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19 Jul 23. Department of Defense Selects 2023 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows to Pursue Vital Basic Research. The Department of Defense has selected 10 faculty scientists and engineers for the 2023 Class of Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows. As the Department’s flagship single-investigator award for basic research, the fellowship commemorates Vannevar Bush, the director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, who played a central role in building up the science and technology enterprise that drove America’s rapid growth as a military and economic superpower. Aligned with Dr. Bush’s vision, the fellowship serves as a catalyst for advancing transformative fundamental research within universities, nurturing high-risk ideas in pursuit of breakthrough discoveries, and giving researchers freedom to explore the frontiers of knowledge in their respective fields.
The 2023 Class of Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows will join an esteemed group of approximately 50 current fellows involved in vital basic research for the DOD. Their research spans a wide range of disciplines, including materials science, cognitive neuroscience, quantum information sciences, and applied mathematics. While pursuing individual research endeavors, the scientists will collaborate directly with defense laboratories, contribute their insights to DOD leadership, and engage with the broader national security community to enrich the collective knowledge base of the defense enterprise.
“I am pleased to welcome these exceptional scholars to the DOD family,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Heidi Shyu. “Their selections for the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship will allow them to truly change the course of science in their fields, and I know they will set the Department up for breakthroughs in our future capabilities.”
The Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship is sponsored by the Basic Research Office within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, with the grants managed by the Office of Naval Research. For the Fiscal Year 2023 competition, BRO received 190 white papers, from which panels of experts invited 31 proposals, for a final selection of 10 fellows. Each will receive up to $3m over the five-year fellowship term to pursue cutting-edge fundamental research projects. More information about the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship is available on the Basic Research Office website: https://basicresearch.defense.gov.(Source: U.S. DoD)
19 Jul 23. US DoD fast-tracks Alaskan graphite production for defence batteries. The department has invested $37.5m in an Alaskan graphite producer, strengthening its manufacturing capabilities.
US Department of Defense (DoD) officials in charge of the government’s manufacturing capability expansion policy have agreed to invest $37.5m in America’s domestic graphite supply chain – a critical material for large-scale batteries across defence.
The industrial agreement, using funds appropriated from the Inflation Reduction Act, will aid Graphite One, a Canadian company that operates in Alaska, in developing a domestic advanced supply chain solution.
DoD funds will help Graphite One fast-track their feasibility study by a full year.
The provider’s supply chain strategy includes mining from Graphite Creek and processing the graphite ore through an advanced material and battery anode. The company’s strategy includes plans for a recycling facility to reclaim battery materials, to be co-located at the advanced materials manufacturing site; the third link in the supplier’s circular economy strategy.
“Graphite One is honored to receive this award from the Department of Defense, and we look forward to commencing the accelerated Feasibility Study program immediately,” Anthony Huston, founder and CEO of Graphite One, stated.
“This DoD grant underscores our confidence in our strategy to build a 100% US-based advanced graphite supply chain – from mining to refining to recycling. The US simply cannot maintain a 21st century tech-driven economy without Critical Minerals like graphite.”
Graphite Creek mine is located on Seward Peninsula, 59km north of Nome, Alaska. The mine will produce high-grade coated spherical graphite, which is in great demand due to the adoption of lithium-ion batteries.
The minerals at the deposit are considered superior based on their high-graphite grade, overall size, percentage of large-flake graphite, near-surface mineralisation and other infrastructure availability factors.
Graphite and batteries in aerospace and defence
Now that the world is de-carbonising, batteries have become a major sustainable energy source across society and defence, from electric vehicles to uncrewed aerial systems and communication devices among many others.
According to GlobalData’s thematic research report on Batteries (2022), China’s control of the entire global battery supply chain, from mines and refiners to component markers and cell producers, is a mounting geopolitical issue. The US and Europe are taking significant steps to reduce the dependence on China within their batteries supply chain by the end of the decade.
