28 Jan 21. Clarification on UK Defence Review Delayed piece last week. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.23 ISSUE 04, 25 January 2021, MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS, UK Defence Review Delayed). We said last week that WCSP is believed to be another matter with the current contract proposal put by LMUK rejected for lack of clarity. We have now had clarification from Lockheed Martin UK, and have apologised accordingly for not pre-checking with them before publication, that the WCSP bid was submitted ahead of time and it is going through the normal Review Process with a contract expected towards the end of the year. LMUK has now delivered 51 turrets to General Dynamics UK for AJAX and the WCSP turrets are performing well, with trials due to be completed this year.
The delay in the Equipment Plan and Defence Review has generated the usual flurry of speculation which the Editor has found, on some occasions to be difficult to analyse successfully! What is clear however is that the age long discussion of wheels vs tracks has reared its head again, with one camp pushing more Boxers to replace Warrior whilst the tracks team keep with WCSP as the solution for a tracked APC in the Strike Brigade role to support Challenger 3. Having discussed this with a number of experts and heard the excellent IAV briefs from Lieutenant General Chris Tickell, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, British Army and Lieutenant General Edward Smyth-Osbourne, Commander, NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, it is certain that the Main Battle Tank (MBT) is here to stay and will form a major part of the world’s armies. What will change is the manner by which MBTs are deployed and fielded, so for my money WCSP will go ahead but maybe in smaller numbers for one UK Strike Brigade.
* Lockheed Martin UK submitted our WCSP Invitation to Negotiate response for the WCSP manufacture contract on 21st December. The response, which was submitted ahead of time to the MOD is currently being reviewed. Lockheed Martin is supporting MOD as part of the standard review process.
* In December 2020, WCSP successfully completed 75% of its Battlefield Missions, with trials expected to be completed this year. The Development programme continues to successfully test and demonstrate reliability growth and Design Acceptance is on track for 2021.
The benefits of WCSP stretch far beyond the battlefield – there are huge prosperity and economic benefits to the UK:
1) The economic and prosperity benefits of the WCSP programme
o UK Prosperity – Independent analysis by KPMG has estimated that, between 2021 and 2029, a WCSP manufacturing contract would contribute over £1bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy, generate at its peak 1,951 jobs, and support up to £276.2m in tax payments.
o UK Sovereign Capability – LMUK has invested over £200 million over ten years to develop the UK’s only sovereign capability for turret design, manufacture and support. This could have wider impacts on the UK ambitions for a Land Sector strategy.
o The UK will retain its only world-class turret design and manufacturing capability that ensures future security of supply and technological advantage for the UK; the skills, infrastructure and industrial know-how will be available in future times of need
o Export opportunities – according to the KPMG report, the medium calibre turret market could be worth an estimated £16 billion over the next 10 years. The skills base and IP that will allow the UK to export its AFV capability to the benefit of the wider UK economy depends on the award of the WCSP Manufacture contract
2) The impact of the WCSP programme on jobs
o The WCSP contract currently supports 1,300 jobs across a nationwide supply chain of 260 companies.
o Around 2,000 high value jobs will be created and sustained as a result of the manufacture contract
o If a manufacture contract is not awarded, there is a serious risk to loss of jobs both at Lockheed Martin and across the UK supply chain which makes up 80% of the WCSP solution
3) How the WCSP programme addresses the MOD’s modernisation agenda
o Equips the British Army for the modern battlespace to meet 21st Century defence needs
o Provides the only capability that allows soldiers safely to enter and operate in the most demanding close combat and high threat environments, including support of the Challenger main battle tanks
o Significant upgrade compared to the legacy Warrior 1 with enhanced firepower fightability, survivability & situational awareness
o The upgraded Warrior vehicles, including their open architectures and digital turrets, will also provide a digital backbone for the armed forces, enabling the delivery of multi-domain integration, human-machine teaming, and additional capabilities such as cyber, electronic warfare, and long-range and novel weapons
27 Jan 21. Creeping weight of Abrams tank concerns Pentagon’s chief weapons tester. The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tank is heavier than previous iterations and that extra weight concerns the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, but the Army’s program office told Defense News the newer version of the tank works like vehicles in the current fleet.
