Qioptiq logo Raytheon


Sponsored by Oshkosh



09 Jan 20. Why the US Air Force put Kubernetes in an F-16. Anyone can run Kubernetes containers for office applications. But what if the office in question is an F-16 fighter jet?

As part of its work on the Defense Department’s Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative, the Air Force is increasingly deploying solutions like Kubernetes, the open-source platform for managing containerized workloads and services, to deliver advanced capabilities to warfighters.

The Air Force’s SoniKube software factory is one of the DOD enterprise development shops dedicated to delivering software tools and automated services so that programs can build and deploy secure, flexible and interoperable applications. SoniKube was challenged by Nicolas Chaillan, chief software officer for the Air Force and co-lead for the DOD Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative, to install Kubernetes on the legacy hardware in F-16s.

“One point for the team was to demonstrate that it could be done,” Chaillan said in his keynote presentation at KubeCon 2019 in San Diego. In just 45 days, the team got three concurrent Kubernetes clusters running on a jet, according to TheNewStack.

It wasn’t easy. The Air Force had been tackling challenges faced by enterprises moving to agile and open development systems — legacy waterfall methodology, skills shortages and culture clashes. Unlike many open source makeovers, however, the F-16’s classified systems run in a disconnected environment so that they are protected from vulnerabilities introduced by connecting to the internet.

To get the containers working on the jets, the team had to “bring the entire stack with us,” Chaillan said.

That stack includes:

  • The Cloud One infrastructure layer, which is a stable and secure common development, test and production environment. Authorities to operate are already in place so app developers and producers can use Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services clouds, depending on their needs. It also offers tools that can help reduce costs for software development.
  • Platform One provides software enterprise services and hardened containers, continuous integration/ continuous delivery options and the service mesh layer, which brings in baked-in, zero-trust security and the architecture to enable microservices. It also offers training/on-boarding options and contracting support.
  • The application layer allows development teams to build easily reusable modular software or microservices leveraging hardened containers that can be used across teams.

The DevSecOps ecosystem and program applications depend on the DOD Centralized Artifacts Repository of hardened and centrally accredited containers.  The repository currently contains over 170 secure containers that have DOD-wide reciprocity across classifications and will be maintained by the Air Force team.

“We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, so we give freedom to the team to swap containers, Chaillan said.  “For us it’s kind of Lego blocks.” Developers can pick and choose different tools and access 16 programming languages and 23 databases. “That reopens the door to picking the best tool to get the job done,” he said.

The benefits are significant.

The DevSecOps initiative will allow DOD developers to rapidly adapt to new challenges, work as a team with various technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. The open source foundation avoids vendor lock in at the infrastructure and platform layers. Code can be reused for different apps that will run on any platform, especially important at DOD where there are myriad classified, disconnected environments. It also enables any DOD program to deploy a hardened solution within days, saving time and money, according to Chaillan’s presentation.

The group is working with about 25 commercial vendors to certify their containers, which can then be used by other federal agencies.

“Seeing Kubernetes run in the jet is really quite a useful and interesting example, but … we’re using it to power all the sort of normal business activities that the Air Force is doing,” Chaillan said in his presentation. “We have a lot of business systems moving to cloud native environments, moving to microservices, being rebuilt right from the get-go.” (Source: Defense Systems)

09 Jan 20. IFS, the global enterprise applications company, announces that EaglePicher Technologies, a leading producer of batteries and energetic devices for aerospace, defence and medical markets, has chosen IFS Applications™ as its central enterprise resource planning (ERP) system of record. EaglePicher’s batteries have delivered power for over 2.7 billion hours in space without a single failure. Supplying power to the majority of the US military’s missiles, munitions and mission-critical systems, the company’s technology can also be found in the Mars lander, military aviation, underwater vehicles, and life-saving implanted medical devices.

EaglePicher needed to replace its legacy business system with a modern platform which could ensure user efficiency across all mission-critical processes while meeting the stringent requirements for security and regulatory compliance of a supplier to the US Department of Defense (DoD), including but not limited to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171.

Following an exhaustive evaluation process that included several global ERP vendors, EaglePicher selected IFS Applications 10. The solution will be deployed in the IFS Managed Cloud, hosted in the Microsoft Azure Government Cloud and independently validated to offer full support of all compliance under the NIST cyber security and federal export regulations.

The IFS solution will cover an extensive area of functional capabilities, including manufacturing, inventory, distribution, accounting, financials, supply chain, product data and lifecycle management, quality management, customer relationship management (CRM), and human capital management (HCM). EaglePicher will also use IFS Applications for its rigorous process manufacturing environment, including traceability for aerospace, defence and medical device customers.

