Sponsored By Oxley Developments
28 June 19. Dronecloud Launches Cloud-Based Software Platform. Dronecloud, a drone management software company, has announced the launch of its Drone Management, cloud-based software platform. The platform can halve project overheads by simplifying end-to-end workflow.
It integrates all drone operations, from client communications to flight planning and it automatically creates a regulation-compliant audit trail through partnerships with global leaders in drone and air traffic data analytics.
The Dronecloud platform was built by a team of drone operators and designed to be the single most comprehensive tool on the market today. Smaller operators can use a free version and additional features are offered on a subscription, which starts at £30 ($35 USD) per month.
The platform combines both business and technical data streams, starting by moving quoting and specification of jobs from hard-to-track e-mail onto the collaborative interface. It then integrates a range of more complex tools, traditionally managed on a host of separate on and offline packages such as spreadsheets and specialist packages.
Advanced features include network management, where operators can manage subcontractors, fleet management, pilot logs as well as sharing and visualisation. Powerful project management tools give the operator’s clients complete transparency as to the status of their jobs. A single logon to accesses outcomes and audit trails. Flight planning is supplied through a partnership with Altitude Angel which provides the highest-quality, real-time geospatial data combined with the rollout of their GuardianUTM system this year.
For pro and enterprise scale operations, the platform can be reskinned in custom branding, giving operators a professional looking interface through which to manage client work.
Speaking of the launch of the platform, Jan Domaradzki, Dronecloud Founder said:
“This platform was built because, as drone operators ourselves, there simply wasn’t any software that met our needs. We needed a tool that would manage the actual business of our operations as well as compliance.
Dronecloud was funded and developed from our own drone service operation and we’re proud to have built such an innovative platform without the need for outside investment.
Across industries we see cloud-based technologies consolidating to simplify the job of operators and yet the innovative drone industry is still using multiple disconnected, disparate tools and spending twice as long on the admin of drone operations as they need to. This platform will dramatically reduce the overhead of time and money spent in drone operations so that jobs can be quoted, planned, managed and completed, whilst meeting all regulations, quickly and easily.”
He continued “It was clear to us that drone management platforms have been evolving organically, adding feature upon feature to a single functionality. What we have done is different. We have approached the development of this platform with the customer wish-list front of mind, from the start. The product represents a real step-change in how companies can run their operations. We challenge operators to find a more comprehensive platform on the market today and offer a free trail to prove our confidence in the product. Our ambition doesn’t stop there. Our mission is for Dronecloud to be the most widely used platform for drone operations across all industries and ‘the go to’ for all commercial drone activities globally.”
Seth Zora, President of commercial drone operator Aerdia LLC in the US, who tried the platform in its Beta said
“We’ve been waiting a while for something like this. Finally, a business focussed software solution for drone operations. We now run all our work through Dronecloud, it has given our team complete oversight of all our jobs and we have made great gains since moving on to the platform.” (Source: UAS VISION)
27 June 19. Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division today announced that its Aerospace Instrumentation business unit, a trusted leading supplier of flight test instrumentation (FTI) solutions, has introduced the industry’s highest performance network data recorder. The new nREC-7000-1 can store data at unprecedented sustained speeds, with support for 1,000 Megabytes per second (MBps) data rates over each of its four 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports. Flight test engineers who confront the daunting challenge of capturing a veritable firehose of data from today’s high-speed data acquisition units (DAUs) and modern high-speed avionics buses now have a compelling solution for recording data without compromising speed or accuracy. With the ability to capture FTI data at sustained full-line-rates, the nREC-7000 is the first FTI network recorder to support simultaneous data recording of multiple data formats such as DARv3, PCAP, IRIG-106 Chapter 10/11 , and NFS. This cost-effective intelligent, network-based IP packet recorder and file server is designed for use with Aerospace Flight Test DAUs, high-speed video cameras, and multiplexers. It can be used either as standalone or as part of a complete Curtiss-Wright FTI system solution.
“With the introduction of the FTI industry’s highest performance network data recorder,
Curtiss-Wright further establishes its leadership position as a supplier of advanced solutions for FTI systems,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense Solutions division.
The nREC-7000-1 can record an industry leading sustained record rate of up to 1,800 MBps. Captured data is stored in dual hot swappable RMM cartridges, supporting up to 12 TB of data per recorder unit. The recorder’s I/O includes two 10GBASE-SR ports and two 1000BASE-T ports.
