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06 Jan 14. BAE Systems has revealed that 3D printed components created by its engineers have flown for the first time on-board Tornado fighter jets, paving the way for using 3D printed parts in other military kit. The 3D metal parts were successfully flown from the Company’s airfield at Warton in Lancashire. Engineers are designing and producing 3D printed functional components at RAF Marham, which will cut the cost of repairs, maintenance and service to the Royal Air Force to the tune of more than £1.2m over the next four years. The Company’s Combat Engineering team is using 3D printing to engineer ready-made parts for supply to four Squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft – including protective covers for Tornado cockpit radios, support struts on the air intake door and protective guards for Power Take-off shafts. With some of the parts costing less than £100 per piece to manufacture, 3D printing has already resulted in savings of more than £300,000 and will offer further potential cost savings of more than £1.2m between now and 2017.
Mike Murray, Head of Airframe Integration at BAE Systems said: “You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things. You can manufacture the products and whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there, which means you can also start to support other platforms such as ships and aircraft carriers. And if it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support.”
06 Jan 14. ViaSat Inc. and Harris Corp. have completed demonstrations of the upgraded Small Tactical Terminal (STT) KOR-24A in combination with the Harris high-band power amplifier for extended air to ground range operation of both Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) and Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform C (ANW2C). The demonstrations were held in San Diego at the ViaSat facility in Carlsbad and in Huntsville at Redstone Arsenal in early December. The two-channel STT provides simultaneous 63-watt Link 16 and 50-watt SRW communications in a software-defined radio. The STT, the first and only fully-certified, two-channel, Link 16 and VHF/UHF radio, includes a range of software-defined VHF/UHF military radio and Link 16 functions. The terminal is available now to meet program needs for quick turnaround and delivery of units and was recently selected for Apache AH64E Lots 4 and 5. At only 16 pounds, the STT/KOR-24A terminal reduces the size, weight, and power of tactical data link equipment. Applications include rotary wing and light aircraft, small boats, UAVs, and for ground forces including vehicles and a wide variety of “shelterized” communication nodes. (Source: Yahoo!/PRNewswire)
09 Jan 14. US Army looks to converge network operations tools. The US Army is looking to enhance operational flexibility of its S6 officers by integrating and converging different network operations (NetOps), tools used for management of the tactical communications network into an integrated system. Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), the move represents one component of the army’s overall initiative to simplify the network so as to increase its likeliness to technology operated by warfighters during tactical missions. The overall aim is to achieve network visibility from the enterprise level to the tactical level, simultaneously lowering the number of tools required. The product manager for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (PM WIN-T, Increment 3) source lieutenant colonel, Ward Roberts, said the S6 has to manage a range of network transport devices, applications and hardware, and also receives NetOps from different programme offices that do not work together. PM WIN-T technical management division chief, Rich Greel, said the