Sponsored By Oxley Developments
16 Jun 21. Hanwha Systems launches development for networked unmanned SAR operations. South Korean defence prime Hanwha Systems is set to lead a consortium comprising industry and academic research institutes to develop technologies applicable for autonomous underwater and unmanned surface vehicles (AUV and USV)-based wide-area search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
The project, known locally as ‘Development of AUV and Operation Systems for Cluster Search’, was launched by the Korea Institute of Marine Science and Technology Promotion (KIMST) on 11 June and is worth about KRW25bn (USD22m). KIMST aims to complete this project by 2025.
Besides Hanwha Systems, partners include the Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO), Korea Institute of Robotics and Technology Convergence (KIRO), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and the Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU).
The effort is targeted at addressing domestic maritime accidents and other related contingencies which, according to the consortium, are not just increasing in frequency but also in scope, with accidents also distributed over large areas of sea.
SAR operations can not only be hampered by poor intelligence on an accident location, but also by unfavourable environmental conditions such as ocean currents, weather, and visibility. As a result, conventional SAR interventions using manned craft are inherently risky, and cannot always be dispatched to the scene immediately.
The consortium’s aim is to develop an unmanned maritime system that can be rapidly deployed and offer accurate underwater navigation in challenging conditions.
Partners will contribute their respective capabilities to boost autonomous search operations by incorporating technologies such as networked communications, precise search, and real-time control and navigation to the AUV platform.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Jane’s)
15 June 21. Axon and DroneSense Partner to Bring State-of-the-Art Situational Awareness and Drone Management Software to Public Safety. Strategic partnership will help public safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) users effectively manage data and evidence. Axon (Nasdaq: AXON), the global leader in connected public safety technologies and DroneSense, the leading software platform for drones in public safety, today announced a strategic partnership to provide public safety agencies with an end-to-end drone software solution, including piloting, administration, evidence management and live streaming.
Axon will implement DroneSense’s piloting, program management and operations solution via Axon’s unmanned aircraft program, Axon Air. DroneSense will also integrate its offering with Axon’s digital evidence management platform, Axon Evidence, and real-time operations hub, Axon Respond, to provide agencies with a comprehensive solution to start and operate a drone program. This integration will streamline first responder and drone pilot communications — allowing live streaming from the UAS into Axon’s real-time operations platform and digital footage to be stored in Axon’s evidence management platform.
“As a long-time partner with Axon in developing drone live-streaming and UAS management tools, I am excited about the company’s latest collaboration with DroneSense,” says Lieutenant Chris Miller at Escondido Police Department. “The service provides excellent live streaming with minimal latency, a user-friendly pilot interface and record-keeping tools that are vital in managing a law enforcement unmanned aircraft systems unit. This is another example of Axon’s commitment to use technology to make officers and community members safer.”
“We’re laser-focused on making it easy for agencies and the communities they serve to safely adopt and benefit from a drone program,” says Axon Air General Manager, Aydin Ghajar. “We are impressed with the DroneSense product and team. They make it simple to fly with one piloting application for most drones on the market and maintain all the administration tools to keep agency programs compliant with regulations. We’re excited to make this solution available to Axon customers, and to have it be deeply integrated with Axon Evidence and Axon Respond for evidence management and real-time situational awareness.”
“DroneSense is proud to join Axon in their mission to protect life,” says Christopher Eyhorn, CEO of DroneSense. “We quickly recognized the alignment between Axon’s mission to protect life and our mission to help public safety organizations make faster, better, and safer decisions by effectively harnessing the situational awareness that drones can offer. We’re confident that the combination of our platform and Axon’s digital evidence management and real time communications platform will be the most comprehensive UAS offering available in market.”
The integrated solution will be available to customers through Axon, branded as Axon Air Powered by DroneSense, in the third quarter of this year. Existing Axon Air customers will have a seamless transition and upgrade to Axon Air Powered by DroneSense.
