Sponsored By Oxley Developments
04 Feb 21. New High-Performance Rugged Server Bolsters Cybersecurity for Multi-Domain Operations. Delivers data center-level performance while maintaining data integrity at the edge. Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, today announced the latest model in its secure server product line, the new RES Trust XR6 rackmount server with BuiltSECURE™ technology. Ruggedized for harsh environments, the secure server features trusted performance and built-in data integrity protection for mission-critical C4ISR, electronic warfare (EW) and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Featuring the latest Intel server-class processors, the secure server delivers data center technologies to the field without compromising security, allowing customers to make decisions with confidence.
“To stay ahead of and counteract adversarial threats, our customers require the speed and capabilities of the latest processing platforms at the tactical edge,” said Scott Orton, vice president and general manager, Edge. “As a leading manufacturer of rugged rackmount servers, Mercury continues to develop innovative and affordable platforms that deliver command and control efficiencies and streamline mission-critical operations across multiple domains. Our new RES Trust XR6 server offering extends the high performance, configuration flexibility and environmental resiliency of our standard servers with a security architecture that can be extended across processor generations to reduce overall cost and accelerate development schedules.”
With best-in-class physical security, RES Trust servers are customizable with a variety of nation-state-level data confidentiality protections, making them ideal for foreign military sales (FMS) or direct commercial sales (DCS) programs. The servers can be optionally configured with Mercury’s ASURRE-Stor secure solid-state drives (SSDs), providing self-encryption and data-at-rest protection for the NSA’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program. All Mercury secure motherboards are manufactured in DMEA-accredited, IPC-1791 certified U.S. facilities, and utilize a trusted supply chain to minimize the risk of back doors, counterfeits and trojans.
03 Feb 21. Pentagon awards OTA for online AI marketplace. The Defense Department has taken a major first step in creating an online marketplace for artificial intelligence acquisition.
The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center with Army Contracting Command awarded Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3) another transaction agreement for an undisclosed amount on Jan. 20 to build and manage an online environment for the rapid procurement and delivery of AI capabilities for DOD.
The online portal prototype will be created through Tradewind, a specialized business model for AI acquisitions that aims to give startups and academic institutions a direct line to the government and make it easier for DOD to buy commercially available technology as part of a “collaborative ecosystem”, according to the Feb. 1 announcement.
Through Tradewind, DOD hopes to link itself with industry and academic institutions to develop, deliver, and implement AI capabilities.The master OTA doesn’t have a dollar figure, but the agreement with IN3 was initially funded for $2.5m, DOD said.
William Roberts, the JAIC’s acquisition chief said in a statement that Tradewind would be a more efficient “user-friendly framework” for private sector companies.
“We want to learn from this initiative to improve the way DOD works with all types of private sector and academic partners,and inject the much needed speed and agility necessary to scale artificial intelligence and transform the Department,” Roberts said.
DOD doesn’t yet have a timeline for when Tradewind will be operational, Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson told FCW via email. However, “it will be a progressive process that will bring features online in the environment in a methodical manner. We expect to provide more information about features coming online in the coming months.”
The announcement comes after the JAIC announced a phased approach to artificial intelligence adoption across the Defense Department to include everything from warfighting to business operations and research. To that end, the department awarded Booz Allen Hamilton $800m to develop capabilities in May for warfighter operations and $7.5m to Howard University to launch an AI center of excellence. (Source: Defense Systems)
29 Jan 21. Powering today’s soldier: Wearable batteries will be stronger, yet safer for combat. One thing unites every soldier through the continents and across the ages: There’s no escape from hauling gear.
From weapons carried to the fight to the tools service members use to help them navigate and survive in hostile environments, a good piece of gear is everything. Thanks to technology advances in portable electrical systems, today’s soldiers pack capabilities and a level of lethality that was the stuff of science fiction in their grandfather’s era.