“The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 upgrades introduce suitability concerns,” the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation wrote in a recent report covering the program’s full operational test and evaluation and some live fire testing. “Weight growth limits the tank’s tactical transportability. The M1A2 SEPv3 is not transportable by current recovery vehicles, tactical bridges or heavy equipment transporters.”
Yet, according to the service’s program office within the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, the version is “recoverable, bridgeable and transportable with no new restrictions above the current Abrams fleet.”
Still, the Army is looking to “further increase margins for further growth and safety on each of the supporting systems that enhance all combat systems successful employment and operation on the battlefield,” the office said in a statement.
The weights of tanks and combat vehicles are of particular concern when looking at challenges in the European theater, especially on the Eastern flank. Roads and bridges have weight limits which make it a challenge to move American combat equipment. As vehicles get heavier, the obstacles also increase.
The Army has run exercises on how to get these large armored vehicles around the region in exercises. Should a crisis occur, Armored Brigade Combat Teams would likely have to cover a lot of territory quickly to respond effectively against an adversary like Russia.
The service began fielding Abrams SEPv3 in the fall of 2020. The upgrades to the SEPv2 include improved power generation to support future technologies, compatibility with the Joint Battle Command network, Next Evolution Armor and more protection from improvised explosive devices, a new ammunition datalink and better energy efficiency from a new under armor auxiliary power unit.
The Army will begin fielding the SEPv4 in the first quarter of fiscal 2025, according to the DOT&E report. Those upgrades add an improved gunner’s and commander’s primary sight with 3rd Generation Forward Looking Infrared capability and a better laser range finder and color camera. That version’s fire control system will be compatible with the Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) round and will offer improved firing accuracy with a meteorological sensor.
The Trophy Active Protection system will be installed on the SEPv2 and SEPv3 tanks and fielded to four brigade sets to Army Prepositioned stocks. The Army conducted exercises with the Trophy system installed on Abrams during the scaled-back Defender Europe in 2020.
The APS system alone adds approximately 5,000 pounds to the Abrams tanks. (Source: Defense News)
28 Jan 21. Downer secures $3m Defence contract. The Sydney-based integrated services provider has been awarded a contract via the Defence Innovation Hub to deliver CIED capability as part of the LAND 154 Phase 4 project.
Downer Defence Systems (DDS) has been selected as the prime contractor for the delivery of ‘Muskito’ capability — an integrated Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) concept that leverages autonomous systems and machine learning to detect above-ground and below-surface threats before alerting an operator via a visual interface.
As part of the $3m contract, awarded through the Defence Innovation Hub, DDS will work with local industry to develop the technology, which forms part of the capability requirements for the LAND 154 Phase 4 – the Joint Counter Improvised Explosive Device Capability project.
Local firms expected to support DDS’ delivery include Urban Circus, EPE, and Insitu Pacific, which will collaborate to develop a Muskito prototype before delivering a technology demonstration for Defence.
The partners will be tasked with the following responsibilities:
- DDS will act as prime systems integrator and implement its machine learning capabilities in the detection of surface and subsurface threats, and provide overall project management to integrate the technology into the Muskito Mission System;
- Urban Circus will develop the system that converts the sensor data into a visual reference for the operator;
- Insitu Pacific will deliver the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will integrate with the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to provide tactical data; and
- EPE will support the initial conduct of a concept of operations workshop, supplying innovation and integration support aligned to the provision of the HDT Hunter Wolf UGV, the Cobham Ground Penetrating Radar and a number of other technical systems.
“We are excited to work with the Commonwealth and our industry partners to develop the Muskito system,” DDS executive general manager Andrew Foster said.
“IEDs and other related threats have been the scourge of Australian and allied service personnel in their operations overseas in recent decades, and we are grateful to be given an opportunity to play a role in helping to mitigate that threat.
“This contract underscores the government’s commitment to working with industry to create genuine and sustainable sovereign industrial capability. The future of the defence industry is about being self-reliant and creating enduring employment opportunities for Australians.”
