Sponsored By Oxley Developments
11 Feb 21. VITEC debuts MGW Pico+ TOUGH video encoder at IDEX 2021. VITEC, a worldwide leader in advanced video encoding and streaming solutions, will showcase its range of Full Motion Video (FMV) technologies at IDEX 2021 (stand 01-B03) in Abu Dhabi, 21-25 February, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Designed to stand up to the rigours and mission critical nature of military and government operations, VITEC’s product line at the show includes the new MGW Pico+ TOUGH, a robust credit card sized encoder providing H.264 HD/SD as well as the latest H.265/HEVC compression for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) applications. MGW Pico+ TOUGH will be on show for the first time at IDEX 2021, alongside other products including MGW Diamond TOUGH and FITIS.
“For ISR missions, drones or unmanned aircraft are widely used to provide live tactical video to command centres. In such applications where network bandwidth constraints are commonplace, ensuring best video quality at low bitrate is key, as well as providing optimized Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) equipment. says Richard Bernard, Senior Product Manager, VITEC. “With MGW Pico+ TOUGH, our second-generation pocket size encoder, VITEC delivers a SWaP optimized, ruggedized portable appliance featuring low bitrate HEVC encoding perfectly fitted for military applications. We are excited to showcase our leading products to customers in person once again in a safe and secure environment at IDEX.”
Also on show will be VITEC’s MGW Diamond TOUGH, a fanless, power-efficient quad channel HEVC and H.264 HD/SD encoder in a rugged enclosure suited to delivering any type of ISR or Situational Awareness (SA) video generated by ground vehicles, airborne platforms and marine vessels in extreme environments. The easy-to-integrate encoder provides exceptional contrast and brightness in any conditions thanks to its HDR support (High Dynamic Range), and delivers advanced HEVC compression allowing users to stream HD/SD video (up to 1080p60) with up to 50% bandwidth savings compared to current H.264 standards.
IDEX visitors will also be able to see VITEC’s encoder and decoder pairs, capable of streaming from any video source (HD / SD, Analog / Digital) including KLV Metadata (STANAG4609). Users can carry out real-time image cropping and video scaling, Forward Error Correction (FEC) streaming and JITC compliant output streams. A further addition to the VITEC stand at IDEX will be FITIS, a rapidly-deployed, end-to-end FMV solution for processing, archiving, indexing, managing and disseminating tactical ISR video and metadata content. It enables government and military entities to quickly process and exploit live and recorded video assets to create actionable, real-time intelligence.
“VITEC is a key player within the ISR and Situation Awareness space,” adds Nicolas Pons, VP Business Dev. Middle East, VITEC. “In our domain, one of the challenges is to deliver video streams from the field. Bandwidth constraint is key in the scenario, especially in the Middle East region, where Sat link is very important due to geographic constraints. The more data you send, the more you expose yourself to packet loss, data corruption, and dramatically increased operating costs. Our solutions allow users to compress the video signal at a very high level without degrading the video quality for the operators.”
10 Feb 21. US Army to expand experimental transportation smart base. The Army wants to expand its existing smart base transportation testbed at Fort Carson, Colo., to include smart traffic and weather artificial intelligence platforms.
Fort Carson’s testbed already includes a 4G/5G network, an autonomous vehicle shuttle for personnel and drone airfield services for debris detection and analysis. Now the Army plans to leverage the existing testbed and expand into the Colorado Springs local community with sensor deployment, data integration and the development of AI models and decision dashboards that integrate traffic and weather-related information.
The Army Corps of Engineers announced on Feb. 1 that it will be partnering with US Ignite in a follow-on contract to R&D work the nonprofit performed on the smart transportation platform. The initial project also gave the Army the opportunity to experiment with AI, data analytics and edge computing.
“The project seeks to utilize a 4G network to exploit technology capabilities that leverage AV sensors, then integrate that data with other data sources to inform decision making,” Jim P. Allen, Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s program manager, said in August 2020. “The goal is to conduct edge computing while maintaining cybersecurity and building an efficient data architecture that fuses data into useful information and builds knowledge over time.”
The new 4G/5G internet-of-things network will initially support the upload of vehicle data from the AV shuttle and video traffic from route-monitoring cameras, according to a December 2020 US Ignite statement.
