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Space Operations Summit, 28-30 May 2019, Kensington UK

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Sponsored By Oxley Developments

 

www.oxleygroup.com

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10 May 19. Industry grants to boost NSW companies with defence smarts. The NSW government-backed Defence Innovation Network (DIN) is offering matched grants of up to $50,000 to help companies turn smart concepts into reality and deliver 21st century solutions for the Australian Defence Force. DIN is calling for proposals from small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to work with university partners to accelerate the development of early-stage technology concepts that can bring innovative solutions to Defence. Up to $50,000 in matched funding will be available to the business to work with NSW universities.

NSW Defence Advocate Air Marshal (Ret’d) John Harvey AM said up to eight projects will be supported from a grant pool of $400,000 on offer this year for DIN Seed Projects.

“This is a great chance for innovative companies to take their defence-related concepts to the next level,” Harvey said.

DIN Seed Project Grants provide companies with matched funding to accelerate development of early-stage technology concepts in priority defence areas including space capabilities, quantum technologies, autonomous systems, hypersonics and cyber security.

“Through the Defence Innovation Network, participating companies will get access to some of the best minds in the business from across seven NSW universities,” Harvey said.

The DIN is a NSW government-led initiative supported by $5m in funding and focused on bringing world-class research capabilities and innovation to the defence sector.

The DIN invests in high quality research that will deliver outcomes for the Australian defence sector. The DIN will provide matching funds for Seed Projects proposed by SMEs that involve collaborative research excellence with a partner university.

Seed Projects should demonstrate clear impact to satisfy an existing or emerging defence industry need. DIN Seed Projects must be led by a Defence SME. Proposals for Seed Funding should be co-developed by industry and DIN university members, with the Defence SME as lead applicant.

“The DIN is connecting the strength and smarts of our industry, with the strength and smarts of our academia to ensure we remain the premier defence R&D state,” Harvey said.

To be successful, industry proposals for Seed Projects must meet the DIN’s selection criteria below. Areas deemed to have the greatest potential for defence innovation fall into the Next Generation Technologies Fund portfolio:

  • Identified need in Defence (technology or capability);
  • Novelty and potential to become world leading;
  • Technical/scientific merits, scientific and technical risk, best collaborative team;
  • Potential for impact and implementation pathway; and
  • Capacity and capability of the SME to commercialise project IP.

“In 2017-18, the DIN provided a grant pool of $285,000 for seven industry-led Seed Projects and for the current financial year there’s a $400,000 grant pool available for eight projects,” Harvey added.

“Connecting the world-class scientific research and testing capabilities of NSW universities with innovative small and medium-sized companies will help advance ideas from concept to completion much faster.”

The purpose of the DIN Seed Projects is to grow defence industry capability within NSW. DIN support for Seed Projects is based on a co-investment model, where funding of up to $50,000 per project will be made available on a competitive basis and will require a commitment of matching funds from the industry partner.

Applications for funding close on 31 May and grant offers will be made in July 2019. Projects are scheduled to commence by 5 August and are required to be delivered within six to eight months.

Proposals should be submitted to info@defenceinnovationnetwork.com by 30 May 2019 using the template provided here. (Source: Defence Connect)

09 May 19. Revolutionary: How Nuclear Submarines Could Become Underwater Aircraft Carriers. All this sounds great. However, back to that big “if” again—can this all be adapted into a truly usable surveillance, and ideally, strike platform? Could this be scaled up and used as a primary UUV weapons platform or will this stay as an extension of a UUV, only being launched from larger UUVs? How much range can this have—above and below the water? What would be the sensor and weapons loadout?

