Sponsored By Oxley Developments
06 Feb 20. Orolia Launches New SARBE Evo Line to Meet Latest Cospas-Sarsat Requirements. Orolia, the world leader in Resilient Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) solutions, is introducing the SARBE Evo line to be presented at the Singapore Air Show in Changi Exhibition Centre, Singapore in February. This Search and Rescue beacon range has been improved to deliver upgraded operational capabilities, to meet the latest Cospas-Sarsat testability and maintenance requirements.
Part of Orolia since 2011, the SARBE brand is a worldwide market leader for military (tri-forces) Personal Locator Beacons and Emergency Locator Transmitters. SARBE beacons have been at the forefront of innovation in life saving Locator Beacons and critical communications for over fifty years. SARBE equipment is often integrated into air crew clothing such as Air Crew Life Preservers, ejection seats and survival packs, and can be optionally equipped with remote antennas and automatic activation.
The SARBE Evo line offers new operational improvements in order to meet revised Cospas-Sarsat requirements in operating lifetime, location accuracy, voice signals management, integrated protocols, testability and maintenance.
Orolia’s development of the SARBE Evo line has focused on the following key elements to improve customer safety:
- Upgraded battery management with use-monitoring
- Exceeds Cospas-Sarsat endurance requirements
- Built-in-Test further enhanced
- More robust and frequent GPS/GNSS position acquisition with GPS, GALILEO and GLONASS satellite constellations
- Audio system improvement for greater clarity under all operating conditions
- Introduction of the National Location Protocol
- Rugged and reliability improvement (qualified to MIL-STD-810G standards) – to support complex rescue missions in harsh environments
For both commercial and military needs in Search and Rescue operations, Orolia’s main goal remains the provision of highly accurate location data, and real-time voice and data communication to Search and Rescue operators through robust line of sight transmission.
Orolia will be exhibiting at the Singapore Air Show from February 11th to February 16th, Booth G10, where the full SARBE Evo Line will be displayed for the first time.
05 Feb 20. Sensors, artificial intelligence and autonomy are just three technology areas where Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) seeks support from small businesses as part of its Lockheed Martin Invests: Orlando initiative, which launched today.
The innovative program invites small businesses in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties to submit proposals and compete for $100,000 to execute a variety of research and development projects. As part of the program, small businesses must also hire a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) intern to support their efforts.
“Orlando is an emerging technology hub with an influx of start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said Dr. Scott Roberson, director of Advanced and Special Programs at Lockheed Martin in Orlando. “Lockheed Martin has a strong history of innovation investments, supplier diversity initiatives and STEM projects and is fortunate to be experiencing significant business growth locally. This program will not only help us partner with local technical talent, but also strengthen the community’s business ecosystem.”
Senator Rick Scott said, “It’s great to see companies investing in Florida’s entrepreneurs and encouraging innovation throughout the industry. Florida’s small businesses are the backbone to our growing economy, and this investment will go a long way to support them and create more opportunities throughout our state.”
Dr. Roberson spoke with more than 100 Orlando executives and community leaders about Lockheed Martin Invests: Orlando during an event today with the Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP), which highlighted community innovation.
“Innovation is in Orlando’s DNA, thanks in large part to Lockheed Martin’s 60-plus year history in the region, when the company established a program to support the nation’s Space Race,” said Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of OEP. “This new program will further align the efforts of Orlando’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and increase collaboration among companies of all sizes within the Orlando region.”
Small businesses interested in Lockheed Martin Invests: Orlando must submit their proposals by April 20, 2020, with selections announced in May 2020. Detailed program requirements and proposal submission instructions can be found here.
04 Feb 20. Concurrent Technologies Announces an Artificial Intelligence Accelerator Board, Rugged 3U VPX Accelerator Engine. Concurrent Technologies announce their first, high performance 3U VPX accelerator engine based on an Intel® Arria® FPGA. TR AEx/3sd-RCx is focused around Inference at the Edge applications such as real-time object recognition and behavior monitoring. It has been designed to work in parallel with Concurrent Technologies processor boards like TR H4x/3sd-RCx and TR J4x/6sd-RCx that are in alignment with a proposed SOSA™ Technical Standard.
