Sponsored By Oxley Developments
04 Mar 21. Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, announced it was selected by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide solid-state data recorders (SSDRs) for NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) science mission. The Earth Imaging Spectrometer instrument containing Mercury’s SSDRs is scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022.
The EMIT mission maps the surface mineralogy of arid dust source regions and aids in improving forecasts of the role of mineral dust in the warming or cooling of the Earth’s atmosphere. By accurately mapping the composition of areas that produce mineral dust, EMIT will advance the understanding of dust’s effects to the Earth system and to human populations now and in the future. For more information, please visit https://earth.jpl.nasa.gov/emit.
“Developing high-tech electronics that survive launch and extended-lifetime operation in space is no easy task,” said Chris Opoczynski, vice president and general manager, Mercury Data. “Mercury’s solid-state data recorders are purpose-built to support the need for ultra-reliable and agile radiation-tolerant storage devices. This focus on reliability and agility is part of our commitment to reducing our customers’ program risk and cost with our portfolio of state-of-the-art, secure, space-qualified products utilizing our industry-leading commercial technology.”
For more than 35 years, Mercury has held an unsurpassed leadership position in the design and manufacture of space-qualified components and assemblies for defense primes, government agencies, the scientific community and commercial customers. The company has delivered more than 20,000 space-qualified devices with no in-flight failures. Its custom microelectronics solutions are radiation-tolerant and purpose-built to operate in the harsh environment of space, on more than 65 satellite and launch vehicle programs, including every Mars Rover expedition.
04 Mar 21. Superconducting chips to scale up quantum computers and boost supercomputers. Superconducting processors could become a key ingredient for next generation of supercomputers. First, they could help tackling the major challenge of scaling up quantum computers. Second, they could speed up traditional supercomputers and remarkably cut their power consumption. A multidisciplinary research project led by VTT will tackle one of the main challenges of this solution: data transfer to and from low temperatures that are required for superconductivity.
The processing power of a quantum computer is based on superconducting qubits operated at extremely low temperatures. Qubits are typically controlled by conventional electronics at room temperature, connected through electrical cables. When the number of qubits eventually rises to the required level of hundreds of thousands, the number of control cables will hardly scale to match the number of qubits, without leading to an unbearable heat load and thus spoiling the low temperature of the quantum processor.
One solution is to control the quantum processor with a nearby classical processor. The most promising solution is to utilize the single flux quantum (SFQ) technology, which follows traditional computers in logic but uses superconducting technology instead of semiconductors. Requiring low temperatures, SFQ has been rarely used in traditional computers. This disadvantage however turns into an advantage when used in combination with superconducting quantum computers.
One major challenge remains. Calculation instructions come to the SFQ processor from a conventional supercomputer, and calculation results must be sent back from the SFQ processor to the same machine. This requires data transfer between extremely low temperatures and room temperatures.
“Our vision is to replace electrical cables with optical fibres and suitable converters, which convert optical signals to electrical signals, and vice versa. Unlike existing solutions, these components must be able to operate at low temperatures. The main goal of our project aCryComm is to develop novel converters and to demonstrate how they can drive and read out a simple SFQ processor. We are exploring an uncharted territory, where choosing the paths most suitable for low temperatures will present both challenges and opportunities,” says Matteo Cherchi, Senior Scientist at VTT, coordinator of the project.VTT is presently developing the Finnish quantum computer in collaboration with the Finnish start-up IQM. Even though the short-term goal of the collaboration is to reach about 50 qubits only, with aCryComm VTT intends to lay the foundation for a long-term development towards much more powerful quantum computers.
Low hanging fruits for conventional supercomputers
Besides quantum computers, conventional supercomputers can benefit even sooner from the development of optical connections for SFQ technology.In a typical supercomputer, or actually any laptop or smartphone, graphic processing units (GPU) support the central processing unit (CPU) in 3D rendering and similar computational tasks. GPUs are particularly suitable for vector and matrix calculations that are at the core of various scientific calculations.