Dr Ben Guy, CEO of Urban Circus, welcomed the opportunity to work alongside local peers to develop the technology.
“The future of work is to work visually. As an Australian owned and operated global leader in 3D visual systems, we are delighted to be working with Downer and Defence with this important work,” he said.
EPE’s managing director, Warwick Penrose, said the project “aligns perfectly” with the firm’s focus on the delivery of Force Protection solutions.
“The Muskito program will harness EPE’s CIED domain expertise, technology partners and innovative engineering to deliver a sovereign Australian capability that will protect ADF personnel deployed in non-permissive operational environments,” he said.
Insitu Pacific’s managing director, Andrew Duggan, said the firm is committed to reducing casualties from IEDs.
“During the time we supported the ADF with unmanned aerial ISR services in Iraq and Afghanistan, our team witnessed the destructive and devastating effects of IEDs,” Duggan said.
“As a company focussed on driving innovation to solve complex problems, we welcome the opportunity to be part of this Australian team to develop a world-class counter improvised threat solution.”
DDS EGM Andrew Foster concluded: “We’ve got a strong line-up of industry partners who are all champing at the bit to do our part to protect Australian personnel, create jobs for Australians and to generate growth in the economy.” (Source: Defence Connect)
27 Jan 21. Kenya orders 118 armored vehicles from Turkey. Kenya’s military has ordered 118 four-wheel drive personnel carriers from Turkish armored vehicles manufacturer Katmerciler.
Kenya Defence Forces spokesperson Col. Zipporah Kioko told local press that the Ministry of Defence is finalizing the deal for the mine-resistant, ambush-protected Hizir vehicles through Turkey’s Export Credit Agency.
“The Hizirs will provide the Kenyan troops protective mobility wherever they are deployed,” a Katmerciler official said.
Kenya’s military will primarily deploy the Hizir vehicles for counterterror operations against the al-Shabab militant group.
The company official declined to comment on how soon the contract would be finalized, but a Turkish procurement source said the deal should be inked in a matter of weeks, if not days. The procurement source put the price of the contract at “nearly €60m” (U.S. $73m).
Last month, Turkey and Tunisia signed a $150m deal for the sale of scores of Turkish-made defense equipment, including BMC’s Kirpi MRAP vehicles and Nurol’s Ejder Yalcin four-wheel drive armored combat vehicles.
“The deal augments the penetration into the African market of Turkish armored vehicles,” the Turkish procurement official said.
Sources said Katmerciler defeated South African and North American rivals for the Kenyan contract.
The Katmerciler official said the Hizir has a proven track record in Syria, where Turkish forces operate and face similar threats as Kenyan troops face along the border with Somalia.
Tested in the Netherlands and certified by NATO, the Hizir can be used in various configurations, such as combat; command and control; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense; weapon carrier; ambulance; border security; and reconnaissance.
The vehicle is fitted with Turkish company Aselsan’s Stabilized Advanced Remote Weapon Platform, which can be installed on tactical vehicles, fixed surveillance posts, towers and critical infrastructure.
Depending on the operational requirements, remote weapon platform can be equipped with a 12.7mm machine gun, a 40mm automatic grenade launcher or a 7.62mm machine gun. The turret has advanced capabilities and options such as a fire-on-the-move capability, day and night imaging, automatic target tracking, laser range finder for accurate ballistics, last-round warning, and manual backup.
The vehicle, which can carry up to nine personnel, is also equipped with a smoke grenade launcher on the top of the vehicle. It is designed on a V-hull monocoque chassis to increase vehicle and crew survivability by deflecting an upward directed blast — such as from a landmine or improvised explosive device — away from the vehicle. (Source: Defense News)
26 Jan 21. Newest Bradley fielding delayed as Army works to fix battery problem. The Army is testing a solution to address overheating and toxic gas production in the newest version of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle’s turret battery, but its release has been delayed by almost a year, the service’s program office told Defense News.
