Sponsored By Oxley Developments
21 Jan 20. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN DUAL REDUNDANT LARGE AREA DISPLAYS. Dr. Kenneth Mahdi, CTO Display Technology, Mercury Systems, James Boulet, Senior Manager of Business Development, Mercury Systems. Jamie Boulet, Senior Manager of Business Development, Mercury Systems gave an in-depth paper outlining the advances in Mercury Technologies’ display technologies. American Panel was purchased last September by Mercury Computer Systems. American panel is unique in that it has a 25 year R&D deal with LG in Korea making the company the only one having access to LG’s technology for military applications.
American Panel Corporation (APC), now part of Mercury Computer Systems Inc., since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
APC manufactures the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Large Area Display (LAD) display (20 inch by 8 inch) with dual pixel fields, power and video interfaces to provide complete display redundancy. At DSEI 2017 we are exhibiting the LAD with a more advanced design, dual display on single substrate with redundant characteristics and a bespoke purpose 8 inch by 6 inch armoured vehicle display.
In order to fully meet the demanding environmental and optical requirements without sacrificing critical tradeoffs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures these highly specialized displays in multiple sizes and configurations, controlling all AMLCD optical panel, mechanical and electrical design aspects. APC provides both ITAR and non-ITAR displays across the globe to OEM Prime and tiered vetronics and avionics integrators.
The new technologies are certified by design, standard/custom sizes give the user:
- The ability to see with clarity in all conditions
- Proven mission critical performance
- High performance, high fidelity
- Long-life displays for mission critical applications
- High tech engineering approach to rugged multi-domain displays
Mercury is developing larger screens which give the user:
- The ability to see further, clearer, earlier
- High performance displays increase long range awareness with greater clarity
- Standard, large area, and custom sizes
- Pre-integrated proven technologies for lower risk and enhanced performance
- True 10-bit color depth/grayscale for unmatched clarity
- night vision compatible
- Low reflectance and backlight power provide consistent operation over a wide temp range
- Multi-domain functionality and prolonged lifespan decrease through life costs
In August 2019, American Panel Corporation (APC), now Mercury Computer Systems, completed a month-long trial of its advanced vehicle display at the British Army’s Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) at Bovington, Dorset, UK. Supporting in this evaluation were Kent Modular Electronics (KME), TECNOBIT (TNB), and Foxbury Solutions.
A next generation of thermal imaging sensor to display capability was successfully trialed at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) over the period 10-28 Jun 19. This new capability included a latest generation 10-bit capable Thermal Imaging Centinela sensor from TECNOBIT (TNB) that provided live 10-bit video with a specific gamma rate correction setting to a 10-bit capable (American Panel Corporation (APC) and Kent Modular Electronics (KME) display.
This capability not only transforms the user experience by furnishing the commander with video that is easier to interpret; but crucially also enabling the commander to Detect, Recognise and Identify (DRI) targets and objects at far greater ranges than with legacy, 6 or 8-bit sensor and display capability on in-service Remote Weapon Station (RWS).
By using these enhanced capabilities, the commander will be able to effect at greater ranges as well – particularly in the new era of vehicles and weapon load modularity. This capability will enable simpler and faster changes of weapons systems (both direct and indirect) on a single multi-weapon mount, giving commanders true variety and choice to their tactical capability.
The objectives of the trial were to:
Determine the Detection, Recognition, Identification (DRI) capabilities of a 10-bit video input display.
Undertake comparative testing against a current in-service Remote Weapons System (RWS) 6>8-bit based thermal imaging sensor and matched video viewing/control screen.
Understand the benefits of the TNB Centinela HD sensor (10-bit) when used in conjunction with the APC / KME display (10-bit).
Showcase the combined capability to key UK MoD and Defence Industry personnel.
Jamie Boulet said, “The development of longer-range thermal sensors has required MoDs and industry alike to look at a range of similarly advanced displays to accommodate the images obtained from longer range. This is particularly important to avoid collateral damage involving civilians and blue-on-blue fire. Our unique 10-bit technology, provides this solution. The ATDU trail was undertaken on the basis of an 8 bit vs. American Panel’s 10 bit display. The results exceeded even our expectations.”