The mighty American nuclear-powered attack submarine: they were, at least until very recently, supposed to be the secret sauce, the big stick that America and its allies would use against China or Russia if things got ugly—and for good reason. With both nationsalong with Iran and others developing anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities that make it tough for traditional power projection tools like aircraft carriers to patrol critical waterways in a crisis, stealthy American submarines seemed the best way to ensure tactical and strategic advantage—waging war below the waves of deadly A2/AD battle-networks. U.S. attack subs were even at one point the main ingredient for America’s main effort to turn A2/AD on its head, the always controversial and misunderstood Air-Sea Battle Concept.

But as all things, advantages that once seemed long-lasting can erode and decay over time. With advances in new ways to detect submarines that move far beyond simple acoustics and with China beginning to place critical sonar nets in places where U.S. submarines would surely sail in times of trouble, many have begun to worry that America’s technological sophisticated subs could become the “battleship” of the twenty-first century.

So what is America’s best and brightest to do? There has been discussion in professional circles of having American subs fight from range—i.e. turning them into something akin to underwater aircraft carriers launching undersea style drones, or what is many times referred to as UUVs, to take the fight to the enemy from a distance. And if impressive early research that is making the headlines today bares fruit, submarine-style underwater carriers could become a reality—with some important bonuses.

According to a press release from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, researchers have crafted “an innovative unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can stay on station beneath the water, then launch into the air to perform a variety of missions.”

While such research seems to be in a very early state, such news is a promising development, for sure. If—and this is a big if—such a UAV could be scaled into something larger and adapted with an offensive role in mind, like being able to deploy out of a submarine torpedo tube or vertical launch tube, carry sensors and some sort of weapons load, the U.S. Navy would have a platform that can perform surveillance and go on the attack from distance. Such a platform could go a long way in negating the challenges U.S. submarines could face in the years to come. In fact, U.S. subs could really become underwater flattops that could conduct surveillance and attack from the air and in the water—two-domain flattops, if you will.

It gets better. The systems in the works has some interesting feature sets worth mentioning and are different than my own vision and what most experts think of when it comes to merging subs and UUVs—indeed, something far better.

The system John Hopkins is building, the Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System—or CRACUNS—is described as “a submersible UAV that can be launched from a fixed position underwater, or from an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) [my emphasis]. A team from APL’s Force Projection Sector worked with fabrication experts in the Research and Exploratory Development Department to create a new type of unmanned vehicle that can operate effectively in two very different arenas: air and water.”

Make special note of the mention that this UAV could be launched from a UUV. Imagine this possible scenario, if the research pans out: a future U.S. attack submarines launching a drone-like UUV that goes out hundreds of miles on a surveillance or strike mission that can launch its own UAV—into the water or up into the sky. Yes and read that right, underwater drones having their own drones. Wow.

The release also raised the possibility that such a platform could be developed in large numbers, creating some amazing advantages, stating: “CRACUNS’ low cost makes it expendable, allowing for the use of large numbers of vehicles for high-risk scenarios.” Maybe UAV swarms? Yes, it’s OK to get excited now.

“Engineers at APL have long worked on both Navy submarine systems and autonomous UAVs,” explained Jason Stipes, a project manager for CRACUNS. “In response to evolving sponsor challenges, we were inspired to develop a vehicle that could operate both underwater and in the air.”

And it seems this new system could have some amazing potential. According to the release CRACUNS “enables new capabilities not possible with existing UAV or UUV platforms. Its ability to operate in the harsh littoral (shore) environment, as well as its payload flexibility, enables a wide array of potential missions” and that it can also “remain at and launch from a significant depth without needing structural metal parts or machined surfaces.”

CRACUNS also has an interesting feature that would be of extreme importance in an underwater drone: the ability to operate in the harshness of saltwater. To make that happen, researches explained that they had to seal “the most sensitive components in a dry pressure vessel. For the motors that are exposed to salt water, APL applied commercially available protective coatings. The team tested the performance of the motors by submerging them in salt water. Two months later, they showed no sign of corrosion and continued to operate while submerged.”

