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25 May 21. USS Gerald R Ford achieves major milestone during PDT&T period. US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford achieves milestone during 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials (PDT&T) period.
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has announced that the US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) has achieved a key milestone during the vessel’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials (PDT&T) period.
Aboard CVN 78, Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), the aircraft launch and recovery technology, achieved the US Navy’s target of 8,000 aircraft recoveries and launches during the PDT&T period.
The PDT&T period started in January last year and ran until this April. During this period, CVN 78 conducted 18 Independent Steaming Events (ISE) in a all weather conditions, as well as under various sea state operations.
Within the first three months, EMALS and AAG completed critical Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT), Flight Deck Certification (FDC), and over 2,000 successful aircraft launch and recovery cycles.
The testing involved F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, E-2C/D Hawkeyes and Advanced Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, EA-18G Growlers, and T-45C Goshawks.
GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “The last 18 months have been very exciting and challenging.
“We are proud of the record number of critical ‘firsts’ EMALS and AAG achieved during this period to bring the systems into real-time operational readiness.
“Navy leadership set a clear goal of completing 8,000 catapult launches and arrestments during PDT&T. EMALS and AAG met and exceeded that goal with a 100% safety record.”
In March this year, EMALS and AAG successfully completed 7,879 cats and traps aboard USS Gerald R Ford.
At the 18th and final ISE in April, EMALS and AAG broke the 8,000 mark by more than 150 launches and recoveries.
GA-EMS said it is also delivering EMALS and AAG for the future Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carrier USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79) and USS Enterprise (CVN 80).
In March last year, a F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 landed aboard USS Gerald R Ford’s flight deck, marking the 1,000th recovery milestone of a fixed-wing aircraft using Ford’s AAG. (Source: naval-technology.com)
26 May 21. Software and startups top priorities for DOD tech chief pick. Software and elevating small businesses in the defense industry base top the list of priorities of the Biden administration’s pick to lead the Defense Department’s technology efforts.
Heidi Shyu, who previously served as the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, debuted her priorities to modernize the military with a strong emphasis on software during her Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on May 25.
“In order to rapidly transition the latest software, we need to have an open architecture that isolates the software from the hardware then allows rapid user testing,” she wrote in policy question responses.
Shyu told senators that DOD needs to “flip” its investment ratio to make development and procurement 70% of the costs for a new weapons system by buying more emerging tech like artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and hypersonics, rather than sustaining legacy systems.
“Today, sustainment makes up 70% of total weapon system cost, with development and procurement making up 30%,” Shyu said in opening remarks.
Shyu said if confirmed as undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, she would focus on such as creating cyber-hardened “networked systems-of-systems” to improve data collection and sharing, developing advanced materials to increase fuel efficiency and investing in secure, upgradable software.
Small businesses, particularly startups developing new technologies, were mentioned repeatedly throughout the hearing as being integral to the Defense Department’s success.
However, challenges with the federal acquisition system and failure to translate prototypes into programs of record are often too much to overcome — and Shyu wants to change that by ensuring there’s a clear “transition path”.
“Part of the reason there is a valley of death for technology is because a lot of the technology programs are being developed by small companies,” Shyu said, “and unless you had the foresight two years ago to understand that the technology is going to be mature within two years time…by the time you get the money to buy that technology it’s two years old now.”
The technology tested in labs should also be tested in “relevant environments” and increase user feedback so that program managers are more comfortable betting on prototypes, she said.
“I saw a six-person company that’s developed any type of fuel as input and the output is a DC-plug. Those are the types of creative, innovative companies we need to nurture. And they’re struggling to figure out who to talk to in the DOD,” Shyu said.
“This is a giant fortress and they have no idea where the door is.” (Source: Defense Systems)
26 May 21. Parrot Adds Textron Systems New AR Real-Time Visualization. Parrot, a European drone group, announced its collaboration with Textron Systems – a global provider of unmanned air, surface and land products, services and support for aerospace and defense customers.
Combining Parrot’s durable ANAFI USA and ANAFI platform drones with Textron Systems’ Optice software, professionals can now enhance their aerial experience and take advantage of the program’s real-time analysis, smart visualization and collaboration capabilities leveraging augmented reality (AR).
Combined with Parrot ANAFI USA’s 32x zoom and 4K HDR video imaging capabilities— Optice brings advanced mission support functionality to Parrot ANAFI drones and offers faster insights to professional pilots.
