Sponsored By Oxley Developments
20 Apr 20. Oxley Group Supports Front Line Workers with PPE Manufacture. Oxley Group has responded to the Covid-19 crisis by designing and manufacturing vital PPE equipment to support front line health workers in the NHS and the care sector.
The team, based in Ulverston, Cumbria usually manufactures high specification LED lighting, EMI filters and electronic components for leading aerospace and defence customers around the world. But following a request for support from a local NHS team, they have designed a face protection visor and created an assembly line to produce thousands of products for front line workers.
Marketing Manager, Jayne Moorby explains the Oxley response. ‘Following the urgent request, our design team set out to create a face visor with a simple design focusing on wearer comfort and rapid manufacturing to ensure we could get products out to the front line very quickly. Sourcing was a challenge as there is a global shortage of some materials due to high PPE demand.
‘We created a prototype in regular dialogue with our NHS contacts to ensure this met their requirements. Our Ulverston production team set up a dedicated facility, the whole on-site team will work in shifts (following Government guidelines) to produce the visors at a rate of 800 per week. Our first batches leave the factory today and will be supplied into the local NHS as well as to care homes and hospices across Cumbria and Lancashire on a free of charge basis.’
Supervisor Liam Williams set up the assembly facility on site, ‘It has been a pleasure to be part of this project and to give my support, to know where the final product is going to be used gives us a great feeling as we know it will benefit the NHS heroes. Our shift system ensures that everyone can share in the achievement and be a part of making this happen.’
Oxley CEO, Darren Cavan is proud of the whole team effort, adding, ‘Oxley has been in Ulverston for almost 80 years, we are committed to supporting the local community. We have all been impacted by this crisis and we’re all very grateful to the health care workers doing so much to keep us all safe and well.
When we were approached with this problem, we were committed to find a solution and deliver products quickly. Oxley has innovation and creativity at its heart, flexibility and the ability to respond to changing circumstances are also key values. Leading edge design and excellent quality are second nature to us as we operate in the highly demanding aerospace and defence sector.
In manufacturing these visors, the safety of our team is also very important to us. We have acted very quickly implementing changes across the whole Oxley site to ensure that we are following Government advice on social distancing and working safely.’
The Oxley team is currently in discussions with a consortium of other advanced manufacturing businesses from across Cumbria to upscale production of the face visor. In addition, Oxley has also repurposed over 6,000 items of onsite PPE, this has been delivered straight into the local NHS for immediate use. The Group is also looking at the potential of supplying ventilator components and area actively engaged in other Covid technology challenges that their world leading designers and engineers may be able to solve.
23 Apr 20. Drone in Mid-Flight Recharges a Sensor by Radio Waves. Remote sensors play a valuable role in collecting data—but recharging these devices while they are scattered over vast and isolated areas can be tedious. A new system is designed to make the charging process easier by using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver power using radio waves during a flyby. A specialized antenna on the sensor harvests the signals and converts them into electricity.
The design is described in a study published 23 March in IEEE Sensors Letters.
Joseph Costantine and his colleagues at the American University of Beirut, in partnership with researchers at the Institute of Electronics, Computer, and Telecommunications Engineering in Italy, were exploring ways to remotely charge sensors using radio frequency waves (the same form of energy used to transmit Wi-Fi). However, a major challenge was that the source of the radio waves must be fairly close to the sensor in order to sufficiently charge it.
This prompted the researchers to consider the use of UAVs, which could soar over each sensor.
“In addition, a UAV can follow an optimized trajectory that maximizes energy transfer to the sensors in question,” Costantine explains.
He says his team developed this system to control and recharge sensors used in agriculture, but that it could be extended to any situation where sensors are deployed in hard-to-reach areas.
In the proposed approach, a UAV transmits radio frequencies to each sensor, which has an antenna for detecting the signals. The signals are then conveyed to a rectifier, which converts the signals into electricity. This power can be used to charge the sensor and/or activate it.
What’s more, the UAV can target specific sensors.
“The modulated signal transmitted by the UAV [encodes] an address that can selectively trigger a particular sensor—out of many—from sleep mode into active mode. The system relies on purely passive components to achieve charging and on ultra-low power to trigger the wake-up protocol of a sensor,” says Costantine.
In tests, the UAV could activate the sensor from a distance of 27.5 meters at a receiving power of -40 dBm. Charging required closer distances, at 1.2 meters and -18.2 dBm.
Now, the team is working to develop a load-independent rectenna (antenna and rectifier) that maintains high efficiency across a wide range of loads and frequencies.