That’s where the conformable wearable battery comes in. Since 2011, the CWB has provided portable power that lets soldiers navigate, communicate and designate targets. Though the CWB can last through a three-day mission, it’s contained in a battery pack slim and light enough for soldiers to tuck into their tactical vests. Better yet, the case is flexible, so it moves with the soldier’s body, offering a new level of comfort when it comes to wearable batteries. Plus, it’s tough enough to take a beating.
The CWB provides solutions to two core challenges faced by the overloaded soldier: weight and power source.
The first challenge is weight. As the military adds more devices to help soldiers complete a successful mission, the more important it is to focus on managing the weight they carry. That brings an intense focus on packing only the essentials. Any ounce that doesn’t contribute to the mission or survival must be left behind.
At the same time, soldiers need access to enough watts to last a three-day mission. Just over a decade ago, options for portable power sources were limited. That left warfighters no other option but to find nooks and crannies in which they could stuff the several dozen AA batteries they needed. Or, they might carry a bulky brick battery that bounced uncomfortably in their packs.
Today’s CWB products solve these challenges by offering a high-powered but ergonomic battery that soldiers can comfortably wear next to their chest.
Still, the military of a great nation will never stop pursuing innovation to help soldiers be more successful in their missions and on the battlefield. Envision the warfighters of the coming decades. They will be even more lethal, with greater capabilities to work efficiently, but with better protective gear. That means soldiers will always eventually need access to more power, not less.
The following offers a look at two major areas to look for advancements in CWB: improved capacity and soldier safety.
Higher capacity cells, better run time
In an uncertain world, one thing is sure in the battery-design space: If there’s a way to increase energy capacity in the lithium-ion battery cells of a CWB unit, the military will have a need for it. The standard battery packs of today contain 150 watt hours. For most platoons heading out for a three-day mission, a pair of CWBs per warfighter will suffice to operate their navigation gear and stay in communication with home base.
But it won’t be long before the 150-watt CWB is outdated, and 200-watt packs will be common. As advances in battery chemistry improve, so will the top capacity, so it won’t be long before high-powered 250- and even 300-watt CWB units are in the hands of soldiers.
Within that growing need of power, the core demands will stay the same: More power in the least amount of space, at the lightest possible weight. If engineers could design a bigger battery, their job would be easier. The challenge is that soldiers are getting outfitted with more electronics that require ever more power, but there is still a need to reduce the soldier’s weight load.
As lithium-ion battery chemistry advances, it is possible for battery makers to fulfill the expanding needs of the modern military. However, the rise of higher-capacity cells raises another consideration, and that centers on preserving the safety of the soldiers.
With great power comes great responsibility
In the near future, soldiers will be carrying CWBs with a higher energy density than current models. These higher-powered batteries will meet the military’s ever-burgeoning energy needs without adding bulk or ounces. However, adding energy density does add another wrinkle to CWB engineering. Consider what happens when these soldiers, with battery units worn close to their bodies, are involved in a firefight. If the CWB isn’t designed with the right safety features, it can endanger soldiers.
When a battery case is punctured or crushed, the energy contained inside escapes. Escaping energy creates high heat in seconds, which transfers to the neighboring cells. Finally, as temperatures of the battery cells reach 800 degrees Celsius, the battery pack will ignite, or worse, explode.
One way to keep battery cells from exploding in combat and other dangerous situations involves applying chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering to create an anti-thermal propagation system that safeguards the soldier from fire.
This can be accomplished by placing a thermal block between the battery cells to prevent the transfer of heat or thermal runaway. Another way is to do it through anti-flame suppression. That’s where the battery releases an anti-flame substance to prevent the escaping gases from reaching that explosion-inducing flashpoint.
Another way is to do it through anti-flame suppression. That’s where the battery releases an anti-flame substance to prevent the escaping gases from reaching that explosion-inducing flashpoint.
Because soldiers take these CWBs to some of the most extreme environments and often highly dangerous situations, there’s no room for letting up on safety for ongoing improvement.
