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18 Jul 18. Germany wants its own version of DARPA, and within the year. Germany Defence and Interior ministry officials are pushing for the creation of a new agency this year that will study disruptive technologies relevant to Germany’s defense and security. A decision on the way forward is expected “shortly,” a Defence Ministry spokesman told Defense News on Wednesday. Planning is underway to get the green light from the Finance Ministry, a necessary step because the agency would be set up as an “in-house” limited liability corporation, according to the spokesman. If all goes according to plan, insiders believe Cabinet-level consideration of the effort could come as early as September. While there is no official word on the exact timing, the spokesman said creating the agency is firmly on the calendar for 2018. The full name for the outfit is “Agentur für Disruptive Innovationen in der Cybersicherheit und Schlüsseltechnologien,” or ADIC. Its name first popped up in the coalition-government agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and Social Democrats in March. The document postulated that the agency, overseen by the two ministries for interior and exterior security, would help ensure Germany’s “technological innovation leadership.” Also requested in that document was the creation of an “IT security fund” that would help protect related key technologies. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen referred to the coming agency in a speech in May, equating its purpose to that of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, otherwise known as DARPA. She presented the idea as part of a wider plan toward deep-futures thinking on cybersecurity matters, which also includes a study program at the Bundeswehr University in Munich. Under the relatively new shift to emphasize all things cyber in the German military, the Defence Ministry’s Cyber Innovation Hub, created last year, is slated to survey the domestic technology startup scene for ideas with potential military application. Asked by Defense News what status the upcoming agency will accord to the field of artificial intelligence, ministry officials responded that such projects “generally” would be eligible to receive temporary funding if they are deemed relevant to the mission. Much remains unknown about the German military’s approach to artificial intelligence, famously dubbed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year as the technology that holds the key to ruling the world.
“The research area of artificial intelligence and potential applications by the Bundeswehr are being substantively reviewed,” the defense spokesman said. Whether the new ADIC or any of the existing organizations inside the Defence Ministry would get involved remains an open question, he added.
Some experts fear Germany is falling behind the the United States’ and China’s enormous efforts in artificial intelligence, though government officials have said they believe the country’s talent base and emerging policy framework can ensure success. A whitepaper released Wednesday by the Cabinet agency leading the push on AI, the Ministry of Education and Research, proclaimed the goal of making German-made AI a “seal of quality recognized all over the world.” The document will lead to a more comprehensive strategy by late November. It makes no explicit mention of any military or defense applications. Efforts already exist within the armed forces and the wider government to employ data-mining and predictive-analysis tools, which fall under the broader definition of artificial intelligence. For example, defense officials have touted experiments with a forecasting application developed to predict worldwide crises. Officials also try to play up the Bundeswehr’s geekiness in its search for new recruits. A current online marketing campaign showcases the career field of a Bundeswehr University professor employing AI techniques to analyze terror attacks for patterns. (Source: Defense News)
18 Jul 18. DARPA, Lockheed demo SoSITE technologies. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works and DARPA have performed a series of flight tests demonstrating a system of systems (SoS) approach that enables improved integration across air, space, land, sea and cyber in contested environments. The demonstrations, held at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, were a part of a five year DARPA programme called System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE). The flight tests demonstrated interoperability between a ground station, flying test bed, a C-12 and flight test aircraft, proving the ability to transmit data between those systems using an integration technology called STITCHES. The test used an open system architecture mission computer known as the Einstein Box developed by Skunk Works as the open computing environment, providing security protections between systems. The Einstein Box enables rapid and secure experimentation before deploying the capability to operational systems. The team demonstrated the ability to automatically compose and transmit messages between systems, including using legacy datalinks. This was the first use of non-enterprise data links to create new, rich information exchanges in-flight through Link-16, enabling greater speed, agility, modernisation and effectiveness. The team also demonstrated the ability to link ground based cockpit simulators with live aircraft systems in real time to demonstrate how an SoS approach reduces data-to-decision timelines; as well as integration between the APG-81 radar and DARPA’s automatic target recognition software to reduce operator workload and create a comprehensive picture of the battlespace. (Source: Shephard)
18 Jul 18. Airbus and Singapore to co-develop digital services for military aircraft. Airbus and Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) have agreed details of the first initiative under their recently announced digital technology collaboration(1) – the development of 3D-printing of spare parts to be initially trialled on Singapore’s new fleet of A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (A330-MRTT) aircraft. Under the terms of an implementation agreement signed at the Farnborough Airshow, Airbus Defence and Space will support DSTA in designing and certifying parts produced by additive manufacturing for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) aircraft.