“We operate in a heavily regulated sector, where security and regulatory compliance is just as an important consideration as user and process efficiency,” said Kurt Bruenning, President and Chief Financial Officer, EaglePicher. “This means any technology vendor we choose needs to live up to a long list of stringent requirements while also being able to deliver robust functionality through an intuitive user experience. IFS met that criteria.”

Scott Helmer, President, IFS Aerospace and Defence, added, “We are proud to be working with EaglePicher, who has played a crucial role in some of the A&D sector’s most important programmes for the last 75 years. Our long-term focus on the needs of customers in the A&D space means we are uniquely positioned to deliver technology that is in tune with the reality that businesses face. From adherence to ITAR, ISO and export control protocols, to shop floor efficiency and after-sales support, we pride ourselves on always delivering high-value business outcomes.”

09 Jan 20. RMAF grounds 12 Sikorsky S-61A Nuri helicopters. The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has reportedly grounded 12 Sikorsky S-61A Nuri transport helicopters indefinitely due to maintenance issues. The fleet of S-61A Nuri helicopters has an average age of 45 years, according to Cirium fleets data.

Speaking at a press conference, RMAF chief general Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad told reporters that the maintenance of the helicopter will cost a lot of money.

Samad was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying: “Even if RMAF has the money to buy Nuri maintenance equipment, it can take between nine to 18 months to obtain the spare parts.

“Besides, RMAF has plans to procure new aircraft to replace Nuri, but it is still in the evaluation stage.”

The rotorcraft have been grounded since August 2019 following an unspecified air crash due to technical issues.

Malaysian company Airod performed upgrades to one Nuri helicopter, featuring improved avionics and glass cockpit, in order to demonstrate the possibility of improving the fleet’s lifespan.

The upgraded version was officially unveiled at Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) air show in March 2017. However, it has not yet been accepted by Kuala Lumpur.

The RMAF is also looking for a potential replacement of its Sikorsky S-61 Sea King medium-lift transport helicopters. It seeks to lease eight helicopters.

RMAF chief general Affendi Buang was quoted by Jane’s as saying: “We will do a tender and conduct our evaluation based on cost and capabilities. Many companies are interested in the project.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)

08 Jan 20. US Navy launches first SPB pilot for E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The US Department of Navy (DoN) launched the first Sustainment Program Baseline (SPB) pilot for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye this year to achieve predictable readiness across the fleet. In order to maintain the readiness levels achieved at the end of last year, the DoN is looking to improve the sustainment of weapon systems such as the E-2D.

DoN seeks to bring about enhancement through a rigorous process with improved requirements, funding, and performance controls and governance.

Navy (Sustainment) Deputy Assistant Secretary Sean Burke said: “We are implementing new processes to bring more rigour into our sustainment efforts, and therefore increasing our output to the fleet.

“This sustainment pilot will improve the accuracy of our requirements, funding, performance, and governance of weapon system sustainment.”

A significant component of the SPB pilot process is specific performance requirements for supply, repair, support equipment, engineering, trainers, maintenance and technical data unique for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye that will enable Fleet squadrons to achieve readiness.

By identifying and governing complex interdependencies, the pilot refines resource allocation risks across the Sustainment system.

E-2/C-2 Airborne Command and Control Systems programme manager captain Keith Hash and E-2 Wing Commander captain Matthew Duffy worked together to address readiness issues.

Duffy said: “We welcome the SPB and its processes of setting specific comprehensive requirements and regularly measuring performance across the span of product support providers.

“This will ultimately generate more readiness and provide additional (full mission capable) Advanced Hawkeyes ready for the high-end fight.”

In September last year, the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft with aerial refuelling capability joined the US Navy’s fleet at Naval Station Norfolk. (Source: naval-technology.com)

08 Jan 20. Australian Navy to form centralised combat support agency. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is set to form a centralised combat support agency to help meet the service’s increasing demands.

The new organisation will be created by merging the RAN Test and Evaluation Authority and Australian Maritime Warfare Centre. The merged entity will be named Maritime Warfare Centre.

Both the RAN Test and Evaluation Authority and Australian Maritime Warfare Centre have been serving RAN in building and improving the fighting capability of the service.

The two teams currently work individually but closely coordinate with each other and RAN to ensure proper understanding of the available naval fleet and help boost their efficiency to the fullest.

With the amalgamation of the two units, the continuous ship designing, testing and tactical development are expected to be more efficiently strategised.

The role and responsibilities of the new organisation would include ‘test and evaluation, tactical development and operational analysis throughout the capability life cycle’.

