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10 Sep 20. Crystal Group Launches Trio of New Rugged Servers for Ultra-High Performance. Crystal Group, a leading U.S. designer and manufacturer of rugged computing and networking solutions, announced today the launch of three new rugged servers — the RS4105L22 4U GPU server, RS1.532L21X2F twin server, and Crystal Group FORCE™ RS2606 — all designed for ultra-high ISR performance.

Independently, each server delivers powerful performance that enables Crystal Group customers with high-velocity capability, security and efficiency. When combined, these three servers form a flexible, integrated system for real-time high-speed sensor data collection, computation, and daily, hot-swappable data extraction critical to decision-making on the move.

“To maintain a competitive advantage and handle today’s immense data requirements, our customers need powerful servers that can collect, analyze and prioritize immense amounts of data, often in remote, unpredictable situations,” said Beth Otting, director of Military Programs for Crystal Group. “Currently deployed on allied military aircraft, these new rugged servers provide the essential capabilities needed for real-time reliability and accuracy in the field.”

Optimized to extract and integrate data from multiple sensors via four NVIDIA® Tesla V100 GPUs, the RS4105L22 4U GPU server is a powerhouse of high-capacity storage for electronic warfare, sensor fusion, signal intelligence, C4ISR, radar and digital signal processing.

Equipped with up to 88 cores, the RS1.532L21X2F 1.5U rugged twin server delivers high-speed processing in a small form factor by consolidating capabilities of two separate computers into a single unit with front I/O. Each of the dual X11 motherboards can be customized with up to three PCIe slots for increased bandwidth. Its extreme compute density enables artificial intelligence, machine learning and real-time decision making in a compact footprint.

Designed and qualified for airborne jets, the Crystal Group FORCE™ RS2606 rugged server combines both high compute and maximum storage capacity in a single chassis with eight SAS SSDs in the removable media canister. Customizable with up to six modules, this unit boasts a removable media canister, redundant AC power supplies, and advanced thermal management to accelerate compute-intensive workloads at the edge.

Like Crystal Group’s entire portfolio of rugged and industrial computing products, these new servers are engineered to deliver seamless performance in the most challenging environments while exceeding military and industrial standards.

Crystal Group provides the latest, most innovative technology to keep pace with the ever-changing demands of the defense and commercial markets. At the forefront of innovation, Crystal Group continues to lead the industry in providing scalable, reliable and secure solutions to enable success for their customers.

10 Sep 20. Boeing Australia makes progress in using AI to ‘teach’ UAVs to detect, decide, and act during mission. Boeing Australia announced on 8 September that it has made “significant advances” in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to “teach” unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to detect, decide, and act during a mission.

The company said in a statement that a recently conducted flight test mission featuring four unmanned test beds demonstrated that AI-enabled UAVs can be taught to behave and learn using simulations, “so they can detect a target in the real world, and then make a decision to act or react to the environment”.

“What we saw during the flight tests was the aircraft’s cognitive ability to autonomously detect and classify targets; plan a route on-board the unmanned system; then dynamically co-ordinate with manned and unmanned platforms to support mission execution,” said Emily Hughes, director of Boeing Phantom Works International.

This technology, which is particularly critical for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, aims to address the Australian Defence Force’s need for rapid response, tactical route execution, along with improved location and identification capabilities in congested and contested environments, added the company.

The successful flight test mission by Boeing Australia, which is partnering with the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Collaborative Research Centre (TASDCRC), was part of a year-long project to further unmanned technologies. (Source: Jane’s)

09 Sep 20. AirMap and DoD Partner to Develop AirBoss Aerial Intelligence Platform. AirMap has received $3.3m to further product development.

AirMap, the leading digital airspace and automation company serving the drone economy, has won a US Department of Defense (DoD) award to commercialize its AirBoss platform. AirBoss is an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) software platform designed for Group 1 UAVs and developed together with Reveal Technology and the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit.

