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19 Nov 20. Naval Group reveals its R&D partnerships with Dutch industry and knowledge centers. On November 18th and 19th 2020, at the NEDS 2020 online event, Naval Group reveals the joint participation with Dutch partners to European research and development projects in key naval areas such as underwater noise reduction, propeller performance, increasing predictability and the deployment of unmanned
systems. Through its participation to several European projects, Naval Group joins strengths with Dutch industrial actors and knowledge centers to build the future of naval defence. These projects bring together key European players in their fields and allow to identify synergies between the know-how of the Dutch DITB and Naval Group expertise.
Underwater noise reduction & acoustic discretion
CRS LOW Noise
NavalGroup is actively taking part to the more than fifty years old Cooperative Research Ships(CRS). This non-profit association has made many significant contributions in the area of shipping and shipbuilding. The ongoing CRS LOWNOISE study (strategies and tools to control and reduce ship underwater radiated noise) intends to address the problem of the reduction and control of Underwater Radiated Noise (URN) from ships, developing knowledge and tools to support both ship design and ship operations. The project’s focus will be on reducing propeller and machinery noise. This project is a platform of exchanges between the main actors of this field: ABB, ABS, BERG Propulsion, Bureau Veritas, CETENA, DAMEN, DNV-GL, DRDC, Lloyd’s Register, MARIN, MTG, Naval Group, Navantia, QinetiQ, Wärtsilä.
The SATURN consortium brings together leading experts in bioacoustics; population biology; marine mammal, fish and invertebrate biology; maritime architecture and engineering; shipping; maritime policy; stakeholder engagement and science communication. This consortium has
three objectives. First, to identify the sounds that are most detrimental to aquatic species and how they are produced and propagated. Furthermore, to analyse the short-term and cumulative long-term negative impacts of noise from shipping and boats on three representative groups of aquatic species in rivers and the sea (invertebrates, fish and marine
mammals). Finally, the consortium tries to look for the most promising options for measuring and reducing the negative impacts of ship noise that can be applied to current and future vessels.
SATURN will develop and contribute to the establishment of standards for terminology and methodology to be used across all disciplines working on underwater radiated noise. These standards will underpin the proposed research. The consortium will establish and nurture an
effective community of researchers, practitioners, competent authorities, maritime operators, shipping/offshore/naval industries, and NGOs.
Increasing propulsion performance
CRS COMPROP2 – Predicting performance
Through the COMPROP2 project, the teams are aiming at developing coupled hydrodynamic and structures software to predict the performance of composite materials, called ComPropApp. This software was developed mainly by Marin (during CRS COMPROP Project) to analyze flexible propellers under open water conditions. Naval Group is responsible for composite material testing (cavitation erosion tests, mechanical tests). These tests allow the teams to evaluate the impact of natural ageing on materials. Mechanical tests results on composite materials are used
to compare structural tests results and simulation.
CRS PELS (Propeller Efficiency and Loads in Service, 2018-2020)
The project deals with the hydrodynamic behaviour and performances of ship propellers, and the associated loads, in off-design conditions: with incident drift, drift and speed variations, immersion variations, waves influence. This is supported by model tests performed by MARIN,
while numerical modelling is performed by other partners, including Naval Group/Sirehna. Dutch participants: MARIN, Damen and Wärtsilä NL.
Gaining additional sea state and enhancing predictability
CRS SCREAM (2020-2023)
The project deals with probabilistic/reliability analysis of the ship behaviour and loads in extreme waves. It specifically focuses on the prediction of the occurrences of critical events (screening) with simplified approaches, to be combined afterwards with a more accurate prediction of the loads with higher fidelity models. The Dutch partners involved in this project are MARIN and Damen.
CRS SALSA (2020-2023)
The project focuses on the ship behaviour at low speed and heavy weather or degraded conditions, and on the associated regulatory conditions (safe return to port…). The approach is based on computational fluid dynamics for a better understanding of phenomena, which can then be exploited for the improvement of simpler manoeuvrability modelling tools (MANWAV).
Dutch participants: MARIN, Damen and Wärtsilä NL.
CRS Roll Reduction 2 (2017-2020)
This workgroup aims at better modelling the ship roll motions, relying on computational fluid dynamics and experimental validation. The modelling of bilge keels is particularly studied.
Dutch participants: MARIN and Damen.
CRSMORE (Manoeuvring Operations Requirements Evaluation, 2018-2021)
The goal of this workgroup is a better understanding of hydrodynamic phenomena during ship manoeuvres at low speed, especially for naval ships. The project focuses on the phenomena analysis, on their modelling, and on the validation of the models.