A major limitation of supercomputers is the extremely high power consumption of CPUs and GPUs due to the energy dissipation in silicon chips. Replacing silicon chips with superconducting SFQ chips in GPUs could have a notable impact on both the performance and the power consumption of supercomputers.
“CSC, the Finnish IT Centre for Science will be soon home to the European supercomputer LUMI, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, with a computing power equivalent to 1.5 million laptops and power consumption of about 200 MW, which would cover the needs of several tens of thousands of homes. The aCryComm project can contribute to the next generation of supercomputers by speeding them up, while significantly lowering the power consumption. Remarkably, this new technology would be all developed and made in the EU, unlike most of the hardware of present supercomputers,” Cherchi says.
Boosting supercomputers will boost weather forecasts, analysis of climate change, drug development, material development and logistics, just to mention a few.
Multidisciplinary experts get together
The 3-year EU project, aCryComm is coordinated by VTT. The vision of the project owes to the close in-house cooperation of experts on topics such as photonics, superconducting devices, metrology and telecommunications. Being multidisciplinary the VTT team was able to identify the best experts and most suitable international partners for the project, these being Tampere University in Finland, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, ETH Zürich in Switzerland and PTB, the national metrology institute of Germany, and corporate partners Single Quantum in the Netherlands and Polariton Technologies in Switzerland.
02 Mar 21. RoK confirms first KF-X prototype to be rolled out in April. South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) announced on 1 March that assembly of the first prototype of the Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) fighter aircraft is almost complete, with manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) set to formally roll out the platform in April.
Jung Kwang-sun, head of the KF-X programme at DAPA, said the planned rollout event of the twin-engined multirole fighter will be a “landmark moment” for the country and the aerospace industry. ”After working only with the blueprint so far, we will now have something we can actually see and test whether what we have been studying actually works,” Jung was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying at KAI headquarters in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.
The KRW8.8trn (USD7.8bn) KF-X fighter project is meant to provide a replacement for the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) fleet of F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II combat aircraft. Development of the KF-X began in 2015 and is expected to be completed by 2026, with the RoKAF set to acquire 40 units by 2028 and another 80 units by 2032, according to Yonhap. Images released by DAPA show the first prototype has already been fitted with the F414-GE-400K engines provided by US manufacturer General Electric (GE) Aviation. The prototype, which will be painted in dark grey prior to the rollout event, is expected to make its maiden flight in 2022. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Mar 21. Delivering magnetic and EW testing: MOD Portland Bill. Currently managed by QinetiQ under the Long-Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA), MOD Portland Bill is a site critical to assessing equipment from items used for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) to Mine Countermeasure Vessels (MCMV).
Selected to be a magnetic test site due to its remote location and non-magnetic Portland stone – used on Buckingham Palace – the MOD Portland Bill site is home to the Land Magnetic Range (LMR), a system capable of simulating the Earth’s magnetic field, reducing it to zero or separating it into vertical and horizontal components.
QinetiQ maritime ranges group lead Sam Hill told Naval Technology: “MOD Portland bill is roughly divided into two; magnetic assessment services comprises the land magnetic range, and our ability to both inspect and test magnetic compasses. Then for the EW Calfac [Electronic Warfare Calibration Centre], the calibration facility, that is really for ships and submarines to calibrate their electronic warfare systems.”
On the magnetic testing front, MOD Portland Bill offers several facilities including a compass test centre for the inspection and testing of compasses – this work sees near year-round use as the only accredited centre for compass approval in the UK.
QinetiQ Land Magnetic Range technical manager David Rollett, who oversees the land magnetic range at Portland Bill, told Naval Technology that as well as the geographical benefits, Portland Bill had a unique infrastructure setup. This includes a coil system built around the building and a nine-metre trench allowing sensors to be placed under the objects that are being measured.