The DoD recently announced $13.4m in Title III investments to support the domestic small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industrial base and further enhance the US warfighter’s situational awareness, improve human-machine teaming, and provide engineering support for aiding the integration of sUAS capabilities into DoD programs. Under this investment, AirMap received $3.3M to aid product development and engineering support for integration of sUAS mission planning, post-mission analysis, and unmanned traffic management software. The award coincides with the launch of the AirMap Defense Group (ADG), a defense and security business unit that provides mission-critical technologies to the DoD. AirMap is working closely with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab to enhance and field test the AirBoss platform with small quadrotors.

“AirBoss represents the future of autonomous aerial intelligence,” said Larry Berkin, AirMap’s Executive Vice President of Business and Corporate Development and General Manager of the AirMap Defense Group. “Our airspace-aware smart routes, integrated with Reveal’s Farsight image mapping and analysis, have produced a world-class platform that fills a capability gap for the DoD.”

“UAS technology delivers critical situational awareness and tactical opportunities,” said Major Steven Norris, ACE Branch Head, Science and Technology, at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. “We look forward to further developing Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology to enable safer and more efficient UAS operations teaming with personnel and manned aircraft.”

“AirBoss equips troops with the tools to collect, process, share, and act on critical visual intelligence in real time,” said Garrett Smith, CEO Reveal Technology. “We are excited to work with AirMap and the DoD to develop a best-in-class platform for our warfighters.”

About Reveal Technology

Reveal Technology provides actionable intelligence for every squad. Reveal’s Farsight mobile application is a 2D/3D mapping and analytical tool for drone imagery, optimized to provide focused, intelligent analytics at the edge.

About AirMap Defense Group (ADG)

Since 2019, AirMap’s defense & security business unit has been focused on providing mission-critical technologies to the US Department of Defense. Adopting innovative drone services is crucial to maintaining the U.S. military’s technological advantage. ADG provides secure, scalable, and cost-effective solutions that help government agencies fill technology gaps, drive efficiencies, and perform mission-critical operations across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

09 Sep 20. Australian University Adds Chameleon-like Capabilities to Drones. In conjunction with the Department of Defence, University of South Australia material scientists have developed a range of lightweight panels that can change colour on demand, allowing drones to match their appearance to the background colours of the sky.

Ever since the French had the bright idea of using hydrogen balloons for military surveillance in the late 18th century, aviation capability has played a central role in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.

Today unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are a huge asset for ISR. The Australian Army has drones ranging from the tiny Black Hornet – which is about the size of a whiteboard marker – to larger models with wide ranging surveillance capabilities.

Despite their ubiquity and utility, however, all military UAVs are currently hindered by the same simple problem – the sky changes colour, but they don’t.

Given the huge importance of remaining undetected during ISR operations, the static colour of drones can be a significant problem, but now, thanks to researchers at The University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute (FII), the solution is at hand.

In a collaboration with the Department of Defence, FII researchers, led by Dr Kamil Zuber, have developed a range of lightweight polymer panels that can change colour on demand.

The polymers are what are known as electrochromic materials, meaning they change colour in response to an electric field, and the exact colours can be tuned to specific voltages.

“Similar technology has been used in luxury cars, for diming mirrors, and on the windows of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner,” Dr Zuber says.

“But those applications are slow, require high power consumption to switch, and the electric flow must be maintained to sustain the change state.

“Our panels, on the other hand, have switching speeds in the range of seconds and offer colour memory, which means they retain their switched colour without a continuously applied voltage.

“They also operate in the range from -1.5 to +1.5 volts, which means you only need to use an AA battery to activate the change.”

In addition to their chameleon-like characteristics, the panels are inexpensive, lightweight and durable, and can be either rigid or flexible, making them ideal for use on drones of all sizes and specifications.

“We have built a small-scale frame of a UAV and put our panels on it. We have demonstrated it against all sorts of different sky states and completed a range of validation testing showing how these materials can respond in actual use,” Dr Zuber says.

“We have five or six different materials, and each of the materials can produce two to three distinct different colours.”

The technology is currently being refined to integrate self-awareness and autonomous adjustment into the system, so drones will be able to automatically change colour in response to changes in the surrounding environment.

“At this stage, we’ve been working mainly on the panels and the hardware, but during the latest stage of the project we’ve developed prototype electronics for the controller, which is something that could test the state of the sky and then automatically adjust the voltage to the panel to tune it to the right colour.