“Such a system could be connected (or plugged in) to any sensor to support charging or wake-up,” Costantine says. “In addition, we are also working on further optimizing radio frequency energy harvesting from Wi-Fi signals by overcoming their intermittent nature, and increasing the number of sensors that can be specifically targeted in a given region.” (Source: UAS VISION/IEEE Spectrum)
22 Apr 20. Australia’s Ai-search prototype enters second development phase. The Australian Defence Force’s artificial intelligence (AI) prototype to transform airborne search and rescue, known as Ai-Search, has entered the second phase of development. The prototype is the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Plan Jericho collaboration with Warfare Innovation Navy Branch and Air Mobility Group’s 35 Squadron and the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College. The project’s future phases will see the involvement of more partners, including Defence Science and Technology.
Plan Jericho AI lead wing commander Michael Gan said: “The next phase will involve testing different sensor and processor combinations in a range of environmental conditions, with the potential of testing on a range of aircraft, including UAS.”
Combined with a sensor and processor, the portable system has the capability to transform any aircraft, vehicles or vessels into a search and rescue platform.
Earlier this month, trials were conducted to test the potential of the AI system to save lives at sea.
The algorithm was recently evaluated to check its ability to identify a life raft and other waterborne vessels. The evaluation was done by a C-27J Spartan sortie from RAAF Base Amberley, with the assistance of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard.
Warfare Innovation Navy Branch machine learning expert lieutenant Harry Hubbert said: “During the sortie, we had a few GoPro sensors rigged up to detect a life raft and two algorithmic approaches working together to increase accuracy and the likelihood of a detection.”
“This sortie was pretty challenging as the life raft was upside down, making it harder to see for both the human eye and the Ai-Search sensors.”
Hubbert added: “The sensors are trained to detect an orange top, rather than a black top, but the Ai-Search still had a 70% detection rate, compared to the human detection rate of around 50%.
“The 30% Ai-Search non-detections happened when there was low contrast between dark water and the black underside of the life raft, and the good news is that we had no false positives.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
22 Apr 20. Ameresco Completes First Phase of Department of Defense Funded Flow Battery Investigation. Initial findings from three-phase research on advanced energy storage systems published in partnership with the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.
Ameresco, Inc., (NYSE: AMRC), a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company, today announced the completion of phase-one of a multi-stage investigation of how flow battery technology could support microgrids with the Department of Defense (DoD). Conducted in partnership with 2ndPath Energy, this research is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), which promotes the transfer of innovative technologies from proof-of-concept to field or production use. Energy storage has become a critical part of Ameresco’s innovative microgrid solutions, with lithium-ion technology serving nearly all of today’s distributed energy storage needs. However, alternative technologies such as flow batteries offer the potential for unique opportunities – particularly related to very long duration capabilities with reduced degradation over life. This ESTCP project offered a well structured and low risk method to evaluate vanadium-redox flow battery technology in a controlled environment, offering valuable feedback to the DoD and industry.
In particular, Ameresco’s ESTCP-funded project aims to assess, validate, and demonstrate the operational effectiveness of vanadium-redox flow battery storage technology and quantify the extent to which it could replace or significantly reduce the need for diesel generators in military microgrids. Phase-one work involved analytical modeling and simulation efforts, the findings of which are published in a report titled “Demonstrating the Benefits of Long-Duration, Low-Cost Flow Battery Storage in a Renewable Microgrid.” The work also studied the economic benefits that flow batteries could provide through utility billing savings and energy market participation at five installations spread across different geographic regions of the United States.
“We are seeing growing interest from our Federal Government customers in how new energy storage technologies could complement lithium ion batteries to support their mission objectives,” said Nicole Bulgarino, EVP and General Manager of Federal Solutions at Ameresco. “I commend our Ameresco team involved in this important research and our project partners who have helped make it possible. These findings and the future work to follow allow us to better understand the technology and provide the best long term solutions to our customers, while advancing the state of the art of energy storage technology within industry.”
Phase-two of this research project is scheduled to begin in late 2020 and will involve Hardware in the Loop (HIL) testing in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. This work will physically test flow battery equipment in a laboratory environment to validate Phase 1 observations while better characterizing the performance of a flow battery in a sequence of grid tied and islanded scenarios. If successful, Ameresco seeks to complete a third and final phase in the way of a field demonstration.