The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to provide Inference at the Edge has generated lots of interest in consumer orientated applications such as autonomous driving. As AI technology has matured, this interest is being picked up by the defense and energy exploration markets. This new AI Accelerator Engine, enables a user to receive and process real-time actionable intelligence from vision, RF or other sensors, providing a faster solution to many problems faced at the edge. The inferencing hardware used on TR AEx/3sd-RCx is supported by Intel’s OpenVINO™ Toolkit, a comprehensive toolkit for deploying inferencing solutions on Intel based products. As well as Deep Learning, OpenVINO supports OpenCV and OpenVX: an open source library for computer vision applications and an API for heterogeneous compute use across Intel devices respectively.
TR AEx/3sd-RCx supports popular AI frameworks including Caffe, TensorFlow and MXNet along with neural network models like AlexNet and Resnet for ease of use and compatibility.
Jane Annear, Managing Director of Concurrent Technologies, commented:
“This new AI Accelerator Engine marks an exciting step for Concurrent Technologies, demonstrating our ability to innovate and provide more proactive solutions for problems and demands for challenging markets. Our objective is to provide solutions based around our existing processor board products and this is a significant step forward.” (Source: Armada)
05 Feb 20. US Army research provides better understanding of cerebral edema. New research by the US Army has provided a better understanding of the swelling known as cerebral edema, which occurs in the brain during a stroke. This is expected to contribute to new treatment strategies for stroke patients and have potential positive implications for traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center and funded in part by the Army Research Office, the research shows for the first time that during a stroke, the glymphatic system goes awry and floods the brain, promoting edema and drowning brain cells.
Cerebral edema occurs in the brain and is a severe and potentially fatal complication for stroke victims.
US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory element ARO fluid dynamics programme manager Matthew Munson said: “Our hope is that this new finding will lead to novel interventions to reduce the severity of ischemic events, as well as other brain injuries to which soldiers may be exposed.
“What’s equally exciting is that this new finding was not part of the original research proposal. That is the power of basic science research and working across disciplines. Scientists ‘follow their nose’ where the data and their hypotheses lead them, often to important unanticipated applications.”
Prior to the findings of the new study conducted with mice, scientists assumed that swelling in the brain was due to fluid from the blood.
As part of the research, the brain regions in mice vulnerable to the fluid forced by the glymphatic system were correlated with edema found in human brains that sustained an ischemic stroke that occurs when a vessel in the brain is blocked.
These findings suggest potential new treatment strategies that focus on restoring blood flow to the brain immediately after a stroke when used together with existing therapies.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Aging, Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Program, the Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck Foundations, and EU Horizon 2020 also provided funding for the research.
Last September, the Phelps Health Medical Center researchers performed clinical testing on 35 soldiers in the Urban Mobility Breacher Course at Fort Leonard Wood to determine the repeated presence of biological signs after TBI.
In December 2017, Zeriscope secured a contract from the Army Advanced Medical Technology Initiative to provide assistance in a study that would help mitigate the effects of TBI.
15 Jan 20. Mercury Systems Selects Tortuga Logic’s Radix for DARPA Program. Tortuga Logic, Inc., a cybersecurity company specializing in hardware security, today announced that its products and services have been selected by Mercury Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: MRCY), to support the DARPA Guaranteed Architecture for Physical Security (GAPS) program. Mercury Systems’ secure processing subsystems are used in numerous Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), Radar, Electronic Warfare (EW) and other mission-critical applications.