“CRACUNS successfully demonstrated a new way of thinking about the fabrication and use of unmanned systems,” noted APL’s Rich Hooks, an engineer who was responsible for the additive manufacturing techniques developed for CRACUNS. All this sounds great. However, back to that big “if” again—can this all be adapted into a truly usable surveillance, and ideally, strike platform? Could this be scaled up and used as a primary UUV weapons platform or will this stay as an extension of a UUV, only being launched from larger UUVs? How much range can this have—above and below the water? What would be the sensor and weapons loadout?

As you can see in this video from APL, the design of today looks rather small and unsophisticated. Could this basic concept be developed into something much more robust? Whatever the case, the research that went into this design could always be the start of something much more advanced in the years to come, as is often the case with military tech.

Lots of questions, but it all seems very exciting—and likely to keep planners in Beijing and Moscow scratching their heads. All a big win, no matter how you slice it and dice it. Keep your torpedoes crossed.(Source: News Now/https://nationalinterest.org)

09 May 19. Paris Air Show 2019: Stratasys Demonstrates Commitment to Making Qualification of 3D Printed Parts Easier for Aerospace Manufacturers. This year’s Paris Air Show (17-23 June, Le Bourget, Paris), will see 3D printing leader, Stratasys, demonstrate its ongoing commitment to the rapid production and qualification of flight-worthy 3D printed parts. With emphasis on existing customer success stories such as Airbus, Boeing and China Eastern Airlines, Stratasys will offer visitors an insight into the latest advances in additive manufacturing that are transforming the entire aerospace supply chain. The company’s continued objective to make the qualification process of 3D printed parts more accessible is underscored as Stratasys today announces the introduction of a brand-new, public domain database.

Developed in conjunction with the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP) and America Makes, with oversight from the FAA, this database takes strides to reduce the complexity of qualifying 3D printed parts, by making qualification data and processes available to all. This is an existing process for aerospace composites applied for the first time to 3D printing.  This first database of its kind offers aerospace manufacturers the potential to show equivalency to an existing and accessible qualification program rather than conduct a complete qualification program independently. In some cases, this can reduce the testing to prove equivalency from around eight months to just 20 days.

Today’s announcement builds upon Stratasys unique Aircraft Interiors 3D Printing Solution, which is designed to help aerospace organizations get parts certified for flight, faster and which will be showcased on stand during the show (Hall 4, Stand D192). This includes  Stratasys’ aerospace-grade ULTEM™ 9085 resin material, which enables both aerospace manufacturers and airlines to 3D print flight-ready parts with the desired flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) regulations (FAR 25.863) for use on aircraft and overcome stringent certification requirements. The solution also consists of the Stratasys F900 Production 3D Printer with specialized hardware and software designed to deliver highly repeatable mechanical properties.

08 May 19. Pentagon’s EGI-M programme impels new positioning, navigation systems. As assured access to position, navigation, and timing data (A-PNT) grows as a military concern, Northrop Grumman is updating its product line to create drop-in replacements for legacy aircraft PNT systems. This effort is ongoing under the Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation System (INS)-Modernization (EGI-M) programme, for which the lead platforms are the US Navy’s (USN’s) Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

In February 2019 Northrop Grumman announced it had been awarded a USD59m USAF contract to begin an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase for EGI-M. Northrop Grumman had previously worked on a risk reduction phase before the programme received ‘Milestone B’ approval in October 2018.

A new LN-351 navigator updates Northrop Grumman’s legacy LN-251. The LN-351 is “meant for platforms that really just require an all-digital interface”, Naveen Joshi, director of A-PNT programmes for Northrop Grumman, told Jane’s on 8 May. The E-2D programme is using that system. The new LN-300 updates the company’s digital and analogue LN-100 and is meant for the F-22.

“Those are product names that represent a number of different platforms that can use those products,” Joshi said. “The LN-351 is meant to be really the core product for most customers because most of them don’t require the analogue card, which is one of the options on the LN-300.” Northrop Grumman is also planning an LN-360 that updates its legacy LN-260 navigator.