Based in Austin, Texas, DroneSense offers a comprehensive solution that empowers organizations to build, manage, and scale unmanned aircraft programs. The company’s mission-critical software platform enables users to leverage the full capabilities of drones in all operations. Drones powered by the DroneSense platform provide decision-quality data that expands situational awareness and acts as a force multiplier, ultimately leading to more lives saved and safer outcomes in public safety. To learn more about DroneSense, please visit www.dronesense.com.
Axon is a network of devices, apps and people that helps public safety personnel become smarter and safer. With a mission of protecting life, our technologies give customers the confidence, focus and time they need to keep their communities safe. Our products impact every aspect of a public safety officer’s day-to-day experience with the goal of helping everyone get home safe.
We work hard for those who put themselves in harm’s way for all of us. To date, more than 251,000 lives and countless dollars have been saved with the Axon network of devices, apps and people. Learn more at www.axon.com or by calling (800) 978-2737. Axon is a global company with headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. and global software engineering hub in Seattle, Wash., as well as additional offices in Australia, Canada, Finland, Vietnam, the UK and the Netherlands.
DroneSense is a trademark of DroneSense, Inc., Facebook is a trademark of Facebook, Inc., and Twitter is a trademark of Twitter, Inc. Axon, Axon Air, Axon Respond, Axon Evidence and the Delta Logo are trademarks of Axon Enterprise, Inc., some of which are registered in the US and other countries. For more information, visit www.axon.com/legal. All rights reserved. (Source: PR Newswire)
15 June 21. Military micro-reactors: Waging yesterday’s wars while losing the future’s. With its withdrawal from Afghanistan and decision to end programs that typified America’s conflicts of past two decades, the Biden administration’s Pentagon is planning for long-term competitions against China and Russia. But for the Pentagon’s mobile micro-reactor effort, Project Pele, it’s still 2007.
Designed to supply energy to remote troops, Pele is geared for fighting the last war, which lacked high-end threats and during which vulnerable fuel convoys were a significant source of American casualties.
The Pentagon is asking Congress to spend $60m next year on Pele. Congress should hit the brakes. Not only is Pele rooted in anachronistic military scenarios, but against Chinese, Russian, North Korean or Iranian militaries, it would be a prime target for precise missiles and drones as well as a source of friction with nuclear-skeptic U.S. allies expected to host the reactors.
The issue is not feasibility. Small reactors like Pele should be able to provide electrical power to forward-operating bases and could — in concert with electric or hybrid vehicles — nearly eliminate the need for fuel convoys on the front lines.
The problem is that power-generation equipment and other support infrastructure are at the top of Chinese and Russian target lists. China’s newest ballistic missiles can deliver warheads ranging from explosive submunitions to high-speed tungsten rods, while recent attacks in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh showed the lethality of Russian, Chinese, Turkish and Iranian missiles and drones. These weapons could cause catastrophic damage to a reactor plant.
To address the threat of attack, Pele’s fuel is intended to be inherently stable and resistant to meltdown.
Perhaps, but a large attack could bury the fuel in debris, preventing it from dissipating heat and causing it to exceed its design temperature. And even if the fuel remains intact, it is radioactive and would create a contamination risk once released from the reactor by an attack.
Count on our allies being unwilling to host Pele reactors that opponents are sure to strike. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where the governments were beholden to the United States and guided-weapons threats were nonexistent, U.S. troops facing China would have to operate on Japanese, Australian or Philippine soil — nations that harbor strong anti-nuclear sentiments. U.S. governments in Guam or the Northern Mariana islands may have less choice in the matter, but residents there will hardly welcome new radioactive targets for Chinese missiles.
