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17 Aug 23. Boeing [NYSE:BA] has ferried an MD-90 airplane to the site where it will be modified to test the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) configuration as part of NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project.
As Boeing, NASA and community leaders gathered at the company’s facility today to recognize the milestone in development of the experimental X-66A aircraft, Boeing released photos of the jet’s journey from Victorville, Calif., to Palmdale.
The X-66A is NASA’s first experimental plane focused on helping the U.S. achieve its goal of net-zero aviation greenhouse gas emissions. Modification will begin soon and ground and flight testing is expected to begin in 2028.
“This marks an important step in the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, advances Boeing’s commitment to sustainability and brings us closer to testing and validating the TTBW design,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Todd Citron.
With ultrathin wings braced by struts with larger spans and higher-aspect ratios, the TTBW design and other expected technological advances could lead to reductions in fuel use and emissions by up to 30%. Boeing and NASA have collaborated for more than a decade on the concept through the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) Program.
“We at NASA are excited to be working with Boeing on the X-66A Sustainable Flight Demonstrator making critical contributions to accelerate aviation towards its 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emission goal,” said Ed Waggoner, deputy associate administrator for programs in the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.
“Aerospace Valley has a long and distinguished history as the cradle of aerospace innovation, and this unveiling is a continuation of that critical work. Palmdale’s talented workforce and infrastructure make it the perfect location for this important project,” said Congressman Mike Garcia (CA-27).
17 Aug 23. Energy-saving airlift prototype to be built by JetZero for Air Force. JetZero, an aerospace startup focused on fuel-efficient jets, will build and fly a sleek new prototype aircraft that could one day join the Air Force’s mobility fleet, the service announced Wednesday.
The Z-5 airframe — a blended wing body design with an oblong fuselage and long, skinny wings that looks more like a B-2 Spirit bomber than it does a Boeing 747 — was chosen over one other competitor in a yearlong contest led by the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit. JetZero will ready a full-scale prototype for its first flight in 2027.
The decision marks a new milestone in aircraft design and offers a glimpse into a more capable, greener future for the Air Force inventory. Service officials praised the offering as a key development that will position the U.S. military to outpace Chinese technology and outmaneuver its forces in a potential conflict.
“We’re going into this new area where it’s all about bringing capabilities … to the Air Force, the warfighter [and] the commercial space,” JetZero Chief Executive Officer Tom O’Leary said at an Air and Space Forces Association event to unveil the plan.
The Pentagon’s renewed focus on the Pacific as its top priority has placed a premium on assets that can travel farther and faster without breaking the bank. Cargo and tanker aircraft are expected to fly into harm’s way more often, spurring the military and defense industry to reimagine the large, slow platforms for contested areas.
And the sooner that mobility assets can reach their destination, the more flexibility it gives the rest of the joint force on the battlefield.
“Greater range increases lethality. Fuel efficiency conserves our energy resources and allows us to generate more sorties,” said Ravi Chaudhary, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment. “In an era in which installations will no longer be the sanctuary they were in previous conflicts, this capability is going to be critical.”
The service last summer described blended wing body design as “one of the single most impactful technology opportunities for future U.S. Air Force aircraft.”
That approach flattens a traditional tube fuselage into a more aerodynamic, somewhat triangular shape to carry payloads where the wing meets the body and be less visible on radar.
The comparatively lighter design could be around 50% more efficient than a traditional mobility aircraft and able to travel twice as far — a goal that, if achieved, could substantially shrink one of the Air Force’s significant annual expenses as well as its environmental footprint. Air Force aircraft and bases guzzle around 2 billion gallons of fuel, costing many billions of dollars, each year.
JetZero’s joint venture with Northrop Grumman on the Z-5 has received $40m in government funds in fiscal 2023, Chaudhary said. The military will put $235m toward the initiative through 2026, plus more from private investors.
If flight tests are successful, Air Force officials may consider a version of the JetZero aircraft to replace the C-5 and C-17 transport aircraft or to follow the KC-46 tanker.
