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27 Aug 21. DARPA enters next phase of active flow control X-plane project. Multiple companies have been selected to continue DARPA’s X-plane project to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of active flow control (AFC).
The Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) programme will use AFC, which alters the aircraft’s aerodynamic flow field to add energy or momentum to the flow of air over the aircraft.
This coplanar joined-wing configuration was previously wind-tunnel tested by Aurora Flight Sciences
Effectors and actuators are usually the enabling technologies of active flow control. Effectors and actuators are typically light weight, have no moving parts, and are energy-efficient.
The CRANE project excludes large external moving parts like rudders, flaps and trim surfaces, removing mechanical vectoring of engine jet exhaust, or other conventional moving aerodynamic control devices.
DARPA has selected Aurora Flight Sciences and Lockheed Martin to enter Phase 1, which includes system requirements development, initial design work, software development, and initial airworthiness activities that culminate in a preliminary design review.
“The Phase 1 researchers have completed conceptual designs of novel flight demonstration configurations with quantifiable performance benefits enabled by active flow control (AFC),” said Alexander Walan, programme manager for CRANE in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “Multiple AFC technologies will continue to be matured through advanced analytical and testing activities for incorporation in relevant demonstrator designs.”
One of the primary objectives of the previous phase, named Phase 0, was the development and maturation of AFC design software and databases for inclusion in future aircraft development activities.
Georgia Tech Research Corporation’s Phase 0 effort has been extended to allow further refinement of these tools for transition to relevant military and government partners.
“In addition to its role in upcoming flight test activities, AFC design software is a critical piece for the inclusion of AFC technologies in future defense and commercial aircraft designs,” said Walan. “The CRANE programme is in a unique position to provide a comprehensive AFC database and the associated tools to future aircraft designers. The continuation of Georgia Tech Research Corporation’s work in this area will ensure this valuable capability is successfully transitioned to the aircraft design community.”
DARPA has also selected another performer, BAE Systems, to initiate a Phase 0 conceptual design activity. Phase 0 is focused on AFC trade space exploration and risk reduction activities to inform this work.
Under the recent Phase 0 award, BAE Systems will evaluate the benefits of using AFC integrated into different air vehicle concepts leading to a conceptual design review.
“All of the CRANE performers are exploring unique configurations and performance objectives; this additional performer adds to the diverse concepts and technologies being matured by the CRANE program,” said Walan. (Source: Google/https://www.aero-mag.com/)
27 Aug 21. Aurora and Lockheed Martin enter Phase I of DARPA’s CRANE programme. The programme aims to demonstrate significant efficiency benefits of active flow control.
Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) programme advancing to next phase. Credit: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Aurora Flight Sciences and Lockheed Martin are set to enter Phase I of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) programme. Through the programme, US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seeks to develop an experimental aircraft (X-plane) based on active flow control (AFC).
Phase I includes the development of system requirements and software, early design work, and initial airworthiness activities. This will result in a preliminary design review.
DARPA Tactical Technology Office CRANE programme manager Alexander Walan said: “The Phase I researchers have completed conceptual designs of novel flight demonstration configurations with quantifiable performance benefits enabled by active flow control (AFC).
“Multiple AFC technologies will continue to be matured through advanced analytical and testing activities for incorporation in relevant demonstrator designs.”
Meanwhile, Phase 0’s primary objectives are focused on the development and maturation of AFC design software and databases. DARPA noted that Georgia Tech Research’s Phase 0 effort has been extended to enable further refinement of these tools to transfer them to respective military and government partners.
Walan added: “In addition to its role in upcoming flight test activities, AFC design software is a critical piece for the inclusion of AFC technologies in future defence and commercial aircraft designs.
“The CRANE programme is in a unique position to provide a comprehensive AFC database and the associated tools to future aircraft designers.
“The continuation of Georgia Tech Research Corporation’s work in this area will ensure this valuable capability is successfully transitioned to the aircraft design community.”