The problem was discovered during the Army Test and Evaluation Command-run Full Operational Test and Evaluation at Fort Hood, Texas, where the Bradley A4 batteries were hooked directly into test equipment placing additional strain on them. The Bradley A4 design features a new charger but not new batteries. The new charger did not come with a voltage regulator, which caused the older batteries to overheat and produce the toxic gas during testing.
The command suspended the maneuver portion of the test due to safety concerns related to the batteries overheating in all six test articles, according to a report recently released from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.
“All six test article turret batteries overheated and discharged toxic fumes into the turret and crew compartment,” the report states. “This is a safety hazard to soldiers. The program manager was present during test and observed the turret battery issue. He supported the recommendation to suspend the remaining maneuver missions.”
According to the program office, the service is partnered with several vendors that developed Bradley A4 — BAE Systems is the prime contractor — to design and test a solution after determining the problem during the testing process.
The program office now expects to receive a materiel release by January 2022 with field maintenance new equipment training and operator new equipment training beginning at the same time. The original materiel release decision was expected in third quarter of fiscal 2021, the DOT&E report stated.
The first Armored Brigade Combat Team is scheduled to get its new Bradley A4s in September 2022, the Bradley program office said.
The Bradley A4 is an engineering change proposal program that brings in new suspension and track upgrades and upgrades the electrical system and power train to restore lost mobility and integrate new technologies.
The current Bradley, for example, struggled to take on the power needed to run an active protection system. The Bradley won’t receive an APS system until A4 is up and running.
The Army reduced its Bradley modifications further in its FY21 budget request after cutting future upgrades beyond its A4 variant in FY20. The service is working to replace the Bradley down the road with an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program. But the Bradley and its fire support vehicle will remain in ABCT formations until the 2050s.
The FY21 appropriations bill slashed the Bradley program by $161m due to production delays. (Source: Defense News)
25 Jan 21. Infantry Squad Vehicle is a cramped ride, but US Army says it meets requirements. The U.S. Army’s new Infantry Squad Vehicle is a cramped ride and offers limited protection from certain threats, according to a recent report from the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, but it still meets the service’s requirements in tests and evaluations, the product lead told Defense News.
The ISV “key requirements are being met and we are increasing soldier operational readiness by providing an operationally relevant vehicle that can transport small tactical units to a dismount point faster and in better physical and mental condition for the fight,” said Steven Herrick, the Army’s product lead for ground mobility vehicles within the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support.
The vehicle was designed for easy transport to operational environments with the infantry’s current rotary and fixed-wing transport platforms. The key performance parameters required that the vehicle’s weight not exceed 5,000 pounds and that it fit inside a CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter. Those requirements “force dimensional requirements only allowing the vehicle to be a certain height, width and length,” he said.
The requirements led to a vehicle that makes it hard for soldiers with all their gear needed for a 72-hour mission to comfortably fit inside and be able to access rucksacks on the move.
The Army assessed three vendors in developmental testing from December 2019 through January 2020. The service chose General Motors Defense to supply the vehicle to the force, with the company beating out an Oshkosh Defense and Flyer Defense team as well as an SAIC and Polaris team.
All offerings were capable of carrying a nine-soldier infantry squad with weapons and equipment during movement, the director of operational test and evaluation said in the report. But the Pentagon also noted the ISV “has not demonstrated the capability to carry the required mission equipment, supplies and water for a unit to sustain itself to cover a range of 300 miles within a 72-hour period.”
The Army, however, has assessed the ISV requirement and solution set is in alignment, Herrick said. The DOT&E report, he said, “indicates a desire to include more equipment than a standard nine-soldier squad would carry on a 72-hour mission.”
This lack of space, the report stated, “may create a logistics and operational burden” and might limit the type of missions and duration for ISVs.
The soldiers that participated in the touch point evaluating the vehicles were asked to bring their Advanced Combat Helmet and Improved Outer Tactical Vest with plates; individual weapon; night vision devices; and ruck with three days’ worth of supplies, Herrick said.