Optice’s real-time live stream video capabilities offer Parrot pilots a one-tool solution and the ability to seamlessly add AR overlays to footage using geospatial context, track objects, share operational data with team-mates, record missions and generate reports. With mission playback and recording— the software also offers ANAFI pilots forensic exploitation, integrated with existing geographic information systems (GIS) data, to support the in-depth analysis of sites.
Utilizing ANAFI USA’s automatic flight modes, Optice simplifies workflows for tactical mission support— reducing training requirements and applying capabilities to make critical analysis projects easier than ever for professionals.
Textron Systems is already working with a number of organizations including defense agencies, law enforcement and first response departments, and has many active clients who will now be able to integrate Parrot’s ANAFI USA and ANAFI drones into their fleets.
Optice is now available for use with ANAFI and ANAFI USA platform drones. (Source: UAS VISION)
26 May 21. Rugged AI Data Processing Hits New Performance Heights with Aitech’s A179 Ultra-SFF Supercomputer.
SWaP-optimized, GPGPU-based system enables exceptional computing performance, low power consumption at-the-edge
A179 Technical Specifications
* Truly rugged, ultra-small form factor, GPGPU-based supercomputer (IP67, MIL-STD-810H, V2 and OS2 per VITA 47)
* Brings AI supercomputer performance to the edge: NVIDIA® Jetson Xavier™ NX
* Flexible I/O and video capture to simultaneously manage multiple data and graphics streams
Aitech, a leading provider of rugged board and system-level solutions for military, aerospace and space applications, has expanded its GPGPU-based product offerings with the A179 Lightning, a rugged, fan-less AI supercomputer that delivers more performance than any other rugged system on the market in a similar form factor.
With an ultra-compact footprint, roughly the size of a cell phone, the new SWaP-optimized A179 is powered by the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX platform based on the Volta GPU, which packs up to 384 CUDA cores and 48 Tensor cores. The incredibly high-performance, low-power unit reaches 21 TOPS INT8 at a remarkable level of energy efficiency.
Adding to the applications already employing AI-based supercomputers, such as situation awareness systems, EW systems and drones, the new A179 helps bring this powerful computing to even more military applications, including smart soldier and man-portable systems, augmented reality and an even broader set of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).
Dan Mor, Director, Video & GPGPU Product Line for Aitech, noted, “Rugged AI performance is the leading-edge advantage in military intelligence. Being able to use GPGPU-based systems in the harshest environments gives system engineers the ability to forge new ground in rugged embedded computing. Aitech is focused on delivering this exceptional technology to our military and defense customers to use in their applications worldwide.”
In addition to the 21 TOPS (Tera Operations Per Second, INT8) that the A179 Lightning provides, it offers 1050 GOPS/W INT8, the best available performance per watt as well as an H.264/H.265 hardware encoder/decoder.
Video capture is made easy with several input types that enables multiple video streams simultaneously. These include SDI (SD/HD), four FPD-Link™ III (to MIPI CSI) camera inputs and eight composite (NTSC/PAL) channels.
Standard I/O ports, such as Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 & 2.0, DVI/HDMI out, CANbus, UART Serial and a number for discretes, offer flexibility in data management. The system also accommodates up to two optional expansion modules (via factory configuration), such as additional I/O expansion modules or an optional NVMe SSD. The system allows for a removable Micro SD card and features 8 GB of LPDDR4x.
About Aitech Systems:
In business for more than three decades, Aitech is one of the world’s first, independent, open systems architecture, COTS/MOTS innovators offering open standards-based boards and integrated computing subsystem products, with customization services for rugged and severe environment, military, aerospace and space applications…i.e. products for Air, Land, Sea, and Space. For more information, please visit www.aitechsystems.com
26 May 21. Biden urged by tech firms to embrace commercial software. Several dozen tech companies and groups are urging U.S. President Joe Biden to ensure that federal agencies buy more commercial software over custom-built versions, in line with the law.
In a letter Wednesday, they argued government software development efforts fail because, too often, government leaders “continue to favor custom-built, more expensive solutions, even when there are proven, widely available commercial solutions” and don’t apply existing commercial preference regulations to software and technology procurement.
Following the Colonial Pipeline and SolarWinds cyber intrusions, Biden issued an executive order aimed, in part, at tightening standards for commercial software used by the federal government and accelerate the government’s adoption of cloud computing. The order calls for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to issue new guidance to shore up vulnerabilities in the government’s commercial software supply chain.
The letter from the tech firms requests the White House budget office provide guidance that ensures agencies follow commercial-preference regulations, which fall under the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act. It encourages Biden to require any software or technology acquisition to include the opportunity for the private sector to participate in live technology demonstrations alongside any custom-built options.