“Mercury Systems® is developing hardware and software architectures for DARPA with physically provable guarantees to isolate high-risk transactions,” said Scott Orton, Vice President and General Manager of Mercury’s Trusted Mission Solutions group. “As GAPS aims to develop hardware security and software architectures with provable security interfaces, Tortuga Logic’s Radix™ security verification solution helps us effectively deliver the security guarantees we need to be successful in this program.”
Radix-S detects and prevents security vulnerabilities in next-generation ASIC, FPGA and System-on-Chip (SoC) designs. Deployed during pre-silicon design, its patented technology and analysis helps teams pinpoint serious security issues before the device is manufactured, saving costly design re-spins or catastrophic system failure due to an attack. Radix-S fits seamlessly into existing verification flows from Cadence®, Mentor®, a Siemens Business, and Synopsys®.
“Mercury’s solutions power a wide variety of critical defense and intelligence programs that have the highest standards for security,” said Jason Oberg, CEO of Tortuga Logic. “Our collaboration with Mercury helps us develop the best-in-class security offerings for DARPA’s GAPS program and other future programs.” (Source: Armada/PR Newswire)
04 Feb 20. US Army to develop mega-analysis of EEG to measure brain activity. Researchers from the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory have formed a partnership to develop a first-of-its-kind mega-analysis of electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain activity. The big data approach to neuroscience by the researchers in partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio and Intheon Labs aims to improve the understanding of the relationship between brain activity and performance in soldiers. As part of the study, researchers will combine data across a diverse set of experiments for identifying patterns of brain activity that are common across tasks and people.
The army’s objective is to study how a soldier’s cognitive state can affect their performance during a mission. In the two-part paper, researchers aggregated the raw data from 17 individual studies, collected at six different locations, into a single analytical framework.
These individual studies cover a diverse set of tasks such as simulated driving and visual search.
Army scientist and co-author of the paper Dr Jonathan Touryan said: “The vast majority of human neuroscientific studies use a very small number of participants employed in very specific tasks.
“This limits how well the results from any single study can be generalised to a broader population and a larger range of activities.”
Touryan further added that mega-analysis of EEG is challenging due to several types of hardware systems, the diversity of tasks, and the variability between individuals and within an individual over time.
The researchers developed hierarchical event descriptors (HED) tags to combine the raw data from the collection of studies.
The HED tag system captures the wide range of experimental events encountered in diverse datasets. It was recently adopted into the Brain Imaging Data Structure international standard.
Much of the raw data was gathered over the last ten years through the US Army’s Cognition and Neuroergonomics Collaborative Technology Alliance.
It is currently available in an online repository for the scientific community and will be used by the US Army to develop human-autonomy adaptive systems for the Next Generation Combat Vehicle, as well as Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Teams. (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Feb 20. Veridium launches facial recognition technology vFace alongside pioneering behavioural biometric capabilities. Today, authentication platform Veridium launches its proprietary facial recognition technology, vFace. This pioneering software makes facial recognition more accessible, bringing high-end security to users around the world for mobile banking and other high risk consumer apps. vFace enables facial recognition on all mobile devices with a front facing camera (2MP or above), meaning older or less expensive devices without biometric sensor technology built in can be converted into robust security solutions available to all. The software is available as part of the VeridiumID authenticator application on Android or iOS, as well as for businesses to integrate into their existing apps via an SDK, and will soon be available for Windows desktop authentication.
Additionally, Veridium has developed innovative patented behavioural biometrics, which gather data from a device’s motion sensors in order to analyse particular patterns of behaviour unique to the user. This could be the way you use your phone, use an application, or use a biometric, complimented by the device’s location or time of day – providing an additional layer of security in the most seamless fashion. Veridium’s behavioural software can also uniquely be used in conjunction with a device’s native biometrics, as well as use workflows from other applications to inform and improve fraud detection.
John Spencer, Chief Product Revenue Officer of Veridium comments: “We are very excited to be launching vFace, our facial recognition software, which complements our existing digital fingerprint technologies on VeridiumID – our robust authentication platform. vFace allows advanced security solutions to be implemented on any smartphone with a front camera – replacing expensive equipment with a frictionless and convenient app. Businesses implementing biometric authentication such as vFace will see increased security, without the associated costs from substantial password administration and data breaches.”
