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21 Aug 20. F-35’s leading role in driving aviation innovation, today and into the future. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, despite its teething problems, is earmarked as one of the most transformational air combat capabilities in human history and will deliver revolutionary capability to the Royal Australian Air Force and allied air forces the world over, and keeping it at the forefront of capability is a constant job.
The F-35 represents a leap ahead in aviation innovation. It’s an aircraft that delivers unique characteristics never seen before – fifth-generation fighter jet capabilities in a lethal, connected, stealthy package.
This National Aviation Day, we look to both the history of the F-35 and its future as it grows, matures and continues to provide operators around the world with transformational capability.
A core premise of the F-35 from the earliest concepts was to create a multi-role fighter aircraft, capable of meeting the various operational requirements of both the US Air Force, US Navy and Marine Corps and allied forces around the world.
The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project was developed to replace a wide range of existing fighter, strike and ground attack aircraft for the US and international partners.
This was accomplished through the development and production of three variants that combine a long list of capabilities and characteristics including advanced stealth, fighter aircraft speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced logistics and sustainment.
The result of the JSF competition was two Lockheed Martin test airplanes that pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. History was made during the final qualifying Joint Strike Fighter flight trials, in which the X-35B STOVL aircraft took off in less than 150 metres, went supersonic, and landed vertically – a first in aviation also known as “the hat trick”.
Another unique aspect of the F-35 program is the global contribution to development, production and sustainment. With components from global aerospace and defence companies and a common production line for all three variants, the F-35 is the first international fifth-generation fighter.
As the program matures and services around the world continue to build out their fleets, the F-35 will continue to be a platform that can penetrate, persist and protect in contested airspaces, all while absorbing, fusing and sharing information, acting as an integrator and force multiplier to support Joint All-Domain Operations – something no other multi-role fighter in existence can match.
As of August 2020, 555+ F-35s have been delivered to nine nations, with eight services having declared initial operational capability, meaning they’re operationally ready to deploy and conduct missions around the world.
With more than 300,000 flight hours, and 1,110 pilots and 9,400 maintainers having been trained to operate and keep the F-35 flying, the program has hit its stride.
These numbers reflect a program that is growing and maturing rapidly, while increasing efficiencies and lowering costs – across the board, the F-35 is delivering.
As the battlespace evolves, the F-35 will evolve with it. With advanced sensors, stealth and sustainment, the F-35 is already on the cutting edge of aviation.
Through modernisation and upgrades the F-35 will continue to stay ahead of threats, ensuring our men and women in uniform can execute their missions and come home safe for decades to come.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF is billed as a catalyst for the fifth-generation revolution, changing the face and capability of the RAAF and the wider Australian Defence Force.
For the RAAF, the F-35A’s combination of full-spectrum low-observable stealth coatings and materials, advanced radar-dispersing shaping, network-centric sensor and communications suites – combined with a lethal strike capability – means the aircraft will be the ultimate force multiplying, air-combat platform.
Ten nations are currently flying F-35s, including the US, UK, Italy, Norway, Israel and Japan. The first of Australia’s F-35A aircraft are now based on home soil after a period of training and development at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, plus an epic Pacific Ocean crossing in December 2018.
Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17bn AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program – which is aimed at replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the RAAF since 1985. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Aug 20. Arm and DARPA Sign Partnership Agreement to Accelerate Technological Innovation. Arm today announced a three-year partnership agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), establishing an access framework to all commercially available Arm® technology. With DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative gaining momentum, the new agreement will enable the research community that supports DARPA’s programs to quickly and easily take advantage of Arm’s leading IP, tools and support, accelerating innovation in a variety of fields.
“The span of DARPA research activity opens up a huge range of opportunities for future technological innovation,” said Rene Haas, president, IP Products Group, Arm. “Our expanded DARPA partnership will provide them with access to the broadest range of Arm technology to develop compute solutions supported by the world’s largest ecosystem of tools, services and software.”
With more than 170 billion Arm-based chips shipped to date, Arm offers the industry’s most proven IP, providing distributed intelligence from cloud to edge and endpoint. The expanded partnership enables DARPA researchers to have the flexibility and scalability to access vertical market compute from small embedded sensors to high-performance systems.