As the reverberations of a potential conflict between the US and China looms, batteries are another major part of their ongoing technology war, alongside semi-conductors, quantum technologies and artificial intelligence. (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 Jul 23. Infleqtion and QinetiQ Win Award to Apply Quantum Computing to Logistics. Infleqtion, the world’s quantum information company, and QinetiQ, a leading defense company, are thrilled to announce their successful bid for the Quantum End-to-end Compilation for Combinatorial Optimisation (QECCO) project through Innovate UK. This groundbreaking initiative will focus on using quantum algorithms to solve complex combinatorial optimisation problems in logistics and deliver this crucial quantum software capability to the UK National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC). These optimisation problems are critical for national security yet often computationally intractable using classical computers, but quantum computers have the potential to provide significant speedups.
QECCO will address key challenges in the logistics sector, including job-shop scheduling, packing, routing, and satisfiability problems. These complex problems possess high business value, limited classical solutions, and tremendous potential for quantum solutions. Through stakeholder workshops and collaborations with end-users in logistics and transport, QECCO will identify specific high-impact target problems and refine algorithmic implementations.
The project team comprises experts in quantum software development, algorithmic implementation, and benchmarking, with a strong foundation from Infleqtion’s Superstaq platform, which has already demonstrated enhanced solution quality on real quantum hardware, along with the Supermarq benchmarking infrastructure for performance evaluation.
“We are delighted to be part of the QECCO project and collaborate with QinetiQ to unlock the full potential of quantum computing,” said Dr Timothy Ballance, GM of Infleqtion UK. “This project aligns perfectly with our vision of applying quantum technology to solve real-world problems. With our cutting-edge software capabilities and QinetiQ’s expertise in dual-use logistics applications, we are confident that we can deliver groundbreaking solutions for the UK.”
Dr Gillian Marshall, QinetiQ’s Senior Fellow for Quantum Technologies said “QinetiQ is excited to be supporting Infleqtion on the QECCO project. Infleqtion is a natural partner of choice for QinetiQ. Their market-leading quantum technologies fit well with QinetiQ’s own quantum information processing and classical/quantum engineering and integration expertise, and we look forward to building on this success together.”
“The advances being made in Quantum technology offer some of the most exciting opportunities in the innovation pipeline for the years ahead, potentially revolutionising everything from medical diagnostics and autonomous vehicles, to military navigation and cybersecurity. This report highlights just how important the commercialisation of quantum technology will be in unleashing the UK’s full potential as a science superpower,” said Minister of State at the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology George Freeman MP.
“Our exceptional researchers, businesses and innovators are continuously pushing the boundaries of Quantum Technology development, placing the UK at the leading edge of this field,” said Will Drury, executive director of digital and technologies at Innovate UK.
In May 2022, Infleqtion acquired Chicago-based Super.tech, a leading quantum software company that accelerates the development and adoption of quantum computing. The company was spun out of pioneering quantum computing research from EPiQC, an NSF Expedition in Computing at the University of Chicago. Super.tech is embedded in Argonne National Laboratory’s Chain Reaction Innovations program and also incubated by Duality, the first accelerator dedicated exclusively to supporting quantum startups, operated by the Chicago Quantum Exchange and UChicago’s Polsky Center.
“We are pleased to see Infleqtion’s software capabilities expand in the UK as the country has a strong track record of innovation in science and technology. We recognize the strong partnership between the UK and Chicago as global partners, and we look forward to working with our UK colleagues to accelerate the development and adoption of quantum computing,” said Infleqtion’s VP of Quantum Software, Pranav Gokhale.
“Quantum is unquestionably one of the most exciting new technologies in development, with the potential to reshape global solutions for generations to come. And that ripple effect comes from auspicious beginnings in the heart of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Rooted in the groundbreaking quantum computing research coming out of the University of Chicago, Argonne Laboratory, and the Chicago Quantum Exchange, the impact of Infleqtion’s work will now stretch to our global partners in the United Kingdom to increase efficiency and continue to build the quantum network worldwide,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.
