Sponsored By Oxley Developments
06 Nov 20. New collaboration will accelerate the pace of advanced sensing technology development in the UK.
Advanced sensing technologies which have the potential to benefit aspects of everyday life will be developed as part of a new collaboration between BAE Systems and the University of Birmingham.
The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form an Advanced Sensing Technologies Consortium, drawing on leading experts from industry, academia and Government. This forms part of the Government-funded National Quantum Technologies programme to drive four UK-based hubs which includes a Sensors and Timing hub led by the University of Birmingham.
Bringing together the best of British expertise, the consortium will accelerate the development and application of advanced sensing technology, as well as develop disruptive technologies that will benefit UK industry. These include:
* New and novel navigation systems that do not rely on GPS: These technologies could offer breakthrough capability for resilient navigation in the shipping or defence industries where vehicles are operating in areas where GPS cannot be accessed.
* Cognitive workload measurement: Developing sensing technologies that can measure mental workload. Such sensors could bring benefits to the medical industry when diagnosing conditions as well as industries with critical human operators e.g. fighter pilots.
* Enhanced situational awareness sensors: These could deliver breakthrough capabilities for urban flight or autonomous vehicles.
* Detection of difficult targets: Novel sensors that have the ability to detect buried infrastructure could see the technologies being exploited for use in hydrocarbon exploration, mining, construction, transportation and critical national infrastructure.
Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technologist for BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: “As experts in the defence, aerospace and security sector, we know sophisticated sensing technology is absolutely critical in our ambitions to develop intelligent systems that can survive in a complex and congested battlespace environment. Information provides a critical advantage and comes in many forms that sensors can deliver, from navigational aids to situational awareness.
“This initiative is aimed at accelerating the pace of exploitation of these developing capabilities, enabling us to take technology from a lab environment and apply it quickly in real-world scenarios. For example, our test pilots are trialing novel technologies to measure cognitive workload both on the ground and in the air, meaning we can test how intuitive and effective it really is and ensure any learning is fed back into our research and development at an early stage.”
Professor Kai Bongs, Principle Investigator at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, and Director of Innovation within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are proud to be collaborating with BAE Systems on this exciting programme. It has the potential to create enormous economic value and change the way we live. Novel sensor capabilities and digital twinning are enabling disruptive innovation in a faster and cheaper way, creating unprecedented benefit to society and the economy.
“We now need to accelerate the market pull by demonstrating how these new sensors can be integrated into high-value systems, change operations and our lifestyles.”
The new agreement builds on BAE Systems’ existing strategic partnership with the University of Birmingham, the UK Quantum Technology Hubs and suppliers of sensor systems in an effort to drive breakthrough technologies into a data-rich world.
03 Nov 20. DARPA scouting for ‘revolutionary’ ideas. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for “revolutionary” research ideas that aren’t being addressed in current research projects.
The broad agency announcement issued by DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O) outlined its existing programs that fall into four main areas:
* Proficient artificial intelligence
* Advantage in cyber operations
* Confidence in information domain
* Resilient, adaptable and secure systems
Now DARPA wants potential respondents to look at I2O’s current programs and suggest something completely different.
“I2O seeks unconventional software-based approaches that are outside the mainstream, challenge accepted assumptions and have the potential to radically change established practice,” the agency wrote in its BAA.
Efforts that are creative and agile both in terms of the technologies proposed and in the structure of the approach are encouraged, but DARPA warns against proposing work that has already been completed or funded by the agency or anyone else in the government.
Funding levels haven’t been determined yet. Proposals will be evaluated for overall scientific and technical merit, potential contribution and relevance to DARPA’s mission and cost.
DARPA has given respondents plenty of runway to work with. Abstracts are due Sept. 23, 2021. Proposals are due at noon on Oct. 28, 2021.
Current I2O programs can be found here https://www.darpa.mil/about-us/offices/i2o
03 Nov 20. Sagetech Avionics and Kraus Hamdani Aerospace Deliver ArduPilot Integration. Sagetech’s UAV transponders, through a partnership with Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, now integrate with ArduPilot. Sagetech Avionics, an innovative technology company providing industry-leading safety solutions for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, a leading UAS technology company, announced today that they have completed the integration of Sagetech’s UAV transponders with the world’s leading open source autopilot, ArduPilot. The two companies successfully tested the new integration onboard the K1000 Ultra Long Endurance (K1000ULE) UAV, the world’s longest endurance, fully electric aircraft in its size and weight category.
Sagetech Avionics and Kraus Hamdani Aerospace successfully integrated Sagetech transponders with ArduPilot, testing it on the K1000ULE UAV.
