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02 May 22. USN cuts deal to see Microsoft’s tools before they hit the market. The Naval Postgraduate School and Microsoft have signed a cooperative research and development agreement to tackle four key technology areas where industry investments and naval operational needs may overlap.
The agreement, announced publicly on May 2, covers work involving intelligent edge computing solutions and cloud-enhanced networks; gaming, exercising, modeling and simulation to improve military capability development and command decision-making; the development of a “campus of the future” at the school’s Monterey, California, campus; and establishing an infrastructure and processes that can rapidly transition research and development projects to the field.
The Navy isn’t buying anything from Microsoft under this agreement, but scientists and engineers will collaborate on applying commercial technology to military problem sets.
However, the school and Microsoft are to collaborate on research in such a way that the Navy and Marine Corps will see the company’s tools before they hit the market so the services can be ready to rapidly leverage them. Microsoft also benefits by better understanding the military’s operational needs and addressing them in future technology offerings.
Marine Corps Col. Randy Pugh, the senior Marine at the Naval Postgraduate School and the deputy director of the Naval Warfare Studies Institute, told reporters that the military must keep up with rapidly evolving technology, which is why the services needed to “bring our industry partners in earlier and earlier into our thought process and give [industry] a great insight and insider’s perspective of our most complicated problems so that we can collaborate and work side by side on solving some of those problems.”
Asked about the operational needs of the Navy and Marine Corps that Microsoft and other tech companies could help with, Pugh and other project officials pointed to not just the operation side but also administrative and business issues.
“Things like talent management based on LinkedIn and the uncanny way that it presents people that I might want to invite to my network. Man, we’d love to have that in the military for our talent management purposes,” Pugh said. “And so this allows us to understand the technology and the techniques, and then be able to lift and drop those onto the military quickly and efficiently.”
Operationally, Pugh said, it comes down to “autonomy or intelligent autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, certainly big data and the ability to do data engineering and data science and to have machines or computers assisting the humans and making decisions — whether those are business decisions for the services, or whether those are combat-related decisions.”
“All of those kinds of things are very immature right now in the services, but are both mature and exponentially maturing in the commercial sector, driven by industry, driven by competitive marketplaces where people — in order to maintain their position and serve their shareholders — are coming up with all these groundbreaking inventions,” he added.
Cmdr. Chad Bollman, the director of the school’s Center for Cyber Warfare, said the war in Ukraine has shined a light on the importance of using sensors on the battlefield, integrating their data and sending actionable information to commanders — and being able to do so in degraded environments. He noted that Ukrainian forces have been leveraging military and commercial systems to do just this — and fast enough to gain an advantage over Russia, which invaded the country on Feb. 24.
“And so that’s our challenge, and Microsoft is doing all of those aspects. I’m looking at this as a great opportunity to take our sensors and our use cases and leverage what [Microsoft is] working on and see where it all comes together to, again, get earlier in the design phase and shape solutions,” Bollmann said.
Microsoft’s federal senior director for the firm’s U.S. Navy portfolio, Marc Langlois, agreed that the collaboration is about creating “decision advantage.”
“Our ability to help drive decision advantage out to the tactical edge by leveraging not only our hyperscale cloud but the intelligent edge through things like 5G, through our investments in Azure Space, Azure Orbital. This gives us an opportunity to prove that we can try and help derive that decision advantage.” (Source: Defense News)
02 May 22. Department of Defense Hosts Ribbon-Cutting for 5G Smart Warehouse Network. The DoD 5G-NextG Initiative hosted a 5G Smart Warehouse Network ribbon-cutting ceremony at Naval Base Coronado last week. Developed in collaboration with Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, Naval Supply Systems Command, Navy Region Southwest, Naval Base Coronado, industry partners, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), the 5G Smart Warehousing project at Naval Base Coronado is the program’s use-case incorporating 5G capabilities for trans-shipments between shore facilities and naval units.
“This is a key example of organizations coming together in a collaborative environment with our Armed Forces to explore the art of the possible in 5G,” said Amanda Toman, acting Principal Director of 5G-NextG, OUSD(R&E). “We’re not just building for the warfighter; we are also innovating with the American citizen in mind. DoD is working to accelerate the development and deployment of 5G-enabled capabilities across many use cases, while ensuring those systems — as well as those of our allies and partners — are robust, protected, and reliable.”
Using 5G-enhanced technology, the program seeks to increase the efficiency and fidelity of naval logistic operations including identification, recording, organization, storage, retrieval, and the transportation of materiel and supplies. NIWC Pacific and other government and industry partners kicked off the event, presenting demonstrations of the 5G Smart Warehouse Network with a focus on the 5G Radio Access Network and its optimization of warehouse operations via increased throughput of data, internet of things (IoT) support, and low latency.