Chaudhary said the Air Force will simultaneously build up the supply chain and other logistics it needs to transition the prototype to a full-fledged program, if the service taps it to make the jump into real-world operations.
But Maj. Gen. Albert Miller, Air Mobility Command’s director for strategy and plans, cautioned against viewing the jet as the sole solution for the Air Force’s next-generation airlift and air refueling programs.
At the least, it could offer a new perspective on the fuel efficiency and stealth qualities that workhorse aircraft will need in the future, he said.
The Air Force said in a press release the same day that “several military transport configurations are possible” using blended wing body aircraft. Officials also hailed its potential applications for commercial air travel as well.
“This project is a win-win for the commercial industry as well as for the DoD,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said. “This is going to be a pathfinder project that’s going to make a big difference.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
14 Aug 23. USAFRL opens new ‘extreme computing’ facility amid international arms race for quantum tech. The information directorate for the Air and Space Forces’ premier research arm has opened a new center aimed at boosting the department’s quantum prowess, as the United States and China compete for new high-tech computing capabilities that could alter the military balance of power. A ribbon cutting for the Extreme Computing Facility located in Rome, New York, was held Aug. 8, according to a release issued Monday by the Air Force Research Lab.
AFRL for years has been been engaged in quantum work. But Michael Hayduk, deputy director of its information directorate, said the opening of this state-of-the-art installation marks “a new era” for accelerating the development, integration and deployment of advanced computing tech for the U.S. military.
“The state-of-the-art laboratories for trusted computing, machine learning, neuromorphic and nanocomputing and quantum networking will advance our competitive edge in extreme computing,” he said, according to the release.
Quantum information science — which encompasses the investigation and application of complex phenomena happening at atomic and subatomic levels to process and transmit information — is one of Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu’s 14 “critical technology areas.”
Quantum computing — which uses “qubits” instead of traditional processing methods — is one of the key military applications of QIS. Others include quantum networks, atomic clocks and quantum sensors, according to the Pentagon.
“Quantum computing can provide unprecedented computational speeds and help solve the Department’s hardest analytical problems. Quantum sensors promise the ability to provide unprecedented accuracy in position, navigation, and timing. From more accurate information to faster decision making, to significantly stronger encryption capabilities, quantum science has the promise to deliver cutting-edge technology,” per the DOD chief technology officer’s website.
AFRL’s new computing facility in New York features two laboratories for basic research in quantum computing, networking and security, and two neuromorphic computing labs for basic research in machine learning models “approximating human neurocognition,” according to Monday’s release.
Collaborators from industry and other government agencies will be able to leverage the Extreme Computing Facility’s science-and-technology capabilities, according to Col. Fred Garcia, head of AFRL’s information directorate.
The acceleration of the U.S. military’s push in this realm comes as China — which the Pentagon sees as its top strategic competitor — is developing its own quantum computing capabilities.
U.S. concern about Beijing’s pursuit of these types of tools was reflected in an executive order that President Biden issued last week authorizing the Treasury Department to regulate certain U.S. outbound investments into Chinese entities involved in activities related to quantum, AI and microelectronics.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been banging the drum about the need for the United States to have a lead in these types of technologies. The biggest changes in warfare in the coming decades could emerge from the rapid onset of AI and quantum computing, he said in June during remarks at the National Press Club.
“I would suggest that the combination of those two technologies alone would spell a tremendous change in the character of war,” Milley said. “Our task, the United States’ task is for our military … to maintain our current decisive advantage, our lethality, our readiness, our competence, by optimizing these technologies for the conduct of war. And we do this not to conduct war, but to deter great power war.”
To facilitate the development of a utility-scale quantum computer, AFRL last year inked a $22.5m contract with PsiQuantum to co-design and manufacture quantum photonic chips.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense also requested $75m in fiscal 2024 for a new initiative aimed at accelerating the operationalization of quantum devices.