The network is also designed to accommodate broad research based on air quality and weather sensors as part of a collaborative initiative among Fort Carson, the city of Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Boulder, which are already supporting a shared data repository. Smart sensors on base that monitor traffic, parking and public safety are linked to information from the city’s sensors and mapping systems. Researchers analyze these datasets with an eye to improving safety and services and eventually plan to develop machine-learning models that prioritize transportation resources based on usage rates and community needs.
The Fort Carson research network will support 4G and 5G traffic over the CBRS band. It will feature at least 250 Mbps throughput and support for over 1,000 simultaneous device connections, according to US Ignite. JMA Wireless is providing 5G and 4G access powered by its software-based, ORAN-compliant radio-access network solution, and Federated Wireless is supplying Citizens Broadband Radio Services access.
“Building smart bases and smart communities requires advanced network infrastructure. This network is foundational for the early IoT use cases we’re testing at Fort Carson, but it’s also an asset for future research and development efforts targeted at improving public safety, services, and quality of life,” US Ignite Director of Technology Scott Turnbull said. (Source: Defense Systems)
11 Feb 21. Australia punching above its weight in defence R&D. Australia is a land of high-tech innovation. That was the number one reason why the US Office of Naval Research Global made the decision to open an office in Melbourne. Some of the most significant outcomes of Australian science and technology (S&T) innovation include the atomic absorption spectroscopy, the black box flight recorder, a key technology for Wi-Fi, Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), the scramjet and the quantum logic gate.
Aside from these and other high-profile innovation outcomes, Australia’s research and development (R&D) communities have consistently yielded impactful results.
Among the nations and regions with robust R&D ecosystems, Australia is one of the leaders in terms of the impact of the R&D results in numerous defence-relevant disciplines.
For example, in computer science, Australia is in 12th place in terms of the volume of research output, as measured by the number of Web of Science-indexed publications published in 2015-2019.
On the other hand, the impact of Australia’s research output in the same category during the same period among the top 25 producing nations, as expressed as the Category-Normalized Citation Impact, is at fourth after Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, and in a tie with the US.
In materials science, Australia’s output volume is at 11th while the impact is at fourth. In mechanical engineering, Australia’s output volume is ranked at 14th while the impact is at number one.
These data illustrate that Australia’s R&D communities are highly productive and extremely efficient in yielding impactful results in these defence-relevant technical disciplines.
However, considering the remarkable R&D productivity, Australia’s investment in R&D is rather modest.
According to the data from the World Bank, Australia ranks 18th in R&D expenditure expressed as a percentage of GDP and 11th in the net R&D expenditure in 2017, the most recent year for which the World Bank has the complete data.
To maintain productivity and impact with the modest expenditure, Australia appears to partly rely on its superb tertiary education system, which ensures that the workforce is ready to innovate.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 indicates that 12 of Australia’s universities are ranked in the world’s top 200. Only three other countries, the US, the UK and Germany, have more schools in the top 200 than Australia.
However, perhaps more important, Australia has advanced its innovation capacity through strategic and focused S&T investments.
Australia’s innovation enablers
In Australia, the government has practised strategic and focused R&D funding and ecosystem-building for many years.
Since 2003, the Australian Research Council (ARC) has directed the Centres of Excellence (CoE) program, which aims to advance scientific knowledge and build a critical mass of domestic R&D capacity in strategic research areas of economic and national importance.
The CoEs explicitly encourage R&D collaborations between academia, the public sector and the industry.
A few examples of CoEs that conduct research with potential defence applications include:
- ARC CoE in Synthetic Biology — $35m over seven years starting in 2020, led by Macquarie University;
- ARC CoE for Engineered Quantum Systems — $31.9m over seven years starting in 2017, led by the University of Queensland; and
- ARC CoE for Robotic Vision — $19m over seven years starting in 2014, led by Queensland University of Technology.
Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) administers the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program, which aims to facilitate economic- and social impact-driven R&D collaborations between public and private sectors.
The program requires that each CRC involves small and medium private enterprises (SMEs), and develops and maintains transition plans with clear economic or social impacts.
A few examples include:
- the Cyber Security CRC, which will develop Australia’s cyber security capacity and capability — $50m over seven years starting in 2018;
- SmartSat CRC, which aims to advance Australia’s space industry — $55m for seven years starting in 2019, coinciding with the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in 2018; and
- Innovative Manufacturing CRC, which focuses on additive manufacturing, advanced automation and other innovations in manufacturing — $40m over seven years starting in 2015.