Describing the nature of magnetic testing at the site, Rollett said: “It’s a very simple test, but it’s quite a hard test to pass. The magnetic field levels that you’re talking about are effectively just above background levels; they [the sensors] areas sensitive as what a mine could potentially use to target a diver.
“There’s a number of different NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] standards of how to test equipment. If the equipment or the clothing the diver is wearing is going to go right up against the mine threat and it’s going to be potentially touching the mine itself, then we do measurements at potentially a 10cm stand-off from the sensor.”
Two of the most essential facilities at MOD Portland Bill are the Land Magnetic Range and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) range which are capable of measuring and recording the magnetic signatures of tools and equipment to ensure they do not accidentally trigger explosives when used in the field. A low magnetic signature is key to ensuring that minesweepers do not accidentally set off the mines they are sent to find.
The site also offers a demagnetisation facility for tools and equipment to be used in sensitive locations.
Hill added: “The EOD area is one where we feel that almost direct connection with protecting the lives of individuals in the armed services because we are testing things like the wetsuits that they’re wearing, their gloves, the small boats that they go out in.
“It is very personal, and the team really feel that connection. We will see the EOD teams going out in the UK and detonating unexploded ordnance that’s left over from the world wars and the team will see that on the TV and think we’ve tested what that guy is wearing right now. That’s going towards helping make sure that they’re going to be successful in their task and they’re not going to be injured or killed.”
Electronic Warfare (EW) testing
The other portion of MOD Portland Bill’s capabilities comes on the EW front, with the site’s Electronic Warfare Calibration centre (Calfac) being used by both ships and aircraft to test their Radar Electronic Support Measures (RESM).
David Mitchell, QinetiQ’s EW facility manager at Portland Bill explained: “The facility is called Calfac [it] is an RF [Radio Frequency] transmitter that transmits RF test signals at the Royal Navy platform under test.
“We have a facility here at MOD Portland [Bill] and another MOD QinetiQ managed facility in Scotland up in Applecross. Typically, at Portland, we do the Royal Navy ship platforms and the Scottish facility does the submarine community. Both facilities do the occasional MOD [Ministry of Defence] aircraft.”
QinetiQ also offers a portable Calfac facility, which is designed to reflect the Royal Navy’s ambitions to forward base more ships, allowing the company to bring the testing system to the ship, rather than the other way round. Ultimately, this increases the Royal Navy’s ship availability.
Commenting on bringing testing to the field, Hill added that the Royal Navy is “really keen on us being able to go out to those locations and conduct the testing exactly as we would in the UK; to give them that indicator that they are operating within the parameters that they left the UK with.”
Mitchell continued: “We load the facility with RF test signals. These test signals are loaded on the platform as well and on the surveillance system, so they are easily identified when we transmit a signal.
“The platform usually conducts a 360-degree pivot about five to 10 miles off the Portland Bill. The objective is for the trial is for the platform to, first of all, identify the threat and then establish the bearing accuracy during the pivots.
“They do that 360-degree pivot and they get a pass or fail. The Royal Navy standard is for them to come and see us once a year, or if they’re about to deploy into theatre, they’ll come and pay us a visit to make sure all their surveillance systems are operating correctly.”
The capability can provide representative signals that can mimic targets in different threat situations.
Mitchell added: “We’ve also got the capability to do a complex test signal. They can be produced to simulate a threat like a scanning radar. The platforms have used in the past as a training exercise.
“The ship would actually turn up on the range and the captain wouldn’t tell the crew, what was about to happen, then the facility would transmit a complex threat at them. The ship can then evaluate how the crew respond to that threat.”