Furthermore, DARPA has selected a BAE Systems team to start a Phase 0 conceptual design activity. Under the recent Phase 0 award, which is focused on exploring AFC trade space and risk reduction activities, BAE Systems will evaluate the benefits of using AFC integrated into different air vehicle concepts. This work by BAE will give a lead to a conceptual design review. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
26 Aug 21. University of Zurich and Airbus grow miniature human tissue on the International Space Station ISS. With the next supply flight to the International Space Station (ISS), the Space Hub of the University of Zurich (UZH) and Airbus Defence and Space are bringing an experiment into space, which is intended to further advance the industrial production of human tissue in zero-gravity conditions. With this step, space could become a workshop for producing miniature human tissue for terrestrial use in research and medicine. Initial preparatory tests on the ISS 18 months ago were successful. The process for the joint “3D Organoids in Space” project comes from Zurich scientists Oliver Ullrich and Cora Thiel, pioneers in research on how gravity influences human cells. Together with Airbus, they have developed the process to project maturity. The Airbus Innovations team led by project manager Julian Raatschen is developing the hardware and providing access to the ISS. From the idea to the first production test in space it took the project partners only three years to complete various test phases and highly competitive internal selection procedures. “We are the first to show that the path to production in space is feasible, not in theory, but in practice,” says Oliver Ullrich.
Improving drug development and reducing animal testing
Oliver Ullrich, professor of anatomy at UZH, biologist Cora Thiel and Airbus are using microgravity in space to grow three-dimensional organ-like tissues – so-called organoids – from human adult stem cells. “On Earth, three-dimensional organoids cannot be produced without supporting skeletons because of gravity,” Thiel explains. Such 3D organoids are of great interest to pharmaceutical companies: Toxicological studies could thus be carried out directly on human tissue without the need for animal models. Organoids grown from patient stem cells could also be used in the future as building blocks for tissue replacement therapy for damaged organs. This is because the number of donated organs is far from sufficient to meet the worldwide demand for thousands of donor organs.
3D organoids grown in space
The research conducted in March 2020, when 250 test tubes containing human stem cells spent a month on the ISS, was very successful: differentiated organ-like liver, bone and cartilage structures had developed as intended from the tissue stem cells in microgravity at an altitude of 400 kilometres. In contrast, the cultures created on Earth, which were grown as controls under normal gravity conditions, showed no or only minimal cell differentiation.
Robustness and viability
In the current mission, tissue stem cells from two women and two men of different ages are being sent into space. In doing so, the researchers are testing how robust the method is when using cells of different biological variability. They expect production to be easier and more reliable in microgravity than using support structures to grow on Earth. “Currently, the focus is on production engineering issues and quality control.” With regard to the envisaged commercialisation, we now have to find out how long and in what quality we can keep the organoids grown in space in culture after their return to Earth,” says Ullrich.
“If successful, the technology can be further developed and brought to operational maturity. Airbus and the UZH Space Hub can thus make a further contribution to improving the quality of life on Earth through space-based solutions,” says Airbus project manager Raatschen.
The sample material will return to Earth at the beginning of October. First results are expected from November.
About the “3D Organoids in Space” project
The joint project started in 2018. The teams from the UZH Space Hub and Airbus Defence and Space submitted their proposal to an Airbus internal innovation and ideas competition to obtain basic funding and start initial research work. There, the project successfully prevailed alongside 500 other ideas.
25 Aug 21. Microwave-Powered Rocket Propulsion Gets a Boost. Researchers led by the University of Tsukuba are using drone experiments to explore the possibility of launching rockets using a high-power beam of microwave radiation.
Sending a rocket into space typically requires about 90% of the rocket’s initial weight to be fuel. This limitation could be overcome by wirelessly transmitting the needed power to the rocket through a beam of microwave radiation. A research team from Japan has investigated the viability of using such microwave-powered propulsion for real-world applications.
In a study published this month in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, researchers led by the University of Tsukuba have demonstrated wireless power transmission via microwaves for a free-flying drone and determined the efficiency of this process.
Previous analyses of this kind were carried out decades ago and mostly considered microwaves of a low frequency (a few gigahertz; GHz). Given that the power transmission efficiency increases as the operating frequency is raised, the team behind this latest research used microwaves with a relatively high frequency (28 GHz). The team’s drone weighed roughly 0.4 kilograms and hovered for 30 seconds at a height of 0.8 meters above the source of the microwave beam.
“We used a sophisticated beam-tracking system to ensure that the drone received as much of the microwave power as possible,” says Kohei Shimamura, lead author of the study. “Moreover, to further increase the transmission efficiency, we carefully tuned the phase of the microwaves using an analog phase shifter that was synchronized with GPS units.”