System Level FTI Solutions
Curtiss-Wright provides FTI system solutions that integrate with data acquisition and recording systems. The nREC-7000-1 can be rapidly integrated with Curtiss-Wright’s industry-leading range of Ethernet enabled FTI products – including the NSW-16GT-1 10GbE Network Switch, and DAUs – to develop a fully integrated system solution.
27 June 19. JAIC and DSTA Forge Technology Collaboration. Ahead of the Singapore Defence Technology Summit, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) and Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) held a multi-day technology exchange to promote collaboration around Artificial Intelligence (AI), focusing on humanitarian assistance / disaster relief (HA/DR).
The Asia-Pacific is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones, flooding, landslides, and volcanic eruptions that affect millions of people every year. Responses to these disasters often involve many organizations and multiple countries. These missions challenge the community to advance the state of AI and learn how to operationalize and integrate technologies across international organizations. With AI-enabled HA/DR, the first responders and rescuers can better serve in those disaster-affected areas.
This partnership between JAIC and DSTA will foster the use of AI capabilities to enhance defense operations as well as help save lives and livelihood by reducing search and discovery timeframes, enabling more informed and timely resourcing decisions. In turn, more effective rescue and relief operations can be conducted during times of crisis when every moment counts.
This collaboration is the first step for the two organizations to share ideas and knowledge in an effort to push new, innovative AI-enabled applications.
While the exchange focused primarily on HA/DR, the two organizations also discussed possible future partnerships between the United States and Singapore to use AI in a variety of other areas of mutual interest. (Source: US DoD)
25 June 19. Want to improve the Army’s infantry? The Army is in the market for robots and artificial intelligence technology to support its ground infantry troops, increasing their lethality, mobility, protection, situational awareness, endurance, persistence and depth. An announcement — intended primarily for members of the National Advanced Mobility Consortium, but out there for industry in general — alerts interested parties that the Army is hoping to gain insight into paths that could inform dismounted infantry platoon capabilities through manned-unmanned teaming. A request for white papers on robotic ground, air, water and virtual systems is expected to be issued in early July by the Army Contracting Command – Warren (ACC-WRN), according to the special notice on FedBizOpps. In the week following the release, the government is hoping to hold a “Virtual Industry Day” to give clearer guidelines regarding government requirements.
The government is expected to then release a Request for Prototype Proposals in October to those who are chosen during the first phase, according to the notice. The government does not intend, however, to enter into a follow-on production effort. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
25 Jun 19. DoD/DCSA Notes Support for Windows 7 Ends Soon. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) notes that Microsoft has announced that after January 14, 2020, they will no longer provide security updates or support for computers running Windows 7. The NISP Authorization Office is encouraging industry partners to beginning working with government sponsors to adapt a strategy for migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10 as soon as practical. Microsoft has posted some questions and answers at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsforbusiness/end-of-windows-7-support. (Source: glstrade.com)
24 June 19. USN expands digital twin employment. The US Navy (USN) is building digital twins for an increasing host of components and systems, hoping to incorporate more and smaller contractors into developmental and modernisation efforts for key programmes, according to James Geurts, assistant US Navy (USN) secretary of the navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.
“Our approach, as we go forward, is that by having multiple digital twins of any of these systems, you won’t have to get it on the ship to test it,” Geurts explained on 20 June after speaking at the CXO Tech Forum on acquisition innovation.
Digital twins create a virtual copy of components, equipment, or systems in a laboratory or other setting in which new parts, operational concepts, or other modifications can be tested before putting them on an actual ship or in an aircraft.
By using digital twins, engineers can also virtually test potential repairs or simulate how a new part might work and the effect of operational changes.
Lockheed Martin has already developed digital twin technology for its Aegis combat system, and the US has begun to develop virtual copies for propulsion plants.
Now, Geurts said, the service is looking not only to expand that to legacy systems such as sonar suites, but also new technology such as the problematic weapons elevators on the Ford-class carriers.
The USN also is looking at using digital twins for simultaneous operations aboard ships.
“You can have combat system certifications and you have a digital twin on a ship, which could be testing all sorts of algorithms – from wherever they come from – while they certify the system,” he said.
For such testing now, he noted, the USN would likely have to take a ship out of the fleet. “It opens up some interesting operations.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 June 19. Could these 5 projects transform defense? The Defense Innovation Unit — the Department of Defense’s emerging technology accelerator — is working on several projects aimed at improving national security by contracting with commercial providers:
- According to the DIU annual report for 2018, using AI to predict maintenance on aircraft and vehicles could save DoD $3bn to $5bn annually. DIU determined maintenance on aircraft and vehicles was often done too early, removing parts that still had a working life ahead of schedule, so, using AI, DIU analysts found they could predict 28 percent of unscheduled maintenance on the E-3 Sentry across six subsystems and 32 percent of on the C-5 Galaxy across 10 subsystems.