“Quantum technology is approaching a tipping point that will determine how quickly it can make an impact. If the [U.S.] can stay on pace, many important outcomes for the [DOD] can be realized,” Pentagon officials wrote in budget justification documents. Improvements could include more robust position, navigation and timing (PNT) for precision strike; rapid advances in materials and chemistry for advanced energetics, propulsion and platform coatings; optimization techniques for stealth properties, logistics and machine learning; intelligence collection; and enhanced electromagnetic spectrum capabilities for electronic warfare, they noted.
Lawmakers have also been moving to ramp up investment in the Defense Department’s quantum initiatives.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., attended the ribbon cutting for the Extreme Computing Facility and touted additional funding included in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense spending bill for the Rome facility in his home state, which would provide $10m for a distributed quantum networking testbed and quantum cloud computing environment and $4m to help develop a next-generation ion trap computer, among other initiatives.
“The Rome Lab and powerhouse workforce of the Mohawk Valley are going to be the ones to take us to the next frontier and ensure America leads the globe in the quantum computing super race,” he said, according to a release from Schumer’s office.
“This funding means that the next generation of the most advanced computers and technological research for our most sensitive military applications will happen right here at the Rome Lab. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that our nation stays ahead of our international competitors in virtual battle fields, and ensure the technology of tomorrow is developed right here in the Mohawk Valley,” he added.
Meanwhile, members of the House Armed Services Committee want to create a new pilot program within the Pentagon that prioritizes near-term quantum computing solutions that are capable of being developed and deployed in two years or less. The House version of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act would direct the Pentagon to partner with a federally funded R&D center and the quantum industry on the effort. The House and Senate have yet to pass a reconciled version of the NDAA codifying the pilot.
Members of the U.S. national security community are also concerned about developing defensive capabilities to protect networks against quantum computing that could defeat today’s encryption tools.
Last year, the Air Force selected SandboxAQ, a spinoff of Google’s parent company Alphabet, to analyze its existing encryption capabilities and explore how the department’s networks can be better protected against future quantum attacks.
“Once scaled quantum computers are stable, they will be able to crack nearly all existing security codes and protocols in hours, if not minutes,” retired U.S. Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson warned recently in an op-ed for DefenseScoop. (Source: glstrade.com/https://defensescoop.com/)
16 Aug 23. Demonstrating the power of additive manufacturing in defence. To raise awareness of the benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) in the defence sector, UK provider of Stratasys, One-Click Metal and XJet 3D printing solutions, Tri-Tech 3D, will attend Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2023. At the event, that will take place at ExCeL London between September 12 and 15, visitors can meet the Tri-Tech 3D team and explore the benefits of AM technology in MH Pod 20.
The defence industry is rapidly evolving, and AM can support with all aspects of high-end manufacturing, from tooling, jigs and fixtures to aerospace and defence applications that require industrial grade parts and tight tolerances.
At the show, Tri-Tech 3D will exhibit an array of industry-specific AM parts, including those commonly found internally on aircraft, all of which are created using aerospace-approved materials. The stand will also feature videos showcasing the application of 3D printing in the defence and aerospace industry, including how customer East/West Industries uses Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to produce soft jaw tooling.
“Many people know about using 3D printers to produce end products but may not be aware of the breadth of applications that are achievable in the defence market,” explained Joe Godfrey, 3D print specialist at Tri-Tech 3D. “By additively manufacturing certain parts, those in the defence market can reduce costs, shorten lead times and lower energy consumption — all of which are critical factors.
“Over 2,800 defence and security suppliers, including major prime manufacturers, will be attending this year and our aim is to raise awareness of how additive manufacturing can transform this ever-changing market,” continued Godfrey.
Market-leading Stratasys solutions include FDM, PolyJet, Stereolithography (SL), Selective Absorption Fusion (SAF) and Programmable PhotoPolymerization P3. Stratasys has partnered with industry leaders to develop materials and processes that are making 3D printed parts commonplace in aircraft and spacecraft production. Visitors to MH Pod 20 can discover more about these and how AM suppliers like Tri-Tech 3D are cementing additive technology as an engineering mainstay.