“We are also delighted to offer our unique behavioural biometrics capabilities, which we believe signal a new era in cybersecurity. In the event a malicious actor steals someone’s device and attempts to impersonate their biometrics, they will have an extremely difficult time trying to replicate the genuine user’s unique mannerisms. By unlocking the power of behavioural biometrics, Veridium can help businesses penetrate the final frontier in security in a way that is both transparent and seamless for the end-user.”
“As we move to a passwordless society, it is crucial to take a strategic approach to implementing biometric security and authentication – selecting the appropriate biometric for the right use case depending on the scenario and level of security required. More choice also means a better user experience, for both employees and consumers.”
Ali Niknam, CEO of digital bank bunq, comments: “The decision to move away from passwords to more innovative methods of customer authentication is an important one for us. Integrating biometrics as part of a multi factor approach is hugely valuable in the fight against rising levels of fraud. At bunq we strongly believe in delivering the highest level of security and robust protection for our customers whilst providing them with the most seamless user experience, which is facilitated by Veridium’s cutting-edge biometrics.”
03 Feb 20. IAF operates An-32 transport aircraft from Himalayan airfield using blended biofuel. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has for the first time successfully operated an Antonov An-32 ‘Cline’ transport aircraft from the Himalayan city of Leh using blended aviation biofuel. The IAF said in a 31 January statement that during the 31 January flight from Leh’s 3,255 m-high Kushok Bakula Rimpoche airport both of the aircraft’s engines used aviation turbine fuel (ATF) blended with 10% of indigenously developed biofuel.
“The successful flight demonstrated the IAF’s capabilities to absorb new technology while sponsoring indigenization,” added the service. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 20. Newcastle Airport in Australia claims that the creation of the “world’s most uplifting defence and aerospace precinct”, Astra Aerolab, has taken another significant step forward this month, with the appointment of Daracon as lead contractor for the stage one civil works.
Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock, says the realisation of the globally significant hub will help position the region at the forefront of international innovation and high-end manufacturing.
“We’ve seen our region evolve quickly in recent years and we’re confident Astra will be a catalyst for further growth and development into the future,” he enthuses.
“I’m confident this development will become the pre-eminent space for innovation in aviation, defence and aerospace-related manufacturing, maintenance, research and education in Australia.
“I’d like to congratulate prominent local firm Daracon Contractors on a successful tender application for this first stage of the Astra Aerolab development.
“As leaders on this project, they will manage a contract worth approximately A$13m. We’ve additionally signed a number of other contractors, bringing our total commitment to approximately A$18m to date.”
He notes that stage one of the project includes all the elements required to deliver on the promise of an uplifting experience for both workers and business.
These are said to include road pavements, sewer, water, lighting, CCTV, fencing, street furniture, signage, high quality landscaping and street art.
“We will also be ensuring this is a smart, sustainable site, including the installation of smart pole technology, which has already been adopted by the City of Newcastle, water sensitive urban design and additional fibre optic links to allow connections to our defence neighbours at RAAF Williamtown,” adds Cock.
“Wherever possible, construction material will be recycled. Ultimately, we’re aiming to achieve overall precinct sustainability accreditation with our design to create something truly remarkable.
“The A$19.8m Astra Aerolab development is set to deliver 5,500 new jobs and greater global connectivity for the region.”
Daracon’s executive manager, David Mingay, says: “We are a Newcastle business, so it is great to be involved in a significant local project such as this. Astra Aerolab will be a great boost to the region, and another step in the ongoing success and growth of the airport.”