Wearable batteries of the future: Power packed, battle tough
Bottom line, soldiers need a power source that can outlast a multi-day mission, and these needs will only grow as warfighters acquire more and better equipment. Given the dangerous conditions of the battlefield, however, it’s critical wearable batteries don’t put soldiers in harm’s way.
It’s important that military leaders be highly selective with the battery manufacturers they collaborate with. They must partner with firms that are just as committed to innovation as they are to focusing on increased capacity and enhanced safety features. (Source: Defense Systems)
03 Feb 21. US Air Force performs F-16 rain-induced pilot degraded visibility test. The US Air Force (USAF) completed a rain-induced, pilot degraded visual environment (DVE) test with a Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon in December 2020. The F-16 system programme office has been trying to address an issue with rain pooling on the canopy of the aircraft and reducing pilot visibility. Pilots try to avoid flying through inclement weather, but pop-up storms present an unavoidable risk. Field testing provides limited opportunities to gather data on proposed solutions because pilots avoid flying in such conditions.
The testing took place at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s (AEDC’s) National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC) in Moffett Field, California, according to a service statement. There are two wind tunnels at the NFAC: a 12×24 m tunnel and a 24×37 m test section.
The NFAC team was tasked with simulating flight conditions for the F-16 approach, landing and roll-out, and various rain intensities in the facility’s 12×24 m test section. USAF spokesperson Jess Levens said on 1 February that the size of the NFAC facility enables the service to recreate the environment in a controlled manner.
The air force installed the F-16 in the tunnel on struts, built runway lights upstream, and installed a nozzle even further upstream to add rain droplets into the flow. Water was first sprayed onto the test article. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 21. LDRA Partners with PTC to Save Time and Reduce Cost of Standards Compliance in Critical Embedded Software Development.
LDRA tool suite and PTC’s Windchill RV&S integration streamlines and automates software engineering, software quality analysis, and verification for functional safety and security standards compliance.
LDRA and Windchill RV&S Integration reduces the cost of compliance
LDRA has partnered with PTC to reduce the cost of compliance for critical embedded software developers who must adhere to functional safety and security standards. The integration between the LDRA tool suite and PTC’s Windchill RV&S provides the capability to perform bidirectional traceability, standards compliance, and automated software quality analysis and verification throughout the development lifecycle, saving time and money for developers who need to demonstrate compliance.
“Our customers in the automotive, medical, and aerospace and defense domains in particular are leveraging PTC’s Windchill RV&S to achieve higher levels of requirements, source code, and test case management and traceability,” said Ian Hennell, Operations Director, LDRA. “Through this partnership, enterprise customers can quickly link the Windchill RV&S artifacts into the software quality and verification workflow. By enabling customers to quickly determine the impact of requirements changes and verify the implementation to those changes, we help customers to see tangible results and save time and money.”
The LDRA tool suite and Windchill RV&S product integration is enabled by the LDRA TBmanager Integration Package for PTC. From a workflow perspective, developers use Windchill RV&S to gather, author, approve, and manage requirements, test cases, and code. The LDRA tool suite links those requirements to the software analysis and verification process, enabling the tool suite to help identify and eliminate software flaws and vulnerabilities. Developers can use both in-depth static and dynamic code analysis to verify the code, including checking for coding standards compliance such as MISRA and/or CERT compliance, as well as structural coverage analysis. They can also perform automated test case generation and execution on the code within the LDRA tool suite and feed the results of those tests into Windchill RV&S to achieve bidirectional linkage and traceability.
This combined solution automates software analysis and verification and provides bidirectional traceability from requirements to source code, to the analysis and verification results. This is important to developers who need to adhere to standards such as DO-178B/C in the avionics domain, ISO 26262 in automotive applications, IEC 62304 in medical devices, and IEC 61508 in industrial controls. Furthermore, in these environments, requirements often change and this integration enables rapid impact analysis and regression testing, which shortens the time to response and reduces development and verification costs. Demands to demonstrate functionally safe and secure code to regulatory authorities in these domains continue to escalate, and this integration addresses these demands with a cost effective approach to development.