U.S. forces could reduce the threat to mobile reactors by taking them off the front lines. However, this reduces their value in solving logistical problems. More important, moving Pele away from the front will place it closer to civilian populations worried about Pele’s everyday radiological footprint. Consider instead of platoons of diesel mechanics and convoys of fuel, the Army needs squads of nuclear power plant operators and pallets of testing supplies and water treatment equipment. The return trip will also be full. Every glove, paper towel and sample bottle would likely be considered low-level waste and require specialized disposal, possibly back in the United States.
Bottom line: Pele creates more military challenges than it solves.
Mobile reactors might make sense for powering remote settlements and polar or moon stations, which is why NASA and the Energy Department are backing the project. But Pele is the wrong answer for tomorrow’s power-hungry military sensors, electric combat vehicles and directed-energy weapons. To supply these systems, the Pentagon should take a broader approach. Instead of advancing a comfortable solution from the past, the Defense Department should drive energy innovation through competition, such as the prize challenges that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency successfully used to advance new robotics and semiconductor designs.
New energy technologies are available. Solar and wind generation are being advanced and fielded today by commercial industry. Developments in batteries, capacitors and flywheels are already revolutionizing energy storage. A combination of these and other as-yet unidentified technologies could address the U.S. military’s expeditionary energy needs and be more feasible to deploy than Pele. Congress should reallocate Pele’s proposed budget to fund competitions to surface and exploit these new approaches rather than picking a winner today that is likely to lose tomorrow. (Source: Defense News)
15 June 21. uAvionix Completes Milestone UAS VTOL Autopilot Flight Demonstration. uAvionix has announced that it has conducted a milestone technology demonstration flight at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NP UAS TS) in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The 40-mile demonstration flight, witnessed by the NP UAS TS leadership team, combined the Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) flight control capabilities of the new uAvionix George autopilot with the latest iteration of SkyLine, uAvionix’s purpose-built managed C2 infrastructure using three terrestrial skyStation Ground Radio Systems (GRS).
The demonstration flight featured the custom uAvionix internal test eVTOL platform autonomously flown by the George autopilot, recently announced in April 2021. George is a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compliant autopilot leveraging the world-class Cube core from CubePilot – perfectly combining the innovation of open-source autopilot excellence with Design Assurance Level (DAL) C hardware and safety and sensor monitoring for customers seeking Type Certification (TC) and safety case evidence for high-risk operations such as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).
In addition to hardening open-source hardware, George sets out to simplify the integration and compatibility complexities that come with enterprise autopilots and flight avionics. With the entire uAvionix product lineup at George’s disposal, including Low-SWaP Certified Transponders, purpose-built C2 Radios, ADS-B Detect and Avoid solutions, the soon-to-be certified truFYX GPS, and not to mention support for hundreds of third-party components. George is a platform developer’s dream come true to quickly and confidently assemble a seamless UAS architecture that is ready for business or even the battlefield.
In response to the enthusiastic response George has received, uAvionix is excited to announce a beta test program for developers to participate in early integration and testing opportunities
Our most recent North Dakota flight demonstration differed from previous flights. This was the first public demonstration of three SkyStation terrestrial ground radio locations managed by SkyLine, uAvionix’s purpose-built command and control network for UAS, which powered the fully autonomous 40-mile Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight.
Each ground radio was monitored and coordinated through the uAvionix cloud-based SkyLine managed C2 service. SkyLine monitors the connectivity, signal strength, and quality from microLink, our redundant Airborne Radio System onboard the eVTOL, to manage make-before-break seamless transitions between ground radio locations. Engineers onsite, along with dozens around the world, watched as the SkyLine system determined which of the three ground stations provided the most robust connection completely autonomously and independent of the pilot in command.
uAvionix sees SkyLine as a key component to the future of BVLOS flight for UAS. SkyLine doesn’t rely on consumer-grade networks but rather is its own purpose-built airborne network, partitioned to provide not just quality of service, but integrity of service. With a dense ground network of skyStations and SkyLine managing the network integrity and aircraft, the possibilities are limitless for safe, trusted, large-scale fleet management, including package delivery, inspections, Urban Air Mobility, and more. (Source: UAS VISION)
11 June 21. Anywise and Athena AI to deliver sovereign data-driven sustainment solution. Melbourne-based SME Anywise and Brisbane-based Athena AI collaborate to deliver a sovereign solution for a vision-based Health and Usage Monitoring system.