“All vendors’ ISVs are cramped and soldiers cannot reach, stow, and secure equipment as needed, degrading and slowing mission operations,” the report explained. During tests “soldiers on all ISVs could not readily access items in their rucksacks without stopping the movement, dismounting, and removing their rucksacks from the vehicle.”
The soldier touch point took into account soldier comfort, visibility and ability to execute the mission, Herrick said. This was all factored into the Army’s decision to choose GM Defense’s vehicle.
“Additionally, no current or planned combat or tactical vehicle allows access to rucksacks while moving to support operator safety,” Herrick noted. “Crew spaces on the ISV are designed to allow mission performance of specific duty tasks.”
Units also lacked reliable communication capability, according to the report, using hand-held or manpack radios between 62 and 300 miles. The ISV does not have a mounted radio requirement. “Communication between the squad leader, soldiers, and the platoon leader was intermittent and not reliable,” the report found.
Because of the concept of the ISV providing an effective aid to insert soldiers into combat operations, the requirements support just what the soldier carries, so there is no mounted requirement yet, Herrick said. That requirement could be added as a growth capability later.
The DOT&E report also noted that the ISV doesn’t have an underbody and ballistic survivability requirement, which could mean the unit would be susceptible to certain threats, but the ISV’s speed as well as its small, low profile might help deal with those issues. Adding protection to the vehicle would sacrifice the speed the squad needs to rapidly inject itself into operations.
Overall, GM Defense’s vehicle had the highest reliability among the three vendors, demonstrating 585 mean miles between operational mission failures. The Army’s user requirement is 1,200 mean miles for that situation.
Herrick noted that reliability and maintainability testing was not scheduled or conducted by Army Test and Evaluation Command or the program office, so the calculations used in the DOT&E report were “not supported by traditional [reliability and maintainability] RAM elements, such as scoring conferences and time for the vendor to implement changes.”
The mileage accumulated and referenced in the report was “not meant to evaluate RAM by the Army, but rather to provide the program office and contractor an initial insight on the capability of the system over 500 miles,” Herrick added. The vehicle’s RAM testing is scheduled to begin this month, he added..
The service wasn’t able to evaluate every aspect of the vehicle before moving into production, but it plans to test the vehicle’s ability to be carried by a Chinook during its initial operational test and evaluation this year.
Now that the Army has chosen the GM Defense vehicle, it has already initiated developmental testing that will lead to an initial operational test and evaluation in August 2021 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. That testing began in November 2020. (Source: Defense News)
26 Jan 21. Elbit Systems Awarded $172m Contract to Supply Light Tanks to a Country in Asia-Pacific. Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ:ESLT and TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems” or “the Company”) announced today that it was awarded a contract valued at approximately $172mi to supply light tanks to the Army of a country in Asia-Pacific. The contract will be performed over a three-year period. As the prime contractor, Elbit Systems will supply the “Sabrah” light tank solution based on the tracked ASCOD platform that is manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Bárbara from Spain (“GDELS“), and on the wheeled Pandur II 8X8 platform manufactured by Excalibur Army from the Czech Republic. The 30-ton “Sabrah” light-tank solution provides a unique combination of powerful fire capacity and high maneuverability. Both platforms will be equipped with a 105mm turret and a range of the Company’s subsystems, including electro-optical sights, fire control systems, TORCH-XTM battle management systems, E-LynXTM software defined radio systems and life support systems.
Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems President & CEO, commented, “This light tank contract reflects the mutually beneficial strategic co-operation between Elbit Systems and GDELS, based on joint development and manufacturing of vehicle-turret solutions. Our comprehensive portfolio of subsystems provides us with a strong position in the armored vehicle market, especially as mission requirements become more diverse and increasingly networked. We believe that the “Sabrah” light tank solution can provide high operational value for additional Armed Forces.”
25 Jan 21. South Korea completes development of K808 command post variant. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 25 January that Hyundai Rotem has completed development of a command post variant of its K808 wheeled armoured combat vehicle for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
The agency said in a statement that the new vehicle, development of which began in 2017, is aimed at replacing “tent-type field command posts that take too long to install and dismantle, and cannot protect against enemy firearms, artillery, and chemical threats”.
