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18 May 22. DARPA announces programme to develop GPS-independent clocks. The programme aims to develop ultra-small, low-power, fieldable GPS-independent clocks. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in the US, has announced the H6 programme to develop GPS-independent clocks that can maintain accurate timing to improve mission success.
Certain military systems depend on global positioning system (GPS) timing updates.
GPS capabilities can deteriorate underground or underwater and may also become unavailable due to jamming by adversaries. In turn, this may jeopardise the success of the mission.
The H6 programme seeks to address this issue and aims to support the development of ultra-small, low-power, fieldable clocks that can maintain precise microsecond timing precision for a week without GPS fixes.
Such clocks will be designed to operate in a temperature range of -40°C to 85°C.
DARPA Microsystems Technology Office H6 programme manager Jonathan Hoffman said: “When clockmaker John Harrison developed his H1 through H5 marine chronometers to compete for British Parliament’s 1714 Longitude Act prize, determining longitude was the tactical mission challenge of the era.
“Today, GPS denial is the most significant PNT [positioning, navigation and timing] challenge. H6 is the spiritual successor to Harrison’s H5, and with it we aim to remove GPS-timing dependency while maintaining signal assurance, pervasive security, and high-bandwidth communications. H6 is the clock Harrison would build to solve today’s tactical mission challenge of GPS denial.”
The H6 programme includes three phases.
In the first phase, the performers will address clock dependence on temperature and size, weight, and power (SWaP) reduction constraints.
The second phase will involve clock ageing and the demonstration of operation throughout the tactical temperature range.
In the final phase, the performers will demonstrate a fully integrated tactical-grade clock, as well as fabricate and deliver five clocks.
The proposals are due on 8 August 2022 and the work is scheduled to start in January next year.
The DARPA recently selected six teams for the Morphogenic Interfaces (MINT) programme. (Source: army-technology.com)
19 May 22. Evonik launches new processing aids for improving the performance of photovoltaic wafer cutting.
- TEGO® Surten E processing aids for photovoltaic industry debut
- Faster and better wafer cutting enables more efficient and
cost-effective solar energy
- Expansion of Evonik’s comprehensive additives portfolio for
renewable energy manufacturing
Evonik has launched its new processing aids portfolio under the brand name TEGO® Surten E in China. The new additives improve the performance and efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) wafer cutting, leading to better overall performance and production efficiency of solar modules.
With many countries, including China, pledging their commitment to achieving carbon neutrality, better and more cost-effective utilization of renewable energy
is vital. In China, solar power continues to be the main source of ecological energy supply. Since the introduction of government incentives in 2011, China plays an important role globally in both solar power deployment and solar system/component manufacturing.
However, the economic competitiveness of current PV systems compared to other energy options remains to be a key metric for the future development of the industry. Solar module manufacturers are looking for any opportunity to reduce production costs while improving the conversion efficiency of solar cells to electricity.
Cutting silicon ingots with diamond wire saws (DWS) is a crucial step in the production of PV cells based on crystalline silicon. Cutting fluids with standard surfactants do not meet the requirements of the latest high-performance cutting process: Deep cut lines and divots caused by ineffective swarf transport and degradation of the wire’s diamond coating not only lower wafer quality but can
also lead to the formation of large crystals during the subsequent diffusion step, reducing the surface area for photon capture resulting in lower cell efficiency.
“The newly launched product series TEGO® Surten E for the PV industry expands our comprehensive additives portfolio for renewable energy manufacturing,”
said Benjamin Brehmer, Global Segment Manager Energy & Storage at Evonik’s Interface & Performance business line, “These low-dose additives can significantly improve the quality and speed of PV wafer cutting, contributing to a further step forward on the road to a climate-neutral future.”
TEGO® Surten E wetting agents and defoamers contain the right balance of extremely low dynamic surface tensions and adhesion tendency to effectively remove cutting swarf. Cutting fluid formulations containing a low dosage of
TEGO® Surten E can achieve a much better cut quality ratio (more A+ vs. A-) at higher cutting speeds using smaller wire diameters, on ever larger wafers (M12). This leads to an improved economic balance with less costly post-treatment remedial work required for cut wafers. The optimized formulation ensures a consistent cut quality on larger wafers leading to a significant increase in overall
PV energy output.
