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01 Dec 16. Australia selects RUAG’s proposal to develop laser repair technology. RUAG Australia’s proposal to develop laser repair technology has been selected by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) under its capability and technology demonstrator (CTD) programme. Managed by the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group, the CTD programme enhances Australia’s defence capabilities by helping local industries to develop and demonstrate new technologies. The Australian DoD selected seven CTD proposals from more than 130 options. RUAG Australia’s proposal includes the development of laser cladding repair technology to reduce maintenance costs and improve aircraft availability. Laser cladding is a processing technique used for repairing metal structures. The process involves feeding a stream of powder into a focused laser beam as it is scanned across the target surface, leaving behind a deposited coating of feed stock material that is fused to the substrate. The required geometry is then built up layer by layer, RUAG said in a statement. The technology restores damaged components and structures for several platforms, such as aircraft landing gears. RUAG is an authorised centre for original equipment manufacturers providing services to Airbus Helicopters, Bell, Bombardier, Cirrus, Cessna, Diamond, Dassault Aviation, Embraer, Leonardo-Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland), Piaggio, Sikorsky, Pilatus, Piper, and Mooney. (Source: army-technology.com)
30 Nov 16. After a federal judge put a stop to the Army’s current plan to develop its intelligence analysis framework internally, requiring it to look again at commercially available products, a provision in the conference report of the 2017 defense policy bill further pushes the Army toward buying commercial capability.
The provision would require the Army secretary to “rapidly identify and field a commercially available capability that meets tactical requirements, can integrate at the tactical unit level, is substantially easier for personnel to use and requires less training,” according to the National Defense Authorization Act report language released Wednesday.
The controversy over whether the Army should scrap its Distributed Common Ground System-Army program after spending more than a decade and $3bn to develop it or go with a commercial off-the-shelf solution had been simmering for years. But it came to a head earlier this year when Palantir, a Palo Alto, California-based company, sued the Army in the US Court of Federal Claims in June after losing a protest with the Government Accountability Office.
Soldiers, in Afghanistan particularly, have repeatedly requested permission to use Palantir instead of using DCGS-A, as the service continues to work out glitches and problems with its own system. Palantir argued the Army blocked or delayed access to its technology.
When the Army announced it would develop the second iteration of DCGS-A by selecting a lead integrator through a competition, Palantir interpreted the plan as a way to shut out Silicon Valley companies that provide commercially available products that do the same thing as what the Army proposed to build. It argued the Army was in violation of a law that requires government agencies to fully consider commercially available products that could fulfill requirements before spending money and time developing something that already exists.
The court’s 104-page opinion in the lawsuit against the Army sends the service back to do a more thorough analysis of commercially available options for its intelligence analysis framework, but it did not define exactly how the Army should conduct the analysis or what would be considered a satisfactory level of market research.
The question remained as to whether the service would seek true commercial partnership or do a bare minimum of due dilige