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08 Jan 20. UK to receive F-35 DAS upgrade. The United Kingdom is to upgrade its Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) combat aircraft with the new Distributed Aperture System (DAS) announced in 2018, in line with other international customers.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Jane’s on 7 January that the UK has decided to fall in line with the wider F-35 programmatic effort to swap the current Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-37 DAS with a new system to be developed by Raytheon. Previously, the UK government had said that no decision would be made until it understood the time and cost implications of the upgrade.

“All F-35 production aircraft produced from 2023, for all F-35 partner nations including the UK, will be fitted with a new DAS. There will be a retrofit programme to modify partner nation aircraft delivered before 2023 with the next-generation DAS,” an MoD spokesperson said.

In June 2018 Lockheed Martin announced that from Lot 15 production in 2023 it is to switch DAS suppliers to “enhance capability and reduce cost”. This timeline coincides with the commencement of deliveries of Block 4 (now known as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery [C2D2]) full-operating configuration in the early 2020s, which will be the first post-system design and development (SDD) standard (Block 4 is to be rolled out in increments from 2020, with the full configuration being made available from 2023).

Answering questions in the House of Commons immediately following Lockheed Martin’s announcement, the then-Minister for Defence Procurement, Guto Bebb, said, “As with all upgrades, this will be undertaken as part of the future capability development programme. Costs have not yet been negotiated or agreed.” (Source: Jane’s)

08 Jan 20. The second of the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales has recently completed a successful sea trial in Scottish waters. The ships are the largest ever built for the Royal Navy and the carriers are powered by GE’s energy-efficient, integrated full-electric propulsion system.

As part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, GE’s Power Conversion business has provided the HV Distribution system, HV Drives and Propulsion Motors as well as the Electrical Power Control and Management system. GE also supplied the HV Generators to support generating power for the entire carrier. Out of the 110 megawatts (MW) of power running through the system, 80 MW can be dedicated to GE’s energy-efficient electric propulsion motors – that’s how much it takes to move the 65,000 ton carriers. To put that into context, that’s the amount of electricity needed to power around 5,000 U.K. homes.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a unique partnership between BAE Systems, the Ministry of Defence, Thales, and Babcock. Working together, the Alliance’s collective culture is one of an uncompromising commitment to trust, collaboration, innovation, and mutual support with all decisions taken on a best for program basis.

For almost three decades, GE has supported the Royal Navy with world-class technology. Today, the U.K. Royal Navy has more than 90% of its major ships operating with GE’s electric propulsion solutions, including HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as the Type 45 destroyers, the new Type 26 frigates and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s Tide Class tankers.

GE is uniquely positioned to work alongside shipyards and world navies due to its extensive experience and capabilities. Thanks to the large scope of electrical and electronic equipment, GE is well suited to carry out the important architecture work, system integration and power management for navies.

Moreover, GE’s Marine Power Test Facility at Whetstone, England, is the world’s only commercial, land-based facility capable of full-scale testing of integrated electric propulsion systems for naval applications. Over the past decades, it has supported the world’s navies to de-risk the technology of current and future electric ship architectures.

“Our contribution to the U.K. Royal Navy has been extensive, supporting so many diverse naval ship classes. As the program for the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, nears completion, another important milestone has been achieved through the successful sea trial. Congratulations to the whole team – we are proud to serve the U.K. Royal Navy to deliver the operational readiness and confidence modern navies demand,” said Andy Cooper, managing director of GE’s Power Conversion business UK.

In addition, GE has provided systems for both aircraft carriers’ shore-based power supplies having recently installed and commissioned the motor and generator sets in Portsmouth. The large generator has a 16MW power rating, providing electricity for essential services when the carriers are berthed in harbor.

07 Jan 20. US Special Operations Command wants to sniff out misinformation campaigns. U.S. Special Operations Command is seeking prototypes to detect misinformation campaigns in near- to real-time to directly support the command’s information operations, according to a Dec. 12 request for information.

The prototype software should analyze social media and web data, identify viral and trending content online for threat assessment, and highlight the likelihood of the information being fake.

The prototype is to use a combination of deep learning, natural-language processing and dynamic network analysis to examine the spread of disinformation across all platforms regardless of its form, according to the RFI.

In their response, vendors should address anomaly detection, deepfakes and foreign influence by using proven machine learning capabilities.

The Defense Department as of late has been responding to the proliferation of deepfakes, which are machine-manipulated media that depict events that never happened. In 2018, a blog post designed to look like a Lithuanian news outlet claimed that four U.S. Army combat vehicles had killed a local child in a collision during a training exercise in the Baltics. The post of the fabricated incident included a manipulated image showing indifferent soldiers near a child’s lifeless body and crushed bicycle.

Existing U.S. programs created to fight the spread of misinformation include the Semantics Forensics and Media Forensics programs, which, respectively, aim to develop technologies for analyzing media and provide detailed information about media manipulation. Responses to the USSOCOM posting must be submitted by Jan. 13. (Source: Defense News)

07 Jan 20. SitaWare 6.10 introduces maritime add-on features, includes a maritime add-on module.  Denmark’s Systematic is releasing a maritime add-on module as part of the latest 6.10 release of its SitaWare Headquarters command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) software product.

