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01 Aug 05. BAE Systems has been awarded a three-year contract worth up to $2.8m from the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research to develop an advance armor solution for Marine Corps ground combat vehicles. The program will focus on developing an advanced system by exploring and refining the potential synergy between Electro Magnetic Armor (EMA) and other armor technologies. Under the contract, BAE Systems, teamed with ARL at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., will test and develop configurations that combine the benefits of the armor technologies. Armor recipe development will be followed by multi-hit arrays and then a full vehicle kit. ARL will provide design, modeling and test support to the program. The effort will benefit from knowledge gained on prior EMA-related design, experimentation, pulsed power and vehicle integration by the company, ARL and TARDEC on both conventional and hybrid-electric drive vehicles. The award is the second vehicle survivability contract awarded to BAE Systems by ONR. Since 2001, the company has been working on a Smart Survivable Structure program to investigate and incorporate emerging technologies into hull structure designs that increase vehicle survivability, with an emphasis on developing lightweight nanomaterial armors, a miniature structure-integral electronic jammer and an adaptive visual layer.
03 Aug 05. The Boeing Airborne Laser (ABL) team has completed flight testing of the system’s passive mission payload, moving the program through another phase of critical testing. This test event, called the Low Power Systems Integration-Passive test, included ground and flight tests of ABL’s battle management command and control system and the Beam Control/Fire Control segment. Boeing is the prime contractor and systems integrator for the ABL, which consists of a megawatt-class, high-energy Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser placed on a Boeing 747-400 aircraft. ABL is designed to detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. ABL also can pass information on launch site, target track and predicted impact to other layers of the government’s ballistic missile defense architecture. During this latest phase of testing the ABL, the ABL Team demonstrated the stability and alignment of the two beam control and fire control optical benches with the turret. That test demonstrated the system’s pointing and vibration control functions as well as its ability to acquire targets as directed by the battle management segment. In May, the ABL’s 1.7 meter wide conformal window was unstowed for the first time during flight, a maneuver necessary for the weapon system to complete its mission of shooting down a ballistic missile in flight. The Team also has demonstrated the battle management and command and control systems ability to autonomously detect and hand off targets using Link 16 secure communications. With completion of this phase of testing, the ABL YAL-1A aircraft will transition to Boeing’s Wichita facility to undergo final modification to accommodate installation of the high energy lasers and begin Low Power System Integration-Active ground testing. During the active testing, two low power illuminator lasers will be integrated and flight tested to demonstrate acquisition and fine tracking with active illumination. The testing also will verify ABL’s atmospheric compensation design and operation.
03 Aug 05. Liberty Aerospace, manufacturer of the XL2 single-engine aircraft, has now received FAA approval for its XL2 aircraft to operate under Instrument Flight Rules. The Liberty XL2 aircraft has been designed to meet the growing demand for a new generation, advanced two seat aircraft. It is the only production aircraft powered by a piston engine equipped with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) which simplifies power management and provides greatly increased levels of safety, reliability an