The Office of Management and Budget did not respond to a request for comment.
The 47 signatories include Palantir, Salesforce, Splunk, Govini, Shield AI, the Silicon Valley Defense Group, the Alliance for Digital Innovation and the Alliance for Commercial Technology in Government.
“For years, we’ve heard a lot of rhetoric about the urgency of preparing for great power competition. If it is really urgent, and I think it clearly is, the government has to act like it,” said Mac Thornberry, former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and member of the Silicon Valley Defense Group board of advisers. “That means acquiring systems now that are tested and proven and can be readily adopted, rather than waiting ? sometimes for years ? to build systems from scratch that may never work and are likely to be outdated if they do.”
Defense Department acquisition officials must, according to an internal 2017 guidelines, minimize the need for customization of commercial information technology products as a way to cut development and delivery times, and lower life-cycle costs. A separate review last year of 15 major DoD IT programs found that four used entirely custom software and 10 used commercial software with DOD-specific customization. (Source: Defense News)
25 May 21. Airbus and Mercury Systems Announce Strategic Teaming Agreement to Cooperate in Technology for Autonomous Flying. Airbus Defence and Space and Mercury Systems, Inc., (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, have announced today that they will cooperate in the field of autonomous and flight control computer programs.
Formalized by a Framework Cooperation Agreement, both industry-leading companies have shown their firm commitment to advance a strategic teaming agreement in research, demonstration, validation and certification of autonomous and flight control computer programs, especially algorithms and environment of execution.
The complementary capabilities of the Geneva-based Mercury Mission Systems International division in mission computing, safety-critical avionics and platform management capabilities for aerospace and defence platforms and Airbus Defence and Space as a global provider of military aircraft, defence systems and earth observation products/services will lead to delivering better solutions and products to customers.
Airbus Defence and Space Executive Vice-President Marketing and Sales Dr. Bernhard Brenner highlights the importance of this cooperation: “At Airbus we are committed to innovation and pioneering aerospace. By this cooperation we will further strengthen our activities in developing future solutions and products for both piloted or autonomous flying. As Mercury is one of our award-winning suppliers, I am particularly glad that we can extend our successful cooperation with this agreement. This agreement is also another commitment of Airbus to Swiss partners, especially in the security-relevant technology and industry base.”
“This important initiative further solidifies our longstanding relationship with Airbus to drive key advances in secure and trusted autonomous technology,” said Didier Thibaud, Mercury’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “At the intersection of hi-tech and defense, we collaborate with industry leaders like Airbus to deliver the most innovative, purpose-built mission computing solutions that help them meet their business commitments and further their leadership in the global market.”
Examples of successful cooperation between Airbus Defence and Space and Mercury are the development of a high-performance computing platform by Mercury for the Airbus A3R automatic air-refueling system onboard the A330 SMART MRTT Tanker aircraft and the contribution in equipment and systems for Airbus platforms such as the C295. In 2019, Mercury was awarded Best-Performer for Equipment & Systems by Airbus.
26 May 21. WISeKey and Parrot Partner on Drone Security. WISeKey, a global cybersecurity, AI and IoT company, announced that it is strengthening its partnership with Parrot, the European drone group.
WISeKey will not only be securing Parrot’s drones, it is also entering into a new collaboration with Parrot and with a leading cybersecurity certification and audit company. Together they aim at identifying and proposing digital security standards for drones, and globally recognizable evaluation methods that would help users and authorities to easily identify reliable drone solutions from unsafe ones in the future.
The commercial drone market is expected to grow from $4bn to over $40bn by 2025. Public safety, security, defense, and inspection professionals represent a growing share of drone users who demand the highest levels of privacy, encryption, and security for their flights. Supply chain partners, citizens, and authorities need to trust drone operation, whether it is about payload transport in urban areas or operation above industrial or nuclear facilities. From a compliance standpoint, on top of GDPR rules protecting data privacy, the latest regulation makes it mandatory for both recreational and professional drones to be remotely identifiable and traceable by authorities. However, the required cybersecurity standards for these communications have not yet been defined
The partners will therefore be collaborating to help define which security features could be implemented at both hardware level and communications to ensure a drone’s ID broadcast can be trusted and is only accessible to legitimate viewers, protecting data confidentiality and avoiding impersonation and liability issues.
