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24 Feb 21. USAFRL wants to add more Vanguard programs. The Air Force Research Laboratory wants to add more Vanguard programs in the coming year while accelerating development of its existing programs, said AFRL Commander Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle. The AFRL’s Vanguard programs target transformational science and technology components and integrated systems that can demonstrate leap-ahead capabilities.
The three ongoing Vanguard efforts are Navigation Technology Satellite-3, Skyborg and Golden Horde. NTS-3 is an experimental position, navigation and timing satellite that will inform the design of future GPS satellites while providing additional capabilities to the war fighter on orbit. The Skyborg program is building a family of artificial intelligence-enabled drones that can serve as wingmen. The Golden Horde is developing a swarm of networked munitions that can autonomously attack multiple targets simultaneously.
AFRL wants to accelerate development of these three designated Vanguard programs while adding more in the coming years.
“I look forward to keeping this pipeline moving and energized with a steady flow of Vanguards coming and going,” Pringle said Feb. 24 during the Air Force Association’s Virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
“At any given time in the coming years or in the future, we could have three to six Vanguards,” she continued. “So I’m really looking forward to the time when we have the pipeline greased so that we can add new Vanguards, or that we get to the point where we have failed fast or graduated some of the other ones.”
In regards to accelerating development, Pringle pointed specifically to Skyborg, which she described as being in the “crawl stage” of development, not the “walk or run stage.” While the program won’t be a fully formed capability anytime soon, she said, AFRL will begin flying and testing the various component capabilities in the coming year.
Pringle added that the Golden Horde program is making strides. In a test last week, the program moved from two collaborative munitions to four, and they were able to hit four separate targets simultaneously.
The Vanguard efforts are a key piece of AFRL’s Science and Technology Strategy 2030, which Pringle described as her No. 1 priority.
“The 2030 strategy is really our guideposts,” said Pringle. “And it takes two approaches to accelerating change.”
AFRL is splitting its investments between a top-down effort and a bottom-up approach. With the top-down process, the laboratory wants to develop strategies to address specific threats, using available technologies as the solution.
“Our goal is to achieve, or dedicate, up to 20 percent of our investments to this portfolio — this transformational, top-down strategy-driven design — by FY23,” said Pringle.
Second, AFRL wants to use a bottom-up approach by building a continuous pipeline of science and technology. That effort will help provide the enabling technologies needed to create those transformational solutions outlined in the top-down approach. AFRL will direct 80 percent of its portfolio to those science and technology building blocks, said Pringle.
“Looking into the next year, we want to keep this transformational technology on a fast track,” said Pringle. “We either want to succeed or fail fast and get out of that business.”
In developing those transformational technologies, AFRL is engaging in much broader stakeholder engagement.
“The Vanguard programs themselves, they involve acquisition partners, our PEO [Program Executive Office] partners, major commands and field commands every step of the way to ensure success,” said Pringle. “And ultimately, the focus of a Vanguard program is the war fighter and getting to a transition on a quick timeline.”
In 2021, Pringle said her focus is on matching investments to these transformational technologies as part of the 2030 strategy, accelerating funding by fiscal 2023.
“Ultimately in the coming year, I want to fully implement the 2030 strategy because it’s helping us grow and mature these capabilities for war fighters. I want a set condition so that we have a steady stream of Vanguard programs as well as ideas and concepts as well as the building blocks from science and technology all across the lab.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
24 Feb 21. Quantum Science to Deliver Cutting-Edge Technology to Warfighters, Official Says. During Engineers Week, the Defense Department is highlighting its efforts to develop a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce and to increase understanding of and interest in engineering and technology.
Quantum science is important for the Defense Department because of the revolutionary technologies that it will bring to warfighters, the principal director for quantum science in the office of the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering said in an interview recently.
Among the technologies in development are advances in quantum computing and networks that are many times more effective at encrypting or decrypting today’s communications, Paul Lopata said.
DOD scientists and civilian partners are working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop new cryptographic standards that ensure information stays private, he added.
Quantum sensors are another exciting future possibility that could be used for such things as missile and aircraft tracking, as well as more advanced gyros and accelerometers, he said.
“We’re just starting to understand the possibilities,” he said.
An application where quantum science is used today is in powering the atomic clocks used by GPS satellites, which must be precisely synchronized. Lopata said that’s important because military systems such as aircraft and missiles need to have a great deal of precision, navigation and timing.
Lopata likened quantum science to the military’s first use of electricity in the 1800s, which was used to power telegraphs — the first information technology of its kind that greatly improved long distance command, control and communications.
