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15 Jan 21. BAE, Flinders Uni collaborate on Factory of the Future. BAE Systems Australia and Flinders University, in conjunction with the South Australian government, have stepped up the support and delivery of the Flinders Uni ‘manufacturing accelerator’ initiative to support the delivery of major defence projects like the Hunter Class frigate program.
Fast tracking world leading manufacturing technologies and processes to support major defence projects such as the Hunter Class Frigate Program and boost South Australia’s advanced manufacturing sector are at the heart of a Flinders University “manufacturing accelerator” initiative, which is being supported by the South Australian government.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall visited the site on Thursday for construction of Stage One of the Line Zero – Factory of the Future facility to see first-hand some of the advanced technologies and processes that will be supported by the State’s $5m commitment, matching Flinders University’s investment in the initiative.
The Line Zero – Factory of the Future will be a world-class manufacturing accelerator embedded within South Australia’s Tonsley Innovation District.
Driven by Flinders University, it began with a temporary pilot ‘pop up’ factory developed in collaboration with BAE Systems Maritime Australia. The $10m co-funding enables a permanent Factory of the Future to now be built.
Flinders University vice-chancellor Professor Colin Stirling welcomed the South Australian government’s expanded support, stating, “The Line Zero – Factory of the Future is a crucial element in our research translation; taking research out of the lab and applying it in the real world.
“Flinders University’s new Factory of the Future at Line Zero will help accelerate the growth of advanced manufacturing necessary to support the federal government’s $90bn naval shipbuilding program in SA. We welcome the state government’s $5m investment, matching Flinders University’s own commitment to this important initiative that will position South Australia at the national vanguard of the Industry 4.0 agenda for advanced manufacturing technologies.”
Detailing the focus, Professor Stirling added, “Our initial focus will be on collaborative research and training designed to maximise the engagement of South Australian companies and workers with the shipbuilding industry. However, future stages of the Factory of the Future will support a broad range of industries, enabling their trialling and adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, thus contributing to durable jobs growth across the South Australian economy.”
BAE Systems Maritime Australia managing director Craig Lockhart added, “Digital shipbuilding is all about connectivity – not just within the physical and digital shipyard but with our supply chain and customer – and the partnership between BAE Systems Maritime Australia and Flinders University at Tonsley is creating a digital and advanced manufacturing test environment to improve outcomes at Osborne.
“The Line Zero – Pilot Factory of the Future facility provides a controlled space where we can collaborate with industry and researchers to trial new manufacturing techniques and processes that will ultimately be used by BAE Systems Maritime Australia to build the nine Hunter Class frigates.”
Lockhart said, “It is our ambition that the digital and technological advancements demonstrated by the supply chain will lead to improved productivity, safety and quality outcomes, equipping our highly-skilled workforce with Industry 4.0 technologies that support activities undertaken in a modern digital shipyard. Just last month we announced four Australian companies we selected as part of our inaugural ‘Innovation Challenge’ to showcase their ‘track and trace’ technologies, and we are now calling on businesses to lodge expressions of interest for the second challenge – focusing on digital safety technologies.”
The Pilot Line Zero factory was established in 2020 as a joint venture between Flinders University and BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly ASC Shipbuilding) as a proving ground for technologies that can be adapted to the Hunter program.
The $10m jointly provided by Flinders University and the State Government will fast track the expansion of the Flinders University Factory of the Future in supporting a wider range of manufacturing interests and setting the scene for future stages pending investment. (Source: Defence Connect)
13 Jan 21. UK DASA launches competition for developing survey system for troops. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in the UK has launched the second phase of a competition that seeks to develop a survey system for armed troops.
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in the UK has launched the second phase of a competition that seeks to develop a survey system for armed troops.
The Map the Gap Phase 2 competition builds on the achievements of Phase 1 and aims to further develop a surveying technology that will help the soldiers safely and stealthily advance over water.
The competition is run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
In Phase 1, the programme had indicated the feasibility of integrating existing sensors to delivery platforms to collect the physical gap measurements.
Phase 2 of the competition will assess submissions on how the technology can be further developed to achieve an in-service capability system.
Funding of £2m was also allocated to finance multiple proposals.
DASA delivery manager Robert Hammond-Smith said: “Current methods of surveying water crossings expose the soldier to danger at the forward edge of the battlefield, and risks compromising the potential crossing point by revealing our interest in that location.
“We are seeking collaborative technology solutions that reduce the burden on the soldier, enabling better decision making and reducing the incumbent risks.