Mercury Computer Systems believes the trial was successful in proving that in comparison to the legacy in-service RWS, the trialed system of matched HD sensor10-bit video and 10-bit display appears to have exceeded existing crew DRI capability and provides a much clearer picture at all distances. This new DRI capability is believed to surpass anything in current service with UK Land Forces. As a result, this step change means that crews should no longer have to rely on additional assets to perform or confirm DRI, at increasingly greater ranges. It is worth noting that while the appetite for collateral damage remains very low, the increased detail afforded by these enhanced capabilities, allows the operator to make better informed decisions on engagements, and in so doing reduces the risk of using imperfect identification information, especially in time-critical situations.
The Local Situational Awareness enhancement afforded by this system is expected to aid operations across the whole mounted fleet; and will undoubtedly reduce the risk of fratricide on own, friendly or civilian elements by increasing Positive Identification ranges and certainty, thereby enabling greater (and more certain) prosecution of targets in low and no light.
It should be noted that this alignment display of thermal imaging and 10-bit video systems was only a first step in determining what is possible today. It is recommended that further testing both in controlled lab conditions and in an operational context could provide valuable information and further insight into delivering more precise identification and the potential for engagement.
23 Jan 20. Fincantieri wins nuclear fusion contract. The Italian state shipyard that supplies the country’s warships and builds littoral combat ships in the United States with Lockheed Martin has won a contract worth nearly €100m (U.S. $111m) to enter a new business — nuclear fusion.
Fincantieri won the deal to supply equipment for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, an international program seeking to build an experimental fusion reactor aimed at creating technology able to produce boundless amounts of clean energy.
Launched in 1985 by Russia and the U.S. as an example of Cold War detente, the ITER program now groups the European Union, China, India, Japan and South Korea with Russia and the U.S.
The program aims to turn nuclear fusion — which fuses atoms in the same way the sun does — into a viable and clean energy source. Based in Cadarache in the south of France, the partners are building a reactor they hope will lead to power generation seen as a holy grail of clean, unlimited energy.
Fincantieri will work on the program through its subsidiary Fincantieri SI, which provides hybrid ship propulsion and energy storage systems as well as works on emission reductions and the electrification of ports.
A company source told Defense News that Fincantieri SI will act as an integrator for two smaller Italian firms: Delta-Ti Impianti, which specializes in mechanical plant engineering, and Comes, which specializes in electrical plant engineering.
The equipment provided by those firms and integrated by Fincantieri SI at its facility in Italy will be used to heat and cool plasma as part of the fusion process, the source said.
Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said the deal “reaffirms our capacity as integrator.” (Source: Defense News)
23 Jan 20. US Army and US Air Force team up to demonstrate multi-domain operations. Two US Air Force F-35s integrated with the US Army Integrated Air and Missile Defence Battle Command System (IBCS), have provided an airborne sensor capability to successfully detect, track and intercept near simultaneous air-breathing threats in a test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
The December 2019 test marked the first time F-35s were used as sensors during an IBCS live fire test against multiple airborne targets.
Linking F-35s to IBCS via the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) provided enhanced situational awareness and weapons-quality track data to engage airborne targets.
The proof of concept demonstration used experimental equipment developed by Lockheed Martin, including the Harvest Lightning Ground Station and IBCS adaptation kit.
Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, said, “The F-35’s advanced sensors and connectivity enable it to gather, analyse and seamlessly share critical information with the joint fighting force to lead the multi-domain battlespace.”
This test is the latest in a series of successful activities to demonstrate the F-35’s role as the keystone of the joint force. Lockheed Martin is evolving technologies that connect, share and learn to create a holistic network that provides unprecedented situational awareness across the battlespace and enables multi-domain operations.
“This test validated the F-35’s capability to serve as an airborne sensor and extend the range of critical integrated air and missile defence interceptors,” Ulmer added.
Jay Pitman, vice president, lower tier integrated air and missile defence at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, expanded on the comments made by Ulmer, stating, “This test represents a major milestone for multi-domain operations by leveraging airborne assets to detect and track threats that can then be countered with ground-based effectors.