In addition, the ideal wetting behavior of TEGO® Surten E products can be
modified to specifically operate under extreme operation conditions, such as in circular systems, by refining the overall cooling performance of the fluid. This
helps to maintain the durability and performance of the diamond wire,
improving the efficiency and sustainability of the whole process.
Evonik’s TEGO® Surten E surfactant portfolio can also be useful as a process additive in many related and emerging PV applications, such as supporting more uniform and improved anti-reflective and reflective coatings, as well as other engineered surface modifications that improve overall energy yield. http://www.evonik.com/pv.
Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €15 bn and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.38 bn in 2021. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers. About 33,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life today and tomorrow.
About Specialty Additives
The Specialty Additives division combines the businesses of versatile additives and high-performance crosslinkers. They make end products more valuable, more durable, save more energy and simply better. As formulation experts in fast growing markets such as coatings, mobility, infrastructure and consumer goods, Specialty Additives combines a small amount with a big effect. With its 3,700 employees the division generated sales of €3.71bn in 2021.
19 May 22. Thales selected by NATO to deploy NCOP operational situational awareness system.
- One year after signing the contract to deliver the NATO Common Operational Picture (NCOP 2) system, Thales and GEOS have been selected to deploy the software at 30 NATO sites and train operators to use the decision support tool in theatres of operations.
- The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) has selected Thales to deploy the NCOP 2 system, which will provide shared operational situational awareness for joint forces under NATO command, and to train future users.
- Selected after an international request for proposals, Thales has demonstrated its ability to support the customer at every stage of the project, from system design to entry into operational service.
The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) has selected Thalesto install the NCOP system at 30 fixed and deployed command centres and to train end-users.
The land, air and naval units engaged in joint operations field many different types of command systems, all of which generate huge amounts of georeferenced operational information. NCOP will capture, aggregate and correlate all this information in a cybersecure environment to generate a single comprehensive picture of the theatre of operations, providing a Common Operational Picture (COP) that will ensure each entity has a shared view of the locations, actions and intentions of forces in the field.
To meet this requirement, Thales has developed a software system based on an open architecture, with specialised modules that draw on the company’s experience of different aspects of the command chain and are fully compliant with commercial and military standards. The system is designed to provide operational users with secure access to multiple COPs overlaid on a basemap.
Having been selected for Increments 1 and 2 of the NCOP programme, Thales is continuing to help NATO enhance its mission coordination, planning and command capabilities, and has now been selected in partnership with GEOS to deploy the software and provide training for users.
The NCOP 2 system is currently under development, and will be deployed in 2023 after field testing. The Thales teams will deploy this new NCOP 2 capability within NATO’s own infrastructure and will ensure continuity of operational service for end-users.
In addition to installation, the services provided by Thales and GEOS will include comprehensive training for system administrators and users as well as on-site technical and operational assistance throughout the system adoption phase.
“This new selection reinforces our historical collaboration with the NATO Communications and Information Agency. We will build on the ongoing development of the NCOP 2 system and demonstrate Thales’ ability to deliver fully integrated solutions for our customers.” Gérard Herby, Vice President, Protection Systems, Thales.
18 May 22. R&D Program Yields New Sources for Obsolete Parts, Raw Materials. Defense Logistics Agency Small Business Innovation Research program managers Vaibhav Jain and Denise Price are always seeking opportunities to match America’s small businesses with research and development projects that address critical supply chain gaps and security threats. They work with small businesses striving to source parts, raw materials and manufacturing solutions through the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. In fiscal year 2021, DLA awarded 75 projects worth over $43m through SBIR and STTR.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the defense industrial base, and our goal is to apply the advanced technologies they develop to DLA’s mission and priorities,” Jain said.
Declining domestic manufacturing capabilities and parts obsolescence threaten the sustainability of aging weapons systems such as the air-launched cruise missile and Ohio-class submarines.
“A lot of original equipment manufacturers have moved on to the latest and greatest technology, so they don’t want to deal with older parts that aren’t big money makers,” Price said. “That leaves the services without a source of supply, and DLA is trying to fill the gap.”
