Sponsored By Oxley Developments
24 Jan 19. TE Connectivity (TE), a world leader in connectivity and sensors, is offering its STD Snap-On Markers as a reliable way to identify wires and small cables. Manufactured with a zero halogen polyoxymethylene compound, these expanding profile markers are side-entry installed using an applicator wand, allowing identification after termination and/or installation.
“With its excellent resistance to burning and no halogen, TE snap-on markers are the perfect way to permanently and rapidly mark cables and wires, both before and after termination and installation in harsh environments,” said Thomas Bartlett, TE product manager. “Also, the STD markers are made from polyoxymethylene which guarantees strength, dimensional stability, low moisture absorption, and good resistance to chemicals.”
Markers are side-entry installed using an applicator wand, allowing identification after termination and/ or installation. These markers have an expanding profile which enable markers to accommodate a wide range of wire and small cable sizes. Markers are supplied with a “chevron” cut to ensure the legend remains aligned. TE’s STD snap-on wire markers are designed to stand the test of time, preventing costly re-work before the life of the equipment ends.
“With its UL94 rating and durability in operating temperatures from -40°C to 106°C (-40ׄ°F – 223°F), the STD marker is ideal for field operations including power stations, oil refineries and offshore platforms,” said Bartlett.
23 Jan 19. GE Aviation obtains contract for TEAMS prototype programme. GE Aviation has been awarded a project task assignment by the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) for the teaming-enabled architectures for manned-unmanned systems (TEAMS) prototype programme. The project is part of the Base Vertical Lift Consortium Project Agreement, which is aimed at establishing a long-term mechanism to facilitate teaming, networking, planning, and technology development in the aviation industry. TEAMS is part of the AFRL’s flexible, assured manned-unmanned systems (FAMUS) programme and involves architectural modelling and prototyping. The objective of the FAMUS programme is to lay a technical foundation for an operational reality that allows a heterogeneous, multi-man, multi-machine team-of-teams to conduct a range of missions.
GE Aviation advanced and special programmes director John Kormash said: “The TEAMS programme is a tremendous opportunity for GE to work closely with AFRL and our industry partners to prototype architectures that will enable the next-generation of manned-unmanned teaming capabilities.
“GE’s experience and investments in the areas of architecture, modelling, simulation, and system instantiations will enhance the AFRL’s objectives of developing open, flexible, and scalable solutions for tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles.”
The concept of prototyping an iterative, architecture-centric, and model-based approach under TEAMS is part of FAMUS’ aim to define the architectures, processes, methods, and tools necessary to facilitate the affordable transition of complex manned-unmanned teaming technologies.
Other members of the prototype project include Modern Technology Solutions (MTSI), Scientific Systems Company (SSCI), Dependable Computing, and GE Global Research Center (GRC).
GE Aviation will execute the contract at its Grand Rapids, Michigan, US, Avionics site and team member locations over 24 months. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
22 Jan 19. USAF radio that can run for a week in the sun. The Pentagon has long been looking for a way out from under its tradition of massive, multi-year, multi-billion-dollar projects. With the rapid pace of technological development, military leaders have sought tools and strategies for more rapid acquisitions. There’s the Defense Innovation Unit, or DIU, a Department of Defense effort to make faster use of emerging technologies. Some organizations have also turned to contractual tools such as the OTA, or other transaction authority, as a means to accelerate the technology buying process. Recently, technicians at McConnell Air Force Base proved that homegrown ingenuity can make a difference, too. Workers there used a local partnership and a modest development effort to craft a portable, solar-powered communications system.
“The military needs to be ready to go anywhere and solar enables that,” said Tech. Sgt. Clayton Allen of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing.
As a non-commissioned officer in charge of the wing’s XPX innovation team, Allen led the effort to shrink down the standard communications package and make it self-sustaining. The three-man team got the job done in about 400 hours, working in cooperation with Wichita State University’s GoCreate rapid-innovation lab.
“We took it from a box the size of a small room and made it something you can drag behind you like luggage, weighing about 150 pounds,” he said.
An expeditionary force typically might have to spend a couple of days setting up its communications operation. The newly developed unit works right out of the box and costs about $12,000 less, the team said. As a solar-power unit, it also does not rely on the presence of a generator, making it easier to deploy in a wider range of circumstances.