“This demonstrates a tremendous capability to defeat threats that are terrain masked or beyond ground-based sensor detection capabilities due to terrain and curvature of the Earth.”
Multi-domain operation is a new warfighting concept which synchornises major systems and crucial data sources with revolutionary simplicity, multi-domain operations provides a complete picture of the battlespace and empowers warfighters to quickly make decisions that drive action.
By leveraging data as a weapon, warfighters are empowered to make decisions that drive action – paralysing, disrupting and overwhelming adversaries in a matter of seconds versus minutes, where seconds really matter. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Jan 20. Boeing eyes developing Israeli technology for light aircraft. Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Wednesday it has agreed with Israel-based Tactical Robotics to explore development of a ducted fan propulsion technology with potential uses for piloted and autonomous light aircraft.
Financial details were not disclosed.
Through a joint working group, the two companies will determine what opportunities may exist in developing, producing and marketing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) products including Tactical Robotics’ own Cormorant autonomous vehicle.
Due to its compact, Humvee-sized footprint, Cormorant can conduct emergency response missions such as delivering food, water and supplies during natural disasters or in combat environments, Boeing said. It can also carry up to four patients for medical evacuations.
Aviation ducted fan technology uses a fan mounted in a cylindrical duct to produce thrust. This arrangement can enhance airflow velocity and pressure when compared to an open rotor. (Source: Reuters)
22 Jan 20. Enhancing the Indian Air Force. The IAF operates a diverse array of combat aircraft, including the Sukhoi Su-30MKI (NATO reporting name Flanker) seen here. This creates challenges regarding the upgrade of legacy combat aircraft with capable self-protection systems. The Indian Air Force is at a crossroads as far as electronic warfare is concerned believes Air Marshal (rtd.) Daljit Singh.
AM Singh is the former air officer commanding-in-chief of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) South Western Air Command. He remarks that the service’s latest fighters like its Dassault Rafale series combat aircraft, 36 of which have been ordered with the first example being delivered on 8 October, and the Dassault Mirage-2000H/I jets “have been inducted with a comprehensive and integrated self-protection suite” equipping these aircraft. However, he warns that “most of the other legacy aircraft were inducted with limited self-protection capabilities.”
Nonetheless, the IAF is taking steps to ensure that the self-protection systems used by its aircraft are robust: “Helicopter fleets are being modernised and upgraded with new electronic warfare suites,” observes AM Singh.
In early October it was reported that the IAF will upgrade its Mil Mi-17 series medium-lift utility helicopters with new EW systems. The news followed the loss of a Mi-17V5 helicopter on 27 February 2019 during a short conflict with Pakistan. The loss was believed to have occurred as a result of friendly fire by a Rafael Advanced Defence Systems’ Spyder short/medium-range surface-to-air missile system.
There have been no reports regarding when this initiative is likely to start, the number of aircraft to receive these enhancements or what the upgrade might entail? He adds that the indigenous production of self-protection systems to equip fighters is moving ahead, having been “approved in principle”.
To this end, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Tejas light combat aircraft series which is equipping the IAF, along with the Indian Navy, will receive domestically-developed equipment like Bharat Electronics Limited’s (BEL) Mayavi integrated self-protection system.
This includes the company’s Tarang Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). AM Singh warns that retrofitting legacy platforms with state-of-the-art self-protection systems is not always easy as such integration often “requires cooperation from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs),” which maybe difficult to secure. Similar challenges exist in maintaining self-protection systems already in use on IAF aircraft as “they are once again from diverse origins and obsolescence management is likely to be a serious concern.”
Despite these challenges, AM Singh states that the IAF has comprehensive plans in place to provide effective self-protection systems across the fleet: “Some modernisation plans are already progressing,” he adds, citing the modernisation of the Mi-17s with new EW systems as discussed above.
Moreover, the trend towards the indigenous design and production of platform self-protection materiel is proceeding apace, AM Singh asserts, exemplified by the Mayavi and Tarang systems. Over the long term, “all countermeasure dispensing systems are planned to be manufactured in India,” he states while cautioning that there is still work to be done at the industrial level.