Head of Military Aircraft Services at Airbus Defence and Space, Stephan Miegel, said: “It is absolutely clear that digitalisation represents the future of military aircraft services and we are now at a point where we can begin to explore the most promising techniques on operational fleets. We greatly appreciate the innovative approach of DSTA in going on this journey with us. Following this first agreement on 3D-printing, we have further agreed to collaborate on data analytics for predictive maintenance. The collaboration will add on to the development of Airbus’s new SmartForce suite of maintenance data analytics launched at Farnborough.”
SmartForce is a suite of services to enable operators to exploit aircraft data to improve troubleshooting, optimize maintenance effort, predict maintenance actions and plan smartly for material demand. The RSAF has acquired the A330 MRTT and the first aircraft will be delivered to Singapore in the coming months.
(1) A Collaboration Agreement was signed between the two organisations at the inaugural Singapore Defence Technology Summit less than a month ago on 27 June 2018.
18 Jul 18. China’s CETC to set up CMI fund. The China Electronics Group Corporation (CETC) is to set up a fund to support civil-military integration (CMI) and the development of military science and technologies, the state-owned company has said. In a statement, CETC said the fund was proposed in mid-July and is intended to support research and development in commercial and military electronics with an emphasis on CETC collaboration with private-sector companies. CETC is currently considering the scope of the fund and will establish it soon in collaboration with China’s Ministry of Finance and the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, an agency under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that is tasked with supporting defence industrial development. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Jul 18. Stalking the Hunter: Anti-submarine warfare and the SEA 5000 Frigates. With the announcement that BAE will provide the Navy with nine, highly-advanced, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Hunter Class frigates, Defence Connect spoke with Ultra Electronics, a key ASW systems supplier poised to support BAE in delivering the nation’s next-generation ASW frigates and the capabilities needed to succeed. With half of the world’s submarines expected to be operating in the Indo-Pacific in the next two decades, Australia’s need for a highly capable, survivable ASW frigate is paramount to ensuring that the Navy can adequately protect the nation and the key sea lines of communication (SLOC) in the event of hostility. Enter BAE’s Hunter Class frigate. Based on the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, the vessel will form the backbone of the nation’s surface combat capability out until the 2040s. ASW is a branch of underwater warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft and/or allied submarines to find, track and deter, damage, or destroy enemy submarines. Successful ASW depends on a mix of sensor and weapon technology, training and experience. The Hunter Class will have the capability to conduct a variety of missions independently, or as part of a task group, with sufficient range and endurance to operate effectively throughout the region, according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. When announcing the next-generation frigates, the Prime Minister said that the ships would provide the Australian Defence Force with “the highest levels of lethality and deterrence our major surface combatants need in periods of global uncertainty”. Broadly speaking, the ships will include the incorporation of the leading-edge Australian-developed CEA phased array radar and the US Navy’s powerful Aegis combat management system. With an Australian interface developed by Saab Australia, the Hunter Class will be one of the most capable multi-role warships in the world. While Aegis is a formidable combat management system, it is the ASW suite that will ensure that the new Hunter Class vessels can operate effectively individually, in a task group protection role or in broader conjunction with allied forces. This is where Ultra Electronics and its ASW systems come into play to provide the Hunter with the tools necessary to stalk the traditional hunter of the surface ships on the high seas, submarines.
Ultra Electronics regional director, Australia and New Zealand, Bernard Mills said, “Ultra will provide two of the three main ASW elements on the vessels. The first is the S2150 Hull Mounted Sonar, which is a very high-performance system that has also taken big steps forward in design for efficient through-life maintenance and optimised on-board footprint. The second is the S2170 Surface Ship Torpedo Defence system, in service with the Royal Navy and currently being delivered to New Zealand. These sit with Thales’ S2087 Variable Depth Sonar to form the Future Frigate’s core ASW systems.”
As with the broader SEA 5000 program, the ASW systems and integration will be heavily defined by the government’s focus on Australian industrial content (AIC) and technology transfer to Australia. Ultra Electronics’ role will see over 60 per cent of the ASW systems installed on the Hunter Class delivered by Australians in country, which the company believes will open up a new level of technical know-how and innovation at a domestic level. System commonality between the new Hunter Class and Australia’s Hobart Class Guided Missile Destroyers, which Ultra also provided with key ASW technology, will provide the perfect opportunity for the Australian interface, based on Saab’s 9LV system, to show its true power, while ensuring that the fleet’s major surface combatants are all acting with the same systems.
