13 Oct 21. Bushmaster XM913 to equip OMFV tender winner. At AUSA 2021, Shephard spoke to Northrop Grumman about its 50mm XM913 chain gun. The Northrop Grumman Bushmaster family comprises an array of chain guns and automatic cannons. The first firings of the 50mm XM913 chain gun took place in 2019 at the Big Sandy test range in Arizona. In 2021 the XM913 was unveiled for the first time at AUSA and it was recently selected to equip the winning vehicle in the US Army’s OMFV competition. (Source: Shephard)
12 Oct 21. Excelitas Technologies Showcased Photonic Solutions for Defense and Aerospace at AUSA 2021. Excelitas Technologies® Corp., a leading industrial technology manufacturer focused on delivering innovative, market-driven photonic solutions, highlighted its latest photonic innovations for defense and aerospace applications, at the AUSA 2021 Annual Meeting and Exhibition.
Additional product highlights included:
- EXACTD®-362 Angle-of-Arrival Photodiode Module: The EXACTD platform is designed for use in Laser Warning Receiver Systems to detect and provide precise angle-of-arrival (AoA) information from direct and indirect scattered light from laser range finders, target designators, and active laser Electro-Optic (E.O.) systems.
- YAG-Enhanced Photodiodes: Off-the-shelf and customer-specific YAG-enhanced terminal guidance detectors.
- Pulsed Laser Diodes and Arrays: Single channel and array variants of pulsed laser diodes, ideal for range finding and LiDAR applications.
- Blue Chip® Detonators: Low-energy chip slapper detonators from Excelitas are qualified to MIL-DTL-23659
- Rocket Motor Initiators: Patented Rocket Motor Initiators and Through Bulkhead Initiators designed to work with single- and multiple-pulse rockets, as well as those platforms that might not currently have MIL-STD-1901A-compliant initiators.
- Spark Gaps: Excelitas’ Spark Gaps are high-energy, voltage-controlled switching devices, unique in their ability to repeatedly switch currents of thousands of amperes.
- Fused, Thermal and Image Intensified Sights: Excelitas’ imaging sights for the dismounted soldier are available for weapon mounted and hand held target location and engagement. The factors of weapon-fire shock resistance, boresight accuracy retention and enduring ongoing field rigors and diverse environmental conditions, are all taken into consideration during the design and manufacture of all Excelitas weapon-mounted sights.
- Thermal Cameras: Excelitas’ medium and long range thermal cameras cover the MWIR and LWIR wavebands. All cameras utilize the latest sensor technologies and benefit from the company’s proven pedigree in designing and manufacturing high-performance optical modules and cameras for demanding surveillance, targeting, naval and C-UAS applications.
- CheetIR-L High-Definition, Long Range MWIR Thermal Imaging Camera: Combining a ruggedized x13.5 continuous zoom capability with the very latest in High-Operating Temperature (HOT) MWIR detector technology, CheetIR-L provides exceptional imagery. The product’s ability to deliver long-range surveillance and target identification in a compac
12 Oct 21. Excelitas Technologies Introduces CheetIR-Cub Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) Thermal Imaging Camera. New Medium-Range Camera Designed for SWaP-C. Excelitas Technologies® Corp., a leading industrial technology manufacturer focused on delivering innovative, market-driven photonic solutions, announces a new medium-range, MWIR thermal imaging camera, CheetIR-Cub. It is designed to meet the challenges of balancing size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C), combining a 10um VGA format (640×512) HOT detector with a long-life linear cooler, the proven CheetIR common continuous zoom optical module, and a 200mm focal length objective. CheetIR-Cub’s compact size and weight makes it suitable for applications where constraints exist, such as retro-fitting existing sighting systems, or for mobile surveillance applications where low size and mass are key. CheetIR-Cub weighs less than 4kg. It features low-power electronics and a linear cooling engine, with steady state power less than 5W, making it ideal for applications with limited available power draw such as portable surveillance platforms, where the silent operation characteristic of the linear cooler is also advantageous. Finally, CheetIR-Cub is packaged at a highly competitive initial cost, plus lower life-cycle costs enabled by its long-life detector that provides 30,000 hours Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF).