“So, if the UAV passed in front of a cloud, it would turn pale, then when it moved back into blue sky, it would turn back to blue.” (Source: UAS VISION)

09 Sep 20. Global Strike Command Opens New Innovation Hub. Following in the footsteps of other military agencies and offices, Air Force Global Strike Command is reaching out to nontraditional industry partners with the launch of a new innovation hub.

The command — which is tasked with operating the Air Force’s bomber fleet, intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear command, control and communications systems — set up a new facility called STRIKEWERX in May to connect with academia, small businesses and even “garage inventors,” said Donna Senft, the command’s chief scientist.

“We call it our storefront,” she said in an interview. “It is a facility that enables anyone to come in who wants to work with us and they can bring us their good ideas.”

While the focus of STRIKEWERX is on expanding the command’s innovation base, the door is also open to traditional defense contractors and large businesses, she noted.

“Sometimes within the large businesses we have people who are investing in new ideas through internal research and development and they’re eager to talk to us,” she said. “Any of those types of people, we’re happy to talk to them and connect and hear more.”

The STRIKEWERX facility is located outside of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, where Global Strike Command is headquartered. The hub was strategically placed off-base to avoid difficulties for those looking to meet with the command, Senft said.

“It can be a little bit hard sometimes for some of our partners to get through the gate,” she said. “Sometimes they don’t know anybody in particular within the command to work with, and so now we have a facility that’s located off-base where they can just walk in the door and talk to our people there and say, ‘I have a great idea. I think you would be interested in it.’”

The effort is modeled after AFWERX, an Air Force initiative that was set up in 2017 to boost the service’s engagement with industry, academia and nontraditional partners while developing much-needed capabilities more quickly and flexibly. AFWERX now has locations in Austin, Texas, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

Global Strike Command hopes its new hub will aid in facilitating a cooperative “ecosystem” where its particular needs can be addressed.

“In the old days, the Department of Defense drove a lot of new innovations. They had enough funding to go out and invest in and invent the things that we needed, and some of those spinoffs ended up out in the private sector today,” Senft said. However, now there is more investment in the private sector than there is by the Pentagon, she noted.

The command is looking to harvest the “great technologies out there and bring them inside Global Strike Command to solve our needs,” she said.

The STRIKEWERX facility was slated to open in April. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the command to push its grand opening to May. The organization has since hosted multiple “open houses” where small groups of interested parties registered ahead of time to attend both in person and virtually, Senft said.

“These days it can be a little bit more difficult to travel to the Shreveport–Bossier City, Louisiana, area and walk in the door. But we have a virtual presence online,” Senft said.

“We all along had the idea that … STRIKEWERX would have a virtual presence.”

Moving forward, the hub will be home to events, workshops, meetings and industry challenges to find technology to fill the command’s operational gaps. One area STRIKEWERX is already working to address is electromagnetic pulse hardening, Senft said. An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is an intense burst of energy that can be released by a nuclear weapon detonated high in the atmosphere, or by a geomagnetic disturbance caused by natural phenomena such as solar flares.

In 2019, President Donald Trump released the “Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses,” which called for the nation to reduce its vulnerability to such attacks.

“The federal government must foster sustainable, efficient and cost-effective approaches to improving the nation’s resilience to the effects of EMPs,” the order said.

Global Strike Command is facing the same EMP issues and vulnerabilities as the rest of the nation, Senft said. “We’re interested in good ideas across the country that could help us more cheaply and more effectively harden some of our equipment.”

STRIKEWERX will soon open its doors to industry for a challenge to get after EMP hardening. Invited members of industry will be able to bring their designs, “so it’s more of a problem-solving interaction,” she said.

Innovators that don’t receive an invitation to participate in the challenge won’t be shut out of the facility.

“For companies that haven’t been invited and they have great ideas, they can go to our website and interact with us or walk in the front door,” Senft said.

Another topic of interest for STRIKEWERX is chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense, or CBRN.

The innovation center will host a CBRN virtual event in September in partnership with SOFWERX, an initiative founded in 2016 to facilitate cooperation with industry partners and Special Operations Command. The event will include a technology assessment to identify capabilities that could aid in the development of a next-generation CBRN mask.

