Sponsored By Oxley Developments
14 Oct 21. Northrop Grumman Delivers 500th AN/WSN-7 Inertial Navigation System to the US Navy. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has delivered the 500th WSN-7 ring laser gyroscope inertial navigation system (INS) to the U.S. Navy.
“Installed across the U.S. Navy Fleet, Northrop Grumman continues to support U.S. and NATO surface and submarine naval platforms around the world,” said Todd Leavitt, vice president, naval and oceanic systems, Northrop Grumman.
Beginning with the first gyroscope installed on USS Utah (BB-31) in 1911, Northrop Grumman has built a reputation as an industry leader and partner with the U.S. Navy in navigation, positioning and sensing systems. Today, the AN/WSN‑7 is the U.S. Navy Program of Record for INS on all surface combatants equipped with AEGIS weapons systems (Ticonderoga-class missile cruisers; Arleigh Burke-class destroyers), all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, amongst other U.S. and allied vessels.
The AN/WSN‑7A is the U.S. Navy Program of Record for all Los Angeles-class, Sea Wolf-class and Virginia-class submarines, and provides the same level of performance and accuracy as the AN/WSN‑7, in a modified form factor fit for subsurface use. Northrop Grumman’s broad range of assured positioning, navigation and timing (A-PNT) systems provide precise, survivable, secure, resilient and agile solutions for sea, land, air and space.
14 Oct 21. US Army’s 4ID soldiers test next-generation APNT solution. The new solution enables soldiers to manage position integrity in GPS-contested environments. Soldiers from US Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID) have tested the next generation Assured Positioning Navigation and Timing (APNT) solution. The solution enables soldiers to manage position integrity and timing in global positioning system (GPS)-contested environments. According to US Army Operational Test Command Intelligence Electronic Warfare Test Directorate major Matthew Truax, the mounted assured position navigation and timing system (MAPS) will be integrated across the service’s wheeled and tracked platforms. The integration supports multi-domain operations by creating high protection levels against emerging GPS threats. In the first week of testing, soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team received new equipment training (NET). This training was intended to help them get acquainted with the MAPS system and user interface and gain an understanding of its capabilities. The latter part of the test involved providing feedback on the system during operationally realistic missions. The operations include Call for Fire, Reconnaissance, Quick Reaction Force and Medical Evacuation in a GPS-denied environment. 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team assistant operations officer captain Christopher Mazeau said: “I’ve never seen what happens to GPS systems when they encounter an electronic warfare (EW) attack.” MAPS is designed to replace the need for multiple GPS devices on a single platform, supporting command and control. It also helps in managing EW attacks with the help of an on-board anti-EW antenna. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 Oct 21. Seeing Through the Fog of War. Dispersing clouds of obscurants in battle is a common military tactic that U.S. forces use to protect themselves from detection by adversary vision and sensor systems. The problem with current obscurants, however, is that they also degrade visibility and sensor performance of friendly troops. Additionally, obscurants designed to counter infrared systems are made of metallic flakes that are dangerous to breathe, requiring troops to wear respirators in combat. Today, DARPA announced the Coded Visibility program, which aims to develop tailorable, tunable, safe obscurants that provide warfighters with an asymmetric advantage, enhancing their visibility while suppressing adversary vision and detection systems. A Proposers Day webinar to provide details on the program is scheduled for October 21, 2021.
“Coded Visibility aims to develop new types of obscurant particulates that can be tailored to allow U.S. and allied forces to see the enemy through the plume in one direction, while the adversary is unable to see through the plume in the opposite direction,” said Rohith Chandrasekar, program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office. “We call this passive asymmetry, somewhat like the concept of privacy-window film that allows vision through glass in one direction and not the other. We’ll also explore active asymmetry using novel materials that can be tuned in real time to potentially enable dynamic adaptation of the obscurant’s properties during a mission.”=
Passive and active asymmetry both can be achieved by leveraging recent insights in scattering media, plasmonics, metamaterials, light-matter interactions, biochemical compounds, and large-scale plume modeling. DARPA will be working closely with DoD partner agencies to transition these advances at the particulate level to fieldable plume demos by the end of the program. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Oct 21. TE Connectivity’s interconnect solutions align with newly released. SOSA™ Consortium technical standard. New sensor systems architecture standard drives interoperability for military embedded systems. TE Connectivity (TE), a world leader in connectivity and sensors, is highlighting its portfolio of connector solutions which align with the newest release of The Open Group™ Sensors Open System Architecture (SOSA) Technical Standard 1.0. SOSA uses OpenVPX architecture to help ensure interoperability, improved subsystem SWaP-C (Size, Weight, Power and Cost), and rapid technology upgrades in aerospace applications and military embedded systems. As a member of The SOSA Consortium, a global collaboration of industry and government agencies that developed the standard to transition sensor systems to an open systems architecture, TE’s active role in the organization allows them to develop interconnect technologies that support the roadmap for next-generation sensor systems.
