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04 Jun 20. Lithium-ion Batteries: Weaknesses. Safety concerns persist for lithium-ion battery storage. The electrodes can decompose at elevated temperatures and under overcharging or discharging conditions. At short to moderate periods of storage durations, lithium-ion batteries are the most cost-effective. These batteries are highly configurable, wherein modules can be arranged to obtain different power ratings and voltage specifications.
Listed below are the key weaknesses of lithium-ion batteries for underwater applications, as identified by GlobalData.
Thermal runaway, fire and explosion risks
In terms of fire risk, lithium-ion batteries are currently encountering serious fire safety concerns in a variety of industries, including the consumer electronics, automotive, aviation, and marine sectors. This has driven research and development efforts to refine the technology and increase safety levels, particularly concerning fire.
In particular, fire safety on manned underwater vehicles is crucially important. The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) reported 266 fire incidents on its nuclear submarines in the last 25 years, 20 of which required significant onboard resources to contain. In the last six years, the Indian Navy has suffered four serious fire or fire safety system related incidents on their conventional submarines, claiming a total of 41 lives.
The most catastrophic LIB failure involves uncontrolled temperature increase within a cell due to battery failure leading to self-sustaining, exothermic chemical reactions that cause further heat release, breakdown of the cell, and sometimes explosion. This type of failure, or thermal runaway, is initiated by overheating the cell and or its components. Most critically, particularly for a submarine, the rapid release of thermal energy can heat neighbouring cells causing a cascade of thermal runaway failures throughout the entire battery bank. Thermal runaway can spread from one cell to the next quickly leading to a catastrophic fire. Companies are working with industries and universities and are testing their LIB solutions to provide safe and reliable power storage.
The high energy content, combined with extreme charging and operational patterns, represents new challenges about safety, integration, and service life. To avoid accidents and unwanted incidents that may have significant safety and cost implications – and potentially halt the development of these technologies – the battery-related systems must be verified and validated according to “best practice”. This is particularly vital in light of unwanted events, such as the explosion of a maritime battery system under test in Sweden and the 2016 recall of the Samsung Galaxy smartphone from the market.
This is an edited extract from the Lithium-ion Batteries for Underwater Applications – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research. (Source: naval-technology.com)
03 Jun 20. The new affordable MiniPIX EDU pixel detector will help in visual instruction of nuclear physics and in a better understanding of the concept of radioactivity.
The Czech company ADVACAM launches a new pixel detector MiniPIX EDU specially designed for visual instruction of nuclear physics. The aid, which makes it possible to observe the behaviour of ionizing radiation particles with one’s own eyes, will enable students to easily understand the principles that have so far been difficult to explain theoretically. The EDU model was created in response to market demand for equipment that would help bring particle physics closer to secondary school and university students. So far, despite all efforts, ADVACAM has not been able to meet demand due to the high price of detectors. Now they have managed to reduce the price by more than 50%. The detector was designed as a simplified version of the sophisticated MiniPIX model, which ADVACAM developed and supplies, for example, to NASA for use aboard the International Space Station. The new edition is intended exclusively for teaching. It will be offered to secondary schools and universities, technical museums, for interactive exhibitions and, to a lesser extent, companies for staff training.
In particular, the device should assist in a basic understanding of the concept of radioactivity. “People often think that radioactivity does not affect them, or that it is only a part of nuclear power stations or nuclear bombs,” says Jan Jakůbek, physicist and CSO of ADVACAM. “But radioactivity and ionizing radiation are all around us, in the rooms we live in, in the water we drink, in the air we breathe, and it is also part of our own bodies,” the scientist adds. “For students,” continues Jan Sohar, CEO of ADVACAM, “subsequently, it will be easier to imagine how people can use radioactivity to their advantage: in medical imaging or in nuclear medicine therapy for cancer treatment, in nuclear power stations, in non-destructive testing in industry, or in art analysis.”
For example, they have very good experience with visual instruction of physics in Spain, where, as part of the Admira Project, a selected group of secondary school students are learning physics using the MiniPIX detector, a template of the EDU model. Daniel Parcerisas Brossa, Head of Science Department at the Col·legi Sagrada Família in Gavà, says: “The device helps to teach modern physics in a new way that increases students’ creativity and interest.”
The MiniPIX EDU, a miniaturized radiation camera, will come in a form that resembles a USB flash drive. It easily connects to a computer and it will be possible to observe particles or perform experiments almost immediately. It will be offered in a limited edition exclusively for study purposes. “The campaign has been running for a few days now, but we have already had the first customers. So far, these are mainly large corporations that want to use the detector to train their employees. But we hope that we will be able to bring it to as many schools as possible,” says Jan Sohar.
