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18 Mar 20. The US Navy will test pushing new software to ships at sea. The US Navy plans to test next year whether it can push new software — not just patches but new algorithms and battle-management aids — to its fleet without the assistance of in-person installation teams.

Navy officials plan to send the first upgrades to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln’s C4I systems for a test in early 2021, officials said during a March 3 media roundtable at the West 2020 trade show in San Diego.

Today, Navy teams frequently deliver security patches to ships, but that process does not allow for new capabilities. The reason is because service officials fear that one change to the ship’s software could have unintended consequences, creating a cascading effect and inadvertently breaking other parts of the system.

But in recent years, Navy officials have embraced the idea of digital twins, which are cloud-based replicas of the software running on a ship’s systems. This setup allows Navy engineers to experiment with how new code will react with the existing system. It also helps software developers work on the same baseline and avoid redundancies. Ultimately, the setup offers Navy officials a higher degree of confidence that the software they’re uploading will work without any surprises.

The Navy completed its first digital twin, the Lincoln, in fall 2019 and has started building a digital twin of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. Eventually Navy leaders expect to complete a digital twin of all the service’s ships. However, only those in the fleet that have already been upgraded to a certain version of the Navy’s tactical afloat network, known as the Consolidate Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services program, or CANES, would be eligible for the over-the-air updates.

“In the Information Warfare community, software is a weapon,” Rear Adm. Kathleen M. Creighton, the Navy’s cybersecurity division director in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, told C4ISRNET in a March 17 statement. “If we were to ask a warfighter if it would be valuable to conceptualize, order and receive additional kinetic capability at sea, of course the answer would be yes. The same is true of software.

“In an ever-dynamic warfighting environment, the ability to improve, add to, or build new capabilities quickly has extraordinary value. We believe our sailors on the front line are the best positioned to tell us what they need to win. That is what we are trying to accomplish. Put the warfighter’s perspective at the center of the software we deliver and do it iteratively at speed.”

In this case, think of a capability update for a ship much like downloading a new app on a smartphone. Today, some ships in the fleet can receive security updates for applications they’ve already downloaded, but they cannot download new applications. Navy officials expect that to change. The new capability would arrive as an automatic, over-the-air update or come pierside, but would not require an installation team as is the case today.

“Anytime there’s a new capability or a new change, we’re just going to do it the same way that you get that done on your smartphone,” said Delores Washburn, chief engineer at the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, which is leading the change. “What we will be able to [do] now is do a rapid update to the ships.”

Navy engineers hope to be able to push the updates as quickly as war fighters need them. “We’re going to try to go slowly here because, again, we’re having to tackle simultaneously cultural, technical and operational problems,” said Robert Parker, the deputy program executive officer for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence.

The Navy plans to test this new arrangement by installing a set of software, performing an update and then fairly quickly pushing that update to the ship. (Source: Defense News)

18 Mar 20. USAF launches software application for C-17 Globemaster III pilots. The US Air Force (USAF) has launched a data-powered software application called Puckboard to provide scheduling training for the pilots and crew of C-17 Globemaster III flexible cargo aircraft. Developed by and for airmen, Puckboard helps plan aircrew qualification flights automatically and allows schedulers to match aircraft commanders, pilots, and loadmasters with available flights to complete currency requirements. The requirements include aerial refuelling and tactical training events for a year.

The digital interface Puckboard will start using live data and enables planners to visualise flight schedules and generates recommended schedules for each crew member.

With Puckboard, events can be automatically populated in a short span of time. It also allows planners to dedicate additional time to develop individualised training for each crew member.

The earlier process required airmen to shuffle ‘pucks’ around a whiteboard for determining the best match manually.

USAF 15th Wing Aloha Spark team captain Eric Robinson said: “Before Puckboard, the process of scheduling training was slow and outdated.

“We are now at the beginning of a complete overhaul (of the scheduling process), starting with the current Puckboard product, that will continue to be improved until the old process is an afterthought.”