“The decision of the Commonwealth to mandate an Australian interface based on 9LV within the combat system architecture was an excellent one. It has to be recognised that the Australian Interface is a pretty unique opportunity for a whole range of companies to support SAAB in the development of what will be a truly Australian multi-sensor and multi-effector control layer for this kind of vessel. I’m also really heartened that this will occur not only for SEA 5000 but also SEA 4000 Phase 6, so that there will be a level of commonality between the combat system architectures and interfaces of the Hobart and Hunter Classes,” said Mills.
Ultra was quick to highlight the network-centric capabilities of its ASW systems, particularly those installed on the Hobart Class and the foundation for interoperability and the distributed lethality afforded through the integration of multiple ASW, aerial and surface warfare assets like P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and ASW aircraft, MH-60R Romeo Seahawks and MQ-4C Tritons with both Hobart and Hunter Class vessels, ensuring that the systems can interact and convey messages, quickly, efficiently and shorten the kill chain in event of hostile engagement.
Elaborating further, Mills said, “The good news is that in carrying the S2150 Hull Mounted Sonar, the Type 26 already inherits a good portion of this integrated processing layer as well as common user screens and functionality. So rather than reinvent the wheel with a developmental system or something that doesn’t have that important commonality, we see our role as working with the RAN and BAE, and again importantly SAAB so that it sits with the Australian interface, in the evolution of our ASW control layer to best suit the Hunter Class design, sensors and intended concept of operations (CONOPS).”
Ultra has embraced the government’s commitment to developing sovereign capabilities and has seen steady growth since establishing the business locally a decade ago. SEA 5000 and the Air Warfare Destroyer program have provided opportunities for the company to establish itself as a market leader. It is planned that this will see further technical growth, which will occur through a combination of recruitment and key personnel transfers from the broader Ultra Electronics business, particularly as the British Type 26 program continues to evolve and progress and should the Canadian future surface combatant program select the Type 26, providing opportunity for international growth, best practice, experience and knowledge transfer between the partners. (Source: Defence Connect)
17 Jul 18. Why circuit board production is an issue in the annual defense bill. A proposal in the House version of the annual defense policy bill would eliminate an oversight requirement related to the printed circuit board industry, pitting defense acquisition reform efforts against an industry claim that the move undermines an already shrinking base that is crucial to national security. The House bill repeals a previous statutory requirement that the Department of Defense name an executive agent (EA) for printed circuit board technology. That role is to oversee the supply chain and “facilitate access to reliable, trusted, and affordable print circuit board fabrication” to meet future military requirements, according to a DoD description. The Senate version does not remove the requirement for an EA, and instead directs the EA to conduct a report for the secretary of defense on the “health of the defense electronics industrial base,” according to the bill language. The Senate legislation also includes a call for “a plan to formalize long-term resourcing for the executive agent.” Circuit boards act as “road maps” for defense items ranging from F?35 planes to missile guidance systems and in the wrong hands would allow enemies to “understand, replicate, even sabotage” American technologies, said Chris Mitchell, vice president of global government relations at the Association Connecting Electronics Industries. Mitchell worries that the potential elimination of the position will shake the confidence of domestic circuit board producers and will hurt private research and development spending. He calls the language “a symbolic punch in the gut to the industry.” In a letter, Reps. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., urged House and Senate defense leaders to oppose the proposal in the must-pass bill, writing that “for the EA to be stripped of its statutory authority … would send a dispiriting signal to the U.S. printed circuit board industry by calling into question the government’s commitment to a robust domestic defense electronic industry to serve DoD requirements.” The number of American circuit board producers has dropped from 500 in 2005 to fewer than 200 today due to global competition, risking reliance on foreign producers for sensitive tech, said Connor Lentz, legislative director for The idea to eliminate the requirement of an executive agent arose from a Section 809 recommendation, a committee dedicated to streamlining acquisition regulations. Dropping the mandate for the position of EA for circuit boards will “facilitate freedom of action” during reorganization of the department, a January 2018 committee report said.
“Designating a senior official to serve as executive agent limits the secretary’s flexibility and is overly prescriptive” wrote the committee, noting that the “effectiveness” of the EA role “in action has not yet been determined.”