The collaboration sees two Australian owned and operated SMEs providing a unique innovation to health and usage monitoring systems for military bridging systems. The new partnership is indicative of what Defence can expect to see from Australian SMEs moving forward.
According to Steve Kouloumendas, Anywise general manager, the new collaboration is important in demonstrating to Defence the ingenuity and capability that is resident in Australian SMEs.
“This is another reason for the government to continue their investment into SMEs in the Defence industry,” Kouloumendas said.
Both companies will leverage into their individual insights into innovation, according to Stephen Bornstein, Athena AI managing director. The collaboration will tap into Anywise and Athena AI’s individual insight into technology adoption and complex program delivery in Defence.
“This collaboration is key to growing Australia’s sovereign SME capability, and builds upon cutting-edge technology critical to all aspects of Defence from operations to in-service support,” Bornstein said. (Source: Defence Connect)
14 June 21. Indian MoD approves budgetary support for defence innovation. The Rs4.98bn ($68.09m) five-year scheme aims to provide financial support to some 300 MSMEs and individual innovators. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved budgetary support of $68.09m (Rs4.98bn) to Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) – Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO).
This financial support will be provided for the next five years. It will boost the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ initiative.
It will support approximately 300 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and individual innovators, as well as 20 partner incubators under the DIO framework.
The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework seeks to harness local small businesses and academia to support the ‘Make in India’ programme in the defence domain.
According to the MoD, the iDEX framework creation and DIO establishment by the Department of Defence Production (DDP) is aimed to form an innovation and technology development ecosystem in defence and aerospace.
This development can be created by engaging industries, including the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, start-ups, individual innovators. It will provide them grants and other support to carry out research and development.
The MoD in a statement said: “The DDP will release funds to DIO for setting up and managing the iDEX network in the form of Partner Incubators (PIs); communicating with innovators / start-ups / technology centres of MSMEs through the PIs, including the PIs of Department of Science and Technology regarding defence and aerospace needs; organising various challenges / hackathons to shortlist potential technologies and entities and evaluating technologies and products developed by developed by innovators / start-ups in terms of their utility and impact on the defence and aerospace setup.” (Source: army-technology.com)
11 June 21. International partners and Government agencies join Arqit’s Federated Quantum System. Arqit Limited (“Arqit”), a leader in quantum encryption technology, has today announced at the G7 Leaders Conference in Cornwall, that it has formed an international consortium of companies and government organisations to provide its quantum encryption technology to government customers in a federated system concept, called Federated Quantum System (FQS). The UK, USA, Japan, Canada, Italy, Belgium, and Austria are now represented.
Arqit invented a system which uses satellites to distribute quantum keys to data centres. These keys are delivered using a new patented protocol called ARQ19, which solves the “Global versus Trustless” problem which previously prevented the adoption of Satellite Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). Arqit further invented a method, called QuantumCloud™ to translate the benefits of this quantum key distribution to any form of endpoint or cloud machine without the need for any special hardware. The first version of QuantumCloud™ launches for live service to commercial customers in 2021.
Government customers typically have more stringent requirements for control and are more inclined to buy “Private Instances” of cloud technology rather than managed services. Arqit has therefore designed a different version of its technology to meet this need and has recruited a strong community of partners from allied countries to collaborate in bringing the FQS system to use.
Collaboration partners include BT, Sumitomo Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Leonardo, QinetiQ Space N.V., qtlabs and Honeywell. Other Western Allied countries are expected to announce their inclusion during 2021.