- DIU found deficiencies in the commercial drone industry, resulting in a lack of smaller options for war fighters. Through partnership with the Army’s Program Executive Office Aviation, it was able to build an inexpensive, rucksack-portable VTOL drone fit for short-range reconnaissance, according to the report.
- DIU launched a project, VOLTRON, to discover vulnerabilities in DoD software. This follows a 2018 Government Accountability Office report that found $1.66trn work of weapons systems at risk for cyberattack. Using this automated detection and remediation system, DIU will be able to provide DoD software with more secure networks.
- DIU is also working to secure networks on the battlefield through its Fully Networked Command, Communications & Control Nodes, or FNC3N, project. This project wants to create wearable technology that will provide data to users in a secure interconnected tactical network, according to the report.
- Using commercial satellite images, DIU is filling gaps in space-based reconnaissance. The peace time indications and warning project has completed the launch of the first commercial, small synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite. The use of commercial data will allow the department to easily share the data it receives with allies and partners because it is unclassified.
In August 2018 DIU was solidified within the Defense Department when “experimental” was removed from the office’s original name, according to the report. It also received a large funding increase, from $84m in 2017 to $354m in 2018. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
20 Jun 19. Thales integrates Gemalto cyber-security ID tracking in its UTM offering. As part of its Paris Air Show display Thales has announced it has incorporated Gemalto cyber-secured identity tracking technology into its UTM offering.
“Thales has developed an aerospace management system that works on the Air Traffic Control of objects in low airspace with flight authorization in controlled airspace,” according to a Thales press statement. “This is a digital, cloud based platform based on live data sharing. It’s been connecting aviation actors and optimizing operations for three years, and now integrates Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management (UTM), making the link between regulation and operations to deliver automated mission and flight authorizations.
“The integration of Gemalto’s cyber-secured identity tracking technology into Thales’s existing UTM platform brings an even stronger offering to help Civil Aviation Authorities. It provides a “certified drone identity card” meaning that regulators can verify a drone’s registration number, identify its pilot and confirm that they have the right authorizations to fly, all in a few seconds. The Gemalto UTM tracker builds on existing airspace and regulatory compliance capabilities already available in the Thales UTM platform.
“These capabilities have recently been successfully trialled at the FAA UAS Test Site, at Griffiss International Airport, Rome, in partnership with Oneida County and the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance. The trial demonstrated the integration of secure, remote identification and tracking into the Thales UTM solution.
“The UTM tracker is connected and securely authenticated by the Thales UTM system via cellular network or alternative communication technologies, using secure modules and encryption systems. The tracker embeds a GPS for real-time location information, and carries a tamper-proof element used to securely store all the information and crypto functions involved in the mutual process of authentication between the UTM and the operator. Thus, the remote identification signal is digitally signed, and command and control communications between the flight controller and the ground control station are fully encrypted.
“Once the drone’s credentials are validated, a message is sent to the Thales UTM platform confirming the mission is secured and can be conducted. Without this validation a notification is sent to the UTM invalidating the mission and the pilot and appropriate authorities are alerted automatically.”
For more information
https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/group/journalist/press-release/keeping-our-skies-safe-and-secure-thales-helps-customers-identify (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
20 Jun 19. State and US government will fund large-UAS research at Houma airport. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards joined Assistant Secretary John Fleming of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove and Houma-Terrebonne Airport officials have announced a USD1.35m airport infrastructure grant from the EDA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“The grant will fund taxiway, access road, ramp and utility improvements for an undeveloped 10-acre parcel at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport, which will establish a Gulf of Mexico Center of Excellence for Large-Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or L-UAS. Gov. Edwards signed an executive order at the event designating the airport as Louisiana’s L-UAS site with the Federal Aviation Administration. Future improvements will include a new 40,000-square-foot hangar that will house automated navigation systems for unmanned aircraft flying the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas, hurricane reconnaissance, coastal protection, homeland security, research and military missions.”
“At full development, the L-UAS Center of Excellence will create 150 new jobs, retain 70 jobs and generate UD50m in new private investment, according to EDA estimates. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 191 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 340 jobs in the Bayou Region.