For more than two decades, WISeKey has been focusing on complying with the most demanding certification standards for its secure hardware and trust services. As an organization, WISeKey operates for many years under tight security procedures and in a trusted environment as imposed by the strict ISO.27001 guidelines. WISeKey secure elements used in Drones are certified by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) following FIPS140-2 Level 3 standard, one of the strongest and globally recognized digital security levels. These chips are also developed on Common Criteria EAL5+ certified hardware, another government-grade security certification.
Parrot’s range of ANAFI drones offers secure, ultra-compact, rugged, and powerful tools to gain a new vantage point, collect valuable data and improve safety and efficiencies for a variety of sensitive flights. By incorporating WISeKey’s certified digital security technologies from inflight control systems down to infrastructure, Parrot guarantees the security of drone flights and professional users’ data.
“The security regulation and compliance landscape of commercial drone operations will soon be a key driver for this fast-growing industry. WISeKey and Parrot are perfectly positioned to contribute actively to shaping its future by demonstrating best practices,”
said Carlos Moreira, WISeKey’s Founder and CEO.
“We are thrilled to strengthen our partnership with Parrot as we continue our company’s mission to secure digital identity, firmware and sensitive data, and extend the applications of our technologies into new markets and growing industries across the globe,”
“As drone use continues to climb exponentially within the professional sector, Parrot understands the immense need for cutting edge cybersecurity standards,” said Victor Vuillard, Chief Security Officer/CTO Cybersecurity of Parrot. “We believe this new dimension of our partnership with WISeKey, our security partner, will contribute to deliver peace of mind to all stakeholders whether it is our users, their clients or public authorities.” (Source: UAS VISION)
25 May 21. HENSOLDT’s collision warning system for drones ready for take-off. Flight tests to demonstrate basic system for autonomous flying. Sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT is vigorously pushing ahead with the development of a collision warning system for civil and military drones: after the radar sensor as the core element of a collision warning system was already successfully tested in flight as part of the ProSA-n (military) and KoKo2 (civil) study programmes, work on the software required for interaction with an autopilot is well advanced. As early as this summer, a demonstrator of the collision warning system is to prove in flight tests that the sensor performance and the software-supported avoidance logic correspond correctly with the autopilot.
“We have progressed faster than expected with our ‘Detect & Avoid’ radar,” says Erwin Paulus, head of HENSOLDT’s radar division. “In the meantime, the complete functional chain from detection and classification to the initiation of avoidance manoeuvres is working so reliably that we are sure we will be able to demonstrate a basic system for autonomous flying in the summer.”
Since the beginning of the year, HENSOLDT has also been involved in the EUDAAS (= European Detect and Avoid System) programme, in which several European companies are developing a concept for bringing large military medium altitude/long endurance (MALE) drones, such as the Eurodrone recently released by the German parliament, into European airspace.
HENSOLDT’s “detect-and-avoid” radar uses the latest Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) technology, which allows multiple detection tasks to be performed simultaneously and enables very rapid target detection. The scalable radar can be used in large military drones as well as on board smaller civilian drones.
HENSOLDT is one of the leading radar manufacturers in Europe. For the production of the high-frequency components required for the AESA technology, the company operates one of the largest clean room production facilities in Europe at its Ulm site. Its radars and radar components are used on aircraft, satellites, ships and in ground systems. Among the platforms equipped with them are the Eurofighter fighter aircraft, the TanDEM-X satellites, the US Navy’s littoral combat ships and the frigates of the German Navy. In addition, HENSOLDT supplies air traffic control radars and transponders to air traffic control authorities and armed forces around the world.
25 May 21. ADLINK Unveils World’s First PC/104 Module with Quadro P1000 Graphics Processing Capabilities from NVIDIA. Compact, energy efficient, highly effective unit targeted at demanding mission-critical video/imaging analysis applications for aerospace, defense and industrial automation
*CM5-P1000 is the first COTS PC/104 module to feature an NVIDIA® Quadro®P1000 GPU
*Robust, SWaP-optimized solution is very well suited to aerospace, defense and industrial implementations
*CM5-P1000 is key addition to ADLINK’s PC/104 portfolio, demonstrating continued commitment to the technology
ADLINK Technology Inc., a global leader in edge computing, launched today an industry-first solution, the CM5-P1000 module, expanding the company’s advanced solutions for artificial intelligence-enabled mission-critical applications. Supplied in a PCIe/104 Type 1 format (measuring 116mm x 96mm), this module addresses the size, weight and power (SWaP) restrictions that aerospace and defense applications must adhere to. As an NVIDIA Elite Partner, ADLINK leverages unrivalled access to advanced processing technologies as well as the highest levels of technical support.