FQS has been developed with support from the UK Space Agency (UKSA through its National Space Innovation Programme). The system consists of dedicated satellites, control systems and QuantumCloud™ software. It will be provided to the UK’s “Five Eyes” allied governments and other international partners, allowing sovereign protection of strategic national assets and interoperability for joint operations.
The first FQS satellites are to be integrated and tested at the National Satellite Test Facility in Harwell near Oxford and are expected to be launched on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne from Newquay in Cornwall in 2023, after the launch of the first commercial Arqit satellites. The role of Virgin Orbit in providing responsive launch services for government customers from any location is additive to the plan to deploy many FQS satellites to support the needs of a growing list of allied country partners.
Arqit’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Williams, said, “FQS enables collaboration between NATO-allied governments around the world to form a federated version of QuantumCloud™ infrastructure. It also enables the Joint All Domain Command and Control vision to come to life. The FQS system is global in its nature, and there is now strong momentum in an international consortium joining forces to bring it into use.”
General Stephen Wilson, Director of Arqit Inc., said, “For Allies working together Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is essential. For JADC2 to work, we must have a real identity, credentialing, and access management solution. Arqit’s technology makes trusted data security possible.”
Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Amanda Solloway MP, added, “As a global science superpower, the UK continues to make advances in quantum science which is revolutionising cyber-security across the world. Backed by government funding, Arqit is paving the way in developing a new generation of quantum technologies that defend against sophisticated cyber-attacks on national governments, strengthening our resilience and helping us all the build back better from the pandemic.”
UK Space Agency CEO, Graham Turnock, added, “Space technologies have become embedded in almost every aspect of our daily lives, and UK Space Agency funding is accelerating our development as a world leader in space technology. Arqit’s advances in quantum technologies will strengthen the UK’s resilience against harmful cyber-attacks, helping us protect our critical services. The announcement today shows the attraction of Arqit’s model to our partners.”
Head of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Thorpe, added, “This is a key consortium to be involved with, placing UK companies at the forefront of cutting-edge global technologies. Arqit’s products will bring high-volume international business through launch at Spaceport Cornwall with Virgin Orbit. Not only does this provide us with advancements in UK innovation, but also brings that innovation to Cornwall, supporting high-skilled jobs and economic growth.”
Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit, commented, “Recent headlines from across the world show how vital it is to have encrypted communications supporting our economy and our security. The team at Arqit has already demonstrated that its encryption capabilities provide a critical service to a global customer base. By adding a space layer with its Federated Quantum System, Arqit is taking that service to an even higher level. We’re delighted to support the team, and to add its quantum satellites to our manifest for flights out of Cornwall.”
Kevin Brown, Managing Director of BT Security, said, “BT is pleased to be part of the first phase of the FQS project, which aligns with our wider commitment to providing security solutions for the most critical organisations. As this project advances to a global stage, it provides a clear example of how the UK is playing a leading role in developing important new technologies.”
Eiji Ishida, Executive Officer and General Manager, Lease, Ship and Aerospace Business Division of Sumitomo Corporation, said, “The FQS concept is important because it allows us to manage a local instance of the infrastructure and deliver the control that our defence customers will require. Sumitomo Corporation is pleased to be in this consortium, which is very far ahead of other technologies.”
Professor Rupert Ursin of qtlabs said, “Austria has been a strong supporter of the Satellite QKD technology which we have helped Arqit to build, and I am pleased that qtlabs is able to continue to represent Austria in this consortium and will try to bring the benefits of FQS to the Austrian and other government users.”
Marina Mississian, Senior Director Space Payloads for Honeywell Aerospace, Canada added, “Satellite enabled quantum encryption is strategically important for Honeywell and Canada. With the support of the Canadian government, we have been pleased to be associated with Arqit’s commercial mission and now to join the FQS system, which will further the collective security goals of the ‘Five Eyes’ community of nations.”
