% per annum. This loan can cover up to 100% of eligible project costs to aid the commercialisation of the solution and overall term of the loan must not exceed 7 years.
Please note, Innovate UK will carry out the Defence Innovation Loan credit evaluation and you will enter into a loan agreement and security agreement with Innovate UK Loans Ltd.
Read the full DASA competition document for more information on Defence Innovation Loans: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defence-and-security-accelerator-dasa-open-call-for-innovation/open-call-innovation-focus-areas#IFA031
Who can apply for a Defence Innovation Loan?
To apply for a Defence Innovation Loan you must:
- be a UK registered SME
- intend to exploit the results in the UK or overseas to make a significant and positive impact on the UK economy and/or productivity
- give evidence that your business is suitable to take on a loan
Please note, individuals, academic institutions, research organisations and large companies are not eligible for innovation loans.
What kind of innovation will be considered for a loan?
Defence Innovation Loans are open to innovative ideas to improve the defence of the UK. Your innovation must be mature at TRL 6 or above, to ensure the solution can be commercialised within the time scale of the Innovation Loan. There also must clearly be evidence of a defence need for the innovative solution.
Two tracks of funding
The Defence Innovation Loan has two tracks of funding, covering general Defence solutions and more specific solutions for the Army.
Track 1: Defence Innovation Fund (£5m)
Track 1 is open to innovative ideas to improve the Defence of the UK.
Track 2: Army Innovation Fund (£5m)
Track 2 is open to innovations which align with any of the priority areas below and targets an Army end user.
Priority areas include:
- Army industrial engagement framework decision-support
- directed energy weapons
- human performance enhancement
- information advantage
- robotics and autonomous systems
- and more…
Ready to apply?
Read the full DASA competition document here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competition-defence-innovation-loans
For more on Defence Innovation Loans, watch the video below:
Defence Innovation Loans: Everything you need to know
18 Oct 21. Partner 2021: Serbia to buy two C295 airlifters and more H145M helicopters, shows new weapons and equipment. Serbia will buy two C295 transport aircraft and a larger number of H145M helicopters from Airbus, Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović announced on the first day of the Partner 2021 international defence exhibition held in Belgrade from 11 to 14 October. Partner 2021 unveiled new locally developed military equipment. This included Yugoimport’s Lazanski 8×8 armoured combat vehicle (ACV), shown alongside two new versions of the Lazar III 8×8 ACV: the Lazar III A1 infantry fighting vehicle and Lazar III P infantry combat support armoured vehicle. Serbia’s new 8 km range Nova 145 (145 mm) anti-tank guided missile was shown integrated into a new version of the BOV M16 Miloš 4×4 multipurpose armoured vehicle featuring a remote operated weapon station armed with four Nova 145 containers and a modernised NSV 12.7×108 mm heavy machine gun. Exhibited next to it for the first time was the 2.5 km range Nova 145 portable fire-and-forget light anti-tank missile. Also shown for the first time was the Gavran (Raven) 145 low-cost loitering area denial long-range surveillance and strike system on a 3.5-tonne 4×4 truck modified by Srboauto carrying 18 containers from which two types of loitering munitions can be launched: the Gavran 2 with four folding wings and a 20 kg warhead powered by a twin-blade Śmigła Biela electric-driven push propeller with a range of up to 80 km and Gavran 145 with two folding wings powered by a two-cylinder gasoline engine with a 15 kg payload capacity and a range of 150 km. New versions were unveiled of the Mali (Little) Miloš unmanned ground vehicle and Obad (Horsefly) armed unmanned multicopter, both armed with a pair of M79 Osa (Wasp) 90 mm reloadable anti-tank rocket launchers. (Source: Janes)
20 Oct 21. USAF launches E-3 replacement effort, notes E-7 intent. The US Air Force (USAF) has launched an effort to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, with the intent of fielding the same company’s E-7 Wedgetail. The USAF issued a notice of contract action, titled ‘E-3 Replacement Aircraft Studies & Analyses’, on 19 October, in which it announced it is to sole-source Boeing to perform studies, analyses, and activities required to ascertain the E-7A baseline configuration, and to determine what additional work the US government might need to accomplish meeting the USAF configuration standards and mandates. “The Aircraft Rapid Prototyping Requirements Document has specifically called out the E-7A, and it has been determined that this is a sole-source requirement,” the USAF said. (Source: Janes)
18 Oct 21. Australian small boat with US comms package in testing for Marine Corps urgent need. The mashup of an Australian small boat designed for safety and an American sensors and communications suite that helped Marines secure the Kabul airport during the August evacuation may help fill a capability gap as the U.S. Marine Corps eyes distributed operations in the Pacific. Australia-based company the Whiskey Project is pitching its multimission reconnaissance craft (MMRC) as a way to meet the Marines’ needs to “sense first, see first and strike first” — in a craft with a low enough signature that it’s hard to detect, but has powerful organic and remote sensors and a communications package that can report back to decision-makers, company officials say. Darren Schuback, managing director of the Whiskey Project, told Defense News in an Oct. 11 interview at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference he sought to build a better small boat after serving for 25 years in the Australian Navy as a diver and seeing firsthand the injuries that go along with riding in small combatant craft.