“The evolution of these standards is being driven by the demand for increased bandwidth and faster data speeds,” says Franck Kolczak, senior manager of business development for TE’s Aerospace, Defense & Marine Division. “To meet this rising demand, TE has worked closely with leading systems developers like The SOSA Consortium to develop interconnect technologies that not only endure in harsh aerospace, military and battlespace environments but also provide the space, weight and power savings that are still required.”
TE offers several solutions aligned to the SOSA Technical Standard that push the bandwidth envelope and offer high-speed board-level interconnect design, high density RF optical interfaces and higher power connectors. These include MULTIGIG RT 3 VPX connectors which support 32+ Gb/s signaling, the high-density NanoRF and optical connector modules, as well as the high-density MIL-DTL-38999 optical interconnect at the panel. All of which are expected to be deployed in sensor systems and supporting platforms across all major US military branches.
“We excel when we bring our customers and our engineering teams together to collaborate and develop new, innovative solutions for rugged high-speed system connectivity, like we are with The SOSA Consortium,” says Michael Walmsley, global product manager for TE’s Aerospace, Defense & Marine Division. “For TE, it has given us the opportunity to create and optimize newer interconnect technologies, as well as to support the industry by bringing our innovative thinking and expertise to the table to prepare for the evolution of the generations of systems to come.”
For more information on TE solutions that align with the SOSA Technical Standard, visit te.com/sosa, watch our webinar or download one of the following resources:
- Brochure: TE interconnect solutions aligned with the SOSA Technical Standard
- White paper: The Evolution of the NanoRF Interconnect
- White paper: Mezalok Connectors: High-Reliability XMC Mezzanine Connector
- White paper: “Ruggedizing” Connectors for Next-Generation Embedded Computing Applications
11 Oct 21. IBM and Raytheon Technologies to Collaborate on Artificial Intelligence, Cryptography and Quantum Technologies. Strategic collaboration to advance new aerospace, defense and intelligence solutions. IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX) will jointly develop advanced artificial intelligence, cryptographic and quantum solutions for the aerospace, defense and intelligence industries, including the federal government, as part of a strategic collaboration agreement the companies announced today.
Artificial intelligence and quantum technologies give aerospace and government customers the ability to design systems more quickly, better secure their communications networks and improve decision-making processes. By combining IBM’s breakthrough commercial research with Raytheon Technologies’ own research, plus aerospace and defense expertise, the companies will be able to crack once-unsolvable challenges.
“The rapid advancement of quantum computing and its exponential capabilities has spawned one of the greatest technological races in recent history – one that demands unprecedented agility and speed,” said Dario Gil, senior vice president, IBM, and director of Research. “Our new collaboration with Raytheon Technologies will be a catalyst in advancing these state-of-the-art technologies – combining their expertise in aerospace, defense and intelligence with IBM’s next-generation technologies to make discovery faster, and the scope of that discovery larger than ever.”
In addition to artificial intelligence and quantum, the companies will jointly research and develop advanced cryptographic technologies that lie at the heart of some of the toughest problems faced by the aerospace industry and government agencies.
“Take something as fundamental as encrypted communications,” said Mark E. Russell, Raytheon Technologies chief technology officer. “As computing and quantum technologies advance, existing cybersecurity and cryptography methods are at risk of becoming vulnerable. IBM and Raytheon Technologies will now be able to collaboratively help customers maintain secure communications and defend their networks better than previously possible.”
The companies are building a technical collaboration team to quickly insert IBM’s commercial technologies into active aerospace, defense and intelligence programs. The same team will also identify promising technologies for jointly developing long-term system solutions by investing research dollars and talent. (Source: PR Newswire)
12 Oct 21. Project Convergence 2021 Kicks Off; Showcases 110 New Technologies. “Unfortunately, some of the Army’s signature modernization efforts, as spectacular as they are, don’t work with the other signature modernization efforts,” said Ed Mornston, G2 at Army Futures Command. The Army’s Project Convergence 2021 wargame launches today at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where the service will test out new technologies, capabilities and operational concepts for future All Domain Operations.