The partnership is expected to last for three years and will result in the development of new software tools and applications for quantum-enabled systems. By compiling end-user applications directly to quantum hardware, Infleqtion aims to leverage the unique characteristics of quantum computing to achieve faster and more efficient solutions, making quantum technology more accessible and easier for various finance, healthcare, and national security applications.
Infleqtion delivers high-value quantum information precisely where it is needed. By operating at the Edge, our software-configured, quantum-enabled products deliver unmatched levels of precision and power, generating streams of high-value information for commercial organizations, the United States, and allied governments. With 16 years of ColdQuanta’s pioneering quantum research as our foundation, our hardware products and AI-powered solutions address critical market needs in PNT, global communication security and efficiency, resilient energy distribution, and accelerated quantum computing. Headquartered in Austin, TX, with offices in Boulder, CO; Chicago, IL; Madison, WI; Melbourne, AU; and Oxford, UK. Learn how Infleqtion is revolutionizing how we communicate, navigate, and discover at www.Infleqtion.com.
Infleqtion UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the flagship commercial brand Infleqtion. Infleqtion UK has a fully equipped quantum research laboratory and established production facilities in Oxford for its UK-developed Photonically Integrated Cold Atom Source (PICAS) product. The company conducts advanced research and development in inertial sensing and advanced timing for navigation within GNSS-denied environments, radiofrequency sensors for communications and defense applications, memory modules for secure quantum networks, and quantum information platforms for computation and simulation. (Source: PR Newswire)
18 Jul 23. GAIA Converter Simplifies Military Power Converter Design with New SWaP-Optimized DC/DC Front-End Module for Military-Grade EMC. 60W-rated PCB front-end module (also known as input bus conditioner) allows compliance with the most stringent military specifications for noise, surges, hold-up and reverse polarity protection
GAIA Converter has launched a new fully integrated DC/DC front-end module that greatly simplifies the design of military power converter architectures. The FLHG-60-O-N module is SWaP-optimized (Size Weight and Power-optimized) and meets the most stringent military and avionics standards including MIL-STD 461/704/1275 and DO160 when used with GAIA DC/DC converters.
Measuring just 40 x 26 x 8mm, FLHG-60-O-N is a compact, encapsulated through-pin PCB module that is extremely easy to install and integrate into new or existing DC/DC converter architectures. The module is rugged and operates over a case temperature range of -40°C to +105°C, which makes it ideal for demanding military and avionics applications.
The front-end module is rated for up to 60W load and operates over an input range of 16 to 60VDC. The device operates in a ‘pass-through’ mode with low voltage drop and includes differential and common-mode EMI filtering to meet MIL-STD 461 – the fundamental military Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) specification set by the US Department of Defense. Input transients to 100V/50ms according to MIL-STD 1275 (covering the characteristics of 28-VDC electrical systems in military vehicles) are clamped with the output limited to 80V and reverse polarity and input inrush current (soft start) protection are included. This added protection helps maximize system reliability and longevity.
The FLHG-60-O-N meets the requirements of MIL-STD 704 and DO160 for hold-up on power fail with an external capacitor. A monitor signal indicates the capacitor charge level at 90% or higher while an on/off control allows the complete power supply to be disabled remotely, putting it in a low-consumption mode. These characteristics translate into optimal reliability and an extended life span.
“Our new 60W front-end module makes life easier for system designers” comments Christian Jonglas of GAIA Converter. “The input bus specifications of avionics and military applications are comprehensively covered by simply including this product in the input connection to GAIA DC/DC converters”.
17 Jul 23. US falling behind China in tech advancements, Govini report finds. China’s rapid technological growth poses a threat to the U.S. defense industrial base, according to a new report from data analytics firm Govini.
