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NEW TECHNOLOGIES, AVIONICS AND SOFTWARE

Sponsored By Oxley Developments

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02 Sep 20. Oxley LED Navigation Lighting and Control Panel. Oxley is working in partnership with SeaKing to enable a control panel to be offered with our LED Navigation Lighting. All of Oxley navigation lights have been specifically developed for vessels over 50 metres and are NVG friendly.

A full turnkey installation and commissioning package can be offered through our experienced marine electrical installation team. All engineers and project managers are fully qualified, have UK security clearance, able to travel worldwide and are experienced in working in commercial and military shipyards and sailing with ships on sea trials or support where required.

Navigation Lighting

The lights comes in two different series; 1 and 2. Whilst series 2 boasts all that series 1 has i.e. lights are low maintenance and robust, come in both AC and DC variants, do not require replacement bulbs and the DC variant have a built in health check system. All our naviagation lighting come with a mounting base to allow easy replacement of the whole unit if required.

Series 2 additionally have the option to be stacked on top of one another and the lights are also fitted with a heater that comes on at low temperatures to prevent ice accumulation on the lens.

04 Sep 20. Tech, not tanks, should be at the centre of UK defence planning. The reality of war looks markedly different today compared with years past. As cyber warfare increasingly becomes a weapon of choice for dangerous regimes, and countries face near constant cyber-attacks, digital has become a key battleground.

Debates this week reopened on how to prioritise spending on cyber defences and other military and security technologies. Should we spend money on technology or tanks? Will the chancellor divert money from the aid budget to cover costs of enhanced warfare, as reported in The Times this week?

The truth is that these arguments are stuck in a past where military power equated only to ships and tanks. This year’s integrated review promises to do what the 2010 and the 2015 reviews also sought to achieve: to identify key threats to the UK and the capabilities required to address them. But this process must finally acknowledge that putting new technology at the forefront of military capabilities is a requirement, not a nice-to-have.

Digital is not a separate domain; it spans air, land, sea, and space. As weaponry that was once the preserve of science fiction — drone swarms, AI-powered jets, directed-energy weapons — is on offer to states and non-state actors alike, planners must ask what this review would look like if written by Elon Musk. It must be bold in tackling lingering challenges that hold UK defence back from being competitive.

The first is money. The 2015 review asked the military to do more with less, hoping efficiencies would make up the shortfall; they did not. It should be a priority to shift resources into buying and operating digital assets.

To support this; the review must allow the MoD to create the right sort of defence market, domestically, for new technologies. For years, this market has been a mix of laissez-faire competition for smaller companies fighting each other and foreign competitors, then state-mandated support for larger firms who could always count on being involved in projects. This needs to change. Trade is important, but the UK must be able to rely on a base of innovative companies that can deliver next-generation capabilities. Resilience matters.

As the UK sets up its own Advanced Research Projects Agency, investment, sales and research will follow. The UK has begun this already, and yet insufficient funding exists for early-stage defence-focused technologies and the military remains challenging to sell to and scale into. Incumbent legacy providers dominate.

Culture-change is crucial: the military places a premium on wartime ingenuity. In peacetime, it reverts to a cautious, traditionalist average. Much as we reward bravery and heroics, honours for ingenuity on and off the battlefield could reverse stagnation; a chief of defence innovation — perhaps an external appointment — could drive top-down innovation across services.

Finally, the reality is that a new kind of serviceman is needed. The traditional way training and incentivising personnel is unlikely to support digital defence needs. Existing training must be revamped — a process the Royal Navy has begun through the Percy Hobart Fellowship which seconds Navy personnel into fast-moving startups rather than college-based lectures. Why devote teaching hours to 20th-century combat when future warfare may not look like that?

In the future, a smaller, flexible, technologically savvy force might better meet our needs; where a leadership role requires tech nous, why assume that a major, captain or an NCO with that knowledge is less suitable than a colonel without. In the Second World War, lawyers and doctors were given uniforms and joined the fight, so it is not hard to imagine that, were it to fill capability gaps, technologists and engineers might do so again. A test-bed to trial this approach would be a first step to building a military that reacts quickly to whatever tech-enabled threat is thrown our way.

It is not that advancements haven’t been made: the jHub’s T-shirt-wearing soldiers scout for world-class technology and talent; The Royal Navy’s Nelson programme supports rapid development and deployment of new applications, and the MoD has stood up a new Defence Digital organisation to guarantee the front line access to the best technology.

This review is an opportunity to drive more fundamental changes. Debates over whether to spend on technology or tanks fail to grasp that the time for planning has passed. Technology is no longer the future of conflict, it’s the reality. (Source: The Times)

02 Sep 20. Flare Bright wins Rapid Innovation DASA contract. UK start-up, Flare Bright Ltd, today can announce winning a UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) contract to rapidly innovate their SnapShot product. SnapShot SnapShot is a tiny, stealthy and fully autonomous nanodrone. It can fly in almost any weather or atmospheric conditions, and it isn’t affected by other electromagnetic signals or needs GPS to guide it. It can take high-quality aerial images with its hand-portable and extremely robust equipment. It is ballistically launched to a height of 100 metres then uses sophisticated and patent pending software to control a glide path and home to the user. Customer interest has been shown from law enforcement, emergency services, industrial inspection companies, urban mapping and the defence sector.