Focus areas for the effort include reducing user burden, interoperability and an enhanced face seal.

During the event, individuals will be allotted one-on-one virtual sessions with SOCOM to pitch or demonstrate their solutions.

Other partners for the event include the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Chemical Biological Center, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Meanwhile, the hub has helped Global Strike Command discover a number of local businesses in the surrounding area that may be able to address its problem sets.

“People don’t think of Shreveport, Louisiana, as a hotbed of technology activities normally,” Senft noted. “But we’re finding out there are some great companies that we want to work with that we didn’t know about before. So it has already paid off.”

In the future, the hub will have a topics list to compare proposals presented by companies and members of industry to the command’s needs for compatibility purposes. At this point, the command does not plan to release its future needs list to the public, Senft said.

The STRIKEWERK facility will also be a place for airmen’s “ideas to become reality,” according to the command. It will give servicemembers access to experts, acquisition coaching, and engineering and technical support.

Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said smaller scale Pentagon efforts to reach out to industry, such as STRIKEWERX, have shown to be effective.

“What we’ve seen today have been pretty discreet efforts to tackle clear problems … that really lend themselves to being solved with innovative software,” he said. “These organizations have proven a lot of utility in doing that and in doing it with a mixture of military folks with real coding skills themselves working on the problem, but also getting innovative solutions from industry and being able to combine those two capabilities.”

There have been signs of success, said Hunter who previously led the Pentagon’s Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell.

“Initially what we heard is: ‘We just don’t know how to get access. We don’t know how to find out what the military needs. We can’t get through the contracting process,’” he said. That now seems to be changing in a positive way with the creation of organizations such as AFWERX, the Defense Innovation Unit and others.

The Defense Innovation Unit, also known as DIU, set up its headquarters in Silicon Valley in 2015 to try to help bridge the divide between the military and commercial tech hubs. It has since opened additional offices in Austin and Boston.

Through such initiatives, companies have been able to gain insights about the military’s requirements, how their products could be applicable, receive initial contracts and begin working with the Defense Department, Hunter said.

“There’s a lot of success in the fact that some of those problems that industry has long complained about — I wouldn’t say they’ve been totally solved forever — but a lot of progress has been made in solving them,” he said.

What many companies now struggle with is crossing over the Pentagon’s dreaded “Valley of Death” from the initial exploratory prototyping phase of a program to implementing their solutions and products on a larger scale across the military, he noted.

“It’s still proving challenging to get the follow-on contracts to those initial contracts,” he said.

One key piece of the equation for initiatives like STRIKEWERX to see positive results boils down to the hub’s business models for industry, Hunter said.

“One of my things that I’ve been focused on a lot lately is thinking about the business model for some of these innovative, especially software-oriented solutions, which is: How does the contractor profit in the near term and the long term?” he said. “Where does that profit incentive come to constantly innovate? Which is what we’re kind of asking industry to do.”  (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)

10 Sep 20. VINCORION Integrates Fuel Cells from SFC Energy into Its Hybrid Energy Systems. Mechatronics manufacturer VINCORION and fuel cell specialist SFC Energy will soon begin working together to develop state-of-the-art energy solutions with hybrid storage systems. The goal of the collaboration is to integrate fuel cells by SFC Energy into VINCORION’s energy management systems, thereby adding a reliable and powerful component to the energy mix.

The first joint project between the two companies will be the integration of SFC Energy’s EFOY Pro 12000 Duo – a 500W methanol fuel cell – into VINCORION’s P2M2 (Portable Power Management Module) energy management system. This was announced by both companies at the signing of the partnership agreement during the DWT conference “The Future Energy Supply for Mobile Systems used by the German Armed Forces” on September 9, 2020, in Bonn, Germany.

Methanol Fuel Cells: Quiet and Extremely Efficient

The P2M2 portable energy management system for peak loads of up to 15 kW opens up a particularly high degree of flexibility thanks to its modular design. The system is capable of using all energy sources currently available, from conventional diesel gensets to existing power grids to renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic systems. It can be extended by adding multiple storage modules as required and can be variably connected to a wide variety of output modules depending on the application.