The LDRA TBmanager Integration Package for PTC is available now. Contact email@example.com for more information or download a free 30-day trial of the LDRA tool suite with the TBmanager Integration Package for PTC.
02 Feb 21. With Deepwave Digital, Northrop Grumman is pushing processing to the edge. Northrop Grumman says a new investment into small startup Deepwave Digital will allow it to push data processing much closer to the point of collection, decreasing the amount of data that needs to be transported and getting products to war fighters faster.
Northrop Grumman will install Deepwave Digital’s artificial intelligence solution on airborne and on orbit payloads, said Chris Daughters, the company’s vice president of research, technology and engineering for aeronautics systems. With the AI incorporated into the payload, the satellite or aircraft will no longer need to send data back to the ground to be processed. Instead, the payload will process the data itself.
The innovation, said Daughters, is in incorporating the AI software with the hardware used in various Northrop Grumman payloads.
“Deepwave Digital really has an innovative architecture that blends artificial intelligence with some advanced hardware in the RF [radio frequency] domain, whereas a lot of artificial intelligence in the past has always been focused on, I’ll just say, mining and scrubbing really big data or maybe doing customized things with video or audio,” said Daughters.
In other words, the AI is able to process data at the edge, at the point of collection, instead of sending it down to Earth to be processed independently.
“We have a lot of RF payload systems that collect information or collect intelligence for the war fighters and the government as a whole, and by embedding this innovative hardware and AI software, we are able to essentially filter and optimize and scrub and prioritize the data much nearer to the point of collection for that information,” said Daughters.
AI has been key to the military’s efforts to manage the torrent of data collected by government and commercial satellites, which is simply too much for human analysts to sort through on their own. While progress has been made in using AI to process satellite imagery, military officials are now tackling a related problem: the sheer amount of raw data being pushed out over the networks for processing at remote locations. To reduce the bandwidth needed for satellite imagery, U.S. Army officials say the military needs to shift to edge processing, meaning applying AI to the data and then sending the finished product out over the network instead of all of the raw data.
“Edge processing is something that we’re very interested in for a number of reasons. And what I mean by that is having smart sensors that can not only detect the enemy, [but] identify, characterize and locate, and do all those tasks at the sensor processing,” said John Strycula, director of the Army’s task force focused on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, at an October AUSA event.
“If I only have to send back a simple message from the sensor that says the target is here ― here’s the location and here’s what I saw and here’s my percent confidence ― versus sending back the whole image across the network, it reduces those bandwidth requirements,” he added.
Daughters said Northrop Grumman is working to incorporate Deepwave Digital’s AI solution into products in development or in limited production in the “very near term.”
“The capability exists now. We just need to integrate it in with the systems,” said Daughters. “Our research and technology organization is already looking at how we could be injecting this hardware and AI capability in some of the systems that exist right now or very near term.”
While the company is applying the AI to both space and airborne systems, the technology can be more easily integrated with airborne systems, where payloads can be more easily accessed or swapped out. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
02 Feb 21. Neya Systems Announces Software Addition To US Army’s RTK. Neya Systems today announced the contribution of a major new capability to the US ARMY’s ROS-M registry, an RTK compatible off-road planning software suite. The Robotic Technology Kernel (RTK) is a Robot Operating System (ROS)-based modular autonomy software library for science and technology development that provides a set of common robotic capabilities across a variety of platforms and efforts. AM3P, Neya’s Adaptive and Modular Multi-Terrain Mobility Planner, is a full-stack off-road autonomy planning software suite developed to allow DoD vehicles to navigate autonomously through congested, unpredictable environments.
“The decision to assimilate AM3P into RTK and thereby make it available to the entire ROS-M defense robotics community represents a significant initial milestone towards the Army’s goal of integrating third-party developed software offering enhanced and extended functionality into RTK,” said Jon St. John, Sr. Programs Director for the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC).