Australian Maritime Warfare Centre Director captain David Frost said: “These two organisations have always worked closely, but it’s now time to be one team and provide both head of navy capability and fleet commander with a one-stop warfighting support shop.”

Located at Garden Island in Sydney, the Maritime Warfare Centre would report to the Deputy Fleet Commander. It will officially open on 20 January.

As part of the merger, test and tactic development teams will be put in place by the Maritime Warfare Centre.

The teams will be responsible for supporting navy programmes with services such as the planning, collecting and analysing of data to help make informed decisions. (Source: naval-technology.com)

08 Jan 20. US Army funds robotic cell development project for combat vehicles. The US Army has funded a project for the development of a robotic manufacturing cell to automate heavy weld operations for its next generation of combat vehicles.

The latest project of the army’s combat capabilities development command manufacturing technology programme aims to improve the quality of combat vehicle weldments and reduce fabrication time.

These combat vehicles will have advanced capabilities to ensure continued overmatch against adversaries.

An advanced welding technology called High Energy Buried Arc Welding of the robotic manufacturing cell enables quality, thick-plate welds with minimal passes.

Additionally, a high-capacity, multi-axis positioning system within the cell can manipulate multi-tonne vehicle structures into ideal welding positions.

The robotic weld cell has multiple benefits for next-generation combat vehicles and helps the US Army meet its critical delivery requirements.

US Army Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems product manager Ryan Howell said: “By using the robotic welding cell technology funded by the Army’s ManTech programme, we were able to execute and transition the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program from the Engineering Manufacturing Development phase to Milestone C.

“We worked closely with the ManTech team, which provided additional resources to support the army’s first new combat vehicle production program in more than 30 years.”

The US Army worked with BAE Systems to achieve the development, integration, and prove-out of the robotic weld cell.

Upon transition, the robotic weld cell is expected to perform about 70% of the heavy welds for the armoured multi-purpose vehicle (AMPV) hull and reduce vehicle weld time up to 80%.

With these changes, the AMPV programme and the army will be able to meet their fielding goals. Last July, the US Army announced the testing of robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) from the back of modified Bradley fighting vehicles this year. (Source: army-technology.com)

08 Jan 20. ECA Group to launch its new generation Indoor/Outdoor autonomous AGV for the Industry 4.0: simplify logistics, optimize production and reduce costs! Whereas the industry is transforming to keep up with intense competition, technologies must be adapted to the continuously changing environment, be more and more flexible and match the needs of tomorrow’s Industry 4.0.

Therefore, in the industry, many aspects of manufacturing will be highly automated, aiming at radically reducing production times and costs.

These new challenges involve also logistics operations within production management who is constantly seeking for innovative solutions to be developed, qualified and implemented without interruption or modification of existing flow and infrastructures. Thus leveraging its 50 years of expertise in industrial robotics, ECA Group’s Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) addresses today’s requirements of manufacturers and their suppliers of logistic equipment.

ECA Group’s knowledge and experience of industrial manufacturing associated to reliable and innovative unmanned solutions allow now industrials to optimize their logistics for complex operations inside or outside their premises: the new generation of AGVs integrate autonomous operating systems as well as hybrid power.

Autonomous logistics for Indoor, Outdoor and multi-building operations within an industrial plant

As autonomous cars, the automated industrial vehicles developed by ECA Group are based on the SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) technology which enables the machine to “recognize” its environment and adapt its navigation/behavior to a given situation and be in compliance with the highest safety requirements.

Designed and developed for an Indoor, outdoor and multi-building operations, without any existing infrastructure modification or any additional installations, ECA Group AGVs are the first of the kind and already being produced, delivered and tested in one of most demanding industrial environment such as an aluminum smelter plant.

ECA Group – An AGV expertise proven through innovative industrial projects

Highly specialized in robotics, automated systems and industrial processes, ECA Group is actively involved in innovative industrial projects. Throughout several projects for major industry players, ECA Group has been designing and manufacturing complex Manually Guided Vehicles (MGV) and engineering Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV), with its technological expertise in the field of navigation and self-guided vehicle Technology. Among the projects integrating this technology ECA Group worked in partnership with:

  • Rio Tinto to develop an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) technology dedicated for industry logistics applications for the autonomous management of the heavy loads in a smelter, including a fleet management system and Self Driving Vehicles specifically adapted for anodes transportation.
  • EDF to provide a High capacity lifting Lorry to be used in Nuclear Plants. Its main function is transporting the Multistud Tensioning Machine (MSTM / MSDG), with a 140T payload.

Safe, Green and Smart Industry 4.0 and beyond!