DLA uses programs like SBIR and STTR to collaborate with weapons system program offices and service engineering support activities to turn industrial innovativeness into DLA supply chain solutions. SBIR and STTR are congressionally mandated for federal agencies exceeding extramural research budget thresholds to provide federal funding to eligible small businesses in three phases.
The first phase usually lasts six months, as a business determines the scientific, technical and commercial merits and feasibility of a research objective based on projects that are announced three times a year on the Defense Department’s SBIR/STTR website. The award is usually less than $100,000.
“We make sure we have a program of record in mind for any project we put out, so it’s really up to small businesses to present a technology that our warfighter customers are interested in,” Price said.
The most promising projects are funded for the second phase, in which businesses produce a prototype and demonstrate their potential for qualifying for a program of record. The award in this phase is typically for 24 months and $1m.
Only half the companies make it to the second phase.
“Usually, if a company doesn’t make it to the second phase at DLA SBIR, they either don’t have a good commercial application or transition plan, or they just don’t show the effectiveness and efficiency we’re looking for,” Price added.
The third phase is the commercialization or transition to a program of record and could last around three years. Funding ordinarily comes from the services or another agency.
While the statutory purpose of the programs is to boost small business’ role in R&D, Jain said they also help DLA meet warfighters’ needs. Recent successes include the awarding of a contract to a small business that developed a proprietary process for creating premium powder from recycled, nickel-based superalloys. The powder is pure enough to be used in precise processes like additive manufacturing and is suitable for stockpiling.
A San Diego-based small business is also now an approved supplier for a field radio battery charger that was a limited-source item. The company used reverse engineering to manufacture the charger and reduced the cost by 35%.
Another DLA SBIR project even resulted in the creation of a COVID-19 rapid test kit that received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in February. The company has since provided the kit to government agencies, schools, first responders and more.
DLA currently has about 70 SBIR/STTR projects geared toward easing challenges like identifying counterfeit parts and using additive manufacturing to fabricate fuel oil coolers. For more information about the programs, visit DLA’s Small Business Innovation Programs webpage. Solicitations and topics released by all DOD components can also be found on the DOD SBIR/STTR website. (Source: US DoD)
18 May 22. KAI developing next-generation high-speed helicopter.
KAI is developing a high-speed advanced helicopter as part of its ‘next-generation high-mobility helicopter’ project. The aircraft is being designed to fit a South Korean military requirement to replace UH-60s. (Korea Aerospace Industries)
A new high-speed helicopter being developed by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) intends to replace Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks in service with the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces.
Designated as the ‘next-generation high-manoeuvre helicopter’, an industry source told Janes that KAI is conducting research and development of the new air platform.
The project was initiated after the issuance of a requirement by the South Korean government. “The Republic of Korea military is planning to replace the currently operating UH-60 helicopters with domestic high-mobility helicopters,” the source added.
Janes has learned that KAI is reviewing the required performance of the helicopter based on operational requirements announced by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). The project team is considering the aircraft’s performance in relation to the US Future Vertical Lift (FVL) plan.
The US FVL programme will develop a family of high-speed military rotorcraft for the US armed forces. (Source: Janes)
17 May 22. New UK defence BattleLab to drive innovation. A new hub designed to spark innovation and push the boundaries of technology used by UK Armed Forces has been officially opened in Dorset today.
- Defence BattleLab opens in Dorset to help drive innovation across Armed Forces
- Hub will foster collaboration between Armed Forces, industry and academia
- First ever Land Industrial Strategy to modernise military operations
Building on successful global models of innovation and other work across UK Defence, the Defence BattleLab will bring together military personnel, academic institutions and private sector companies to trial and experiment cutting-edge technology.
By utilising the same space, the facility will foster collaboration and creativity to push new technological boundaries – an approach that has proved successful with many global innovation hubs.
Facilities at the Defence BattleLab include:
- Access to the UK’s only multi-domain ranges at Lulworth, comprising 15,000ft of cleared airspace, available sea area and a live fire capable range
- A live trial and showcase workshop for digital and physical technology
- Three 5G testbeds which will allow for testing in a secure, closed network
- Over 100 rentable desks for companies and half a floor for Defence staff across a large open plan office
While there is no one single focus for the organisations involved, the BattleLab seeks to encourage free thinking and novel approaches for challenges across the land, sea and air military domains.
Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said:
As the pace of technological change continues to spiral, Defence must be forward leaning and innovative in its approach.
Collaboration and innovation will be the catalysts to maintaining advantage over our adversaries. The BattleLab will bring together the best talent and expertise in industry and push technology boundaries to equip our Armed Forces with the latest state of the art kit.
This will be supported by our new Land Industrial Strategy, which will increase transparency with industry to help drive joint working.
The Defence BattleLab is a joint project between the Defence Innovation Unit, single Services, Dstl, DASA, Dorset Council and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. It will help bridge the gap between the MOD and the UK’s world class innovative companies, especially in the small to medium sector.
Since soft launching last summer, the Defence BattleLab has hosted numerous Hackathons, defence technology showcases and workshops across emerging technologies for all areas of defence.
The facility seeks to take advantage of Dorset’s location, with Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bovington, Blandford, Warminster and Salisbury Plain all in easy reach.
Defence Innovation Director Clare Cameron said: “Defence Innovation is excited to co-fund the new Defence Battlelab as we boost our partnerships with talented industry innovators, to more rapidly deliver the battle winning technologies of tomorrow.”
Head of NavyX Col Tom Ryall said: “Our commitment to meaningful innovation is measured in actions not words and the Defence BattleLab is a shining example of this. As a centre of excellence for collaboration between SMEs and Defence users, it’s a vital cog in the developing Defence innovation ecosystem and vector into wider networks. It brings together the most innovative companies with users, under one roof, and alongside a world class test range. Today’s opening of the BattleLab marks a watershed moment in Defence’s relationship with industry.”
Dorset LEP Chair Cecilia Bufton said: “We share the Army’s ambition to grow an ecosystem of highly innovative companies. In providing a collaborative space where SMEs can benefit from the smart technology we’ve brought in, where they can explore how to apply their technology to the defence industry, and where there is opportunity to test and develop innovative solutions for the sector. We believe the Defence BattleLab has real potential to attract investors, inspire collaborations and encourage more SMEs into the county.
Today’s ribbon-cutting is an exciting moment for our partnership, for this Enterprise Zone site and for the county of Dorset, and I’m delighted that this Local Growth funded project has met this pivotal milestone.”
In addition to the opening of the Defence BattleLab, today sees the launch of the new Land Industrial Strategy (LIS), underpinned by more than £85bn investment in equipment and support for our Armed Forces over the next four years.
The LIS – the first strategy specifically for the Land sector – recognises past delivery challenges and the rapid increase in the sophistication of land technology.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lt Gen Sir Chris Tickell KBE said: “The Army is undergoing it’s most radical transformation in more than 20 years to deliver Future Soldier, including spending more than £40bn in the next ten years. This demands more from us, our delivery agents, and our industry partners. Our commitment to innovate and to work more closely with industry are underpinned by the Land Industrial Strategy and made manifest in facilities such as the Defence BattleLab. I could not be more excited to be a part of the launch for these fundamental aspects of our modernisation.”
The Strategy seeks to modernise equipment and advance it onto the frontline more quickly. It will empower defence to take decisions earlier on the viability of programmes and bring the right equipment into service faster.
Key platforms, such as armoured vehicles, will serve for decades, so the focus will be on working with industry to integrate iterative physical, electronic or digital upgrades during their lifespan, helping maintain a decisive battlefield advantage. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
17 May 22. Epsilor to Launch New Li-Ion NATO 6T Battery at Eurosatory 2022, Meeting US Army Safety Requirements. Epsilor, a world-recognized developer and manufacturer of mobile energy products for defense and aerospace applications, will reveal its NATO 6T Li-Ion rechargeable battery in a metal-case that meets the safety requirements of MIL-PRF-32565C (the US Army Performance Specification).
The battery, alongside COMBATT LiFePO4 6T NATO-standard batteries, will be presented for the first time at Stand H492, Hall 6 at Eurosatory 2022, which will take place in Paris, June 13-17, 2022.
Epsilor’s 6T battery, which is equipped with a smart Battery Management System (BMS) with self-charging and self-balancing, is an ideal solution for military armored vehicles and autonomous ground vehicles (AGV). It offers the highest energy density in this category, together with an extremely high life cycle and improved safety characters.