When conflicts such as mechanical issues and mission changes occur, Puckboard enables easier schedule modifications.

The first phase of development is complete and Puckboard is planned to be implemented for the USAF C-17 fleet. The team and AFWERX are hosting a ‘Datathon’ in the coming months to improve the application further.

TRON started the next step of integrating with the Aviation Resource Management System to ensure the expansion and synchronisation of the tool with existing systems of record, with support from the Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

16 Mar 20. Development of New-age Weapons Systems Becomes Key to Sustaining US Military Superiority. The technological superiority of the United States armed forces is being challenged by new and evolving threats constantly being developed by potential adversaries. To counteract these challenges, the country’s Department of Defense (DoD) is expected to spend an estimated $481bn between 2018 and 2024 to identify and develop new technologies for advanced weapon systems, giving rise to numerous revenue opportunities in this space.

“According to the most recent Defense budget (FY2021), combined spending on research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) for over 1,100 programs by defense-wide organizations is estimated to reach $106.56bn,” said John Hernandez, Senior Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “This wide variety of projects provides opportunities for a large number of commercial markets to collaborate with the DoD.”

Frost & Sullivan’s latest research, US Defense Science and Technology Research Market, Forecast to 2024, delivers an overview of the science and technology (S&T) research market catering to the United States armed forces and provides detailed insights into the related growth opportunities available for market participants.

The RDT&E sector is rife with market opportunities in an array of innovative technological concepts, such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, robotics, cybersecurity, counter-drone technology, and hypersonics. Pursuing further developments in these areas will prove to be rewarding for companies that can successfully integrate these new capabilities into existing weapons systems.

“Most concepts being explored by the armed forces will have an impact in commercial market spaces as well,” noted Hernandez. “Companies working with the DoD on RDT&E development programs will have an advantage toward the development of parallel commercial solutions.”

Companies operating in this sector should explore the following opportunities to cultivate growth:

–Commercial-off-the-shelf technologies and software are constantly being introduced into the defense S&T research market. RDT&E process stakeholders must be prepared to partner with the patent holders of those technologies and software.

–Suppliers of legacy defense systems must continue to invest in their own research and development to keep those systems current and indispensable. This involves constant interaction and communication with defense clients to align development strategies.

–Trending innovations such as directed energy weapons, robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are in their growth stages with a substantial amount of development ongoing. Integration companies must envision how these new capabilities can be integrated into the battle management space and have solutions ready for implementation.

For over five decades, Frost & Sullivan has become world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Frost & Sullivan)

17 Mar 20. A DARPA program’s role in trying to end pandemics. To prepare for the future is to anticipate nightmares. Starting in 2017, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s in-house blue sky projects wing, launched the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program, with an explicit goal of creating new medicine to treat a known or novel infection threat within 60 days of that threat being identified, so that the United States can “keep the outbreak from escalating and decrease disruptions to the military and homeland.”

Now, that P3 program could play a role in ultimately bringing about an end to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

These disruptions have impacted the military, with everything from strained telework resources to canceled exercises to actual infections among servicemembers. And those disruptions are impacting civilian life, too. The CDC recommends as of March 16, 2020, that in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United States be canceled or postponed because of the strain that new infections of COVID-19 can put on the existing medical system.

As a rule, DARPA seeks to direct its funding to problems that have not yet been solved by other means, and part of the spark behind the Pandemic Prevention Platform was an acknowledgement that, in the face of outbreaks like Zika, H1N1 influenza, and Ebola, “state-of-the-art medical countermeasures typically take many months or even years to develop, produce, distribute, and administer.” That kind of delay means a solution arrives only after an outbreak.

One of the companies awarded contracts by DARPA was AbCellera, which through the program refined its approach to the discovery and manufacture of antibodies that are most effective against a novel infection.