“The Indian Defence Industry has yet to fully mature the EW field to meet the services requirements. This is considered essential to have unrestricted and timely modernisation capabilities for the EW Systems.”
Despite potential difficulties in collaborating with OEMs for the retrofit of aircraft with up-to-date self-protection apparatus, he believes that “collaborative production with original equipment manufacturers would be a good solution to ensure delivery of the systems in time and without any dilution in the projected system capability.”
AM Singh recognises that India’s domestic defence electronics industry has enjoyed success in the past developing systems such as RWRs and some SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) systems, as illustrated by BEL’s product lines. Yet he argues that there is room for improvement: “There still is a large gap between what is manufactured and the current technological level of contemporary EW systems prevalent throughout the world. The Indian defence industry has yet to mature its EW field to meet service requirements. This is considered essential to have an unrestricted and timely modernisation capability for EW Systems.”
He also urges the Indian defence community writ large to treat EW innovation as evolutionary: “EW research must be a continuous process to ensure a future ready capability to tackle more complex hostile systems in future.”
At the operational and tactical levels continued investment in training will be paramount: “Another very important consideration is to have realistic EW training system capable of emulating realistic hostile EW environments to evaluate and refine EW tactics and techniques.”
This is in tandem with ensuring that the all-important tools to analyse SIGINT are fit for purpose: “Electromagnetic spectrum employment for both communication and non-communication systems has become very complex, dense, and agile with layers of embedded encryption algorithms. All new SIGINT procurements should be able to handle such dense and complex electromagnetic environments, to remain relevant,” AM Singh advises. (Source: Armada)
20 Jan 20. Gremlins demonstrator makes maiden flight. Dynetics, Inc flew its X-61A Gremlins demonstrator for the first time in late 2019, it was announced on 17 January. A video of the maiden flight released by the company showed the Gremlins Air Vehicle (GAV) separate from a Lockheed Martin C-130A Hercules ‘mother-ship’ over Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, before flying for 1 hr 41 mins.
As noted by Dynetics, during this first flight the GAV demonstrated wing deployment, a cold engine start, and a transition to stable powered flight. The company was also able to verify air and ground-based command-and-control systems, including datalink performance and handovers between air and ground control, as well as deploying the GAV docking arm and demonstrating flight termination and ground (parachute) recovery. Despite the success of the flight, Dynetics noted that the GAV was ultimately lost as the parachute failed to deploy at the end of the test.
Gremlins is a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project to develop an ‘aircraft carrier in the sky’. In April 2018 the Dynetics-led team, which includes Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, Inc, was selected over a rival offering led by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) to proceed with the final phase of the effort to launch groups of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from multiple types of military aircraft.
Phase 1 (Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Lockheed Martin, GA-ASI, and Dynetics) of the Gremlins programme showed the feasibility of airborne UAV launch and recovery systems that would require minimal modification to the host aircraft, while Phase 2 (GA-ASI and Dynetics) sought to mature two system concepts to enable this ‘aircraft carriers in the sky’ concept. Phase 3 (Dynetics) saw the prototype Gremlin UAVs built, tested, and demonstrated. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Jan 20. F-35s Are Dead: The Sixth Generation of Fighter Aircraft Is On Its Way. It is also possible that the new 6th-generation fighter could use advanced, futuristic stealth technology able to enable newer, more capable air defenses. The air defenses of potential adversaries are increasingly using faster computing processing power and are better networked together, more digital, able to detect a wider range of frequencies and able to detect stealthy aircraft at farther distances.
The Air Force has begun experimenting and conceptual planning for a 6th generation fighter aircraft to emerge in coming years as a technological step beyond the F-35, service leaders said.
“We have started experimentation, developmental planning and technology investment,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition, told Scout Warrior in an interview.
The new aircraft, engineered to succeed the 5th-generation F-35 Joint StrikeFighter and explode onto the scene by the mid 2030s, is now in the earliest stages of conceptual development with the Air Force and Navy. The two services are now working together on early conceptual discussions about the types of technologies and capabilities the aircraft will contain. While the Air Force has not yet identified a platform for the new aircraft. The Air Force characterizes the effort in terms of a future capability called Next-Gen Air Dominance.