“We’re thrilled to provide UAV innovators like Kraus Hamdani with reliable, integrated transponders for new platforms,” stated Sagetech Avionics CEO Tom Furey. “The integration of time-proven systems like ArduPilot and Sagetech’s ADS-B transponders ensures the safe flight of unmanned aircraft in controlled airspace, over long ranges, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), and at night.”
“The use of transponders in compliance with aviation standards is a key step to advancing the UAV industry for safe integration into controlled airspace,” said Kraus Hamdani Aerospace CTO and co-founder, Stefan Kraus. “Coupled with our contributions to the ArduPilot community for Sagetech’s low SWaP XP transponder, our fully autonomous K1000ULE platform can safely operate for extended periods in controlled airspace and at mediumto-high altitudes while carrying out complex missions,” said Kraus.
Through the partnership with Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, Sagetech adds ArduPilot support to its extensive list of autopilots that natively integrate with its XP Series of UAV transponders. Instructions for integrating Sagetech transponders with ArduPilot-based UAVs are available on the ArduPilot website.
For more information, visit www.sagetech.com and www.krausaerospace.com.
About Sagetech Avionics
Sagetech is an aerospace technology company, empowering safe flight in unmanned aircraft with the world’s most reliable UAV transponders. Currently serving military and civil duty on most small to medium UAVs, Sagetech solutions are mission-proven and offer decades of program experience, certifications, and millions of flight hours to deliver maximum value over the life of an unmanned platform. Today Sagetech is expanding its technology platform to create comprehensive unmanned aircraft situational awareness systems, such as detect and avoid solutions. Sagetech works in concert with its extensive ecosystem of OEM customers, technology partners, and resellers to ensure UAVs fly safer with Sagetech on board. Learn more at www.sagetech.com.
About Kraus Hamdani Aerospace
Based on a heritage of defense, security and technology innovation, Kraus Hamdani Aerospace Inc. develops the K1000ULE, the world’s longest endurance, fully electric, zero-emissions, AI powered unmanned aircraft. Furthermore, the company provides Smart Persistent ISR Services and develops AI technology with the mission to save lives. (Source: PR Newswire)
03 Nov 20. SOR Autonomous Security Drone Collaboration. Strategic Elements Ltd (ASX:SOR) subsidiary Stealth Technologies has signed an agreement to collaborate with leading US based Autonomous Drone technology Company, Planck AeroSystems. The Companies will work to enable drones to autonomously launch and land from the Stealth ground based autonomous vehicle platform (AxV).
Planck’s core enabling technology is vision-based precision landing on moving platforms without GPS. In sectors such as security, defence and resources drones can augment ground based cameras and sensors to provide additional range, multi-angle coverage and additional critical data (e.g. thermal imaging).
Stealth Technologies is developing an Autonomous Security Vehicle (ASV) for perimeter security in sectors such as transport, energy, defence, government and utilities providing critical services. The Global Perimeter Security Market is forecast to be growing quickly at CAGR of 12.0% over the forecast period 2020-2026 (reaching USD 282.26 Billion by 2025).
* The Planck Autonomous Control Engine (ACE™) system is an embedded software solution that runs onboard a variety of unmanned aircraft systems to enable autonomous launch, recovery, relative navigation, and mission planning from a moving vehicle. With centimetre-level accuracy for precision take-off and landing, a drone can launch and recover reliably from small spaces. The sensor-guided flight accounts for motion of a vessel or ground vehicle, including roll, pitch, heave, and wind effects.
* ACE is deployed in five US federal agencies, and with two allied nations. The ACE system has commanded thousands of successful UAS sorties both at sea and from vehicles, on aircraft from many different manufacturers. Planck is working with the United States Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), the United States Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security on various aspects of its technology.
* The precision landing system uses computer vision, artificial intelligence, and other onboard sensors, but does not require GPS or active communications. Existing unmanned aircraft systems use global positioning and are not capable of autonomous operation from moving vehicles. Planck’s intelligent navigation solutions enable new capabilities for surveillance, reconnaissance, real-time situational awareness, and force protection.
The Stealth and Planck collaboration will focus on enabling the ASV to launch and land drones. This ability would enable the long runtimes of the ASV to be combined with the high speed of drones. Drones could be launched from the ASV at any time whilst on patrol, effectively doubling the ASV’s surveillance coverage capabilities. Drones could also recharge once landed on the ASV and be relaunched. In addition the unique perspectives of both the ASV and its drone can be combined to give an expanded patrol and surveillance dataset, enable more powerful AI use cases for mapping, navigation, object and person recognition, object and person tracking and scene reasoning.