Inclusion of an NVIDIA Quadro P1000 GPU gives this PC/104 module access to 640 CUDA cores and enables 1.8TFLOPS performance levels. With 4GB of GDDR5 memory embedded, it has a 128-bit memory width and delivers a 96GB/s maximum bandwidth. The CM5-P1000 incorporates 4 ultra-high definition (UHD) DisplayPort outputs, along with a 16 lane PCIe Gen3 bus.
“Engineers serving the aerospace and defense sector need access to embedded technology that offers a combination of elevated performance, small form factor and ongoing reliability. Long-term supply chain continuity must also be totally assured,” stated Eric Kao, General Manager of ADLINK’s Networking, Communication & Public Sector business unit. “The CM5-P1000 gives our customers the inherent design flexibility of a modular approach, plus exceptional degrees of ruggedness. In addition, this module underlines the continued importance that ADLINK sees in PC/104 and our lasting commitment to this format.”
As one of the founding companies of PC/104 technology, ADLINK leveraged its deep expertise and extensive experience in the development of the new product. The CM5-P1000 module has been designed to maintain uptime in even the most challenging of working environments. It can cope with exposure to extreme temperatures, high altitudes, shocks and vibrations. An operational temperature range spanning from -40°C to +85°C is supported, and humidity levels of 96% can be withstood. It can run on either Windows 10 or 64-bit Linux operating systems.
PC/104 will remain an optimum small form factor for mission-critical applications for many years to come. With its high-performance processing power, the CM5-P1000 is highly suitable for a broad spectrum of potential use cases – attending to various ground-based and airborne computing tasks. These include radars, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), missile systems, etc. Other areas in which it will be of value are in relation to factory automation and process control.
24 May 21. Australian Army releases its Quantum Technology Roadmap. The Australian Army has released its Quantum Technology Roadmap. Quantum technologies are a suite of emerging technologies that offer unprecedented capabilities in sensing, imaging, communications and computing. The Army Quantum Technology Roadmap seeks to frame and present Army’s approach to quantum technology in order to deliver Army a quantum advantage in land operations.
Three key points frame Army’s approach:
- Australia is faced with the strategic challenge of converting its global leadership in quantum technology research into sustainable industrial and defence advantage.
- Defence has a role in aligning extant research and development (R&D) capacity to Defence’s priority problems. This includes shaping and guiding these technologies as they develop to facilitate transition of technology concepts into capability for the warfighter.
- In alignment with the strategic themes of adaptive thinking, partnering, sovereign industry and integration in Army in Motion and Accelerated Warfare, Army’s Roadmap will explore the potential use of quantum technologies for the land domain.
To develop Army’s quantum technology capability, Army will pursue four objectives:
- Establish – Rapidly establish a quantum innovation ecosystem focussed on land domain opportunities.
- Identify – Identify the most disruptive and advantageous applications of quantum technologies for the land domain.
- Develop – Develop the related technology, operating concepts and modified force designs.
- Support – Support Defence’s quantum technology strategy development.
Download: Army Quantum Technology Roadmap: https://researchcentre.army.gov.au/sites/default/files/RD5734_Quantum%20Roadmap%20WEB.pdf
24 May 21. Palantir and Space Force Expand Partnership. Palantir Technologies Inc. (NYSE: PLTR) confirmed today it will support the United States Space Force and United States Air Force by providing its software to the critical missions of the Department of the Air Force (DAF), Space and Missile Systems Center’s Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise (SMC/ECX), and NORAD-NORTHCOM. This is a firm-fixed-price award totaling $32.5m.
Palantir will deploy and maintain Palantir as Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform to support SMC/ECX’s Space Command and Control program element, including operational users at both the National Space Defense Center and the Combined Space Operations Center.
Department of the Air Force’s Project Brown Heron will use Palantir to provide the U.S. Air Force senior leadership with a continuously improving operational readiness analytics platform by integrating disparate data sources from across the Service. This will improve the DAF’s readiness in a variety of mission-critical areas, cutting across organizational and functional silos.
Additionally, Palantir will support NORAD-NORTHCOM’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) transformation, ingesting and modeling high-scale data to support comprehensive and collaborative operational planning and execution.
“I’m excited about this partnership and the work we are doing to provide better data-driven decision making to our leadership. Palantir’s technology and framework has truly accelerated our ability to remove data stovepipes throughout the community and create actionable knowledge,” said Col. Jennifer Krolikowski, the senior materiel leader for Space C2 at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
Palantir has a long tradition of providing cutting-edge technology to the country’s armed forces. It previously worked with the Space Force in 2020, with a one-year contract to provide a data backbone for the space command and control modernization program, using its Foundry software to help create a common operating picture of space.