In the U.S., the department is leveraging academia and the private sector to advance quantum science, Lopata said. DOD’s efforts are concentrated in each of the service’s research laboratories and engineering departments, as well as organizations that include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
There’s a wide range of basic scientists, applied scientists and engineers looking to understand how the department can take advantage of quantum science and apply it to current and new systems, he said.
“DOD is a top tier place to be a quantum scientist because of the broad possibilities for research, the opportunity to pioneer new technologies, and the ability to serve our country,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
23 Feb 21. InfiniDome Successfully Tests ‘GPS Jammed’ Scenario Flight Ops. InfiniDome Ltd., the GPS Security Company, announced the successful completion of UAS flight trials conducted under GNSS jamming scenarios. The test flight was part of the NA’AMA initiative, a project to push the boundaries of BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) operation and accelerate the adoption of UAS in urban environments.
This project was made possible by the Israeli Ministry of Transportation, Israel Innovation Authority and Civil Aviation Authority (CAAI). During the rigorous testing, infiniDome increased GNSS resiliency by 400% in the hostile jamming environment.
The drone’s GPS receiver overcame GPS jamming scenarios using infiniDome’s GPSdome protection which locked on and maintained the GNSS signals throughout the jamming tests.
GPSdome has the best Cost, Size, Weight and Power ratio for anti-jamming protection of UAS airframes where extended range, critical missions and resilient navigation are required in tactical environments. infiniDome’s GPSdome anti-jamming solution is a small, affordable add-on module that protects any GNSS/GPS receiver. Using two, off-the-shelf antennas and interfacing to the GNSS receiver at the RF level, their patented system makes any drone wielding it highly differentiated from all other drones primarily for BVLOS and mission critical operations such as surveillance, autonomous deliveries and border patrol.
GPSdome delivers proven resilient PNT by adding anti-jamming capabilities to GPS/GNSS receivers. Supporting real-time interference detection and mitigation, GPSdome maintains the receiver’s GPS signal throughout jamming attacks or in the presence of unintentional RF interference. Attenuating the RF interference signal in real time allows for continuity of normal operation by maintaining availability of the drone’ s autonomous and semi-autonomous modes which are GNSS-dependent. (Source: UAS VISION)
23 Feb 21. DTC Communications Launches 30-Watt IP Mesh Node. DTC, the wireless communications specialist has launched a Robust High Power (RH) variant of the market leading NETNode Phase 5 IP Mesh Radio. Phase 5 is the latest generation of DTC’s NETNode Mesh family, offering built-in dual HD video encoders and Multi-In Multi-Out (MIMO) capability to deliver the NETNode’s highest ever data throughput and now greatest power output. The NETNode is available in 4W, 10W and now 30W total power output variants.
DTC’s Mesh technology provides high-capacity IP connectivity in challenging environments and sits seamlessly alongside existing public or private infrastructure. DTC’s Mesh penetrates non-line-of-sight (NLOS) conditions making it ideal for applications when the need to connect and communicate is mission-critical.
The RH variant has been designed for the most demanding wide coverage applications.
Communication links are often unreliable or insecure where communication is most critical and difficult to achieve. Providing up to 30W total RF power output over two transmit ports for extreme long-range is Ideal for ISR missions, secure airborne downlinks, robotics as well as high data throughput for ship-to-ship communications.
The NETNode 5 RH is available in frequency bands from 320MHz UHF up to 6GHZ with software configurable RF bandwidths between 1.25MHz to 20MHz. The NETNode 5 RH delivers up to 87Mbps in 20MHz bandwidths enabling Full Motion Video, Audio, embedded GPS position data, at distance and “On-the-Move”.
The NETNode 5 RH is also feature-rich, offering built-in encryption with both composite and SDI video inputs. It is interoperable with DTC’s existing phase 3, 4 and 5 Mesh products, providing a stress-free migration path for existing users and making it easy to expand any network. (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Feb 21. Defense Department Launches $2m Aerospace Research and Education Center of Excellence at Tuskegee University. The Department of Defense (DOD), through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), has launched the DOD Aerospace Education Research and Innovation Center (AERIC) at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Awarded through the DOD historically Black college and university (HBCU) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) Research and Education Program, AERIC will support undergraduate research in materials and aerospace sciences relevant to DOD and the aerospace industry. AERIC is a congressional add funded at $2m which was sponsored by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense.