Mitchell and Lentz said the EA has had little time to provide results, as the DoD did not move to officially incorporate the EA position until 2016, even though it was first called for in the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act. The two chambers are meeting in conference to resolve differences between their versions of the defense policy bill. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Jul 18. What’s going on with America’s next fighter designs? America is developing a pair of two new high-tech fighter aircraft, and you probably haven’t heard much about them. Under the leadership of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the Pentagon has clamped down on talking about cutting-edge capabilities in development, citing concerns about giving potential foes too much information. Nevertheless, some details have emerged about the ongoing programs, one each from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. And in light of European plans for new fighter designs, it is worth revisiting what is, and isn’t, known about the American efforts. In 2016, the U.S. Air Force unveiled its “Air Superiority 2030” study, which posited that although the service would need a new air superiority fighter jet — called Penetrating Counter Air — as soon as the 2030s, it would be just as important that the new plane fit into a “family of systems” of space, cyber, electronic warfare and other enabling technologies. The service then initiated an analysis of alternatives in 2017 to further drill down on Penetrating Counter Air concepts and to refine its requirements, but the service’s top uniformed officer sounds interested in a disaggregated mission approach.
“When you look at — through the lens of the network — and you look at air superiority as a mission, as a family-of-systems approach, you can see why you don’t hear me talking a lot about a replacement, A for B,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein told Defense News in March. “Because the replacement may not be a single platform, it maybe two or three different kinds of capabilities and systems. And so as we look at air superiority in the future, ensuring that we’re advancing to stay ahead of the adversary, we’re looking at all those options.”
Mark Tapper, the Air Force’s special adviser to the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, echoed Goldfein’s comments during a June 26 panel. “It’s not necessarily about a new airplane or a new platform. It’s about how you take the power of things that operate in space, things that operate in cyberspace, things that operate in air and terrestrially and subsurface to create effects in the battlespace. So how do you leverage the power of all those data streams and fit them together in new ways?” he said.
Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners, called the nature of the U.S. program “the most fascinating question: What does this thing even look like? Is it a manned/unmanned platform with stealth? Is it a larger mothership that can control all these unmanned systems? I just don’t know.”
Despite silence on the Air Force effort, it’s clear money is being spent to push the effort forward. In the fiscal 2019 budget, the service requested $504m for “next-generation air dominance,” its portfolio of future fighter technologies and weapons. The Air Force expects to ramp up funding to $1.4bn in FY20, hitting a high in FY22 with a projected $3.1bn in spending. Officials involved in the effort have described Penetrating Counter Air as a survivable aircraft that may have design elements similar to a bomber in order to give it a longer range. Parallel experimentation and prototyping efforts are seen as necessary to prove out breakthrough technologies in areas like propulsion or autonomy that could be ready by 2030.
Naval fighters needed?
For several years, the U.S. Navy has made noises about a new fighter competition known as F/A-XX. In 2012, the Navy issued a request for information that set a target date of 2030 for its initial operational capability. That date, however, seems increasingly unlikely.
Facing a mountain of recapitalization costs from the next-generation ballistic missile submarine to a next-generation frigate, the Navy’s timeline is unclear. It’s also unclear whether it wants a new fighter or whether the capability will be replaced with a family of systems.
“We are currently conducting an analysis of alternatives, both in anticipation of the retirement of the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G, as well as to maintain options for enhancing the lethality, survivability and effectiveness of the carrier strike group and meet predicted future threats in the 2030-plus timeframe,” Navy Lt. Lauren Chatmas said when asked about the state of the program. An analysis of alternatives basically means the Navy is looking to see if there are already systems in the fleet that can take on the mission requirements of a future fighter, or if there are cheaper ways to do the same thing. The Navy announced in 2016 that the analysis of alternatives, which would include manned, unmanned and optionally manned airframes, had launched that January. That makes the effort more than two and a half years old. The Navy is looking at some key capabilities it thinks a next-generation system or systems will need to in the 2030s and beyond, Chatmas continued.
“In terms of technologies, the Navy is considering trades to balance capability, affordability and survivability across a [family of systems] and not limiting the analysis to a single aircraft to meet future threats,” she noted. “Some important areas of consideration include derivative and developmental air vehicle designs, advanced engines, propulsion, weapons, mission systems, electronic warfare systems, and numerous other emerging technologies and concepts.”
Notably, the Pentagon’s recently released 30-year aviation plan shows the Air Force intends to complete its analysis of alternatives in the summer of 2018, with the Navy completing its equivalent in mid-2019. That could be a sign that the systems will share some technologies. There are likely some shared technologies between the two, including things like directed energy or artificial intelligence, which brings back the core question of what a next-generation fighter looks like, and if it is as much a fighter plane as a hub for sensors and “loyal wingman” drones. And in 2015, then-acquisition head Frank Kendall said the two systems would involve common parts. But regardless of the final product, the design of the program won’t look anything like the multi-service, multinational F-35 fighter jet. That includes nixing the potential that the American designs could somehow join forces with the two potential European fighter designs under consideration: one from a Franco-German team-up, and another from the United Kingdom.