The successful maturation and testing of AM3P, performed under the Combat Vehicle Robotics (CoVeR) program, led to the decision to begin the RTK integration process. This will ultimately enable new autonomy capabilities in all RTK-equipped vehicles such as the upcoming Robotics Combat Vehicle (RCV) family of systems.
“The integration of AM3P into RTK has been an ongoing effort spanning several years,” said Mike Formica, Division Manager of Neya Systems. “We’re excited to be part of this important step in moving forward and bringing autonomy to the field.”
ABOUT NEYA SYSTEMS
Neya Systems, a division of Applied Research Associates, is a leader in advanced off-road autonomy. Neya provides innovative solutions to customers in the defense, mining, construction, and security industries. Neya’s full-stack autonomy includes capabilities in low-level control, perception, safeguarded teleoperation, full autonomy, and multi-agent mission planning. To learn more, visit neyarobotics.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
02 Feb 21. GKN Aerospace to accelerate sustainable aerospace technologies in Future Flight Challenge.
- Three CO2 reducing technology programmes launched under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Future Flight Challenge: Skybus, Safe Flight and NAPKIN
- Joint investment with 15 collaborators to further position the UK as a leader in the future of sustainable aviation
GKN Aerospace is helping develop the next generation of sustainable technology through three ground-breaking collaborative programmes as part of the Future Flight Challenge. GKN Aerospace will take a leading role in the programmes, delivering them from its new £32M Global Technology Centre in Bristol.
The Future Flight Challenge is a four year, £125m ISCF programme from UK Research and Innovation to develop more sustainable aviation solutions. The current phase is focused on the development of integrated aviation systems that enable new classes of electric or autonomous air vehicles.
With 15 collaborators and an initial investment of £4.5M, the programmes focus on electrification, unmanned commercial flight and more sustainable regional aerospace solutions to drive connectivity. The programmes maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of technology development targeting the decarbonisation of the industry.
Skybus – Skybus explores a novel transport network, based on large electric Vertical Take-Off & Landing (eVTOL) vehicles capable of carrying between 30-50 passengers each, taking the “Park and Ride” concept into the air for mass transit over extremely congested routes thus eliminating the 2-Dimensional constraints of current surface transport modes including cars, trains and buses. This will not only offer direct benefits in reduced travel time at affordable fares but also reduce the congestion on current ground transport vehicles thus reducing overall travel time for all passengers travelling on these routes regardless of their chosen mode of transport. Skybus is led by GKN Aerospace with the following partners: Swanson Aviation Consultancy, Pascall+Watson and Connected Places Catapult.
Safe Flight – As unmanned and autonomous systems evolve at pace, uncertainty remains around how to integrate autonomous systems in shared airspace in a safe manner. This proposal addresses technological challenges, in terms of the integration of a range of cutting-edge technologies in real-world use case demonstrations, but importantly it also looks at the underpinning business need of a clear route to certifiable aircraft systems and approved operations. Safe Flight is led by GKN Aerospace with the following partners: University of Bath, 3UG Autonomous Systems and Callen-Lenz.
NAPKIN –NAPKIN will model and pilot a UK-wide domestic sustainable aviation network promoting zero carbon emissions, connectivity where surface infrastructure is lacking as well as UK business growth and competitiveness. NAPKIN is led by Heathrow Airport, in collaboration with GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce, Highlands & Islands Airports, Deloitte, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, London City Airport, University of Southampton, University College London and Cranfield University.
Minister for Business, Paul Scully, said: “We’re investing in ambitious projects to make flying more sustainable and ensure passengers have greater choice about how they travel. Pioneering research supported by government funding will help the UK build back greener from the pandemic, remain at the forefront of aerospace research and development, and provide global leadership in the next aviation revolution. I look forward to seeing such proposals take flight.”