“DARPA’s programs within the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) focus on the most advanced challenges in microelectronics; equipping our community with best in class technologies is essential not only for break-through scientific and engineering advances, but also for improved transition into military and commercial applications,” stated Serge Leef, who leads design automation and secure hardware programs in MTO.
To support the work DARPA does, multidimensional collaboration is key. An Arm IP license gives the DARPA community a portal to the world’s largest open compute ecosystem of silicon designers and software developers, enabling the lowest SoC build costs and smallest risk profile. Projects can transition from concepts to real-world deployments in a fast and efficient way, with guidance on everything from hardware verification to physical implementation and software development.
Arm technology is at the heart of a computing and data revolution that is transforming the way people live and businesses operate. Our advanced, energy-efficient processor designs have enabled intelligent computing in more than 170 billion chips and our technologies now securely power products from the sensor to the smartphone and the supercomputer. In combination with our IoT device, connectivity and data management platform, we are also enabling customers with powerful and actionable business insights that are generating new value from their connected devices and data. Together with 1,000+ technology partners we are at the forefront of designing, securing and managing all areas of compute from the chip to the cloud.
All information is provided “as is” and without warranty or representation. This document may be shared freely, attributed and unmodified. Arm is a registered trademark of Arm Limited (or its subsidiaries). All brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. © 1995-2020 Arm Group. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
19 Aug 20. Commtact unveils a portable, lightweight communications kit, that enables rapid and easy deployment in the field. The tactical communications kit ensures continuous transfer of encrypted information between ground forces and various platforms. Commtact Ltd. – a leading provider of advanced wireless communications solutions for manned and unmanned platforms on the ground, in the air or at sea – announces the unveiling of its new comprehensive tactical communications kit.
Weighing approximately 20 kg, the lightweight kit is simple to operate and offers fast mobility by forces in the field, helping to prevent their exposure to hostile elements. The entire communications system is contained in one pack, which can also be flown in and brought to forces operating in the field.
The kit enables communication by small ground units with a range of platforms, including unmanned systems with LOS (Line-Of-Sight) of up to 45 km, loitering munition, and OPVs within 15 km of the shoreline.
The complete and comprehensive solution comprises a ground unit transceiver with two end units and two omni antennas; and a ground tactical station with “BAT”, omni antenna, GPS antenna, two batteries, a directional antenna and an auto tracking system.
The communications kit is based on Commtact’s Mini Micro Data Link System (M2DLS), a single-unit digital data link system that combines proven technologies and standards with advanced algorithms, to provide reliability and high performance, even in the harshest conditions.
“Attentive as ever to the needs of the forces in the field, Commtact has developed an easy-to-operate and fast to deploy (under 3 min) portable system that enables the continuous transfer of information from unmanned units to operating team at the field, under optimal conditions,” says Asaf Choshniak, Commtact’s VP of Marketing and Business Development. “As always, Commtact’s solutions enable the transfer of large volumes of information, in the shortest time and at the highest level of encryption.”
18 Aug 20. Persistent Systems completes Phase I of Robotic Command Vehicles program; readies for Phase III. Company officials say mobile ad hoc network will shine in complex, multi-unit battlefield scenarios
Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), a leader in mobile ad hoc network (MANET) solutions, announced today that it has successfully completed Phase I of the U.S. Army Robotic Command Vehicles (RCV) program.
Run under the auspices of the Army Future Command’s Next Generation Combat Vehicles – Cross Functional Team, the RCV program aims to show the utility of manned-unmanned teaming with a future Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) being able to control multiple RCV “wingmen.”
During Phase I, a modified M113 tracked armored personnel carrier acted as an RCV surrogate while a modified Bradley infantry vehicle called the Mission Enabling Technologies-Demonstrator, or MET-D, served in lieu of a yet-to-be-built OMFV.
“We successfully networked the surrogate platforms in a point-to-point fashion with our Wave Relay MANET,” Brian Soles, VP of Government Relations & Business Strategy for Persistent Systems, said. “That means enabling the cameras, sensors and software as well as the command-and-control interface for control of the RCV and its gun systems.”
Persistent Systems is now working with the Next Generation Combat Vehicles – Cross Functional Team and other stakeholders, such as Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center and C5ISR Center, to review lessons learned and further adapt Wave Relay capabilities.