The units look different – and have different form factors – but share “a high degree of commonality” in subassemblies such as electronics, sensors, and software, Joshi said.

EGI-M is to incorporate next-generation GPS receivers that must be able to securely and accurately transmit new military signals for space (M-code) transmissions. Many legacy GPS receivers are not yet able to receive M-code, a more robust signal that is meant to be better protected against spoofing and jamming. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

08 May 19. ‘Factory of the Future’ proposed for Tonsley Innovation District. Flinders University has welcomed Labor’s backing of a proposed $50m Australian Centre for Innovative Manufacturing (ACIM) at Tonsley, saying the precinct would connect Australian companies with the latest manufacturing technologies, research expertise and training to modernise workforces. The 4,000-square-metre advanced manufacturing test bed facility at Flinders’ Tonsley Innovation District is anticipated to play a key role in providing “state-of-the-art facilities to explore the application of new technologies capable of manufacturing next generation products”.

Pro-vice chancellor of research impact and director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, Professor John Spoehr, said he welcomed a $20m commitment from Labor, and is “looking forward to support from all sides of politics”.

“This is an initiative that transcends politics and is deserving of broad support in the state’s, and the nation’s, interest,” Professor Spoehr said.

“Advanced technologies are transforming manufacturing around the world, fuelling the growth of new and existing companies and generating thousands of well-paid and rewarding jobs.”

The Labor commitment was announced by opposition spokesman for innovation, industry, science and research Kim Carr, and is expected to create more than 750 jobs in South Australia, and generate $182m in economic activity for the state.

Flinders said that the ACIM would be established with a “mandate to create jobs and promote growth in areas of strategic importance to Australia, including defence and aerospace, construction, medical devices/assistive technologies, wine and food and minerals and energy”.

The advanced manufacturing technologies that could be included at ACIM are:

  • automation;
  • robotics;
  • cobotics (collaborative robots);
  • digitally assisted assembly;
  • photonic sensing; and
  • land and maritime autonomous systems.

“Step-change strategies are needed to enable Australia and SA to be at the centre of this technological revolution,” Professor Spoehr added.

“Large scale ‘Factories of the Future’ are playing a key role in accelerating this transition in the UK, Europe and the United States because they bring researchers and companies together in purpose-built facilties to explore innovation of existing technologies and experimentation with new technologies.”

The ACIM would be an affiliate of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, UK, which is the world’s leading advanced manufacturing accelerator and funded by the UK government’s Industry Catapult Program.

Flinders University will invest $10m towards land, capital and operational costs, while $30m in investment has been sought from the federal and state governments towards capital, equipment and operational costs. Industry investment is expected to be more than $10m over the short term. (Source: Defence Connect)

07 May 19. MACOM Announces Industry’s First Analog CDR-Based PAM-4 Portfolio.

  • Portfolio targeted for compliance with the newly formed Open Eye MSA enabling 50Gbps to 400Gbps optical modules
  • Builds on MACOM’s pre-eminent position in high-performance CDRs, drivers and TIAs, enabling lower cost, lower power and lower latency data center interconnects
  • Companion 200G FR4 L-PICs to provide requisite performance at the cost comparable to current 100G CWDM4 solutions
  • Production Samples available today, enabling a smooth migration to next generation connectivity

Lowell, Massachusetts, May 7, 2019– MACOM Technology Solutions Inc. (“MACOM”), a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions, today announced a complete analog and silicon photonics portfolio for seamless integration in 50Gbps, 100Gbps, 200Gbps and 400Gbps optical modules targeted for compliance with the newly formed Open Eye Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) www.openeye-msa.org.

Optimized for volume-scale deployment in high-density Cloud Data Center links, MACOM’s components will enable faster, lower cost and more power efficient optical modules as defined by the upcoming Open Eye MSA industry standard.