The parties will also assess the potential of integrating mobile tethered drones with the ASV. This will give additional deployment options for drone-equipped ASVs to work at facilities located near to controlled airspaces and at those that have safety requirements that would normally preclude drone operation (e.g. airports, energy facilities). Traditional ground tethered drones can only fly in a single location, however drones tethered from the ASV could be mobile and move with the ASV whilst airborne.
* Planck Aero will provide ACE technology for integration into Stealth autonomous vehicles, and any other technologies agreed by the parties. Term of the Collaboration is 6 months.
* The Parties will explore commercial, industrial and defence applications and opportunities.
* Plank grants Stealth a royalty-free, non-exclusive, license to use Software for the purposes of the Collaboration for duration of the Term.
* Stealth will pay to Planck Aero for any Hardware provided under the Project. Any further payments will be as agreed between the parties from time to time.
The Company’s priority focus is its exclusive collaboration with giant US Fortune 100 Company Honeywell to build autonomous security vehicles for the correctional justice sector. The parties are working with the WA Department of Justice to build a fully autonomous robotic security vehicle for the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison in Kalgoorlie to inspect, test and confirm the integrity of the secure perimeter.
About Strategic Elements Ltd
The Australian Federal Government has registered Strategic Elements as a Pooled Development Fund with a mandate to back Australian innovation. Strategic Elements operates as a ‘venture builder’ where it generates high risk-high reward ventures and projects from combining teams of leading scientists or innovators in the technology or resources sectors. The Company operates under a Federal Government program setup to encourage investment into innovation. The Company is listed on the ASX under the code “SOR”. (Source: PR Newswire)
03 Nov 20. Defense aerospace primes are raking in money for classified programs. Two months after disclosing the existence of a next-generation fighter jet demonstrator, the U.S. Air Force is staying mum on which company may have built it. But one thing is for sure: Classified aviation programs are on the rise, and opportunities abound for the three major American defense aerospace primes — Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing.
During an Oct. 20 earnings call with investors, Lockheed Martin Chief Financial Officer Ken Possenriede revealed the company’s Aeronautics division recently won a classified contract that would necessitate the construction of a new building in Palmdale, California, where the company’s Skunk Works development arm tests and creates prototypes of secret aircraft.
Sales for the division were up 8 percent in this year’s third quarter compared to the same period in 2019, with about $130m of the $502m boost attributed to classified work. But Possenriede alluded to even more growth on the horizon.
“For Aeronautics, we do anticipate seeing strong, double-digit growth at our Skunk Works, our classified advanced development programs. We continue to execute on those recent awards,” he said, adding that there were a “multitude of opportunities” still out there.
Classified work also increased at Northrop Grumman’s Aeronautics Systems unit, with “restricted activities” in the autonomous systems and manned aircraft portfolios helping bolster sales by 5 percent for the quarter and 4 percent year-to-date when compared to 2019, Chief Financial Officer Dave Keffer told investors Oct. 22.
It’s tempting to draw a line from these contract awards to the recent flight of a demonstrator for the Next Generation Air Dominance program — the Air Force’s effort to field a suite of air superiority technologies that could include drones, high-tech weapons and what some have termed as a sixth-gen fighter, although service officials have said any warplane in the mix might not resemble a traditional fighter.
Even though the Air Force announced in September that at least one NGAD demonstrator exists, it’s unclear which companies are involved.
Still, there are plenty of other longstanding and emerging Air Force requirements that could be the source of this classified work, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst for the Teal Group.
“It’s pretty clear that there’s more prototyping activity going on out there than was generally known. I had assumed that most of the work related to NGAD was happening at the systems level. It’s clearly happening at the airframe level too,” he said. “And then of course there are a lot of potential drone developments that are certainly worth watching,” from the MQ-9 Reaper replacement to strategic reconnaissance requirements, “which is fundamentally a very expensive activity.”
The wild card in this situation is Boeing. Because of investors’ focus on the commercial side of the business — including plans for the return of the Boeing 737 Max to flight, as well as the continued downward spiral of sales caused by the global pandemic and its chilling effect on air travel — executives did not speak about Boeing Defense, Space and Security’s classified activities during the company’s Oct. 28 earnings call.
“Overall, the defense and space market remains significant and relatively stable, and we continue to see solid global demand for our key programs,” a Boeing spokesman said in response to questions about the company’s classified business. “We project a $2.6trn market opportunity for defense and space during the next decade, which includes important classified work.”
After years of lost competitions, there are signs that the company’s combat aircraft production facilities in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as its advanced projects division, Phantom Works, are returning to health.