The report, released Monday, details the U.S. federal government’s nearly $200bn in fiscal 2022 spending on critical technologies — but warns China is still outpacing the United States.
In FY22, biotechnology topped the list of the 12 identified critical technologies the U.S. invested in, at $81.3bn.
This difference in the pace of technological advancement between the U.S. and China is largely due to accessibility to patents, according to Govini. Over the last five years, the report finds, the number of patents associated with critical technology areas and issued to U.S.-based companies has stagnated, while the number for Chinese companies has steadily increased.
Indeed, Govini finds that in every critical technology subsegment, China has surpassed the U.S. in granted patents as of 2022. Furthermore, since 2018, China’s total number of patents has been steadily increasing and is now at its highest rate. Meanwhile, the U.S.’s patent rate in every critical technology subsegment, except nuclear modernization, has been decreasing in recent years.
“Patents are a leading indicator of technological dominance in the future. [Patents] are the seed for making new discoveries that put you on the top of the competitive food chain,” Bob Work, the former deputy defense secretary who now is a chairman of Govini, said during a call with reporters Monday. “That’s what scares me the most [because] China’s doing far better than us in terms of the overall number of patents.”
Additionally, Govini’s new report finds some U.S. contractors focused on critical technologies are still relying heavily on Chinese suppliers and investors. Tara Murphy Dougherty, Govini’s chief executive, noted Monday all 12 critical technologies in the report are highly dependent on Chinese supplies.
“We have a tremendous reliance as a country for all federal programs and activities that span these 12 technology areas on our greatest geopolitical competitor: China,” she said.
Lawmakers are increasingly raising concerns about the dominance of China when it comes to key technology areas. At the Intelligence and National Security Summit last week, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said national security no longer means “the nation with the most tanks, guns, ships, and planes.”
“With China, this is a technology competition,” he said while speaking on a panel. “If we don’t invest further, from semiconductors, to overhead capabilities, to [artificial intelligence], quantum analytics, to biology, advanced energy, those are domains where if China dominates, that will pose as much of a national security threat, both in terms of their ability to spread their influence, or frankly, to take to take us offline, as anywhere else.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
17 Jul 23. OPTIMISE Project Proposes Alternatives for Military Navigation. The OPTIMISE project has proposed a combination of technologies to provide alternative positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) systems for military navigation when Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are disrupted.
With funding from the European Commission’s Preparatory Action for Defence Research (PADR), the OPTIMISE project – innOvative PosiTIoning systeMfor defence In gnSs-denied arEas – is part of broader initiatives to explore alternatives to GPS and Galileo for military navigation. OPTIMISE focused principally on aircraft navigation scenarios in GNSS-denied environments.
GNSS refers to a constellation of satellites providing signals from space that transmit positioning and timing data to GNSS receivers. The receivers then use this data to determine location. However, if such systems, which include Europe’s Galileo, were jammed by an adversary, the need for flexible and reliable alternatives would be crucial.
OPTIMISE, which had a budget of approximately €1.5m, trialed reliable and secure ways to allow data from different sensors and signals to work together and achieve the integration of different positioning, navigation and timing technologies. Those included relying on star sensors, radars, ground antennae such as telephone masts, atomic clocks and data fusion software.
At the final session of the 28-month project at the European Defence Agency (EDA) in Brussels, OPTIMISE detailed the scenarios and requirements, and the developed technologies and validation activities including ground and flight tests. The technology integration, testing and operation of the different types of OPTIMISE sensors were showcased together with a detailed analysis of the data, via a multi-sensor/multi-platform software architecture for navigation.
The OPTIMISE demonstration showcased the systems integration and data collection during ground and flight tests hosted by the University of Žilina; such tests were complemented with simulations using the information from a reference flight trajectory.
OPTIMISE also elaborated, within its exploitation plan, a roadmap for the further development of the individual technologies and the overall project integrated system. The follow-up of part of the work within OPTIMISE will be continued in a EDA Category B (Cat. B) project. The project is also related to the work conducted under the Capability Technology Groups of EDA (namely CapTech Guidance, Navigation and Control and CapTech Space).