Graham Evans, Excelitas’ Product Director, said, “We are delighted to have begun delivering the new CheetIR-Cub camera, and its versatility is evidenced by early orders. One new customer will use the CheetIR-Cub on a naval platform as part of an Electro Optic sensor suite. Another will use it for portable surveillance systems. Excelitas will continue to deliver units from these initial orders well into 2022.”
The CheetIR family of cameras all share the same common continuous zoom optical module, designed and manufactured by Excelitas in the UK. All cameras are ITAR free and utilize High Operating Temperature (HOT) 10um pixel technology. The result is a range of cameras that provides solutions for applications ranging from Counter-UAS and naval fire control to fixed and mobile surveillance platforms.
For additional information, please visit Excelitas’ AUSA 2021 booth 2367, or https://www.excelitas.com/product/cheetir-cub-compact-standard-definition-mwir-camera.
12 Oct 21. Orolia Defense & Security Collaborates with U.S. Government Demonstrates Second Generation Beacon Technology. Personnel Recovery Device to be One of the World’s First Commercially Available with 406 MHz Distress Signaling Capability
Orolia Defense & Security announced at the AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition being held in Washington, D.C., that it has successfully demonstrated Second Generation Beacon Cospas-Sarsat signaling capability with its Personnel Recovery Device over the Cospas-Sarsat network.
- Orolia will be exhibiting in booth No. 1269 today through Oct. 13. Come ask about our new Personnel Recovery Device 406 MHz distress signaling capabilities.
In June, Orolia and a variety of U.S. government stakeholders in defense, space and science including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Defense, worked together to establish proficiency for meeting and demonstrating the newly adopted Second Generation Cospas-Sarsat specification (406 MHz). The demonstration was conducted simultaneously on multiple continents solidifying the global capabilities of Orolia’s technology and the worldwide coverage provided by the Cospas-Sarsat infrastructure. This demonstration yielded beneficial data to support the qualification of Orolia’s Personnel Recovery Device and helped inform government stakeholders on the readiness of the second generation ground and satellite infrastructure.
“Our team was able to develop and demonstrate results in less than eight months with the support of our partners. Orolia’s commitment to knowledge-sharing coupled with decades of combined expertise contributed to this collective success,” stated Michael Stout, director of government programs at Orolia Defense & Security. “With a common goal and shared vision, programs across multiple government agencies can function very effectively at this level. This demonstration emphasizes the value of strong partnerships between federal agencies and the defense industrial base in bringing key technologies to the warfighter.”
Not only did the live test event verify Orolia’s successful transmissions from its device, it also confirmed early operational capability on messages received and processed by Continental United States Mission Control Centers.
11 Oct 21. The Army’s M4, M16 and SAW replacement is on its way. Replacements for the M4 carbine, the M16 and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon are on track to be in production in about a year. The Next Generation Squad Weapon rifle and automatic rifle are expected to be selected by mid-2022, Maj. Gen. Anthony Potts told Army Times before the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting. It took a few years for the Army to decide on a caliber, but they ultimately chose the “intermediate” 6.8mm to replace the existing 5.56mm used in the M4, M16 and M249. The 6.8mm is similar in size to the classic .270 caliber used in hunting and nearly the same dimensions as a popular intermediate caliber favored by the early 20th century Japanese military. That caliber shows better performance, accuracy, lethality and control than the 5.56mm. The 5.56mm has a lethal range of about 300 meters, versus 600 meters for the new 6.8mm.
“This is a weapon that could defeat any body armor, any planned body armor that we know of in the future,” then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said in 2019. “This is a weapon that can go out at ranges that are unknown today. There is a target acquisition system built into this thing that is unlike anything that exists today. This is a very sophisticated weapon.”