The battery offers over 1,200 charge and discharge cycles in a typical operational profile, enabling it to serve for approximately ten years with no need for maintenance or replacement.
“Eurosatory will provide Epsilor with an excellent opportunity to present a full 6T solution, based on both Li-Ion NCA cells and on Li-Ion LFP cells,” said Epsilor President Ronen Badichi. “The fact that our 6T batteries meet the MIL-PRF-32565C safety requirement, positions Epsilor at the forefront of 6T battery providers and we have already witnessed great interest in our 6T COMBATT family.”
Epsilor’s COMBATT 6T Li-Ion vehicle battery product provides 35 percent more energy than its closest competitor.
Epsilor batteries are already in use by several NATO armies, including those of France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Poland. Israel’s IDF is also using the batteries.
Epsilor is a globally recognised developer and manufacturer of custom and standard batteries, chargers and mobile power management systems for the defence, aerospace, IOT and marine markets. The company offers a wide variety of electro-chemistries, smart electronics and sophisticated battery management systems (BMS).
The company’s products have won several international awards for their innovation and smart operational approach. Epsilor is part of the US-based Arotech Corporation. (Source: Google/http://www.itnewsonline.com/)
20 Apr 22. BAE Joins Universities to Blaze a Trail in Developing New Defence Capabilities. BAE Systems Australia is joining the Defence Trailblazer Concept to Sovereign Capability program announced today that is being led by University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales. The $50m commitment in government funds for the Trailblazer program will bring universities and industry together to solve some of Australia’s most significant defence technology challenges and fast-track the development of new products and technologies, with a focus on autonomous technologies, hypersonics and high frequency technologies.
BAE Systems will contribute to Trailblazer through its national Red Ochre Labs Research and development centre. More than 500 people work within Red Ochre Labs across Australia and are responsible for developing and delivering new air, land sea space and cyber technologies for the Australian Defence Force.
BAE Systems Australia CEO, Ben Hudson, said: “Collaboration across these technology areas and significant investment in R&D will have the benefit of speeding up the evolution of existing technologies where Australia is leading the world and the development of new technologies for the Australian Defence Force. We are delighted to have partnered with the University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales on this program.
“There is still significant work to do to ensure that some of the toughest technology challenges are solved so that we can enhance Australia’s Defence capabilities.
“Bringing together the collective capabilities and knowledge of industry, academia and the defence not only advances innovation, but it also supports the economy, generating new local jobs and potential defence exports.” (Source: ASD Network)
27 Apr 22. BAE to Develop New Techniques to Overwhelm Military Adversaries. BAE Systems to develop a new approach to defeat adversaries by overwhelming them with complexity as part of the Complexity Modeling in Multiple Domains (COMMAND) program.
BAE Systems has been awarded a $2.8m, three-year contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a new approach to defeat adversaries: by overwhelming them with complexity.
As part of the Complexity Modeling in Multiple Domains (COMMAND) program, BAE Systems will develop highly complex models to capture the “decision calculus” of an adversary, provide an estimate of how different attacks will affect their ability to respond, and ultimately drive them to the point of indecision.
“The goal of the COMMAND program is to understand the imposition of complex Courses of Action against an adversary’s integrated systems of systems by modelling their decision calculus,” said Mike Miller, technical group lead at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs™ research and development organization. “From kinetic attacks to jamming communications and cyber attacks, determining a combination of these various attack surfaces will make it challenging for the adversary to react in a timely and coherent manner.”
As part of Joint All-Domain Operations, the U.S. Department of Defense seeks to integrate effects against targets within the adversary’s Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act loop to push the adversary into strategic paralysis. By using “complexity” as an attack surface, this technology will shape how information flows through an opponent’s decision making process. (Source: ASD Network)
16 May 22. Mercury launches industry-first safe, SOSA aligned mission computer. Open standards-based DAL-certifiable system delivers up to 40x more performance than current-generation computers while saving space, power and costs. Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, today announced the new Avionics Modular Mission Platform (AMMP), the industry’s first and only SOSA aligned, DAL-certifiable, 3U OpenVPX™ mission computer. Featuring the latest Intel® Core™ i7 safety-certifiable processors, AMMP delivers up to 40x more performance than current-generation avionics computers while drawing 50% less power and is ideally suited to a wide range of platforms including rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, ground stations and unmanned aerial vehicles.