The development, which the company said reflects growing interest from maritime users, follows SitaWare Headquarters’ employment as a planning tool for Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) throughout 2019. While Royal Danish Navy (RDN) vessels have deployed on multinational missions with SitaWare, the employment of SitaWare Headquarters on SNMCMG1 flagship HDMS Thetis marked the first time that the software has been used as the flag-level staff planning tool for a NATO maritime task group.

SitaWare Headquarters is a scalable C4I software suite designed to provide an accessible browser-based toolset to support command and control (C2), situational awareness, mission planning, and coalition interoperability. The user community is predominantly in the army and joint domains.

“However, we saw that some customers had taken [SitaWare] into the maritime domain, specifically Ireland and Denmark,” said Morten Juhl Bødker, Systematic’s business product manager for SitaWare Headquarters. “We have recognised this. At the same time we see that NATO customers are starting to explore options to replace their existing C4I systems, like MCCIS [Maritime Command and Control Information System].

“That has driven an upgrade to meet the specific needs of maritime users. Our view was that with some investment we could address up to 80% of user needs ‘out of the box’ through a maritime add-on [module].”

New maritime-specific features introduced as part of the SitaWare 6.10 add-on are designed to provide a comprehensive Recognised Maritime Picture (RMP), improve planning capabilities, and introduce maritime-specific tools and functionalities. Among the new features are auto-track correlation, S-63 chart support, and a closest point of approach function.

“The new [maritime add-on] planning tools for 6.10 … include the ‘4 Whiskey’ grid [to support area planning/patrol boxes for large-scale maritime operations], ‘Screen Kilo’ [supporting a moving formation], and Position and Intended Movement [PIM],” Bødker told Jane’s. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Jan 20. New SPEC 55 LF wire and cable from TE Connectivity reduces corrosion potential and offers 5x ruggedness in space applications.

SPEC 55 LF exceeds MIL-SPEC standards for outgassing and scrap abrasion. TE Connectivity (TE), a world leader in connectivity and sensors, launched the SPEC 55 low fluoride (55 LF) wire and cable insulation system for space and high altitude environments. Made from rugged fluoropolymer, TE’s SPEC 55 LF insulation system has an outgassing rating of less than 10 PPM, which helps reduce the potential for corrosion of other components due to trapped gases escaping in a vacuum or low-pressure environment.

In addition to having an outgassing rating significantly below 20 PPM as specified under MIL-SPEC SAE-AS22759, the SPEC 55 LF insulation system offers five times the scrape abrasion requirement under that standard. This rugged construction is paired with versatility. The SPEC 55 LF system is available in lightweight single wall or extra rugged dual wall variants, and customers can choose from various cable configurations, including custom options.

“Mitigating corrosion potential by reducing outgassing is critically important to our customers designing for space, launch and missile applications,” said Patrick Murphy, product manager for TE’s Aerospace, Defense and Marine division. “TE is pleased to be the only supplier of a dual wall MIL SPEC qualified option and one of only two suppliers of the single wall option.”

The SPEC 55 LF insulation system is designed for avionic systems, C4ISR, guidance and seeker systems, and general wire harnessing systems, among other applications. The SPEC 55 LF insulation system is qualified to MIL-SPEC SAE-AS22759. The single wall SPEC 55 LF system is qualified to SAE-AS22759/51 and /52 while the dual wall variant is qualified to SAE-AS22759/53 and /54.

06 Jan 20. Hanwha Systems to provide its NS ICMS for more PKX-B fast attack craft. South Korean company Hanwha Systems has announced that it will also provide its Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System (NS ICMS) for the latest four Patrol Killer Experimental-B (PKX-B)-class fast attack craft ordered for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) in October 2019. In a 10 December 2019 statement, the company said that it was awarded a KRW49bn (USD42m) contract by South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to supply and integrate its NS ICMS into the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th vessels of the class, which is also known as the Patrol-boat Killer Medium Rocket (PKMR) class. (Source: Jane’s)

06 Jan 20. USAF, US Navy and industry discuss physiological sensors development. The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has hosted an industry day to brief industry about the need for sensors to reduce physiological episodes in pilots. More than 150 members from the US Air Force (USAF), US Navy and industry took part in the inaugural Physiological Episodes Mitigation Technology Summit and Industry Day conducted in Dayton, Ohio, US.

At the event, participants discussed the research and development of sensors to collect physiological data from pilots.

The USAF and US Navy intend to develop sensors that are capable of gathering data from pilots before, during and after a flight.

USAF Physiological Episodes Action Team (PEAT) lead Brigadier General Gregor Leist said: “Efforts surrounding this issue are really driven by the nature of the challenge. It’s a safety-critical issue, and we need to throw everything we can at this and find the root, if there is a root, for the safety of our pilots.”

Both the airforce and navy established PEATs to address the spike in the rate of physiological episodes. The services have been working with each other to share data and research.

Leist added: “What really drove a lot of the airforce activities for this was the T-6 trainer and the steep rise in air breathing-associated physiological episodes.

“We’ve been partnering continuously with the navy, sharing data in both directions so we’re not duplicating efforts, and have the defence department’s best working this.”

The PEATs used different sensors to collect aircraft data. The effort was aimed at accurately characterising the breathing and pressurisation systems to understand the cause for physiologic episodes.

AFRL sensors development team lead Dr James Christensen said: “The Integrated Cockpit Sensing programme aims to identify best-of-breed sensors for near-term operational implementation while defining an architecture, which will allow the airforce to continually add or upgrade the best sensing capability to prevent and/or mitigate the effects of physiological events.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)

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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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