In addition, the Department of Defence participated in the program to establish the Defence Cooperative Research Centres Program, with Defence CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems (over $50m over seven years starting in 2017), becoming the first Defence CRC.
Department of Defence manages its own strategic R&D expenditures through innovation frameworks that include the Australian Defence Science and Universities Network (ADSUN) and Next Generation Technologies Funds (NGTF).
The NGTF launched in 2016 to drive investments in nine specific defense-relevant technology areas — ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), space, human performance, medical countermeasure products, materials science, quantum technologies, trusted autonomous systems, cyber, and advanced sensors, hypersonics, and directed-energy capabilities.
Australia’s new defence innovation ecosystem
In addition to the above, in 2020 the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group led the development of a new S&T Strategy for Defence, More Together.
With the urgency of the increasingly contested western Pacific security environment as the backdrop, More Together explicitly supports DST Group’s focus on large and highly strategic S&T programs through the Science, Technology and Research Shot (STaR Shot) concept, and calls for closer and more focused collaborations between the defence S&T, industry and academic sectors under these programs.
With ADSUN as one of the major facilitators, More Together is already making a significant difference in the nature of collaborative relationships from transactional (i.e. development of incremental deliverables as the collaboration objectives) to much broader efforts of innovation community-building with new defence capabilities as the explicit goal.
As More Together specifically invites international partners to collaborate with the Australian innovation ecosystem for the purpose of scale-up, this is a significant opportunity for the US to develop new collaboration partnerships in applied S&T and transitions.
The US-AUS collaborations have produced highly impactful results. For example, in computer science, Australia ranks seventh as the US collaborators in terms of the volume of the collaborative publications.
Meanwhile, in international collaborations, the US produced more impactful computer science results with Australia than with any other nations or regions. The story is very similar for materials science.
All of these impactful results come from a relatively modest number of collaborations. This implies that, by increasing the volume of collaborations with Australia, the US should expect a greater number of impactful results. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Feb 21. Sagetech Avionics Receives DoD AIMS Certification for Mode 5 Micro IFF Transponder for Drones. Sagetech Avionics, an aerospace technology company providing situational awareness solutions for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), announced that on February 5th the DoD AIMS Program Office issued the world’s first 17-1000 Mark XIIB certification to Sagetech for its MX12B micro Mode 5 Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder.
This newly certified transponder enables NATO and allied militaries to deploy Mode 5 IFF capability on small drones, protecting the warfighter against rapidly increasing unmanned threats from enemy forces.
Certified Mode 5 IFF Transponders from a Proven Military Supplier
“Around the world, enemy military drones are proliferating, and it is vital to distinguish between friendly or hostile drones. Mode 5 IFF provides the solution to this issue, but until now, manned aircraft transponders were too large for use on anything but the largest UAS,” explained Tom Furey, CEO of Sagetech Avionics. “The MX12B combines Mode 5 IFF functionality with ADS-B situational awareness in a tiny SWaP unit that is fast and easy to integrate.
Sagetech has served the military with certified products that have flown millions of mission hours, so customers can feel comfortable they’re receiving bullet-proof functionality built on a heritage of military program performance.”
Over the past year, Sagetech has successfully performed live demonstrations of the MX12B interoperating with multiple crypto computers at the U.S. Navy IMPAX 2020 event, for the U.S Army, and for major OEM military UAS customers. With the new certification issued last week, the company has already delivered certified MX12B units to numerous customers to fulfill backlog purchase orders for new and ongoing programs.
