19 Aug 13. NRL develops SiN-VAPOR technology to enhance IED detection. The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) scientists have developed a new small, lightweight sensor, know as Silicon Nanowires in a vertical array with a porous electrode (SiN-VAPOR), to enhance improvised explosive devices (IED) detection for military. The SiN-VAPOR sensor, which is in the early stages of development, has demonstrated its detection capability on the parts-per-billion, and even parts-per-trillion level of sensitivity, marking the first step in using trace chemical detection to solve the IED detection problem. The SiN-VAPOR programme aims to have a small field-deployable, distributed sensor on the same form factor as the cell phone. NRL researchers hope to distribute the low power, low overhead sensor, which could revolutionise the way trace chemical detection is conducted, to soldiers in the battlefield and to security personnel at airports across the globe. Featuring 3D architecture, the portable sensor is made of silicon nanowires in a vertical orientation and could be able to perform chemical detection using a cell phone. Currently, NRL researchers are maximising the surface area of the SiN-VAPOR architecture in order to enhance the sensing capabilities within the sensor. Additionally, the SiN-VAPOR sensor could supplement bomb-sniffing dogs to help improve airport security. (Source: naval-technology.com)
16 Aug 13. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) plans to continue testing the use of Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles for ballistic missile target discrimination in the near term because taking that mission to space is still too costly. The agency terminated plans this year to design and build a follow-on to the two orbiting Space Tracking Surveillance System satellites, which have been used to launch a ship-based SM-3 successfully against a target. “We want to go to space,” said Rich Matlock, director of advanced technology for MDA. But fielding a constellation of satellites capable of acquiring a target and tracking it through the midcourse of flight is far too expensive a goal for the near term. Instead, MDA is experimenting with using unmanned aircraft to look up at targets, providing additional discrimination and targeting information. MDA has purchased at least four Raytheon MTS-B payloads for this purpose. But the goal is to test the upgraded MTS-C, which will incorporate a long-wave infrared detector into the system. Long-wave infrared is optimized for tracking cold bodies, such as missiles and warheads after booster burnout, or plumes and exhaust. Ground testing will be conducted on the improved system in the next two months, Matlock said during a presentation at the 16th Annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium here Aug. 15. Flight testing is slated to start by the end of 2014. (Source: Aviation Week)
20 Aug 13. Boeing marked its recent production of the 250,000th Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kit, a major milestone for a program that, since 1998, has reliably and affordably converted unguided munitions into near-precision weapons. The company facility in St. Charles produces more than 40 JDAM kits every day, on time and on budget. With a range of more than 15 nautical miles, JDAM can defeat high-value targets in any weather, day or night, with minimal risk to air crews. New variants such as Laser JDAM and JDAM Extended Range allow warfighters to prosecute moving targets and deploy the weapon from greater distances, capabilities that come with little to no development risk since they are based on proven technology.
19 Aug 13. Raytheon Company successfully intercepted and destroyed a low quadrant elevation (QE) 107mm rocket as part of the second series of guided test vehicle (GTV) flight tests of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative (AI3) program. The intercept is a major test milestone before the U.S. Army live-fire engagements begin in September. The AI3 Battle Element system includes: a Rayt