The NSW Government contributed A$11.8m to the Astra Aerolab development under the Growing Local Economies program, established under the Restart NSW Fund. (Source: Google/http://www.airport-world.com/)
03 Feb 20. AWE20. Having gone through a paper sift, and a Dragon’s Den day we are now on AWE20 (Army Warfighting Experiment 2020), along with 80 other cutting-edge companies. AWE is now in its 5th year, and each annual event focuses on a vital theme for the Army. Our theme this time is agile command, control and communication and we are in the mix with data providers, command and control suites, servers, power units and a few UAVs. The aspect of our technology that the Army liked is our ability to give front line soldiers immediate situational awareness in a simple manner, in challenging environments (such as strong winds and GPS or electromagnetic jammed areas) and with a robust, squaddie-proof aircraft. This will enable commanders to have more dispersed and independent troops, and delegate some of the command decisions to the lowest level, thus lowering the decision-making burden on a headquarters. It will also work the other way, and ensure that more granular situational awareness is fed up the chain of command.
This week was the initial industry day – a day of learning more about the programme and its showcase event later in the year on the Army Training area of Salisbury Plain, and meeting other participants, and feeding in the sort of testing we would like the Army to do with our kit. We discussed things like trialling it in urban and wooded environments as well as on the plain itself. There are further days in this programme ahead of us, but working alongside the Army, and having their input into product development is invaluable. We also are allocated a representative from the UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, who fund and procure new kit coming into the military, which is great news for our business development efforts. All-in-all, a fantastic day at The Defence Academy in Shrivenham and we’re looking forward to getting our teeth into more days like this in coming months.
TechUK MOD Test & Evaluation Day
FlareBright is a proud member of TechUK, the main trade body representing the tech industry in the UK. They have a strong defence focus, and regularly host events with the UK military and security forces.
The MOD asked TechUK to put together a small group of industry experts on test and evaluation, so they could learn best practice from industry and we were selected to be one of the participants.
These days do take time away from the main effort of growing our business, but are generally repaid by contacts made and profile created. This was no exception and we ended up being asked to a follow-up meeting no less than the British Army’s Head of Future Capability!
The intro stated, “The MOD is leading a cross-government review looking into a new Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS). The goal of this review is to enhance MOD’s strategic approach to ensure the UK maintains competitive, innovative and world-class defence and security industries, that drive investment and prosperity and underpin national security now and in the future. The review is considering the defence & security industries on a segment by segment basis.
One of these cross-cutting segments is Test and Evaluation (T&E), and the MOD team responsible for this area are seeking to consult industry to gain insight and input to the review’s analysis.
The MOD has already started work to modernise its T&E enterprise so that is “match-fit” for the next generation of technology-rich, information-enabled military capabilities, which have greater reliance on information flows and embedding intelligent technologies with greater interconnectivity.
They expect that this will require a fresh and transformational approach to the delivery of defence T&E so that it is able to address new technologies (e.g. autonomous systems potentially needing autonomous T&E)”
The MOD thought we were a textbook test and evaluation company. Innovation was identified as a strength of the UK, and our modern approach to test and evaluation using simulation combined with machine learning and real-world flight testing was of great interest. Although we are an autonomous product company our strong test and evaluation capability is attractive for companies that need aerospace flight tests for their components without a huge entry barrier.
As an autonomous glider, one of the key enablers of our technology is a launching system. For testing we use a huge, stable and robust slingshot/crossbow as Conrad in the fetching orange hard hat is showing off below. This give us accurate and repeatable flights which is crucial for testing. However, this is not man-portable and we’ve been investigating and developing a number of different launching systems using different technologies. This may simply be a crossbow, using the potential energy stored in elastic or a bow, but we’re also looking at pneumatic launchers and pyrotechnic launchers (using gunpowder filled cartridges and different barrels ranging from flare guns, to grenade launching tubes to mortar barrels).
Some of these technologies and partners are more developed than others, and we’ve had a few fun days testing kit as our CEO, Kelvin is demonstrating here! There are lots of technical aspects to this, including the benefits of using sabots in some cases. We expect to bring a few different launchers to AWE20, and I’m sure the British Army soldiers will relish playing about with different kit and offering us quality user feedback of which launchers work best in which situations.