DASA Rapid Impact Innovation

DASA’s Rapid Impact Innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or 7. This demonstration puts SnapShot in the hands of end users, and in the context or environment in which it is expected that the solution would be used. In order to be funded, DASA assessed that the project would have a realistic prospect of achieving an impact within a 3-year time frame from its inception, and that there is a strong customer requirement and capability need for the idea. To be successful Flare Bright had to provide evidence of how MOD and Security business and capability requirements, such as the Defence Lines of Development (DLOD), could be satisfied should the project to be taken forward after the pilot. The contract is for £226,200 and will develop a soldier-ready robust prototype for testing with the Army.

SnapShot’s Project with DASA

To protect soldiers and fight the enemy, frontline soldiers need their own simple aerial surveillance that is lightweight and usable in any circumstance. The Army is keen to test out our technology at the frontline as soon as possible, as SnapShot delivers a simple, man-portable image-capture device that works whether GPS-denied or in jammed environments and in almost all-weather conditions. This is amply demonstrated by a Letter of Support from the Army Land Warfare Centre and winning a coveted space to demonstrate SnapShot at the Army Warfighting Experiment 2020 showcase. Snapshot uses autonomous flight software and has sufficient flight testing to be years ahead of anyone else in perfecting this technology.  This product uses Artificial Intelligence and complex software to create pinpoint delivery of small

packages in all-weather and atmospheric conditions, even when GPS-denied or jammed in the most challenging environments.

“We have had 10 years of software and AI development to reach the point of being confident to deliver true autonomy irrespective of weather or other challenging environments. We are expecting this to launch a new era of autonomy in drones,” says Flare Bright’s CEO, Kelvin Hamilton.

02 Sep 20. Rigetti to build UK’s first commercial quantum computer. Start-up leads consortium including Standard Chartered and Edinburgh university. Rigetti emphasises that quantum machines are still in their infancy. Quantum start-up Rigetti is leading a £10m consortium to create the UK’s first commercially available quantum computer, opening up new economic and academic possibilities. The announcement of the project, backed by a UK government grant with matching contributions from the consortium partners, further establishes the UK’s position in a field with revolutionary potential. The quantum computer will be the first international hardware installation for US-based Rigetti, founded by former IBM executive Chad Rigetti. Partners include high-tech research tool maker Oxford Instruments, Edinburgh university, quantum software start-up Phasecraft and UK bank Standard Chartered. Unlike classical computers, whose bits are either ones or zeros, quantum computing relies on the behaviour of subatomic particles.

Quantum bits, or qubits, can be in both states at the same time, creating the potential to perform millions of calculations instantly. There have been significant advances over the past year, most notably Google’s claim last September that it had reached “quantum supremacy” — a state in which a quantum computer can perform calculations far more rapidly than today’s most powerful supercomputers. But Mr Rigetti emphasised that the machines were still in their infancy. “Quantum machines today are able to run basic programs, but they’re not yet at the level of performance or scale for commercially relevant problems,” he said. “To unlock the flywheel of economic value requires a full-stack co-design effort, with both academic and private institutions.” The consortium partners will focus on using the technology to solve different challenges. Edinburgh university and Standard Chartered will be working on quantum machine learning for finance, while Phasecraft will study quantum approaches to material design, energy and pharmaceuticals. Among the first tasks for the computer is creating a “quantum circuit born machine”, said Alexei Kondratyev, managing director at Standard Chartered, which can create high-quality synthetic data. “That can solve a very big problem in finance, which is that we have data sets with too few samples,” he said, with the data used to generate more models to train other quantum systems.

“The best [classical] algorithms we have for simulating fields [such as batteries or pharmaceuticals] either have a really long run-time or low accuracy,” said Ashley Montanaro, co-founder of Phasecraft. He added that the scale of the Rigetti machine would be well beyond what was currently available in the country. Mr Montanaro said that the UK had taken a leading role in the development of quantum computing: “It’s really notable that if you look across Europe as a whole, the UK is a leader in this space,” he said, drawing attention to government support, such as more than £70m in funding announced in June for 38 new projects. Earlier this week, Cambridge university spinout Riverlane announced that it had completed successful tests of a high-performance “universal operating system” for quantum computers, months after receiving a £7.6m grant to install the system across the UK’s quantum machines. A recent report by Boston Consulting Group predicted that the industry would be worth £4bn by 2024. Areas where the technology could have an impact were as varied as weather modelling to optimising power grids or delivery networks, Mr Rigetti said. “We’re going to discover more and more use cases — we can’t even imagine where quantum computers will lead us,” Mr Kondratyev said. “If you went back to the 1950s, could you imagine the internet? The same is going to happen with quantum computing.” (Source: FT.com)

02 Sep 20. Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M Navigation System Completes Critical Design Review. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has successfully completed the critical design review (CDR) milestone for the Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) / Inertial Navigation System (INS)-Modernization, or EGI-M, program.