02 Jun 20. Watchdog says Pentagon needs better planning for IP update 17 years after first attempt. A federal watchdog found that poor planning by the Department of Defense has blurred the department’s understanding of the risks and costs associated with upgrading the system that routes internet traffic across the globe, known as Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
According to a June 1 report from the Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon needs to improve its transition planning for the most recent effort, which began in April 2017. The DoD has tried twice previously to implement IPv6 in 2003 and 2010, but stopped those transitions after identifying security risks and lacking adequately trained personnel.
The problem for the DoD is that IPv4, the IP management system the DoD uses, is running out of address space. IPv4 only has room for 4.3 billion addresses. In contrast, IPv6, created in the 1990s, provides about 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (undecillion) IP addresses. The Defense Department owns approximately 300 million IP addresses with about 59.8 million unused and planned for use by future DoD components. The department estimates it will run out of its unused IP addresses by 2030.
The department’s IPv6 implementation plan from early 2019 listed 35 actions needed to switch over from IPv4. Eighteen of those steps were scheduled to be completed by March 2020. The report said six of the 18 tasks were completed on time.
Upgrading to IPv6 would increase connectivity, add security, improve the warfighter’s connection and communications on the battlefield, and preserve interoperability with allied systems, the GAO wrote.
The watchdog found that the department was not compliant with several IPv6 transition requirements from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. The DoD hasn’t completed a cost estimate, developed a risk analysis or finished an inventory of IP compliant devices, the report said. Pentagon officials told the GAO that they knew their time frame for the transition was “optimistic,” adding that they thought the pace was reasonable “until they started performing the work,” the GAO wrote.
“Without an inventory, a cost estimate, or a risk analysis, DOD significantly reduced the probability that it could have developed a realistic transition schedule,” the GAO wrote. “Addressing these basic planning requirements would supply DOD with needed information that would enable the department to develop realistic, detailed, and informed transition plans and time frames.”
The Department did meet OMB’s requirement to name an official to lead and coordinate the agency planning. But because the Pentagon failed to complete the other three OMB requirements. the move is at risk.
“Without an inventory, a cost estimate, or a risk analysis, DOD’s plans have a high degree of uncertainty about the magnitude of work involved, the level of resources required, and the extent and nature of threats, including cybersecurity risks,” the GAO wrote.
Among the DoD’s goals it did complete are several IPv6 training programs, information sharing opportunities and a program management office.
The GAO recommended that Defense Secretary Mark Esper direct the DoD chief information officer to complete an inventory of IP-compliant devices, develop a cost estimate and perform a risk analysis. The DoD agreed that it needed to develop a cost estimate and risk analysis but didn’t concur that it needed to inventory devices, citing new guidance from OMB and calling an inventory “impractical” because of the department’s size.
“The lack of an inventory is problematic due to the role that it should play in developing transition requirements,” the GAO wrote. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
03 Jun 20. Getac’s Brand New, 5G-Compatible B360 Laptop Combines Best-in-Existing-Class Speed, Brightness, and Rugged Performance. Industry-leading features, connectivity, and build quality come together in powerful new fully rugged solution. Getac has today unveiled its B360 fully rugged laptop, setting a powerful new benchmark for innovation in the rugged computing industry. Fully engineered for 5G, the B360 boasts best-in-class computing speed, brightness, and rugged reliability, resulting in a highly advanced mobile solution that excels in challenging working conditions.
Fastest, brightest, most rugged
The B360 runs on the 10th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor, making it the fastest fully rugged laptop on the market, capable of running large numbers of applications simultaneously without any impact on performance. A 1,400 nits Full HD display as standard – the brightest in Getac’s computer line-up – is also unrivalled in the fully rugged laptop class.
When it comes to reliability, Getac builds all its devices rugged from the ground up. The B360 is no exception. The IP66 rating ensures it is completely protected from dust ingress, as well as high pressure water jets and spillages. The device can also withstand drops of up to six feet when in operation, while the latest MIL-STD 810H certification gives users complete confidence in its rugged reliability.
Available in two sector-specific models at launch
The B360 is part of the Getac Select™ Program, which draws on Getac’s extensive industry experience to create comprehensive rugged computing solutions for specialised industry applications. As such, it is available in two distinct models at launch: The B360, ideally suited to the public safety, manufacturing, and utilities sectors, and the B360 Pro, optimised for the defence sector.
- The B360: In addition to best-in-class speed, brightness, and ruggedness, the B360 is the thinnest and lightest fully rugged laptop in its class. At just 34.9mm thick and weighing 2.32kg, it can be carried and operated for extensive periods of time without causing user fatigue. Despite such a compact form factor, the B360 boasts an expansive 13.3” LumiBond® 2.0 display for maximum usability in all situations and weather conditions. The latest 802.11ax Wi-Fi delivers wireless speeds up to three times faster than previous generations. Dual hot-swappable batteries as standard ensure full-shift functionality between charges, while optional GPS makes mapping, surveying, and tracking in the field quick and easy.