“Through the P3 program, DARPA has set a bold vision to establish effective response capabilities for viral threats,” said Carl Hansen, founding CEO of AbCellera, when DARPA announced that the company had been awarded a contract under the P3 program in March 2018. Hansen cited the danger of the then-recent Ebola and Zika pandemics, saying those outbreaks “have made it clear that we are not equipped to deal with viral pandemics.”

While DARPA projects often anticipate the future, it has been a fast turnaround from anticipating greater pandemics in 2017 and 2018 to tackling one in 2020. AbCellera announced it is partnering with Eli Lilly to develop and manufacture an antibody treatment that can bind and neutralize COVID-19, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

That work will involve winnowing down which of over 500 varieties of antibody is the most effective, and then ideally mass producing the result to have a treatment deliverable to patients and hospitals in the next four months. Anticipating disease, and developing treatments rapidly, is a hard problem. If a treatment can be engineered at the speed promised, DARPA’s work in the past to anticipate nightmares may be essential to ending one in the present. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

16 Mar 20. Physical Optics Corporation And Ansys Streamline Avionics Development For U.S. Military Aircraft. Groundbreaking model-based solution slashes avionics software development time by over 50%. Physical Optics Corporation (POC) is using Ansys (NASDAQ: ANSS) simulation software solutions to develop avionics for U.S. military aircraft. Ansys® SCADE® Solutions for ARINC 661 Applications (Ansys SCADE for ARINC 661), will enable POC to reduce development time and accelerate certification — integrating new functionality at a much lower cost and enabling a faster path to market.

U.S. Department of Defense legacy aircraft equipped with aging avionics and controls require costly upgrades to add new capabilities. As avionics software becomes increasingly sophisticated, complying with complex requirements, satisfying safety-critical standards and reducing costs present major development challenges. Efficient model-based software development with qualified code generation offers a more streamlined approach to decrease software cost and development while effectively managing highly complex designs.

“We selected Ansys SCADE for ARINC 661 with the hope of significantly streamlining model-based software development and lowering the risk path to certification,” said Omar Facory, vice president of Mission Systems at POC. “Ansys SCADE 661 is instrumental for driving interoperability and reusability — enabling our team to easily update new functionality for military aircraft as it becomes available.”

Ansys SCADE for ARINC 661 provides excellent model-based software development and automatic qualified code generation to quickly create and certify avionics software. Development time can be greatly reduced while adhering to ARINC 661, DO-178C and the FACE Technical Standard. Driving reusability across aircraft platforms, Ansys SCADE 661 expedites integration of new functionalities and greatly reduces platform-specific design.

“Ansys SCADE for ARINC 661 provides the ability to rapidly generate avionics software in full compliance with ARINC 661 and enables alignment to the FACE Technical Standard,” said Eric Bantegnie, vice president and general manager at Ansys. “This delivers outstanding reliability, dramatically increases productivity, achieves a top-tier level of quality and swiftly expedites software certification, while fully qualifying with DO-178C.” (Source: PR Newswire)

15 Mar 20. All PLAAF aircraft to receive ‘low-observable’ coatings. China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has issued new guidelines requiring both future and in-service aircraft to be painted with ‘low-observable’ coatings, colour schemes and markings.

The guidelines also mandate that the markings on PLAAF aircraft – including the national flag and service insignia – are gradually standardised, with the implementation of these regulations set to take place throughout 2020, according to a 13 March article by the PLA Daily newspaper.

Reporting on this issue the state-owned Global Times newspaper stated that the move is “aimed at giving Chinese warplanes a combat advantage as they will be less likely to be detected by both the naked eye and military radar”.(Source: Jane’s)

14 Mar 20. Small tech companies got a combined $1bn at US Air Force’s virtual version of South by Southwest. The U.S. Air Force lost its chance to hang out at South by Southwest this week after the new coronavirus known as COVID-10 caused the cancellation of the festival, scuttling the service’s heavily promoted plan to interface with startups and small technology firms at the Austin, Texas-based event.