The MX12B: Fully Certified to the Complete Mode 5 IFF Specification
The new MX12B is the world’s smallest certified Mode 5 IFF transponder, delivering 100% of the Mode 5 functionality from a package that is 93% smaller than traditional certified transponders. With all the functionality integrated into a single unit, the MX12B is easy to purchase, integrate, and fly on both unmanned and manned aircraft. Features include:
- World’s first full certification to DoD AIMS 17-1000 Mark XIIB
- Compliant with STANAG 4193 NATO IFF
- Military Modes 1, 2, 3, 5 (Levels 1 & 2), upgradeable to Level 2-B Out
- Crypto compatibility per AIMS 04-900(A), Option B (KIV-77, SIT2010)
- Civil Modes A, C, S per RTCA/DO-181E
- Integrated ADS-B In per RTCA/DO-260B
- ADS-B Out per RTCA/DO-260B
- Full power per AIMS 17-1000
- Native antenna diversity for full visibility by space-based and ground-based ADS-B systems, configurable for single antenna installations
- Flexible I/O: Ethernet, RS-422, RS-232
- 93% smaller than competitive products: 3.4″ H x 2.5″ W x 1.0″ D (86 x 64 x 25 mm)
- Weight: 6.7 oz. (190g)
- Environmental screening: RTCA DO-160G, MIL-STD-461F, MIL-STD-810G
Included command and control software
- ADS-B In situational awareness data visualization software available
- Test and integration kits including test box and KIV emulator also available
“From a technology perspective, we’ve used our military program experience and microelectronics expertise to take a traditional Mode 5 IFF transponder and condense it into a package that is nine times smaller, six times lighter, and certified to a higher level than the next smallest certified Mode 5 IFF transponder,” said Matthew Hamilton, CTO of Sagetech. “After months of rigorous testing to verify compliance to the full AIMS 17-1000 specification, harsh MIL-STD environmental testing, and data analysis by our team of engineers, we are pleased to have certified to the complete set of Mode 5 IFF requirements. Our new MX12B is suitable for any fixed- or rotary-wing unmanned or manned aircraft.”
For multi-mission UAVs, the MX12B preserves avionics designs across fleets through easy interchangeability with a civil version of the transponder, Sagetech’s MXS. The MX12B represents the next-generation of military certified transponders from Sagetech. Previously, Sagetech had certified its XPC AIMS Mode A/C transponder, now in service for more than a decade.
Expanding Drone Operations of NATO and Allied Militaries Worldwide
Dawn Zoldi (Colonel, USAF Retired), CEO of P3 Tech Consulting, internationally recognized drone law expert, and a 25-year Air Force veteran states,
“I’ve been in the ops center, standing side-by-side with a commander who has to make split second life-or-death decisions on the battlefield. The ability to make the call on hostile intent under the Rules of Engagement in those moments is critical. Sagetech’s MX12B micro transponder will go a long way in helping military leaders and troops make the right decisions when it matters the most. This tech will not just enable our forces to prevail in complex multi-domain operations, it will save ‘blue’ lives. Now U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and our coalition partners will be able to more readily determine if an inbound drone is friend or foe and take whatever action is needed under the circumstances. This is a game-changer.”
“All current certified aircraft transponders are certified to the older specification of AIMS 03-1000, Mark XIIA,” said Furey. “The MX12B is the only transponder – of any size – now certified to the newer specification of AIMS 17-1000 Mark XIIB.” With an easy to upgrade architecture, the new certified MX12B micro transponder provides U.S., NATO, and allied forces worldwide with all current and future Mode 5 IFF functions but in a form factor that saves at least 5 pounds for manned aircraft and drones. (Source: PR Newswire)
09 Feb 21. Mercury Systems Delivers 1,000th Apache Ethernet Routing Device to Boeing. Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, has achieved a significant milestone with the delivery of the 1,000th ethernet routing device (ERD) to Boeing. The ERD is a rugged line-replaceable unit (LRU) designed for aviation applications where extreme temperature, shock and vibration are prevalent. It provides key networking capabilities to the AH-64E Apache helicopter.
The high quality and reliable performance of the ERDs help support Boeing’s Apache aircraft, sustaining this successful long-term program. This latest milestone continues Mercury’s more than 35 years of serving the major defense prime contractor outsourcing needs by developing trusted and secure, lower-cost, flexible and easily upgradeable systems and platforms.
“We’re proud of our work with Boeing and honored to be part of the Apache program,” said Dr. Amela Wilson, Mercury’s senior vice president and general manager, Mission. “Our dedicated workforce, coupled with our close supplier relationship with Boeing, has been the catalyst for success on this project. We look forward to continuing our support of the defense avionics industry by delivering leading-edge technologies that are secure, reliable and purpose-built to perform with absolute precision in extreme environments, under the most intense conditions.”