“We aim to put those solutions into the hands of our soldiers more quickly by asking our friends in academia and industry to work together on ideas so that DASA can accelerate solutions to a higher level of readiness.”
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The completion is expected to close on 9 March 2021.
DASA is the innovation hub of the UK MoD and funds potential technologies that can provide the UK Armed Forces with a strategic advantage over adversaries. (Source: army-technology.com)
12 Jan 21. TE Connectivity introduces MIL-SPEC-qualified protective covers for 38999 series IV connectors. TE Connectivity (TE), a world leader in connectivity and sensors, is introducing its DEUTSCH 38999 series IV metal protective connector covers. TE is one of the first MIL-SPEC-qualified suppliers to offer these protective covers, which gives aerospace and defense customers an alternative to more expensive commercial versions.
TE’s metal protective connector covers are designed to help protect connectors in their unmated condition from debris and fluids like rain, sand, jet fuels, hydraulic fluids, dust and other substances that can damage the connector. Available in five plating configurations and eight shell sizes, these covers offer a rugged, lightweight way of creating environmentally sealed conditions for the connector.
“Because we are offering these covers through our channel partners, customers can purchase them in smaller quantities and expect shorter lead times,” said Scott Miller, product manager for TE’s Aerospace, Defense and Marine division.
TE’s DEUTSCH 38999 series IV metal protective connector covers are qualified to MIL-DTL-38999 Series IV, D38999/51 and D38999/52 slash sheets. They are designed for military and commercial avionics systems, ground vehicles, radar systems and missile launch platforms, among other applications.
For more information on TE’s DEUTSCH 38999 series IV metal protective connector covers, visit the product page te.com/38999_seriesIV_metal-covers or https://www.te.com/usa-en/product-CAT-D38999-DIV1A.html.
13 Jan 21. Intel to replace Bob Swan as chief. Embattled US chip giant makes move just days before strategy update. Intel is replacing its chief executive Bob Swan after a series of manufacturing setbacks and competitive blunders that lost the veteran Silicon Valley company its crown as the top US chipmaker. Mr Swan, its former finance chief who held the top job for just over two years, will be succeeded on February 15 by former Intel veteran Pat Gelsinger, who is currently chief executive of VMware, the infrastructure software group. The company made the move just days before Mr Swan was expected to unveil Intel’s new manufacturing strategy, together with the company’s latest earnings. Last July, Intel was overtaken by Nvidia as the most valuable chip company in the US after it delayed its next generation of chips because of manufacturing problems.
Since then, Mr Swan has been under pressure to decide whether Intel would invest further in chipmaking to compete with its rivals TSMC and Samsung, or start to outsource more production to them. Shares in Intel opened more than 12 per cent up at $59.51, handing a rapid return to activist investor Third Point, which took a stake last month and publicly agitated for change, when Intel shares were trading below $50. “Swan is a class act and did the right thing for all stakeholders stepping aside for Gelsinger,” said Third Point founder Dan Loeb in a Twitter message after the news was first reported by CNBC. Mr Gelsinger had previously spent 30 years at Intel, including as its chief technology officer, before he left just over a decade ago to join VMware’s former parent company EMC. “Pat is a proven technology leader with a distinguished record of innovation, talent development, and a deep knowledge of Intel. He will continue a values-based cultural leadership approach with a hyper focus on operational execution,” said Omar Ishrak, independent chairman of the Intel board. “I am thrilled to rejoin and lead Intel forward at this important time for the company, our industry and our nation,” said Mr Gelsinger. Recommended LexInvestor activism Intel/Third Point: not so fab Premium Intel had about $60bn wiped off its market capitalisation in 2020.
The biggest shock came in July, when its shares fell 17 per cent in a day after it revealed it was 12 months behind schedule in developing the new process technology needed to manufacture its latest generation of chips. Mr Swan, a former eBay executive, was promoted in January 2019, following the resignation of Brian Krzanich, who failed to disclose an affair with another employee. Mr Swan had pledged to make data, rather than personal computers, Intel’s strategic focus, as the tech industry’s growth engine shifted to cloud computing. Mr Ishrak said on Wednesday that Mr Swan had made “significant contributions through this period of transformation for Intel”. However, Apple’s announcement in mid-2020 that it would be shifting its Macs away from Intel to an Arm-based processor of its own design showed that Intel still faced vigorous competition. Nvidia’s $40bn planned acquisition of Arm, the UK chip company whose designs power the vast majority of mobile devices, will only add to the pressure on Intel. (Source: FT.com)
13 Jan 21. Naval Group equips a French navy ship with a 3D-printed propeller. Naval Group manufactured this new-generation propeller thanks to a metal 3D printing process. Mounted on a tripartite minehunter, the propeller will now accompany the ship in all of its operational missions.