Dutch participants: MARIN and Damen.
CRS GREENWATER (2017-2020)
The project deals with prediction methods for green water events (hydrodynamic impacts on bow flare, deck and superstructure), in terms of prediction of green water events occurrences, and of hydrodynamic flow simulation to assess the impact on the ship behaviour.
Dutch participants: MARIN and Damen.
CRS DD (DATA DRIVEN METHODOLOGIES, 2019-2021)
The work group aims at identifying the possible benefits of data science technologies to the maritime domain. SIREHNA (Naval Group subsidiary) is particularly interested in the methodologies investigations, and applications to seakeeping and ship performances management.
Dutch participants: MARIN and Damen.
Unmanned systems deployment
Interoperability Standards for Unmanned Armed Forces Systems – aims to create a basis for a future European interoperability standard for military unmanned systems. The technical knowledge and operational experience available in Europe on control, monitoring, and application
of unmanned systems will be integrated for the concept definition of a future European cross industry interoperability standard. This standard will allow unmanned assets to be deployed flexibly in different configurations, such as singular deployment, in manned-unmanned teaming
or as autonomous swarms independent of organizational or national provenance. SIREHNA, Naval Group subsidiary will cooperate with Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek Tno, non-profit organisation for applied scientific research
with expert knowledge in Intelligent Autonomous Systems and Stichting Nationaal Lucht-En Ruimtevaartlaboratorium, a non-profit research organisation, specialised in Intelligence, Surveillance, Recognition (ISR) and Space Utilisation (ASIS).
20 Nov 20. Airbus, Boeing expected to turn to hybrid engine technology for new planes – lessor. Airbus SE AIR.PA and Boeing Co BA.N are expected to turn to hybrid electric technology when they develop the next generation of airplanes because of limits on improving current engines, the head of a major aircraft lessor said on Thursday.
Airbus is already working hard on a hybrid solution but Boeing is likely to be more cautious about making a major investment in a new program given its challenges with the return of the 737 MAX and certification of the 777X, Air Lease Corp AL.N Chief Executive Steven Udvar-Hazy said at the Skift Aviation Forum.
“I have serious doubts that either Boeing or Airbus can design an all new airplane using current aerodynamic engine technologies that can have a meaningful – let’s call it double-digit advantage over what we already have,” he said in reference to fuel efficiency. “So what I see evolving is more of a hybrid.”
Udvar-Hazy said hybrid engines would allow for a lighter aircraft weight, as well as a technology transition rather than a step change.
“Almost like we didn’t go from all piston engine and diesel cars to all electric cars,” he said. “There’s that transition with hybrids that have a smaller gasoline engine and then an electric augmentation engine, like the Prius for the example.”
Airbus said last year it was considering producing a hybrid plane by 2035 as it strives for a low-emission aircraft, while Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC RR.L said in March it expected hybrid planes carrying around 100 people to be flying commercially by 2029.
Boeing did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Boeing’s director of environmental strategy Sean Newsum said in January that scaling up hybrid technology to a 737-sized plane could take decades, though hybrid-powered regional planes could enter service in the 2030s, according to a FlightGlobal report. (Source: Reuters)
19 Nov 20. BMT wins the first ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme challenge. The UKHO has announced BMT as the winner of its first ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme challenge on ‘Unlocking Autonomous Navigation.’
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has announced leading international design, engineering, science and risk management consultancy BMT as the winner of the first ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme challenge.
Launched earlier this year in collaboration with RE_SET, the programme aims to help start-ups and innovators develop new solutions that support safe, secure and thriving oceans. The programme’s first innovation challenge focused on ‘Unlocking Autonomous Navigation’ and tasked participants with identifying how marine geospatial data can support the safe navigation of commercial autonomous ships.
BMT’s solution for the Autonomous Navigation Challenge
For this challenge BMT created a new navigation system, which combines their REMBRANDT® and TUFLOW® simulation technologies to enhance autonomous operations planning and real-time navigation safety in busy waterways and ports.
The system successfully simulated the navigation of a 140m part-autonomous ferry in Plymouth port using multiple ADMIRALTY data sets, including bathymetry, tidal streams and heights, seabed composition and ship routing. This new application by BMT can also be linked to other external and environmental data sources, including satellite and AIS receivers, to ensure safety and efficiency.
As the challenge winner, BMT will collaborate with the UKHO, utilising marine geospatial data and expertise, to develop an alpha product for the autonomous shipping sector. In addition, as part of this challenge, BMT has won a seat at the IoT Tribe Space Endeavour Accelerator to further develop technologies using satellite-derived data.