“The Army’s taking 110 technologies to the field for six weeks to figure out: do they do what we think they can do? Will they interoperate?” Ed Mornston, head of intelligence and security (G2) at Army Futures Command, told the annual GEOINT Symposium last week.
Over the past year, the Army has been running a serious of “communications exercises,” or “COMEX,” that have revealed some of the issues the service has with simply getting its own weapon systems to talk to each other, Mornston said last Thursday. The most recent iteration had just finished at Ft. Leonard Wood in Eagleton, Mo., he noted. The Army also has been testing out each of the technologies at its Joint Systems Integration Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.
“Unfortunately, some of the Army’s signature modernization efforts, as spectacular as they are, don’t work with the other signature modernization efforts,” he said. (The service has a portfolio of 35 modernization priorities, that range from from 1,725-mile hypersonic missiles to augmented-reality targeting goggles.)
The kickoff of Project Convergence 2021 happens to coincide with the start of annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) trade show in Washington, DC, where Army officials will be bringing industry up to speed on the flagship effort. The massive wargame is aimed at developing the next-generation capabilities the Army will need to implement DoD’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy, and the evolving Joint Warfighting Concept for taking on Russia and China in globe-spanning future conflicts.
The wargame will involve the 82nd Airborne Division, along with the Army’s Multi-Domain Task Force as the key operational units, Mornston said, running through seven different “use cases,” i.e. tactical scenarios.
It also will involve representatives of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, he explained, making the wargame “truly a joint effort.” Of the 110 new technologies being reviewed, some 35 of them come from the other services, he explained.
Next year’s Project Convergence will go further, he added, inviting allies.
While Mornston did not reveal specifics about the technologies themselves — noting that the service, and DoD writ large must remember that US competitors, especially China, are masters of open-source research — the Army has previewed some capabilities over the past year in smaller wargames, such as the EDGE21 aviation exercise in the spring.
During EDGE21, the service field-tested a number of new systems ranging from jamming pods to infantry goggles to software that allowed battlefield operators to take over the controls of a drone and task it to gather targeting data — all made possible by a prototype Modular Open Systems Architecture, the invisible, digital backbone of the Army’s future air fleet.
A Focus On Army’s Own ISR
Key to Project Convergence, and to the Army’s overarching plan for high-speed future warfare, is the ability for taskable, over-the-horizon sensors that provide the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to enable targeting of the service’s developing arsenal of very long-range weapons, or in Army-speak, long-range precision fires.
For example, Army leaders, which for decades have complained that they does not receive the battlefield-ready ISR it needs in a timely manner from either the Air Force or the Intelligence Community (IC), are now seeking to develop their own ISR satellite payloads that they can task for themselves.
And in that arena, but short of space, Project Convergence will include testing of the Zephyr very-high altitude spy drone, according to industry officials.
Zephyr, developed by Airbus, is a solar-electric High Altitude Platform System (HAPS) with a wingspan of 25m and weighing less than 75kg, the the company’s website says. It flies at around 70,000 feet (21 kilometers) in altitude, which is about double the height of conventional air traffic and above storm clouds.
Variants of the drone have been undergoing Army testing at Yuma for about a decade. Zephyr in 2010 broke the world record for the longest autonomous drone flight; and in 2019 it stayed aloft day and night for almost 26 days.
Airbus completed another testing campaign at Yuma with the latest version of the drone, Zephyr S, last month, according to an Oct. 11 press release. During that test it successfully streamed Earth observation imagery from the new Optical Advanced Earth Observation system for Zephyr (OPAZ) system. Zephyr also has now received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in US national airspace, the release noted. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
11 Oct 21. Innovative computing device wins Eureka Prize. The Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia has been awarded to the Cross Domain Desktop Compositor.
Defence scientists collaborated with CSIRO’s Data61 digital research network and partners in academia to develop the ground-breaking Cross Domain Desktop Compositor (CDDC).
This computing device allows information and systems to remain physically separated from networks that are accessible to hackers while enabling users to seamlessly interact with and across those systems. Data is kept safe and usability is enhanced, resulting in faster and more effective decision-making processes.
