Sponsored By Oxley Developments
25 Oct 18. US Army’s automated rotor blade manufacturing preference slows Defiant team. Key Points:
- A key officer believes the US Army’s preference for automated blade manufacturing slowed the SB>1 Defiant team
- However, automated manufactured blades can be produced faster and more affordably than using manual methods
The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant team would likely be flying today if the US Army had not preferred automated composite rotor blade manufacturing, according to a key officer speaking at the Vertical Flight Society’s Helicopter Military Operations Technology (HELMOT) conference in Virginia.
Brigadier General Walter Rugen, US Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL) cross-functional team director, told the HELMOT audience on 24 October that the army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) asked the Defiant team to do technological things that had perhaps slowed development. Gen Rugen told Jane’s after his presentation that one of the requests – automating composite rotor blade manufacturing – is a way to make production more rapid and more affordable, especially since the Defiant aircraft features eight main blades on a pair of counter-rotating rotors.
Ned Chance, AMRDEC Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) deputy programme manager, told Jane’s that that the automated rotor blade manufacturing request likely added nine months to the Defiant’s timeline. But he said it would take less time now if the army were to try this again as it would be a much more repeatable process.
“Our goal was to infuse technology in there and we saw this manufacturing technology as a good way to be able to do that,” Chance told the HELMOT conference. “We were willing to accept some risk to try to demonstrate the method.”
Randy Rotte, Boeing director for cargo helicopter and FVL programmes, said that the US Army was involved from the beginning in the Defiant team’s decision to use an automated process to manufacture the rotor blades. He said the team chose to use an automated fibre placement process to make the spars for the Defiant’s composite rotor blades to advance this manufacturing technology during JMR-TD. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Oct 18. Modernisation Of Robust Laptops. Dell has redesigned its notebooks for extreme conditions. The new robust models Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme, Latitude 5424 Rugged and Latitude 5420 Rugged now offer even more performance and convenience, according to the company, including the use of the latest generation of quad-core Intel CPUs and graphics cards. The dual battery configuration of the notebooks also enables zero downtime. The devices are supplied with two rechargeable batteries that can be exchanged during operation, increasing the notebook‘s battery life to over 14 hours. In addition, all new notebooks are equipped with brighter and sharper FHD displays that cover an even wider colour spectrum. This ensures good display and legibility even in unfavourable lighting conditions. Users can therefore see everything clearly, whether they are in a dim hall or in an open field, and regardless of whether it is raining or they are in bright sunlight. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
25 Oct 18. Naval Group presents the surface ship design lab at Euronaval 2018. To provide the best response to modern navies, Naval Group offers a customer driven tool at Euronaval 2018 exhibition, the surface ship design lab, to meet as closely as possible customer’s requirements. In order to respond to the needs of modern navies around the world, Naval Group presents the surface ship design lab: a configurator of surface vessel generates a variety of future surface vessels designs, built according to the capabilities proposed by the configurator and selected by the visitor. The design lab proposed on the booth illustrates the paramount importance of a customer driven process on the design of a solution. It also shows how innovation is the core of Naval Group’s identity and how gradual as well as disruptive innovation is integrated to Naval Group future systems and platform design, benefiting directly the customer navy. The design lab also shows the proven ability of Naval Group to innovate throughout the years. In the nineties, Lafayette class frigate changed the rules of the surface warfare with its stealth design, making the vessel almost invisible. Fifteen years later, the FREMM class powerful destroyer is manned by twice less crew people than the former comparable generation vessel, optimizing the operating costs of the French Navy, thanks to automation, integration, innovative architecture. With the digital native Belh@rra® frigate, Naval Group fully reconsiders the integration of systems to anticipate the IT revolutions that will occur during the life of the vessel, thanks to virtualization and data centers.
24 Oct 18. Bell and Thales Collaborate on Flight Controls of the Future. Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today a teaming agreement with Thales, for the development of flight control systems for Bell’s vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft and on-demand mobility (ODM) solutions.
“We continue to expand our team and capabilities for our ODM aircraft to bring the most advanced technology available and new vertical lift solutions to the market,” said Bell’s Scott Drennan, Vice President of Innovation. “Our collaboration with Thales is intended to ensure a state-of-the-art, affordable flight controls system that will be designed to meet the needs of future piloted and fully autonomous on-demand mobility vehicles.”
Thales is engaged in creating the aerospace solutions that will make tomorrow’s vertical take- off and landing possible. As a global leader in commercial and military avionics and air traffic management, Thales designs systems that strive for the highest standards for future air mobility.
“Thales is playing a leading role in shaping the autonomous world,” said Thales Vice President for Avionics in Canada, Michel Grenier. “We are delighted to partner with Bell and contribute to the future of on-demand mobility. This agreement demonstrates our expertise in avionics and best-in-class flight control technologies that support critical safety and autonomy requirements.”