To find out more about the range of applications 3D printing has in the defence sector, and how this technology can be implemented, please visit: https://www.tritech3d.co.uk/industries/defence/.
16 Aug 23. Tech Official Says Manufacturing Advances Are Key to National Security. Advances in manufacturing capabilities are critical to the Defense Department’s overall national security strategy, a senior Pentagon technology official said today.
Steven G. Wax, acting deputy chief technology officer for science and technology, underscored the role of manufacturing in providing the U.S. military with capabilities to deter conflict or persevere in conflict if deterrence fails.
In an address before the America Makes Members Meeting Exchange, Wax said each of the 14 critical technology areas outlined in the National Defense Science and Technology Strategy depends heavily on the DOD’s ability to leverage cutting-edge manufacturing processes from the industrial base.
Those critical technologies include biotechnology, microelectronics, hypersonics and renewable energy generation and storage, among others.
“Not one of these critical technologies will succeed without advances in manufacturing,” he said. “Very simply, if you cannot make it, you cannot have it.”
Wax specifically highlighted the role of additive manufacturing, commonly called 3D printing, in enabling the industrial base to produce these critical, cutting-edge capabilities affordably.
“Additive manufacturing, particularly, touches many of these critical technology areas including advanced materials, hypersonics, space technology, renewable energy generation and storage, directed energy, and microelectronics,” he said.
Achieving the manufacturing advances needed to field these technologies, he said, is dependent on the close coordination and cooperation between the public and private sectors.
DOD launched America Makes in 2012 to bring together members of industry, academia, government and workforce with economic development organizations in order to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing in defense-related manufacturing and to advance the United States’ global manufacturing competitiveness.
Since its inception, America Makes has undertaken a portfolio of 58 DOD projects aimed at supporting mission-essential systems and improving the supply chain and process readiness of the military services.
“America Makes is a vital partner to the DOD strategic development and implementation of additive manufacturing across the department,” he said.
He added that America Makes’ value has extended beyond DOD and has become a vital partner in the government’s approach toward accelerating the adoption of additive technology.
“I’m proud of how far we’ve come in the past 11 years, and I’m looking forward to successful collaborations to come,” he said. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/US DoD)
16 Aug 23. RoK, UAE Hold Combined High-Tech Military Training. South Korea and the United Arab Emirates were staging combined high-tech military drills, Seoul’s Army said Wednesday, amid efforts to bolster bilateral military cooperation. The exercise is under way at the Korea Combat Training Center (KCTC), a facility employing cutting-edge technologies for realistic ground drills, in Inje, 165 kilometers east of Seoul, from Aug. 7-18, according to the armed service.
The drills mobilized some 2,500 troops to the facility, including a platoon of the UAE’s armed forces and a unit from the 22nd Infantry Division, as well as over 200 pieces of military equipment, such as tanks, helicopters and unmanned aircraft, it said.
It marked the first time for the UAE to participate in the exercise at the facility.
The latest drills are divided into two three-day parts of separate defense and attack operations against a specialized counterforce unit and place a focus on verifying the participants’ combat capabilities, the Army said.
Maj. Gen. Saeed Rashid Al Shehhi, commander of the UAE Land Forces, visited the training facility to encourage troops with Gen. Park Jeong-hwan, the Army’s chief of staff, it added.
It is to run through Friday, in connection with the allies’ Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise, slated to kick off next Monday.
South Korea and the UAE have recently been seeking to boost bilateral ties, with the two countries signing a memorandum of understanding on strategic defense industry cooperation in January when President Yoon Suk Yeol visited Abu Dhabi for a summit. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Yonhap News Agency)
14 Aug 23. Epsilor to Reveal its Li-Ion 6T MIL-PRF-32565C Compliant Battery for Armoured Vehicles at DSEI 2023. Epsilor will present its COMBATT lithium-ion 6T NATO standard batteries at the upcoming DSEI exhibition which will take place in London, United Kingdom, on 12-15 September 2023.