The CDDC was originally conceived and prototyped as a hardware-only device by Mark Beaumont of DST Group (DSTG). Collaboration between Defence, CSIRO and Associate Professor Toby Murray at the University of Melbourne led to developments that underpinned the mathematically proven security of the device.
Finding a way to not only allow users to work efficiently across multiple computer networks without risking important data unintentionally leaking between them but also to provide an intuitive user experience had been a longstanding challenge. The CDDC is a first-of-its-kind technology that enables seamless desktop access across physically isolated networks, backed by mathematically verified security guarantees.
“Information environments are now fundamental to everything we do in society,” says Dr Dale Lambert, Chief of DSTG’s Cyber and Electronic Warfare Division. “The Cross Domain Desktop Compositor is an important example of Australian ingenuity being assembled from across Government, universities and publicly-funded agencies to deliver a product that can secure Australia’s engagement with those critical information environments.”
Beaumont and Murray worked together to redesign the CDDC to include software components, increasing its flexibility and therefore enhancing usability. Later research by Murray and University of Melbourne colleague Dr Robert Sison saw the development of methods to prove that the device’s software-based design is secure.
“The strong collaboration between Defence, CSIRO and university partners highlights the importance of leveraging expertise where it exists,” Beaumont says.
“The CDDC is a great example of complementary research being combined together to progress the state of the art. We would not have been able to achieve the outcomes and the level of security required for Defence without all of the partners in this project working together.”
The CDDC is currently undergoing a technology-transition process from laboratory research to prototype, with a production-ready device expected to be realised in the first half of next year.
The simplicity of the design means it could be manufactured as a sovereign capability here in Australia; indeed, using Australian technology to secure Australian interests such as critical infrastructure or government networks would reduce risks associated with relying on overseas supply chains. (Source: Rumour Control)
11 Oct 21. US Army Software Factory to churn out soldier coders. As the military struggles to recruit more skilled cyber employees, the Army has been experimenting with a novel solution: growing battlefield coders from the untapped talent within its ranks. Soldiers with the Army Software Factory, based at Austin Community College in Texas, showcased at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting several applications they developed. But the real point, they said, is to develop software making professionals.
“Where should the Army be investing talent when it comes to the choice between truck driver or software developer or platform engineer. You’ve got such amazing talent in the Army that’s mislabeled, that’s underutilized,” the program’s co-director, Lt. Col. Vito Errico, said Monday at the conference.
In August, the Department of Defense Inspector General found that the department lacks a clear picture of its cyber workforce needs. The Army was the only component with an automated quality assurance process to track its cyber workforce.
The idea behind the Army Software Factory is to generate teams to prototype, develop and morph applications for operational networks on the battlefield. On display Monday were applications to better connect soldiers to job openings within the Army, manage preventative maintenance and organize an Army squad’s tasks and scheduling.
New cohorts of 25 soldiers will cycle in every six months (the first started in January) and after another five months, teach successive cohorts. In the first phase, they’re paired with Silicon Valley experts to learn how to act as a product team, prototype solutions and ― using feedback from fellow soldiers ― build for production.
“There are a variety of [military occupational specialties], a variety of ranks. We don’t really care what rank you are and where you went to grad school,” Errico said. “The idea is to put rank aside and promote ideas.”
For now, the program is a pilot under the auspices of Army Futures Command, and it remains to be seen exactly how it will influence future talent management policy and whether it will be scaled up.
“A lot of people recognize the Army doesn’t want to make this type of investment and lose these kinds of soldiers, and so the thought is how do we best do that long-term,” Errico said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
11 Oct 21. How will Europe’s planned semiconductor strategy affect its nations’ military ambitions? The European Union wants to build its own microchip manufacturing capability to counterbalance the dominant Asian market and ensure enduring technological sovereignty. Industry officials have separately called for a pan-European electronics strategy, but until a recent EU proposal becomes concrete legislation, the long-term effects on military programs may prove difficult to gauge. EU leaders recently announced the European Chips Act meant to support increased research, design and testing capacity as well as ensure national investments are coordinated with those of the broader union.
“The aim is to jointly create a state-of-the-art European chip ecosystem, including production, that ensures our security of supply and will develop new markets for ground-breaking European tech,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her Sept. 15 state of the union address in Strasbourg, France. The ultimate goal is to increase Europe’s global share of semiconductor production to 20 percent by 2030, per the commission.