“Our Nation’s Service Members deserve the best technology possible to win. It’s an honor to continue our work with the SMC as they deliver mission critical capability to the Service” said Doug Philippone, Palantir’s Global Defense Lead. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 May 21. Sceye Reaches Stratosphere; Flies at 64,000 Ft. Sets Long Range Record in Data Connection. Joins Consortium to Deliver Broadband to Navajo Nation. Sceye, a developer of high-altitude platform stations (HAPS), announced today that it successfully launched its stratospheric platforms and flew at an altitude of 64,600 ft. The announcement comes on the heels of Sceye’s long-range record for maintaining data connection in OpenRAN at a distance of 140km. With financial support from the State of New Mexico, the company also joins a consortium of New Mexico-based telecommunications companies and tribal entities to pilot delivery of universal broadband access to the Navajo Nation.
“We view the successful flight and the record setting data connection as a significant milestone for our technology; one that could dissolve the rural broadband barrier,” said Sceye CEO Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen.
Sceye’s unmanned stratospheric platform launched from Roswell at 11:20 a.m. MDT on Wednesday, May 19. It landed safely that afternoon at 1:30 p.m. MDT. The company recently conducted tests to determine the data connection range of its systems. Standard LTE technology allows for a range of 100km; Sceye’s systems have added an additional 40km, setting a long-range record in LTE OpenRAN architecture. Sceye’s combination of technologies can cover areas as wide as 27,000 square miles with high-speed broadband for all users of fixed and mobile, carving a path forward to providing true equitable access.
Sceye, Sacred Wind Communications, CellularOne, PVT Networks, Santa Fe Indian School, and Navajo Technical University are banding together with the goal of achieving 100% connectivity across the Navajo Nation. According to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, 60% of the Navajo Nation’s over 300,000 residents do not have fixed Internet access.
“The consortium is a major leap forward in closing the digital divide for the Navajo Nation,” said John Badal, CEO of Sacred Wind. “Sceye’s tower-in-the-sky approach could avoid building hundreds of new cell towers across the State and the accompanying need to use tribal lands.”
In partnership with the consortium, Sceye will pilot one of its HAPS over an area of approximately 6,000 square miles to demonstrate 100 Mbps download speeds to homes, schools and clinics, which is the FCC’s gold standard for rural area broadband.
“The State is excited to support this innovative effort by Sceye and its partners to bring more affordable broadband and telecommunications to tribal and rural communities throughout the state,” said Economic Development Cabinet Secretary and Spaceport Authority Board Chair Alicia J. Keyes.
Sceye aims to provide universal broadband to help lift billions of unconnected and under-connected people out of poverty, conduct high-resolution, real-time Earth monitoring to combat climate change, and early detection and interception of natural disasters before they spiral out of control.
Sceye is a material science company founded in 2014 to unleash the possibilities in the stratosphere by uplifting and connecting all people, and protecting our planet. The company has developed a new generation of stratospheric platforms to provide universal and equitable connectivity, improve climate change monitoring, natural resource stewardship, forest fire monitoring and better detect and contain disasters before they spiral out of control. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 May 21. Aevum announces all-in-one drone for satellite launches, cargo delivery and surveillance. A large unmanned aircraft from Aevum that can launch small rockets while flying will also be able to deliver cargo and host intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads, the company said.
Founded in 2016, the company only recently came out of stealth mode to reveal its designs for the Ravn X drone, an 80-foot aircraft that can launch small payloads into low Earth orbit from midair. Aevum labels Ravn X as the largest drone in the world by mass, with a gross takeoff weight of 55,000 pounds. But the company said it has secured a new patent that will allow it to rapidly reconfigure its drone for multiple missions, including autonomously delivering cargo or carrying sensor payloads.
“Really, the services that Aevum provides is logistics. So we move stuff. It can be both physical cargo or it can be data,” explained CEO and Founder Jay Skylus.
This multipurpose drone could be a drastic change from single-use or single-mission drones that the military has typically invested in. Skylus compared Ravn X to an RQ-4 Global Hawk, used for ISR missions. While a Global Hawk can swap out payloads, those payloads are different types of sensors to help it complete its ISR tasks. Ravn X will be able to carry sensor payloads, but it can also be rapidly reconfigured for other missions, including delivering cargo to a forward operating base. The ability for the drone to land on a 1-mile runway — or even flat farmland — expands the possibilities for cargo delivery to hard-to-reach places.