03 Feb 20. Japan’s next-gen fighter progress responds to China’s fifth-gen evolution. It has been a long road. Japan’s Ministry of Defense has revealed that progress was gathering pace on the nation’s next-generation air dominance fighter program as Asia’s rising superpower, China, continues to enhance its own next-generation air dominance capabilities.
The current global and regional transition from fourth to fifth-generation fighter aircraft, like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter platforms, is reshaping the role of fighter fleets and the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region.
Designed to establish and maintain air superiority or air dominance, fighter aircraft have evolved from relatively simple wood and canvas airframes during the First World War to the highly manoeuvrable long-range aircraft that dominated the skies of Europe and the Pacific during the Second World War. The latest two generations of fighters are the pinnacle of these earlier designs.
Driven largely by advances in the capabilities fielded by both a resurgent Russia and a rising China, both of whom are increasingly eager to exercise their influence over strategically vital areas, like the East and South China Seas in particular.
Increasingly advanced, highly capable fourth, 4.5 and fifth-generation fighter aircraft that combine low observable coatings and airframes, increased aerodynamic performance, advanced sensor suites and computational power like the air dominance/air superiority specialised F-15 Eagle series, F-22 Raptor, Russian Su-57 and Chinese J-20 are at the pinnacle of the contemporary air power hierarchy.
Almost taking a leaf out of the years leading up to the confrontation between American and Soviet aircraft over Vietnam, the US and many allies, including Australia, have been repeatedly told that air superiority, namely traditional dog fighting, is a thing of the past as a result of increased sensor capabilities, low observability and advanced air-to-air missile systems – resulting in the development of the costly flying supercomputer, the F-35.
However, the specialised focus of platforms like the Russian Su-57 and Chinese J-20 series of air superiority fighter aircraft – both of which have larger combat radius, higher speeds, larger weapons payloads and better aerodynamic performance – raises questions about the air dominance and air superiority capability of the F-35 in the face of seemingly superior, specialised peer-competitor aircraft.
Recognising this, combined with the increasing capability of the specialised Russian and Chinese platforms, the Japanese government has long committed itself to developing a comparable fighter capability, with a focus on air superiority – in response developing the X-2 Shinshin concept design, drawing on design cues from the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
It is envisaged that Japan’s next-generation fighter, now named the F-X, will fill the role of the retiring F-15J air superiority fighter aircraft currently operated by the Japanese Air-Self Defense Force (JASDF), with the F-35A and B variants providing the low-end air-combat capabilities currently assigned to the F-16-based F-2 aircraft.
Pedal to the metal
As China has fielded increasing numbers of the J-20 and FC-31, combined with the continued capability enhancement programs for the Su-series of fighter aircraft operated by both the Russian and Chinese air forces, respectively, the Japanese Ministry of Defense recently confirmed they had upped the ante with the formal preparations for a “partnership framework”.
It is aimed that the planned Future Fighter Development Office was first mentioned in the 30 August budget request for FY2020.
In the budget request, the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) urged the Japanese government to approve the launch of a Japan-led aircraft development program that can play a crucial role in the development of the country’s next fighter aircraft.
It has been revealed that the JASDF and MoD will determine a preliminary partnership framework for the development of the F-X fighter aircraft. While details remain light, it is expected that the formal draft will be finalised by December 2020.
Additionally, it has been revealed that funding for the F-X development program will reach about JPY28bn (US$256.5m) in FY2020.
A total of JPY16.9bn of this funding (60 per cent) will be spent on “F-X related research projects”, said the spokesperson, with the remaining JPY11.1bn (40 per cent) allocated for “conceptual design in Japan-led development” activity.
Looking for international partners?