Digital technology is the “make-or-break issue” facing the European market today, and “there is no digital without chips,” she said. While the global demand for semiconductors has exploded, the European share of designing and manufacturing those microchips has diminished, and nations have largely become reliant on Asian-made products, she noted.
The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a global microchip shortage that prompted other governments, including the United States, to introduce a domestic semiconductor strategy, as the chips enable systems in virtually every sector from the military to health care and from computers to clean energy. Nations are developing interconnected, highly software-enabled platforms to operate in increasingly joint environments, and “digitalization” has become a buzzword across the global defense sphere. In Europe, those platforms include the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System program that would ultimately feature a next-generation fighter, unmanned drones, and a slew of sophisticated sensors and weaponry, all interconnected with each other. Meanwhile, NATO has highlighted “emerging and disruptive technologies” as a key focus area for the alliance. Many of the technologies it cited will rely on digitalization. The United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy are also co-researching and developing cutting-edge technologies to enable sixth-generation air combat platforms under their own initiative, dubbed Tempest by the British. Industry and government officials involved in that effort were asked about domestic electronics sourcing during a panel discussion at the biennial DSEI conference in London last month, which took place the same day as von der Leyen’s speech. A conference attendee asked whether the British-led effort would rely on European-sourced and -manufactured parts, rather than Chinese or American electronics. Richard Berthon, director of future combat air for the British Defence Ministry, said his team will access the global market for parts “where it’s cost-effective, [and] where our sovereignty and security are not impaired.” Berthon emphasized that the program office is taking security “incredibly seriously,” and that the entire Tempest enterprise “is all about ensuring that for the U.K., we’ve got the technology we need, the skills we need, that we can secure those, and we can sustain them over time.” Another panelist, Saab Deputy chief executive Anders Carp, called for a “pan-European or pan-Western strategy” to help governments and their industry partners prioritize key technology research and development efforts. Saab represents Swedish industry participation in the British-led aircraft push. The electronics sourcing conversation is broader than just one such technology initiative — or the fighter aircraft portfolio — and could encompass some other mix of trusted allies and partners, Carp noted. However it’s organized, “there should be some sort of strategy in place to look at how do we make sure that we don’t end up being reliant on someone … that we don’t want to be reliant on, or may not want to be reliant on in the future,” he said in an interview with Defense News.
When it comes to the broader Tempest effort, industry partners are discussing these issues “at a headline level,” as the program’s design phase remains in the study stages, Carp noted.
Multiple European industry representatives declined to comment on the European Chips Act, citing the recent nature of the initiative. The EU has yet to announce when the European Chips Act might be formally unveiled or voted on.
Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for internal markets, laid out proposed elements of the effort in a Sept. 15 LinkedIn post, including building European-based fabrication plants and establishing a European semiconductor fund.
With 27 EU members, there will be divergent opinions involved in developing the legislation and “a lot of different interests on the ground level,” said Dan Darling, a senior analyst for Forecast International, a U.S. market intelligence firm. The focus on domestic semiconductor sovereignty makes sense, but the EU needs to move from “a declaration of vision and intent” to actual momentum, he said. Europe is home to a plethora of defense electronics companies, and a domestic supply of resources is sure to trickle up eventually, he added. That being said, European defense contractors have established business relationships with overseas chip suppliers — such as Samsung in South Korea and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company — not the existing suppliers on their own continent, said Franz-Stefan Gady, a cyber, space and future conflict fellow at the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“At the moment, European advanced semiconductor manufacturers produce low-volume niche products with limited military applicability,” he told Defense News. Some such niche products could make headway in Europe, like those related to aerospace sensors, or security chips for crypto processing and other cybersecurity technologies.
But it’s unlikely European chipmakers would supply individual European nations’ defense industries over the next two decades, as the expense would be too great even with strong political will behind the effort, Gady added.
“There is no real market and very little genuine demand from the European defense industry for indigenous European products en masse, despite paying lip service to the concept of strategic autonomy,” he said.
Von der Leyen, who previously served as Germany’s defense minister, acknowledged in her speech that boosting sovereign semiconductor manufacturing capabilities will be a “daunting task,” but one required at this point in time to support both European competitiveness and technological sovereignty. “Let’s put all of our focus on it,” she said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
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.