“We are really looking forward to Phase III of the Army RCV program,” Soles said, “because it’ll be a complex, RF-contested and -congested environment with multiple air, ground, and dismounted units, and that’s where Wave Relay’s scalability, resiliency and spectrum efficiency will shine.”
17 Aug 20. US Army-funded research project makes inroads on scaling quantum processors. A research project funded by the U.S. Army has developed a new approach to manufacturing quantum computer chips, representing a significant step forward toward making quantum processors at the scale needed to deliver rapid processing capabilities to the battlefield.
The new approach could impact how the service builds quantum networks and distributed sensing capabilities.
Quantum processors use a qubit to store information. The researchers were looking to increase the amount of qubits placed onto a photonic chip. Prior to the experiment, researchers were only able to get two or three qubits into one photonic chip, said Sarah Gamble, a program manager in quantum information science at the Army Research Office, an element of the Army Research Laboratory at Combat Capabilities Development Command.
“Currently we can exert control and successfully manipulate handfuls of qubits, like very countable numbers of them. But when it comes to the millions or billions of qubits that we need for applications of actual interest, how to get to those millions or billions of qubits is a major research challenge,” Gamble said in an interview with C4ISRNET.
In this study, researchers succeeded in integrating 128 qubits onto a photonic chip by making small quantum “chiplets” and placing them onto a larger circuit. The chiplets were able to carry quantum information through artificial atoms created by scientists by exploiting defects in diamonds.
The increase to 128 is a large jump, but well short of the thousands, millions or billions of qubits needed to successfully complete the applications the service sees as useful in the future. For example, qubits could be used for distributed sensing through networks of quantum systems on the battlefield to allow for greater situational awareness, though Gamble noted that quantum information science research is still in the early stage.
“We know that a lot of these qubit types are also excellent sensors. So for things like electric and magnetic fields, these quantum sensors can sense those fields … with a higher sensitivity than you can get out of classical sensor,” Gamble said. “And then if you network those quantum sensor systems together, that increase you can get in your signal goes up even more.
“So we need those isolated qubit sensors. But then we also need a way for those qubit sensors to talk to each other over a quantum network.”
Being able to process data at quantum speeds would benefit the military as it seeks to make decisions based on large sets of data coming in from the battlefield in near-real time, and as it moves toward multidomain operations.
“It’s a fundamentally different way to gather, process and share information,” Gamble said.
The research was completed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sandia National Laboratories.
The new technology still needs to undergo tests to ensure the qubits in the chip can be controlled in a way that would help the Army. Gamble said the research team is also considering how to automate parts of the production process.
“Thinking about how we can automate these processes to make them even more repeatable is going to be exciting,” Gamble said, “and something that’s going to be necessary if you really want to do this for, you know, millions to billions of cubits instead of 128.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
17 Aug 20. US AFRL is working on Individualized Neural Learning System project. A team from the US Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory (AFRL) is working on a new research effort called Individualized Neural Learning System (iNeuraLS). The project is led by the AFRL 711th Human Performance Wing (HPW). It aims to develop a capability for airmen that will help them with fast knowledge and skill acquiring abilities via direct brain interfaces, using neurotechnologies.
iNeuraLS is a new augmented learning platform that will enable fast learning by closed-loop modulation of cognitive states during skill acquisition.
Under the 2030 Science and Technology Strategy, the project received funding as part of the Seedlings for Disruptive Capabilities Program (SDCP).
AFRL Cognitive Neuroscience senior technical lead Dr Gaurav Sharma said: “Neurotechnology is a major focus area for the 711 HPW with a huge potential for enhancing capabilities for the air force as we move forward.
“Over the last decade, we have made tremendous progress in our understanding of brain function related to airman performance and have also developed and tested a toolkit of neuromodulation technologies to drive the brain to an optimal performance state.
“With iNeuraLS, we are taking it to the next level by creating an immersive closed-loop system that will be optimised to each user’s learning potential.”
As part of the research, the brains’ neural signals will be used to develop algorithms, determining the optimal state, under which individuals can receive information.
Using this information, the team will identify effective ways to enhance the subjects’ ability to intake and process data, including non-invasive neuromodulation and brain stimulation.
To gather data on brain activity, the team will develop a hybrid brain-machine interface, using two technologies, including electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).