This propeller is a technological exploit. With its 2.5-metre span supported by five 200-kg blades, the equipment left the workshops of the Naval Group site of Nantes-Indret in October 2020 for the site of Brest in order to be mounted on the propeller shaft. As part of its major technical stop, the assembly was transferred to the submarine base to be mounted on the intermediate shaft of the Andromède in November. Sea trials were then performed successfully at the end of December.
A world first for this on-board innovation
“Obtaining military naval quality requires rigorous development. Nearly three years of R&D – carried out by the Technical and Innovation Department in cooperation with the Ecole Centrale de Nantes within the framework of the LabCom Joint Laboratory of Maritime Technology – went into the development of the deposition process of metal wire fusion,” states Emmanuel Chol, Director of the Nantes-Indret site. “Today, we witness a world first. It is the largest metal 3D-printed thruster ever to have been manufactured and the first propeller resulting from this technology, embarked on board a military ship and manufactured for use beyond just sea trials.”
The harsh conditions in which ships are used warrant the need to meet strict requirements (corrosion, fatigue, shock resistance, etc.). Naval Group worked together Bureau Véritas throughout the process to present its technical justification file in order to allow the SSF (Fleet Support Services) and the DGA (French Defence Procurement Agency) to authorise the trial of the blades produced on a military ship in normal operating conditions. The blades received certification from Bureau Véritas.
€7m investment in metal 3D printing in 2021
For Eric Balufin, Director of the Naval Group site of Brest, “the assembly of this 3D-printed propeller shows great promise for the future. This new technology will enable us to considerably reduce technical constraints, and therefore allow for newmanufacturing solutions for complex geometrical shapes which cannot be produced through conventional processes. It will also enable us to greatly reduce production time and consequently in-service support.”
This propeller is a first step. A new development phase will begin, aimed at revamping the detailed design of other parts so that they benefit from 3D printing (acoustic discretion, weight reduction, increased productivity of the parts). For example, 3D-printed production of thrusters will provide ships with greater efficacy at sea: increased thrust efficiency, stealth and lightening.
12 Jan 21. Mercury Systems Earns IPC-1791 Qualified Manufacturer’s Certifications. Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, announced that three of its manufacturing locations received IPC-1791 certifications, earning a place on the IPC Qualified Manufacturer’s Listing (QML) as a Trusted Supplier. Mercury is the only OEM in the U.S. to have multiple sites certified to the IPC-1791 standard with two in Hudson, N.H. and one in Phoenix, Ariz.
IPC-1791 QML is a facility-level certification based on a “Trusted Electronic Designer, Fabricator, and Assembler Requirements” standard. IPC standards help ensure superior quality, reliability, and consistency in electronics manufacturing. To achieve the status as a trusted source and supplier, manufacturing facilities are vigorously vetted and undergo an intensive audit process to help optimize product quality, reliability, and consistency across the entire supply chain. Stringent requirements for this certification include reviews of a company’s product and quality systems, supply chain risk management system (SCRM), security system, including compliance to export control laws (ITAR and EAR), and chain of custody system (ChoC).
“Having earned the QML for our three locations validates Mercury’s commitment to delivering high quality, reliable products to our customers,” said Amir Allahverdi, senior vice president, Mercury. “We are part of a global network of trusted sources that the industry will look to first and foremost when evaluating potential business partners.”
Mercury received its first certification in December 2019 at its Phoenix facility and was one of only ten companies in the U.S. at that time to achieve accreditation as a Trusted Supplier. Since then, Mercury has invested significantly to earn multiple site certifications and designations and is committed to earning more.
“Different from other audit programs, IPC’s validation services program uniquely provides technical and in-depth assessments of products and processes in accordance with IPC standards,” said Randy Cherry, IPC director of Validation Services. “We are pleased to especially recognize Mercury Systems for becoming a member of IPC’s network of trusted QML suppliers.”
12 Jan 21. Sweden spells out Gripen, UCAV, and AEW&C plans. Sweden has firmed up the numbers of Gripen combat aircraft it plans to field over the coming years, at the same time as disclosing its intent to field a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) and to recapitalise its airborne early warning and control (AEW) fleet.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist laid out his government’s plans in a speech delivered on 12 January at the National Conference of the People and Defence 2021.