The LTPA is a 25-year partnering agreement between the MOD and QinetiQ to deliver Test & Evaluation (T&E) and Training Support Services to all branches of the UK Armed Forces. (Source: naval-technology.com)
01 Mar 21. COMSovereign Acquires Sky Sapience, Expanding Tethered Drone Product Portfolio for Commercial Communications, Defense and National Security Markets. Sky Sapience’s HoverMast Tethered Aerial Platforms Currently Fielded for Border Security and ISR in Israel and Other International Markets. COMSovereign Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: COMS) (“COMSovereign” or “Company”), a U.S.-based developer of 4G LTE Advanced and 5G Communication Systems and Solutions, today announced the acquisition of Israel-based Sky Sapience, a top developer of fielded tethered aerial rotorcraft platforms for defense, homeland security and commercial markets. The total purchase price was approximately $12.7m, consisting of $2.7m in cash and 2.55m shares of common stock.
COMSovereign’s SkySapience HoverMast and HoverMast LTE tethered drone system, delivering rapidly deployable 4G & 5G networks, border protection and large event monitoring and security. 24/7 protection.
- Acquisition delivers installed base of global customers including Israeli security forces
- Aerial National Security platform offerings for government customers including U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Defense (DOD)
- Innovative technologies including a fiber optic tether which enables secure, high-capacity communications including support for commercial 4G and 5G wireless networks
- Domestic production in U.S. and in Israel to support current clients while expanding global market reach to customers seeking state-of-the-art Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities or looking to rapidly deploy commercial 4G or 5G networks
Since its founding in 2010, Sky Sapience’s tethered hovering technology has provided long-duration, mobile and all-weather Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (“ISR”) capabilities to customers worldwide for both land and marine based applications. Sky Sapience’s flagship HoverMast-line of quadrotor tethered drones feature uninterruptible ground-based power, fiber optic communications for cyber immunity, and the ability to operate in GPS denied environments, delivering dramatically improved situational awareness and communications capabilities to users. The HoverMast is utilized in Israel for various applications and is also deployed in several international markets.
“The benefits of tethered aerial platforms in providing critical communications during emergencies or enhanced security and situational awareness through 24×7 aerial monitoring of critical infrastructure and along national borders, is well known. That is why Sky Sapience has built a significant backlog and business pipeline for the HoverMast which we believe can also be a perfect solution for many immediate unmet needs in DHS and DOD here in the United States as well,” said Chairman and CEO of COMSovereign Holding Corp., Dan Hodges. “Furthermore, Sky Sapience’s unique fiber optic tether technology will allow us to implement full 4G or 5G airborne networks simultaneously with advanced surveillance payloads in a single solution, a significant competitive differentiator, bringing valuable new synergies to our aerial platform business.
“Sky Sapience’s tethered hovering technology is an ideal complement to COMSovereign’s aerial platform business, extending its capabilities for applications ranging from airborne wireless cellular networks to providing enhanced security on national borders where the HoverMast is already deployed by customers. We look forward to joining COMSovereign and to quickly integrate our technologies so that we can meet the evolving requirements of government, military and commercial end users for rapidly deployable, communications and aerial monitoring solutions,” said Gabriel Shachor, CEO and Founder, Sky Sapience. (Source: PR Newswire)
01 Mar 21. LDRA Optimizes Functional Safety Software Development with Synopsys ARC Processors. LDRA tool suite integrated with Synopsys DesignWare ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit for Safety delivers a test and validation lifecycle solution, accelerating and reducing cost of compliance with ISO 26262 to ASIL D. LDRA, the leading provider of automated software verification, source code analysis and test tools, today announced it has delivered a test and validation lifecycle solution for Synopsys DesignWare® ARC® Functional Safety (FS) processors. The LDRA tool suite, when integrated with the Synopsys DesignWare ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit for Safety, provides developers with lifecycle traceability, source code static and dynamic analysis, and automated unit and system-level testing on host and target. This solution improves software quality, safety and security while lowering verifications costs.
“Innovation and advances in automotive software are forcing developers to address a rapidly growing set of functional safety and security requirements,” said Ian Hennell, Operations Director, LDRA. “To meet these requirements, developers need to ‘shift left’ their software quality and verification processes while offering traceability and auditability throughout the lifecycle. This process shift is intended to ensure quality and compliance with the strictest levels of ISO 26262, while continuing to meet business demands. With the integration of the LDRA tool suite and the Synopsys ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit for Safety, developers can automate software lifecycle compliance tasks and produce well-constructed, documented and tested software—all with the benefit of significant time, cost and operational savings.”