The complexity involved with the design, development and fielding of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft is well known, with the United States, China and Russia each facing development, manufacturing and delivery delays, combined with capability issues with the finished product – Japan has recognised this and has long pursued international collaboration in the development of the F-X.
Most notably, both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were actively pursued by Japan as a potential partner for the development of the F-X program, drawing on the experience of both global primes, despite export bans on their air dominance platforms: the F-22 Raptor and F-23 Black Widow, respectively.
However, recent changes within the US political establishment, notably the election of President Donald Trump, has triggered a major rethink in the policies that govern America’s arms exports, opening the door for Japan to engage with major US defence contractors like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
Both companies have a history of developing highly capable fighter systems; Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor is the world’s premier air superiority and air dominance fighter aircraft, while Northrop Grumman, largely famous for its UFO-like B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the new B-21 Raider bomber, competed with the Raptor design during the competition to replace the F-15 Eagle in the early ’90s with the YF-23 Black Widow.
The Black Widow, although unsuccessful in the competition, presented the US Air Force and now Japan with an incredibly stealthy, fast and manoeuvrable air frame.
The Japanese requests for information (RFI) identify that the program would be worth approximately US$40bn for up to 100 new stealth fighters and would see increased global industry participation.
It is understood that Northrop has provided a suite of technologies that could be incorporated into the Japanese F-X project. Meanwhile, Boeing and European conglomerate BAE Systems have also been invited to contribute to the program in an attempt to spread development costs and burdens.
For Australia, allied involvement, particularly by the US and UK in the development of a new, fifth-generation air superiority fighter presents a number of opportunities. It could, in some way, call into question the procurement of the reliably troubled and delayed F-35 JSFs, 72 of which the nation has committed to purchasing.
Despite the international interest, largely driven by prime aerospace and defence giants, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, the Japanese expect Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to be the lead contractor on the development of the next-generation air superiority fighter, with the first round of flight tests expected to begin in 2030.
Nevertheless, global partner participation has provided Australian industry with the opportunity to prove itself, particularly around the design and manufacturing phase, presenting Australian suppliers to the F-35 program with economic opportunities and incentives for wanting the project to proceed.
In particular, Marand and Quickstep Holdings enjoy existing global supply chain relationships with key US contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing that could place them in good standing to bring their advanced manufacturing and materials engineering solutions to the $40bn project. (Source: Defence Connect)
30 Jan 20. 20 Firms Of 350 Advance In Army Shark Tank: $1.7m In Prizes. Read about the 20 innovators in AI, biotech, materials & more who will compete at AUSA’s Huntsville conference in March as the Army shakes up its acquisition system.
The Army’s xTechSearch competition has picked 20 small businesses – out of 350 applicants – to pitch their technologies in person to an Army panel in front of a live audience at AUSA’s Global Force conference in March.
The goal is to connect the Army to innovative small businesses outside the traditional defense contracting world and find so-called “dual-use” technologies with both commercial and military applications. XTechSearch is run by the Army’s civilian Service Acquisition Executive, Assistant Secretary Bruce Jette, a former small-business founder and patent-holding inventor himself.
These 20 companies have already made it through two rounds. The first phase winnowed the 350 written white-paper proposals down to 48, each of which got $5,000 and a chance to pitch to Army experts in person at regional events. (Playa Vista, Calif., Austin, Tex., and Philadelphia each hosted 16 firms). Of those 48, the 20 announced yesterday will get exhibit space at AUSA Global Force in Huntsville, Ala., aka “Rocket City” for its long-time links to NASA and Army Space & Missile Defense Command.
(We cover the conference every year and will be there again in March).
In Huntsville, each contender will get just 20 minutes to make their case and take questions during the first two days of the AUSA event. On the last day of the Global Force conference, March 19th, the Army will announce 10 winners (maybe as many as 12), who’ll each receive $120,000 and Army mentoring to help develop a proof of concept over the next six months.
The finalists will present their work at the biggest defense conference of the year, AUSA’s mammoth Annual Meeting in DC this October, where a single firm will receive $240,000.