When it comes to specify, develop and implement a new technology within an industrial environment, safety norms compliance is paramount.  Each project is a technological challenge for which industrials seek a specific know-how as well as a reliable and flexible partner. ECA Group has won its customers’ trust through several projects carried out as expert in the field of navigation and automated vehicles operating autonomously in highly demanding environments such as smelters, nuclear plants or aircraft production.

Another challenge for the Industry 4.0 is to reduce its environmental footprint: produce with less energy and limit the carbon emission. To meet these expectations and forthcoming regulations, ECA Group has been focusing its efforts to improve the hybridization of its AGVs and offer efficient electricity powered autonomous logistic vehicles in the near future.

For the Industry of the future which is being ambitious, Safe and Green but also Smart, ECA Group has developed another innovative approach for its AGVs as a fleet: thanks to a dedicated software, industrials will be able to easily manage several AGVs within their plant whether for individual or simultaneous handling.

Modularity being also an important requirement, ECA Group has also developed a multipurpose solution to manage different sizes and weights of loads based on modular AGVs. Thus, two or more AGVs can be connected in order to work in a swarm mode which increases and diversifies the handling capacity. Benefitting from these latest developments, ECA Group AGVs can handle both standardized loads such as euro-pallets as well as non-standardized loads.

Another dedicated development focuses on securing the load itself when exceeding the AGV size in order to build a “virtual wall” around it and prevent any collision or damage while maneuvering operations.

In addition, the centralized fleet management mode allows to operate missions of several Autonomous AGVs and to manage stocks, locations and traffic network.

Innovation having no limits and AGVs no borders, these solutions can be adapted very easily for each industrial environment such as airspace industry, railways, metallurgy or naval construction.

06 Jan 20. NSWC Corona to unveil MAKE application to manage ammunition inventory. An information technology development team at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division in Southern California, US is set to launch its new Marine Ammunition Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE) application to manage its inventory of ammunition and associated services. The upgraded and expanded MAKE application is a suite of software tools that simplifies the management of Marine Corps ammunition.

Eight software tools that are part of the new software suite have been designed with a user-friendly interface to allow marines to manage inventory, acquisition, certifications, safety, logistics, service life and training. The development team noted that MAKE provides a secure unified access point to business applications with capabilities in data mining and knowledge management.

Furthermore, its suite of apps supports requirements mandated by existing Marine Corps policies and programmes in ammo and related specialities.

NSWC Corona commanding officer Captain Khary Hembree-Bey said: “Our goal in reworking and improving MAKE was to focus on the needs of every marine with a role in that management process, whether at home or downrange, and ensure they are outfitted with a quality, modernised product that aids them in more efficiently doing their jobs.”

MAKE will be hosted in the Cloud, enabling the US Navy to achieve its goal of providing data-driven, cloud-based solutions to bring about improvement in total readiness.

NSWC Corona portfolio manager Steve Wann said: “The bottom line is any user who has been granted access to the MAKE enterprise system has the potential to access ammunition, safety, financial and other information associated with a specific DODIC (Department of Defense Identification Code).

“Whether that’s a video on how to pack it, safely handle it, retrieve general inventory numbers, or analyse budget impacts, all of that is at your fingertips.”

The appearance of the upgraded software suite mimics other applications and search engines such as Facebook and Google that service members are used to. Prior to deployment, marines can download MAKE-hosted videos to their devices and watch them in the field as required. (Source: naval-technology.com)

06 Jan 20. AECOM wins contract to upgrade military vehicles at US Army depots. AECOM has secured a $520m task order to provide services related to maintenance, repair, overhaul, modification and upgrade of military vehicles and other equipment at various US Army locations.

The company secured the order under the TACOM Strategic Services Solutions contract. It will offer the services at Red River Army Depot, Anniston Army Depot, Sierra Army Depot and Rock Island Arsenal. AECOM’s task order comprises a base year and two one-year options.

AECOM management services group president John Vollmer said: “We are proud to continue supporting the US Army and providing these essential services on critical platforms to multiple depot installations across the country.

“Our team continues to bring extensive experience and capability focused to ensure critical equipment is at its highest level of readiness to support the army’s mission.”

Under the contract, the company will be responsible for offering a range of services at each depot to continue the organic industrial base initiatives and priorities of the US Army.

AECOM mission readiness business unit senior vice-president and general manager Dr Karl Spinnenweber said: “This significant programme of work is another milestone in our efforts to provide maintenance services key to our US Army customer.”

Last October, the company announced that it signed a definitive agreement to sell its management services (MS) business to affiliates of American Securities and Lindsay Goldberg in a deal valued at $2.405bn.

