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07 Apr 13. When an article in a leading US naval periodical suggested last week that complex parts for ships and aircraft could soon be “printed”, many suspected an April fools’ prank. The proposal was no joke, however. It referred to a revolutionary technology that enables solid three-dimensional objects to be printed in a variety of materials, including plastics, metal and concrete. Lieutenants Scott Cheney-Peters and Matthew Hipple, who wrote the paper for the US Naval Institute’s magazine, proposed that 3D printers could be used to produce any object required at sea, ranging from engine parts to dinner plates and even artificial limbs for wounded sailors. Hipple said: “Three dimensional printing is an incredible opportunity — I can just say ‘I need valves’, or ‘I need generators’ and I could have those, in whatever size and shape, in a matter of hours.” The 3D printing technique relies on digital data and creates objects using a layer-by-layer process. The basic technology has existed for decades, but recent developments have rendered it capable of making far more sophisticated objects. Aluminium, titanium and other metal alloys can be 3D printed to produce parts for high performance aircraft and munitions. In January, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Maryland successfully printed a model of the hospital ship USNS Comfort. It was the first ship model to be created using a 3D printer. (Source: The Sunday Times)

05 Apr 13. On April 3rd, ThalesRaytheonSystems achieved a major milestone on the NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) program. This test program validated the ACCS system against a thorough list of operational requirements during 8 weeks of extensive testing at the NATO System Test and Validation Facility in Glons, Belgium. This test was by far the most comprehensive and challenging test to date on the ACCS program, including the validation of all live system interfaces, full system redundancy, security requirements, and a highly complex series of performance tests that stressed the system in every aspect of peak load performance. Successfully passing this important milestone now paves the way for NATO member states to proceed with system validation at their respective national air command and control facilities. Belgium, France, Germany and Italy will be the first four nations to conduct these tests, after which the ACCS system will be declared fully operational. Preparation for the national site tests has been taking place in parallel with system validation testing in order to ensure that this important capability is provided to the NATO operational community as soon as possible.

10 Apr 13. Envitia announced the release of the MapLink Pro 7.5 a software development toolkit for high performance mapping applications. This release provides a major enhancement to the visualisation capabilities of MapLink Pro through the use of OpenGL and delivers the first release of MapLink Pro for Android. MapLink Pro 7.5 release also features a new high performance drawing surface which utilises OpenGL 2.0, OpenGL 3.0 and newer on both Windows and Linux. This release significantly boosts performance for graphic intensive applications. The use of OpenGL can also simplify software development and improve productivity. MapLink Pro for Android delivers the Core MapLink Pro API for Android devices. Providing developers with the tools to build and deploy high performance visualisation and situational awareness applications on the Android operating system. Capabilities include:
* Multi-threaded map display for smooth, responsive applications.
* High performance visualisation of vector and raster maps and overlays along with live data feeds.
* Access to query the underlying geometry and attributes stored within maps.
* Support for domain specific APP6A / 2525B symbology.
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