The three companies vying for the contract to supply a new weapon to the Army’s close combat forces, infantry, special operations forces, Marines and engineers are Sig Sauer, General Dynamics and Textron Systems.
Sig Sauer has built a weapon similar in style and feel to existing assault rifle configurations. Sig Sauer previously won the contract to replace the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps M9 pistol with the Modular Handgun System, or M17.
General Dynamics went with a bullpup design popular with some foreign militaries that puts the magazine well and feed behind the handgrip and trigger, keeping barrel length in a more compact package.
Textron Systems is relying on their caseless telescoped ammunition. It uses a polymer system where the bullet is encased, shortening the overall length but providing the same ballistic capabilities as standard brass casings at a reduced weight.
All three designs are suppressor capable.
Each of the manufacturers initially had to supply 53 rifles and 43 automatic rifles, as well as 850,000 rounds of ammunition, for testing.
Once selected, the winning company would be on an eight-year contract to produce roughly 120,000 total rifles and machine guns, according to budget documents. That would mean 40,000 in the initial batch at an estimated cost of $36 m.
Potts told Army Times that the soldier touch points and testing are complete and decision makers are now evaluating information gathered on all three company offerings.
These rifles will first field to special operations forces and infantry, Stryker and armor brigade combat teams. The M4 and M16 will continue to be produced for non-close combat troops. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
12 Oct 21. INVISIO announces AI-technology as part of the new V-Series Gen II tactical communications platform at AUSA and Milipol tradeshows. INVISIO’s Gen II platform sets a new standard for audio performance and hearing protection within the defense and public safety markets. The Artificial Intelligence-powered platform significantly improves life-preserving speech quality and intelligibility. INVISIO has a long track record of providing industry leading solutions to the most demanding elite units in the world. The recipe for this is developing cutting-edge technologies: building on the input and experience of the users in field. Fueled by a range of new innovations designed for defense and public safety professionals on critical missions, the INVISIO V-Series Gen II sets the bar for market leading audio performance and hearing protection.
Artificial intelligence is a game-changer
AI has proved to be a game-changer in new technology from INVISIO, increasing speech intelligibility and removing unwanted noise to achieve the aim – core to all tactical communications specialists – to provide secure communication while ensuring hearing protection and a natural level of situational awareness. INVISIO has used AI to achieve a 30 per cent increase in speech quality.
INVISIO conducted a large field test as part of the development and testing phase and the feedback from the users was undisputed:
“My colleagues have never heard my transmissions this clearly with previous in-ear headsets ever! I have not needed to repeat my transmission a single time after I started to use AI”.
Continuous investments to drive innovation
INVISIO has recruited several experts to lead this innovative and industry first initiative. To build and improve the AI-algorithm, they recorded speech from multiple nationalities and different genders as well as including data involving a range of noise environments, mixing clean speech segments with a database of noises from machine noise to gunshots and helicopters, feeding that information to the algorithm so it would learn to operate in different environments.
“The new V-Series Gen II platform will have a huge impact for our customers as the level of performance is exponentially different. We have taken a big leap forward in applying new technologies that enable more secure communication and agile configuration opportunities”, says INVISIO’s SVP of R&D Jan Larsen.
11 Oct 21. General Micro Systems (GMS) Introduces “4×4” Quad Artificial Intelligence GPGPU Server for Defense and Government Applications. Optimized for battlefield AI applications, Velocity 2U server brings quad NVIDIA® GPGPUs and quad Intel® Scalable Xeon® CPUs—plus 264TB storage and 16x 100Gb Ethernet “fat pipe” sensor and LAN ports.
General Micro Systems today launched its Velocity “4×4” quad GPGPU artificial intelligence (AI) server designed for battlefield applications like command posts, tactical operation centers (TOCs) and protected platforms such as autonomous vehicles, wide body airborne sensor fusion, surveillance, data mining, synthetic vision and any platform than needs massive computational resources from a small, air-cooled rackmount server. Available immediately, Velocity 4×4 delivers mission success with a data center’s worth of supercomputer AI algorithm processing in a single rackmount server equipped with industry-standard connectors.