“It is completely self-sustainable, powered by solar power, and the solar panel can extend the [battery life] out almost indefinitely,” Senior Airman Aaron Walls, an XPX innovation team member, said in an Air Force news release.
The partnership with GoCreate proved key to the rapid development of the new system. Backed by a $3.75m grant from Koch Industries and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation, the lab offers 18,000 square feet of sophisticated tools and equipment, along with the support of advisers who help developers to create working prototypes.
“When we cannot solve something ourselves with the tools that we have, that facility helps us to bring the project to completion,” Allen said. “They have machinery that we can’t fit in our lab or that we just don’t have, and we are able to use their equipment and their expertise. Without that partnership this wouldn’t have gotten done.”
The lab was especially helpful in providing access to the 3D-printing technologies that allowed the team to rapidly fabricate brackets, bezels and clips that together support the antenna mast. None of these customized objects were available commercially, and the 3D printing gave the team the flexibility to experiment as the design specs emerged.
All this allows for a process that is both faster and more precise than a standard military procurement. “It meets our needs as we go, rather a pursuing a contract with an outside manufacturer who wouldn’t necessarily know what we were going for,” Allen said.
It takes about a half day to charge the solar-powered system, but the radio can run for seven days on a full charge, with a range of about 240 miles. “You don’t have to be a radio expert to reach that distance. We’ve optimized it to reach max communication range right out of the box. All you have to do is set it up,” Allen said.
The unit acts as a power station as well: Users will be able to plug in laptops, coffee makers and other small items.
The team is field-testing the new system now, with an eye toward deploying half a dozen demonstration units to various wings within the coming months.
“We took the radio, and a very large solar battery, and put it in a case on wheels,” Allen said. “It’s so straightforward, I am surprised it hasn’t been done before.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
21 Jan 19. MathWorks aims to streamline aerospace design. Mathworks has announced new flight analysis and visualisation capabilities for aerospace design that will reduce the time needed between vehicle design and development to flight prototyping. Using Mathworks products MATLAB and Simulink, engineers will be able to develop continuous workflow thanks to the release of 2018B, ‘Aerospace Blockset’, which adds flight control analysis tools that help to inspect the flying qualities of vehicles.
‘Aerospace Toolbox’ also introduces the ability to “customise user interfaces featuring cockpit flight instruments to visualise and analyse the motion and behaviour of aerospace vehicles”.
“The ability to model, simulate, analyse and visualise is critical to the highly regulated aerospace industry. That’s why Simulink has become the design environment of choice for these engineers,” said Paul Barnard, design automation marketing director at MathWorks.
“Now these teams can reduce design time even more, because they can iterate to reach prototyping in a few weeks instead of many months. This will help them meet development deadlines while ensuring high-fidelity and compliance with standards.”
Strict design and regulatory requirements for aerospace design means engineering teams often rely on Simulink and the DO Qualification Kit to achieve standards such as MIL-F-8785C, DO-178 B and DO-178 C.
“Most of our Aerospace design engineers in Australia face two key challenges. The first is to meet regulatory requirements such as DO-178 B and DO-178 C and the second is to reduce time to market and costs,” Jean-Baptiste Lanfrey, Manager – Application Engineering and Training Services at Mathworks Australia said.
“For Australia’s defence and aerospace industry, the MathWorks Aerospace Toolbox and Blockset will enable companies to meet such stringent requirements in a more efficient manner through greater use of simulation and less reliance on physical prototyping.”
Engineers that work with in-house or third-party tools for flight visualisation and analysis are now able to directly interact with Simulink. They also have the ability to share models for prototypes across teams and with contractors to ensure that these strict requirements are met. (Source: Defence Connect)
17 Jan 19. SSC Atlantic awards first IWRP prototype project to ATI. The US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic has awarded a prototype project to Advanced Technology International (ATI) for the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP). ATI received the contract on behalf of Booz Allen Hamilton in collaboration with Intuitive Research Technology Corporation (IRTC), a defence contractor. IRTC will carry out a significant portion of the contract work with completion expected within a period of ten months.