By leveraging AI and autonomous capabilities, Mercury’s modular scalable mission computer improves decision accuracy and response times for pilots, making the pilots and their aircraft safer and more capable.
“Safety-certified flight mission computers are often built with custom or proprietary architectures that make them difficult and expensive to maintain and upgrade,” said Jay Abendroth, vice president, Mercury Mission. “In contrast, our new AMMP system offers the perfect combination of cutting-edge commercial processing, DAL-A artifacts and alignment with the sensor open systems architecture (SOSA) specification. This cutting-edge technology is a great example of how our strategy and investments in secure processing, trusted microelectronics, and open mission systems are serving as the engines of growth in the business. It also aligns well with the DoD’s need for open mission systems supporting their modular open systems approach (MOSA) mandate.”
Mercury’s AMMP is purpose-built to support advanced and real-time safety-critical applications such as mission management, sensor fusion/processing, surveillance, 5G communications and artificial intelligence. The computer comes integrated with Mercury’s BuiltSAFE™ commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) multi-core single board computers, avionics IO, video processing and software to deliver flawless performance. while simplifying integration and the certification process, saving customers valuable time and money.
Built with open architectures and the latest safety-certifiable commercial technology
- SOSA aligned architecture for faster integration and sustainment at a lower cost
- Multiple Intel® Core™ i7 Gen 11 processors with integrated GPUs for increased performance
- A range of avionics I/O including ARINC-429 to capture and distribute HD video
- Fully configurable, independent 3U boards to run multiple, mixed safety workloads
- Rugged, compact, and low power design to reduce risk and save aircraft resources
- Green Hills, Lynx and Linux board support packages to achieve FAA CAST-32A objectives
Mercury can also integrate a display, mapping system, cockpit management system and sensors with AMMP to maximize interoperability, optimize display performance and save customer integration time.
Mercury envisions, creates, and delivers innovative technology solutions purpose-built to meet their customers’ most pressing high-tech needs. Visit the AMMP product page for more information or contact Mercury at (866) 627-6951 or .
About the SOSA Consortium
The Open Group Sensor Open Systems Architecture™ (SOSA) Consortium aims to create a common framework for transitioning sensor systems to an open systems architecture, based on key interfaces and open standards established by industry-government consensus. The SOSA Consortium enables government and industry to collaboratively develop open standards and best practices to enable, enhance, and accelerate the deployment of affordable, capable, interoperable sensor systems.
For more information about the SOSA Consortium, please visit www.opengroup.org/content/sensor-open-systems-architecture-sosa.
16 May 22. Most projects on Pentagon’s $5.7bn lab ‘wish list’ likely to stay unfunded. A little-known military construction funding policy will likely prevent Congress from granting most of the Pentagon’s $5.7bn unfunded priorities list for lab and testing infrastructure projects, many of which are too early in the planning and design process for lawmakers to consider.
The U.S. Department of Defense in March sent lawmakers a list of 126 high priority projects across the military services’ labs and testing facilities that were left out of the fiscal 2023 budget request for military construction. Defense News obtained the report, which lists minor and major initiatives in areas including directed energy, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
In order to give lawmakers confidence in cost projections and execution timelines, Congress requires the services to have completed at least 35% of a project’s planning and design activities before it will consider providing funding. For fiscal 2023, only 26 of the 126 projects on DoD’s unfunded laboratory and testing infrastructure list meet that threshold. Those 26 projects represent about $486m of the $5.7bn gap for these efforts, which department officials say are critical for maintaining a technological edge and attracting talent.
The story was similar in fiscal 2022. The Pentagon submitted a $3.3bn list that included 81 projects, and lawmakers were ready to support many of them until they learned that the department had not completed the minimum required design work for most of the efforts, according to a source familiar with the process who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details on the budget. In the end, Congress added $800 m to the Fiscal 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act to address lab and testing facilities projects on the list.
Of the projects not funded in fiscal 2022, 45 appear again on the fiscal 2023 list and only 14 of those now meet the 35% planning requirement.
Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said during a May 12 congressional hearing her top priority is upgrading the department’s labs and test ranges.