The transaction is expected to conclude in the first half of this year.

In January 2018, AECOM secured a $442m contract to deliver rotary wing flight training instructor support services to the US Army at Fort Rucker in Alabama. (Source: army-technology.com)

07 Jan 20. Epsilor, a globally recognised developer and manufacturer of mobile energy products for defence and aerospace applications, will release a new Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) 6T battery, which offers the highest energy density in this category, together with an extremely high life cycle and improved safety characteristics. The battery will be showcased at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) Conference (Booth A5), which will take place in London, January 20–23, 2020.

The new 2.76 kWh 6T battery, called ELP-24V2740Wh-6T, contains approximately 35 percent more energy than its closest competitor. The battery also offers more than 3,000 charges and discharge cycles in a typical operational profile, enabling it to operate for approximately ten years with no need for maintenance or replacement.

Based on LiFePO4 cells, Epsilor’s new 6T is extremely safe featuring a high thermal runaway onset temperature and a lower probability to ignite in the event of crushing or penetration.

The new battery complements Epsilor’s advanced product line of Lithium-Ion 6T NATO Standard Batteries, enabling Epsilor to now offer 6T solutions based on either li-ion NCA or li-ion LFP chemistries.

“Today we can offer customers a 6T battery with the highest energy density for long silent watch missions, as well as a safer battery that can be installed inside a crew compartment of legacy vehicles,” Ronen Badichi, president of Epsilor, announced.

“During the upcoming months, we will complete a series of bullet penetration tests on this new product. At the end of these tests, we will provide our customers with a safe, durable, fire protected and cost-effective solution that will enable sufficient crew protection and mission continuity, even under enemy fire,” Badichi added.

Epsilor also continues to develop its batteries to meet US military requirements (MIL-PRF-32565B) issued by the Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC). (Source: Google/PR Newswire)

07 Jan 20. Russia receives systems to ‘heavy drop’ armoured vehicles with crews inside. Russia’s Airborne Troops (VDV) have begun to receive new ‘heavy drop’ systems for parachuting regular-sized armoured vehicles with their crews inside, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 2 January.

“The use of the new ‘heavy drop’ equipment allows us to increase the delivery weight with full crews inside, ensuring the mobility of airborne units in carrying out their missions,” the ministry said.

“The new airborne systems have begun to be supplied to units. The PBS-950U and PBS-955 platforms are designed to drop BMD-4M combat vehicles and BTR-MDM armoured personnel carriers [APCs],” the MoD continued. (Source: Jane’s)

06 Jan 20. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has signed a multi-year contract with the United States Government to support the Kuwait Air Force fleet of KC-130J tanker aircraft. Marshall will do Planned Maintenance Interval inspections, full aircraft repainting and specific overhaul tasks this year on Kuwait’s three KC-130J – the extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft modified for aerial refuelling.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this U.S. Government contract. Kuwait Air Force is a very important customer and we appreciate the trust the U.S. Government have shown in our MRO capabilities,” said Marshall ADG CEO, Alistair McPhee.

“We continue to expand our international market share for C-130 support and I’m pleased to see the development of our relationship with NAVAIR and the U.S. Government, following the contract for the replacement Fat Albert last year”.

Curtis Brooks, Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207), Kuwait KC-130J Case Manager, said: “We are pleased to have Marshall as part of our team. We need a strong partner to support the Kuwait Air Force program. We will be counting on Marshall!”

Kuwait purchased three KC-130Js through the U.S. Government Foreign Military Sale process in 2014. The programme, including the support of the fleet, is managed by the U.S. Navy through its Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).

The Kuwait Air Force’s KC-130Js provide aerial refuelling and a variety of other support missions to promote goodwill and stability in the Middle Eastern region.


About Oshkosh Defense

Oshkosh Defense is a leading provider of tactical wheeled vehicles and life cycle sustainment services. For decades Oshkosh has been mobilizing military and security forces around the globe by offering a full portfolio of heavy, medium, light and highly protected military vehicles to support our customers’ missions. In addition, Oshkosh offers advanced technologies and vehicle components such as TAK-4® independent suspension systems, TerraMax™ unmanned ground vehicle solutions, Command Zone™ integrated control and diagnostics system, and ProPulse® diesel electric and on-board vehicle power solutions, to provide our customers with a technical edge as they fulfill their missions. Every Oshkosh vehicle is backed by a team of defense industry experts and complete range of sustainment and training services to optimize fleet readiness and performance. Oshkosh Defense, LLC is an Oshkosh Corporation company [NYSE: OSK].

To learn more about Oshkosh Defense, please visit us at www.oshkoshdefense.com.


Back to article list