Sponsored By Oxley Developments
01 May 20. AirMap offers digital airspace management system for US Air Force Agility Prime. AirMap is offering its autonomous aircraft digital airspace management system for the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) Agility Prime electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) procurement effort.
Ben Marcus, chairman and co-founder of the Santa Monica, California-based software company, told Jane’s on 29 April that AirMap’s system uses internet connectivity and cloud computing to facilitate air traffic control (ATC). As long as aircraft have internet connectivity, they can use AirMap’s system.
AirMap allows ATC systems to scale up dramatically. Existing ATC systems, Marcus said, are entirely manual and analogue, relying on people. The existing ATC system in the US, he said, can handle about 45,000 flights per day with roughly 15,000 air traffic controllers operating the system and does not allow for a massive increase in operations scale that the USAF envisions in the future with eVTOL aircraft. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Apr 20. EDA to support DIVEPACK PESCO project. The European Defence Agency’s Steering Board has approved the lunch of a specific EDA ad hoc project which will contribute to the implementatin of a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project aimed at developing a Deployable Modular Underwater Intervention Capability Package (DIVEPACK). Bulgaria, which leads a group of three PESCO participating countries involved in DIVEPACK (together with France and Greece), had formally requested the Agency’s support for moving this ambitious project forward.
The DIVEPACK project, part of the second batch of PESCO projects approved in November 2018, aims at developing an interoperable specialised modular asset called “DIVEPACK Unit”. The Unit will provide a comprehensive capability package (both as materiel and expertise) enabling a tailored response to the full spectrum of defensive (non-Special Operations Forces, SOF) underwater divers’ interventions, in expeditionary setting, both at sea and in inland bodies of water, in support of EU missions. It will focus on human centric integration of a wide range of diving and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles materiel, operated by qualified personnel, in a comprehensive capability package.
The capability will be based on an open plug-and-play architecture which will facilitate the versatility of response in the framework of EU CSDP operations and will provide a quick reaction capability, applicable to a broad range of underwater scenarios, both at sea and in inland bodies of water, except for special forces missions.
EDA’s specific Category B project will serve as a preparation phase for the DIVEPACK PESCO project and deal with harmonisation of requirements, in particular the development and endorsement of the Common Staff Targets (CST), Common Staff Requirements (CSR), the Business Case (BC) and other relevant documents necessary to allow for a smooth acquisition phase afterwards. EDA will thus act as a facilitator and manager of the launch phase of the project.
EDA’s Acting Chief Executive Olli Ruutu said: “EDA is delighted to take this ambitious and innovative PESCO project forward and to support its Member States. As the European hub for collaborative capability development, the Agency has the required expertise to help Member States in the implementation of their PESCO projects. The development of underwater control capabilities which contribute to resilience at sea and are based on new technologies such as unmanned systems, is one of the European Capability Development Priorities agreed in 2018. The DIVEPACK project will contribute to this priority”.
Bulgaria’s Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov said: “The DIVEPACK is the first joint project in the PESCO context coordinated by Bulgaria, which makes us proud and also ambitious. Its core purpose is to build up a range of specific defence capabilities, which will be fully aligned with the European Capability Development Priorities. The DIVEPACK units will be capable of executing versatility of underwater missions and tasks as part of EU CSDP and NATO operations. The first phase of DIVEPACK will be implemented within EDA’s framework as a Cat B project and we believe that the Agency’s competences and experience in facilitating collaborative defence initiatives will provide indispensable support for the successful completion of the project. In pursuing coherence on EU level, we intend to submit a part of the DIVEPACK activities for funding under the Commission’s European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).” (Source: EDA)
28 Apr 20. Upgrades to US Air Force situational awareness programme target ABMS, JADC2. Upgrades to a tactical-level situational awareness and battlefield management platform fielded by US Air Force (USAF) units will set the stage for the system’s integration into a pair of critical, service-led command-and-control (C2) initiatives, senior programme officials said.
The four-year, USD25m technical upgrade and maintenance deal for the Wave Relay Tactical Assault Kit (WaRTAK) programme awarded to Persistent Systems will include several elements within the technical refresh that will incorporate it into the USAF’s Automated Battle Management System (ABMS) and the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system, which Pentagon officials expect to be the technological backbone for all future C2 operations. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Apr 20. Covid-19: Leonardo adapts helmet/mask for helo crews. Leonardo UK has adapted a helmet and mask system that is designed to enable military helicopter crews to continue to fly during the coronavirus pandemic. The solution, announced by the company on 28 April, sees the standard pilot helmet and oxygen mask system that is normally used for high-altitude testing coupled with protection factor (P) 3 respiratory protective equipment (RPE) filters to provide uncontaminated air to the crew who are seated in close proximity to one another. P3 RPE is rated to filter out particles down to the size of solid and liquid aerosols.