- The B360 Pro: The B360 Pro includes all the core technology specifications of the B360, along with a number of additional features and build options that are vital for military personnel. High-capacity hot-swappable batteries deliver even more operating time between charges, while additional serial ports allow legacy and/or customised military equipment to be connected directly to the device. Customers also have the option to spec a PCMCIA, ExpressCard, or a discrete graphics card, as well as a DVD or Blu Ray drive as required.
“With the launch of the B360, Getac has once again raised the bar for the whole rugged computing industry,” says Chris Bye, President, Getac UK Ltd. “For the first time, customers across a wide range of industries can enjoy best-in-class speed, brightness and rugged reliability in a single device, without compromise.”
The B360 is available now. The B360 Pro will be available on 3rd July 2020. For more information, please visit www.getac.com
Getac Technology Corporation, a key subsidiary of MiTAC-Synnex Business Group (2019 annual revenue $40bn USD), was established in 1989 as a joint venture with GE Aerospace to supply defence electronic products. Today, Getac’s business coverage includes rugged notebooks and tablet PCs not only for the military, but also for the automotive and process industry, the police, fire departments as well as utility, manufacturing, transportation and logistics customers. For more information visit: http://www.getac.com
03 Jun 20. GKN Aerospace’s thermoplastic components flight tested on Bell V-280 Valor.
- Thermoplastic Ruddervators and Recycled Thermoplastic Access Panels successfully flight tested
- Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor is one of the first military aircraft flying with thermoplastic technology on board
GKN Aerospace delivered a pair of thermoplastic composite, induction-welded Ruddervators and two compression-moulded Access Panels manufactured from reused thermoplastic waste material to Bell in June 2019. The newly installed components have now flown more than 12 hours on V-280 test flights, including during the recently completed autonomous flight testing.
The Bell test pilots were happy with the seamless integration of the newly installed parts, noting that the V-280 continued to exhibit excellent responsiveness through test manoeuvers. This has made the V-280, which recently celebrated completion of its second full year of flight tests, one of the first military aircraft flying successfully with thermoplastic components.
Ruddervators are the control surfaces for an aircraft with a V-tail configuration. As a partner in Bell’s Team Valor, GKN Aerospace has designed and manufactured the complete thermoset composite V-Tail for the aircraft. The Bell V-280 Valor is competing for selection as the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). The advanced thermoplastic Ruddervators significantly reduce weight, cost and parts count.
“We are always looking across Team Valor for new opportunities to incorporate advanced technology to add value for our customer. GKN Aerospace’s thermoplastic ruddervators are a great example where we were able to add value and reduce risk for future programs,” said Ryan Ehinger, Vice President and Program Director for FLRAA at Bell.
In parallel to the demonstrator program, the GKN Aerospace global design team continues to work with Bell to optimize the V-Tail design to meet customer requirements for the FLRAA program.
The two compression-moulded Access Panels have been manufactured from recycled thermoplastic waste material from the two Ruddervators and have been developed in a Dutch TPC-Cycle research program led by Saxion. GKN Aerospace is a partner in the research program.
GKN Aerospace is a technology leader in thermoplastic technology with thermoplastic rudders, elevators and fuselage panels flying on a wide range of Business Jets. Injection of this technology on a military platform opens opportunities for wider application in the defense market. Thermoplastics offer significant advantages in terms of weight, costs, production time and environmental impact.
Krisstie Kondrotis, President Defence, GKN Aerospace said: ’’We are proud to be part of Team Valor and to advance our design work for the Bell V-280 Valor’s V-tail. It is very exciting that our cutting-edge thermoplastic technology is now successfully integrated and flight tested on the state-of-the-art Bell V-280 Valor.
07 May 20. Fairview Microwave Releases New Double Ridge Waveguide Switches Supporting Broadband Frequencies up to 40 GHz. New Double Ridge Waveguide Electromechanical Relay Switches In Stock and Available with No MOQ.
Fairview Microwave Inc., an Infinite Electronics brand and a leading provider of on-demand RF, microwave and millimeter wave components, has introduced a new series of double ridge waveguide electromechanical relay switches that perform over broader frequency bands. They are ideal for applications involving electronic warfare, electronic countermeasures, VSAT, radar, microwave radio, research and development, and test instrumentation. Fairview Microwave Releases New Double Ridge Waveguide Switches Supporting Broadband Frequencies up to 40 GHz
Fairview’s new comprehensive line of double ridge waveguide electromechanical switches includes 12 models that feature broadband multi-octave frequency coverage spanning 6.5 GHz to 40 GHz, latching self-cut-off actuators, TTL logic, and position indicators with manual override. They are offered in SPDT and optional DPDT configurations and support WRD-650, WRD-750 and WRD-180 waveguide sizes. These designs deliver highly desirable performance that includes 80 dB isolation, 2.5 dB insertion loss and up to 8.5kW power handling capability.
“Typically, suppliers require a 16 -20+ week lead time and minimum order quantities (MOQs) for these types of products. With this in stock product line, we’re able to provide RF designers a comprehensive selection of broader-band, double ridge waveguide electromechanical switch designs for urgent proof-of-concept or prototype applications, with no MOQ,” said Tim Galla, Product Line Manager.