Continuing the comparison, Skylus noted that Ravn X can carry 15,000 pounds of payload. A Global Hawk can carry 3,000 pounds. Aevum doesn’t expect Ravn X to replace the dedicated mission drones the U.S. currently relies on, but to provide a new modular option that can overcome several logistics challenges.
While Skylus couldn’t speak to what contracts the company would compete for from the Department of Defense with these new missions, Aevum has already secured multiple contracts to provide launch services for the military.
Ravn X’s first mission will be the Space Force’s ASLON-45 mission, a $5m contract to test the company’s ability to launch a payload in 24 hours or less. Aevum was one of eight companies to win a $986m indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for Orbital Services Program-4, a DoD effort to use the commercial launch market to put small payloads on orbit. The company noted last year that it had also secured a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award and a classified contract.
Still, the company doesn’t plan to rely solely on defense launch contracts. Skylus said that the company is primarily commercial, with just 15 percent of revenues coming from defense contracts, and the plan is to continue to move in that direction. In fact, Skylus said commercial cargo delivery would likely be a much larger profit driver for Aevum.
“Small launch generated, like, less than a billion dollars last year. On the other hand, air cargo generated $270bn,” said Skylus. “It’s just totally different.”
Ultimately, Aevum wants small launch to simply be one additional feature of the broad logistics services it can provide via Ravn X. (Source: Defense News)
24 May 21. USAF transitions ABMS into ‘operational phase.’ The US Air Force (USAF) is progressing its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) Internet of Things (IoT) programme, with the service announcing on 21 May that it is pushing the concept “into a new and more operational phase”.
The transition to the operational phase follows an 18-month development phase and sees the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker selected as the first platform to be fitted with the ABMS pod for enhanced connectivity with Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft for more ‘real world’ testing.
“Nearly two years of rigorous development and experimentation have shown beyond doubt the promise of ABMS,” Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Brown Jr was quoted as saying. “We’ve demonstrated that our ABMS efforts can collect vast amounts of data from air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains, process that information and share it in a way that allows for faster and better decisions.”
According to Janes C4ISR & Mission Systems: Joint & Common Equipment , the ABMS IoT will be designed to allow the USAF to co-ordinate with and direct joint operations with the US Navy (USN), US Marine Corps (USMC), and US Army. The ABMS is a ‘family of systems’ that includes both hardware and software, enabling the USAF to contribute to and link with their older Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2). The ABMS is a C4ISR maximiser and is designed to improve the military’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) management. (Source: Jane’s)
24 May 21. Advantech Launches UTC-100 Series Ultra-Slim All-in-One Touch Computer. Advantech, a leading provider of service automation solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of two screen sizes of the new UTC-100 series all-in-one touch computers. Featuring an ultra-slim profile and lightweight structure for enclosed public spaces and customer-facing environments, UTC-100 series is a reliable solution delivering energy-efficient computing performance. Comparable to the other UTC series computers, the system’s fanless design ensures quiet operation and prevents the ingress of dust. Additionally, the UTC-100 family supports multiple OS, including Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, Linux, and Android 10.1, enabling easy integration with existing systems. Aimed at self-service and interactive signage applications, this slim-profile solution provides an interactive touchpoint for streamlining operations, improving service efficiency, and enhancing the overall user experience.
UTC-115 features a durable plastic exterior, widescreen touch display, and lightweight components. With a thickness of just 29.5 mm, Advantech’s UTC-115 touch computer is one of the thinnest products of its type, enabling easy installation, integration, and maintenance in public spaces. This machine combines powerful 24/7 performance with a thin form-factor package for applications in diverse retail environments.
Featuring two Gigabit Ethernet, two COM, four USB 3.0, one HDMI, and one audio connector, UTC-115’s minimalist design offers only essential I/Os. The system’s easy installation, adaptable I/Os, and expansion support makes Advantech’s UTC-115 an ideal choice for retail applications.
UTC-120 with its 21.5-inch display features a slim form factor, projected capacitive (PCAP) touch control, and provides a reliable computing solution for self-service applications at retail stores, restaurants, hotels, leisure and entertainment venues, banks, and other public service venues. The full HD touch display with 1080p resolution delivers sharper, more detailed imaging for an enhanced viewing experience.