“We have taken our existing oxygen mask, which is compatible with our helmets/visors and has a built-in microphone for comms, and hose, and then connected a standard filter from an industrial respiratory protection equipment face mask,” Mark Burnand, the chief test pilot of Leonardo Helicopters UK explained, adding; “We have modified the end of the hose with a bespoke attachment which allows us to fit the filter effectively and also a connector that allows us to attach the assembly to our life vests securely.”
As noted by Leonardo, this helmet and mask system is worn along with regular personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, helmet visors, and layered flight clothing, which, when combined with intensive and regular aircraft cleaning, provides a more complete protective solution for the aircrews and ground staff currently supporting the UK government’s counter-coronavirus campaign.
“We have a standard procedure to go through to evaluate any safety equipment that goes into our aircraft. We assessed the airflow when breathing to ensure no restriction in the flow, then looked at how the hose and filter fitted to our life preservers so that it did not become a loose article in the cockpit or a snagging hazard. We then conducted a cockpit assessment looking at normal cockpit operations and emergency egress with the equipment before final approval was granted,” Leonardo said. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Apr 20. USAF releases M7.2+ upgrade to more than 600 F-16s. The US Air Force (USAF) has released the latest software and hardware upgrade planned for more than 600 of its Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, the service disclosed on 28 April. The Operational Flight Program (OFP) M-series 7.2+ upgrade, earmarked for retrofit to current Block 40/42/50/52 F-16s, was released in April following a USD455m development programme led by the F-16 System Program Office (SPO) located at both Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah and Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.
As noted by the USAF, OFP M7.2+ adds 42 major capability enhancements onto older model F-16s, including the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (deemed to be the top priority for Northern Command [USNORTHCOM]), the ability to employ the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and latest variant Raytheon AIM-120D Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
The F-16 SPO, the 309th Software Engineering Group (SWEG), the OFP Combined Test Force (CTF) including the Air Force Test Center Developmental Test, 53 Wing Operational Test, and the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center are partnered to develop and field software capability upgrades, the air force said.
OFP M7.2+ has been a totally in-house development for the USAF, with the OFP CTF located at Eglin AFB in Florida conducting more than 4,200 sorties and 4,600 flight hours, including participation in the 2019 Northern Edge Exercise.
The OFP M7.2+ is part of a wider modernisation process planned for the USAF’s F-16 that includes a service-life extension programme (SLEP) to extend the service lives of up to 841 Block 40-52 F-16C/D aircraft from the current 8,000 hours to nearly 14,000 hours. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Apr 20. Commerce secretary tightens restrictions on military technology exports. The Commerce Department announced Monday that it is tightening export controls on technology that could have military uses, citing countries like China and Russia.
“It is important to consider the ramifications of doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from U.S. companies for military applications,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
“Certain entities in China, Russia, and Venezuela have sought to circumvent America’s export controls, and undermine American interests in general, and so we will remain vigilant to ensure U.S. technology does not get into the wrong hands,” he added.
The new controls are aimed at limiting China’s military equipment from obtaining semiconductor production equipment, Reuters reported.
The Commerce Department directed The Hill to the texts of the changes when asked about that report.
The new export controls target technology acquired by the countries deemed national security threats through civilian supply chains.
The rule change will expand military end-use requirements for China, Russia and Venezuela and remove license exceptions for civilians in those countries.
Commerce proposed a related rule change that would force foreign companies shipping certain American goods to China to first seek approval from the U.S. as well as their home nations.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), an outspoken China hawk and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, praised the rule changes announced Monday.
“This rule is grounded in two basic truths: Modern war is high tech and China’s so-called ‘private sector’ is fake,” the Nebraska lawmaker said in a statement. “Chairman Xi has erased any daylight between China’s businesses and the communist party’s military. We didn’t win the Cold War by selling cruise missiles to the Soviets, and we’re not going to beat China by selling semiconductors to the People’s Liberation Army. These rules are long overdue.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)
28 Apr 20. VideoRay and Sonardyne integrate tech for ROVs. VideoRay has integrated its Mission Specialist Technology with Sonardyne’s Micro-Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) to improve operation of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
The Micro-Ranger 2 USBL is designed for tracking divers, small ROVs and UUVs. It determines the location of underwater targets by transmitting an acoustic signal to transponders attached to the platform being tracked.
Mission Specialist Technology is featured on VideoRay’s Defender (pictured) and Pro 5 ROVs, making them suitable for use with the Mirco-Ranger 2 USBL. Both are designed using interchangeable modular components.