These fully-weatherized, rugged, mil-grade packages support an environmentally-sealed quick-connect DC-control connector with mate. They are designed for 100% humidity exposure across a -40°C to +85°C operating temperatures.
Fairview Microwave’s new double ridge waveguide electromechanical relay switches are in stock and available for immediate shipping with no minimum order quantity required. (Source: Armada/PR Newswire)
11 May 20. Pentek Launches Revolutionary ArchiTek FPGA Development Suite for Talon Recorders.
- Complete development environment to add custom FPGA IP to Talon RF/IF signal
- Record only signals of interest to reduce storage capacity and post-processing
- Ideal for SIGINT, COMINT and ELINT applications
Pentek, Inc., today announced its ArchiTek” FPGA Development Suite, a revolutionary product for adding custom IP to select Pentek Talon® recording systems. ArchiTek is a comprehensive development environment that enables engineers to add FPGA IP to recording systems, such as threshold detection, spectral filtering, digital down-conversion, signal classification, demodulation and many other digital signal processing techniques.
Developing custom IP for an FPGA requires an architecture that protects the user from custom IP development pitfalls such as breaking the existing IP and corresponding recording software. ArchiTek harnesses Pentek’s Navigator” FPGA Development Kit (FDK) and Board Support Package (BSP) to provide a development environment that steps engineers through the process of integrating custom IP into the recorder. Along with the Navigator FDK, ArchiTek provides the foundation and example projects for adding IP to user blocks and creating additional data-path branches from existing data streams. The structured design protects the recorder’s standard functionality, reducing development time and risk.
“Pentek has structured FPGA designs in a way that allows engineers to easily add digital signal processing IP to our signal acquisition boards,” said Chris Tojeira, Pentek’s recording systems director. “ArchiTek extends this capability to our Talon recorder product line, resulting in a customizable instrument that better targets the user’s application.”
Customers can now add FPGA IP to a recorder for real-time, on-the-fly digital signal processing during the data acquisition process, greatly reducing the time associated with post-processing recorded data. Recording of only critical data also greatly reduces transfer rates, recording capacity requirements, and data offload time.
Using ArchiTek, FPGA developers can add additional recording channels to the system, so users can record both processed and unprocessed data simultaneously. ArchiTek provides extensive documentation and tutorials to assist developers through the customization process, reducing both risk and development time.
ArchiTek Use-Case Examples
Many digital communication protocols use spread-spectrum techniques, in which many signal channels are spread across the same frequency span using pseudo-random sequence encoding. Instead of recording the entire frequency span, ArchiTek allows one signal of interest to be extracted using a custom FPGA block so that only that signal is delivered for recording. This can reduce the recording rate and storage capacity by orders of magnitude.
Another SIGINT monitoring application might require signal classification and time stamping of each received transmission. By suitably configuring the classification algorithm within the FPGA using ArchiTek, only the key parameters of each signal need to be recorded instead of the signals themselves, thus dramatically extending the useful mission time. This strategy of real-time processing at the front end also reduces or eliminates post-processing tasks.
Pricing and Availability
For the latest pricing, delivery and available options, please fill out this form and your request will be delivered to the appropriate department. To learn more about our products or to discuss your specific application please contact our sales department at firstname.lastname@example.org, 201-818-5900 or contact your local representative. (Source: Armada)
01 Jun 20. ASC and partners to pioneer additive manufacturing for submarines. ASC has collaborated with CSIRO and the DMTC for pioneering the use of additive manufacturing to repair Collins class submarines.
Australia’s ASC is set to partner with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) to establish the use of additive manufacturing for Collins class submarines repair.
The team will also develop cold spray technology for repairing damaged metal surfaces.
This will enable the future repair of submarine components and allow Australian submarines to remain at sea for longer, reducing the need for repairs.
An additive manufacturing and repair method, cold spray uses a stream of supersonic gas to accelerate metal powder particles at the surface. This builds up a dense deposit. The process occurs below the melting temperatures of the metals involved and prevents damage to the vessel.
ASC CEO Stuart Whiley said: “It’s vitally important for ASC to be on the cutting edge of submarine sustainment innovation, to continually improve Australia’s submarine availability to the Royal Australian Navy service.
“The use of additive manufacturing for the repair of critical submarine components, including the pressure hull, will mean faster, less disruptive repairs for our front-line Collins-class submarine fleet.”
The two-year project will deliver services, reducing the repair costs for the Royal Australian Navy.
Under the project, work will be carried out by ASC engineers with CSIRO’s Lab22 research facility in Melbourne.
The team aims to develop portable equipment for the in-situ repair of submarines.
Once successfully developed, proven and certified, ASC will receive a license to use cold spray to support Australia’s submarine sustainment organisation. It will primarily support the Collins-class submarine fleet.