Sarah Kenny OBE, Chief Executive of BMT, commented, “We strongly believe in the development and transition to a fully autonomous world and we are particularly proud to put our experience and knowledge towards a challenging navigation project that could become a catalytic factor for industrial innovation in this area and beyond. Thanks to these initiatives, introduced for the very first time this year by the UKHO, BMT will strengthen its technological leadership in a very competitive sector.”
Dr Phil Thompson, Director of Simulation and Training Products at BMT, commented, “Receiving this international award from the highly-esteemed UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is indeed an honour. BMT continues to further develop its technological expertise in the field of autonomous vessels’ navigation with the goal to create a centre of excellence in the UK for one of the strongest growing maritime sectors.”
Mark Casey, Head of Research, Design and Innovation at the UKHO, said, “We’re delighted to announce BMT as the winner of our Autonomous Navigation Challenge. This is a great achievement for BMT and an exciting milestone in the UKHO’s journey to support safe, secure and thriving oceans. The ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme was established to inspire innovative solutions to the threats faced by our oceans, as well as the opportunities. Our challenges aim to support the growth of the Blue Economy and unlock the power of marine geospatial data across a range of sectors. The team at BMT share the same goal and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with them.”
The UKHO plans to roll out more challenges to help tackle a number of vital issues, including renewable energy generation, blue carbon sequestration and sea-level rise modelling.
You can find out more about the programme and our latest challenge, ‘Transforming Maritime Risk and Insurance’, on the ADMIRALTY website:
- About the Marine Innovation Programme; https://www.admiralty.co.uk/innovation-programme
- ‘Transforming Maritime Risk and Insurance’ challenge: https://www.admiralty.co.uk/innovation-programme/maritime-insurance-challenge (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
19 Nov 20. Wearable connectivity solutions now easier to integrate into flexible structures. Fischer Connectors is enhancing the integration capability of its versatile plug & use Fischer Freedom™
Series. The product line has been extended with new products and accessories allowing design engineers to further optimize cable management in line with their SWaP (size, weight and power) requirements, and integrate low-profile connectors, cable assemblies and active devices easily into all sorts of materials, even the most flexible of fabrics.
The ruggedsewing junction of the new Fischer Freedom™ Quick Detach System allows to easily convert
flexible material into a potential panel, e.g., heavy duty tarp cover/tent, sail, vehicle tire blankets, smart
backpacks. The system’s adapter and retaining ring facilitate the quick fit and interchange of receptacles.
The new Fischer Freedom™ cabled receptacle in size 08 is a smaller version of the receptacle introduced to the market last year. With a metal housing, four signal and power contact tracks, IP68 sealing and EMI shielding, this new cabled receptacle is ready to use under any conditions, easy to integrate into garments or mount on panels, and quick to fit and remove.
Easy integration: two recent applications
The multiple award-winning Fischer Freedom™ technology platform enables design engineers to integrate more technology and functionality into fixed, portable or wearable devices and ecosystems in markets such as: defense & security, medical, instrumentation, industrial and civil engineering, robotics, wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT). The two following applications recently introduced to the defenseand industrial markets show how the unique features of Fischer Freedom™ – easy 360° mating, easy cleaning, easy integration thanks to low-profile design and ergonomics – benefit OEM integrators.
Wearin’s connected vest (Platinum 2020 Technology Innovators Award) is a centralized, integrated
connectivity system featuring six Fischer Freedom™ 7-contact receptacles fitted using the new Quick Detach System. VRaktion’s design engineers have integrated a Fischer Freedom™ 4-contact receptacle in plastic into a smart work shoe using an obstacle warning system with laser sensors.
19 Nov 20. SA Defence Innovation Partnership expands defence research innovation capabilities. South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Defence Innovation Partnership Advisory Board chair Kim Scott have announced the largest ever funding round of the South Australian Defence Innovation Partnership, with over $1m awarded to fund cutting-edge collaborative defence research ventures.
From quantum-enhanced clock synchronisation to development of freeform optics for small satellites to advanced 3D battlespace visualisation, the funding will drive innovation in Australian Defence research and development (R&D), funding of seven new projects will be enabled by the fourth round of the Defence Innovation Partnership’s Collaborative Research Fund.
Premier Steven Marshall said the research potential generated by the successful partnerships represents a critical component of the cutting-edge defence projects coming out of South Australia.
“The Collaborative Research Fund has already supported 13 innovative projects, and with an extra seven now awarded funding, we’re engaging some of our best scientists and researchers to help deliver advanced defence technologies and capabilities from South Australia,” Premier Marshall explained.