“The completion of this milestone is a key step in bringing necessary navigation capability upgrades to our warfighters,” said Brandon White, vice president, navigation and positioning systems, Northrop Grumman. “With its open architecture and government ownership of the key internal interfaces, EGI-M’s next generation navigation solution allows the government to quickly insert emerging capabilities from 3rd parties while maintaining cyber security and airworthiness.”

EGI-M provides state-of-the-art airborne navigation capabilities with an open architecture that enables rapid responses to future threats. The fully modernized system integrates new M-Code capable GPS receivers, provides interoperability with civil controlled air space, and implements a new resilient time capability.

Northrop Grumman’s unique, modular platform interface design enables backwards compatibility with existing platform footprint and interfaces (A-Kits), allowing current platforms to easily integrate and deploy Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M solution. At the same time, EGI-M’s modular software / hardware, coupled with government ownership of key interfaces, allows EGI-M to benefit from rapid upgrades with best of breed software and hardware technologies now and in the future.

Northrop Grumman has been on contract for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of EGI-M since November 2018. The CDR milestone marks the completion of detailed hardware and software design of the EGI-M product line. The launch platforms for Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M are F-22 and E-2D. Additional fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms across Department of Defense and allied forces have already selected Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M as their future navigation solution.

02 Sep 20. Taiwan developing new asymmetric warfare concepts to counter China’s growing military capabilities, says Pentagon. Taiwan is developing new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare to counter the growing capabilities of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the US Department of Defense (DoD) said in its 2020 report to Congress on military and security developments involving China.

Published on 1 September, the 200 page-long report stated that China’s multi-decade military modernisation effort has “eroded or negated many of the military advantages” Taiwan has historically had in the context of a possible cross-Strait conflict, including technological superiority and the inherent geographic advantages of island defence.

“Although Taiwan is taking important steps to compensate for the growing disparities – building its war reserve stocks, growing its defence-industrial base, improving joint operations and crisis response capabilities, and strengthening its officer and non-commissioned officer corps – these improvements only partially address Taiwan’s declining defensive advantages,” stated the Pentagon.

This is the reason why a modified strategy revealed by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei in its 2019 National Defense Report reflects adjustments for defending the island, by placing greater emphasis on protecting its littorals and near-shore coastal areas and suggesting greater reliance on the Republic of China Air Force and Navy, stated the Petangon report, which only covered developments up until the end of 2019.

Recognising the growing disparity between the defence expenditures of Taiwan and mainland China, Taipei is working on developing new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare. “Some specific areas of emphasis include offensive and defensive information and EW [electronic warfare], high-speed stealth vessels, shore-based mobile missiles, rapid mining and minesweeping, unmanned aerial systems, and critical infrastructure protection,” said the Pentagon. (Source: Jane’s)

01 Sep 20. China moves toward new ‘intelligentized’ approach to warfare, says Pentagon. China is moving away from its “informationized” approach to warfare and adopting new technologies that will support an “intelligentized” approach, the Pentagon said in a new report.

In its annual report to Congress on the Chinese military, released Sept. 1, the Department of Defense noted that China sees emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big-data analytics, quantum information and unmanned systems as driving a shift toward intelligentized warfare.

Chinese leaders believe this shift will bring forth a revolution in military affairs and ultimately support future combat that is expected to require more rapid processing and the fusing of information for quicker decision-making and command-and-control efforts.

Last year’s report mentioned this new approach only once under a section about China’s Civil-Military Integration strategy. This year’s report noted the shift to intelligentized warfare is being led through China’s Military-Civil Fusion development strategy.

The DoD’s report said there is a shift away from “informationized” war, which was described in a 2016 department report — citing Chinese military writings — as “an asymmetric way to weaken an adversary’s ability to acquire, transmit, process, and use information during war and to force an adversary to capitulate before the onset of conflict.”

Much of this is conducted via China’s Strategic Support Force. Created in 2016, the theater-level command houses much of the country’s information-related capabilities related to strategic space assets, cyberspace, electronic warfare, information operations and psychological warfare.

China views information superiority, which includes denying information to its enemies, as critical to success on the battlefield. As such, an intelligentized warfare campaign that goes beyond informationized to target and degrade systems with emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, is paramount.

The DoD asserts that the People’s Liberation Army plans to employ technologies as part of this new warfare strategy to support unmanned systems on the ground, in the air and at sea; to support information operations; to enable new command-and-control models; and to improve cyber and electronic warfare through AI-assisted network analysis and spectrum management.

“The PLA’s ability to leverage big data will depend upon its ability to obtain large quantities of high-quality data on foreign militaries. Additionally, the complexity of future conflict probably will challenge the PLA to recruit, train, and retain the highly competent and technically proficient personnel necessary to understand and operate future ‘intelligentized’ systems,” the report stated, noting that delegating command and control to lower echelons may run counter to the PLA’s centralized command-and-control structure. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)

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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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