The ELI-52526-DM and ELP-02426-M, both 6T NATO-standard batteries provide ideal solutions for armoured military vehicles as well as heavy-duty applications as they offer up to four times more energy than a standard AGM 6T Lead Acid battery.
Epsilor’s 6T batteries offer the following advantages:
• Compliant with MIL-PRF-32565C safety, BMS and communication requirements
• 1,200 to 3500 charging cycles and five-year operational life
• Drop-in replacement of Lead-Acid batteries
• Smart batteries with self-balancing and self-charging capability
• Serial and parallel interconnectivity with additional batteries supporting group operation.
The 6T battery, alongside Epsilor’s other smart military and professional batteries and chargers, will be presented at stand number 701, in Hall 4, at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre.
“DSEI 2023 is an excellent forum for Epsilor to showcase its 6T batteries,” said Epsilor’s President, Mr. Ronen Badichi. “This year Epsilor will present for the first time its Li-Ion 6T battery, ELI-52526-DM, which fully complies with the MIL-PRF-32565C standard. This battery has excellent energy density and meets all of the strict safety requirements of the standard. We are proud to offer such a solution for various defence applications, particularly armoured vehicles.”
“Epsilor has been awarded contracts to supply its 6T NATO rechargeable batteries for several armoured vehicle programs” said Merav Kolody Shubeli, Epsilor’s Director for International Marketing and Sales. “The ELI-52526-DM battery opens more opportunities for Epsilor where excellent performance and safety is mandatory. I invite you to visit our booth at DSEI and learn more about Epsilor’s 6T battery products”. (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Aug 23. GKN Aerospace, Marshall and Parker Aerospace join forces to explore liquid hydrogen fuel systems for zero emission aircraft. GKN Aerospace, Marshall, and Parker Aerospace are leveraging their world-leading capabilities to collaborate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at exploring liquid hydrogen fuel system solutions for the next generation of zero emission aircraft.
Hydrogen propulsion, whether through fuel cells or combustion, is considered a critical pathway for the aviation industry to achieve its ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2050. This partnership marks
a significant milestone in the pursuit of sustainable aviation.
The liquid hydrogen fuel system to be developed jointly byGKN Aerospace, Marshall and Parker under this MoU will be capable of supporting both hydrogen electric and combustion applications. In
developing the system, Marshall, GKN Aerospace and Parker will combine their extensive experience in the design, testing, certification and manufacture of novel fuel systems for aerospace applications.
Russ Dunn, CTO of GKN Aerospace, said: “With this agreement, we have now set out a complete path to achieving zero-emissions flight at a game-changing scale. By working alongside Marshall and Parker, who have deep expertise in fuel systems, we can accelerate the development of the
technology building blocks required for a complete hydrogen propulsion system for mid-range aircraft. This partnership, combined with our other industry-leading collaborations, is a significant step
towards a sustainable future for aviation.”
Kieren Paterson, Managing Director of Marshall Futureworx, said: “Futureworx’s mission is to identify and develop a new generation of innovative products and services that address problems of
practical significance. Given our highly creative engineering talent and decades of experience and expertise in developing and certifying novel fuel systems within Marshall Aerospace, we are uniquely
positioned to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of hydrogen fuel systems for aircraft. We are excited to collaborate with esteemed industry leaders GKN Aerospace and Parker in advancing the
development of hydrogen propulsion systems and contributing to a more sustainable aviation industry.”
Tracy Rice, VP Technology and Innovation for Parker Aerospace, said: “Parker is fully committed to sustainability which is why we are making focused investments in innovative, next-generation technologies. Hydrogen fuel systems play a critical role in achieving zero emissions in aviation and we are confident that this partnership will enable us to further advance our expertise in this area and drive the development of innovative solutions that support a more sustainable future.” The proposed liquid hydrogen fuel system collaboration will benefit significantly from the ongoing UK Aerospace Technology Institute funded, GKN Aerospace led, H2GEAR programme, which will ground test a scalable hydrogen electric fuel cell propulsion system in 2025. The intent is to bring the complete scalable fuel system and propulsion system together in a single flight test bed environment before the end of the decade. At the Paris Air Show last month, GKN Aerospace signed a collaboration MoU to explore an integrated flight demonstration of the end-to-end system.