“The F-35 experience has effectively killed jointness and international partnerships, for now at least,” said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group.
That may be the right approach if the U.S. is truly concerned about security, noted Callan.
“The F-35 is a compromised design in a lot of ways,” Callan said. “You have to assume the Chinese know a lot about that plane from what they’ve been able to siphon off from theft or cyber means. There may be less incentive for U.S. to partner on a program like this if the goal is to have something that is really technological[ly] advanced and unique. The bigger the partnership, the more potential leakage points.”
However, keeping a program entirely domestic could present long-term economic challenges, he noted.
“That may be good, that may be bad. It could be like the F-22 — end up with 100-plus phenomenally expensive planes but no export market. So, pick your poison.” (Source: Defense News)
16 Jul 18. Korean ministries collaborate on Industry 4.0 technologies. South Korean government ministries have agreed to come together to undertake research and development (R&D) in defence technologies, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in Seoul has said. Under the new arrangement, agreed on 11 July, the Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technology (MSIT) and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) will collaborate with DAPA, an agency under the Ministry of National Defense (MND), on a range of joint activities. DAPA said a focus of the programme is Industry 4.0 technologies such as robotics and unmanned systems, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. From the defence side, DAPA’s R&D body, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), is expected to lead the collaborative activities. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Jul 18. Cobham plc announces at the Farnborough International Air Show 2018 (Hall 4, Stand 4150) it is supporting NAVAIR F-18 and T-45 test flights with its Cobham VigilOX™ breathing sensors, as acknowledged by Rear Admiral Sara Joyner during the House Armed Services Committee Hearing in February, 2018. VigilOX™ is the first pilot worn sensing system to comprehensively capture real-time physiological, breathing gas, and cockpit environmental data during flight, which will be used to help inform conditions around unexplained physiological episodes. Cobham, along with the NAVAIR test team and aerospace physiologists, are processing and reviewing the data, which will be correlated to reported hypoxia-like symptoms in support of root cause corrective action. This data will form the basis of a predictive algorithm that will ultimately drive oxygen equipment to automatically adjust oxygen dose as needed to protect the pilot. “Having these developmental sensors flying will show us what happens in the aircraft and physiologically to the pilot under extreme flight conditions should a physiological episode occur. This knowledge will inform us as we design a mitigative response to protect the pilot,” said Rob Schaeffer, Product Director, Environmental Systems at Cobham Mission Systems. The Cobham VigilOX™ sensor system marks a significant milestone in being able to monitor pilot physiology in flight. In parallel with data collection efforts, Cobham is moving towards a “predict and protect” capability that will take our sensors to the next level by incorporating them into oxygen equipment that will autocorrect flow based on sensor input. Cobham is investing in its future next generation oxygen system by designing equipment today that has the inherent ability to communicate, synch with, and connect with our sensing technologies as they evolve, which is a step towards ARGOS™, Cobham’s integrated oxygen system goal. ARGOS™, Auto Response Guided Oxygen System, will be a smart data driven, human machine interface, that has the ability to control the entire pilot oxygen system from “air source to mask”. Comprised of a suite of technologies, ARGOS™ smart oxygen system products will be able to be used individually or together for increased layers of vigilance. “By wearing our VigilOX™ sensor system during flight, pilots today are laying the groundwork for the breakthroughs needed to protect future pilots coming up behind them,” said Rob Schaeffer. Through initial testing of the developmental product, Cobham has begun to fund changes required for mainstream integration into the fleet. In future iterations, VigilOX™ sensors will be integrated into new and existing life support systems and equipment. In addition to monitoring the pilot, Cobham also produces a CRU-123 solid state oxygen monitor, installed on nearly all Navy T-45 aircraft, that captures critical oxygen concentrator performance data. T-45 marked the first flight where CRU-123 and VigilOX™ flew together on the same aircraft providing the most comprehensive picture of aircraft and pilot physiological interaction from air source to mask. VigilOX™ sensors, worn by the pilot, are aircraft agnostic. The CRU-123 oxygen monitor is easily aircraft retrofitable.
16 Jul 18. In an effort to increase flexibility for its customers throughout the world, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) announced today that MQ-9B will be able to utilize both the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and European Galileo satellite constellation for its navigation systems. The baseline MQ-9B was originally designed to include a triplex navigation system based on GPS navigation however, provisions have been added to the navigation receiver to support the Galileo navigation system as well.