MACOM’s end-to-end transmit and receive portfolio features low-cost, low-power extensions to its existing lineup of Clock and Data Recovery (CDRs), drivers and (Transimpedance Amplifiers (TIAs), adding a companion integrated 200G FR4 L-PIC optimized to reduce customers’ module costs through dramatically improved ease of assembly, calibration and test.  These components are designed to eliminate the need for expensive, power-hungry signal processing and 53Gbps EMLs, enabling streamlined optical module architectures targeted for 200G and 400G connectivity.

MACOM’s full CDR-based and L-PIC-based portfolio comprises the MAOM-38053 four-channel transmit PAM-4 CDR with an integrated driver, and an L-PIC transmitter and on the receive side, features a MATA-03819 quad TIA, MACOM BSP56B photodetectors and the MASC-38040 four-channel receive PAM-4 CDR.  This approach is anticipated to deliver over 25% reduction in power consumption while simultaneously driving the cost per gigabit down as compared to today’s CWDM4 and digital signal processing (DSP)-based PAM-4 solutions. Cloud customers can now double their link rate with only minor, incremental power and cost.

“MACOM is proud to be part of an ecosystem that enables seamless component interoperability among a broad group of industry-leading technology providers, including providers of electronics, lasers and optical components,” said Preet Virk, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Networks, MACOM. “MACOM is committed to enabling the Open Eye MSA’s charter, in part by leveraging our comprehensive portfolio of high-performance analog components and L-PICs to help customers achieve optimal performance, power efficiency and cost structures. We believe that our extensive application expertise and industry leadership in PAM-4 enabling technologies will help to ensure a seamless migration from 100G CWDM4 to industry-standard 200G and 400G PAM-4 module architectures.”

The Open Eye MSA group aims to accelerate the adoption of data center interconnects scaling to 50Gbps, 100Gbps, 200Gbps and 400Gbps by expanding existing standards to enable optical module implementations using multiple technologies including optimized CDR-based architectures in addition to existing DSP architectures.

All of the MACOM products highlighted in this CDR and LPIC-based portfolio are sampling to customers today. For more information about MACOM’s Cloud Data Center connectivity components, please visit https://www.macom.com/data-center.

07 May 19. Masters of Pie, a new UK high-tech software company exhibited radical at Satellite 2019. With virtual and augmented reality (XR), teams can work together in real-time on 3D problem solving, regardless of where they are. It’s ideal when dealing with complex 3D data formats such as CAD models, architectural plans and medical scans, delivering this spatial data in a more intuitive way compared to flat 2D computing.

Radical, the Masters of Pie platform SDK, integrates directly into the host applications that hold the data needed by remote-working teams. It enables those applications to support remote collaboration natively, so that access to the data is frictionless and instant. In this way, dispersed teams become more effective, working from the same, most up-to-date data and synchronising changes, even across different software packages and disparate hardware.

Integration

  • Instant access to live data from source – teams work with the most up-to-date information and don’t have to ‘save’, ‘update’ or reformat and export for viewing
  • Access to host applications from within the immersive environment – tasks performed in real-time; changes and notes automatically captured for the host application, closing the ‘data gap’ and saving time and effort and reducing errors

Across all devices

All forms of data consumption supported across all major device types including:

  • 2D collaboration via desktop and browser
  • Mobile support for real-time collaboration on the go
  • AR/VR hardware for totally immersive collaboration which mimics real-world social interactions through natural tools, interfaces and visualisations
  • Streaming technology enabling massive data sets on low end hardware

For complete and secure collaboration

  • Purpose-built, enterprise grade encrypted server support, deployable on-premise or in the cloud
  • Secure, real-time collaboration saves travel costs
  • Removes data ‘silos’, bringing isolated teams together by enabling work from the same data across different software packages to synchronise securely and in real-time.

06 May 19. The US Navy’s unmanned dream: A common control system. The U.S. Navy’s growing and increasingly diverse portfolio of unmanned systems is creating a jumble of control systems, creating problems for a force that hopes robot ships, aircraft and submarines will help it regain a significant advantage over rivals China and Russia.