Initial studies suggest that such a system could support a wide range of aircraft, including commuter planes (under 19 passengers), business jets and regional aircraft (up to 100 passengers). Scalability of
the system for larger narrow-body aircraft is currently being studied.
14 Aug 23. Solve military power and communication challenges at DSEI. Military battery and communications systems manufacturer, Ultralife, has announced its participation in the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition, scheduled to take place from 12 to 15 September, 2023 at the ExCeL centre in London, UK. The global company will be showcasing a range of cutting-edge products designed specifically to address power and communication challenges on the battlefield.
Over the past 20 years, Ultralife has been continuously developing innovative portable power solutions for the military (often in conjunction with the government) to reduce weight on the soldier without compromising on performance. One such scheme was the Land Warrior program, which addressed the problem of soldiers having to pack and carry separate batteries for each electronic device. For any one mission, soldiers would typically carry around 15 to 20lbs (6.80kg to 9.07kg) of batteries. Therefore, Ultralife designed the conformal, wearable battery (UBBL35) that can power multiple devices simultaneously and weighs just 2.1lbs (0.96kg).
The 108Wh conformal battery will be on display at Ultralife’s stand H8-100 in the USA Zone, alongside the URB0023 battery that was designed for soldiers who need over 90x greater energy than can be provided by a packable battery. The URB0023 can be stacked up to ten units high to produce 10kwhr of energy but is still one-man moveable at 35lb. Not only is the battery ruggedised for field use, it also has rubber edges for ease of transport in a military vehicle.
When it comes to communication challenges, over the last century, loss of radio signal has been a major threat to the success of military operations across the globe and occurs when a soldier enters an area with no coverage (known as dead spots). When this happens, soldiers often try to increase the coverage range of the radio, so that it can communicate with devices outside of the dead spot.
The problem is that standard 5-watt handheld military radios have a limited operating range of around eight to ten kilometres, depending on the ground and frequency they are operating on. Therefore, amplifiers (such as Ultralife’s A-320V3A, which can be seen at DSEI) can be attached to the radio to boost this distance by up to three times by increasing the wattage to 20.
If this still fails to get the radio out of the dead spot, an alternative option is to change the antenna that is being used. This can be done by connecting an LNA adapter (such as Ultralife’s A-320DPA, which will also be on display at DSEI) to the amplifier. These adapters allow soldiers to switch between a 30-108Mhz antenna and a 90-512Mhz antenna without having to remove one of them, as this is time consuming and risks losing one.
“These are only a few examples of power and communication challenges that Ultralife is helping the military to solve,” said Robert Brown, Marketing Executive at Ultralife. “In addition to these pre-engineered products, we also manufacture custom solutions because the next-generation of military devices may have unique requirements that are not met by products currently on the market. Therefore, we invite anyone who is experiencing a problem to come and speak with us at the show in London. Even if you are not having any issues, you can still take the opportunity to see our plethora of products in person, including non-rechargeable and rechargeable batteries, power supplies, chargers, amplifiers, radio mounts and more.”
To find out more, visit stand Booth H8-100 (USA Zone) or pre-book a 1:1 appointment.
10 Aug 23. DARPA Taps RTX to Attune AI Decisions to Human Values.
• Raytheon BBN to enable human-aligned decisions in difficult domains
RTX’s (NYSE: RTX) BBN division received a contract award to support DARPA’s “In The Moment” program. ITM aims to develop the foundations needed for algorithms that are trusted to independently make decisions in scenarios like mass casualty triage and disaster relief, where complex and rapid decisions are needed in dynamic situations where there is often no human consensus and no clear right answer.