The Velocity 2U “4×4” quad NVIDIA A100 GPGPU AI server fits the bill, balancing the server’s four high-performance domains for maximum data processing: CPUs, GPGPUs, 100Gb Ethernet sensor LAN ports, and 22 SSD disk array. Velocity 2U has the capability for quad NVIDIA GPGPU Ampere Core co-processors mated to quad Intel Scalable Xeon 28 core data center processors, each with 1TB of DDR4 ECC memory and 4TB total. The 112 CPU cores and four GPGPUs are connected via the server’s x16 PCIe Gen 3 fabric with 128Gbps of on-board bandwidth—more than enough to keep up with AI sensor processing and storage.
Velocity is designed from the ground up to balance the information flow through the server, with data moving:
- to/from the 16 Mellanox 100Gb Ethernet ports connected to real-time sensors or other sub-systems
- through the four Intel CPUs and four A100 Ampere Core GPGPU co-processors
- to the Broadcom hardware RAID NVMe 22 SSD array
GPGPUs, 100Gb Ethernet ports, CPUs and SSDs are intelligently grouped and balanced to maximize throughput, reduce latency, and equally load the processors and ports. The optionally encrypted FIPS-140-2 SSDs are the fastest available x4 NVMe drives, streaming at 32 Gbps per drive. Data flows smoothly through the server, never stalling, which further increases overall performance.
The Velocity server is available off-the-shelf. The need for extreme “right now!” edge computing and on-platform AI algorithm data processing is acute, as Army programs like Project Quarterback, ATLAS, NGCV and other Futures Command projects demand real-time decisions and multi-platform sensor sharing. Sending data for processing back to a command post, to the cloud, or to CONUS is just too slow and the data links too congested.
“When we worked with the Army to provide the sensor local area network, server processor and intelligent displays for the Multi-Function Video Display (MVD) mine-clearing program on MRAPs, we saw first-hand the insatiable desire for more and more on-platform processing,” said Ben Sharfi, founder and chief architect, GMS. “The “4×4” Quad AI GPGPU server was born from what GMS learned working with the Army on MVD and follow-on programs. It was equally inspired by the airborne GMS TITAN CSSP and CSVP conduction-cooled 2U servers used in the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon aircraft. In fact, the “4×4” Quad AI GPGPU server shares a similar commercial architecture with the Navy’s GMS servers, used to run the Minotaur software mission system for Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance. Both Army and Navy systems require massive AI workloads in very small racks. Both programs rely on GMS servers.
“With only a tiny 2U slot available, we’re providing four of NVIDIA’s latest-available Ampere GPGPUs, four of Intel’s best data center CPUs, 16 100Gigabit Mellanox Ethernet ports and 264TB of NVMe storage controlled by Broadcom RAID,” Sharfi added. “This is more than what anyone’s seen on the battlefield to-date—in only 2U. As an example, in real time, the “4×4” Quad AI Velocity server can accept high resolution image data from 1600 1Gbit high-resolution sensors, and then process, analyze, and perform Fast Fourier Transforms for frequency domain calculation before converting the data back into the time domain, and storing 264TB of it. The capabilities of the Velocity 2U are vastly beyond what the military has seen previously on the battlefield.”
Key performance specifications for the Velocity 2U server include:• 4x Intel Scalable Xeon data center 28-core CPUs (112 total cores)
- 4x x16 PCIe Gen 3 slots for 4x 250W NVIDIA dual-slot (or equivalent) GPGPU AI co-processors
- 4TB of balanced DDR4 ECC SDRAM
- 16x 100 Gb Ethernet LAN sensor ports
- 22 SSD array with up to 264TB storage, RAID-capable x4 PCIe Gen 3 NVMe drives
- 144 PCIe Gen 3 lanes via 8 slots for user I/O modules
- Operates 0 °C to +40 °C (optional -20 °C to +75 °C)
- 2U design only 30” deep
- Redundant, hot-swappable CRPS power supplies
GMS’s proven RuggedDNA™ cooling, packaging and ruggedization techniques are carried forward into Velocity “4×4” servers from 40 years of military deployed VME, VPX and small form-factor systems. The servers exceed typical data center specs for extended temperature, high shock, and vibration, and are ideal for both fixed location and mobile (vehicle) applications. The servers can operate over a wider
-20°C to +75 °C temperature range while offering the long‑life expectancy required for Department of Defense (DoD), government, or other high-availability and high-reliability applications.