The new K808 variant, which is operated by a two-person crew with accommodation for up to eight additional personnel, is equipped with a positive pressure system to protect against nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) agents, and fitted with a protected weapon station.
DAPA said that 98% of components of this variant have been sourced locally, adding that a contract to begin mass production of the new armoured vehicle is expected to be signed in 2022.
No details were provided about how many of these vehicles are expected to be ordered by the RoKA.
The standard K808, which alongside the K806 has been in mass production since 2017, is powered by a 420 hp Hyundai Motor Company diesel engine that provides a maximum road speed of 100 km/h via a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The standard K808 features STANAG Level 4 protection on the frontal arc and Level 3–4 protection on its flanks with NBC capability. It is fully amphibious, with a pair of rear-mounted waterjets that enable it to swim at speeds of up to 8km/h. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Jan 21. US Army resumes testing for its family of medium tactical vehicles. The US Army has resumed product verification testing for the latest variant of its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), Wolfgang Petermann, project manager of transportation systems in the Program Executive Office Combat Support & Combat Service Support, told Defense News.
The A2 variant ran into problems during PVT testing and the Army program office stopped the effort about 50,000 miles into a 170,000-mile reliability test in May 2020, Petermann said. The upgraded A2 variant include an adjustable suspension system, increased payload, improved ride quality, electronic stability control, and an underbody protection kit.
FMTV-manufacturer Oshkosh Defense developed a plan to correct the issues and has been running 19,000 additional contractor-funded shakedown miles at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, before restarting government testing, Petermann said.
The shakedown testing began in November 2020 and will wrap up in March and included 13 vehicles covering six variants. Seven of the vehicles covering three variants have finished testing with “positive results,” Petermann said, and testing of other variants are ongoing.
This allowed some of the variants to restart testing Jan. 11, he said.
During previous testing, the vehicles had trouble with the suspension, sensor and hydraulic systems and experienced coolant and engine leaks as well as stuck doors.
Drive display units were also receiving false warning codes.
The issues combined were enough for the program office to stop PVT.
The FMTV A2 includes an adjustable independent suspension to improve mobility and ride quality. “Most of the test incidents and operator feedback related to the desire for automatic suspension leveling and faster suspension height adjustment,” Petermann detailed.
Oshkosh made software upgrades for automated suspension leveling and a tandem high-pressure gas pump for faster suspension height adjustment on the vehicles, he said.
The company implemented software changes to eliminate false warning codes in the drive display unit.
A new hose material and more robust clamps were integrated to mitigate coolant and engine leaks. And a new door handle was added for “ease of articulation” when opening the door, Petermann said.
While the program was paused for eight months as Oshkosh made corrections, the Army does not anticipate any additional schedule or budget impacts “due to items identified when testing was initially paused,” Petermann said.
The Army is working toward a Full Operational Test & Evaluation (FOT&E) in January 2022, he said.
While a recently released report from the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester expressed concern that the Army may not have “sufficient time” to fix the FMTV A2 failures, complete performance testing and verify that the A2 variants meet reliability requirements before the full operational test, Petermann said all issues found during PVT will be corrected before the event.
The Army chose Oshkosh Defense to build the next-generation variant of FMTV in February 2018 following a competition against AM General. The contract was worth $476.2m. (Source: Defense News)
26 Jan 21. UN and UK sign agreement to promote space sustainability. International efforts to protect future space activity have been given a boost thanks to a new partnership between the UN and the UK government.
The agreement will help nations ensure that outer space remains safe and sustainable for future generations.
The increasing complexity of space missions, the emergence of large constellations of satellites and the increased risks of collision all affect the long-term sustainability of space activities. And there are currently approximately 170m objects in orbit – mainly debris – which could collide with satellites vital to services we use every day.
In 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), of which the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is Secretariat, adopted the Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities (LTS guidelines), which provide a framework to ensure the safe and sustainable use of space. The Guidelines were subsequently welcomed by the United Nations General Assembly.