CSIRO Research Team leader Dr Peter King said: “CSIRO and ASC have been working together for a number of years, exploring ways to use cold spray of nickel to repair corrosion.
“CSIRO has spearheaded the adoption of cold spray by Australian industry since first introducing the technology 18 years ago.” (Source: army-technology.com)
01 Jun 20. GA-ASI exploits additive manufacturing for UAV production and performance advantages. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) is looking to expand the application of metal and non-metal components created using additive manufacturing (AM) processes across its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) product lines to seek further production efficiencies, the company told Janes on 29 May.
“GA-ASI is approaching AM holistically and strategically by dedicating team members, facilities, R&D [research and development] funding, software, and printing capabilities to integrate AM into the design and manufacture of our products,” the spokesperson said.
“AM integrates seamlessly with other technological expertise we have been developing for years,” he added. “Our goal is to maximise the AM business benefits for GA-ASI and our customers.”
The first production-representative example of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian medium-altitude long-endurance UAV. GA-ASI has already developed at least 200 flight-certified metal and non-metal additive manufactured parts for the type.
Since 2011 GA-ASI has pursued polymer-based and metal AM technologies and has stood up a dedicated AM development team to identify opportunities where such processes would potentially create favourable business outcomes. Janes understands that the company is already using, or is planning to develop, AM technology in applications that include complex manifolds and ducting, multiple types of heat exchangers, engine and landing gear-related components, integrated structures, mounts and fuel distribution systems, as well as small and large tooling.
Recent successes include the successful test flight of a MQ-9B SkyGuardian medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE)-class UAV fitted with a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) inlet that was 3D-printed from Grade 5 titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) in early February, its first metal part constructed using AM techniques. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Jun 20. The US Navy has 10 new information warfare projects. The Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic and Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific will host a virtual industry day in early June to announce 10 new projects through the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) Consortium. The consortium, which is a members only organization, relies on Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) in to develop mature technologies. The event, which will be held June 8 – June 11, will provide industry with information related to 10 potential forthcoming request for prototype projects.
The projects include:
- IWRP process improvement that could lead to a workflow tool and a search function for proposals;
- Software defined radio software enhancements. These enhancements are for high frequency reactive jam and multiple amplifier support to the software baseline of the HTLx-T2, HTLv-1 and HTLv-2 hardware;
- A multi-spectral emitter light to obtain a multispectral emitter hardware solution for the Signature Management program of record;
- A legal and law enforcement system to include a Navy data collection, case management and court reporting capability;
- A shared data environment/cloud migration for which the Navy 311 will provide non-tactical, on-demand and pre-positioned information assistance akin to civil 311 services;
- A common interface for human resources training;
- 5G Nellis network enhancements for 5G prototypes;
- Prototyping for new shipping container designs for submarine communication buoy, and;
- Prototyping of a re-design for legacy submarine launcher control systems for communications buoys. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 Jun 20. What progress has the US Navy made on IT modernization? Since joining the Department of the Navy in September last year, Navy Chief Information Officer Aaron Weis has been outspoken about numerous shortfalls in the service’s IT infrastructure and cybersecurity posture.
In his current role, he plays a major role in correcting gaps identified by a Navy cybersecurity readiness report last year that found glaring holes in the service’s cyber posture. Since taking over the IT reigns, the service has narrowed its IT focus down to three lines of effort: modernize, innovate and defend.
In an interview with C4ISRNET, Weis discussed the progress the sea service has made on its cybersecurity posture and IT environment since he became CIO, as well as new pilot programs and how the Navy is spending funds on information technology.
What progress has the Navy made since you took over as CIO?
I think the progress is in a couple of areas. One is from a “defend” perspective — really highlighting that we’re going to have to change our perspective on defend and the cultural perspective. I talk a lot about moving from this culture of security by compliance to a culture where we have security as a constant state of readiness, where we’re always assessing our own readiness from a cybersecurity perspective.
Just the raising in awareness of that has helped spark a number of efforts. One of which is the Navy has undertaken a complete re-look at the RMF [risk management framework] for how we assess risk. The RMF, I think traditionally there’s an amount of just check boxes and forms that have to be filled out and managed. And there’s a recipe that you go through to get to RMF. The intent is right. And the outcome is intended to be that we’re managing risk. The downside is it takes a really long time and what comes out of it is not a current snapshot of risk.
How has that changed?
So the Navy now has taken a wholesale re-look at the RMF process. They’re looking at security as a state of readiness versus a state of compliance. They’re refining and retuning RMF to be more responsive to reflect current state and to be able to be a more consistent indicator of risk management versus the one and done.
I think another that comes out of that defend idea is we have really highlighted the need for modernization. Identity is a critical element of being able to defend. Traditionally, as somebody matures in their career in the Navy, you might acquire seven or more identities as you move on to a ship and then back to an ashore duty station, and maybe you’re on a different ship. So your identity morphs. It makes it very difficult for us to offer consistency and to be able to secure you. One of the foundations of zero trust is that we know who you are — that we can say that with authority. So we’ve been able to launch an identity program.