The goal of the ESTCP program is to identify and demonstrate the most promising, innovative and cost-effective technologies that will help meet the high-priority environmental requirements of the Department of Defense. Projects like this add to the body of knowledge available on advanced energy technologies like flow batteries. Ameresco looks forward to reporting on the outcome of this investigation and future developments. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
22 Apr 20. ONR Global to launch international science challenge. The Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global) is set to launch an international science challenge to fund research programmes that have potentiality to resolve US Navy and Marine Corps requirements. The nine-month long challenge is named Global-X and has up to $750,000 in financial grants.
Under the challenge, ONR Global will select and fund international research projects in three challenge areas through a competitive process. The challenge topics are tailored material and manufacturing, multifunctional maritime films for persistent and survivable platforms and warfighters, as well as object detection and identification in any medium (air, water, sand/earth). ONR Global seeks to encourage multidisciplinary research ideas that carry military and commercial value.
ONR Global executive officer captain Matt Farr said: “The objective of Global-X is to accelerate revolutionary research, bridging the gap between the science community’s academic work and warfighter needs.
“Implementing a multi-national team challenge will enable ONR Global to engage the world’s best researchers to create and demonstrate a new capability that has never been done before. This will undoubtedly benefit all team members.”
Global-X will be kicked off officially later this week when interested applicants will be able to register themselves.
ONR Global technical director Dr Rhett Jefferies said: “I’m excited about our Global-X Challenge and its tremendous potential for sparking new ideas and collaborating in a way that has never been done before.
“ONR Global has worked with the brightest minds in the world for decades, and now we have the chance to help these experts connect with each other to explore what is possible in ways they may not have imagined within their own disciplines.”
ONR is a US Navy organisation that facilitates science and technology programmes. The global arm supports scientific efforts outside of the US.
Recently, ONR awarded $14m in grants to 26 selected candidates under the 2020 Young Investigator Program (YIP). (Source: naval-technology.com)
22 Apr 20. LiFT battery accepted for new Dry Combat Submersible. The first Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) featuring General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems’ (GA-EMS) Lithium-ion Fault Tolerant (LiFT) battery system as an energy source has been accepted by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), GA-EMS announced on 21 April.
Lockheed Martin – partnered with Submergence LLC, its UK-based engineering and manufacturing subsidiary MSubs, and GA-EMS – was in July 2016 contracted to design, develop and build a next-generation commercially classed DCS for USSOCOM. The Program Executive Office – Maritime, Undersea Systems Program Management Office in USSOCOM’s Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics branch is acquisition authority.
As part of the Lockheed Martin team, GA-EMS is providing LiFT long-lifecycle batteries to power the DCS propulsion and internal support systems. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Apr 20. Upgrades to integrated avionics suite for the Army’s UH-60V helicopter fleet helps program reach next major milestone. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) supplied digital cockpit upgrades to the integrated avionics suite for the U.S. Army’s UH-60V Black Hawk, which recently completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E). The completion of IOT&E marks a significant milestone for the UH-60V program on the pathway to full-rate production.
Northrop Grumman’s digital cockpit will keep the U.S. Army’s legacy Black Hawk aircraft in the fight for decades to come. The system recently completed initial operational test and evaluation. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)
“Northrop Grumman’s scalable, fully integrated avionics system will ensure the legacy Black Hawk fleet remains at the forefront of combat capability for decades to come,” said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting & survivability, Northrop Grumman. “It is designed with a secure, open architecture that provides greater mission flexibility and a rapid upgrade path.”
Benefits include enhanced pilot situational understanding and mission safety, as well as decreased pilot workload and life cycle cost. Additionally, providing a nearly identical pilot-vehicle interface to the UH-60M enables common training and operational employment. The foundational architecture of the UH-60V can be adapted to numerous aircraft platforms and is available globally.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.
21 Apr 20. Chatsworth Products, ZPE Systems Collaborate to Provide Network Managers with Out-of-Band Outlet Control and Monitoring Capabilities.
ZPE Systems’ Solution Now Fully Integrates with eConnect® Power Distribution Units to Automate Network Management in Remote Sites. Chatsworth Products (CPI), a global manufacturer of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure products and power management solutions, is pleased to announce that its eConnect® Power Distribution Units (PDUs) now fully integrate with ZPE Systems’ open infrastructure management platform, Nodegrid®, providing customers with even more advanced outlet control and monitoring capabilities.
The integration delivers a unified solution that provides network and facility teams with out-of-band access for cabinet-level power, environmental and access control parameters, allowing these teams to build out an automation plan that helps create a self-sufficient, self-healing environment, particularly in edge sites.