“That piece is absolutely critical for us to put some additional funding against,” she told the House Armed Services cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee. “There’s a huge deficiency.”
Addressing the infrastructure gap has been one of the early initiatives of a new integration steering group, which Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks created last March to identify impediments to innovation within the Pentagon. Shyu leads the steering group, which last year conducted a review of lab and testing facilities.
Subcommittee Chairman Jim Langevin, D-RI, said he’s concerned about the backlog and wants to help put the department on a more “sustainable path” to science and technology facilities investment.
“These challenges affect not just the pace and breadth of innovation, but also our ability to attract and retain the top-tier talent that we depend on,” he said. “I’m committed to doing everything in my power to address it.”
The fiscal 2023 list includes 62 projects from the Navy, and 32 each from the Army and Air Force. For the 100 projects that are not yet eligible for congressional funding, DoD estimates it would cost $368 m to bring them to the 35 percent threshold.
One of the largest projects is a $495m effort to build a mostly classified Weapons Technology Integration Center for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The center would support AFRL’s munitions directorate, which develops precision munitions, bunker destroying bombs, hypersonic weapons and autonomous systems.
“A highly classified and secure laboratory space is required for the scientists and engineers working on improving existing operational systems while discovering and delivering the next generation of weapons capabilities,” the document states, adding that existing facilities are “functionally obsolete” for conducting the level of prototyping and testing the directorate needs.
Another $291m project would construct a facility for Naval Air Systems Command’s integrated product team, which would house more than 3,000 acquisition and headquarters personnel. The Navy expects the new building would “substantially improve acquisition and program management support” for Navy research and development efforts.
Shyu said if she had a larger science and technology budget, she would focus on funding these types of projects. She wrote in her submitted testimony that the department’s lab and test infrastructure serves as “the proving grounds of our most important discoveries.”
She pointed to a “plateau” in military construction budgets in recent years that has contributed to “degraded facilities and a continual necessity for maintenance and repair work.”
“This raises significant concerns about the performance, reliability and long-term viability of the department’s lab and test infrastructure,” she said. “The department looks forward to working with Congress through the development of spend plans for the use of military construction funds and on ways to address the recuring challenges with lab and test infrastructure in the future.”
Paul Mann, the Navy’s acting deputy assistant secretary for research, development, test and evaluation, said during the hearing that the science and technology portfolio struggles to compete with the other infrastructure demands across the department. He echoed Langevin’s concerns that the lack of investment in modern facilities makes it harder to attract and retain a skilled workforce.
“Building the laboratories so that these professionals can execute their mission will go a long way to sustaining our enduring advantage,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
16 May 22. US DARPA selects teams for MINT programme. The MINT programme aims to improve the performance of batteries and anti-corrosion coatings used to power or protect DoD platforms. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the US has selected a total of six teams for the Morphogenic Interfaces (MINT) programme. The programme seeks to improve the performance of batteries and anti-corrosion coatings that are used to power or protect the US Department of Defense (DoD) platforms.
According to a DARPA statement, the teams will work to develop new electrochemical interface materials for batteries and corrosion-resistant coatings.
DARPA Defense Sciences Office MINT programme manager Vishnu Sundaresan said: “Current solid-state batteries that have high energy density have limited charge/recharge cycles and current corrosion-resistant coatings require frequent maintenance in aggressive performance environments. Premature failure in these systems is due to the formation of structural defects, such as voids, at the interfaces between two materials.
“The teams we’ve selected will develop and demonstrate novel morphogenic interface materials to enable long-lasting and high-performance solid-state batteries that power everything, from warfighter battery packs to unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, as well as provide low-maintenance corrosion-resistant coatings for critical maritime assets deployed in harsh environments.”
The MINT programme includes two focus areas, namely Solid/solid charge transfer interfaces for solid-state batteries, and Solid/liquid and solid/vapour interfaces for corrosion-resistant coatings.
The three teams selected for the first focus area are led by GE Research, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The teams that will work on corrosion-resistant coatings are led by Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, and GE Research.
The teams, composed of industry and university researchers, will follow different approaches within their respective focus areas.
In the first phase, the teams will work to model interfacial processes, design morphogenic interfaces, and demonstrate performance improvements.
They will then further enhance their models in the second phase.