GMS’s Family of Rugged Servers Bringing Decisive Real-time AI Sensor Data Processing and Recording
The Velocity server is one of a family of 1U and 2U rugged servers. All Velocity and sister shortrack Vortex server variants have a 1GbE LAN port, console video, optional hardware or software RAID, a BMC with dedicated Ethernet port, TPM, and optional 10/40 GbE (copper or fiber). A DVD/Blu-ray drive is also optional, as are serial ports and audio I/O. Single or dual-redundant power supplies are standard, in 110 VAC or 220 VAC, plus select DC voltages. Optional features like zeroize via GMS SecureDNA™ or hardware secure erase via FIPS-140 or Opal 197 drives, allows for crypto data-at-rest on the removable SSD media.
Designed in America
GMS has proudly designed the Velocity and Vortex servers in America with the same design ethos as the company’s successful MIL-SPEC conduction-cooled TITAN 1U and 2U servers, and GMS’ deployed conduction-cooled small form factor (SFF) chassis and systems. In the Velocity servers, however, TwoCool™ BMC-controlled fans mitigate heat reliably while minimizing costs.
High-resolution Velocity images and datasheets are available at: www.gms4sbc.com/velocity
11 Oct 21. Army leaders still eyeing 2023 Abrams replacement decision. US Army officials are continuing to study viable options for replacing its fleet of M1 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs), with the goal of providing their findings and recommendations to senior leaders in 2023, according to Director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team Major General Ross Coffman. Ahead of this year’s annual Association of the US Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, DC, the two-star general spoke with Janes on 30 September about ongoing efforts to field new ground combat vehicles. While his team has been busy over the past year relaunching a revamped Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) competition and testing out robotic combat vehicles, it is also continuing to gather data and information about a potential Abrams replacement option that is sometimes referred to as the ‘decisive lethality platform’ (DLP).
“There’s been no decisions on what direction the army will go towards for a main battle tank,” Maj Gen Coffman explained, but he noted that the service has been working on a technical analysis.
“All the different components of a combat vehicle are covered and the trade space [is looking at] if those will be equal to or better than what’s on the Abrams… [such as] weight, firepower, mobility and survivability,” he added. Then in 2023, service officials studying and working these issues will then present senior army leaders with an array of options, and detail the pros and cons associated with each one. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Oct 21. Echodyne, the radar platform company, announced today the newest addition to its market-leading portfolio of radars – EchoShield. Designed from the ground-up to set a new price-performance standard for mid-range radars, EchoShield is an advanced software-defined multi-mission radar for a wide variety of commercial, defense, and government use cases. EchoShield’s development has been informed by hundreds of customers and applications across multiple industries. The radar’s architecture builds upon the field-proven success of Echodyne’s proprietary metamaterials electronically scanned array (MESA®) radars that are in use across a wide range of applications, such as counter-UAS, border and base security, force protection, critical infrastructure security, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, UAV detect and avoid, and autonomous ground vehicles. A pulse-Doppler cognitive 4D radar, EchoShield combines ultra-precise electronically scanned array (ESA) beamforming and real-time dynamic waveform synthesis to deliver sub-degree tracking accuracy on hundreds of objects across a broad 3D field of view. EchoShield’s cognitive search capabilities integrate onboard or offboard data stores to adapt and direct radar resources when and where required in order to deliver the right data and detail at the right time. Whether using the radar’s significant onboard processing capabilities or ingesting data-rich range-doppler spectrograms into offboard compute, EchoShield’s SDK enables deep integration and multi-sensor fusion. EchoShield is designed to be software-optimized to mission profiles that align powerful dynamic radar resources with unique customer requirements to deliver superior radar performance. Based on market demand, the initial software release prioritizes a counter-UAS mission and excels at detecting, tracking, and classifying any uncrewed aircraft, including low slow and small drones even in dense urban environments. Further releases will match radar resources with customer demand in dozens of applications and markets.