“Many of our U.S. and international partners have plans to produce multi-constellation navigation receivers,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “The multi-constellation receivers will add to the operational flexibility of the MQ-9B and will benefit our international and domestic customers, especially those based in Europe.”
Galileo is the Global Navigation Satellite System created by the European Union through the European Space Agency. GA-ASI believes having multiple satellite options is important to customers who will want to be able to switch from one constellation to another in the event connectivity is ever lost or denied. MQ-9B is the latest evolution of GA-ASI’s multi-mission Predator® B fleet. GA-ASI named its baseline MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian and the maritime surveillance variant is called SeaGuardian. MQ-9B is a “certifiable” (STANAG 4671) version of the company’s MQ-9 Predator B product line. Its development is the result of a five-year company-funded effort to deliver a RPA that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of various military and civil authorities, including the UK Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) and the U.S. FAA. A weaponized variant of the system is being acquired by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) under the PROTECTOR RG Mk1 programme.
16 Jul 18. Accenture and Thales unveil blockchain tech to support aerospace and defence supply chains. Accenture and Thales have unveiled a new blockchain-based system that could help secure and streamline the complex global supply chains supporting the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry. Based on Hyperledger Fabric, a Hyperledger project hosted by The Linux Foundation, the prototype combines blockchain, internet-of-things and other innovative technologies – including Thales’s physically unclonable function (PUF) solution for silicon chips and Chronicled’s tamper-proof cryptoseals – to track, trace and authenticate aircraft parts and materials. Developed jointly by Accenture and Thales as part of Thales’ firmwide digital innovation program, the solution provides a single, shared view of the supply chain – and an immutable audit trail – for partnering suppliers, manufacturers and operators.
“The aerospace and defense industry has one of the world’s most vast and complex supply chains,” said John Schmidt, global managing director for Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense practice. “Blockchain technology offers a new, elegant and secure way for the industry to track and trace myriad components while deterring counterfeiting and improving maintenance capabilities. Used in combination with technologies like digital twins and digital threads, blockchain could ultimately be a game-changing innovation for this sector.”
According to a recent research report from Accenture, 86% of A&D companies expect to integrate blockchain technology into their corporate systems by 2021.
“Identifying counterfeit and grey-market goods in the A&D supply chain can be challenging,” said Gareth Williams, vice president for secure communications and information systems at Thales UK. “Using blockchain in combination with cryptoseals and physically unclonable functions allows you to build a trusted history behind parts. This demonstration builds on the strong relationship Accenture and Thales have created developing innovative digital solutions for a variety of industries.” (Source: Google/www.supplychaindigital.com)
13 Jul 18. Why wasn’t the Pentagon’s tech guru surprised by Google Maven pushback? The recent revolt by Google engineers against working with the Pentagon’s Project Maven program caught many in Washington by surprise and set off a wave of questions about whether the Defense Department can work with the commercial technology sector. But Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering — charged with keeping the Defense Department ahead of its enemies and whose portfolio includes the department’s Silicon Valley outreach hub — says the cultural fault lines that led to the reaction did not come out of nowhere.
“I was not surprised,” Griffin told reporters Thursday. “I spent several years out in Silicon Valley in a couple of different jobs. I am well aware that many folks do not share my orientation about the primacy of national security.”
Project Maven was part of a broader attempt to develop artificial intelligence for the Pentagon. The project took existing data from military archives and used it to teach the algorithm what to look for, and then began applying the algorithm to Air Force data in real time. The goal is to allow the computer to comb through the hours of live video collected by U.S. Air Force systems and quickly sort what is and isn’t notable, as opposed to having an airman watch each minute — an effectively impossible task given the wealth of information gathered by the service every day.
Griffin called it “one of our early success stories in applying AI,” noting the importance of training the computer to know what to look for. “AI algorithms, machine-learning algorithms can’t do anything a human can’t do. We have to train them, OK? But once trained, they can do what they’ve been trained to do by humans much more voluminously and much more rapidly than we can hope to do.”
However, an April revolt of 3,000 Google employees who signed an open letter against having to “build warfare technology” led to the tech giant announcing it would end its partnership on Maven come 2019. During his talk with reporters, Griffin argued that the divide is a sign of a healthy American democracy. “We live in a country where such debates are not only allowed but encouraged. I don’t want to live in a country where people can’t have those debates and discussion and can’t have their own views,” he said.