Frank Preud’homme, Sales and Business Development Director for QinetiQ Belgium, said, “We have been pleased to support the Arqit space mission since 2017 and see strong potential for the creation of sovereign capabilities for a close alliance of allied countries in sharing this technology.”
Norman Bone, Chair and Managing Director, Leonardo UK, concluded, “Leonardo and Telespazio recognise the increasingly digital nature of UK and allied national defence and security and the expectations of our customers that their systems are secure and resilient. The rapid, collaborative evaluation of new and cutting-edge technologies such as those developed by Arqit are a key element of Leonardo’s strategy to establish and deliver next generation systems to our customers enabling effective and secure multi-domain operations including in the cyber and space domains.”
The fundamental science behind Arqit’s solutions to decades-old problems with Satellite QKD is important, but the company’s ability to translate that into usable products that meet very precisely the needs of users is very advanced. This is a major advantage in moving quickly to implement the security technology amongst allied nations that will deliver valuable security improvements immediately and underpin the future of the quantum battlespace.
About Arqit Limited:
Arqit has invented a unique quantum encryption technology which makes the communications links of any networked device secure against current and future forms of hacking – even an attack from a quantum computer. Arqit’s product, called QuantumCloud™, creates unbreakable software encryption keys, using satellite to deliver quantum information to data centres. The keys which are easy and efficient to use remotely with no hardware or disruption to software required. The software has universal application to every edge device and cloud machine in the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom with subsidiaries in the United States, Arqit was founded in 2017 by UK satellite industry veteran David Williams. Visit us at www.arqit.uk. (Source: PR Newswire)
14 June 21. MoD shelves trial of life-saving device to stop bleeding on the battlefield. In 2019, Gavin Williamson said the cash ‘shows our commitment to ensuring those serving on the frontline get the best treatment’
The Ministry of Defence has shelved a trial of a life-saving device to help stop bleeding on the battlefield over the £5m cost, The Telegraph can reveal.
In 2019, Gavin Williamson, then the Defence Secretary, announced a trial of a “medical autoinjector” which could help ensure that soldiers injured on the battlefield did not die from uncontrolled bleeding.
The devices would have allowed soldiers to administer a chemical called Tranexamic Acid (TXA) at the push of a button.
When someone is injured, their body should naturally produce clots to help stem the bleeding. However, in the case of major trauma such as the loss of a leg, the body can wrongly send a message to break down the clots. This leads to the risk that the injured person will die from the bleeding.
TXA is a naturally occurring molecule which counteracts this and prevents the body from breaking down clots. The autoinjector device would allow this to be administered on the battlefield and without needing to find a vein.
When he announced the trial, Mr Williamson said the technology would have “an immediate impact in terms of reducing the number of deaths on the battlefield”. He added: “This funding shows our commitment to ensuring those serving on the frontline get the best treatment as rapidly as possible.”
However, while the Ministry of Defence (MoD) says it is “still scoping options” to bring in technology, The Telegraph can reveal the money has been “prioritised for use elsewhere”.
An MoD spokesman said: “In order to meet critical requirements, funding previously announced for the introduction of tranexamic auto-injectors across the Armed Forces was prioritised for use elsewhere. Currently we cannot give a timeline as to when procurement of TXA autoinjectors may begin or enter service.”
The decision was criticised by experts who pointed to the importance of the device in helping to prevent deaths.
Ben Barry, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said bandages fitted with new coagulant technology such as TXA made a considerable difference to US forces in Afghanistan.
He said these autoinjectors might increase that effect, adding: “The more robust you can make your medical capability in the forward area, the longer people can live.”
Ian Roberts, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said “all the science is pointing towards the autoinjector”. He said Mr Williamson had been right to praise TXA autoinjectors in 2019 and that and, today, “we have even more reason to believe what he said was true”.
“We didn’t really know [two years ago] it would be absorbed from muscle [or] how quickly it would be absorbed into the blood,” Prof Roberts added. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
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.