08 Feb 21. Aero India 2021: DRDO hands over licensing agreements for 14 technologies. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has handed over licensing agreements for the transfer of technology (LAToT) for 14 indigenously developed technologies to 20 industries at the recently concluded Aero India 2021 event.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has handed over licensing agreements for the transfer of technology (LAToT) for 14 indigenously developed technologies to 20 industries at the recently concluded Aero India 2021 event.
The technologies are from the sectors of electronics, laser technology, armaments, aeronautics, sensors, combat vehicles and naval systems among others. The move is expected to facilitate defence production ventures.
At the Bandhan ceremony, held in the final day of the event, around 201 memorandum of understandings (MoU), product launches and technology transfers were concluded.
These included the signing of an MoU between state-owned aerospace and defence company Bharat Electronics (BEL) and a local firm Grene Robotics for the development of an air defence solution.
As agreed, BEL and Grene Robotics will jointly develop an Autonomous MANPAD Data Link (ADML) system, which will bring isolated man-portable air-defence system (MANPAD) operators into a networked environment.
Separately, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and Rolls-Royce strengthened their partnership to expand the supply chain for civil and defence aerospace.
They also agreed to establish an authorised maintenance centre at HAL for Adour Mk871 engines, which power several aircraft.
Rolls-Royce Business Development and Future Programmes (Defence) executive vice-president Alex Zino said: “We are committed to co-develop future defence fechnology with India, in India, for India and the global market. In partnership, we will work to deliver economic benefit and achieve India’s vision of self-reliance in the defence sector.”
During Aero India 2021, HAL delivered three Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Mk III to Indian Navy and two ALHs to Indian Coast Guard, as part of an earlier contract.
Additionally, a HAL-developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) secured Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) from the Indian Army.
Recently, HAL received a $6.57bn contract from the India Government to deliver 83 Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA). (Source: airforce-technology.com)
08 Feb 21. The US Military Wants To Produce Water From Air. Here’s the Science Behind It. The key is the right combination of elements in porous crystal structures, and the AI-powered search is on.
A promising new way to extract drinking water from air could change how U.S. troops hydrate in remote locations — and might even relieve regional water-scarcity tensions.
On Thursday, General Electric announced that it has received $14m under DARPA’s Atmospheric Water Extraction project to continue developing a device that can produce enough water to support 150 troops while remaining small enough to be lifted by just four people.
Extracting water from air is the sort of elusive challenge that has frustrated scientists for decades. Even in desert climates, air contains water vapor. But condensing it to fill a tank or a glass requires cool temperatures. Think of walking out into a grassy field at dawn when the grass has small droplets of water on it. The temperature at which that water in the air condenses into those little droplets is the dew point, which typically occurs at night when the air is the coolest. In arid regions with low relative humidity, that dew point is very low.
Today’s water-condensing systems require too much power to be worth the effort in arid climates. Some salts or other materials work but the water harvesting takes too long to be worthwhile.
UC Berkeley chemistry professor Omar Yaghi, who is part of GE’s team on the project, has developed a new family of highly porous crystal-like substances, good for capturing carbon and catalyzing reactions. Yaghi and his team began to experimenting with these metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, in the desert in 2014.
“We designed several generations of prototypes employing kilograms of MOFs and showed that these water harvesters work well in some of the driest deserts in the world,” he told Defense One in an email. “We tested these MOF water harvesters in Arizona and the Mojave deserts and found that significant amounts of water can be harvested from air.”
Specifically, he found that they can absorb water from the air at relatively high temperatures of 25 Celsius and releasing it at 45 Celsius.
Water vapor binds to pores in his device much the same way as water bonds in ice, Yaghi said.
“The weak bonds formed by those ‘seed’ water molecules further attract other water molecules from air thereby helping to concentrate water inside the pores, especially in low-humidity environments,” he wrote. “In essence, inside these MOFs, one has solid water (i.e. ice fragments) in hot weather. To get the water out, as the goal is liquid water, one simply heats the materials to a mere [45 Celsius]. This provides enough energy to break those weak bonds and release the water from the pores to make clean drinking water.”
That means you can trap water in the pores in the desert at night, when it’s a bit cooler (but not cold) and capture it as liquid during the day in the heat. With power, it can go through several water-producing cycles per day.
So where to go from here? The three-year DARPA program will proceed along two tracks. GE won the award in the “stabilization track” to develop materials to provide water to a 150-person unit. The second track seeks to build a canteen-sized air-to-water device for individual soldiers.