Established at an institution that was the home of the Tuskegee Airmen and is today the number one producer of Black aerospace engineers in the nation, AERIC is devoted to expanding the future aerospace technical workforce with a particular focus on underrepresented populations in the United States. To help fill the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline, AERIC will support two-year research projects in the areas of fatigue damage tolerance, experimental aerodynamics, and the performance of materials and components under extreme environmental conditions.
“The establishment of centers of excellence plays a vital role in our defense enterprise by stimulating research and innovation for the next generation of STEM leaders,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, director of the Office of Research, Technology, and Laboratories in OUSD(R&E). “Notably, beyond conducting research that enhances our ability to respond to threats and remain technologically superior, HBCUs serve the nation by educating a significant number of talented scientists and engineers. By supporting HBCUs and MSIs, we are cultivating a research enterprise that broadens idea sharing while expanding the pool of reliable STEM professionals able to meet both our mission and our workforce objectives.”
Located in Tuskegee University’s Engineering Department, AERIC is positioned to grow the DOD aerospace technical workforce through speaker series with DOD staff and summer internship placements at defense laboratories, ultimately preparing scholars for careers in critical DOD industries. In addition to partnering with DOD, AERIC will collaborate with Wichita State University, Boeing, Dynetics, and Chevron to further the center’s research and education agenda.
For more information on the DOD HBCU/MSI Program, see: https://basicresearch.defense.gov/Programs/HBCU-MI-Program/
(Source: US DoD)
22 Feb 21. Ansys Collaborates with Keysight Technologies to Help Engineers Tackle Significant System Design Challenges with Best-In-Class Digital Workflow. Ansys and Keysight’s cohesive workflow delivers a comprehensive level of connectivity and automation for advancing design innovation across high-tech sectors. Keysight’s Pathwave SystemVue brings advanced signal processing techniques and component level design to the mission modeling workflow.
Systems Tool Kit providing digital mission engineering for advanced urban air mobility operations.
- Engineers are using Ansys and Keysight’s improved digital mission engineering (DME) workflow to substantially streamline the design process for creating next-gen applications
- The leading-edge workflow helps engineers accelerate product lifecycles, leverage insights to better decision-making, decrease human error and develop high-fidelity designs
Ansys (NASDAQ: ANSS) and Keysight Technologies, Inc. are working together to integrate component-level designs into mission modeling environments with an enhanced, automated DME workflow. This enables joint customers to eliminate the time-consuming bottleneck of manually coupling design tools for rapidly innovating aerospace and defense applications and soon for 5G communications, autonomous vehicles and electrification. Ansys’ collaboration with Keysight continues a longstanding relationship that began with AGI, before the company was acquired by Ansys last year.
To solve challenging development issues, engineering teams have been forced to manually connect design tools with custom integrations and purpose-built scripting mechanisms. Additionally, engineers face increasingly difficult design hurdles, tasked to achieve more with less resources. Ansys and Keysight’s streamlined, interoperable and cohesive workflow combines best-in-class tools, empowering engineers to accelerate the product lifecycle, harness critical insights to improve decision-making, greatly reduce human error and create advanced, higher fidelity designs.
The cutting-edge automated workflow directly connects AGI’s multi-domain mission analysis software, Systems Tool Kit with Keysight’s high-fidelity RF systems modeling tool, PathWave System Design (SystemVue). This enables engineering teams to seamlessly join mission-level modeling with component-level system design throughout the product lifecycle, providing a pervasive digital thread that links design processes, requirements and validation through proven digital simulation techniques. As a result, engineers can quickly arrive at critical system designs and immediately confirm performance within a mission context.
“Keysight and Ansys are each playing central roles in helping our customers shift their real-world challenges into digital twin simulations. By working together, we can accelerate this transformation, which is enabling our customers to innovate and get to market faster than ever before,” said Tom Lillig, general manager of PathWave Software Solutions at Keysight. “In particular, Keysight’s PathWave System Design software is a powerful bridge between the worlds of virtual simulation and physical test.”
“Ansys is building on the relationship with Keysight that AGI began, which successfully incorporated DME into design processes, supporting customers in satellite communications, radar and electronic warfare sectors,” said Shane Emswiler, senior vice president at Ansys. “Together, Keysight and Ansys will continue to increase the integration of our tools and explore ways for providing additional modeling capabilities to engineers developing innovations in 5G, aerospace/defense and automotive industries.”
If you’ve ever seen a rocket launch, flown on an airplane, driven a car, used a computer, touched a mobile device, crossed a bridge or put on wearable technology, chances are you’ve used a product where Ansys software played a critical role in its creation. Ansys is the global leader in engineering simulation. Through our strategy of Pervasive Engineering Simulation, we help the world’s most innovative companies deliver radically better products to their customers. By offering the best and broadest portfolio of engineering simulation software, we help them solve the most complex design challenges and create products limited only by imagination. Founded in 1970, Ansys is headquartered south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Visit www.ansys.com for more information.