Space-related defence research features heavily this funding round with three of the seven new research projects supporting South Australia’s prerogative to push the frontiers of scientific knowledge in the space sector.
Securing collective Defence Innovation Partnership funding worth almost $450,000, successful space-related projects include:
- $150,000 for coastline monitoring using autonomous high-altitude platforms, led by Lux Aerobot, with partners the University of Adelaide and University of South Australia;
- $149,576 for the development of freeform optics for small satellites, led by University of South Australia, with partners Department of Defence (Defence Science and Technology Group), Amaero Engineering, the University of Adelaide, and SMR Automotive Australia; and
- $149,659 to develop nanofluid satellite thrusters, led by University of South Australia, with partners Department of Defence (Defence Science and Technology Group), the University of Adelaide, Inovor Technologies, ULVAC Technologies, and Nano Spaces.
Premier Marshall added, “A robust and resilient defence industry depends on a strong research base; South Australia prides itself on being visionary and our support of these innovative research projects cements this position. Establishing a collaborative environment in which defence-relevant research, development and innovation can thrive is a high priority for South Australia, and one that will continue to grow.”
Remaining projects will support delivery and sustainment of the nation’s future defence capabilities, and include:
- $150,000 for enabling superior decision making through battlespace visualisation, led by Voxon Photonics, with partners BAE Systems Australia, Flinders University, University of South Australia and the Royal Australian Navy;
- $150,000 for quantum-enhanced clock synchronisation over a free-space channel, led by Cryoclock, with partners the University of Adelaide, Department of Defence (Defence Science and Technology Group) and the University of South Australia;
- $149,986 for developing the intelligence and forensic potential of dust traces for counter-terrorism and national security, led by Flinders University, with partners the University of Adelaide, the Australian Federal Police, and the University of Canberra; and
- $131,738 to develop solutions for light pollution from console displays on naval platforms, led by APC Technology, with partners the University of Adelaide, and University of South Australia.
Defence Innovation Partnership Advisory Board chair Kim Scott said the seven successful projects are a strong example of how networks like the Defence Innovation Partnership push the potential of collaborative research for the benefit of Australia’s defence and national security.
“The exceptional scope of projects in this funding round demonstrate the breadth of innovation and real-world impact of South Australian researchers and industry. Science and technology is identified in the Defence Strategic Update as a key enabler of the successful delivery and sustainment of the nation’s enhanced defence capabilities,” Scott said.
Over three years, the Defence innovation Partnership has generated close to $8.3m of defence research and development funding in South Australia through its Collaborative Research Fund.
Scott added, “The Defence Innovation Partnership is delivering on this by supporting interdisciplinary research to develop world-class solutions for complex defence challenges.”
Seven pioneering projects supported under the first three funding rounds have so far reached completion with impact in diverse areas like electronic warfare, PFAS remediation and artificial intelligence for decision making and human factors.
The Defence Innovation Partnership is a collaborative venture between the South Australia government, the Department of Defence through the Next Generation Technologies Fund, and South Australia’s three universities – the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
18 Nov 20. DARPA contracts three teams for active flow control experimental aircraft. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued contracts to three industry teams to develop experimental aircraft (X-plane) based on active flow control, an area relatively little explored compared with traditional flight controls.
Aurora Flight Sciences, Lockheed Martin, and Georgia Tech Research Corporation were selected to work on the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) programme, according to an agency statement. The goal is to demonstrate significant efficiency benefits of active flow control, as well as improvements in aircraft cost, weight, performance, and reliability.
Alexander Walan, CRANE programme manager, was quoted by DARPA on 20 July as saying that the contract recipients are looking at using active flow control early in the design scope, which he said has not been done before. Active flow control, he said, has been explored at a component level but not as an integral piece of aircraft design. By altering the design approach, CRANE seeks to maximise the chance of a successful X-plane development while also integrating active flow control into the aircraft’s stability and control.
DARPA said on 17 November that the CRANE programme is organised into four phases. The current award includes a funded Phase 0 effort with an option for Phase 1. Proposals for Phases 2 and 3 will be solicited later in the programme. DARPA plans to execute Phase 1 contract options for at least two contractors. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Nov 20. Cobham Mission Systems’ VigilOX™ pilot breathing sensors selected by US Air Force for evaluation on T-6 test flights.