Yaghi said the key will be using artificial intelligence to find the right combinations of elements.
“There are over 70,000 different MOFs…being invented so far since we first pioneered them, and the possibilities of making new ones are endless,” he says. “This is really an infinite chemistry with infinite materials. Thus being able to develop and search this vast MOF space will require computations and machine learning. Identifying a specific MOF with favorable water harvesting abilities and optimizing its behavior in devices will be some of the outcomes of the computation using AI methods.” (Source: Defense One)
08 Feb 21. Isotropic Systems secures over $40m in funding to accelerate growth and development of unique multi-beam antenna ahead of 2022 launch.
– Isotropic Systems completes an industry and financial backed funding round, including UK government support through the Government’s Future Fund, equity participation through global strategic investors, venture capital and UK grant funding support awarded by the UK Space Agency
– Attracting strategic investor support from industry leaders Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures, SES and UK Government complemented by investment from deep-tech venture capital firm Promus Ventures through its Luxembourg based space investment fund, Orbital Ventures
– Secures commercialisation of Isotropic’s next-gen ground antennas designed to vastly improve connectivity across the satellite ecosystem
– New UK site dedicated to technology and testing operations to add hundreds of STEM roles in the UK
Isotropic Systems, a leading developer of transformational broadband terminal technologies, announces that is has fully secured funding of over $40m providing the necessary capital required to develop its game-changing multi-beam antennas.
The round brings together equity and grant funding support from the UK Government and market leaders in Aerospace and Telecommunications. SES led the round, along with participation from specialised space investors Orbital Ventures, UK government’s Future Fund and existing investors Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures, Space Angels and Firmament Ventures. Demand for the oversubscribed round was driven by recent development contracts for Isotropic Systems’ transformational terminal, advanced over-the-air testing, and the accelerated development and roll-out of its phase one terminal expected early 2022.
With funding in place, Isotropic Systems plans to accelerate its production phase in time to support new constellations and satellites launching in all satellite orbits from 2022 onwards. Isotropic will also open a 20,000 sq. ft. technology and testing facility near the company headquarters in Reading, UK, and will see the company create an additional 150 highly skilled engineering roles to the UK over the next two years.
Isotropic Systems’ patented radio frequency optics technology enables the high-performance multi-beam antenna to simultaneously link with multiple satellites in multiple orbits without any compromise in the performance of each link. This industry first unlocks the global satellite ecosystem for unprecedented connectivity across a broad range of markets, including government, defense, maritime, enterprise, and aerospace. With multiple new space constellations being launched by organisations including OneWeb, Inmarsat, Intelsat, SpaceX, Amazon, SES and Telesat, innovation in space needs to be matched by innovation on the ground and air.
“Isotropic Systems is extremely well positioned to unlock a new age of high-powered, multi-orbit connectivity with our next-gen multi-beam antenna,” said John Finney, Isotropic Systems Founder and CEO. “As one satellite constellation after another is announced for launch in future years, our technology is unique in that it allows service providers and end users to take the best of the many thousands of satellites going into orbit using a single
integrated terminal, unlocking the demand for the satellite industry as a whole, radically changing the way bandwidth services are delivered to end-users and vastly exceeding the capability of any single satellite system. This unique, cost-effective solution has allowed us to attract world class investment support from our industry, which in turn will allow us to unlock significant export revenue for the UK economy and across the satellite sector. As we grow our UK-based team, collaborative partnerships and capabilities, we are proud to support tech innovation in the UK to solve connectivity challenges across a broad range of key vertical and geographical markets around the world.”
UK Science Minister, Amanda Solloway MP said: “The UK space sector is thriving and with connectivity never having been more important, it’s vital we support pioneering companies like Isotropic Systems who are tapping into the benefits that space technology can bring us all on Earth. Backed by UK government, these new multi beam antennas will improve connectivity for us all at home, and for emerging technologies such as driverless cars, while helping to create 150 highly skilled UK jobs as we build back better.”
SES CEO Steve Collar: “At SES, we believe in doing the extraordinary in space to deliver amazing experiences on earth and delivering amazing experiences requires innovation across the ecosystem. That’s why we are building our next-generation system, O3b mPOWER, together with innovators like Isotropic Systems. Isotropic’s multi-beam antenna plays an important role in our multi-orbit strategy and is a key enabler for advanced satellite services on land, in the air and at sea. Our investment reflects the potential that we believe this breakthrough technology has for SES and for the industry as a whole.”