Wednesday’s event took place at the super-base hangar of helicopter transport company, ERA Group Inc., which will additionally provide nearby temporary space for the new unmanned aircraft center. Fueled by the energy sector, the Airport ranks No. 1 in the world for the total number of helicopter flights per year.
Along with other utilities and infrastructure work, the grant will fund the installation of high-performance data lines connected to LONI, the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative for supercomputing applications. Unmanned helicopters and unmanned fixed-wing aircraft will be monitored and controlled from the new 40,000-square-foot hangar, which will be equipped with highly automated, artificial intelligence systems.
The USD1.35m EDA grant will be matched by USD337,500 in local funds, chiefly from the Houma-Terrebonne Airport Commission, and the airport is pursuing additional funding solutions with the State of Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development; with the FAA; and with private-sector partners. In addition to Era Helicopters, private partners include Aurora Flight Sciences LLC, 2SF LLC, COTS Technology LLC and The Advocacy Partners LLC.
Airport officials estimate the L-UAS Center of Excellence hangar could be in place within two years.
(Image: Houma Airport – source http://www.houma-airport.com/airport.aspx)
For more information
21 Jun 19. Airbus Helicopters and the French Ministry for Transport (DGAC) have announced the launch of a research project aimed at demonstrating the use of a hybrid propulsion system on board a single-engine helicopter testbed. This initiative, which will lead to the first flight of a demonstrator in 2020, will focus on the integration of an electric backup system on the testbed helicopter in order to power the rotor system for up to 30 seconds, without the use of the main gas turbine.
As part of this research programme, this concept will be matured to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6, bringing it closer to potential certification and industrialisation. The demonstration package will include an electric motor provided by Thales, a battery pack developed by Airbus Defence and Space as well as electric converters provided by ADENEO. It will be installed and test-flown on an H130 single-engine testbed helicopter. The project will be jointly funded by DGAC and Airbus Helicopters.
“The helicopter industry is transforming at a fast pace and I’m very excited about this new partnership with DGAC which helps us prepare the future of vertical flight”, said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “If introduced on serial helicopters, this technology could deliver new standards in terms of safety by providing pilots of single-engine rotorcraft more flexibility to perform autorotation in case of an engine shutdown. Further evolutions of the same technology could also pave the way to a significant reduction in fuel consumption and sound levels, further increasing the acceptance of helicopters in urban environments.”
Elisabeth Borne, French Minister for Transport within the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, said, “This project will result in new technologies and a demonstrator that are essential for the development of a new generation of cleaner helicopters. Thanks to the engagement of the French government and our business partners, France is demonstrating the leading role it intends to play for better environmental performance within our aviation sector”.
24 Jun 19. Cobham Aerospace Communications Dourdan has been awarded a prestigious prize for innovation, by global leading rotary wing manufacturer Airbus Helicopters. The award-winning design integrates multiple antenna functions within the fuselage’s composite in one place, instead of as many as 20 externally mounted antennas per helicopter, each with complex installation challenges. In the future aircraft manufacturers will be able to acquire the composite structures with Cobham antennas embedded inside, meaning fewer part numbers to procure and assemble. This will lead to quicker production times, elimination of physical damage to external antennas and a more streamlined aesthetic for reduced drag.
Paul Kahn, President, Cobham Communications and Connectivity, commented: “Cobham is committed to working with partners like Airbus to help keep them at the cutting edge of aircraft innovation. This technology has applications beyond helicopters, on fixed wing aircraft and UAVs, where it has the potential to deliver substantial fuel and emissions savings. We look forward to announcing its use on other airframes soon.”
18 June 19. NLR and General Atomics develop procedures to integrate MALE RPAS in European airspace. NLR reports it has partnered with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to develop the procedures needed to safely and efficiently integrate Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) into European Airspace. The first phase of this collaboration culminated on 28-29 May 2019 during which a large-scale simulation exercise was performed at the Amsterdam campus of NLR. The goal of this exercise was to test the first version of the MALE RPA airspace integration procedures, and involved experienced civil Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs), as well as licenced airliner and RPA pilots. The exercise considered operations from Rotterdam The Hague Airport (EHRD), a civil airport in the Netherlands, and made use of a simulated MQ-9B SkyGuardian MALE RPA, an RPA that is designed and manufactured by GA-ASI.