The three-year effort is expected to prove beneficial in training air force pilots quicker.
The collaborative effort involves multiple AFRL directorates, including the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate and the Munitions Directorate.
Other partners across the industry include Microsoft, Sonera Magnetics, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Teledyne Technologies. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
12 Aug 20. NSA Certifies General Dynamics Data-at-Rest Encryptor, ProtecD@R Multi-Platform (KG-204). General Dynamics Mission Systems announced today that their ProtecD@R Multi-Platform (KG-204) Data-at-Rest (DaR) encryptor, a compact device optimized to support the secure storage and transfer of video and data in tactical environments, is now certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) to protect stored data classified Top-Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) and below. NSA certification validates that the ProtecD@R Multi-Platform is capable of securing our nation’s most sensitive information.
NSA-certified DaR encryption safeguards classified information even in the event of a loss or compromise of a hard drive, allowing for sustained collection of intelligence by unattended or autonomous systems. Certification of ProtecD@R Multi-Platform will introduce to the market a powerful and flexible DaR encryptor, which can be integrated into a diverse set of platforms.
“Data at rest is data at risk,” said Brian Morrison, vice president for the Cyber Systems line of business with General Dynamics Mission Systems. “With the growing use of unmanned and autonomous platforms, our customers need to prevent access to classified information in unattended systems. The addition of the ProtectD@R Multi-Platform brings our data at rest expertise to the front lines.”
At 85 cubic inches, and weighing less than five pounds, the ProtecD@R Multi-Platform DaR encryptor is rugged and Size Weight and Power (SWaP) optimized to be easily rack-mounted in virtually any stationary or mobile platform. The ProtecD@R line of DaR encryptors complements General Dynamics Mission Systems’ TACLANE® portfolio of network encryptors, and meets NSA’s stringent requirements for protecting data stored on hard drives, server blades, and other storage media. The ProtecD@R Multi-Platform is now supported by GEM® One Encryptor Management software, enabling network administrators to remotely configure and manage network, voice and storage encryptors from a single console. The ProtecD@R Multi-Platform is now available for purchase via General Dynamics Mission Systems.
General Dynamics Mission Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). For more information about General Dynamics Mission Systems, please visit gdmissionsystems.com and follow us on Twitter @GDMS.
17 Aug 20. Indian Navy launches centre for innovation. The Indian Navy has launched the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) to fulfil its requirements relating to technology.
The organisation was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh through an online webinar and the ceremony was attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other dignitaries.
NIIO is a three-level organisation that has established a special structure allowing end-users to interact with academia and industry to boost innovation and indigenisation in line with the vision of India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat to achieve national defence self-reliance.
The Naval Technology Acceleration Committee (N-TAC) will combine the two aspects of innovation and indigenisation and provide the highest-level directives. A working group under the committee will implement these projects.
A Technology Acceleration Unit (TDAC) was also established to introduce breakthrough technologies in an accelerated time frame.
The launch of the new centre comes in consonance with the Draft Defense Acquisition Policy 2020 (DAP 20) that contemplates the service headquarters establishing an Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation within the current resources.
The Indian Navy already features an operational Department of Indigenisation (DoI) and the new structure will build on an ongoing indigenous initiative with an emphasis on innovation.
At the ceremony, the Indian Navy signed memorandums of understanding with Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), Raksha Shakti University (RSU), Gujarat, Maker Village, Kochi and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).
In collaboration with the RSU, an online discussion forum for domestic industry and academia was created and launched.
At the same time, an outline of the Indian Navy’s Indigenisation perspective plans, known as ‘SWAVLAMBAN’, was also published.
Last month, the Indian Navy expanded its deployment of frontline ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 Aug 20. From earthquake resistance to soldier protection: the defence potential of polar metamaterial. University of Missouri researchers have developed a new metamaterial to help buildings withstand the ground shockwaves from earthquakes that also holds promise for defence applications, including muffling engine vibrations, soldier protection, communications and sensing. Project lead Dr Guoliang Huang tells Berenice Baker about its development and potential uses.
The longitudinal and sheer energy waves produced by an earthquake travel through the ground and can destroy buildings miles from the epicentre. Preventing that damage requires a solution that can withstand these multidirectional waves travelling through a solid material but that is also flexible.