SFC is the market leader in the methanol fuel cell segment and will initially integrate the EFOY Pro 12000 Duo, the company’s most powerful fuel cell to date, into VINCORION’s P²M² system. This means that in addition to the compact energy storage and management modules, users now have another option available for supplying and charging electrical consumers while out in the field. Like every P²M² module, the fuel cell will be portable and can be used in harsh environmental conditions. With no harmful exhaust fumes and thanks to its virtually silent and maintenance-free operation, it is the perfect solution for difficult operating conditions.

Strategic Collaboration

“We believe that fuel cells are a valuable addition to the available range of power supplies for our energy solutions, and enable us to offer our partners and customers significant additional value over comparable solutions,” said Stefan Stenzel, CEO of JENOPTIK Advanced Systems GmbH“At the same time, we are delighted to have acquired SFC Energy as a strategic partner with whom we can also enter into new market segments over the medium term.”

“The demands placed on off-grid power supplies continue to grow. VINCORION and SFC Energy are working together with the P2M2 module to create a system that will meet these increasing needs in a reliable, flexible, and environmentally friendly manner. This is how users will benefit from sustainable energy supply solutions made in Germany,” said Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy AG.

SFC Energy AG is a leading international supplier of stationary and mobile hybrid power supply solutions for civil and military applications with locations in Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Canada, and the United States. The company has already sold more than 45,000 fuel cells worldwide.

07 Sep 20. iXblue delivers cyber security navigation system for French Navy frigates. iXblue has delivered the cyber security navigation system for the first Defense and Intervention Frigate (FDI) for the French Navy.

iXblue has delivered the cyber ​security navigation system for the first Defense and Intervention Frigate (FDI) for the French Navy.

It was delivered to Naval Group under the project management of the French General Directorate of Armament (DGA).

This delivery is part of the contract between iXblue and Naval Group, which was signed in 2017.

The contract was for the integration of Marins inertial navigation systems and Netans data distribution and processing units on five frigates.

The Marins inertial navigation system is based on iXblue’s fibre optic gyroscope technology.

It is said to provide precise position, heading, roll, pitch and speed information in any location, including global navigation satellite system (GNSS) denied environments.

iXblue CEO Fabien Napolitano said: “It is the first time that iXblue systems have been chosen by Naval Group to equip a new-built major combat vessel for the French Navy.

“We are extremely proud to be part of this major programme to renew the French naval forces. This choice underlines the robustness and reliability of iXblue systems, and in particular their ability to respond to cyber security threats in environments where GNSS is inoperable.”

The Netans data distribution and processing unit is designed to directly interface with the sensors of the vessel to acquire, analyse, correlate and distribute data to a ship’s on-board systems.

Netans range offers reliable, consistent and exact navigation information in challenging environments, while addressing various cyber security issues faced by navies worldwide.

Naval Group programme director Olivier de la Bourdonnaye added: “We are very pleased to have iXblue among our partners for this ‘all-digital’ frigate programme, the new generation frigates for the French Navy.

“We know we can count on their cutting-edge expertise in the field of navigational calculations and cyber security to equip defence and intervention frigates with the best possible systems, meeting the needs of the French General Directorate of Armament (DGA).” (Source: naval-technology.com)

09 Sep 20. Höganäs Product Area Surface and Joining Technologies (SJT), the world leader in metal powders – and Lincotek Surface Solutions, one of the leading global providers of surface treatments – are to cooperate more closely. This week, they announce an agreement to further strengthen their ongoing relationship in product and coating development for thermal spray and surface technology applications.

The alliance targets the development of complete surface treatments for aerospace, energy, automotive and other industries. With the combination of the materials expertise of Höganäs and the surface technology expertise of Lincotek Group as an equipment supplier and service provider, both companies intend to offer newly developed solutions to end user industries for various applications.

“We are delighted that Lincotek has chosen us as preferred material development partner for the Surface Solutions Division. We believe that the new cooperation agreement will further strengthen the ability of both companies to commonly develop and offer the best materials and coating solutions for the market,” said Hans Keller, President Surface and Joining Technologies at Höganäs. “Our long-term fruitful business relationship with our partner Lincotek built an excellent foundation for this cooperation and we are now looking forward to the next chapter of an exciting journey together.”