“Radar is a fundamental sensor for a wide range of commercial and government applications, but achieving high performance at reasonable cost, size, weight and power (C-SwaP) has always been a challenge,” said Eben Frankenberg, CEO of Echodyne. “Our customers have challenged us with certain radar performance attributes and EchoShield has been designed to meet these demanding requirements. Our customers are lining up for first units and already discussing production volume, so we’re very pleased with the market reception.”
EchoShield operates in the Ku band, with RadioLocation service at 15.7-16.6 GHz and RadioNavigation at 15.4-15.7 GHz, and is commercially exportable to many countries under US EAR regulations. Its features include:
- 130° azimuth x 90° elevation field of regard (fully customizable)
- 0.5° tracking accuracy in azimuth and elevation, with very low track splitting/dropping
- Powerful UAV classification with low false-alarms and near-zero false-negatives
- Cognitive search capabilities integrate onboard or offboard data
Average tracking ranges for counter-UAS mission:
○ Group 1 (-20 to -10 dBsm): 2.7 to 4.8km
○ Group 2 (-10 to -5 dBsm): 4.8 to 6.4km
○ Group 3 (-5 to 5 dBsm): 6.4 to 11.4km
Our breakthrough Metamaterial-ESA technology unlocks a level of beamforming previously only available with large ultra-expensive AESA’s with hundreds of channels,” said Tom Driscoll, CTO of Echodyne. “EchoShield combines this precise beamforming with modern fully-adaptive cognitive-radar approaches and intelligent control software, and the result is a radar with best-in-class detection, tracking, and classification performance.”
For additional details and technical specifications, please visit our website at echodyne.com.
Echodyne, the radar platform company, designs and delivers high-performance compact, solid-state, patent-protected MESA® radars. Ideally suited for defense, security, machine perception, and autonomy, Echodyne’s commercially priced electronically scanned array radars are used by defense and government agencies, autonomous developers, and security integrators for counter-UAS, borders and perimeter security, critical infrastructure protection, unmanned aerial vehicles, and autonomous vehicles. Privately held, the company is based in
Kirkland, Washington, and is backed by Bill Gates, NEA, Madrona Venture Group, Vulcan Capital, Vanedge Capital, and Lux Capital among others. For more information, please visit: Echodyne.com.
11 Oct 21. CACI Debuts Two New Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System Technologies. CACI International Inc (NYSE: CACI) announced today the release of its latest technologies to mitigate threats from unmanned aircraft systems. The next generation CORIAN 2.0 system and new CORIAN Tactical system, are part of CACI’s SkyTracker® Suite of counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) technology, combining the latest generation of sensors and effectors for a complete range of autonomous threat coverage. Visit CACI during the AUSA 2021 Annual Meeting and Exposition from Oct. 11-13, 2021 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., Hall C Booth 3525 to see the technology and learn more.
CORIAN™ 2.0, the next generation fixed-site multi-sensor platform expands on existing CORIAN technologies with improved mechanical design, capability advancements, and integration with other phenomenology. These enhancements extend the range of system effectiveness, provide the ability to guard against multiple, simultaneous threats from standoff distances and easily integrate with other systems, including command and control systems such as forward area air defense command and control (FAAD C2).
CORIAN Tactical, the new system offering both fixed and on-the-move protection against sUAS threats, secures airspace and critical infrastructure in environments ranging from dense population areas to remote locations. With a tailorable and scalable configuration, low size, weight, and power (SWaP) and precise capabilities, the ruggedized system offers expanded mission options that can be installed in less than an hour.