“The goal of this study is to iteratively develop the procedures needed to operate MALE RPA in Europe based on empirical evidence gathered from a series of real-time simulation exercises,” said Dr. ir. Emmanuel Sunil, R&D engineer and project manager NLR. “During the first simulations performed in May, we subjected air traffic controllers to many contingency procedures ranging from engine failure to loss-of-link between the pilot and the RPA. The results indicate that the new procedures that we are developing will make it possible for MALE RPA to fly safely and efficiently in civil European airspace along with other manned air traffic.”
For the exercise, two NLR simulators were utilized: the NLR ATM Research Simulator (NARSIM), which simulates air traffic and provides working positions for ATCOs and aircraft pilots, and the NLR Multi UAS Supervision Testbed (MUST), which functions as the RPA simulator and the pilot ground control station. GA-ASI supported this exercise by providing 3D and kinematic models of the SkyGuardian RPA.
Future simulations studies are planned to improve the fidelity of the MALE RPA airspace integration procedures, through testing the effectiveness of on-board TCAS II and also consider the use of novel technologies such as Detect and Avoid (DAA) to further increase the safety of RPA operations. DAA technology provides RPA pilots with additional situational awareness of the traffic situation around their aircraft. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
20 Jun 19. Next-Gen Aircraft Programs Could Be Boon for Microelectronics Industry. Plans for the development of sixth-generation fighters and other advanced aircraft offer major opportunities for companies that work on microelectronics, according to industry executives. On the first day of the Paris Air Show, Dassault Aviation and Airbus unveiled a mockup of the future combat air system, also known as FCAS, to be developed by France, Germany and Spain. Plans for the initiative include a new stealth fighter to be accompanied by drones and an “air combat cloud” that would link the platforms and enable data sharing.
Last year, the U.K. Ministry of Defence made a big splash at the Farnborough Air Show by announcing plans for a sixth-gen platform called Tempest. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is fleshing out its own concepts for a future fighter.
These next-gen systems are expected to leverage artificial intelligence to give them cutting-edge capabilities, officials have said.
“To fully realize the potential of AI, you have to go AI on the [tactical] edge, and that’s commercial electronics,” said James S.B. Chew, group director for aerospace and defense programs at Cadence Design Systems. “You cannot do that without modern microelectronics.”
Cadence, a San Jose, California-based commercial firm, provides analysis, software tools and hardware for the electronics-design supply chain.
The company’s software tools can test designs and emulate how they would work in the real world with other systems, Chew explained in an interview with National Defense at the Paris Air Show. That technology could be useful for next-gen aircraft projects, said Simon Fielding, a U.K.-based account executive for Cadence.
“It’s a system of systems because you’ve got other planes and communication between the planes and the [rest of] the infrastructure,” he noted. “You have to really try and look at the complete view … to verify that everything interoperates properly. That’s something we can enable with software.”
Fielding said he has been in talks with Tempest program participants about these capabilities. Chew, who serves as chair of the Science and Engineering Technology Division of the National Defense Industrial Association, said Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper and other Pentagon leaders have also been briefed on the technology and expressed interest in it.
“We’ve done a pretty good job in terms of communicating with the department,” Chew said. “They understand what the payoffs are.”
Cadence has already been tapped to assist the F-35 joint program office, which oversees the United States’ largest fifth-generation fighter initiative, he noted.
Roper sounded gung-ho about digital engineering during a meeting with reporters on the opening day of the Paris Air Show.
“We’ve been discussing inside the Air Force the need to make our next fighter based on digital engineering from design all the way through manufacturing and into sustainment,” he said. “That production technology may be the most game-changing component if it allows us to move into a different paradigm of doing rapid design spirals and updates.”
“In addition to looking at a lot of classified capabilities we want to give future warfighters, we also want to give manufacturers a different way of making that cutting-edge technology,” he added. “Expect both of those to be part and parcel of what we bring to the table for sixth-gen.”
Chew said Cadence’s emulation technology can help determine if an electronic system will work before they go into fabrication. It can also provide insights into how well they will perform as part of a larger family of systems.
“We can start putting those emulations into the digital architecture and say, ‘Here’s how they work together. Or guess what, we have a problem,’” Chew said. “We do it digitally before … they get the prime mission equipment built and put it together and say, ‘Oh my, what happened here?’”
Organizations that become involved with sixth-generation fighter projects, such as the Air Force Research Laboratory, could use the technology to play around with design options, he noted.
“They can start developing what-if scenarios right now on sixth-gen on the electronics — ‘What if we did this, could we do this?’” Chew said. “The nice thing about [it] is that they can do this all via virtual prototyping before they decide to commit to fabrication.” (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
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.