Winfried Schaler, Group CEO at Lincotek commented: “To join forces is very exciting for us. We have been cooperating with Höganäs for many years. Today, market dynamics are changing rapidly and we need to provide answers to the latest development needs in the industry. Innovation, quality, cost and efficiency are major drivers and combining our development efforts will reduce the time to market for new solutions.” For a number of years, Höganäs and Lincotek have been working together and now they are heading toward the future together. This agreement will ensure the greatest value to customers in the period ahead.

09 Sep 20. Adelaide Uni design facility pushes innovation boundaries. The University of Adelaide, in collaboration with Capgemini and Dassault Systèmes, has launched the Collaborative Design Facility, which will be used by the people who will shape the future of Australia’s participation in the global economy in key sectors such as defence, energy, agtech, life sciences or health.

The new design facility, located at the University of Adelaide, will offer organisations and individuals a space in which to push the boundaries of technical, industrial and business innovation.

The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with 12 workstations where specialists will work on a project such as a virtual model of a submarine, a robot roaming the surface of another planet or an industrial process that needs to be developed.

Adelaide University interim vice-chancellor, Professor Mike Brooks, said, “Innovation occurs through creative collaboration. The Collaborative Design Facility provides an environment in which people produce innovative design solutions and translate them into tangible concepts.”

The spaces within the facility have been designed to enable interaction between people based on the activity they are involved in, their mood and their personality.

“People who need to innovate will come together in a room equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as high-end computing capability and large touch-sensitive screens,” Professor Brooks added.

“The technology is so good that they will be able to interact without the normal hindrances that can sometimes slow down collaboration, so they can focus on the creative process and stretch their boundaries in a secure, open and collaborative environment.”

Expanding on this, Professor Brooks said, “Located close to the Australian Space Agency and Lot 14, the facility is a tool for engagement, which will enable companies to grow their enterprise capabilities locally, nationally and globally.

“It is a precursor for what we see as an integral part of the Lot 14 vision, to foster the exchange of creative solutions to real-world challenges faced by industry of all scales, government agencies, and academia. SMEs will especially benefit from using the space as they will be able to more successfully interact with much larger companies such as those in the defence sector in a secure environment of co-creation.”

The facility builds on the collaborative education program between the University of Adelaide, Capgemini and Dassault Systèmes.

Samson Khaou, executive vice president, Asia-Pacific, and managing director, Asia-Pacific south at Dassault Systèmes, welcomed the announcement, saying, “Dassault Systèmes is thrilled to build on our established links with the University of Adelaide and Capgemini, in an industry-first in Australia, with the Collaborative Design Facility.

“The facility will enable companies across the country to gain a competitive advantage through shortened time frames in product development, enabled by state-of-the-art digital technology and practices.”

Luc-François Salvador, executive chairman and head of Capgemini Asia Pacific and the Middle East, echoed the sentiments of Khaou, saying, “Looking ahead we will see the digital and physical worlds come together to form what we call the intelligent industry.

“This new facility will benefit from Capgemini’s deep industry expertise and proven accelerators to enable engineering, co-creation and product excellence, in collaboration with industry, academia and government. It will facilitate agile and productive co-operation through colocation in South Australia while being connected to the global world of ideas.”

The opening of the Collaborative Design Facility included a demonstration of its capability by students from the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment and the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and who collaborated on a project to design a base on the moon, developed the virtual twin of a small agricultural robot, and participated in a NASA-led competition to operate robots on the surface of distant planets or moons.  (Source: Space Connect)

07 Sep 20. USAF F-15Cs to receive firmware upgrade to prevent ‘indefinite grounding.’ The US Air Force (USAF) has instructed that firmware on its fleet of Boeing F-15C Eagle air superiority fighter aircraft be upgraded to rectify an anomaly that would otherwise cause their ‘indefinite grounding’. A Justification and Approval (J&A) notification for a sole-source award for the upgrade to BAE Systems noted that the new firmware will correct a problem with data collision issues when the Flat Panel Control Indicator (FPCI) receives messages from the Advanced Display Core Processor II (ADCP II).