But the service still awarded nearly $1bn in contracts during a virtual version of its event held March 12, which included keynotes from Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, a “Pitch Bowl” where companies delivered short pitches in the hopes of receiving small contracts from the Air Force, and other events meant to deepen the Air Force’s connection to small commercial tech firms.

The largest contracts — worth more than $550m total — went to 21 companies to develop “big bet” technologies. Those companies are Aerial Applications, Analytical Space, Anduril Industries, Applied Minds, Elroy Air, Enview, Edgybees, Essentium, Falkonry, ICON Technology, Orbital Insight, Orbital Sidekick, Pison, Privoro, Shift.org, Swarm Technologies, Tectus Corp., Virtualitics, Wickr, Wafer and one company that the Air Force has not disclosed.

“For all these awardees, you’re on a four-year, fixed-price contract that we believe, if successful, will disrupt part of our mission in a way that will give a huge advantage for our future airmen,” said Will Roper, the Air Force’s acquisition executive.

The value of the contracts awarded by AFWERX may seem small compared to the multibillion awards for major defense programs. However, these awards go a long way in helping technology firms overcome the “valley of death” between technology development and production, when a lot of companies are vulnerable to failure, said Chris Brose, head of strategy for Anduril Industries, which specializes in developing artificial intelligence technologies.

“For a company like ours or companies of that size, It’s quite significant. It allows us to really kind of do more of the good work that we’re doing, to scale and grow and work with new partners, and it makes a huge difference,” Brose said.

Brose declined to detail the precise nature of Anduril’s contract with the Air Force, but said that the general objective is to prove that an unmanned aerial system can deliver a mass of swarming drones capable of performing complex missions. While a human would still be “in the loop” overseeing the network, certain tasks — such as steering the drones, moving their sensors and processing gathered data — would be automated. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)

16 Mar 20. Thales, Telstra, Microsoft and Arduino deliver scalable trust for easy-to-deploy IoT Applications.

  • Thales, Telstra, Microsoft and Arduino have implemented the GSMA IoT SAFE solution to address the IoT devices market fragmentation and enable robust and effective IoT Security at scale.
  • Mobile operators, IoT service providers and device makers will benefit from a one-stop-shop solution that dramatically simplifies the deployment of connected and secure IoT devices.
  • The solution establishes end-to-end, chip-to-cloud security for IoT products and services, guaranteeing data integrity and confidentiality, as per GSMA IoT Safe Security Guidelines.

Thales and Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications company are working with Microsoft and Arduino to pave the way for scalable security for connected IoT devices, by implementing a solution that enables trusted and secure end-to-end communication between device and cloud.

The solution enables instant and standardised mutual authentication between a device and a cloud platform via cellular networks, while fully-complying with GSMA IoT SAFE security specifications.

Within the IoT ecosystem, billions of devices collect, process and send data to the cloud, where a range of different IoT services are executed. To enable security, the IoT cloud service must have absolute trust in data received from connected devices. Equally, devices need to trust the cloud. This is only possible if the device and server are mutually authenticated. However, the IoT devices market is so fragmented – with a patchwork of different operating systems and chips being utilised – that security services scalability and duplication are very limited.

That’s why Thales, Telstra, Microsoft[1] and Arduino[2] decided to team up to work on a solution that addresses the challenge of securely and efficiently connecting IoT devices to clouds in the most simplified way and through cellular networks. The level of trust required is enabled by a sophisticated ‘security-by-design’ approach for any IoT devices based on field-proven and standardised SIM or eSIM technology.

As a result, as soon as an IoT device is switched on, any SIM or eSIM featuring Thales’s IoT SAFE application is automatically and securely provisioned. Once the IoT device gets a proper Digital Certificate created and stored in the SIM/eSIM, then a trusted communication between the device and the server is permitted, in full respect of data integrity and confidentiality.