Who Are The 20?
So who are the 20 companies and what are they pitching? The vast majority develop software and/or electronics, which go on everything in the modern military but the MREs. Several, though, are working on novel materials for mechanical and medical purposes. While the Army doesn’t break the proposals down by subject area – it just lists the companies alphabetically – we’d break them down into six categories:
General Networking & Computing:
- IoT/AI builds durable, cyber-secure sensors and AI software for frontline networks, allowing devices to analyze data on-board “at the edge” rather than having to transmit everything back, a major benefit when bandwidth is limited and transmissions may be monitored or jammed.
- nLAB, aka NanoSystems Laboratory, builds semiconductors with lab-grown diamonds to increase heat conductivity and improve cooling, a chronic problem for energy-hungry electronics.
- Novaa, which works on radio, radar, and precision navigation, is developing a new ultra-wideband (UWB) antenna for frontline satellite communications systems.
- Passenger develops virtual reality and augmented reality hardware, a high Army priority for both training systems and tactical displays.
- Primal Space is a North Carolina company that develops software for efficient transmission of massive 3D data sets for gaming, simulations, reconnaissance, and navigation.
- Battle Sight, run by former soldiers and Marines, is offering their patent-pending “Falling Saber,” a compact tracking device for supply drops so special operators and other clandestine ground forces can recover them quickly.
- GeoPipe uses AI to build 3D maps of the real world and automatically identify and label objects. Their software could help the Army build its massive One World Terrain database for training and mission planning.
- LynQ sells GPS tracking devices but is now developing new low-bandwidth, jamming-resistant data transmission technologies for navigation without GPS.
- MEI Micro builds miniaturized Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) and other sensors, again for navigation when GPS is unavailable or jammed.
Medical & Lifesaving:
- GeneCapture is building a portable infection-detection system that frontline troops can take with them to genetically identify over 200 pathogens an hour, a potential boon in disease-ridden regions and biowarfare zones.
- KeriCure, named after its founder, Dr. Kerriann Greenhalgh, is a Florida biotech firm that sells sterile, water-proof spray-on polymers to seal burns and other wounds.
- NeuroFlow, headed by a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran, provides automated software to help connect soldiers with mental health resources.
- Vita Inclinata Technologies, founded by a search & rescue worker whose teammate died when a National Guard medevac chopper couldn’t pick him up in the woods during high winds, developed a new stabilized hoist and sling system for helicopter rescues in all conditions.
Material Science & Mechanical Engineering:
- FLITE Material Sciences works on ways to make metal, glass, and plastics intrinsically resistant to rust, ice, and fouling – all chronic problems for military equipment – without the need to apply, maintain, and replace protective coatings, which add cost and can wear off.
- Inductive Ventures – which has already received funding from the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency – uses magnets both to stop wheels, replacing maintenance-intensive friction brakes, and to spin them, allowing, say, an Army helicopter to taxi without having to turn on its main rotor, which burns fuel and wears out parts.
- LumiShield Technologies spun out of Carnegie Mellon University — which works on many other high-tech projects with the Army — to develop new, longer-lasting protective coatings using aluminum oxide.
- Bounce Imaging makes compact, rugged cameras that troops can throw like a grenade over obstacles and into buildings, where the device looks in all directions and sends back 360-degree video and audio in real time.
- FastVDO uses artificial intelligence to assess surveillance video and automatically rate its quality on the intelligence community’s official VNIIRS scale, so analysts know which clips are worth a human’s time.
- DroneShield, the US subsidiary of an Australian firm, builds a range of Counter-Unmanned Air Systems (C-UAS) devices that detect drones and shut them down with radio jamming.
You can read the Army’s official in-depth description of the xTechSearch process & contestants below:
XTechSearch 4 Phase III AUSAGFSE Innovators Corner_Look Book_with ProfileSheets by BreakingDefense on Scribd (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
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.