“This technology is critical to U.S. national and economic security,” said Captain Timothy A. Brown, Commanding Officer, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center San Diego, during his opening remarks. “As one of the first sites funded to test this technology for the U.S. military, we will help map 5G development and DoD strategies moving into the future.”
In October 2020, the DoD announced a $600 m commitment to conduct a series of 5G experiments as part of a 5G Tranche Prototyping and Experimentation program. The Department’s objective is to rapidly develop and demonstrate prototype dual-use applications and 5G enhancements that will stimulate interest in and demand for 5G in both the DoD and the commercial world.
About USD (R&E)
The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering USD (R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD (R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre. (Source: US DoD)
02 May 22. Italian Drone to Embed uAvionix George Autopilot and CNPC Ecosystem. uAvionix has announced that Beluga, a state-of-the-art family of drones designed by Italian company Eurolink Systems, has completed its integration of various avionics from the uAvionix certifiable low-SWaP ecosystem, including the George G3 autopilot, microLink CNPC radio system, and truFYX EXT GPS.
Beluga is a new generation of small UAS (sUAS), the result of 3 years of design and development with a strong focus on State-of-the-Art technology available for each vital component. The Beluga sUAS is designed to perform a wide variety of tasks including medical transportation, precision farming, search & rescue, and last-mile delivery.
The system will include the uAvionix George G3, a CubePilot-based autopilot designed to DAL-C safety standards, and the truFYX EXT GPS which will provide its customers with the highest quality avionics at an incredibly low Size Weight and Power consumption (SWaP) at a low cost. Beluga will soon include the ability to operate on skyLink C-band CNPC radios, fully integrated with George.
“In our desire to focus on being best in class for Design, Noise, AI, Capabilities, Robustness, and usability for demanding profession customers, we identified a few partners to help us meet these challenging requirements,” said Pietro Lapiana, President of Eurolink Systems. “uAvionix showed technology, competence, and support at the highest levels. We are proud to use uAvionix technology inside”.
“uAvionix is proud to see another high-quality OEM in Eurolink Systems adopt our certifiable technology”, said Christian Ramsey, President of uAvionix. “The uAvionix ecosystem helps best in class designs such as Belugadrone meet the demands of professional users and will significantly enhance the ability to obtain safety and operational approvals for all its envisioned use cases”. (Source: UAS VISION)
02 May 22. KBR Joint Venture Introduces Sustainable Aviation Options for UK Ministry of Defence. KBR (NYSE: KBR) today announced that it has embarked on a series of electric aircraft test flights for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to assess the feasibility of environmentally friendly alternatives to current military aircraft, through its Affinity Capital Works Limited Joint Venture with Elbit Systems UK.
The concept of trialing zero emissions aircraft was brought to the MoD through Affinity – demonstrating its commitment to providing innovative solutions for the UK Armed Forces and addressing the needs of the future to help realize net-zero ambitions in line with the MoD’s green transformation.
The test flights will help the Royal Air Force (RAF) assess the technology of electric aircraft, determine its effectiveness as an impactful pilot training capability, and explore the implications on functional areas like aircraft and airfield operations on the ground and while flying, logistics support and infrastructure, as well as safety.
The flights will use a fully certified two-seater pilot training aircraft, the Velis Electro. Flight and safety assurances were developed during the summer of 2021, which was organized and delivered through Affinity, in partnership with the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
The program began with test flights in December 2021 ahead of the aircraft joining Affinity’s existing fleet at RAF Cranwell, where up to twenty additional pilots will fly the sustainable, eco-friendly aircraft in the months ahead.
“We are tremendously proud to support this initiative. The project builds on KBR’s proud history of pioneering new technologies and aligns with our vision to deliver solutions that help customers accomplish their most critical objectives in a safer and more sustainable way,” said Andrew Barrie, President, KBR Government Solutions EMEA.
KBR has been instrumental to the UK military flying training program since 2016, helping procure nearly 50 aircraft and supporting over 100 staff across three RAF bases in the UK through its Affinity Joint Venture with Elbit Systems UK.
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley offer a range of Military Marine NVG friendly LED lighting that includes navigation lights and controls, flight deck landing lights and interior compartment lighting. Our lighting products are used by Navies around the world including our own Royal Navy on UK Aircraft Carriers, Canadian Frigates, Swedish Submarines, Australian Surface vessels and Submarines, on board French Naval Carriers and in Naval Gun Turrets.
The technology is extremely energy efficient and built robustly, with proven long life. The lighting is NVG friendly, dimmable and programmable to allow for operations with aircraft pilots using military night vision goggles. They offer superior design giving high reliability for the most demanding environments with high sealing and the ability to meet the most stringent EMC standards.
Oxley are proud to say that we are working in partnership with SeaKing to enable a control panel to be offered with our LED Navigation Lighting. All of Oxley navigation lights have been specifically developed for vessels over 50 metres.
Contact Marcus Goad on 07850 917 263 for more information or to arrange samples.
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.