Max Brown, VP Technology GKN Aerospace, said: “We are committed to a more sustainable future for aviation and our technologies will keep us at the forefront of this challenge. No one company can achieve this alone and these Future Flight Challenge programmes highlight the importance of collaboration in achieving this aim. It is a great example of public-private collaboration as well as the importance of Government in supporting the aerospace industry, through its industrial strategy. We look forward to working together to deliver the next generation of sustainable air travel.”
22 Jan 21. Experts discuss energy of future military platforms. Experts from 17 EDA Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland (which have Administrative Agreements in place with the Agency) participated in an EDA online workshop to discuss emerging technologies in defence with a particular focus on energy challenges of next generation military platforms. The workshop (19-21 January 2021) was part of a wider ongoing series of EDA Technology Foresight Workshops and addressed energy-related and environmental topics and their likely impact on the defence sector, from the security risks created by energy dependencies to potential climate change repercussions and the foreseeable transformations the global energy system will face over the next decades.
This week’s ‘Energy For Future Platforms’ workshop, supported by Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de Espana (ISDEFE), brought together 145 European subject matter experts who debated current and future defence related energy technologies and linked R&T needs, covering issues such as energy generation, management and storage for platforms. The discussions involved members from several EDA capability & technology groups (CapTech), including the ones on Missiles and Munitions, Air, Naval and Ground Systems, Guidance, Navigation and Control, Materials and Structures, as well as the Agency’s Energy and Environment Working Group. The opening part of the event consisted of a plenary session where keynote speakers introduced the topic and set the scene, followed by breakout sessions where smaller groups (virtual tables) looked into the energy challenges of future military platforms from a range of different perspectives, including alternative fuels, energy storage, management technologies, propulsion and power generation. The workshop was wrapped up with another plenary session during which the results of the virtual tables discussions were presented and summarised.
The workshop results will now be further analysed by EDA in the following weeks with the objective of providing participating Member States with an overview and analysis of upcoming energy-related needs and implications for future military platforms, including gaps and blind spots in the current EU defence energy portfolio. The analysis will also include recommendations on potential EU research goals and synergies in this domain.
EDA’s Technology Foresight Workshops aim to provide input to the EDA process of technology evaluation, including the identification and classification of technology trends and emerging technologies as well as the prioritisation of important technologies with respect to medium- and long-term capability needs. The output of the workshops is used as background information for relevant defence technologies, to be integrated in EDA Strategic Research Agendas (SRAs) and their Technology Building Block (TBB) roadmaps, as well as the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) toolchain, the analyses of Key Strategic Activities (KSA) and in the Strategic Context Cases of the 2018 Capability Development Plan (CDP). (Source: EDA)
15 Jan 21. EDA’s Smart Energy Camps Demonstrator transferred to MPCC. An arrangement was signed today between EDA, represented by Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý, and the EU’s Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), represented by Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, on the transfer of ownership of the Agency’s Smart Energy Camps Technical Demonstrator based at the EU Training Mission Mali (EUTM Mali) to the MPCC.
The Smart Energy Camps Technical Demonstrator (SECTD), previously developed as an EDA project, was deployed to EU Training Mission Mali (EUTM) at Camp Koulikoro between October 2015 and March 2016 to test the practical implementation of an intelligent power management system (energy demand management, renewable production and storage) in a challenging military environment. The demonstrator included fixed solar photovoltaic panels on a test building (16KWp), flexible soldier portable solar photovoltaic panels as well as monitoring and metering equipment for water and electricity. Over the six-month test period, the renewable energy systems were not only successfully integrated into the existing camp power architecture (requiring only minimal reconfigurations of the network) but it also led to substantial energy management improvements and cost savings.
Even though it was decided to keep the demonstrator at the camp after the test deployment and let it continue its services and renewable energy supplies to EUTM Mali, it was never the ambition of EDA to remain the owner and remote technical maintenance manager of the system in the long run. Hence the agreement now reached with the EU’s Military Planning and Conduct Capability, as the commander of EUTM Mali, to take over the full ownership rights of the demonstrator on behalf of ATHENA, the mechanism which handles the financing of common costs relating to EU military operations under the EU’s common security and defence policy. This arrangement will allow for the demonstrator to continue its services to EUTM in the future under the best technical conditions.