“The air force is strengthened by the fact that we will now operate a total of 100 JAS Gripens in two versions, instead of what was originally intended 60. The long-range combat capability against ground targets that will be added gives us the opportunity to reach enemy territory with considerable range. It is a real strengthening of Swedish operational capability, which is also an important security policy signal,” he said.
The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) currently fields approximately 100 Gripen C/D aircraft, which it originally intended to replace with 60 Gripen Es. However, it was recently disclosed that an unspecified number of Gripen C/Ds would be retained through to 2035 to help boost overall numbers. According to Hultqvist’s comments, the service will now retain 40 Gripen C/Ds, though he has yet to break this figure down into the number of single seat Cs and twin seat Ds. The total Gripen force will be divided between four Gripen E squadrons and two Gripen C/D squadrons. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Jan 21. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has received a contract award from Lockheed Martin Corporation to enable new functionality to protect the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter. As part of a collaborative arrangement between Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, the three companies will integrate Northrop Grumman’s AN/ASQ-242 Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification (ICNI) and BAE Systems’ AN/ASQ-239 Electronic Warfare/Countermeasures (EW/CM) system for optimal operational utility.
“This arrangement allows us to collectively provide enhanced capabilities without compromising the size, weight or power of the aircraft,” said Howard Lurie, vice president, F-35 programs, Northrop Grumman. “We are proud to be a primary partner of the F-35 team, providing our U.S. and allied warfighters superior combat effectiveness.”
Northrop Grumman’s ICNI system provides F-35 pilots with more than 27 fully-integrated operational functions. Using its industry-leading software-defined radio technology, Northrop Grumman’s design allows the simultaneous operation of multiple critical functions while greatly reducing size, weight and power demands on the advanced F-35 fighter. These functions include Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), automatic acquisition of fly-to points, and various voice and data communications such as the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL).
The BAE Systems’ AN/ASQ-239 system is an advanced, proven electronic warfare suite that provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support, and self-protection to detect and defeat threats and enable the F-35 to reach well-defended targets.
“As Lockheed Martin’s electronic warfare integrator for all F-35 aircraft, we’re committed to equipping our customers with advanced capabilities that help them conduct their missions,” said Deborah Norton, vice president of F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems. “Under this collaborative agreement, we will work closely with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to enhance the capability of our fully integrated EW system – heightening pilots’ situational awareness and helping them evade, engage and defeat modern threats.”
As the provider for F-35’s ICNI continuously since low rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 1, Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 750 shipsets to date. Components of the new functionality are planned to begin incorporation starting in 2025 (Lot 17) and will include upgraded electronics and software.
Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35. The company manufactures the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, produces and maintains several sensors, avionics and mission systems as well as mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training courseware, electronic warfare simulation testing and low-observable technologies.
12 Jan 21. Complete Sonardyne suite for Dive Technologies’ large displacement AUV. Quincy, Massachusetts, based underwater robotics innovator Dive Technologies has chosen a complete suite of Sonardyne technologies for navigation, tracking and control of its large displacement DIVE-LD autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) programme.
The DIVE-LD AUV is being developed to meet a wide range of long-endurance mission requirements, across the commercial, research and defence sectors. To support long-distance and long-duration navigation, while minimising complexity and payload space consumption, the vehicle is fitted with Sonardyne’s industry leading hybrid navigator SPRINT-Nav.
For underwater positioning and acoustic communications, the DIVE-LD is fitted with Sonardyne’s AvTrak 6 – a combined transponder, modem and emergency relocator beacon all in one. To cover all its concepts of operations (CONOPS), including tracking and communication during development and testing, Dive Technologies has also acquired Sonardyne’s most capable Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) system, Ranger 2, with its latest, compact Gyro USBL.
The DIVE-LD AUV, measuring 48 inches in diameter and 19 feet long and designed for operations down to 6,000 m water depth, is currently in production in the US with sea testing ongoing in New Bedford.
Founded in 2018, Dive Technologies’ rapid development program has included support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and technology partnerships with organizations including the Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics at Virginia Tech.
A key part of the development has been to opt for high-performance, off-the-shelf systems, such as SPRINT-Nav for navigation, allowing the company to focus on building certain customised systems in-house. SPRINT-Nav, which is available across a range of performance levels, all in the same form factor, also supports Dive Technologies’ focus on mission adaptability, as does Ranger 2.