The researchers measured the efficiencies of the power transfer through the beam (4%), the capture of microwaves by the drone (30%), the conversion of microwaves to electricity for propulsion (40%), and other relevant processes. Based on this information and an analytical formula, they calculated the overall power transmission efficiency in their experiment to be 0.43%. For comparison, in a previous study, the team measured the total transmission efficiency for a fixed-position (rather than free-flying) drone to be 60.1%.
“These results show that more work is needed to improve the transmission efficiency and thoroughly evaluate the feasibility of this propulsion approach for aircraft, spacecraft, and rockets,” explains Shimamura. “Future studies should also aim to refine the beam-tracking system and increase the transmission distance beyond that demonstrated in our experiment.”
Although microwave-powered rocket propulsion is still in its early stages, it could someday become a superior way to launch rockets into orbit given the high onboard-fuel demands of conventional propulsion techniques.
The article, “28 GHz Microwave-Powered Propulsion Efficiency for Free-Flight Demonstration,” was published in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets at DOI: 10.2514/1.A35044.
(Source: UAS VISION)
25 Aug 21. HyPoint Partners With Piasecki Aircraft to Deliver Next-Generation Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems for eVTOLs.
- New Multi-Phase Partnership Will Dramatically Accelerate Global Availability of Hydrogen-Powered eVTOLs, Including World’s First Manned Hydrogen Helicopter
HyPoint, the company developing zero carbon-emission turbo air-cooled hydrogen fuel cell systems for aviation and urban air mobility, today announced that it has entered into a multi-phase collaborative development agreement with Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC), a pioneer in advanced rotorcraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) platforms and technologies, for the development and certification of a hydrogen fuel cell system for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle applications. The initial $6.5 million agreement will culminate in the development of five 650kW hydrogen fuel cell systems for use in Piasecki’s eVTOL PA-890 Compound Helicopter, which is expected to be the world’s first manned hydrogen-powered helicopter.
The partnership’s objective is to deliver a customizable, FAA-certified, zero carbon-emission hydrogen fuel cell system to the global eVTOL marketplace. The system will offer eVTOL makers four times the energy density of existing lithium-ion batteries; twice the specific power of existing hydrogen fuel cell systems; and up to a 50% reduction in direct operating costs relative to turbine-powered rotorcraft. Piasecki will gain exclusive license to the technology created as part of the partnership; HyPoint will maintain ownership of its underlying hydrogen fuel cell technology. Piasecki and HyPoint intend to make the new system available to eVTOL makers by customizing it for use in their vehicles. Alternatively, eVTOL makers may choose to partner with HyPoint and Piasecki to develop a new system based on their specific needs.
HyPoint’s revolutionary approach utilizes compressed air for both cooling and oxygen supply to deliver a hydrogen fuel cell system that radically outperforms existing battery and hydrogen fuel cell alternatives. Testing has shown that HyPoint’s fuel cell system will be able to achieve up to 2,000 watts per kilogram of specific power, which is more than triple the power-to-weight ratio of traditional (liquid-cooled) hydrogen fuel cells systems. It will also boast up to 1,500 watt-hours per kilogram of energy density, enabling longer-distance journeys. In December 2020, HyPoint was named a winner of NASA’s iTech Initiative, in which breakthrough technologies were ranked based on criteria that included technical viability, benefits to humanity, and commercialization potential. HyPoint’s aviation applications — including eVTOL, UAS, personal air vehicles, and electric aircraft — were considered to be especially innovative.
“The much-anticipated arrival of eVTOLs and similar aircraft has been severely hindered by the technical limitations of existing power systems,” said Dr. Alex Ivanenko, founder and CEO of HyPoint. “This new strategic partnership will dramatically accelerate delivery timelines by equipping eVTOL manufacturers with next-generation hydrogen fuel cell systems that meet their unique needs. Together, HyPoint and Piasecki will work to grow the emerging eVTOL market by delivering a certified multiplatform solution for eVTOL makers. In addition, we share a common vision for making safe, cost-effective zero carbon-emission flight a reality for conscientious businesses and consumers around the world.” (Source: ASD Network)
25 Aug 21. Fujitsu to display quantum inspired computing and predictive analytics demos capabilities at DSEI. World-leading supercomputer developer, Fujitsu, has been instrumental in the establishment of DSEI’s debut Future Tech Hub.