VigilOX™ sensors data is analyzed post-flight to help inform conditions around unexplained physiological events. Cobham Mission Systems’ VigilOX™ pilot breathing sensors have been selected by the U.S. Air Force to be evaluated on T-6 test flights as a first phase of the service’s Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Try-Decide-Buy (TDB) contract. VigilOX™ pilot-worn sensors capture comprehensive, real-time respiratory and cabin environmental data during flight to provide insight into the performance of both the aircraft system and pilot breathing. Data includes the oxygen concentration, flow rate, mask pressure, and cabin temperature, pressure and acceleration. If the evaluation of VigilOX™ is successful in the Try-Decide-Buy phase of the contract, the Air Force will procure a larger quantity of VigilOX™ sensors for use on T-6 training flights. The contract award is in support of the Sensors for T-6 Oxygen and Physiological Systems (STOPS) program.
“Being selected for evaluation by the Air Force is a reflection of the quality and trust in our comprehensive VigilOX™ sensor technology, as well as our team’s total commitment to protecting the warfighter,” said Rob Schaeffer, product director for Environmental Systems at Cobham Mission Systems. “VigilOX™ data will be analyzed post-flight to help understand the root cause of unexplained physiological events (UPEs) that have occurred on T-6 aircraft. This understanding will lead to better protection of the pilot.”
VigilOX™ has successfully completed evaluation by NAVAIR on F-18 and T-45 aircraft and has aided NAVAIR in closing out root cause and corrective action fault tree branches. The pilot sensors are also being flown by an international user group and have been used in a NASA pilot breathing study to better understand how flight conditions can impact a pilot’s breathing during high-performance aircraft flights.
Sera Star Systems (S3), a federal procurement solutions company approved to bid on the Air Force contract, is supplying VigilOX™ for this application. Should VigilOX™ be selected for future procurement, Sera Star will solicit a proposal from Cobham Mission Systems to supply follow up sensor hardware for the T-6 training flights.
16 Nov 20. USAF’s Tyndall AFB to deploy semi-autonomous robot dogs. The US Air Force (USAF) has announced that the Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida will deploy semi-autonomous robot dogs into their patrolling regiment. The US Air Force (USAF) has announced that the Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida will deploy semi-autonomous robot dogs into their patrolling regiment. It will be the first USAF AFB to implement the robot dogs. Tyndall AFB and the 325th Security Forces Squadron had partnered with Ghost Robotics for the development of a system to increase security and safety for the base population.
In an event on 10 November, the robots showcased their abilities.
USAF 325th Security Forces Squadron commander major Jordan Criss said: “We are very excited.
“We are the first unit within the Department of Defense to use this technology for enhanced security patrolling operations.”
The robots resemble a dog and will not replace the military working dogs.
They will support the patrolling operations, which are expected to permit the defenders of the Tyndall AFB to focus on the security actions that need a physical presence.
Criss added: “These robot dogs will be used as a force multiplier for enhanced situational awareness by patrolling areas that are not desirable for human beings and vehicles.”
They will be given a specific patrol path which will be overseen by the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Security Forces Electronic Security Sensor System.
Criss further stated: “We will be able to drive them via a virtual-reality headset within our Base Defense Operations Center.
“We will be able to see exactly what the robot dog is detecting through its mobile camera and sensor platform if desired, we will also be able to issue verbal commands to a person or people through a radio attached to the dogs.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
16 Nov 20. USN Makes Major JADC2 Push, Linking Sensors & Shooters. Recent exercises like RIMPAC and Valiant Shield have tested some of this new data sharing. “There’s a couple of ships on the bottom of the Pacific right now from those exercises that were demonstrating some of those concepts,” said Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler.
After two years of relative silence about All Domain Operations, the Navy is throwing more weight behind the Pentagon’s effort to link everything from submarines to drones flying high overhead on one shared network, assigning a group of admirals and a team from the defense industry to tackle the problem and find ways to link into the Joint All Domain Command and Control initiative.
The Navy’s vice chief of naval operations, its top acquisition official the vice commandant of the Marine Corps issued a memo that lays out the plan to develop Project Overmatch, the Navy’s answer to building a digital foundation for pushing more real-time data everywhere at once between the five services.
The Oct. 1 memo, obtained by Breaking Defense, lays out the structure of the Navy-wide effort to develop and field these new technologies, and names Rear Adm. Doug Small, chief of the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, as director of the various working groups.
Vice Adm. Mike Moran, principal military deputy in the Navy’s acquisition office, underscored that the push is one of the Navy’s top priorities during a virtual San Diego Military Advisory Council discussion last week. Budgets, he said, might have to be tweaked to “reallocate resources across programs to get at that interoperability piece; it may change the architecture of some of these things that we’re designing today,” to ensure that common systems can move data.