Tim Raymond, Dive Technologies’ Director of Research and Development, says that Ranger 2 offered a proven platform with a track record across a wide range of use cases, offering flexibility and scalability in functionality and complexity.
“With a new development effort underway for Dive Technologies’ DIVE-LD autonomous underwater vehicle, we had a wide range of use cases in mind and needed a single system capable of supporting the various mission sets we had in mind,” he says. “We also needed a topside system which could scale in functionality and complexity with our vehicle as we continue to add features and capabilities, from our initial testing where our needs were just tracking and emergency commands, to more advanced features such as USBL aiding and SMS transmission of vehicle and data health metrics.
“Ranger 2 is a good fit for both of these needs and it has enabled us to meet our challenging goals of simultaneous development and testing while maintaining consistent and impressive performance even in challenging operating conditions. The system has proven reliable, easy to use, and portable to support mobilisation on a variety of support vessels.”
“We’re excited to see the work that Dive Technologies is rapidly progressing through the DIVE-LD program,” says Dan Zatezalo. “The wide range of missions they’re targeting as well as their focus on highly-scalable open software and hardware architectures aligns with where we see the industry heading. Our own philosophy has been about integrating and simplifying our systems by utilizing a common platform and software architecture, while also improving performance and offering flexibility and scalability. We look forward to seeing the DIVE-LD performing.”
Ranger 2 is Sonardyne’s highest performing USBL system, capable of simultaneous long range target tracking, dynamic positioning (DP) and subsea communications. It is being supplied to Dive Technologies with Sonardyne’s new compact Gyro USBL, which combines the vessel heading, pitch and roll data that’s critical to USBL system precision, with an acoustic transceiver in a single housing, supporting system simplification and ease of mobilisation.
SPRINT-Nav combines Sonardyne’s SPRINT INS sensor, Syrinx 600 kHz DVL and a high accuracy intelligent pressure sensor into a single housing, making it one of the smallest combined inertial navigation instruments on the market. SPRINT-Nav’s tight integration of raw sensor data at a low level provides unprecedented navigational performance and precision for subsea vehicles, consistently outperforming competing systems in customer trials.
Built for simple integration on medium to large AUV platforms, AvTrak 6 combines the functions of transponder, transceiver and telemetry link in one low power unit, leaving more payload space and power for other instruments. It enables AUVs to undertake simultaneous LBL ranging, USBL tracking via a surface vessel and robust telemetry for AUV to vessel and AUV-to-AUV communications.
12 Jan 21. Rohde & Schwarz presents new handheld vector network analyzer up to 26.5 GHz. Rohde & Schwarz now offers the R&S ZNH, a full two-port handheld vector network analyzer up to 26.5 GHz with cable and antenna analysis and full S-parameter measurements. Both of these functions are included free of charge. The R&S ZNH is user-friendly, easy to configure and has a compact fanless housing for field applications.
The R&S ZNH handheld vector network analyzer helps detect and remedy defective RF cables and communications system components. It can also characterize components up to 26.5 GHz in the field and lab. The R&S ZNH comes standard with essential functions, such as cable and antenna measurements and full 2-port S-parameter measurements. The analyzer also has a built-in receiver step attenuator at both ports that protects it from overloading. The R&S ZNH four-receiver architecture supports unknown through, open, short and match (UOSM) calibrations. Best in class RF performance features such as low trace noise (0,0025 dB RMS), 100 dB dynamic range, 0 dBm typical maximum output power and 16,001 measurement points make the R&S ZNH ideal for installing and maintaining RF communications systems and characterizing basic RF components.
Additional R&S ZNH options such as a power meter, pulse measurement, wave ratio and wave quantities enable field engineers to maintain and swiftly restore radar and satellite systems. The options are provided using a software keycode.
Weighing just 3 kg, the R&S ZNH has a small form factor, fanless design, long battery life and widely spaced large keys for comfortable operation with gloves, making it convenient for work in the field. The 7″ multi-touch display uses smart touch gestures similar to smartphones in lab applications. The R&S ZNH is simple and user-friendly to operate. Novice users can operate the analyzer with no previous training. The wizard function enables pre-configuration of test sequences, reducing on-site errors. Free InstrumentView and MobileView software enables measured data to be forwarded straight from the field to the lab for parallel analysis.
The handheld R&S ZNH is also ideal for R&D labs, production lines and universities, where space and budgets are limited, and for measuring RF components in production environments such as filters, amplifiers, cables, connectors and antennas. The handheld vector network analyzer R&S ZNH is now available from Rohde & Schwarz.