Bell continues to build the ODM network for the development of the Air Taxi. Thales will lead the flight controls system technology design and development. Additional partners announced will provide propulsion systems, avionics and vehicle management computers. (Source: ASD Network)
24 Oct 18. Garmin® growth continues to accelerate as the company celebrates 200 million products sold and opens its Olathe campus expansion. Garmin has opened the doors to its new 750,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center that more than doubles the company’s aviation product manufacturing and distribution capacity.
Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) today announced that it has sold more than 200 million of its GPS navigation and wearable technology products to customers around the world pursuing their passions throughout the automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor markets Garmin serves. This milestone is concurrent with the opening of the first phase of the company’s facility expansion at its North American headquarters in Olathe, Kansas. Built to enable growth in many areas of its business, this 750,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center more than doubles the company’s aviation product manufacturing and distribution capacity. These exciting achievements reinforce Garmin’s continued commitment to its customers, associates, shareholders and community.
“All over the world, one product at a time, we help our customers beat yesterday with products that fuel their passions,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin president and CEO. “Just six years ago, Garmin sold its 100 millionth product. Today, we’ve doubled that number and have significantly expanded our business to become a leader in all markets we serve, including wearable technology which has been a source of remarkable growth in recent years. As we celebrate these tremendous milestones, we thank our customers and associates who made these achievements possible, and look forward to many more milestones to come.”
Founded in 1989 by a small group of engineers passionate about creating GPS applications for active lifestyles, Garmin now employs more than 12,000 associates in over 30 countries. Now that the first phase of the Olathe campus expansion – the expanded manufacturing facility – is open and operating, the move of the company’s distribution center will begin early next year. Following the move of the distribution center, the second phase of renovating the existing Garmin warehouse and manufacturing space into a state-of-the-art research and development facility and supporting office space will begin. Once completed, the 96-acre Garmin Olathe campus will offer 2.25 million square-feet of space, with room for up to 2,600 additional associates. In addition to continually advancing its highly diversified automotive, aviation, fitness, marine and outdoor markets, Garmin continues to grow its global presence. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Oct 18. SAIC Launches Innovation Factory. Virtual lab environment to accelerate time to delivery of new technologies for federal government. Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) announced today the opening of a virtual lab environment, also known as an Innovation Factory, to deliver software services and solutions quicker to the U.S. government. This new initiative, called the SAIC Innovation Factory, will enable federal government departments and agencies to accelerate time to delivery of software and other solutions and move at a pace similar to startups.
“SAIC’s Innovation Factory will address our customers’ IT transformation needs today and help them quickly and easily try out new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchain, and Internet of Things solutions, in order to be ready for the future,” said Charles Onstott, SAIC senior vice president and chief technology officer.
SAIC Innovation Factory is managed by SAIC and uses technologies developed and refined by SAIC as well as Red Hat, the leading provider of open source solutions. The new Innovation Factory will enable customers to make rapid progress toward IT and Application transformation projects by providing DevSecOps teams who are expert at using Agile/DevOps practices combined with cloud-native architectures built on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform.
The virtual lab environment uses Red Hat OpenShift as a foundation, augmented by best-in-class toolchains that enable the software development processes to operate even faster than by implementing the processes alone. Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform, helping to manage hybrid- and multi-cloud deployments and optimized for developer productivity.
The initial SAIC Innovation Factory is being launched in SAIC’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia, but this cloud-based environment can also be delivered on customer site.
Government agencies are faced with making progress on IT transformation efforts despite budget and procurement process time limitations. While traditional software acquisition contracts can take years to deliver working solutions, SAIC’s Innovation Factory solution enables agencies to see tangible progress on their initiatives in weeks to a few months instead of years.
“SAIC will accelerate time to solution for our customers by leveraging Red Hat technologies, our jointly developed best practices for agile and DevOps, and providing DevOps teams that are already experienced in the technologies and processes,” said Kevin Ikeda, SAIC vice president of software integration.
SAIC will continue to invest resources in the Innovation Factory, and also plans to contribute to the Red Hat Open Innovation Labs Stack push-button infrastructure code base. Additionally, SAIC plans to continue to train personnel on Red Hat technologies and Agile/DevOps practices to ensure availability of teams of developers for government projects.