DSEI Future Tech Hub strategic partner, Fujitsu, is set to demonstrate the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), quantum-inspired computing and networking at DSEI 2021, taking place 14-17 September at ExCeL London. The company will host a series of live demos to showcase its state-of-the-art automated analytics, data science and how technologies that exist today are already challenging the idea that creativity is uniquely human; asking what that means for the role of humans in decision-making now, and in the future.
Echoing this year’s theme of Multi-Domain Integration (MDI), Fujitsu’s display will focus on the sustainable integration of people and machines – a human-centric approach where decision-making is evidence-based, data-driven and blended with intuition.
The main goal will be to answer questions on how AI can be practically applied to a data problem and how infrastructures such as multi-cloud, networks and secure comms can be delivered to support the Digital Backbone.
This will include a demonstration of the 6th Generation Fighter Data Integration approach. Based on multi-cloud open architecture data management providing an enterprise wide awareness, enhancing operational effectiveness and mission readiness.
Fujitsu will also use DSEI as a platform to explore the issues that are caused by high volumes of space debris orbiting the earth and showcase how quantum-inspired computing and predictive analytics can help determine which piece of debris the spacecraft should remove before it becomes a hazard to critical assets.
As a DSEI strategic partner, Fujitsu will also play an active role in seminars and panels within the Joint Theatre in the Future Tech Hub. Subject matter experts will discuss topics such as the importance of partnerships for achieving MDI and how industry creativity can help build an integrated force.
Additionally, Fujitsu are running a speaker programme to selective audiences across the event. The presenters are specialists within their respective fields, sharing insights on frontier technologies and digital transformation:
– Professor Michael Horowitz, world leading expert and author on AI, robotics, global politics and military innovation
– Dr Satoshi Matsuoka, world leading expert in supercomputing and Director of the RIKEN Center for Computational Science, which has led the development together with Fujitsu of the world’s fastest supercomputer, Japan’s Fugaku
– Dr Keith Dear, AI Innovation Director and former Intelligence Officer in the RAF and Expert Adviser to the UK Prime Minister on defence modernisation
Tim Gibson, Vice President of Fujitsu Defence & National Security stated “Fujitsu’s vision is the sustainable integration of people and machines to revolutionise all aspects of operations. We see the power of AI and Quantum coupled with the constant uncertainty we see in the world today as the backdrop to why we are constantly evolving to be the Digital Transformation partner of choice. Digital innovation is fundamental and the creation of the new ‘Future Tech Hub’ will bring emerging technologies to the forefront at this year’s event. We are pleased to have helped shape this important initiative.”
24 Aug 21. Saab and Leonardo to begin second OCEAN2020 demonstration. OCEAN2020 is a European defence research project funded by the EU’s Preparatory Action on Defence Research. The European Defence Fund’s initiative aims to boost pan-European defence. The Leonardo-led consortium is made up of 43 partners from 15 countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Lithuania.
The demo involves open, interoperable architecture integrating data from multiple platforms that is fed into a European operations centre for increased situational awareness.
The operations centre is a prototype planned to be built in Brussels.
The Baltic Sea exercise will involve 13 uncrewed systems and four naval units, including a Swedish Support Ship, Lithuanian patrol vessel, Polish mine hunter, and a German research vessel.
A satellite and two command centres will also participate in the exercise.
The second OCEAN2020 demonstration will include a remotely piloted SW-4 SOLO helicopter fitted with Leonardo’s Osprey 30 AESA surveillance radar.
During the upcoming demo, the uncrewed systems will ‘patrol and classify threats’ by using different on-board sensors.
Saab OCEAN2020 project manager Ingrid Leijonhufvud said: “By participating in this demonstration, Saab proves it has a unique capability to connect assets in the air, on the water, and under the surface.
“This is a market segment with a lot of competition, but few have the wide competence as Saab does when it comes to the sensors, communication and management systems that can integrate so many complex systems in a flexible manner.”
The first OCEAN2020 demonstration was conducted in November 2019. It was coordinated by the Italian Navy. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 Aug 21. Why the Pentagon wants to make software buying easier. Technology moves fast and the Defense Department hasn’t been able to keep up. From the Pentagon to the Hill, there’s been repeated talks of reforming acquisition and, increasingly, budgeting practices so that military departments can buy commercially available technologies and develop experimental capabilities “at the speed of relevance” with broad policy efforts, such as the DOD CIO’s digital modernization strategy, to congressional authorities such as other transaction agreements to quicken the pace.