11 Jan 21. Robotic Research Joins Persistent Systems Wave Relay Ecosystem. Persistent Systems, LLC, a supplier of mobile ad hoc networking (MANET), announced that autonomous and unmanned vehicle technologies provider Robotic Research has joined the Wave Relay Ecosystem, an industry alliance of sensor and unmanned system companies that all utilize Persistent’s Wave Relay mobile ad hoc network.
“The aim of the Wave Relay Ecosystem is to deliver the warfighter a truly unified battlefield network,” said Jeffrey Washington, Director of Business Development at Persistent Systems, “where all of the sensors and unmanned systems are united to deliver the warfighter real-time situational awareness.”
Robotic Research’s WarLoc, a boot-worn sensor for keeping track of dismounted troops in GPS-denied environments (caves, skyscrapers, subway tunnels), has already been proven to integrate and work seamlessly with Persistent’s MPU5 tactical networking device. WarLoc is currently deployed across U.S. Army Brigade Combat Teams and with U.S. Special Operations Command forces.
Likewise, Robotic Research plans to includes Persistent technology in its Pegasus II, mid-sized, transformable UAS/UGV. It is part of the company’s family of tactically deployable, transformable, autonomous robotic systems that provides all the air capability of a VTOL unmanned aerial system (UAS) in conjunction with the capabilities of an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). Robotic Research developed Pegasus for DTRA/CCDC AC in support of specialized missions where the system’s unique sequential use of aerial and ground capabilities extends the reach of the warfighter. Pegasus II demonstrated those capabilities during Project Convergence 20, where it was recognized as one of the most futuristic systems there.
Persistent is positioned to field over 10,000 radios/tactical networking devices to the U.S. Army across five UGV Programs of Record, and it is this leadership in networking unmanned vehicles that makes the collaboration between the two companies so significant.
“Robotic Research is honoured to be a provider of autonomous and unmanned products and systems for a wide variety of defense and intelligence customers across the national security spectrum,” said Alberto Lacaze, co-founder and President of Robotic Research. “As a Wave Relay Ecosystem Partner, we can ensure that we are building our systems to be a part of the larger, integrated warfighter network that is taking shape on the battlefield.”
Robotic Research is also the prime autonomy provider of autonomous vehicle technology for the Expedient Leader-Follower program, which enables the platooning of unmanned, autonomous trucks, reducing the number of soldiers being put in harm’s way for many operational mission scenarios. Persistent has been collaborating with Robotic Research on this effort for the past 4 years.
“Robotic Research joining the Ecosystem is a major win for both companies,” Washington said. (Source: UAS VISION)
11 Jan 21. £3m to fund new wave of Artificial Intelligence for the military. Innovation research announced for DASA Intelligent Ship Phase 2 competition. The second phase of funded proposals has been announced for the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) Intelligent Ship competition to revolutionise military decision-making, mission planning and automation.
Phase 2 of Intelligent Ship, run by DASA on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), sought novel technologies for use by the military in 2030 and beyond.
Nine innovative projects have been funded, sharing £3m.
With a focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the projects will support the evaluation and demonstration of a range of human-machine teams and their integration with an evaluation environment. Phase 2 will develop AI for wider application across defence platforms.
Julia Tagg, Dstl Project Technical Authority said, “The Intelligent Ship project aims to demonstrate ways of bringing together multiple AI applications to make collective decisions, with and without human operator judgement. We hope that the use of AI in the future will lead to timely, more informed and trusted decision-making and planning, within complex operating and data environments. With applications for the Royal Navy and more broadly across defence, we are very excited to see what these Phase 2 projects might bring.
Rachel Solomons, DASA Delivery Manager said, “DASA is focussed on finding innovation to benefit the defence and security of the UK. Artificial Intelligence and human-machine teaming are such innovations, and by taking this competition to Phase 2 we hope to help find solutions that could make a real difference to future decision making in defence.”
The companies awarded funding for Phase 2 are:
- CGI IT UK Ltd
- Decision Lab
- DIEM Analytics
- Frazer Nash Consultancy
- Montvieux Ltd
- Nottingham Trent University
- Rolls Royce
- SeeByte Ltd
Examples of proposals funded include an intelligent system for vessel power and propulsion machinery control to support the decision-making of the engineering crew, and an innovative mission AI prototype Agent for Decision-Making to support decision making during pre-mission preparation, mission execution and post mission analysis.
Phase one contracts were announced last year. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
11 Jan 21. Did anyone play games over the festive season? NATO Science is exploring a new concept called Gamification. Simply put, it is “is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.”