“The key role of GSMA IoT Safe specifications is to deliver scalable and future-proof IoT security for cellular networks. Being able to in future offer standardised easy to implement IoT security to our customers as part of our existing IoT connectivity service, is a huge leap forward in terms of IoT security for all use cases, including smart energy, automotive, health, and home solutions. We look forward to trialling this reference design with our IoT solutions,” said Gerhard Loots, Global IoT Solutions Executive at Telstra.

“As an active contributor of the GSMA specifications, and world leader in over-the-air platform solutions for credential life-cycle management, Thales is a key partner to address the challenge of scalable IoT security. With this hassle-free approach we support a sustainable and scalable trusted ecosystem from which all key stakeholders such as mobile network operators, device manufacturers, and IoT industries can benefit,” said Emmanuel Unguran, SVP Mobile and Connectivity Solutions at Thales.

“The collaborative effort between these international organizations demonstrates the importance of simplifying IoT security without compromise. By bringing together each IoT technology layer; device, software, network and cloud, we can deliver a more streamlined approach to IoT security. This allows customers and partners to focus on creating business value from their solutions while ensuring their IoT deployments remain secure,” said Tony Shakib, General Manager, Azure IoT Business Acceleration at Microsoft Corp.

“We are very pleased to be part of the dream team composed by Thales, Telstra and Microsoft” said Fabio Violante, CEO of Arduino. “The development of this tool was a teamwork and a proof that Arduino is a great partner to create solid, reliable and easy to integrate hardware and software IoT solutions.”

[1] Microsoft integrated the IoT SAFE solution with their Azure IoT Hub and also provided Azure Stream Analytics, Cosmos DB and Power BI services to quickly enable the development of an example end-to-end IoT application.

[2] Arduino developed a library (under an open-source licence) which implements the security mechanism of the GSMA IoT Safe standard on their MKR NB 1500 boards and provides a valid alternative to the usage of the CryptoChip already present on the Arduino board. The project has been a great example of collaboration with companies operating in various IoT sectors, on which Arduino focuses for professional and industrial applications through the brand new Arduino Pro division.

16 Mar 20. Perth-based VEEM delivers on ‘world’s most powerful gyrostabiliser.’ VEEM has completed building the world’s largest, most powerful marine gyrostabiliser. The VG1000 SD will be shipped shortly to a major European shipbuilder, which constructs more than 175 vessels annually for customers around the globe.

Marine propulsion and gyrostabilisation company VEEM has constructed the world’s largest and most powerful gyrostabiliser for delivery to Europe’s second-largest shipbuilder, Damen Shipyards (Netherlands).

Weighing in at 20 tonnes, the VG1000 SD is several times larger than the company’s second largest product – the VG260. VEEM unveiled the gyrostabiliser on Friday afternoon at a launch function at the company’s Canning Vale facilities. Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds oversaw the launch.

The VG1000 SD launch follows extensive sea trials in tandem with Damen, after which VEEM secured an order for the product in 2018. The trials involved fitting two model VG260 SD VEEM gyrostabilisers to a 50-metre test vessel in the Netherlands, which was subsequently evaluated by Damen management and current and potential Damen clients.

The model will be fitted into Damen’s new Fast Crew Supplier, FCS 7011, which is expected to launch later this year.

VEEM managing director Mark Miocevich said, “The successful completion of the VG1000 SD is the culmination of significant research and development investment into the product. I would like to congratulate the entire talented VEEM team, who after years of hard work have delivered a gyro product, which is unrivalled anywhere in the world in terms of scale and quality.