“Nodegrid’s robust and reliable infrastructure management capabilities are superior and add many benefits for customers trying to manage assets in hybrid environments. We are excited to join forces and provide customers with an extensive visualization capability, allowing the PDUs to be managed through the same interface that could be used to manage compute and storage devices,” says Ashish Moondra, Sr. Product Manager at CPI.
Now, customers can monitor and collect outlet data, and execute scripts according to parameters to automate and self-heal network environments, giving them a 360-degree view of their networking sites, all from within a single, vendor-neutral infrastructure management solution. Through Nodegrid, eConnect PDUs gain application programming interface (API) ties and webhooks for additional automation, as well as indirect Command Line Interface (CLI) access to the PDU itself for additional extensibility.
“ZPE is pleased to collaborate with a leading PDU manufacturer that has such a successful track record in solving unique challenges in cabinet-level power monitoring and access control,” says Arnaldo Zimmermann, Cofounder and CEO of ZPE Systems.
“The integration with eConnect PDUs grants Nodegrid customers access to a robust, intelligent PDU solution. CPI’s eConnect PDUs have the highest operating temperature range in the industry and allow for dramatic savings in networking costs with Secure Array® IP consolidation technology,” Zimmermann adds. “Networking and facilities teams can do more than just monitor and manage, with Nodegrid they can now automate based on thresholds and data parameters—our support for actionable data means much more efficient network/facilities management.”
Customers can expect to see the ZPE and CPI integration options within Nodegrid starting today. For more information on eConnect PDUs, visit chatsworth.com/power.
20 Apr 20. Chatsworth Products (CPI) announced integration with RF Code, a leading provider of critical asset tracking and protection solutions for data centers, further expanding the management capabilities of CPI’s eConnect® intelligent power distribution units (PDUs). With most businesses transitioning to hybrid networks that include a mix of assets located in enterprise-owned sites and colocation facilities, as well as some managed services and cloud environments, simplified capacity planning and asset management have become essential. CPI’s cabinet ecosystem approach brings cabinet support and eConnect PDUs together for an integrated solution that provides thermal management, power and environmental monitoring, and access control, which can then be pre-integrated with other third-party software solutions, including RF Code’s CenterScape, for enhanced reporting and data trending visualization.
Through CenterScape, facility and data center managers will be able to obtain PDU information to monitor conditions and power utilization at the rack and device level over a secure and private, radio-frequency, wire-free platform.
“CPI continues to build a powerful, flexible ecosystem through industry alliances. Integration with RF Code allows eConnect PDUs to be used by customers who value the intelligent monitoring capabilities of PDUs but prefer not to put them on an IP network” says Ashish Moondra, CPI’s Sr. Product Manager of Power, Electronics & Software.
“The combination of these two products will enable data center operators to take a proactive role in managing rack power consumption while maximizing efficiency, as well as rack capacity through the CenterScape Platform,” says Jonathan Luce, Sr. Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at RF Code. “Further, the integration utilizes actual power and correlating information from historical trends and other sensors, helping to maintain uptime while providing better capacity planning and optimal energy savings.”
This combined solution provides:
- Granular metrics: eConnect PDUs provide rack or device-level power measurements
- Simplified load balancing: eConnect PDUs monitor phase balance in multi-phase power distribution
- Plug-and-play configuration: RF Code’s power sensor automatically detects supported eConnect PDUs when connected to the PDU’s Ethernet port
- Support for multiple PDUs: Each RF Code power sensor supports up to four eConnect PDUs when PDUs are linked using eConnect’s Secure Array technology
- Dedicated network: One-way communication gathers data from eConnect PDUs through a private radio frequency network
- Simple deployment: CenterScape software supports out-of-the-box configurations for PDU power metrics, alert and alarm notifications and includes customizable dashboards specifically designed for IT professionals
- Optimized capacity: the combined solution monitors use, allowing operators to know how much power capacity remains
Download the technical sheet for more information, and watch videos here. For more information about RF Code’s CenterScape, visit the RF Code website.
17 Apr 20. Four technologies Japan and the US should team on to counter China. The U.S. and Japan need to expand their collaboration on defense technologies in the future, with a specific focus on four technologies that can help counter the rise of China, according to a new report released Friday by the Atlantic Council.
The report also highlights the ongoing discussions about U.S. involvement in Japan’s next domestic fighter program as a high-stakes situation that could dictate industrial cooperation between the two nations for years.