Enter metamaterials, a term for artificially constructed material, usually a composite, engineered in patterns that give them unique properties often to do with the way they manipulate waves.
Dr Guoliang Huang, a James C. Dowell Professor in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering leads a team that has developed a lattice-type material that protects against both types of wave and is flexible enough to wrap around the objects it is protecting – a building or vehicles, for example.
The US Army Research Office funds the research, which has clear defence applications, including protection against vibration in mechanical parts, such as aircraft or submarine engines, and flexible protection for soldiers and equipment against blast energy.
Two papers on the research, ‘Polar metamaterials: a new outlook on resonance for cloaking applications’ and ‘Physical realization of elastic cloaking with a polar material’, were published in Physical Review Letters, a journal of the American Physical Society. Here Huang tells us about the project, the material and its potential applications.
Berenice Baker: Could you tell us about the background to your research and how you came to research this metamaterial?
Dr Guoliang Huang: My work is in the broad research area of solid mechanics and architected materials. In particular, I study the new frontiers of structural dynamics and wave propagation. My recent research has focused on addressing challenges and applications in elastic and acoustic metamaterials for areas including efficient vibration-acoustic-seismic wave mitigation, structural health monitoring, energy harvesting and bio-sensing. One important application of my research is for earthquake mitigation to design wave-absorbing materials in very low frequencies.
What makes the your metamaterial useful for protecting against damaging vibrations?
The polar metamaterial is an ideal material for elastic wave cloaking. It is constructed by a lattice structure that can bend waves or vibrations so that objects inside the polar metamaterial coating are untouched by these waves or vibrations. Therefore, it is particularly useful for protecting against vibrations that might damage a structure.
How do you make and test it the material?
The polar metamaterial was fabricated by 3D printing. We performed static tests with tension and shear loadings. We are planning to do dynamic testing in the near future.
The Army Research Office is interested in the material’s ability to steer mechanical waves away from critical regions in solid objects. Could you tell us more about the potential military applications?
The polar metamaterial can also be used in communications, sensors and monitoring of a structure’s health through the use of information provided by sound and vibrations. The polar metamaterial can improve the performance of those aspects of the devices.
We are planning to find more military applications of the polar metamaterial, particularly in the fields of communications, sensing, imaging and structural health monitoring.
What is the biggest challenges in developing this material and what has most surprised you about it?
The biggest challenge of this project is to design the microstructure of this material with no known material properties. For over 20 years, no one had a natural solution for this issue in a solid material. The ultimate purpose of the proposed research is to model, design and fabricate materials that will fill in this ‘behavioural gap’.
The polar metamaterial for elastic cloaking should be collapsed under a certain stress state and, at the same time, produce torque when rotating, which is the most surprising phenomena.
What would you like people to know about lattice metamaterials?
There are many types of lattices that can be used for this purpose. Most of them have yet to be discovered. We believe researchers in this field will find more exciting applications in the near future. (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Aug 20. Geospectrum to Deliver Military C-Bass Long-Range Underwater Comms. Elbit Systems’ Canada-based subsidiary GeoSpectrum Technologies is set to make the first delivery to a military customer of a through-water communications system featuring its C-Bass family of compact very low frequency (VLF) underwater transducers.
The undisclosed NATO customer is expected to receive the long-range acoustic communications system before the end of August.
Originally developed by GeoSpectrum for marine seismic applications, C-Bass sound sources are now being marketed for a range of military subsea applications. These include communication/transmission from shore or surface units to submarines, diver alert and communications, communications with unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) for control/positioning, acoustic influence sweeping, and submarine signature augmentation/emulation.
According to GeoSpectrum, many existing high power underwater VLF (1 Hz – 200 Hz band) sources are large, costly, and require a crew of at least a dozen people to operate. The C-Bass family of transducers has been engineered for small size and weight while maintaining high power output and a wide bandwidth, thereby making possible applications that were previously considered impractical.
Generating high power at low frequencies from a small source represents a technical breakthrough, said GeoSpectrum’s president Paul Yeatman. “The standard technology that we use is piezo-electrics, but they didn’t cut it for these really low frequencies,” he told Janes. “We also looked at moving coil projectors, but these are horrendously inefficient, which means you need a lot more power, and they also generate a lot of heat which becomes problematic.” (Source: ASD Network)
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.