Ansys and any and all ANSYS, Inc. brand, product, service and feature names, logos and slogans are registered trademarks or trademarks of ANSYS, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States or other countries. All other brand, product, service and feature names or trademarks are the property of their respective owners. (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Feb 21. EU looks to drones, space communication to get ahead in tech race. The European Commission on Monday announced three flagship projects – in drone technologies, space communication and space traffic management – aimed at giving the 27-country bloc a competitive edge in these new fields.
Called the Action Plan on Synergies between the civil, defence and space industries, the scheme’s objective is to harness research and innovation in the three sectors for the projects and other ventures.
The EU executive said the drone project would reinforce the competitiveness of EU industry in this key area with a strong defence dimension, while space communication would provide for a resilient and high-speed connectivity in Europe based on quantum encryption.
It said space traffic management was required to avoid collisions resulting from the proliferation of satellites and space debris, while ensuring autonomous EU access to space.
“The idea is for innovations to systematically reach multiple uses by design. And to allow tapping into the huge innovation potential of researchers and start-ups,” European digital chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
EU industry commissioner Thierry Breton said the projects would help the bloc stand on its own feet instead of relying on other countries.
“It will also reduce our dependencies in critical technologies and boost the industrial leadership we need to recover from the (coronavirus pandemic) crisis,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
22 Feb 21. Northrop Grumman Marks Five Years of B-21 Progress with Two Aircraft in Flow. In just over two years since completing Critical Design Review (CDR), Northrop Grumman has brought its digital design of the B-21 Raider to life, with two test aircraft in production today.
The Rise of the Raider is a story that began in February 2016 when Northrop Grumman initiated design and build work for the B-21, and the program has progressed rapidly in the years following. Within three years, the B-21’s design was proven stable and mature through a successful CDR completed in November 2018 at Northrop Grumman’s Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence in Melbourne, Florida.
Today, the first B-21 test article is “really starting to look like a bomber,” said Randall Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, in an interview with Air Force Magazine in January 2021. Walden also confirmed the production of two B-21 aircraft at Northrop Grumman’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale, California.
Infrastructure investments have yielded significant benefits in the design and assembly of the B-21 Raider. Northrop Grumman’s highly skilled workforce leverages cutting-edge technologies—including highly immersive virtual environments, and both augmented and virtual reality—to drive innovation in digital engineering and advanced manufacturing to build a producible, sustainable and maintainable 21st century bomber.
“Our early and continued investment in infrastructure, design maturation, risk reduction and our workforce has been a significant driver of progress on our first two aircraft on the production line in Palmdale,” said Steve Sullivan, vice president and general manager, strike division, Northrop Grumman. “As a result, we are well-positioned for low-rate initial production following key milestones in 2022 and beyond.”
An example of the impact of these infrastructure and employee investments was a recent systems integration demonstration that further matured B-21 hardware and software integration, recently praised by the Air Force. These efforts are instrumental to the Raider’s rapid development.
“We’re not getting something experimental,” said Dr. Will Roper, the former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in a January 2021 Aviation Week interview. “We expect to get a representation of the full production [aircraft] to first flight. It is being designed for production innovation, for maintainability and sustainability, up front and back.”
As the program continues to prepare for the Rise of the Raider, Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force are continuing their steadfast collaboration to provide the long-range penetrating strike aircraft the nation needs.
“The B-21 Raider is the product of a proud partnership between Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force,” Sullivan said. “We are committed to delivering the world’s most capable, technologically advanced bomber that will equip our warfighters with every strategic advantage against our adversaries.”
Learn more about the B-21 and receive updates on the Rise of the Raider at www.northropgrumman.com/riseoftheraider.
21 Feb 21. Saab to lead European development of detect and avoid capabilities for remotely-piloted aircraft system. The European Commission has selected the European Detect and Avoid System (EUDAAS) consortium, with Saab as leading partner, to develop Detect and Avoid capability for large military Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) within the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
The Grant Agreement, worth over EUR21m, was signed on 1 December 2020.
The EUDAAS programme will develop and validate a 100% European Detect And Avoid (DAA) solution for safe insertion of large military Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in European air traffic. The DAA system provide the remote pilot the ability to “see and avoid”, including a fully automatic collision avoidance function which will initiate manoeuvres to avoid collision with other aircraft if necessary. The system is to be integrated into the air traffic management system as with manned aircraft.