One significant issue is having to train sailors on a number of different systems, which can prove time-consuming, inefficient and expensive.

“From a manned-machine teaming and sailor-integration perspective, we need a portfolio of systems to do a wide variety of things,” said Capt. Pete Small, the head of unmanned maritime systems at Naval Sea Systems Command. “We can’t bring a different interface for each platform to our sailors — from a training perspective but also from an integration perspective.

“We might have a destroyer that needs to operate an [unmanned surface vessel] and an [unmanned underwater vehicle] and they all need to be linked back to a shore command center. So we’ve got to have common communications protocols to make that all happen, and we want to reduce the burden on sailors to go do that.”

That’s driving the Navy toward a goal of having one control system to run all the unmanned platforms in the service’s portfolio: a goal that is a good ways away, Small said.

“The end state is — future state nirvana — would be one set of software that you could do it all on,” he said. “I think that’s a faraway vision. And the challenges are every unmanned system is a little bit different and has its own requirements. And each of the integration points — a destroyer, a shore base or a submarine — has slightly different integration requirements as well. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

02 May 19. Threod Systems developing direction finder for Stream C VTOL UAV. Threod Systems of Estonia is developing a signals intelligence (SIGINT) direction finder capability for its Stream C vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), according to a company official.

Siim Juss, Threod business development manager, told Jane’s on 2 May that this capability will allow a user to spot handheld radios and similar technologies on the ground. Threod had its Stream C VTOL aircraft on display at the 2019 AUVSI Xponential conference.

Stream C VTOL is the upgrade version of the previous Stream C fixed-wing aircraft. The VTOL variant, which features removable quadcopters on the wings, has about five hours endurance while the fixed-wing version has six hours flight time.

Juss said these options give a customer the choice of longer endurance with the fixed-wing aircraft, launched by a catapult, or the VTOL launch capability for crowded spaces or urban areas. The Stream C fixed-wing variant lands upside down via parachute capability to protect the retractable gimbal.

The Stream C VTOL is powered by an air-cooled two-stroke petrol engine and has two small mufflers on the front to reduce noise. Juss said Threod chose a petrol engine as it provides the most power efficiency. The aircraft has roughly 42-50kg maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). Juss said the fuel tank size can be customised but that the standard is 7 litres.

The aircraft has a communication radius of 150 km line of sight (LOS) and over 250km with range extension. The Stream C VTOL has an operational altitude of 9,843 ft above ground level (AGL). Juss declined to say if Threod has sold Stream C VTOL to any militaries but said the company works in the military and law enforcement domains. Threod announced in December 2018 that it integrated the VTOL capability onto the Stream C fixed-wing variant. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

06 May 19. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has released SeaFIND™ (Sea Fiber Optic Inertial Navigation with Data Distribution), a next generation maritime inertial navigation system succeeding the company’s MK-39 Mod 3 and 4 series Inertial Navigation System product line.

SeaFIND provides proven navigation capabilities in a compact and affordable package, making it ideal for applications where low cost as well as reduced size, weight and power requirements are critical. It is the first maritime inertial navigation system to move from the existing ring laser technology to Northrop Grumman’s new enhanced fiber optic gyro technology (eFOG™). The system has embedded navigation data distribution capabilities, leveraging Northrop Grumman’s proprietary algorithms for low data latency and allowing for the system to interface with a multitude of users that require accurate position and timing.

“SeaFIND allows us to meet a critical customer need where low size, weight and power requirements, as well as reliable position-keeping performance in GPS-denied environments, are critical,” said Todd Leavitt, vice president, maritime systems, Northrop Grumman. “This new approach features eFOG technology, which allows us to maintain performance equivalent to our ring laser gyro based systems, but in a much smaller footprint and at a reduced cost.”