“My view is myself and my colleagues are engaged in protecting their right to disagree. Because most countries of the world in which they could choose to live, they wouldn’t be allowed to have those disagreements.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Jul 18. Early in 2018, U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighters deployed to the Pacific aboard the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship, and used Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) Intelligence, Information and Services business’s Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to guide them onto the ship’s deck in all weather and surface conditions up to the rough waters of Sea State 5.
The system allows precise landings through GPS receivers and an encrypted, jam-proof datalink.
“We’re asking our pilots to land in some of the most difficult conditions on Earth,” said U.S. Navy Captain B. Joseph Hornbuckle III, program manager, Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office. “JPALS goes a long way toward ensuring the safety of our aircrews and the success of our missions.”
JPAL’s precision navigation is equally effective ashore. A land-based version of the system can be small enough to be either dropped into an austere environment via parachute or driven in on a trailer.
“Deploying with the F-35 is a good start, but it’s just the beginning,” said Matt Gilligan, Raytheon vice president of Navigation, Weather and Services. “There are many fixed and rotary wing aircraft around the world and across the services that deploy to harsh, low-visibility environments where JPALS would be extremely valuable.”
16 Jul 18. Airbus launches SmartForce – services bringing the power of data to military operations. Airbus is extending its highly successful introduction of advanced data analytics in the civil aviation community to the defence market with the launch of SmartForce. Airbus Defence and Space together with Airbus Helicopters are launching the SmartForce suite of services to enable military operators to exploit the data gathered by their aircraft to enhance operational safety, boost mission availability and reduce maintenance support costs. Operators can benefit from services to improve troubleshooting, optimize maintenance effort, predict maintenance actions and plan smartly for material demand. The system incorporates on-site private data clouds to support specific military security requirements but also lays the ground for operational data-sharing between willing allies. The resulting enhanced decision-making reduces the maintenance burden and boosts fleet availability. It will enable substantially more efficient maintenance by drilling into the wealth of data acquired by new generation helicopters and aircraft such as the NH90, A400M and A330 MRTT resulting in new standards of aircraft availability and the freeing of resources to focus on mission execution.
Head of Military Aircraft Services at Airbus Defence and Space, Stephan Miegel said: “SmartForce helps military operators to accelerate their own digital transformation in order to allow them to improve their operational readiness. Our vision is to enable data-driven new capabilities to support our customers in extracting more value from our in-service products. By breaking information siloes, Airbus teams can more rapidly perform root-cause analysis and faster trouble shooting, providing our customers with more efficient customer support. Our digital analytics services support the goal of enhanced mission readiness of our operators’ aircraft. They optimise maintenance practices, enable better informed and data-driven decision-making, and provide predictive solutions which all contribute to reduced workload and costs.”
Airbus Helicopters EVP Support/Services Matthieu Louvot said, “SmartForce will play a key role in fulfilling our greater goal of supporting our customers by leveraging the value of data for simpler, safer and more efficient operations. Our Connected Services offer will now be able to encompass the diversity of our customers with both Skywise Connected Services for civil operators and SmartForce for military operators.”
SmartForce builds on the successful experience of Airbus with its Skywise open data platform for the civil sector which now hosts the data of more than 2,000 aircraft at over a dozen airlines following its launch last year. To satisfy military security requirements, SmartForce incorporates robust security measures such as geographic isolation, the use of accredited personnel, and monitoring by national cyber-security authorities.
13 Jul 18. Esterline Corporation, a global leader in defense and aerospace technologies, showcased its new InSight HaWC and Mighty HaWC systems controllers at the Farnborough International Airshow, in Hall 1, #1180, after a successful launch last month in Paris at Eurosatory. The HaWC suite of rugged game-style controllers will provide impeccable, versatile performance for mission-critical applications for civilian, law enforcement, military, industrial and commercial markets.The InSight HaWC, for line of sight use, and Mighty HaWC, with visual display, are offered in three standard configurations, facilitating broad functionality in a variety of manned and unmanned ground, airborne and maritime applications. From military, fire, police, and surveillance actions – to land, resource and environmental management, utilities and even recreational use; HaWCs can control device arms, cranes, weapons, pipeline crawlers and more. Both the InSight HaWC and Mighty HaWC allow the operator to stand at a determined safe distance while maintaining maximum situational awareness, full autonomy and control, ensuring survivability and mission effectiveness. All HaWC models include patented human machine interface (HMI) technology, are configured with joysticks, stylized buttons, and guarded enable switches that prevent inadvertent activation. Each HaWC supports multiple interfaces which include Ethernet, USB, CAN and RS422, simultaneously. HaWCs are designed to offer industry-best HMI features and, with the Esterline HaWC advanced application programming interface (API), provide for easy customization of the Mighty HaWC’s superior enhanced display and graphical capabilities for embedded systems that lack graphics engines of their own. With the API, operators can customize commands to render, manage and manipulate objects and primitives as screen elements, have the capability to display scalable symbology, reticles and indicators. It will also allow text generation to display multi-language menu systems and status display for a truly custom look and feel. Additionally, the HaWCs’ haptic motors are programmable and provide a vibration feedback function that informs the user’s sense of balance and movement in perceiving and manipulating objects. The InSight and Mighty HaWCs set the industry standard and are affordable with excellent through-life cost value due to their ruggedness and scalability. In addition, they will be fully qualified to environmental and industry certifications and are to be offered as Export Administration Regulations (EAR99).