“After witnessing a number of those, and specifically conducting an investigation into one, I soon realized that it wasn’t just an issue that Australia was facing: it was actually an issue that was a global issue,” he said.
After undertaking a feasibility study that included mapping out the safety issues with traditional small boats and the potential mission sets and then designing a craft with them in mind, he’s now pitching MMRC as a way to conduct traditional rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) missions like blue-water visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) as well as traditional combatant craft missions like riverine operations. The boat, he said, reduces the shock personnel onboard face by 40 percent, has integrated ballistic protection and keeps the crew and passengers drier than a RHIB, among other improvements.
The real power of the craft is the payload it carries: the Whiskey Horizon Strike package developed by Aries Defense, an American company that specializes in integrating new hardware and software with existing military technology.
Douglas Pillsbury, the chief executive of Aries Defense, said during the interview his company previously integrated sensors for ground troops into existing tactical networks, allowing commanders back at headquarters to see what troops were witnessing on patrol. Now he’s bringing that system to the maritime environment by pairing it with the Whiskey Project MMRC.
Calling the artificial intelligence-enabled Whiskey Horizon Strike the “brain in the boat,” Pillsbury said it allows active and passive sensors to collect information and display it in two existing tactical tablets mounted on the boat: the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Common Handheld and the Android Tactical Assault Kit app on a tablet.
From there, the situational awareness information can be passed to small units ashore, to sailors on a ship farther from the adversary or to planners back at a headquarters via existing radio connections — an L3Harris Technologies, TrellisWare or Persistent Systems radio, for example. The comms package can even share the same information to headquarters and to allied forces at the same time on two different channels, he said.
Prior to integrating the sensor and comms package onto the boat, Pillsbury said, the Marine Corps tested a version of this package at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in March. He said the demonstration was “very successful, and we got a great after-action review from the military on that.”
Through Aries Defense’s work with Marine Corps Systems Command, the package has gone through several developmental and operational tests this year and was even fielded with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit when elements of the MEU were sent in to assist in evacuating Americans and Afghans from Kabul in August.
Pillsbury said his system helped provide security and surveillance around the airport during the non-combatant evacuation operation, giving the service a sense of how the system performs in a real environment.
Another upcoming formal test event in December with Marine Corps Systems Command and the Naval Information Warfare Center could lead to this package being fielded to meet existing Marine Corps surveillance needs.
“We’ve done some of the formal testing of this capability, but what’s exciting is the expandability and where we can go with the technology. Everything on the boat is already plugged into the programs of record, so it lowers risk for the U.S. military because all the technology’s already integrated into the systems and communications protocols they’re already using, so it just instantly integrates us in to what their [concepts of operations] are,” Pillsbury said, adding that the integration would be equally seamless when the package goes to sea on the Whiskey Project MMRC.
Pillsbury said the boat and the mission package complement each other; because the boat is so stealthy, it can get close to an enemy position and raise its sensor-laden mast to see over the horizon and report back. Or, he said, for a more advanced threat the boat could stay back a bit and send its drone up 400 feet in the air for over-the-horizon sensing.
“We’re seeing a significant shift in focus from not only the U.S. but all their partner nations around the region with the pressure being placed on the Indo-Pacific region. There’s a significant shift back into the maritime domain,” Schuback said.
The Marine Corps has announced an urgent need requirement the Whiskey Project is targeting with its MMRC, and this week it will demonstrate the craft at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Schuback said it’s unclear exactly when the Marine Corps will decide how to fill the urgent need.
He added the company is also on contract with the Australian Defence Force to develop and deliver a number of these craft over the next year and a half. (Source: Defense News)
21 Oct 21. DARPA hosting final drone swarm demo in November, companies look for service buy in. The US Department of Defense (DoD) may be focused on finding technologies to down aerial drones, however, its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also working with Northrop Grumman and Raytheon BBN Technologies on ways a single operator can control hundreds of ground and aerial drones at once. While this developmental effort has been ongoing for years, it is scheduled to culminate in November when both companies head to Fort Campbell in Kentucky for a field experiment where each entity will test out their respective technologies. Under the agency’s Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) programme, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon have been working as ‘swarm system integrators’. In this position, they have been developing the architectures, interfaces, and their own swarm tactics exchanges – this houses tools to help design swarm tactics by composing collective behaviours, swarm algorithms, and existing swarm tactics – to enable a single person to operate hundreds of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) drones at once. (Source: Janes)