Brian Schettler, Senior Managing Director, Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures: “Our continued investment in Isotropic Systems, underlines our commitment to strengthening the global satellite ecosystem. The development of Isotropic’s unique RF optical technology will further accelerate the expansion of space-based connectivity to meet the growing demand for satellite data, transportation and mobility connectivity, and broadband services.”
According to Orbital Ventures/Promus Ventures, Partner Gareth Keane, “At Promus Ventures, we invest in early-stage deep-tech companies with exceptional teams and ground-breaking ideas and technologies, and Promus Ventures is excited to support Isotropic Systems through our space-focused Orbital Ventures fund. Constellations and launch companies are already getting a lot of attention with their disruptive products and services and now key areas such as ground segment connectivity are likely to attract the next wave of investment, and this UK company is leading the charge.”
About Isotropic Systems
With offices in the UK and U.S., Isotropic Systems is developing the world’s first multi-service, high-bandwidth, low power, fully integrated high throughput terminals designed to support the satellite industry to ‘reach beyond’ traditional markets and acquire new customers with a full suite of high throughput services. The company’s team of industry experts and scientists has pioneered several firsts in satellite terminal design resulting in a line of terminals that are customizable to meet the performance, cost and power requirements of countless applications – from the most complex government defense systems and mobile backhaul solutions capable of extending 5G, to next-gen connected experiences aboard commercial airliners, cruise ships, offshore rigs, and even small fishing boats at sea. Further information is available at www.isotropicsystems.com (Source: PR Newswire)
09 Feb 21. Sonardyne’s SPRINT-Nav reaches new heights of capability. Marine technology specialist Sonardyne has released a new high altitude variant of its market leading hybrid navigator SPRINT-Nav to allow uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) and underwater vehicles to extend their operational envelope.
SPRINT-Nav tightly integrates a Sonardyne SPRINT INS, Syrinx DVL and a highly accurate pressure sensor into a single high-performance solution providing navigation and optional acoustic Doppler current profile (ADCP) functionality.
Sonardyne’s new variant takes this capability to an even higher level; increasing the altitude at which vehicle platforms can work when they don’t have an external position reference, without compromising accuracy.
Operating at 400kHz, the high altitude variant achieves reliable bottom lock at up to 230m altitude above the seabed, providing USVs with a highly accurate and robust navigation source, which is critical for, as an example, station keeping applications in coastal surveys where GNSS could be denied or subject to interreference.
Installation of the new SPRINT-Nav variant on autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) allows inspections and surveys to be performed at even higher altitudes than previously possible.
In addition, the instrument’s optional ADCP functionality has been extended to 120m, adding oceanographic data gathering and increased operational capability. This can be especially beneficial in highly dynamic environments and/or where remote vehicles are being deployed from a USV and robust current profile data is required.
The new SPRINT-Nav high altitude variant has already been delivered into the USV market, including as part of a package of Sonardyne technologies being installed on the first wave of Ocean Infinity’s new Armada fleet of robotic vessels.
“Our new 400 kHz SPRINT-Nav high altitude variant provides the optimal performance blend, with comparable accuracy but 30% greater altitude to our 600 kHz standard SPRINT-Nav,” says Malik Chibah, Sonardyne’s Engineering Director.
“With higher altitude performance, this new variant of SPRINT-Nav allows USVs to operate in a wider range of maritime environments. UUVs can also operate at higher altitudes above the seabed, across a wide range of operational scenarios in the defence, energy and science sectors. This comes without the loss of accuracy expected of instruments offering the equivalent altitude. For example, you can increase your multibeam coverage rates or also reduce navigation drift during descent and ascent.”
In addition to releasing the SPRINT-Nav high altitude variant, the 400 kHz capability it contains is also now available as a standalone 400 kHz variant of Sonardyne’s Syrinx DVL, which also comes with optional ADCP functionality.
05 Feb 21. Systematic launches latest mounted C2 solution: SitaWare Frontline 3.0. The new system meets the challenges of the modern battlespace, with a range of features that deliver an operational advantage to commanders
Systematic has evolved its mounted command-and-control (C2) capability with the development of SitaWare Frontline 3.0, which builds on an operationally proven solution and furthers the commander’s ability to dominate the battlespace.