One of the key network and sensor issues in the past has been that different tribes within the Navy have gone about their business without focusing enough on how to operate with one another, leading to gaps in sharing data and targets as quickly as might otherwise be possible.
“We can’t have proprietary networks. We’ve got to be able to build applications and share data and work together,” Moran said. “We’ve got to do it across all of our systems, all of our programs, because that’s been our failure in the past. We’re trying to make interoperability part of the requirements set for delivery, but we haven’t been effective at it.”
During a virtual event hosted by Center for Strategic and International Studies on Friday, Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, said that while the Navy has been less public about their efforts than the Air Force and Army, they’re pushing hard.
Recent exercises like RIMPAC and Valiant Shield have tested some of these data sharing ideas, and “there’s a couple of ships on the bottom of the Pacific right now from those exercises that were demonstrating some of those concepts that we’re trying to get after,” he said.
Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is expected to unveil a Joint Warfighting Concept next month. A key goal of the concept will be defining Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) as a concept, as well as its requirements.
The Air Force is developing the Advanced Battle Management System as the backbone for connections required to build a military Internet of Things (IoT). The Army is pursuing Project Convergence to move targeting data from satellites in space to troops on the ground. Those efforts have generated hundreds of stories in the last year from the two services. But the Navy has been very quiet about JADC2 and related efforts. “We just don’t talk about it that way,” Trussler added.
The Oct. 1 memo makes Rear Adm. Small the Direct Reporting Program Manager spearheading the Navy’s work. It establishes a Three-Star Advisory Council made up of the (N9) Deputy Chief for Warfighting Requirements and Capabilities; the (N2/N6) deputy chief for information warfare; the Chief Information Officer, and James Geurts, the Navy’s acquisition chief.
The document also establishes a panel of industry advisors from the defense sector and academia to assist in understanding the art of the possible, and how to get there quickly.
In October, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday called for an initial plan for Project Overmatch by December, a timeline that aligns with other major changes happening within the service that will likely add hundreds of unmanned ships to the fleet in the coming years.
The Navy is going it alone in developing its network, which it then plans to tie in with the Air Force and Army’s efforts. But Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown has said he has spoken with Gilday about a possible accord to cooperate in developing a joint command and control network for future all-domain operations — along the lines of the MoU he signed Oct. 2 with Army Chief James McConville.
“We’re trying to link sensors, platforms, shooters, across the service – agnostic of the paths to get there, agnostic to the platforms and source. And that’s not just something somebody woke up and thought about last year. All the services were already working,” Trussler said. “It’s about taking the systems we have – the legacy systems we have, making them work together – and for all future systems we roll out and develop, they’re going to be built that way.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
09 Nov 20. UK government releases GBP7m for drone research ‘to build back better from COVID-19.’ Drone operator HEROTECH8 is among a number of companies to benefit from UK government funding to conduct ground-breaking aviation projects solving global challenges announced on 9 November 2020. HEROTECH8 is providing its drone-in-a-box technology for the Medidrone project to support the fight against COVID19 – establishing a network of physical drone infrastructure and looking closely at the safety/risk associated with BVLOS operations.
MediDrone’s project will develop a network of small drones following paths between medical facilities, acting as high-speed shuttles for small medical packages. This will improve the delivery speed of critical medication, and limit human contact with supplies to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to vulnerable patients
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy plans to provide a total of GPB33.5m for 48 projects are part of efforts to build back better from COVID-19 and support innovative new enterprises. The projects include using drones and aviation technologies to solve major global challenges, including coronavirus pandemic and climate change, while creating new jobs across the UK.
In this first GP7m wave, the government has selected 20 winning ideas. The 20 winning ideas will receive a share of £7m funding ranging from the development of drones capable of delivering COVID-19 medical supplies to remote areas, to technology to enable remote inspections of infrastructure and construction sites – removing the need for workers to potentially be put at risk.
The £33.5m investment comes from the Future Flight Challenge, which aims to increase mobility, reduce reliance on road travel thereby improving road congestion, and increase UK manufacturing opportunities.
Today the first wave of 20 winners have been announced, with more projects to be announced in the coming weeks.
Of these, 9 projects are focused on developing technology to aid the response to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes the development of unmanned drones to deliver medication, reducing human contact and, consequently, transmission of the virus.
Advances in alternative, green energy sources to power aircraft, including hydrogen and electricity, are also a key feature of some of the winning proposals.