Over the past two years, the company has banked major awards, including the Navy’s MQ-25 tanker drone and the T-7A trainer jet, both of which were developed by Phantom Works. Boeing’s work on the T-7 received praise from Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper for its use of digital engineering, which involves simulating the design, production and life cycle of a product in order to drive down costs. The company has also started selling the advanced F-15EX fighter jet to the Air Force, breathing a second life into that aircraft with this latest variant.
But Aboulafia worried that pressure on Boeing’s commercial business — combined with its strategy of leveraging the work of other aircraft makers on projects like the T-7, where Swedish manufacturer Saab had a heavy influence in shaping the design — may have led to a loss of resources and engineering talent at Phantom Works.
“Either they’re sitting it out now because their focus is elsewhere, or they don’t have the capabilities and the commitment that the others do, or we’re just not hearing about it now,” he said.
Boeing is not the only company investing in digital engineering and advanced manufacturing processes. Northrop CEO Kathy Warden pointed to her company’s use of digital engineering in the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, which the company won in September to build the Air Force’s next-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“The work that we have done with the customer already, even under the tech maturation and risk reduction phase of the program, was done in a digital environment,” she said. “We delivered artifacts for review in a fully digital environment where they were actually looking at things in a model, not documents produced. This is the first time on a program of this size where that’s been the case.”
“Those investments that we’re making for GBSD are being utilized across our entire portfolio,” she added. “So as we think about Next Generation Air Dominance and the programs that are part of that overall campaign … they too will benefit from a full digital engineering thread as being required by our customers.” (Source: Defense News)
02 Nov 20. After signing the Future Combat Mission System consortium agreement during the Paris Air Show a good year ago, FCMS GbR presented its capabilities and strategic contributions on the way to the successful realisation of the Future Combat Air System at the 2nd FCAS Summit in Berlin in October.
In the course of the FCAS Summit, the FCMS experts provided both a clear, forward-looking overview of the technological challenges, such as the 4? Meta Sensor Effector System, where 4? describes the complete volume of sensor space around the platforms as well as the effectors. Also well received, some important insights into the operational requirements for the future System of Systems from the perspective of an experienced fighter pilot.
In addition, the FCMS consortium was able to report on important milestones achieved in the past year: The FCMS GbR was appointed national German lead for the “FCAS sensors” pillar and joint coordinator for various technology clusters within the technology development initiative for the Next Generation Weapon System within the FCAS programme led by the Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support of the German Armed Forces.
The FCMS industrial consortium, which has now also been approved by the antitrust authorities, combines with the German companies Hensoldt, Diehl Defence, ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH and Rohde & Schwarz essential core competencies in the field of national key technologies relevant to the FCAS/NGWS programme under one roof. The capabilities and innovative strength of some 22,000 employees in the security and defence industry, a good 16,000 of them in Germany, are combined in the FCMS team.
At the same time, the FCMS GbR stands for targeted cooperation and the development of further partnerships, in order to be able to successfully integrate the in-depth know-how of universities and research institutions as well as the agility of highly specialised German supplier companies into this outstanding pan-European programme. Further information: https://fcms-germany.net/
30 Oct 20. New GEOINT fusion analysis tool could play role in ABMS, JADC2 systems. New geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) fusion analysis software, designed to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies in the management of multisourced big data streams, could find a role in a pair of the US armed forces’ premiere multidomain command-and-control initiative.
The new GPX Fusion software developed by BAE Systems is squarely focused on helping GEOINT analysts navigate the ever-increasing stream of raw data gathered by intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites operating at geosynchronous orbit.
Under development for the last two and-a-half years, GPX Fusion “is really centred around how … to solve some of our customer’s big data challenges” by enabling end users to “essentially consume and visualise” not just GEOINT data but also non-imagery based intelligence data not previously possible, said Damon Brady, senior director of product development at BAE Systems’ Advanced GEOINT Systems.
The GPX software leverages graph database capabilities and natural language processing technologies “so that we can really go and consume any information and visualise any information” that is inputted into the GXP Xplorer analysis platform, Brady said on 20 October. “That allows [end users] to unlock new insights; we can find new patterns and new relationships across multisource data [sets],” he added.
The networked graph database capability allows end users to “sort through the clutter through a set of dynamic filters … and hone in on specific pieces of data, check the data for the specific relationships between them and then identify new things or create new linkages” to inform improved situational awareness or develop actionable intelligence, Brady said. “That graph [database] tool is really helping to quickly identify and allow the adjudication of some of these relationships” that could not be as easily visualised before, he added. (Source: Jane’s)
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.