EU Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý said: “The Smart Energy Camps Technical Demonstrator deployed at EU Training Mission Mali, at Camp Koulikoro, has successfully shown under operational and harsh conditions that smart energy management of military camps is not only technologically possible but also profitable. Its handover to the EU’s Military Planning and Conduct Capability, as the commander of EUTM, is a logical step as it offers the best guarantee for the good and smooth functioning of the system in the future”.
MPCC Director General Hervé Bléjean stated: “I would like to thank and acknowledge the European Defence Agency’s support to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy and its support to our EU Training Mission. The significant energy efficiency that this innovative project provides is tangible benefit to our mission in Mali. Its operational reliance enhances our capability to function in even the harshest of environments and reduces our environmental footprint. I have absolute faith in the ability of our personnel in Mali to ensure its continued operation and development.”
The Smart Energy Camps Technical Demonstrator project is only one of EDA’s activities aimed to help Member States make their Armed Forces more energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. For example, EDA also manages the European Commission’s Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) which assist EU Member States’ Ministries of Defence to move towards green, resilient, and efficient energy models. The Agency has also set up a dedicated ‘Energy and Environment Working Group’ which supports Member States in dealing with the many energy and environment-related aspects in defence. Furthermore, EDA will also be working closely with the Commission via a new “Incubation Forum” on circular economy in defence to generate cooperative project ideas for Member States, to help steer them toward a more circular defence. (Source: EDA)
01 Feb 21. New high voltage battery housing for lightweight e-mobility developed by Evonik and partners.
- Novel SMC materials reduce battery housing weight by ~10% while maintaining strength and high voltage performance
- Lightweight battery components deliver significant energy savings to ensure suitability for all vehicle size and class
- Evonik’s new epoxy SMC – VESTALITE® S curing agent enables lightweight design and production flexibility
Evonik as part of a consortium of companies, has developed a lighter and more cost-effective battery concept for e-mobility solutions. The new holistic battery system concept offers the automotive industry a safer and more energy efficient lightweight alternative to the heavier metal-based, or higher priced carbon fiber-reinforced plastics.
Although millions of electric cars and plug-in hybrids are already on the roads worldwide, there are still no generally applicable standards for the individual components. However, significant efforts are currently being made to standardize individual vehicle assemblies and establish a cross-market component standard.
Increasing the range of the vehicles by improving the storage capacity of the batteries and efficient energy recovery is currently one of the main areas of focus. In addition, reducing the weight of the individual vehicle components can also help to reduce the amount of energy required to overcome driving resistance (e.g. tire rolling, gradient, acceleration).
To this end, Evonik, Forward Engineering, LION Smart, Lorenz Kunststofftechnik and Vestaro (a joint venture of Evonik and Forward Engineering), began working together on a modular-multi-material approach at the end of 2019. Today, the partnership has developed a brand-independent, cost-effective solution that significantly reduces the weight of the battery housing by approximately 10 percent compared to other commonly used material combinations, without any loss in mechanical properties.
Developed for three different battery-sizes, 65kWh, 85 kWh and 120 kWh for use in various vehicles sizes and class, one of the key elements of the new battery concept is the glass fiber (GF)- Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) cover. Based on the high-performance epoxy curing agent VESTALITE® S from Evonik, the new SMC delivers the performance levels of the previous metal-based battery enclosures, while being significantly lighter than the current more cost-prohibitive SMC Materials.
“Battery modules and their housing has become a key area for improving the performance, efficiency and affordability of modern electric vehicles,” said Dr. Leif Ickert, Marketing Manager Composites and Adhesives, Evonik Operations GmbH & Managing Director, Vestaro GmbH. “Composite technologies provide strength and versatility, so offer a very promising solution for future battery system concepts. Our new glass fiber-reinforced SMC delivers the performance and economic benefits the automotive industry requires to push ahead with the next generation of sustainable e-mobility concepts.”