We’ve got some strong pilots right now that are being run to prove out technology, but we’re also launching an identity program around the ability to offer ubiquitous access and have that dovetail with a zero-trust architecture. So that has been launched.
What’s an example of an identity pilot you’re working on?
We’ve got a identity management pilot that we’re doing in conjunction with Navy Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP. The Navy’s ERP system is an SAP ERP system that was moved to the cloud last year very successfully, and we are now working to implement an identity management and access solution that integrates with that Navy ERP cloud-based solution. And we are using that pilot to prove out a suite of tools that we hope to be able to fan out and expand use of beyond just that single system.
At AFCEA West in March, you mentioned that you wanted to use software-defined networking to improve information sharing between sailors and Marines. What progress have you made on that?
We have a team that we assembled who’s working through several aspects of the modernize [line of effort]. Network and network architecture is one of them. Another strong effort is the collaboration tools around Office 365 and zero-trust elements that go with that. They have been working in conjunction with the cyber component. So what we are seeing now and what we expect to see more of are proposed architectures that we can put in place for some targeted pilots that we want to take some specific enclaves within the network and use those as areas to try out some of the software-defined networking and the other architectural concepts that we’re putting in place.
The idea is that we would launch those efforts to intercept the new service provider that we would onboard in conjunction with the NGEN-R request for proposals — [a $7bn IT contract awarded last year by the Navy to Leidos, but currently under protest by GDIT] — where we have a new service provider and we’re bringing to them the “should be” architecture. The plan was that that presented an ideal opportunity to intersect that trajectory and skate to where the puck is going.
With NGEN-R potentially being delayed through some protests, we will continue to look at where we can prove that out even ahead of a potential future partner coming onboard. But those are concepts that we’re working through; the team has continued to have a cadence around that. That has spanned through the COVID-19 crisis; they haven’t stopped that work through the telework and COVID-19 crisis.
Is there a timetable for starting those pilots?
We’re adjusting based on when we expect to see a new partner come onboard and for when we want to do those things on our own ahead of that. So I think we’re having to do some readjustment between the protest work and then as well as the COVID-19 work that may intercept some of that. We’re just assessing our timeline. I would like to see it done this year. I would like to see us be in some pilots here in the second half of calendar year 2020.
Editor’s note: Weis declined to provide an example of specific pilots because they aren’t finalized.
You also mentioned in recent months that you think the Navy needs to spend smarter. What are some areas that you’re looking at in this budget cycle that have been under-prioritized in the past?
When you run some benchmarks, we probably are spending at an appropriate amount consistent with others who have mission-critical activities in the IT space. And I use the financial industry as a good benchmark in terms of criticality of their IT infrastructure. So although we may be spending at a world-class level, we’re not necessarily always getting the world-class outcomes and output. So we’re looking at where do we want to be able to lean in and shape.
One of the first areas that we’re doing right now is the logistics — the log IT systems. That’s a portfolio that spans several hundred systems across the Navy and Marine Corps. We’re working together with the business process owners and the business side of this to look at how do we optimize log IT. How do we reduce the number of systems around an aligned business process and, along the way, shape that funding to potentially optimize our spend in log IT? And then how do we free that up or reinvest in some of the network modernization and defend activities that we feel needs more prioritization?
And that’s happening now. That log IT work and assessment is happening. There’s already system consolidation that’s happening. The log IT portfolio is one that probably approaches 8 to 9 percent of the total IT spend at this point. So that’s an area where we feel like it’s a large line item and we’ll benefit from the combination of business process work together with system work. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 Jun 20. All aboard the Sea Train! DARPA’s Sea Train concept hopes to enable a convoy of medium-sized unmanned vessels to travel across the ocean without refueling, before splitting up to conduct independent operations. (Courtesy of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)
Imagine the following scenario.
Four medium-sized U.S. Navy vessels depart from a port along the United States’ coast. There’s no crew aboard any of them.
About 15 nautical miles off the coast, the four vessels rendezvous, autonomously arranging themselves in a line. Using custom mechanisms, they attach to each other to form a train, except they’re in the water and there’s no railroad to guide them. In this configuration the vessels travel 6,500 nautical miles across the open ocean to Southeast Asia. But as they approach their destination, they disconnect, splitting up as each unmanned ship goes its own way to conduct independent operations, such as collecting data with a variety of onboard sensors.
Once those operations are complete, the four reunite, form a train and make the return journey home.
This is the Sea Train, and it may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing in several technologies to make it a reality.
“The goal of the Sea Train program is to be able to develop and demonstrate long-range deployment capabilities for a distributed fleet of medium-sized tactical unmanned vessels,” said Andrew Nuss, DARPA’s program manager for Sea Train. “So we’re really focusing on ways to enable extended transoceanic transit and long-range naval operations, and the way that we’re looking to do that is by taking advantage of some of the efficiencies that we can gain in a system of connected vessels — that’s where the name ‘Sea Train’ comes from.”