In March, the DARPA launched a programme to support the development of algorithmic decision-makers for military operations. (Source: army-technology.com)
16 May 22. Downed Russian Fighters Found with GPS ‘Taped to Dashboards.’
Wrecked Russian fighter jets are being found with rudimentary GPS receivers “taped to the dashboards” in Ukraine because their inbuilt navigation systems are so bad, the UK’s defense secretary, Ben Wallace, said.
Speaking at the National Army Museum in London, Wallace commemorated those who died in World War II and called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “senseless and self-defeating.”
He added that there was evidence suggesting Russian military hardware was being pushed to breaking point by the invasion of Ukraine.
“‘GPS’ receivers have been found taped to the dashboards of downed Russian Su-34s so the pilots knew where they were, due to the poor quality of their own systems,” he said.
“The result is that whilst Russia have large amounts of artillery and armor that they like parading, they are unable to leverage them for combined arms maneuver and just resort to mass indiscriminate barrages,” he added.
The Su-34 was first manufactured in the Soviet Union in the early 1990s but is still one of Russia’s leading fighter jets.
Russian politician Soviet Air Force veteran Colonel Viktor Alksnis, on his Facebook page, drew attention to recently-released photographs of the cockpit of a Su-34 Fullback fighter-bomber in Syria. This is also the case of the Su-25SM3 fighter jets.
Experts later confirmed that the photo shows a U.S.-manufactured GPS receiver developed by the Garmin company. Russian military pilots used the GPS receiver of Garmin’s popular entry-level eTrex Legend family.
It is more than likely that the Russians installed them in their planes in case their navigation systems did not work.
Garmin says that with its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, eTrex Legend locates position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons.
This etrex series of GPS handhelds should be familiar to the many tourists who usually buy one of these to use in their travels.
In the photographs, the left side of the HUD of Su-25SM3 is equipped with a Garmin GPSMAP 496 aviation GPS navigation terminal.
This navigation system is a civilian navigation machine familiar to aviation enthusiasts. In addition to positioning navigation, it also provides weather and terrain warning service, because there is a European database, it is very suitable for use in Europe and the nearby regions. (Source: UAS VISION/Southfront; Insider)
16 May 22. Marshall Slingsby Advanced Composites (MSAC) have received their National Aerospace and Defence Contractors Accreditation (nadcap) from the Composites Task Group following a very successful initial audit in Q1 of 2022.
Nadcap is a prestigious accreditation, of which there are less than 10 in the UK, for aerospace engineering, defence and related industries.
“Composites Nadcap Accreditation marks a significant milestone in the Advanced Composites journey of continuous improvement & targeted growth, demonstrating the drive and investment MSAC have to improve the business and for MSAC to be a leader in the field of Composite Manufacture.
Throughout the Audit, it was evident the pride all staff had in delivering and continuing to deliver complex composite solutions.”, comments Andy Cowton, Head of Quality – Marshall Slingsby Advanced Composites.
Nadcap is an industry-managed approach to conformity assessment that brings together technical experts from both Industry and Government to establish requirements for accreditation, accredit suppliers and define operational program requirements. This results in a standardized approach to quality assurance and a reduction in redundant auditing throughout the aerospace industry.
“Our teams have worked very hard over the last 12-18 months to make this a reality and have developed procedures and instructions which are world class. Production teams have increased and developed manufacturing processes and understanding to class leading standards and we will continue to deliver complex composite solutions with pride”, comments Carl Morse, Managing Director of Marshall Slingsby Advanced Composites.
Being a holder of a Nadcap accreditation allows Marshall to hold a seat and be a voting member on the Nadcap Management Council (NMC). The role of the NMC members is to speak for the needs of the global aerospace industry and their organizations in promoting teamwork, facilitating consensus, focusing on quality, and ensuring the Nadcap holds its values of the award, as well as the defence and engineering industry as a whole.
With this seat, Marshall Slingsby can help shape and develop excellent quality and care in the aerospace industry by holding advanced composites to the highest standards possible.
“For MSAC to achieve this Nadcap accreditation is a really huge step and shows their commitment to excellence and continued desire to be the best for their customers. Straight Aero was proud to partner both directly with MSAC and via Sharing in Growth to support their success.” said Stanley Revers, Straight Aero Engineering Limited.
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.