“The most important component of cooperation on defense capabilities is direct coordination and collaboration on emerging technologies and capabilities,” write authors Tate Nurkin and Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi, identifying unmanned systems, hypersonic/hyper-velocity missiles, and the defense applications of AI as three key areas where the U.S. and Japan need to start working together on.
“These three areas are at the center of the intensifying U.S.-China military-technological competition. They are key to challenging or upholding military balances and stabilizing imbalances in and across key domain-area competitions — strike versus air and missile defense or undersea — on which regional and, over time, global security is at least partly based,” the authors note.
Specifically, the authors identify four project areas that both fit into U.S. strategy and Japan’s regional interests, while also matching industrial capabilities:
- Swarming technology and the loyal wingman: For several years the Pentagon has been investing R&D funding into the development of drones that can be slaved to a fighter jet, providing a “loyal wingman” controlled by the one pilot. Drone swarms are another area of heavy investment. Both concepts fit for Japan, whose Ministry of Defense expressed interest in both concepts going back as far as 2016.
- Unmanned underwater vehicles and anti-submarine warfare capabilities: China has invested heavily in submarines over the last decade, both manned and unmanned. The U.S. has also begun investing in UUV capabilities, but while Japan’s IHI has developed a domestic UUV, the MoD has yet to go all in on the capability. The authors note it is a logical area of collaboration.
- AI-enabled synthetic training environments: The U.S. and Japan ran a joint synthetic training exercise in 2016, but the authors would like to see development expanded in the future. “Given both countries’ need to accelerate training, their shared competency in machine learning and virtual and augmented reality, and a highly fractured simulation and training market, there is potential for a collaborative program to develop a synthetic simulation and training capability, to stress the specific operational contingencies to which US and Japanese forces will have to respond,” they write.
- Counter-unmanned systems: The entire world seems to be investing in weapons to counter unmanned systems, but the authors see a solid spot for the two nations to find workable technologies together. Japan’s acquisition group is currently testing a “high-power microwave generation system” for this mission.
That all sounds good on paper, the authors acknowledge, but there are very real challenges to increasing technology development between the two countries. Japan’s modernization priorities are best viewed through a defensive lens, designed to protect the island nation. That’s a contrast to America’s posture in the region, which tends more towards force projection. In addition, Japan lags in military space and cyber operations compared to the U.S., making cross-domain collaboration challenging in several areas.
Those negotiations have also been impacted by “different perceptions of the nature of joint technology research,” the authors write. “U.S. defense officials have ‘emphasized operational concepts and capability requirements as the basis for collaboration,’ while Japanese officials have ‘continued to focus on technology development and industrial base interests.’”
Other challenges include Japan’s 1 percent-of-GDP cap on defense spending, as well as the state of Japan’s defense industry, which until 2014 was focused entirely on serving the Japanese government’s needs. Hence, the industry, while technically very competent, is also relatively small, with limited export experiences – and Tokyo has an interest in protecting that industry with favorable contracts.
Meanwhile, U.S. firms have concerns about “potentially losing revenue, transfer of sensitive technologies, and the potential replacement of US companies with Japanese ones in critical supply chains,” the authors write.
Some of those issues have come to the forefront in the ongoing discussions about what role American firms can play in Japan’s ongoing fighter development program. Japan recently rejected an offer by Lockheed Martin of a hybrid F-22/F-35 design, stating that “developing derivatives of existing fighters cannot be a candidate from the perspective of a Japan-led development.”
Getting the F-3 deal right will have long term implications for how the two nations develop capabilities together, the authors warn, quoting defense analyst Gregg Rubinstein in saying “Successfully defining a path to U.S.-Japanese collaboration on this program could make the F-3 an alliance-building centerpiece of cooperative defense acquisition” while failure to do so could “undermine prospects for future collaboration in defense capabilities development.”
Putting aside the internal issues, any collaboration between the U.S. and Japan has to be considered through the lens it will be see in Beijing and, to a lesser extent, Seoul.
“Even marginal differences in perception produce limits to the parameters of U.S.-Japan joint development of, and coordination on, military capabilities. Especially provocative programs like joint hypersonic-missile development will be viewed as escalatory, and will likely generate a response from China,Russia, and/or North Korea that could complicate other trade or geopolitical interests that go beyond Northeast Asia,” the authors warn, noting that China could attempt to exert more pressure on the ASEAN nations as a counterweight.
Additionally, South Korea would likely “see substantial U.S.-Japan collaboration not through an adversarial lens, but certainly through the lens of strained relations stemming from both historical and contextual issues, further complicating U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea trilateral cooperation.” (Source: Defense News)
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.