According to DARPA, the current security environment has incentivized the Navy and the Marine Corps to move from a small number of exquisite, large manned platforms to a more distributed fleet structure comprised of smaller vessels, including unmanned platforms that can conduct surveillance and engage in electronic warfare and offensive operations.
While these unmanned vessels are smaller and more agile than their large, manned companions, they are limited by the increased wave-making resistance that plagues smaller vessels. And due to their size, they simply can’t carry enough fuel to make the long-range journeys envisioned by DARPA without refueling.
By connecting the vessels — physically or in a formation — the agency hopes the Sea Train can reduce that wave resistance and enable long-range missions.
In February, the agency released a broad agency announcement to find possible vendors. Citing agency practice, Nuss declined to share how many proposals were submitted, although he did say there was significant interest in the announcement. The agency completed its review of any submissions and expects to issue contracts by the end of the fiscal year.
Sea Train is expected to consist of two 18-month periods, where contractors will work to develop and test technologies that could enable the Sea Train concept. The program will culminate with model testing in scaled ocean conditions.
If successful, DARPA hopes to see the technologies adopted by the Navy for its unmanned platforms.
“What we’re looking to do is be able to reduce the risk in this unique deployment approach,” Ness said. “And then be able to just deliver that set of solutions to the Navy in the future, to be able to demonstrate to them that there is, potentially, a new way to deploy these vessels, to be able to provide far more operational range without the risk of relying on actual refueling or in-port refueling.”
And while DARPA’s effort is focused on medium-sized unmanned vessels — anywhere from 12 to 50 meters in length — the lessons learned could be applied to larger or smaller vessels, manned or unmanned. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 Jun 20. Aircraft makers go digital to fight coronavirus delivery logjam. Helicopter and jet makers are turning to digital technology so customers can inspect their big-ticket purchases remotely before taking delivery, as they strive to push through deals paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic and bring in much needed cash.
With outside quality inspectors unable to travel to factories to examine aircraft because of lockdowns, manufacturers hope the remote systems will ease the logjam in deliveries after they slowed to a trickle in April.
Aircraft makers make at least half their revenue and generate significant cash at delivery. The pandemic has caused a cash squeeze across the industry, so every delivery counts.
Planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) “e-delivered” three A320neo jets in April and Italian helicopter maker Leonardo (LDOF.MI) is in talks with 20 clients about using its “smart delivery” HeliLink video system for inspections. But deliveries remain at a fraction of usual levels.
Turboprop make ATR, which is co-owned by Leonardo and Airbus, is also offering customers digital ways to sign off on their purchases after it failed to make any deliveries in the first quarter.
Nevertheless, industry sources say there are still significant obstacles that are likely to check a resurgence in deliveries anytime soon.
Customers have themselves been hit hard by the slump in demand for air travel since the pandemic struck and many buyers are also reluctant to trust remote inspections following a raft of quality problems on customized jetliner cabins.
Ishka aviation consultancy said May airplane deliveries could be worse than depressed levels seen in April.
Taking delivery of an aircraft worth millions of dollars is a complex process involving pilots, inspectors and lawyers before handover documents are signed. Finished jets have been known to sit at factories for months while airlines squabbled over cabin quality.
There are two parts to the delivery process: the technical commercial inspection, which is when any disputes tend to arise, and taking ownership of the aircraft, which triggers payment.
The plans for “digital deliveries” do not cover the safety of individual aircraft, which is regulated by public authorities.
Leonardo’s HeliLink app allows clients to carry out tests and perform maintenance remotely, using on-site specialists connected by video. The helicopter is then shipped to the client or a Leonardo service outpost to be collected.
A company source said Leonardo’s first “smart delivery” would be finalised in the coming days.
Leonardo delivered 11 helicopters in the first quarter, barely half the 19 that went to clients in the same period last year, helping to drive divisional revenue down 13%.
“Smart deliveries could involve up to 20 customers in the next few months,” the company source said.
Airbus has created a three-stage e-delivery process which involves connecting with the buyer in a secure virtual environment where the two sides can simplify contractual transactions, from drafting and negotiating the delivery documents up to the remote transfer-of-title digital signature.
Industry sources said the digital transfer of ownership can save paperwork and legal costs, but that few airlines have so far been willing to delegate physical inspections to manufacturers, especially of larger jets.
In the United States, Boeing (BA.N) has completed virtual shipments in the past and is ready to offer them again, according to one industry source, but is mainly focused on restoring its grounded 737 MAX to service after resuming output last week.
Even so, some analysts believe the innovation will smooth deliveries even after the pandemic. “The industry is bracing for a tough period of two or three years,” said Paolo Rinaldini of AlixPartners consultancy. “Digital delivery is a good solution to shorten the cash cycle and get the money for the goods sold.” (Source: Reuters)
02 Jun 20. USAF to assess electronic vulnerability of aircraft. The Air Force is asking for proposals to conduct electronic evaluations of one of its key assets, the C-130 weapon system family.