“SitaWare Frontline 3.0 has been developed to meet the demands of the contemporary operating environment,” notes Jesper Annexgaard, Product Manager for SitaWare Frontline, “Commanders must be prepared for a multitude of complex missions. As well as addressing peer and near-peer adversaries, counter-insurgency operations are ongoing and militaries are increasingly being called upon to assist civil agencies.”
The new system introduces a range of enhancements over the in-service SitaWare Frontline, with features that are designed to improve the commander’s situational awareness, “The new mapping system, comprehensive force tracking, and geospatial tools deliver a rich picture of the human and physical terrain,” explains Annexgaard.
SitaWare Frontline 3.0 has a new self-contained map engine that supports multiple map types in 2D and 3D format. The terrain analysis tools include the ability to display area-of-sight and line-of-sight, among other functions.
Enabling commanders to rapidly plan and conduct conduct missions has also been a primary concern, Annexgaard says, “We recognise that in a conflict with a peer or near-peer, shortening the OODA loop will give commanders an operational advantage and enable them to get inside their opponent’s decision-making cycle,” adding, “As such, we have optimised the user experience, with a clear and easy-to-use interface. The integrated chat feature, for example, enables commanders to maintain situational awareness via the map while at the same time communicating across the battlespace, sharing messages, command layers, images, and more.”
Plans and orders can be composed directly on the electronic map and include sketches and text, these can be shared via tactical radio networks – both IP and non-IP. A new waypoint-based route navigation and planning feature has also been introduced.
SitaWare Frontline 3.0 utilises Systematic’s tried-and-tested SitaWare Tactical Communications (STC) software protocols, which optimise the management of data and enable large volumes to be transmitted over limited bandwidth and in challenging conditions.
The system integrates seamlessly with SitaWare Headquarters and SitaWare Edge, giving top-to-bottom C2 and situational awareness across the battlespace, “Mission data can be shared between echelons, ensuring that all levels of command have the same operational picture, which goes some way to lifting the ‘fog of war’.” As with the other members of the SitaWare suite, SitaWare Frontline 3.0 continues Systematic’s design philosophy of having an open architecture and the availability of a software development kit that enables third-party applications to be built and integrated, empowering customers to drive the development of their mounted C2 capability.
The standards-based design also permits interoperation with non-SitaWare users, the software is able to share key information – such as positional data – with other systems.
Further features in SitaWare Frontline 3.0 include a responsive display that adapts to screen size and orientation, ‘light’ and ‘dark’ modes to meet tactical requirements, and symbology alignment with the other members of the SitaWare suite. “There is a common look-and-feel across the across the SitaWare suite, this simplifies user transition between the different systems and can serve to reduce training time and costs.”
05 Feb 21. Sikorsky-Boeing nears return to wind tunnel FLRAA testing. Sikorsky-Boeing is returning to the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC), located at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California, in March for additional wind tunnel testing of its US Army Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) effort.
The company will use the NFAC’s 12 m high × 24 m wide wind tunnel, which is one of two circuits at the facility. The team will again use a 1/5 scale SB>1 Defiant technology demonstrator model, Sikorsky spokesperson Melissa Chadwick said on 3 February. This is the same size model it used during a series of early 2019 tests at the complex to support SB>1 Defiant development, according to a USAF statement.
Sikorsky-Boeing’s wind tunnel testing is likely meant help to squeeze every last knot possible out of its design for the Defiant X that it is offering for FLRAA, according to Mike Hirschberg, executive director of the non-profit Vertical Flight Society (VFS). Hirschberg told Janes on 3 February that it is important for Sikorsky-Boeing to have a low drag design so the Defiant X can fly faster and can be more efficient by using less energy, fuel, and power to go fast. The SB>1 Defiant is the technology demonstrator while the Defiant X, which leverages lessons from SB>1 Defiant work, is the team’s formal FLRAA offering.
Hirschberg noted that it is expensive for companies to perform wind tunnel testing. Not only does a company have to rent a wind tunnel facility, but it must invest substantial amounts of money to create a sophisticated subscale model that accurately replicates, for example, the mechanical gearing inside a helicopter. (Source: Jane’s)
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.