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03 Oct 19. US Air Force’s next-generation fighter inches forward with a new program head. The U.S. Air Force is taking a gamble on its future fighter, with officials hoping to rapidly produce a family of jets known as the “Digital Century Series” using digital engineering and other technology breakthroughs. On Oct. 2, that effort took a step forward as the service stood up a new program office responsible for developing its next-generation fighter aircraft.
Col. Dale White, most recently the program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and special operations forces, will be in charge of the new Program Executive Office for Advanced Aircraft, the Air Force said in a statement.
Will Roper, the Air Force’s acquisition executive, said White had been chosen to lead the program based on his out-of-the-box thinking.
“I am turning to this program and to Dale in particular to find a way to bring the best technical expertise that we have to bear, to understand industry’s business case — because if it’s not good for industry it’s not going to happen — to see if there’s a way we can continue innovating, doing things smaller, faster, more agile where you don’t have to necessarily be a company that can build a thousand things to work with us,” Roper said during a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. “I have the utmost confidence that if there’s a ‘yes’ to be found in this universe, [White] will find it.”
White formerly held assignments at the Space and Missile Systems Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Headquarters Air Intelligence Agency and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, where he was the senior materiel leader and system program director for the B-21 bomber program.
“The mission placed before our team today will be tough, but is a must-do to keep this nation on solid footing on a global stage,” White said. “We are no longer assured the super power prominence we once held, and we are now forced to reach back to our roots and relearn those attributes that made us the nation we are today. For those that will be part of the new team, thank you for what you’ve done and what you will do.”
As head of PEO Advanced Aircraft, White will oversee not only the development of new airframes, but also a number of subsystems under development as part of the Next Generation Air Dominance program. While the Air Force hasn’t disclosed how it is investing funds for the NGAD program, officials have alluded to parallel development and prototyping efforts that could yield advanced new weapons, engines and mission systems.
Defense News was first to report on the Air Force’s new approach to fighter development. Instead of having fighter manufacturers compete for the opportunity to produce a single, exquisite air superiority platform, the idea is to fund the development of multiple fighters using new, cost-saving techniques like agile software development, open architecture and digital engineering, Roper said in a September interview. The Air Force would then choose one vendor to produce a small batch of the most viable aircraft, but keep the other manufacturer on contract to continue iterating on its design.
The benefit to such an approach? Increased competition among vendors and the ability to field a new fighter jet with the latest technology every five years or so.
“Based on what industry thinks they can do and what my team will tell me, we will need to set a cadence of how fast we think we build a new airplane from scratch. Right now, my estimate is five years. I may be wrong,” Roper said in September. “I’m hoping we can get faster than that — I think that will be insufficient in the long term [to meet future threats] — but five years is so much better than where we are now with normal acquisition.”
White’s first task will be to create an acquisition strategy that lays out whether the Digital Century Series is viable and how much it will cost to keep multiple fighter manufacturers — including incumbent primes like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, builders of pieces of fighter jets like Northrop Grumman, and potentially new entrants — continually working with the Air Force on new designs.
In response to follow-up questions from Defense News, Roper said he would like to see an initial strategy in six months, with a final strategy coming three months after that. (Source: Defense News)
04 Oct 19. Queensland Uni experiment sheds light on quantum mechanics and gravity. Scientists have challenged one of the great mysteries of physics by undertaking an experiment in space proposed by the University of Queensland a decade ago.
Professor Timothy Ralph from tTe School of Mathematics and Physics collaborated on the study, which he said could help bring quantum technologies, such as a global quantum internet, closer to being part of everyday life.
“A key unsolved problem in modern physics is how Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which relates to gravity, links to the fundamental theory of atomic and optical physics known as quantum mechanics,” Professor Ralph said.
Professor Ralph added, “Scientists have developed numerous theories trying to unite quantum mechanics and gravity, but a key barrier to progress on this problem has been the difficulty in performing experiments in which effects from both theories play a significant role simultaneously.”
In 2009, Professor Ralph, UQ colleague Emeritus Professor Gerard Milburn and ex-UQ PhD student Dr Tony Downes proposed an experiment that could overcome this barrier by sending exotic quantum “entangled” photons from the ground to a satellite, where they could be measured.
Now a large team of physicists led by Professor Jian-Wei Pan from the University of Science and Technology of China have performed the experiment using the “quantum satellite” Micius, which was launched in 2016.