In a notice posted June 2, the service stated it is conducting a market survey to see which companies might be able to study, analyze, develop or test advanced technology, including microelectronics, software and algorithm solutions to resolve obsolescence issues. It addition, the service would want to add capabilities and improve performance, reliability, maintainability and availability of EC-130J Commando Solos, EC-130J Super Js and AC-130Js.
Moreover, the post notes that this requirement’s main purpose is to perform analysis and investigate the vulnerability of these platforms.
The Commando Solo is broadly an information operations platform conducting military information support operations — formerly known as psychological operations — and civil affairs broadcasts. The AC-130J conducts close-air support and armed reconnaissance.
Documents associated with the post state this effort is a follow-on of the current effort performed by Raytheon. This effort has existed in one instantiation or another since 2016, and used two contract vehicles as well as two different contractors.
The project will take a minimum of two years. The tasks contractors must conduct include tabletop and red team assessments on the highest impact items identified on the EC-130J; an analysis report with mitigation strategies and analysis; and investigations on modifications concerning electronic vulnerabilities on the Commando Solo and Super J. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 June 20. Northrop Grumman concludes final design review of GBSD programme. Northrop Grumman has concluded its fourth and final major design review with the US Air Force (USAF) of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) programme, under the technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) phase.
As part of the preliminary design review (PDR), the entire weapon system will undergo a technical assessment to conclude the three-year TMRR effort.
Following this, the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the GBSD programme, will be performed.
Northrop Grumman GBSD enterprise vice-president Greg Manuel said: “Successfully completing another key milestone on time demonstrates the continued hard work and innovation from our industry team to ensure we are meeting our commitments to develop, test and validate the best GBSD design solution for the airforce.
“We have assembled a talented nationwide team to execute on this extremely important programme. If awarded the EMD contract, we are ready to deliver a safe, secure, reliable and effective nuclear deterrent capability, on schedule and on budget, to keep our nation and allies safe.”
Under the TMRR contract, the company has completed all its major design reviews on-time. Additionally, these milestones include the system requirements review, system functional review, and software specification review. GBSD is a USAF programme to upgrade the country’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system.
Once completed, the PDR validated Northrop Grumman’s GBSD preliminary design to enter the EMD phase.
The tests have reduced technical risk through prototypes, validated schedule and cost estimates, evaluated manufacturing processes and refined requirements.
The Northrop Grumman GBSD team includes hundreds of small, medium and large companies from across multiple domains.
In March this year, The capability was showcased to an unidentified government customer at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, US.
30 May 20. Special Operations Command wants to put all mission data in a single pane of glass. Special Operations Command wants all of the data operators need presented on a single pane of glass, working as a connecting step between the war fighter and the Department of Defense’s overarching Joint All-Domain Command and Control effort.
According to SOCOM Acquisition Executive James Smith, the organization is starting a new program of record called “Mission Command” that will layer all the data commanders need into a single pane of glass.
“I know when I was in Germany, when I was a battle captain in the brigade, tactical operations center, we still had paper maps and we had a sheet of acetate,” explained Smith during a virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference presentation May 12. “One had the enemy picture on it, another sheet of acetate had the blue force picture on it, and another sheet of acetate had the engineering overlay, and the fires overlay and the air overlay. You get it, right? And by the time you were done looking through all that scratchy acetate with all the stickies and pencil marks on it, you had no idea what was going on. You couldn’t even see the map anymore.”
Instead of layers upon layers of acetate or using multiple displays, SOCOM wants all those pictures – as well as data unique to Special Operations Forces like socioeconomics and influence layers – presented in a single visualization. Mission Command will enable a collaborative command and control that will fuse Special Operations Forces’ (SOF) joint function activities.
“That’s where we’re trying to get to with Mission Command, is to give a single pane of glass that gives what we normally would have called the enemy situation, the friendly situation, partner information, engineer, aviation, fires, etc. All of that,” said Smith. “But then to put those SOF-peculiar layers on top of it that I would consider influence operations and things of that nature.”
Smith said Mission Command will launch as a formal program of record in fiscal year 2022. It will include a suite of tools, systems, applications, data sources and standards that will be interoperable across the SOF environment.
Perhaps most critically, Mission Command will serve as a connector between SOCOM’s Tactical Assault Kits and DoD’s larger Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative. The latter seeks to connect sensors and shooters across domains, services and commands in near-real time.
“We have to tie it to the tactical layer below it, which is really for us just the Tactical Assault Kit which is in wide use across DoD, and then tie it more importantly above it to that JADC2 architecture so we’ve got a seamless flow of data and information from tactical through strategic, from Tactical Assault Kit through our Mission Command effort up through JADC2,” said Smith.
Mission Command development will be overseen by SOF Digital Applications, a new program office to develop SOF-unique software and applications. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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.