“The H009 data bus anomaly was discovered during lab testing of the ADCP II. The USAF requires BAE Systems to release a production version of the [upgraded] firmware, update the firmware in up to 120 FPCIs for use in the F-15C, and ship the FPCIs back to the USAF,” according to a J&A notification posted on the beta.sam.gov government procurement website in late August.

As noted by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), the F-15Cs identified for this requirement to upgrade the permanent software programmed into the read-only memory are scheduled to begin installation in October and conclude modification by October 2022. “If the FPCI is not updated during each ADCP II install in each F-15C, the jets will report the H009 data bus anomaly and will be grounded indefinitely,” the service said. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Sep 20. Lockheed Martin, Khalifa University to Collaborate on Research, Academic Programs. Khalifa University of Science and Technology (Khalifa University), and Lockheed Martin, a U.S.-based global aerospace, security and technology leader, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to collaborate on research and academic initiatives that will advance technology and human capital development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Dr. Steven H. Walker, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Lockheed Martin, and Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, signed the agreement virtually, which identifies areas of mutual interest in support of Lockheed Martin’s research endeavors and the development of a knowledge-based economy as outlined by UAE Vision 2021.

This is the first of several planned formal agreements between Lockheed Martin and Khalifa University to increase the pipeline of highly skilled aerospace, defense, technology and security engineers in the region, Emirates news agency WAM reported.

“At Lockheed Martin, we are committed to working together with colleges and universities to advance the strategic priorities of our customers,” said Dr. Walker, who recently joined the Khalifa University Board of Trustees, succeeding Lockheed Martin’s Executive Chairman Marillyn A. Hewson.

“As a well-respected research institution and a leading contributor to the UAE’s vision to shape a knowledge-based economy, Khalifa University is an obvious partner. We are confident that our collaboration will help advance STEM careers, evolve the country’s research ecosystem and provide unique opportunities for research and development activities,” he added.

Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin and Khalifa University will explore opportunities for cooperation, led by the university’s faculty, in areas including machine intelligence, autonomy, microelectronics, structural and thermal materials, and air vehicle research. The publication of research, along with development and assessment of academic course material, will also add to knowledge sharing through the MoU.

Dr. Al Hammadi said: “As a research-intensive educational institution that seeks to produce world leaders and critical thinkers in applied science and engineering, we are delighted to partner with Lockheed Martin to focus more on advanced research areas. The MoU with a globally leading aerospace and advanced technologies company will not only help develop talent locally through STEM collaborations, but also offer us access to Lockheed Martin’s technological capabilities.”

“We believe equipping the youth in the UAE and building new capacities in areas including aerospace will benefit the country, contributing to catalyzing the growth of the rapidly developing knowledge-economy of Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” he added.

Lockheed Martin works with leading universities worldwide to sponsor research and perform collaborative research for government customers. The company’s Center for Innovation and Security Solutions, CISS, based in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, has hosted merit-based summer internship programs for top-performing UAE engineering students every year since 2017.

This summer, 16 talented students from leading institutions, including Khalifa University, are interning virtually at the CISS to comply with distance learning measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.

With 19 research centers focusing on various economic sectors that are considered strategic to the UAE, Khalifa University drives innovation and scientific exploration in advanced technology areas such as aerospace, nuclear engineering, advanced materials, oil and gas, and clean energy. Each year, the University adds a sizable number of patents to the intellectual property basket of the UAE. At present, Khalifa University has 126 issued patents, with 343 patent applications pending, and more than 400 invention disclosures. (Source: Al Defaiya)

07 Sep 20. Easy Aerial Selected Finalist in USAF AFWERX FUSION Challenge. AFWERX, the catalyst for fostering innovation within the U.S. Air Force, announced Easy Aerial as one of the top 92 participating teams selected from across the globe competing to build the Base of the Future Challenge.

The AFWERX Challenge is centered around six topics – Base Security, Installation Resilience, Leveraging Technology for Operational Effectiveness, Reverse Engineering, Culture of Innovation, and Airman and Family Wellbeing. The proposals selected to advance represent innovative solutions ranging from new base security technology and VR training modules to virtual assistants and apps designed for wellness and leadership development.