Following today’s announcement, UK funding of £85,000 will support international efforts to promote space sustainability by identifying examples of the sustainable use of outer space through a series of events and outreach efforts. This project will also inform future UNOOSA capacity-building efforts to promote the future sustainability of outer space, and it will encourage all actors to implement the LTS guidelines to the fullest extent possible.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “As the Earth’s orbit becomes congested with potentially hazardous debris, it’s critical that we work with our international partners to secure the continued safety and sustainability of space. I am therefore delighted the UK is partnering with the UN to implement and promote these vital standards to all emerging and established space-faring nations, helping to ensure that outer space remains open for our next generation of astronauts. This partnership with the UK Space Agency is the first time the UK has funded a project with UNOOSA. It will enable the UN to raise global awareness on this important issue and foster the global governance of outer space based on international law. It is also the first project to be funded from the international element of the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme, launched in October 2020 to support collaborative projects between UK organisations and international partners.”
UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said, “Global investment, and dependency, on space activities are increasing rapidly. It is essential the international community comes together to make the long-term sustainability of space activities a reality. The LTS Guidelines are a landmark expression of global consensus and effective multilateralism on this crucial subject.”
UNOOSA is working to put sustainability at the heart of global space operations. This project, generously funded by our UK partners, will help us ‘connect the dots’; converting the successes of multilateral policy-making into practice, and help deliver the predictability the global space economy needs to ensure its sustained growth in the years to come. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
25 Jan 21. Honeywell To Bring Next-Generation Inertial Sensors To Unmanned Vehicles Segment. Recent findings show the accuracy of new sensors is improved by greater than an order of magnitude over current offerings. Honeywell (NYSE: HON), with funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is creating the next generation of inertial sensor technology that will one day be used in both commercial and defense navigation applications. Recently, findings gathered in Honeywell labs have shown the new sensors to be greater than an order of magnitude more accurate than Honeywell’s HG1930 inertial measurement unit (IMU) product, a tactical-grade product with more than 150,000 units currently in use.
An IMU uses gyroscopes, accelerometers and electronics to give precise rotation and acceleration data to enable a vehicle system to calculate where it is, what direction it is going and at what speed, even when GPS signals aren’t available. There are various types of IMUs on the market and some – like the next-generation version currently under development – use sensors based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to precisely measure motion.
“Typically, MEMS inertial sensors have been on the lower end of the performance scale, but this latest milestone shows we are changing that paradigm,” said Jenni Strabley, director of offering management for Inertial Sensors, Honeywell Aerospace. “With this next-generation MEMS technology, we’re increasing performance without having to significantly change the size or weight of the IMU. This is a game-changer for the navigation industry, where customers need highly accurate solutions but cannot afford to compromise on weight or size.”
Over the past few years, Honeywell has been working with DARPA to develop the next generation of high precision “navigation grade” IMU technology, under the Precise Robust Inertial Guidance for Munitions: Thermally Stabilized Inertial Guidance for Munitions (PRIGM TIGM) program. These new, higher performance MEMS sensors will use different sensor design and electronics to enable higher performance. They will serve a broad range of applications in autonomous land and air vehicles for both military and commercial customers, including future urban air mobility aircraft.
“Now that we have demonstrated that MEMS is capable of reaching these incredibly precise performance levels, it is the perfect time to start talking with potential users about how this technology could help their applications,” said Strabley. “We believe this new technology will have a variety of applications, such as onboard future vehicles that will fly in urban environments where lightweight, extremely precise navigation is critical to safer operations. Additionally, there are other applications that haven’t been invented yet but may be enabled by these types of technology innovations.”
Commercial sales of an IMU containing these next-generation sensors are still several years away, but one of the first products using this new technology is expected to be more than 50 times more accurate while roughly the same size as Honeywell’s HG1930 IMU.
Honeywell has long been a pioneer in MEMS-based IMUs, including the HG1930. Honeywell’s lineage in navigation dates to the 1920s and since then Honeywell has developed and manufactured high-performance navigation solutions found on many aircraft and other vehicles worldwide. (Source: PR Newswire)