The glass-fiber-reinforced epoxy SMC has excellent mechanical properties including flexural and impact strength, and by using epoxy resin instead of the usual polyester resin, other problems often encountered during downstream processing of glass-fiber-reinforced SMC materials have been eliminated. Additionally, it meets all specifications regarding fire resistance and is easy to process even when complex geometries are demanded. The entire concept was successfully tested for suitability for series production and safety even under extreme conditions.
Additionally, consortium partner, Lorenz Kunststofftechnik has developed an established process for successfully recycling glass fiber-reinforced SMC materials – an important argument in view of the increasing sustainability requirements in the automotive industry.
For more detailed information about the new battery housing concept, images and additional quotes from the consortium’s partners please visit evonik.com/vestalite-s.
01 Feb 21. UK Consortium to Propel Next Generation of Electric Aircraft. Blue Bear Systems Research, a UK Small to Medium Enterprise in Bedford, has formed a seven-strong consortium to develop a next generation, all electric, propulsion module to enhance aircraft performance while reducing operating costs. The propulsion module is a scalable design and is the first in a range of products that can be used for aircraft less than 5 tonnes in the near term.
The project – Integrated Flight Control, Energy Storage and Propulsion Technologies for Electric Aircraft (INCEPTION) – is supported and co-funded by the ATI Programme – a partnership of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK. Launched this January, the 24-month project will deliver a highly power-dense, quiet and efficient propulsion module with zero tailpipe emissions.
Yoge Patel, CEO of Blue Bear, said, “The future electrification of aircraft propulsion will have a significant positive environmental effect, helping to reduce emissions and lower the carbon footprint of aviation. The INCEPTION consortiums propulsion module will bring game-changing technology to manned and unmanned aviation, delivering unrivalled performance and value in this newly emerging sector.”
The propulsion module will be inherently scalable, enabling different combinations of the same module to power multiple aircraft concepts, such as large cargo drones, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), general aviation aircraft and sub-regional aircraft. This will enable a broad range of new mobility services across the UK, from large cargo delivery to regional commuting.
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) specialist, Blue Bear Systems Research, will lead a consortium of innovation partners from industry and academia, which includes:
- Dowty Propellers
- Electrified powertrain specialists, Drive System Design
- Engineering and environmental consultancy developing batteries and fuel cells, Ricardo
- Materials specialists, M&I Materials
- University of Cambridge’s Whittle Laboratory
- University of Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre
The project will develop skills, tools and infrastructure for the consortium and its UK supply chain. It will result in new capability development and the expansion of electric, zero-carbon propulsion systems.
The project is supported by the ATI Programme, a joint Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. The programme, delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK, addresses technology, capability and supply chain challenges.
The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) – promotes transformative technology in air transport and supports the funding of world-class research and development through the multi-billion-pound joint government-industry programme. The ATI stimulates industry-led R&D projects to secure jobs, maintain skills and deliver economic benefits across the UK. Setting a technology strategy that builds on the UK’s strengths and responds to the challenges faced by the UK civil aerospace sector; ATI provides a roadmap of the innovation necessary to keep the UK competitive in the global aerospace market and complements the broader strategy for the sector created by the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP). The ATI provides strategic oversight of the R&T pipeline and portfolio. It delivers the strategic assessment of project proposals and provides funding recommendations to BEIS.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – is the government department accountable for the ATI Programme. As the budget holder for the programme, BEIS, is accountable for the final decision regarding projects to progress and fund with Government resources, as well as performing Value for Money (VfM) assessment on all project proposals, one of the 3 ATI Programme assessment streams.
Innovate UK – Innovate UK is the funding agency for the ATI Programme. It delivers the competitions process including independent assessment of project proposals and provides funding recommendations to BEIS. Following funding award, Innovate UK manages the programme, from contracting projects, through to completion. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. UKRI is the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6bn, UKRI brings together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. (Source: UAS VISION)
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.