The projects include:
- Windracers SWARM technology (Southampton, Bristol): This project will develop technology which allows multiple drones to fly in close formations for a variety of purposes including fighting fires and providing humanitarian aid
- Dock-to-Dock (Cardiff): Dock-to-Dock will demonstrate an alternative to road transportation between coastal cities, developing a pilot project to deliver goods by air using clean energy: initially between Avonmouth Docks in Bristol and Cardiff Docks in Wales. The project will focus on vehicle performance and the infrastructure necessary for hydrogen-powered electric aircraft which take-off and land vertically, and therefore don’t require runways
- NAPKIN (Greater London): By looking at different aspects of air travel – including aircraft, airports, airspace, airlines, passengers and communities – NAPKIN will help accelerate the introduction of sustainable, low and zero carbon commercial flights. This includes project partners Cranfield Aerospace, GKN and Rolls-Royce, who are developing conceptual designs for electric aircraft, while airport partners are using their expertise to assess the viability of plans for sustainable flights
- Drone Defence (Nottinghamshire): Drone Defence Services and the University of Nottingham will develop sensor technology to track aircraft. By monitoring all aircraft, Drone Defence aims to provide increased airspace awareness which will prevent drone misuse and enable drones to safely share the sky with other aircraft
- Gold Dragon (Llanbedr, Wales): this project will develop sensor technology for unmanned drones, prioritising health and emergency services including the Police, Coastguard, and Mountain Rescue. It is linked closely with skills development and STEM engagement activities with Gwynedd Council and the Welsh Government. In addition, a recent Economic Impact Assessment estimated that successful development at the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre could contribute 515 jobs to the local area.
The UK government announcement is part of wider support for the aviation and aerospace industries worth over £9.5bn in R&D grants, loans and guarantees, and support for exports and exporters.
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13 Nov 20. MTSU and Tennessee Air National Guard to Partner on Unmanned Aircraft Research. Leaders with Middle Tennessee State University and the 118th Wing of the Tennessee Army National Guard signed an agreement, on Nov. 3, to collaborate in several areas, notably in research of unmanned aircraft systems operations and computer science.
The memorandum of understanding signed by MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes, Tennessee Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes and Wing Commander Col. Todd A. Wiles also calls upon both entities to collaborative training and research initiatives.
“We at MTSU take great pride in the many unique and productive partnerships that our academic colleges and units establish to provide real-world opportunities and experiences for our students,” Byrnes said.
Holmes, who oversees the state’s National Guard and the Air National Guard units, described the pact as an historic document.
“There are so many innovative things the university has done in the past — the collaboration of military and the support of veterans,” said Holmes, who attended MTSU as an undergraduate. “MTSU is simply a leader.”
Wiles, whose 15th and current military assignment began in November 2019, said the 118th wing was “looking forward to doors opening.”
“It’s a perfect fit,” Wiles said. “We are a thought-leader in our field with cyber intelligence, civil engineering and other fields. Any time you partner with thought-leaders and educational leaders like MTSU, it’s very exciting.”
Byrnes shared how MTSU facilitates hands-on experiences for students, singling out the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, who was represented Tuesday by Dean Bud Fischer, which includes the departments of Aerospace and Computer Science.
He also thanked the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, overseen by Vice Provost David Butler, who also serves as dean of the College of Graduate Studies, for helping facilitate the agreement.
The mission of the 118th Wing, based in Nashville, is to provide the U.S. Air Force with persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and combat capability, as well as support in Tennessee during times of emergency.
“Given the wing’s use of this technology and given MTSU’s expertise as one of the firs in the nation in the creation of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations major through our Department of Aerospace, our collaborations hold great promise for teaching and research,” Byrnes added.
The 118th Wing’s mission is to provide the Air Force with persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and combat capability, as well as support in Tennessee during times of emergency.
The partnership with the 118th Wing joins several other successful similar initiatives of the university, Byrnes said:
This is the 70th year of MTSU’s partnership with the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, which has produced hundreds of officers for the Army, Army Reserve and the National Guard.
Several MTSU students are also enrolled in Air Force ROTC as part of a regional detachment based in Nashville.
And, MTSU has partnered since 2014 with Civil Air Patrol, the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, in aerospace education for young men and women in its cadet program.
Byrnes recognized also recognized retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, with being instrumental in the creation of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center. The center is the largest and most comprehensive in Tennessee, serving more than 1,000 student veterans and their family members.
“We at MTSU take pride in these partnerships and initiatives, as well as our commitment to serving members of the Guard, and its veterans and family members, attending our university, to reach their higher education goals,” Byrnes said.