“We are very pleased that SAIC has brought their Innovation Factory to life using fully open technologies from Red Hat. Digital transformation is fueled by agility and open source, and SAIC now has a ready-made lab to help their customers get started with DevOps, Linux containers, and more,” said Eric Dorsch, director, Strategic Alliances, Red Hat. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
24 Oct 18. Safran launches a new family of naval inertial navigation systems. Drawing on feedback from its many products used in deployments around the world, Safran Electronics & Defense is introducing a complete range of inertial navigation systems for both surface vessels and submarines, designed to meet the expectations of today’s navies. Thanks to the HRG Crystal™ hemispherical resonator gyro, patented by Safran, and complete support packages with minimum guaranteed down times and extended warranties, this new range offers a major step forward in terms of operational effectiveness, product integration and cost of ownership. It also covers the full spectrum of naval requirements in terms of navigation precision, based on a wide variety of models in the family. The new Argonyx™ product line is designed for all surface vessels, from patrol boats and corvettes to frigates and aircraft carriers, while the Black-Onyx™ and Black-Onyx™ Dual-Core product lines cover all submarines, conventional and nuclear-powered, as well as air-independent propulsion (AIP) models. These new navigation units are light, reliable and robust to meet the most demanding requirements for navigation and weapon system stabilization. They deliver all data needed for navigation: heading, roll and pitch, angular velocities, position and heave, vertical/horizontal speed and acceleration. They also offer high performance in environments without access to signals from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), allowing submarines to run without surfacing for unprecedented periods. Compatible with Sigma 40 interfaces, they are fully interchangeable, which means they can be selected for modernization programs. The introduction of this new range of shipborne inertial navigation systems, following the launch of the Geonyx™ range for army applications at Eurosatory 2018, marks a new step forward in Safran’s deployment strategy for the HRG Crystal™ gyro.
Safran Electronics & Defense is a legacy supplier of inertial systems, both civil and military, for land, sea, air and space applications. The company has built up globally recognized expertise in inertial navigation and positioning. Today, Safran outfits more than 1,000 ships – merchant marine, naval surface ships and submarines – and some 40 navies worldwide, with inertial systems and sensors designed and built in France.
23 Oct 18. BAE Systems has today announced a £3.5m commitment to develop greener and safer rechargeable electric propulsion systems. The investment will fund the development of a new test and integration laboratory at the company’s Broad Oak site in Portsmouth, UK. The research builds on the advances seen in electric cars and could signal a new generation of propulsion systems for a broad range of defence applications.
“Our aim is to develop the next generation electric propulsion system which will be cleaner, greener, safer, more powerful, longer lasting, rechargeable and, in some cases, even able to operate underwater,” said BAE Systems Project Manager Clare Gribby. “We’ve already invested around £1m in concept and design work and will be moving towards the build and integration phase of a demonstrator in early 2019. The demonstrator is due to be up and running by September 2020.”
BAE Systems is already working closely with a number of small, highly specialised companies in the UK and Europe to develop the project. It is also drawing on the expertise of BAE Systems colleagues in Rochester, UK, who produce electric drive systems for hybrid buses in a number of major metropolitan cities around the world, including London, Paris and Hong Kong.
22 Oct 18. GA-ASI Heresy Software Controls Six MQ-9 Reapers from one Laptop. General Atomics wants it to be so easy to manage drones that, using the company’s Heresy multi-mission control (MMC) software, one operator can oversee a half-dozen large UAS, assigning tasks and monitoring statuses from a single laptop. That’s the message Heresy Chief Engineer Chen Li stressed at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., where the company unveiled the new technology. The company wants to reduce the required manpower, training and footprint required to prepare an unmanned aircraft system for deployment.
“People would say reliable and capable, but the complaint we would get is it’s hard to use,” Li said. “So that was our focus.”
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ (GA-ASI) first priority was switching from hardware to software. Li said Heresy is platform-agnostic, able to run on any computer the customer wants to set it up on. The company also worked to automate as much as possible, so what used to be a mandatory two-person pre-flight checklist now requires only the operator. Heresy automatically completes what it can and prompts operator involvement only when and where necessary.
According to Li, the target for prepping a drone such as an MQ-9 or a Gray Eagle for launch is 15 minutes with the MMC’s assistance. Traditionally, it would take a team one to three hours. The primary time-saver is the automation of long checklists that operators previously needed to manually complete. Now, the system speeds through much of the process on its own. When human intervention is required, it provides an alert and automatically brings up the relevant screen.
The software, Li noted, is built to work with other companies’ aircraft as well, not exclusively GA-ASI drones. While it’s being tested primarily with MQ-9s and Gray Eagles in mind, as long as the UAS reports the proper messages as outlined by the U.S. Defense Department, it should be able to be integrated into Heresy. If something comes up during flight that requires extra attention, control of a drone can be re-assigned to a different controller in the network with a couple button-presses. Similarly, if one needs to land for refueling, it can be dropped out of the software or a new one added quickly.
GA-ASI brought in a third-party user-experience company by the name of Trideum to consult on design. Because one of the goals was to be as accessible as possible to today’s and tomorrow’s operators — especially in forces like the Army, which uses only enlisted operators rather than commissioned pilots — Li said they wanted to do “what would make sense to today’s users, not you as an engineer.”