But are the Pentagon’s efforts working? FCW talked with Tory Cuff, senior advisor for agile acquisitions to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions and Sustainment, to get a better understanding of how the Defense Department’s recent initiatives to uncomplicate software buying — the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, which reworked DOD acquisition policy into six pathways with one just for software, and a suite of software pilots using “colorless” money — are faring.
“We are in the thick of data collection and then moving, hopefully here soon, to data analysis,” Cuff said. “But this will take some time for the department to truly understand the impact of all these efforts that we are doing and updating within acquisition, within the Budget Activity 8…it will seem like a lag, but there is work going on.”
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
We’re coming up on about a year of the Software Acquisition Pathway [which was finalized in October 2020] being out. So what have you been up to with pushing the SWAP out in the last year and what your goals are going forward?
Of course…although the software pathway, as you pointed out, is the newer of the pathways, it’s part of this overall framework that we’ve released to provide program managers a simplified policy that’s empowering, and creates a structure for them to incentivize and provide the opportunity for tailoring. And that really kind of comes together with a combination of all of the six pathways.
As far as the benchmarks that we’re looking towards…when we’re making a large update to policy, one of the first hurdles is actually making the policy available. The second measure that we’re starting to look into is adoption of policy. And then the third is the angle, the programmatic impact. As I mentioned, we have accomplished a first, but this is a working document as [the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment] is really trying to make sure that we have established feedback with multiple programs across all the pathways so that we have the opportunity to update and tailor and be more responsive and dynamic to the changing technological and adversarial landscape — with the underlying policies too.
To date, going back and focusing in on the software pathway, we’ve had 20 programs adopt [the SWAP], which I think is a great sign. Because one of the things to keep in mind is most of the programs in the department were existing. So they already had approved acquisition strategies that were developed at the beginning of the program.
This adoption that we’re seeing is not only new starts, but programs that were mid-execution that have chosen to switch over to the software pathway. We saw a similar result from the middle-tier [acquisition pathway], which has about 75 programs using it.
But we are in kind of the data collection and waiting period to really validate that, since utilizing the policy is only the first step. The real goal, right, is are we able to respond to technology in a faster manner, the changing user need and adversarial landscape. And that’s the hope with the introduction of all six of these pathways. The software pathway will be the one that we are focusing in on as far as it has the shortest cycle time with a year from first contract award to operational capability delivery. And so we are hopeful that the lessons learned from the software pathway can be extrapolated and applied across all six.
The other thing that we continue to do from an A&S perspective is the delegation of decision authority to the lowest level. And mainly that means, especially for the software pathway, the decision authority is within the services or the components. But we are trying to promote data transparency and shared situational awareness, aligning to the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s “Creating Data Advantage” memo in May of this year.
So these partnerships, this constant collaboration, although we are not a reviewer, we try to consume the information to update the policy, but also so that A&S can be an advocate for programs as they are trying to incorporate new [approaches] to internal department, [Government Accountability Office], and Congress so that everyone understands kind of the changes that we’ve been making, since it was a very big overhaul.
So you put it out and you’re tracking, at least with the software acquisition pathway, 20 programs. How many more do you think you can add before it closes out its first year? And then how long do you think it’ll be before you can measure the impact that the pathway is having?
It’s a constant cycle. A&S is trying to do a lot of outreach and provide the support as people are trying to navigate any new pathway or multi-pathway adoption. All the pathways have a lead within, acquisition enablers, that we provide and have a team so that if you are contemplating either as a new start or an existing program, we talk you through the options that you have.
There are programs that have given indication that they plan to adopt and switch to the software pathway, or just adopt wholeheartedly because they’re a new start. But again, I can’t quantify the exact number that would be completed by the end of September, because that’s very much driven by their internal reviews…most of these programs are being reviewed and approved within the services. But we do support and help programs navigate.
As far as data coming in, I think we will start to see data over the next year to a year and a half. And as people continue to add in, that will provide even more insight.