“I am confident the partnership we will start today with the Tennessee Air National Guard will take its rightful and successful place among these initiatives,” Byrnes added. “And we appreciate the trust you have placed in us for this effort.” (Source: UAS VISION/Rutherford Source)
13 Nov 20. DARPA Selects Teams to Advance Dogfighting Algorithms. DARPA recently awarded contracts to five companies to develop algorithms enabling mixed teams of manned and unmanned combat aircraft to conduct aerial dogfighting autonomously.
Boeing, EpiSci, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Heron Systems, and physicsAI were chosen to develop air combat manoeuvring algorithms for individual and team tactical behaviours under Technical Area (TA) 1 of DARPA’s Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program.
Each team is tasked with developing artificial intelligence agents that expand one-on-one engagements to two-on-one and two-on-two within-visual-range aerial battles. The companies’ algorithms will be tested in each of three program phases: modelling and simulation, sub-scale unmanned aircraft, and full-scale combat representative aircraft scheduled in 2023.
“The TA1 performers include a large defense contractor, a university research institute, and boutique AI firms, who will build upon the first-gen autonomous dogfighting algorithms demonstrated in the AlphaDogfight Trials this past August,” said Air Force Col. Dan “Animal” Javorsek, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office. “We will be evaluating how well each performer is able to advance their algorithms to handle individual and team tactical aircraft behaviours, in addition to how well they are able to scale the capability from a local within-visual-range environment to the broader, more complex battlespace.”
The ACE program seeks to increase trust in combat autonomy by using human-machine collaborative dogfighting as its challenge problem, which also serves as an entry point into developing complex human-machine teaming. The program is implementing methods to predict, measure, calibrate, and increase human trust in the autonomy’s performance. Additionally, ACE will scale the tactical application of autonomous dogfighting to more complex, heterogeneous, multi-aircraft, operational-level simulated scenarios. These scenarios will be informed by live data, laying the groundwork for future live, campaign-level Mosaic Warfare experimentation.
“While much of the excitement surrounding ACE is based upon the success of AlphaDogfight Trials and the promise of autonomous tactical air combat, the program is ultimately focused on developing a protocol for teaching humans to trust autonomy and to develop more advanced human-machine symbiosis,” said Tim Grayson, director of DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office. “The award of these TA1 contracts represents the first step toward developing the AI side of that partnership.”
With the selection of the TA1 algorithm developers, performers for the program’s four technical areas are all now on contract. Performers for TAs 2-4 were selected earlier this year. TA2 performer SoarTech is developing experimental methodology for modelling and measuring pilot trust in dogfighting autonomy as well as novel human-machine interfaces (HMI). TA3 performers Dynetics and Lockheed Martin are developing a data set and model for large force exercise data analytics to evaluate how well TA1 algorithms scale to larger, more complex multi-aircraft scenarios. TA4 performer Calspan is supplying full-scale L-39 aircraft for Phase 3 of the program, with the goal of demonstrating TA1 autonomous dogfighting algorithms and TA2 HMIs on full-scale combat aircraft with a human safety pilot on board.
“In Phase 1, the different technical areas will be participating in AlphaDogfight Trials-like scrimmages of increasing realism as we mature the tech and continue to reduce risk for the transition to sub-scale unmanned aircraft less than a year away,” said Javorsek. (Source: UAS VISION)
13 Nov 20. Orolia, the world leader in Resilient Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT), through its Orolia Defense & Security business, has announced the availability of M-Code Military GPS receivers in its Resilient PNT products and solutions, including M-Code enabled mobile mission timing and synchronization platforms. M-Code capabilities further enhance Orolia’s Versa mobile PNT platform for rugged, small SWaP-C requirements and Orolia’s flagship SecureSync® resilient time and frequency reference solution – the first Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) approved time server.
M-Code is a military signal used in the L1 and L2 GPS bands and is required by Congressional mandate for Department of Defense (DoD) military operations. It is designed to enhance positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities and improved resistance to existing and emerging GPS threats, such as jamming and spoofing. M-Code offers several operational benefits, including a higher-power signal that offers improved resistance to jamming and interference; advanced security features to prevent unauthorized access or exploitation; and improved message formats and signal modulation techniques for faster and more accurate performance.
“As threats against GPS increase, military forces will need M-Code capabilities on mobile PNT systems to ensure continuous operations wherever they go,” said Hironori Sasaki, President of Orolia Defense & Security. “Orolia is proud to continue to support Department of Defense initiatives to ensure that warfighters have the most secure, reliable and accurate positioning, timing and synchronization solutions in any environment.”
From resilient PNT solutions to GPS/GNSS simulation, interference detection and mitigation, Orolia is the industry leader in end-to-end NAVWAR and Resilient PNT solutions to protect, augment and strengthen military systems for GPS-denied environments.
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.