Chris Gibson, VP of sales, marketing & business development at VideoRay, said: ‘Micro-Ranger 2 worked flawlessly, accurately tracking the Defender as it deployed the Viper charge on a simulated manta mine.’
‘It’s a high-performance tool that gives our ROVs even more range and flexibility when matched with the Viper system’, Gibson continued. (Source: Shephard)
28 Apr 20. ASC Technologies neo Recording now JITC-certified. ASC Technologies announced on 28 April that its ASC neo Recording software has been certified by the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC). This demonstrates that the software meets the strictest security requirements of the US Department of Defense (DoD). ASC neo Recording stores and archives communications across all channels including fixed-line networks, mobile phones and video calls. It also provides tools for transcription, prioritisation and real-time warnings of threat calls. This is designed to improve the efficiency of incident analysis and documentation for the DoD.
Gerald Kromer, CEO of ASC Technologies, stated: ‘As a German software manufacturer, we are naturally particularly proud of the fact that our solution proves to meet the guidelines of the United States Department of Defense.’ (Source: Shephard)
27 Apr 20. Covid-19: L3Harris Technologies develops ventilator support system. Engineers of L3Harris Technologies have designed a low-cost, ventilation support system to help patients fighting coronavirus (Covid-19). Under the government’s Hack-A-Vent Innovation Challenge, the team developed the Innovative Inspiratory Ideas (i3) Breather prototype in three weeks. The prototype is a rapid development solution for ventilator availability and critical care requirements across the globe. The challenge requirements included various respiratory, volume, pressure and humidity targets.
Furthermore, the solution needs to have the ability to be easily assembled and operated by personnel using widely available commercial off-the-shelf parts.
Following a five-day agile sprint design process, the design of i3 Breather was developed. The i3 Breather is one of five designs selected for next phase testing. Once selected, the prototype was developed and delivered.
These five designs are currently undergoing testing for emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The EUA review process permits the FDA to strengthen public health protections by facilitating the availability and use during public health emergencies.
Employees from L3Harris, a student from Baylor University, a member of Maker’s Edge Makerspace in Waco, Texas, and six physicians from Texas and California are part of the i3 Breather team.
Additional support was extended to the company by Baylor University, Maker’s Edge Makerspace and McLennan Community College.
L3Harris Integrated Mission Systems president Sean Stackley said: “I am extremely proud and inspired by the i3 Breather team’s ability to develop a life-saving solution for a critical public health need in just three weeks.
“The result showcases their agility and innovative spirit and highlights the power of a government and industry partnership to combat a global crisis such as Covid-19.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
27 Apr 20. Workhorse Group Registers New HorseFly Patent. Workhorse Group Inc. , an American technology company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective electric vehicles to the last mile delivery sector, has expanded its patent portfolio through a recently filed provisional application, further protecting the HorseFly Unmanned Aerial System and several of the system’s key components and capabilities, including its ground control station, winch deliveries and aircraft structure.
The HorseFly UAS includes a safe, reliable, multi-use aircraft that can deliver parcels, carry sensors and cameras, and operate autonomously with a high degree of precision.
The HorseFly was designed to deliver what represents approximately 80% of most commercial package sizes, shapes, and weights while safely carrying a five-pound payload up to 10 miles. The HorseFly system’s success has been demonstrated through real-world commercial deliveries, flying autonomously from truck-top operations in U.S. airspace, in a process that meets all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight standards. The aircraft’s flexible design allows users to select different delivery methods including air drops, winch deliveries from various altitudes, and ground deliveries. Its quick-change battery system also effectively reduces ground time between missions. The aircraft’s durable structure supports superior levels of reliability in the high-utilization, demanding markets of commercial and industrial users.
HorseFly’s mission planning software enables operators to coordinate precise delivery routes, avoiding no-fly zones and hazardous weather. The planning system also includes a customer interface that enables remote pilots to monitor missions from virtually anywhere, notifying pilots when their attention is required. With this capability, the system can adapt to most every mission and customer’s need.
“In the last several months we have seen significant and growing interest in our vehicle-launched HorseFly delivery drone, making the need to expand the HorseFly patent portfolio even more critical,” said Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes. “We believe this increased consideration is a direct result of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the recognition that new methods of delivery are quickly becoming essential. Additionally, we are hearing from many businesses that this transition is not a temporary one, and that we need to adapt to a new normal. We feel strongly that all Workhorse electric delivery vehicles, with their integrated drone capabilities, are the most economical and efficient last mile option currently available, making our solutions a necessity now and for future critical applications.” (Source: UAS VISION)
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.