Flexible Installation and I/O for Integrated Functionality and Essential Connectivity
Advantech’s UTC-100 series supports multiple installation methods, substantially expanding system adaptability. Equipped with a 100×100 VESA mount and easy cabling design, it supports portrait and landscape screen orientations. Additionally, modularized peripherals can be installed on four sides of the computer to accommodate unique requirements. Featured peripherals include an RFID reader, 5M camera, smart card reader, magnetic strip reader, 1D /2D barcode scanner, and LED light bar for value-added functionality. UTC-100 family features a three sectional I/O, enabling secure connections while concealing cords for reliability and safety.
Advantech’s UTC-100 series supports a wide voltage range (12 ~ 24V) to accommodate various power supply considerations.
- Energy-efficient slim form factor with fanless design
- Built-in Intel® Celeron®/ Pentium® N4200 and Core i5-8365UE
- 16:9 widescreen display supports landscape and portrait orientation
- IP65-rated front panel for protection from water and dust
- VESA mount for easy installation
- 3-way I/O cable routing for secure connections
Advantech’s UTC-100 series All-in-One touch computers are available for order now. For more information about this or other Advantech products, contact your local sales support team or visit our website at www.advantech-service-iot.eu.
24 May 21. Archer and IBM continue quantum collaboration. Adelaide-based Archer Materials Limited has executed a new quantum computing agreement with IBM and will continue to work together on the advancement of quantum computing.
As part of the new agreement, Archer retains membership of the global IBM Quantum Network and the associated IBM Quantum Startup Program. The new agreement also gives Archer the opportunity to progress the work initiated under the previous agreement. Archer is one of the first Australian companies developing quantum computing technology to have joined the invitation-only, IBM Quantum Network.
Commenting on Archer’s collaboration with IBM, Archer CEO Dr Mohammad Choucair said: “We are at an early stage in terms of the work that needs to be done with IBM, so we are looking forward to our continued collaboration.”
“Archer is making crucial steps towards its goal of enabling practical quantum computing applications, and IBM is helping us get there.”
Archer’s ¹²CQ Chip is a world-first qubit processor technology that Archer is building for quantum computing operation at room-temperature and integration aboard electronic devices. For more information about Archer’s 12CQ progress, please visit https://archerx.com.au/our-business.
24 May 21. US AFWERX would ‘love’ jet speed in new High-Speed VTOL Challenge. The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) AFWERX venture wants to achieve jet speed with platforms proposed through its new High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (HSVTOL) Challenge, but recognises that high speed comes with high costs.
“We would love to have that speed,” Colonel Nathan Diller, AFWERX director, told Janes on 21 May. “[But] speed is obviously expensive. Trying to find … the knee in the curve for the business case is really something that we are exploring.”
On 18 May AFWERX launched its HSVTOL concept challenge, a crowdsourcing effort aimed at advancing VTOL solutions in austere environments. The USAF, in partnership with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), seeks groundbreaking ideas that will further strengthen operational effectiveness and efficiency in contested, cost-constrained, and runway-independent settings, according to an AFWERX statement.
Jet speed is high-subsonic, which is Mach 0.6–0.9, or 398–595 kt. According to a 2010 ‘100 Years of Disc-Rotor Research’ white paper by Angelo Collins and Mike Hirschberg, helicopters are capable of VTOL, but are generally limited to speeds below 200 kt. Conventional fixed-wing aircraft can be faster, but cannot hover, and require fixed runways to take off and land. (Source: Jane’s)
18 May 21. NATO Relies On Free Society And Standardisation To Keep Driving Innovation. “Today the driver of innovation is the private sector, not governments,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoan?, speaking during NATO’s Defence Disrupted conference on Wednesday 19 May 2021.
“The implementation of a disruptive technologies roadmap is already approved and we are working towards a number of technologies that are most relevant to security and defence; AI, big data, bio-technology, quantum, space, human enhancement and hypersonic,” he stated. The North Atlantic Council is looking further ahead to the 2030-40 timeframe, with Geoan? stressing the importance of “the triple helix” between government, industry and academia, in developing and adopting new technologies while avoiding interoperability gaps. “We still have a huge edge in freedom of information and innovation,” he added.
Geoan? said that innovative start-ups and new ventures needed to be able to scale up, test and have access to trusted capital. “We have the power of standardisation – even our rivals are looking at the quality of what we do,” he said. “But sometimes capital ‘from not the best places’ is trying to capture what would be beneficial to our societies,” referring to financing from NATO rivals.”
In conclusion, Geoan? said that NATO needed to retain its technological edge over its rivals, maintain transnational cooperation and allies need to find a way to maintain interoperability across the alliance. (Source: Armada)
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.