The end result is that Heresy provides command-and-control capabilities from a screen that looks a lot like a map screen in a war video game and is compatible with an Xbox controller. Leveraging the spread of video games has also become a popular strategy in training, where more and more of the curriculum comprises simulations based on gaming technology. Drawing on that familiarity for inspiration allows operators of Heresy to hit the ground running and develop quick muscle memory; think learning new phrases instead of an entirely new language.
Because of the increased automation enabled by the connectivity on drones such as the Gray Eagle, the software allows one operator to control five or six UAS at once. The individual will look at a status screen watching the aircrafts’ symbols progress along their routes (Li compares this to watching cars drive along roads in the Uber app) and can use the device of choice to select different ones, add new commands, check statuses or reassign control to a different controller.
The system, meanwhile, will provide support to the controller so suggested patrol routes around a base, for example, don’t involve the drone crossing outside of the mission boundary or running into a mountain. If there is an emergency situation, the system will ping the operator with an alert, allowing that drone to be quickly selected, at which point a course of action will be suggested for approval.
The MMC software also integrates with third-party auto-routing services, so when an operator decides on a target location, an ideal path there can be suggested for approval, taking into account weather and terrain. Li also said GA-ASI is working to iterate on this concept — “Think Google Maps, where it suggests multiple different routes for you to choose from.” That requires an optimization algorithm that he said GA-ASI may come up with but might look externally, where another company is also close to what is needed.
General Atomics is looking at all of its existing customers as potential Heresy operators, Li said, which will complement and supplement its portfolio of unmanned aircraft. The company plans to demonstrate the software in flight tests using the MQ-9 at its flight test center in Grand Forks, North Dakota within the next six months. (Source: UAS VISION/Avionics International)
20 Oct 18. TMD invited to exhibit at the National Quantum Technology Showcase 2018 in London. Highlighting the company’s scientific capability in providing engineering solutions to quantum industry challenges. TMD Technologies Limited (TMD), a world-leading West London based manufacturer of equipment for the high-tech microwave industry, has been invited to exhibit at the upcoming National Quantum Technologies Showcase in London on the 9th of November 2018 for the second year running.
The invitation to exhibit at this landmark event highlight’s TMD’s substantial investment in the development of cutting-edge quantum-enabled technology under the UK National Quantum Technology Programme (UK-NQTP). The UK-NQTP involves large government investment aimed at accelerating the development of UK-based quantum technologies into a position where they are commercially available off the shelf (COTS) products.
Involved from its inception, TMD has been a key partner in the research, development and manufacture of compact frequency-stabilised lasers, hollow-core fibre-based atomic clocks, and compact magneto-optical traps (MOTs).
These technologies have wide reaching applications in both the defence and civilian markets and could either enhance current quantum sensing technologies, produce state-of-the-art portable atomic clocks, atomic clock components and future precision navigation and timing (PNT) systems, or create completely new capabilities altogether.
TMD on show
At the National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2018, TMD will be exhibiting:
* Demonstration clock – a live demonstration of the FEMTO facility.
* Rubidium and Caesium filled hollow core fibres – key components for the quantum fibre clock (FEMTO-2ND / QFC).
* Rubidium filled miniature cells – key component for the frequency-stabilised laser packages, which themselves form a key component of many systems (FLAME).
* Compact magneto optical traps – key component for cold atom experimentation and sensor development (gMOT).
19 Oct 18. MicroLink’s solar sheets power Zephyr S UAV maiden flight. MicroLink Devices has provided advanced technology to Airbus Defence and Space for the maiden stratospheric flight of the next-generation Zephyr S unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Powered by MicroLink’s lightweight and flexible high-efficiency solar sheet technology, the UAV has now landed after flying for more than 25 days continuously without refuelling, setting a new long endurance flight record. The solar technology has been designed to power autonomous aerial systems and satellites that have significant area and weight constraints. Airbus high altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) programme director Sophie Thomas said: “Our collaboration with MicroLink Devices in the application of their ELO solar sheet technology to the Zephyr has been important to the success of the HAPS programme.
“The high specific power of MicroLink’s solar sheets enables the Zephyr to fly uninterrupted in the stratosphere, which would not be possible with lower performance solar cell technology. This will further extend the capability and utility of the Zephyr platform for our customers.”
Featuring a combination of high-efficiency and low mass enabled by the company’s epitaxial lift-off (ELO) inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) solar cells, MicroLink’s technology is capable of providing enhanced performance when compared with other solar cell technology. Over the past ten years, ELO technology development has been sponsored by several agencies, including Nasa, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and the US Department of Energy.
The Zephyr UAV offers cost-effective, persistent, local satellite-like services, and can be used in a wide range of operations such as maritime surveillance, border patrol, communications, forest fire detection, and navigation. In May 2016, Airbus Defence and Space reached a solar cell production contract with MicroLink Devices for the Zephyr S military aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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.