The programme also increases the maturity of non-cooperative sensors. The technology will be fully compliant with civil requirements, also supporting safe operation of civil Drones eg for services in support of deliveries, agriculture & forestry, environmental protection, border surveillance and Urban Air Mobility (UAM): a transportation system that move people by air.
The Detect and Avoid system developed will be tested on several unmanned platforms including the Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance RPAS (EuroMALE test platform) and Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (TUAV). The programme will run for three years and work closely with the civil developments in the field such as in the European Commission SESAR2020 programme, standardisation in EUROCAE and regulatory development with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Ministries of Defence of the five participating EU Member States support the programme. The participating countries are Sweden (lead nation), Italy, Germany, France and Spain. These nations will also provide funding to the programme, in addition to the European Commission Grant, which along with industry contribution will result in a +EUR30m programme.
The consortium consists of the following members: Saab AB (Sweden, coordinator), Centro Italiano Richerche Aerospaziali CIRA S.C.P.A. (Italy), Diehl Defence GMBH & Co. KG (Germany), Deutches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Germany), Hensoldt Sensors GmbH (Germany), Indra Sistemas (Spain), Leonardo S.P.A. (Italy), Safran Electronics & Defense (France), Thales Six GTS France SAS (France), Onera (France) and Eurocontrol (Belgium). Additional participants include Thales AVS SAS (France) and Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Germany).
“The technology brings the key piece of safety assurance to enable more autonomy and efficiency into aviation, enabling unmanned and remotely operated aircraft to take off in a broader sense. The technology ensures that unmanned and remotely operated aircraft will not collide with other aircraft. While the project focus is on military unmanned aircraft, the technology is fully applicable to also civil systems,” says Ann-Kristin Adolfsson, head of Business Development and Strategy at Saab business area Aeronautics. (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
16 Feb 21. ENAV plays key role in ERICA project to addresses integration of RPAS in all classes of airspace. Italian air navigation service provider ENAV is steering the second part of the three-year SESAR research programme – Enable RPAS Insertion in Controlled Airspace (ERICA) – which aims to define, develop and validate the key operational and technological enablers necessary to assure the proper insertion of Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) into non-segregated airspace.
ENAV is examining the accommodation and integration of IRF RPAS in airspace Class A to Class C by developing a framework for the insertion of RPAS to allow their routine access and operations.
The three-year ERICA project, coordinated by Leonardo and supported by EUR8.5m Horizon 2020 EU co-funding, is due completion in December 2022. In addition to defining the operational and technical capabilities that will allow RPAS to operate in controlled airspace safely during nominal and emergency conditions, ERICA aims to develop and validate these enablers. The consortium involves 30 beneficiaries from 18 countries across Europe.
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18 Feb 21. IAI launches new ComDart tactical RF detection, geolocation system. Israel Aerospace Industries-ELTA announced the launch of a new radio geo-location system called ComDart (ELK-7065VU) on 9 February.
The company described it as a “unique tactical COMINT 3D VHF/UHF” system, which provides tactical forces with “instantaneous geo-location of adversary communications using a single aerial platform such as a tactical UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle]. The system instantaneously detects communication transmissions across the VHF and UHF frequencies and provides an accurate geo-location of the [radio frequency] emitters in the area.”
The ComDart’s ability to immediately locate enemy communication transmissions from a single platform represented a breakthrough capability, said Adi Dulberg, vice-president general manager of IAI-Elta’s Intelligence, Communications and Electronic Warfare (EW) Division.
The ComDart (ELK-7065VU), a new radio-based tactical geo-location system by IAI-ELTA, that detects transmissions across VHF and UHF frequencies and provides accurate geo-location of RF emitters. (Israel Aerospace Industries)
Standard communications intelligence (COMINT) systems usually install an antenna array on a platform, link the array to a receiver and use it to evaluate the direction of the spread of the wavelength, providing an “azimuth axis of where the emitter source is coming from,” Dulberg told Janes.
The main drawback of that approach is that it “only provides direction, not the precise location of the emitter. The other technique is to use a number of platforms and sensors in a single area cell,” according to Dulberg, who suggested that the tactic can be cumbersome and is rarely implemented.
“ComDart is a highly compact system using just a single antenna,” he said. “As soon as someone presses the push-to-talk button and utters a few words, we immediately know the location.” ComDart also eavesdrops like other systems, he added, but “the immediate location track is the breakthrough,” Dulberg explained. (Source: Jane’s)
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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.