“Our experiment set out to test whether the principles behind quantum mechanical theories had to be amended to accommodate unique features of general relativity. However our results showed no changes to the predictions of quantum mechanics and concluded that gravity does not affect quantum states in the speculated way,” Professor Ralph explained.
“These findings indicate that the bizarre predictions of quantum mechanics continue to be accurate, even under the extreme situation of transferring quantum particles many hundreds of kilometres from the Earth’s surface, as required for future quantum technologies.”
The “quantum satellite” was chosen for the experiment following a feasibility study led by Professor Rupert Ursin at the University of Vienna.
Professor Ralph said Micius had been used in many ground-breaking quantum experiments in space, and provided an ideal platform for the experiment.
“There is still much to be done, but our results provide experimental evidence that perhaps it is the theory of relativity that needs to evolve to reflect the scientific theories behind quantum mechanics, and not the other way around,” Professor Ralph said.
The study, published in Science, was led by Professor Pan and is a collaboration between the University of Science and Technology of China, the California Institute of Technology, the National Taiwan Normal University and UQ. (Source: Defence Connect)
27 Sep 19. Australian Army Innovation Day reveals delivery of next-gen Army network. The Australian Army hosted its sixth Innovation Day at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra today, with defence industry specialists pitching their ideas in a shark-tank style forum to Army and Defence Industry Hub officials.
Defence Industry Minster Melissa Price said Army Innovation Day (AID) was an opportunity for industry to present novel capability options that can shape Army’s approach to challenges in the land combat environment.
“This year’s theme, network assurance, will ensure the Army’s communication networks are more resilient, agile and protected against adversaries,” Minister Price said.
Minister Price added, “Australia’s defence industry is a source of strength for the Army. In addition to the companies pitching technology for this year’s exhibition, several companies are also showcasing past Army Innovation Day success stories.”
Army continuously explores new ideas and builds relationships with defence industry, academia and our international partners on the latest developments in technology and war-fighting capabilities. AID is an opportunity for defence industry to present a range of unique, innovative ideas and future technologies not currently operational or in development.
In line with this year’s innovation theme of network assurance, submissions should advance Army’s network resilience, boost network agility, network defences, or deceive adversaries regarding the disposition and characteristics of land networks.
Innovation proposals are to be received via Defence Innovation Hub Portal within four weeks of publication and will go through selection process to assess against a set criteria of uniqueness, innovation and ability to improve effectiveness and efficiency of Defence.
“It is really exciting that some of the new technologies on display today may be trialled by soldiers in the field over the next 12 months,” Minister Price said.
Army Innovation Day is a joint venture between Army and the Defence Innovation Hub, with selected companies showcasing a range of the latest technological advancements on this year’s theme. (Source: Defence Connect)
27 Sep 19. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is seeking potential new suppliers to help influence future wargame development. A free “Show and Tell” event is planned on 7th November with Dstl’s partners at The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.
Wargames can be used to explore tactical, operational and strategic issues across the business, security, emergency services, humanitarian and military sectors. Wargames encourage players to: think innovatively and creatively in a safe to fail environment; identify emerging issues; test hypotheses; assess alternate options and highlight the potential consequences of choices.
Under its Searchlight initiative, Dstl is looking for industry partners, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to help develop innovative wargaming tools, techniques, technologies and analysis. Companies need not have any experience in the defence sector. Opportunities exist across all aspects of wargame design and analysis, especially in the field of data capture, analysis and visualisation.
Dstl will also offer the opportunity to access its expertise and peer review of the potential utility of innovative approaches and subsequently to test the best of these live in Dstl’s Defence Wargaming Centre.
The 7th November event will outline Dstl’s aims and give participants the chance to network with potential new collaborators. The dual focus will be on closed pitches from SMEs to the Dstl team of specific offers that may improve wargaming outcomes and on an open event where there will be the chance to present ‘Lightning Briefs’ to a broader audience and network informally with other participants and exhibitors.
To secure a place at the event register online at:
Jim Squire, a Dstl Consulting Fellow, said: “Dstl is seeking to engage with non-traditional defence suppliers through its Searchlight initiative. This is a great opportunity, especially for small companies, to share knowledge and expertise and to understand the opportunities available in the defence sector in the high profile area of wargaming.”
The event is being hosted by The Manufacturing Technology Centre and supported by KTN; the UK’s Innovation Network; ADS, The Federation of Small Businesses; Team Defence Information and techUK. Dstl will also provide more information on its role in encouraging SME innovation and growth as partners in Venturefest South.
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.