This new LDRA integration with the Synopsys DesignWare ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit for Safety provides source-code static and dynamic analysis, as well as verification on host and target for the DesignWare ARC EM FS and ARC HS FS families of functional safety processors. Together, developers can more quickly:
- Comply with coding standards (industry- and user-defined) such as MISRA, CERT and AUTOSAR
- Provide robust complexity, data, and control flow analyses
- Automate test case, harness, stub generation and test execution
- Expose high-risk areas and defects via in-depth code analysis, verification and report generation
- Automate production of software certification and approval evidence
Synopsys DesignWare ARC functional safety processor IP supports safety levels ASIL B and ASIL D to simplify and accelerate application development using a safety-critical automotive SoC. The Synopsys DesignWare ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit for Safety helps software developers accelerate the development of ISO 26262-compliant code.
“With LDRA now a member of Synopsys’ DesignWare ARC Access Program, our joint customers can be confident that their tool chain for developing critical automotive applications can be trusted and is best in class,” Hennell confirmed. “The requirements traceability combined with in-depth analysis and verification accelerates and reduces the cost of ISO 26262 compliance.”
Both the LDRA tool suite and the Synopsys DesignWare ARC Metaware Compiler for Safety have been certified by SGS TÜV SAAR as suitable for development of safety-related software compliant with ISO 26262 up to ASIL D. In addition, the LDRA tool suite offers tool qualification support packs for the qualification of LDRA tools for high-assurance applications requiring regulatory approval.
The LDRA tool suite with the Synopsys DesignWare ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit for Safety is available now. Contact for more information or download a free 30-day trial of the LDRA tool suite at https://ldra.com/register. The partnership is also showcased on the Synopsys DesignWare ARC Access Program website here.
23 Feb 21. European SESAR research examines technologies to protect airports from drone incursions. The SESAR European research programme is co-funding a two-year project examining innovative ways to protect airports from drone incursions. The Airport System PRotection from Intruding Drones (ASPRID) programme aims to develop a service-oriented operational concept and system architecture to protect airport operations from unwanted drones. To do so, the project will analyse aircraft and airport (runway and ground) operations to pinpoint possible vulnerabilities. With this, the project aims to identify possible technologies, procedures and regulations that could help better safeguard against drone incursions and/or can help them recover from any disruptions as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In doing so, the project proposes a more integrated and coordinated approach to handling drone incursions.
The project is pooling knowledge and resources from seven European entities from different sectors: airports, research, innovation technologies, drone operations, IT, safety and security. It builds on research and development already underway on a broad range of systems that are able to impede such so-called rogue-drone flights over non-authorised areas by detecting and neutralising drones. While innovative, these solutions are not necessarily interoperable or customised with airports environments in mind.
SESAR says the benefit of having an integrated approach to addressing drone incursions at airports include the following:
- Increased airport operational and cost efficiency, by managing the operational flow and minimising the cost of disruptions in case of drone intrusions.
- Enhanced safety and security, by increasing awareness about threats and preventing/mitigating their effects.
- Enabling environmental and economy, fostering the safe and secure use of drones for airport services and arising new market opportunities related to drones and airport protection systems from drones.
- Regulation: Supporting drone & U-space with the definition of characteristics for zones where drones are (not) allowed to fly under any circumstances or restrictions due to the risk for the airport in terms of safety and security.
ASPRID will be carried out by 7 European entities from Spain, Italy and France. These entities are experts in the different sectors involved in the project: airports, research, innovation technologies, drone operations, IT, safety and security.
- Aena SME SA
- Aerospace Laboratory for Innovative components (ALI Scarl)
- Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA)
- Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)
- Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA)
- SoulSoftware SRL
The project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 892036.
For more information visit:
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.