So I can’t give you a firm date…best guess is second quarter of FY, we’re going into FY, 2022, or 2022. Hopefully, we’ll start to see some initial data. But we want to make sure we’re getting the wide span and not just the first couple systems, because we know there is so many unique capabilities in the department.
What about looking at the potential marrying of the software pathway and the Budget Activity 08 pilot programs?
Yes, of course….I’m the OSD lead for that effort. BA-08, right now, is not limited to one pathway…with a lot of our programs being existing, that have approved acquisition strategies, we didn’t want to limit the intake of any specific pathway type at this time…to have the maximum ability to understand the secondary and tertiary impacts of a single appropriation.
Specifically, we wanted to cover capabilities that were business systems and integrated into warfighting capabilities. So at this time, not specifying it to a single pathway has proven valuable for that more wide span of program approaches and strategies. So that being said, there is alignment.
They both are founded on recommendations made by multiple studies, but the recent one that I think kind of really spurred a lot is the Defense Innovation Board “Software is never done” [report]. And so they had tenets of both trying to enable different parts of the department’s processes to better align to modern software practices. (Source: Defense Systems)
24 Aug 21. Can tech protect R&D from foreign adversaries? To protect U.S.-sponsored research and development activities from foreign adversaries, the Air Force Research Laboratory is looking for technology solutions that can assess the risks posed by both current and potential awardees.
AFRL funds thousands of companies, universities, government agencies and other institutions involving ms of people. Recent events suggest that researchers are being recruited by foreign governments that mask their real identities with complicated networks of state-owned businesses to gain access to innovative technologies. Adversaries that could capture AFRL-sponsored R&D from either complicit or unsuspecting researchers would gain a competitive advantage over the U.S.
In an Aug. 16 request for information, AFRL calls for a solution that uses multiple public and private sources of information to create a comprehensive risk assessment for specific persons or entities that reduces the risk of R&D being lost to adversaries.
The solution should provide a quantitative assessment of an individual’s potential risk based on “criminal or civil legal matters; significant foreign ownership or control; foreign citizenship of key participants; and known foreign associations or relations,” the RFI said. It should identity conflicts of interest and include analysis of relationships to foreign governments. The data collected should be captured, available for use and quickly searchable.
While AFRL does not have a pre-determined idea of what the risk analysis should look like, the solicitation states that the output should include a relative score or rating and a brief explanation as to why a person or entity was assigned that risk level. This information should be communicated clearly and concisely, so that members of the Defense Department who are outside of the intelligence community can make an informed decision. (Source: Defense Systems)
24 Aug 21. Spirent Federal Launches Alternative RF Navigation Simulator. Spirent Federal announces the launch of an alternative RF navigation simulator. As GPS jamming and spoofing continue to rise, interest in complementary sources of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) data has likewise increased. Recent government directives recommend a layered, multi-source approach, with much of the attention focused on non-GNSS radio frequency signals. These RF signals, coined alternative RF navigation, offer unique PNT capability in GPS-degraded or denied environments. The signals are secure and resilient and can act as an effective complement to GPS signals.
Spirent Federal’s product can simulate resilient alternative RF navigation signals on its own or concurrently with GNSS signals. Testing can be static or dynamic, with stationary, pedestrian and ground vehicle trajectories available.
“As a result of our extensive research and development incorporating a variety of Assured PNT technologies, we’re pleased to be the first to provide this capability to our customers,” says Roger Hart, director of engineering. “Our product enables developers to test early and often, from the first stages of R&D to integration and field testing. Solutions can be tested with edge cases, hardened against interference, and deployed faster with greater confidence they will work for our warfighters.”
Spirent is actively engaged with several alternative RF navigation technologies and technology providers to incorporate signal simulation capability. To learn more, contact Spirent Federal to discuss fielded configurations. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Aug 21. Intel Wins US Government Project to Develop Leading-Edge Foundry Ecosystem. Intel Foundry Services will lead the first phase of the U.S. Department of Defense’s RAMP-C program to establish a domestic commercial foundry infrastructure.
What’s New: The U.S. Department of Defense, through the NSTXL consortium-based S2MARTS OTA, has awarded Intel an agreement to provide commercial foundry services in the first phase of its multi-phase Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes – Commercial (RAMP-C) program. The RAMP-C program was created to facilitate the use of a U.S.-based commercial semiconductor foundry ecosystem to fabricate the assured leading-edge custom and integrated circuits and commercial products required for critical Department of Defense systems. Intel Foundry Services, Intel’s dedicated foundry business launched this year, will lead the work.