While Bunch did not elaborate on the specifics of ongoing early efforts, he did make reference to the Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan which delineates some key elements of the service’s strategy for a future platform.
Fighter jets in 20-years may likely contain the next-generation of stealth technology, electronic warfare, sophisticated computer processing and algorithms, increased autonomy, hypersonic weapons and so-called “smart-skins” where sensors are built into the side of the aircraft itself.
Some of these characteristics may have been on display more than a year ago when Northrop Grumman’s SuperBowl AD revealed a flashy first look at its rendering of a new 6th-generation fighter jet.
Northrop is one of a number of major defense industry manufacturers who will bid for a contract to build the new plane – when the time is right. While there are not many details available on this work, it is safe to assume Northrop is advancing concepts, technology and early design work toward this end. Boeing is also in the early phases of development of a 6th-gen design, according to a report in Defense News.
The Navy’s new aircraft will, at least in part, replace the existing inventory of F/A-18 Super Hornets which will start to retire by 2035, Navy officials said.
The Navy vision for a future carrier air wing in 2040 and beyond is comprised of the carrier-launched variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, and legacy aircraft such as the EA-18G Growler electronic jamming aircraft.
Also, around this time is when Navy planners envision its 6th generation aircraft to be ready, an aircraft which will likely be engineered for both manned and unmanned missions.
Technologies are rapidly advancing in coatings, electromagnetic spectrum issues, artificial intelligence, maneuvering, superiority in sensing the battlespace, communications and data links, Navy leaders have said.
Navy officials also add that the Navy is likely to develop new carrier-launched unmanned air vehicles in coming years as well. For instance, Northrop’s historic X-47B demonstrator aircraft was the first unmanned system to successfully launch and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Analysts have speculated that as 6th generation developers seek to engineer a sixth-generation aircraft, they will likely explore a range of next-generation technologies such as maximum sensor connectivity, super cruise ability and an aircraft with electronically configured “smart skins.”
Super cruise technology would enable the new fighter jet to cruise at supersonic speeds without needing afterburner, analysts have explained. As a result, super cruise brings a substantial tactical advantage because it allows for high-speed maneuvering without needing afterburner, therefore enable much longer on-location mission time. Such a scenario provides a time advantage as the aircraft would likely outlast a rival aircraft likely to run out of fuel earlier. The Air Force F-22 has a version of supercruise technology.
Maximum connectivity would mean massively increased communications and sensor technology such as having an ability to achieve real-time connectivity with satellites, other aircraft and anything that could provide relevant battlefield information.The new aircraft might also seek to develop the ability to fire hypersonic weapons, however such a development would hinge upon successful progress with yet-to-be-proven technologies such as scramjets traveling at hypersonic speeds. Some tests of early renderings of this technology have been tested successfully and yet other attempts have failed.
The Air Force Chief Scientist, Dr. Geoffrey Zacharias, has told Scout Warrior that the US anticipates having hypersonic weapons by the 2020s, hypersonic drones by the 2030s and recoverable hypersonic drone aircraft by the 2040s. There is little doubt that hypersonic technology, whether it be weaponry or propulsion, or both, will figure prominently into future aircraft designs.
Smart aircraft skins would involve dispersing certain technologies or sensors across the fuselage and further integrating them into the aircraft itself, using next-generation computer algorithms to organize and display information for the pilot. We see some of this already in the F-35; the aircraft sensor fusion uses advanced computer technology to collect, organize and display combat relevant information from a variety of otherwise disparate sensors onto a single screen for pilots. In addition, Northrop’s Distributed Aperture System is engineered to provide F-35 pilots with a 360-degree view of the battlespace. Cameras on the DAS are engineered into parts of the F-35 fuselage itself to reduce drag and lower the aircraft’s radar signature. Smart skins with distributed electronics means that instead of having systems mounted on the aircraft, you would have apertures integrated on the skin of the aircraft, analysts have said.