“ITM is about more than getting AI to provide the correct answer in very controlled scenarios. We’re not talking about training AI on labelled data to help identify a cancerous tumor on an X-Ray,” said Alice Leung, Raytheon BBN principal investigator. “What we’re trying to accomplish instead is the ability to create AI systems that humans would allow to make decisions independently in uncontrolled environments. To accomplish this, we need to determine how human experts make really difficult decisions and assess whether to trust the decisions of others. We’ll be conducting both decision-making research and trust research.”
The Raytheon BBN-led team, which includes Kairos Research, MacroCognition, and Valkyries Austere Medical Solutions, will use a cognitive interviewing technique to understand how experts—in this case, medical professionals and first responders—evaluate information and make tough trade-offs to act decisively at critical decision points. This qualitative information will be used to design scenario-based experiments to study how differences in an individual’s decision-making attributes can explain their choices, and how the alignment of attributes between two different people impacts the willingness to delegate decisions to another. This will enable AI to be tuned to match an expert population, or even to be tuned to match an individual expert.
“Because the way we make decisions varies from person to person, it’s unlikely that a one-size fits all trusted AI model exists,” said Leung. “Instead, in theory, we should be able to create AI systems that adapt to the user and domain. Decisions are difficult because of uncertainty and trade-offs between competing goals. We want to be able to tune an AI’s attributes such as risk tolerance, process focus, or willingness to change plans to better match a user or a group of users.”
DARPA is bringing together multiple teams to collaborate on this program. Other teams will focus on the development of prototype AI decision-makers that start with baseline knowledge and can then be tuned to match a set of target attributes. The research products from this program will be integrated and evaluated to determine how well the algorithmic agents were able to make decisions consistent with the target human attributes when faced with difficult scenarios. The program will also test whether human experts trust these aligned agents over the baseline agents or other actual humans. In these program evaluations of trust, the human experts will be shown a record of decisions in difficult scenarios without knowing whether the decision-maker was an AI or a human.
Work on this contract, which is sponsored by DARPA and the Air Force Research Lab, is being performed in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Dayton, Ohio; and Anniston, Alabama. (Source: ASD Network)
10 Aug 23. US DoD leverages digital twin modelling for all systems.
The US will leverage Amentum and Beast Code’s combined digital modelling solutions for all its systems.
Amentum, a global engineering organisation, and Beast Code, a data aggregation company, have formed a strategic partnership to deliver digital engineering solutions for the modernisation of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) systems.
Digital twin technology replicates physical systems and has emerged as a useful tool for decision-making, optimisation and simulations across the federal government – including the defence, intelligence and civil sectors.
Beast Code’s software aggregates data from multiple disparate sources and presents the information through an immersive 3D digital twin.
This complements Amentum’s engineering end-to-end lifecycle solutions in digital engineering, C5ISR, research and development, infrastructure, platform modernisation, logistics, training, data analytics and cybersecurity.
The DoD will leverage the two partners’ expertise for cost efficiency, agility and enhanced performance for all its systems.
“The technology will now give our US customers the ability to convert systems anywhere in the full life cycle to a native digital environment,” said Jill Bruning, President of the Engineering, Science and Technology Group. “This means the federal government can harness the power of digitalisation and achieve cost efficiency, agility and enhanced performance for all systems—whether they are still in the RDT&E phase or in sustainment.”
Digital in defence industry
The defence industry is already using digital twinning tech to design, troubleshoot and enhance concepts for systems. This risk-free method is a growing technique for defence companies trying to meet the new consumer demands that the war in Ukraine and the US-China rivalry have introduced.
MBDA UK is one European example, as it leverages its Digital Battlespace Facility, which has become fully operational this year. The facility will allow MBDA to market its wide range and diversely complementary products by showcasing the interoperability and interactions of different systems. The digital space demonstrates the weapons and platforms that can work together – no system is procured in isolation.
