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08 Oct 13. Representatives from the Boeing project team working on the next generation KC-46 tanker programme for the US Air Force toured new production facilities during their visit to Oxley in Ulverston. The Seattle-based team visited the Priory Park site and praised the quality of the new state of the art production facility and Oxley’s in-house specialist testing facilities. They were at Oxley to review progress on the contract awarded in November 2012 to design and develop an LED lighting solution for the KC-46 fly-by-wire refueling boom which enhances the tanker’s capability to refuel any fixed-wing receiver aircraft. The light is one of the most complex ever produced by Oxley. Not only must it meet aerospace, environmental and EMC standards but it also needs to measure up to the rigorous US Federal Aviation Administration software standard that ensures reliable performance in an airborne environment. The KC-46 is a multi-mission military aerial refueling aircraft developed by Boeing from its 767 commercial jetliner. The first test aircraft is expected to roll out of the factory in January 2014. Boeing expects to build and deliver the first 18 KC-46As by 2017 with an extended production target of 179 aircraft by 2027. The visit to Ulverston was a scheduled programme management review and marked a successful milestone in the contract. The refuelling boom light is the second major project with Boeing; Oxley has previously provided the external LED lighting for the company’s C-17 military transport aircraft.
04 Oct 13. Mercury Systems, Inc. announced the deployment of the most powerful OpenVPX™-based sensor processing subsystem ever developed for an airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) application. Based on the OpenVPX open architecture standard, the subsystem can process and exploit huge amounts of sensor data in real-time, store it onboard for retrieval and forensic analysis and send imagery to ground stations or hand-held devices. This massive real-time compute capability is achieved through the skillful integration of Intel® Xeon® server-class processors, general purpose graphical processing units (GPGPUs) and ruggedized solid state disk storage arrays, effectively providing a unique, open commodity-class server capability for SWaP-constrained airborne environments. (Source: ASD Network)
07 Oct 13. In the face of mounting budget pressures, the U.S. Army is attempting to whittle down the price of tactical radios by inviting any interested vendor to compete for five-year, winner-take-all contracts in two major competitions scheduled for 2014. That strategy, which has been announced for the Army’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) Rifleman and Manpack radio competitions, is drawing the ire of industry executives who say it may lead to higher prices in the long run by reducing the pool of competitors vying to produce Army radios. In the past, the Army often purchased radios through annual contracts awarded to two or more vendors. That strategy was designed to promote competition while supporting the defense electronics industrial base. Army leaders have been forced to rewrite their acquisition strategies, however, as they wrestle with the task of fielding a family of sophisticated software-defined radios in an era of declining budgets. In August, President Barack Obama vowed to shield military personnel spending accounts from the cuts and limit their impact on operations. As a result, research and procurement accounts are expected to decline sharply. Against that backdrop, the Army is preparing to select contractors to begin full-rate production of single-channel, Handheld Rifleman radios and larger, two-channel Manpack radios, key elements of the Army’s $3bn-a-year campaign to modernize tactical communications. One