“One of the most profound lessons of the past year is the strategic importance of semiconductors, and the value to the United States of having a strong domestic semiconductor industry. Intel is the sole American company both designing and manufacturing logic semiconductors at the leading edge of technology. When we launched Intel Foundry Services earlier this year, we were excited to have the opportunity to make our capabilities available to a wider range of partners, including in the U.S. government, and it is great to see that potential being fulfilled through programs like RAMP-C.” – Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO
How It Works: Intel Foundry Services will partner with industry leaders, including IBM, Cadence, Synopsys and others, to support the U.S. government’s needs for designing and manufacturing assured integrated circuits by establishing and demonstrating a semiconductor IP ecosystem to develop and fabricate test chips on Intel 18A, Intel’s most advanced process technology.
“The RAMP-C program will enable both commercial foundry customers and the Department of Defense to take advantage of Intel’s significant investments in leading-edge process technologies,” said Randhir Thakur, Intel Foundry Services president. “Along with our customers and ecosystem partners, including IBM, Cadence, Synopsys and others, we will help bolster the domestic semiconductor supply chain and ensure the United States maintains leadership in both R&D and advanced manufacturing. We look forward to a long-term collaboration with the U.S. government as we deliver RAMP-C program milestones.”
Intel recently announced plans to become a major provider of U.S.-based capacity for foundry customers, including an investment of approximately $20bn to build two new factories in Arizona. These fabs will provide committed capacity for foundry customers and support expanding requirements for Intel products.
Why It’s Important: The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has recently sought to diversify its approach to securing advanced microprocessors by leveraging commercially available technologies developed by U.S. companies. Other than Intel, the majority of U.S.-based chip designers are fabless, which means they design and sell integrated circuits that are fabricated by contract manufacturers called foundries. Today, more than 80 percent of leading-edge manufacturing capacity is concentrated in Asia1, leaving the DOD with limited onshore access to foundry technology capable of meeting the country’s long-term needs for secure microelectronics. The RAMP-C program was created to facilitate the use of a commercially viable onshore foundry ecosystem that will ensure DOD access to leading-edge technology, while allowing the defense industrial base to leverage the benefits of high-volume semiconductor manufacturing and design infrastructure of commercial partners like Intel.
About the Broader Efforts: The RAMP-C program is part of a larger initiative to strengthen government supply chain security and accelerate U.S. leadership across the full spectrum of integrated circuit design, manufacturing and packaging. In October 2020, DOD launched the RAMP program using the Advanced Commercial Capabilities Project Phase 1 Other Transaction Authority. RAMP advances and demonstrates commercial leading-edge physical “back-end” assured design methods that transform a high-level chip design into the complex, technology-specific polygon form that is required as input for the wafer fabrication process. Intel is a participant in this project.
Last year, DOD also awarded Intel the second phase of its State-of-the-Art Heterogeneous Integration Prototype (SHIP) program. The SHIP program enables the U.S. government to access Intel’s U.S. advanced semiconductor packaging capabilities with the goal of developing new approaches toward measurably secure, heterogeneous integration and test of advanced packaging solutions. SHIP will develop the capability to use advanced commercial technology to package and test the integrated circuits designed in RAMP and fabricated through RAMP-C. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
17 Aug 21. UK test site in Snowdonia begins detect and avoid tests on the ground ahead of airborne installation. The UK test centre Snowdonia Aerospace, supporting next-generation aerospace and future flight systems such as “drones-for-good”, electric aircraft, urban and regional air mobility vehicles, balloons, airships and near-space testing vehicles, reports the start of ground testing a micro detect-and-avoid (DAA) radar at the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre. The activity is part of the UK Future Flight Challenge programme. The equipment is due to be installed in the centre’s Gold Dragon drone next month to begin air-to-air encounter testing using a new permanent Danger Area and starting to build the evidence base that aims to enable regular and routine beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations in non-segregated airspace. The airfield is also designated as one of the candidate sites for a UK Spaceport by the Department for Transport and Snowdonia Aerospace LLP has worked with the UK Space Agency to generate a Horizontal Spaceport Development Master Plan. For more information visit: airspaceforwalesforum.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
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.