Likewise, Lockheed Martin has successfully validated its subsystem design for its middle defence interceptor, which will be used by the US Army. Currently, the interceptor programme is on track for its next major review. The digital engineering tools have hurried the process of research and development – eliminating the cost and time it takes to conduct real-world testing. (Source: army-technology.com)
14 Aug 23. Inovor Technologies selected for Lockheed Martin’s Mentor Protégé Program. Adelaide-based Inovor Technologies has been selected for Lockheed Martin’s Mentor Protégé Program (MPP), becoming the third Australian Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) to do so. Inovor is a member of the team assembled by Lockheed Martin Australia for Joint Project 9102; the US prime won this contract earlier in 2023.
The MPP aims to accelerate the development of core SME capabilities. By allowing businesses, such as Inovor, to achieve a strategic uplift for their Australian customers, it opens the door to potential export opportunities to the United States and beyond. Australia’s Clearbox Systems was the first company outside the US to complete the MPP, graduating in 2020. Passive surveillance technology leader Silentium Defence is expected to graduate later this year.
“Our Mentor Protégé Program is one way we’re working with leading Australian SMEs, such as Inovor, to help accelerate their development, so they can be competitive on the global stage,” said Warren McDonald, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand chief executive. “All of the non-US Mentor Protégé Program participants to date are from Australia, which underscores not only the world-class standard of our local industry, but also the trust we share with the US.”
Starting in November this year, Inovor executives will undergo an intensive 12-month mentoring program, gaining access to Lockheed Martin’s leading subject matter experts across Australia and the US. The program will be tailored for Inovor and cover best practice competencies that could include human resource processes, business ethics, contracting, product management, export controls, quality management systems, supply chain risk management, competitive intelligence and cyber security readiness.
Inovor’s participation in the Mentor Protégé Program will be jointly sponsored by Lockheed Martin Space and Lockheed Martin Australia’s Office of Australian Industrial Participation through the Global Supply Chain Program.
“Inovor impressed us with their innovative technologies, the clarity of their vision and their determination to seek sustained growth through securing export opportunities in the US and further afield,” said David Ball, Lockheed Martin Australia’s regional director for Space. “Their commitment to making the necessary investments to compete for global supply chain contracts made them ideally suited for the Mentor Protégé Program.”
“Our investment in Inovor’s participation in the Mentor Protégé Program is part of our commitment to developing Australia’s space industry sector, including through our support of STEM learning initiatives and focus on key programs such JP9102,” added Ball.
For Matt Tetlow, founder and CEO of Inovor Technologies, Inovor’s selection for the Mentor Protégé Program is key to realising the company’s growth potential: “We see the Mentor Protégé Program as a transformational opportunity that coincides with a series of strategic initiatives, including the expansion of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Adelaide and a rapidly maturing flight heritage.”
“At the conclusion of the program, Inovor will have the scale, experience, capabilities and corporate knowledge required to meet the growing needs of our Australian customers and pursue the international export opportunities that can accelerate our growth exponentially,” Tetlow added. “Through its programs and initiatives, such as the Mentor Protégé Program, Lockheed Martin consistently demonstrates its ongoing commitment to building the capacity and capabilities of SMEs and creating growth opportunities for the Australian industry.” (Source: https://www.ex2.com.au/news/)
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley offer a range of Military Marine NVG friendly LED lighting that includes navigation lights and controls, flight deck landing lights and interior compartment lighting. Our lighting products are used by Navies around the world including our own Royal Navy on UK Aircraft Carriers, Canadian Frigates, Swedish Submarines, Australian Surface vessels and Submarines, on board French Naval Carriers and in Naval Gun Turrets.
The technology is extremely energy efficient and built robustly, with proven long life. The lighting is NVG friendly, dimmable and programmable to allow for operations with aircraft pilots using military night vision goggles. They offer superior design giving high reliability for the most demanding environments with high sealing and the ability to meet the most stringent EMC standards.
Oxley are proud to say that we are working in partnership with SeaKing to enable a control panel to be offered with our LED Navigation Lighting. All of Oxley navigation lights have been specifically developed for vessels over 50 metres.
Contact Marcus Goad on 07850 917 263 for more information or to arrange samples.
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.