Located in Brooklyn, New York, Easy Aerial is competing in the Leveraging Technology for Operational Effectiveness Challenge alongside a diverse group of teams – originating from the vast regions of North America, Europe, Australia and other allied countries – that represent entrepreneurial startups, small businesses, large enterprises, academic institutions and research labs all vying to build the Base of the Future and modernize the Department of Defense.

“The AFWERX Base of the Future Challenge is critical to our mission of increasing collaboration between large businesses and entrepreneurs to accelerate solutions for the Air Force,” stated Mark Rowland of AFWERX. “On behalf of AFWERX and the Department of Defense, we congratulate the teams advancing to the next phase. Their contributions are invaluable and have the potential to create game-changing results across the Air Force enterprise.”

The Leveraging Technology for Operational Effectiveness Challenge strives to leverage artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing and machine learning to build an Air Force base that becomes a leader in innovation. With the rebuild of the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, the U.S. Air Force has the potential to create an installation that will be a model for Air Force bases of tomorrow by implementing state of the art operational technology, automation, artificial intelligence, digital integration, and cybersecurity to build the newest installation and ensure it becomes a premier innovation hub for industry and government.

Designed and manufactured in the United States, Easy Aerial drone-based monitoring and inspection solutions are fully autonomous, all-weather capable, portable, rugged, and specifically designed for military applications. The company has developed an autonomous solution for rapid maintenance inspection of large aircraft. The system features a tethered drone attached to a self-directing base station that moves around an aircraft capturing and securely storing high-resolution images and video from multiple angles. The system dramatically reduces the time needed for current routine and emergency maintenance inspections in large hangars with scaffolding erected around the aircraft.

“We are honored to be the only participant selected to compete in three of the six Air Force base of the future challenges,” said Ido Gur, Co-Founder, and CEO of Easy Aerial. “As we move into the next phase of the challenge, we look forward to further demonstrating the capabilities and advantages of our autonomous rapid maintenance inspection system of large aircraft.”

The AFWERX Fusion 2020 Showcase recently featured 370 of the participating teams selected from a record-breaking 1,500+ submissions received for the Base of the Future Challenge. Throughout the event, teams pitched their solutions to a panel of subject matter experts from the relevant sectors of the Air Force. The top 92 selections were identified and invited to further engage with the Air Force during the week of August 31 with the hope of obtaining contracts.

The Base of the Future theme was inspired by Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which was decimated by Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that occurred in 2018. For decades, Tyndall had been home to many generations of Airmen and their families. In the storm’s aftermath, nearly 500 buildings were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Fortunately, Congress approved a $3bn military construction rebuild program, sparking hope that Tyndall would re-emerge stronger than ever before. The aspirational initiative seeks to create a robust installation that will become a universal symbol of innovation and excellence that can scale across the U.S. Air Force.

To learn more about the Base of the Future Challenges, click here.


Established in 2017, AFWERX is a product of the U.S. Air Force, directly envisioned by former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. Her vision of AFWERX — to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject matter experts. AFWERX serves as a catalyst to unleash new approaches for the warfighter through a growing ecosystem of innovators. AFWERX and the U.S. Air Force are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen the Air Force, which could lead to additional prototyping, R&D, and follow-on production contracts.(Source: UAS VISION)

07 Sep 20. Aeronautics Group – a leading provider of integrated turnkey solutions based on unmanned systems platforms, payloads and communications for defense, HLS and civil applications – has been awarded a special grant from the BIRD Foundation to promote a joint development project with American company, Prevision.

Projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are reviewed by evaluators appointed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Israel Innovation Authority.

The joint project will see the two companies develop a real-time persistent surveillance system (WAMI) with an automated interface to an electro-optical camera. Designed specifically for use with unmanned aerial vehicles, the system will automatically detect any change that occurs in the field, and alert the operator to the exact location of the target, handing over the target to the EO/IR payload to meet the mission objectives.

“We are proud to have been selected as the defense company leading this joint development project with our American partner,” says Moshe Elazar, Aeronautics’ CEO. “This project will continue to strengthen the bond between the two countries in the interests of maintaining security, especially in these challenging times. Aeronautics Group’s goal to be at the forefront of technology is reflected in this future development.”


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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