OPTIMISE brought together nine beneficiaries from four countries. Led by Skylife Engineering SL of Spain, it also includes MBDA ITALIA SPA of Italy, SENER Aeroespacial Sociedad Anonima, also of Spain, France’s Office National D’Etudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales, Syrlinks SAS, STAR NAV and SYSNAV SAS, Zilinska Univerzita v Ziline of Slovakia, and Spain’s La Asociación de Investigación y Cooperación Industrial de Andalucía “F. de Paula Rojas”.
OPTIMISE was selected under the 2019 call for proposals for the EU Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) managed by the European Defence Agency.
OPTIMISE was selected following an EU-wide PADR call for proposals on the topic of ‘Future Disruptive Defence Technologies – Emerging Game-changers’, in the sub-topic related to autonomous positioning, navigation and timing.
OPTIMISE and the PADR
The OPTIMISE project is part of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) launched by the European Commission in 2017 to assess and demonstrate the added-value of EU supported defence research and technology (R&T). It paved the way for a proper European Defence Programme to come as part of the European Defence Fund (EDF), under the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027).
The PADR implementation is run by EDA following the mandate via a Delegation Agreement between the European Commission and EDA signed on 31 May 2017. By this agreement the Commission entrusts EDA with the management and implementation of the research projects launched within the PADR. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/)
17 Jul 23. DOD Enters Agreement to Expand Capabilities for Domestic Graphite Mining and Processing for Large-Capacity Batteries.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, through its Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization office, entered an agreement with Graphite One (Alaska) to secure a reliable, sustainable supply of graphite materials within the U.S. to be used in the production of large-capacity batteries.
The $37.5 million agreement, entered into under Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III authorities and using funds appropriated by the Inflation Reduction Act, will aid Graphite One (Alaska) in developing a domestic advanced graphite supply chain solution anchored by the Company’s Graphite Creek resource. Graphite One’s supply chain strategy includes mining from Graphite Creek and processing the graphite ore through an advanced material and battery anode manufacturing plant expected to be sited in Washington State. Graphite One’s strategy also includes plans for a recycling facility to reclaim graphite and other battery materials, to be co-located at the advanced materials manufacturing site; the third link in Graphite One’s circular economy strategy. DPA Title III funding will allow Graphite One to fast-track their feasibility study by a full year, informing and expediting decisions to move the project further through their plans for a complete U.S.-based graphite anode supply chain.
“This investment to increase domestic capabilities for graphite exemplifies Industrial Base Policy’s commitment to building a resilient industrial base to meet current and future national defense requirements,” said Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale, ASD (IBP). “The agreement with Graphite One (Alaska) advances the Defense Department’s strategy for minerals and materials related to large-capacity batteries.”
“Graphite One is honored to receive this award from the Department of Defense, and we look forward to commencing the accelerated Feasibility Study program immediately,” said Anthony Huston, founder and CEO of Graphite One Inc. “This Department of Defense grant underscores our confidence in our strategy to build a 100% U.S.-based advanced graphite supply chain — from mining to refining to recycling. The U.S, simply cannot maintain a 21st Century tech-driven economy without Critical Minerals like graphite.”
About the Department of Defense’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy
Industrial Base Policy is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment for developing Department of Defense policies for the maintenance of the United States defense industrial base (DIB), executing small business programs and policy, and conduction geo-economic analysis and assessments. The office also provides the USD (A&S) with recommendations on budget matters related to the DIB, anticipates and closes gaps in manufacturing capabilities for defense systems, and assesses impacts related to mergers, acquisition, and divestitures. IBP monitors and assesses the impact of foreign investments in the United States and executes authorities under sections 2501 and 2505 U.S.C. Title 10. (Source: U.S. DoD)
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.
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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.