This could reduce drag, increase speed and maneuverability while increasing the technological ability of the sensors.
It is also possible that the new 6th-generation fighter could use advanced, futuristic stealth technology able to enable newer, more capable air defenses. The air defenses of potential adversaries are increasingly using faster computing processing power and are better networked together, more digital, able to detect a wider range of frequencies and able to detect stealthy aircraft at farther distances.
The new 6th-generation fighter will also likely fire lasers and have the ability to launch offensive electronic attacks. (Source: News Now/https://nationalinterest.org)
17 Jan 20. Boeing flies Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade for first time. Boeing has flown a Block 2-standard CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter for the first time with the Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade (ACRB), the company announced on 16 January. The flight came some 10 months after the first Block 2 helicopter made its maiden flight with standard rotor blades. No details on the ACRB test were provided by Boeing, beyond the fact that they will add 771 kg in lift-capacity to the helicopter (previously, the company had noted a 680kg increase at 4,000ft and 35°C in the hover – the army’s 4K/95 performance benchmark).
The ACRB is part of a wider Block 2 enhancement for the Chinook that is geared towards restoring lift-capacity that over the years has been lost with the addition of more mission equipment. Besides the new blades which feature advanced geometry and a new asymmetric aerofoil, Block 2 includes a new drive system to accommodate the higher torque levels; a single-segment fuel tank in each side sponson, compared with the three now; electrical system enhancements; and some other unspecified improvements. Block 2 will also open the door to an improved engine for the Chinook, via the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) programme.
Boeing has previously described the Block 2 enhancement to Jane’s as “a three-legged stool” that comprises the current engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract, equipping the MH-47G special mission Chinook, and equipping the standard CH-47F.
With only the EMD phase currently under contract, the US Army has recently said that it might divert funding away from the larger effort towards its Future Vertical-Lift (FVL) effort. Randy Rotte, director of cargo helicopters, global sales, and marketing, said that the Milestone C (full-rate production approval) decision, which is expected in 2021, will be “a key moment” for the Block 2 programme as that is when the army will have to make its decision on whether to proceed or not. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Jan 20. Plant power to support satellite connectivity device. Here’s some interesting research. A pair of European companies have managed to communicate with a satellite with a device powered by electricity from plants. The European Space Agency (ESA) said this was a world first and eventually such sensors could be used to connect devices in remote locations to send and receive data as part of the internet of things (IoT). The device can inform farmers about the conditions of their crops to help increase yield, and enable retailers to gain detailed information about potential harvests, it said.
It transmits data on air humidity, soil moisture and temperature, enabling field-by-field reporting from agricultural land, rice fields or other aquatic environments.
The extremely low power device, which transmits to satellites in low-Earth orbit, was developed by Dutch company Plant-e and UK and Netherlands firm Lacuna Space, under the ESA Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program.
This combined Plant-e’s energy harvesting technology with Lacuna’s energy-efficient equipment.
Here’s how it works. Plants produce organic matter through photosynthesis, but only part of this matter is used for plant growth. The rest is excreted into the soil through the plant’s roots.
In the soil, bacteria around the roots break down this organic matter, releasing electrons as a waste by-product. Technology developed by Plant-e harvests these electrons to power small electrical devices.
Chief executive and co-founder of Lacuna Space Rob Spurrett said this opened a new era in sustainable satellite communications.
“There are many regions in the world that are difficult to reach, which makes regular maintenance expensive and the use of solar power impossible,” he said.
“Through this technology, we can help people, communities and companies in those regions to improve their lives and businesses.”
Marjolein Helder, chief executive of Plant-e, said this collaboration showed how effective plant-electricity already was at its current state of development.
“We hope this inspires others to consider plant electricity as a serious option,” she said.
Frank Zeppenfeldt, who works on future satellite communication systems at ESA, said, “We are very enthusiastic about this demonstration that combines biotechnology and space technology.
“A number of new opportunities for satellite-based internet of things will be enabled by this. It will help to collect small data points in agricultural, logistic, maritime and transportation applications – where terrestrial connectivity is not always available.” (Source: Space Connect)
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.