“With these newly-evolved HaWCs, we are taking our experience and proven success and putting everything we know in the customer’s hands,” said David Tessier, President of Esterline Mason. “Esterline’s heritage of being a renowned leader in technology, along with decades of human machine interface expertise and countless product mission hours, is proof positive that our controllers will be reliable, valuable tools in military, commercial or civil venues.”
12 Jul 18. China’s CETC signs advanced technologies deal with Siemens. The state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) has signed an agreement with German engineering group Siemens to collaborate on advanced technologies to support automation, digitisation, and networking, CETC said in a statement on 11 July. CETC said the agreement is focused on supporting the development of ‘smart manufacturing’. “CETC and Siemens will co-operate to promote the digital transformation of intelligence manufacturing in the field of electronic information,” the Chinese group added. According to the statement, the two companies will promote the application of intelligence manufacturing, undertake joint research and development (R&D) on industrial Internet of Things (IoT), and collaborate on industrial information security and other industrial fields. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Jul 18. CERDEC to test wireless power beaming. Key Points:
- The US Army’s CERDEC are pursuing technologies for the wireless transmission of power over long distances
- Initial testing of power beaming to a quadcopter will take place later this year
The US Army is exploring the ability to wirelessly beam power from the ground up to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to enable the air vehicles to extend operations beyond current flight times. The objective is to enable persistent surveillance in tactical systems to provide situational awareness, mission command, and intelligence down to the small unit.
“If you want to enable these sensors and unmanned systems, you need to enable the power and energy,” Tony Thampan, a Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) research engineer, told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Jul 18. Serco and Kongsberg Team to Offer New Generation ATC Solution. Serco, one of the world’s leading commercial air navigation service providers (ANSP) and Norway-based technology company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KONGSBERG) have signed a Strategic Collaboration agreement to address the emerging UK market for Air Traffic Control services. Under the agreement, KONGSBERG will provide its world leading ‘Ninox’ Remote Tower (RT) and Remote Virtual Tower (RVT) technology, based upon the world’s most advanced military sensor technology. This system has already been procured by Avinor ANS, a Norwegian state-owned Limited Company, following a competitive tender process and is being installed across 15 Norwegian airports by the end of 2021 with an option of an additional 21 airports. Serco will bring its experience and understanding of UK Government procurement, together with its international expertise in aviation services and the provision of international Air Navigation Services in the UK, US and Dubai. The joint KONGSBERG-Serco solution will allow the simultaneous provision of air traffic services that can provide for either an onsite virtual solution for a single airport; a solution for multiple airports, where Air Traffic Services are performed from one remote location or the provision of a contingency back-up service. As a result, the Serco and KONGSBERG team will offer very low maintenance costs and total cost of ownership. The system has low bandwidth requirements, which enable long distance transmissions over multiple sites. The high situational awareness combined with the integrated tower display system provides the ATC with access to all tower functions through a single, user-friendly workspace. The system is designed to function in extreme environments with outstanding reliability and ruggedness. These features, combined with the high network security based on open international Data Distributed Service (DDS) standard and a true service-oriented architecture (SOA) will allow for future enhancements and development.
Commenting on the agreement, Paul McCarter, Serco’s Managing Director, Defence, said: “There are over 190 airports and airfields in the UK and much of the supporting ATC infrastructure is outdated and due to be renewed in the next few years. Our agreement with KONGSBERG presents a great opportunity to bring world class innovative technology to the UK and combines two companies with world leading expertise.”
Kjetil Myhra of Kongsberg, said: “Our Remote Tower technology has already been selected to equip 15 Norwegian airports and offers operators the opportunity to reduce costs and improve safety and reliability. Working with Serco, who will bring their understanding of the UK market and air traffic control will provide an exciting opportunity for us.” (Source: ASD Network)
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.