The system is designed using a modular system architecture and is comprised of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and a separate electronics unit (EU) connected via a single cable. Its smaller coil size and denser IMU package allows for flexible installation in tight places.

Applications include guidance systems for unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles, coastal and offshore patrol vessels, as well as small, medium and large surface vessels. SeaFIND is non ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and available for use by domestic and international navies.

02 May 19. DARPA wants AI to make soldiers fitter, happier, more productive. Do our machines know us better than ourselves? And if they did, could they, in the parlance of the Pentagon, use that knowledge to improve our lethality? DARPA, the Department of Defense’s blue-sky agency, launched April 29 a program to use artificial intelligence to best match interventions for individuals. It is called “Teaching AI to Leverage Overlooked Residuals,” or TAILOR.

Specifically, DARPA is looking for submissions about how to use AI for “Human Performance Optimization,” or HPO. Crucially, DARPA is looking for alternatives to one-size-fits-all approaches, because universal recommendations based on group averages can work at cross-purposes to individual need.

“This approach frequently (mis)characterizes individual variance as statistical ‘noise,’ ‘residuals,’ or ‘error,’” reads the solicitation. “The resulting interventions (e.g., diet, physical training regimen, brain stimulation) are at best suboptimal and at worst deleterious for each person.”

Diet, physical training, and brain stimulation aren’t the flashiest parts of the military, but they’re fundamental to how everything else operates. DARPA specifically cites an interest from Special Operations Command’s “Close Combat Lethality Task Force” in getting this optimization right, tailoring interventions to individuals and teams into an advantage.

To get there, DARPA is asking proposers to come up with “third wave AI approaches,” to demonstrate contextual reasoning and transfer learning, meaning a solution is capable of adapting to changed circumstances, environments, and can use related knowledge for abstraction. DARPA also wants teams to move away from traditional AI that trains on large data sets, has opaque processes, and are hard to adapt to new contexts. Proposers will be expected to focus on at least on area of human performance, with DARPA aiming to have a full portfolio of research on physical cognitive, and social performance data.

It’s a lot of technical build-up, but the final outcome is relatively straightforward: after given the data and goal for a specific individual or team, the tool needs to evaluate how much that individual or team would benefit from a given intervention (such as a change in diet or exercise or brain stimulation.) The systems will also be evaluated on how well they can explain or accommodate counterfactuals. Phase II is much the same process, but with datasets from other teams, and with evaluation from subject matter experts in government. Should the research prove fruitful, the military will be one step closer to specific responses for every individual, a personalized tool that’s general issue. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

04 May 19. Which units need the latest and greatest capabilities? The Army wants to figure that out. US Army leaders have recognized they can’t outfit every unit with the newest, state-of-the-art technology. As a result, the service is trying to determine which units will receive the best IT and communications equipment first.

“We need to field differently if we’re going to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy. The current processes that we are using … is too dynamic for our big Army to be able to keep up with,” Col. Jay Chapman, division chief for mission command in the Army’s operations, training and planning office, said May 1 during an AFCEA hosted event. “The Army is too large to field everything to everybody. As you all know in this audience, IT is expensive and the Army, as big as it is. means it will take 5, 10, 15 years to field a piece of kit to everyone in the Army.”

Chapman said when the Army chief of staff and the service secretary asked his boss, the director of force management, for assurances that the units most likely to come in contact with near peer adversaries would be the most modernized units in the force.

The answer?

“Absolutely not,” Chapman said, paraphrasing his boss. “The current processes we have do not lend us to ensuring that we will have the most modern equipment in those forces.”

To help fix that, Chapman said the Army is hoping to lay out a plan for senior leaders that will describe which forces need to which equipment.

The prevalent line of thinking is that units that will be in theater at all times – or in contact with enemies – will likely receive the full complement of the newest technology. Today, that is not always the case.

Surge units might not have the latest and greatest, but something similar to allow them to do their job. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

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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.

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