NATO’s Science and Technology Organisation (STO) has teamed up with cognitive and behavioural scientists at Atılım University in Turkey to game a variety of scenarios virtually. The objective is to generate challenges through real-life scenarios which will encourage participants to question more and explore different solutions.
NATO scientist Berke Çaplı explains: “Imagine a mega-city divided into zones of ethnicity attacked by unmarked paramilitary forces. Whatever NATO forces may use to stabilise the situation – cyber, information or kinetic – will have consequences for the population.” Game moderators then use software with an algorithm that predicts the effects of each action, such as a riot, and established a crisis metre. “The game is designed to manage the crisis and restore stability,” he said. But it is the reaction of the players that is closely monitored. “NATO needs people asking questions that they haven’t asked before.”
The research project is owned by SAS-129 Research Task Group on Gamification of Cyber Defence/Resilience, and is part of the STO’s multi-national collaborative work programmes.
There have already been a number of demonstrations and prototype testing of the game at a variety of venues including: the National Informatics Congress in Ankara, Turkey; the Command and Staff College of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg, Germany; Strategic Reconnaissance Command Grafschaft, Germany; Turkish General Staff Partnership for Peace Training Centre in Ankara, Turkey; the Land Training Centre in Amersfoort, Netherlands; and at the NATO Operations Research and Analysis Conference in Ottawa, Canada.
The benefits derived by participants of this activity will include a more comprehensive understanding of military objectives and activities set in a hybrid environment.
According to NATO, “this research effort focuses on developing a wargame to change the current military mindset towards a more multi-domain approach and enable a motivational learning environment for non-technical personnel on the use of the information domain (cyber, cognitive and electromagnetic) in near-future operations.” (Source: Armada)
11 Jan 21. USAF lab demonstrates first collaborative weapon technologies. The USAF Golden Horde Vanguard program completed the first Air Force flight demonstration of collaborative weapons using technology developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Scientific Applications & Research Associates.
A team from the Air Force Test Center flew an F-16 Fighting Falcon and released two Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs (CSDB), which are Small Diameter Bombs that have been modified with a collaborative autonomy payload. The CSDBs quickly established communication with each other and their seekers detected a GPS jammer.
During the mission, the weapons referred to predefined rules of engagement, a set of constraints preloaded by a mission planner, and determined that the jammer was not the highest priority target.
The weapons then collaborated to identify the two highest priority targets. However, due to an improper weapon software load, the collaboration guidance commands were not sent to the weapon navigation system. Without the updated target locations, the weapons impacted a failsafe target location.
Chris Ristich, AFRL Transformational Capabilities Office director explained, “The Golden Horde demonstration with the Small Diameter Bomb flights is an important step on the path to Networked Collaborative Weapon systems. Completion of this first mission sets the stage for further development and transition to the warfighter.”
This initial demonstration represents a critical first step for the Golden Horde program, an initiative focused on advancing networked, collaborative and autonomous, or NCA, weapon capabilities through live and virtual testing. These new technology areas provide the Air Force with a revolutionary way to engage adversary targets.
NCA weapons observe and react to a dynamic battlespace in real time, thereby increasing mission effectiveness within the enemy’s decision loop. When deployed in mass, NCA weapons effectively share information and collaborate to overwhelm adversary defences.
The technologies enabling this new capability include a home-on-GPS-jam seeker that gathers information about the battlespace, a software defined radio for communication between weapons and a processor preloaded with collaborative algorithms.
Colonel Garry Haase, director of the AFRL Munitions Directorate said, “This successful Golden Horde demonstration builds the foundation for integrating this technology into a variety of other weapon systems, which will help the US maintain a technological advantage over our adversaries.”
The collaborative algorithms use a dynamic approach called play calling, similar to a quarterback calling a play in football.
A “play” is an established behaviour that groups of collaborative weapons, or swarms, can enable or disable when they meet certain predefined conditions. Weapons that use this technology are semi-autonomous since they abide by predefined rules of engagement and only execute based on an approved list of plays.
While this demonstration has given the Air Force insight and confidence in networked, collaborative and autonomous weapons technologies, no intention currently exists to transition this technology to the CSDB.
Steven Stockbridge, Golden Horde principal investigator said, “I’m very pleased with the results of this first test.”