“The VG1000 has a broad potential market, with the product best suited to vessels 60 metres to 90 metres in length, which encompasses luxury and superyachts, defence and civil vessels, and has further commercial applications.” (Source: Defence Connect)

13 Mar 20. Pentagon developing tests to detect coronavirus faster. Defence department researchers step up efforts to tackle diagnostic problems. Experts fear the shortage of testing equipment has allowed the disease to spread undetected across much of the US. The US defence department’s research arm is developing three new coronavirus tests that aim to diagnose the disease at an earlier stage and with greater accuracy than has so far been possible. The move comes after criticism of the US response to the coronavirus threat, where experts fear a shortage of testing equipment and its inaccuracy has allowed the disease to spread undetected across much of the country. “We have this diagnostic problem right now in America — we are challenged with not having enough tests and we don’t have the ability to detect the virus in people early enough,” Eric Van Gieson, a biomedical engineer at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), a research arm of the US Department of Defense, told the Financial Times. He said published research indicated current tests could detect the virus only once the illness was quite developed, at around day five.  The defence department’s cutting-edge research relies on samples given by 14 US patients who were evacuated by plane from China and by cruise ship from Japan and transferred to America’s largest national bio-containment unit in Nebraska for treatment.  “We are weeks behind in understanding the number of cases and the transmission of the infection domestically,” said Jana Broadhurst, medical director for Nebraska’s bio-containment unit clinical lab and an infectious diseases diagnostics specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

She said the US had performed far fewer tests over past weeks than its global counterparts. “We’re going to need testing available for many months to come.” Dr Broadhurst said her team had developed a highly accurate pathogen test that detected a different segment of the virus genome from current tests to allow highly accurate, scalable detection of the coronavirus. How coronavirus is hitting global business Subtitles unavailable Mr Van Gieson said it could be available for mass production within a month, at 100,000 tests a day for distribution to thousands of clinical labs all over the US that do not have access to test kits produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, the federal health protection agency, has faced criticism for not producing enough coronavirus tests of sufficient quality. A new batch of CDC serological tests will only be able to detect the disease at least 21 days after the onset of symptoms. Roche, a Swiss diagnostics company, said on Friday it had won emergency-use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for commercial distribution of its high-volume coronavirus tests to clinical labs across the US, adding that it would make millions of extra tests available each month. The second Darpa test will focus on epigenetics — looking for signs that the body is responding to the disease rather than the presence of the pathogen itself — to permit earlier detection through blood testing. Epigenetic diagnosis, which is available for cancer and arsenic poisoning, has never before been applied to an infectious disease. Coronavirus business update How is coronavirus taking its toll on markets, business, and our everyday lives and workplaces? Stay briefed with our coronavirus newsletter. Sign up here Mr Van Gieson said the breakthrough research would focus on identifying tags unique to Covid-19 left on the DNA of cells that respond to infection and could theoretically show a response “within one or two days”. “We think we could get it into mass production within a month or two if we pass regulatory approval,” he said, adding that the effort would be tested head-to-head against conventional pathogen diagnosis to assess performance.

The third test would rely on gene editing, or Crispr technology, sending an enzyme to “cut” a genetic segment of the pathogen that can test thousands of samples at the same time. The team is also seeking to develop tests as simple and cheap as a pregnancy test, to give results in a few minutes. The CDC tests take hours to run and require skilled laboratory technicians, which limits the numbers of clinics that can run the test. “We can get incredible genetic specificity,” said Renee Wegrzyn, the Darpa biotechnologist who runs the gene-editing test programme, adding that it would probably be more sensitive than current solutions and require smaller patient samples. She said the science could be developed by late summer and a separate four-year programme would seek to produce one-step tests for less than $1 and $10 tests that could analyse thousands of samples at a time. Neither Darpa nor the Nebraska scientists would take charge of mass production of the tests but Mr Van Gieson said Darpa had made “the whole of government aware of the programmes that we’re developing” and would be ready to find a manufacturing solution if the research is conclusive. Dr Broadhurst said good testing was not only “critical” to ascertaining the extent of the introduction and spread of the infection in a new community, but was also essential to protect frontline medical staff, determine when to move a patient out of isolation and for further research into the new disease. (Source: FT.com)

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Oxley Group Ltd

Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide.  The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting.  It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.

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