The prototype project agreement (PPA) was awarded under the other transaction agreement (OTA) for $1.3m. It will focus on the development of a new low-altitude range communication system (LARCS) for the US Marine Corps. SSC Atlantic deputy executive director Pete Reddy said: “This first award is a significant milestone for the IWRP.
“This effort will not only provide inherent value to the project sponsor and warfighting capability, but it also validates and sets into motion the awesome capability that IWRP is for the SPAWAR enterprise and entire Naval Research and Development Establishment.”
The upgraded technology will allow Marine Corps to replace the existing LARCS to meet the critical communication requirements for Marine training ranges.
Upon completion, the new system will be installed at the Townsend Bombing Range at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.
The LARCS will be put through testing and field user evaluation in the final operational environment and configuration.
SSC Atlantic Expeditionary Enterprise Systems and Services (E2S2) division head Erik Gardner said: “We view the IWRP as a critical tool that will enable SSC Atlantic to achieve ‘Pivot Speed’ in rapidly responding to emerging business IT and warfighter needs.
“The IWRP, when combined with other tools, processes and environments, has proven to foster innovation and is a new way of thinking about our problems and their solutions.”
ATI reached a deal with SPAWAR in June last year to manage the IWRP consortium. (Source: naval-technology.com)
17 Jan 19. On the Pentagon’s wish list: warp drives and invisibility cloaks. Space is a hostile environment. Most of the hostility is inherent — a void cannot itself be accommodating to humans, and the projects that do sustain human life in orbit do so by creating tiny livable pockets, encased in proverbial tin cans. That space could be a vector for other threats became clear from the dawn of the space race.
A missile that can carry a satellite into orbit could carry a much deadlier payload to somewhere else on Earth. And so space became both a place to put early warning systems and the path by which weapons would pass through on their way to doomsday. In order to prepare for new threats from or through the great beyond, the Pentagon spent $22m between 2007 and 2012 researching a number of speculative threats under an “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.”
How speculative? One of the studies was called “Warp Drive, Dark Energy, and the Manipulation of Extra Dimensions.”
On Jan. 16, 2019, the Defense Intelligence Agency released a list of 38 research titles funded by the “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program,” which includes the above title on warp drives, one on invisibility cloaking, and another about stargates. All three are technologies that have found a home in fiction, powering the spaceships of the Star Trek universe, the in-fiction specific weapons of the Romulans and Klingons, as well as the entire “Stargate” franchise. The research papers were just one part of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which also looked at unidentified flying objects, included recovered alloys of unknown origin.
The program, funded secretly largely at the discretion of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with backing from Ted Stevens of Alaska and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, could easily be written off as a fanciful jaunt to see how reality matches up with fiction. Yet of note in the DIA’s list of 38 studies are many others with some more immediate applications.
“Advanced Nuclear Propulsion for Manned Deep Space Missions” and “Positron Aerospace Propulsion” have both been studied in some form by NASA, and “Laser Lightcraft Nanosatellites” is a technology explored by the Air Force Research Laboratory. Whether or not DIA’s efforts summarized or expanded upon existing research in these topics is likely the subject of future Freedom of Information Act requests, and indicates that not everything studied under the program was speculative fiction.
“Detection and High Resolution Tracking of Vehicles at Hypersonic Velocities,” a paper authored by Dr. W. Culbreth of University of Nevada Las Vegas, is one that could perhaps apply to tracking vessels of unknown origins, but the contents could also inform the modern arms race around hypersonic weapons.
Matching the modern threat environment, a study on the “Cognitive Limits on Simultaneous Control of Multiple Unmanned Spacecraft” may have foreshadowed thinking about controlling autonomous swarms of robots, adding in the unique challenges of operating outside the atmosphere.
The last study in the list appears twice: “State of the Art and Evolution of High Energy Laser Weapons” has both a classified secret/NOFORN (no foreign nationals) version and an unclassified, for official use only version. Research in energy weapons has continued at a steady clip since the end of funding for the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program; whatever knowledge these papers hold may be more akin to a time capsule than a peek in the future.
The implications of the entire trove will have to wait for a full exploration of the revealed contents. What we can say is that, two decades before there was even an idea of a Space Force, the Pentagon spent a nonzero sum of money looking into the speculative edges of the use of force in space. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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.