Two more CSDB flight tests are planned for early 2021, increasing the number of collaborative weapons in each demonstration to four. (Source: Defence Connect)
08 Jan 21. Trenton Systems partners with NGD Systems for ruggedized, high-capacity computational storage drives to boost AI, ML performance at the edge. Trenton Systems, Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of ruggedized, cybersecure, made-in-USA computer systems for defense, aerospace, test and measurement, industrial automation, and other major industries, has partnered with NGD Systems for ruggedized, high-capacity computational storage drives (CSDs) that offer a significant performance boost to real-time, mission-critical artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) systems at the edge.
NGD’s industry-leading, made-in-USA 32TB U.2. NVMe SSDs, powered by a revolutionary 14nm ASIC-based controller, manage massive amounts of drive data locally by bringing compute resources to the drives themselves, which reduces the data movement and processing burdens of a host server’s or workstation’s memory and CPUs. These drives are particularly beneficial for large data sets and latency-sensitive applications requiring real-time insights.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Trenton Systems to deploy ruggedized and innovative solutions using our computational storage drives (CSDs),” says Nader Salessi, CEO of NGD Systems. “By combining our NVMe SSD solutions with Trenton Systems’ latest storage platforms, we can deliver the value of added compute to the platform. Using a JBOF solution to deploy large-scale storage, up to 32TB per U.2 Drive, and added compute locally, provides a unique and innovative way to solve data analytics where data is generated.”
NGD’s CSDs are a performance game-changer for modern, large-scale AI and ML workloads and are also available in extended temperature ranges for rugged computing solutions like those manufactured by Trenton. This adds an extra layer of physical protection to the drives as they assist with providing key operational insights amid the world’s harshest environments. NGD’s drives are also extremely power-conscious, requiring just 12W under load.
Michael Bowling, CEO of Trenton Systems, says the combination of Trenton Systems’ rugged computing solutions and NGD Systems’ state-of-the-art NVMe SSDs is an ideal fit for real-time business and mission-critical intelligence applications crunching big data to drive decision-making.
“One of the biggest challenges for real-time business intelligence with large amounts of data is to make compute decisions as close to the edge as possible,” Bowling said. “Traditionally, all AI and ML decisions are often waiting for data to flow to a centralized processing root complex, whether that’s a CPU or GPU, but with NGD Systems’ computational NVMe drives and Trenton Systems’ servers, the drives themselves have the ability to analyze and prioritize whether the data needs to flow upstream for further processing.”
Bowling continued, “Trenton Systems has long been developing large amounts of PCIe slots into its own servers and NVMe JBOF products. This made a natural partnership with NGD’s PCIe SSD drives, and we’re excited about the practical applications that this will have for high-capacity, mission-critical, real-time storage applications that can benefit from pushing the computational analysis to the extreme of the edge.”
Sean Campbell, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Business Development at Trenton Systems, says the partnership will allow Trenton to provide AI and ML customers with a more efficient rugged computing solution at the edge by leveraging the pioneering CSDs devised by the talented NGD Systems.
“As applications such as AI and ML continue to accelerate the proliferation of edge computing systems, new storage collaborations are needed to address the evolving and dynamic workloads expected from our customers,” Campbell said. “Leveraging the power of NVMe, NGD Systems’ innovative CSDs are purpose-built to support the raw volume, speed, and diversity of data at the edge. Trenton Systems’ close collaboration with NGD Systems will help redefine storage drives for the increasing data demands our applications require currently.”
The two companies will host a webinar on Feb. 21, 2021 to discuss the combination of their respective solutions and how, together, they can bring speed, efficiency, and resilience to your edge computing solution. The date and time for the webinar will be announced later.
To discuss a rugged computing or storage solution for your program or application, contact Trenton Systems at email@example.com or NGD Systems at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
About Trenton Systems, Inc.
Trenton Systems designs, manufactures, assembles, integrates, tests, and supports made-in-USA rugged servers, workstations, processor boards, PCIe backplanes, storage systems, blade servers, PCIe expansion kits, mini PCs, and custom high-performance computers for programs and applications operating in harsh environments worldwide.
Founded in 1989, Trenton Systems provides the defense/military, government, industrial, and commercial markets with in-house engineering, testing and support services, computer life cycle planning, revision control, a five-year warranty, and customization/configuration support.
Trenton Systems’ rugged computers and components meet or exceed UL, CE, FCC, ITAR, and military standards (MIL-STD-810, MIL-STD-461, MIL-S-901, DO-160), are backed by a five-year warranty and in-house support, and are manufactured in the company’s Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA facility, which is certified to ISO 9001:2015 quality management standards. (Source: PR Newswire)
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.