“Backed by the world’s largest threat signals library and over 1200 sensors globally, our experience mitigating C-UAS threats allows us to offer technology for any C-UAS challenge or mission,” said Todd Probert, President of National Security and Innovative Solutions at CACI. “Our newest platforms contain the most advanced technology available in the market to detect, track and defeat emerging threats to our national security, protecting people and places in any environment.”
CACI’s SkyTracker Technology Suite is a family of systems that reliably detect, track, classify and defeat Group 1-5 UAS threats. The technology portfolio enhances operational awareness across high-level UAS threat groups and within a layered defense construct across numerous environments. SkyTracker features purpose-built hardware with easily updated software to provide unique capabilities for both threat detection and precision mitigation. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
11 Oct 21. US Army gets its first look at Bradley replacement options. The five companies competing to design the replacement for the U.S. Army’s Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle recently finished an initial concept review, and the service has conducted a detailed assessment of those early digital designs, according to an official overseeing the program.
“That information is now feeding into both our simulation activity and to the [Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team] for requirements refinement,” Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, the service’s program executive officer for ground combat systems, told Defense News before the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.. “As you might expect, everybody’s taking a little bit different approach.”
The five teams selected to compete for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, or OMFV, are Point Blank Enterprises, Oshkosh Defense, BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems and American Rheinmetall Vehicles.
Two years ago, the Army, in its first attempt to hold a competition to replace the Bradley, received just one physical bid sample — from GDLS — by the October 2019 deadline.
Instead of moving forward with one bidder, the Army canceled the competition and took a step back, producing a new plan meant to generate robust competition over a more reasonable timeline. That plan laid out a five-phase effort.
The first phase, now in full swing, is for an initial design. That will be followed by a full and open competition for a detailed design phase that will be executed over fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2024. Awards for up to three contractors are expected in the second quarter of FY23.
The prototyping phase will begin in FY25, and the Army is expected to select in the fourth quarter of FY27 one company to build low-rate production vehicles. Full-rate production is expected to begin in FY30.
A few of the competitors, including BAE, are showcasing at AUSA preliminary concepts for what the vehicle will look like and how it would be designed and built. While BAE has been tight-lipped about its plans, it says it is bringing a “prototype rolling lab vehicle” — the RV-301 — to the conference. That vehicle was developed to study concepts that could be incorporated into the company’s ultimate offering for OMFV, according to Jim Miller, BAE’s senior director of business development for combat mission systems.
The vehicle at the show looks like an Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, but it is a unique structure that is larger than an AMPV, Miller said. He noted it’s not the company’s OMFV design.
The RV-301 will feature Elbit Systems’ MT30 turret, which reflects BAE’s partnership with the Israeli company on OMFV, while also demonstrating survivability increases, sensors that provide 360-degree situational awareness to soldiers in the vehicle as well as active protection systems and automation software, Miller said.
Underpinning it is a modular, open-system architecture, or MOSA, which is at the top of the Army’s list of desired OMFV capabilities because that approach keeps a new vehicle capable of accommodating growth.
BAE has teamed with Curtiss-Wright to provide the MOSA element, Miller said. The architecture “is not something that’s new to us,” Miller said, “but it is getting it right that is absolutely critical to the success of the program and to the success of the vehicle.”
General Dynamics Land Systems is unveiling at AUSA a fifth-generation electronic architecture, according to Bob Lennox, the company’s vice president for strategy and global growth. The open architecture system, dubbed Katalyst, will be on a demonstrator vehicle at the show, he told Defense News.
“We think this is the heart of OMFV in the future,” Lennox added.
GDLS is displaying the technology contributions of its partners AeroVironment and Silicon Valley-based Applied Intuition. AeroVironment’s Switchblade loitering munition will be displayed with the OMFV demonstrator technology. Applied Intuition, which has experience in modeling and simulating autonomy for the automobile industry, is helping GDLS bring that capability into the tougher environments combat vehicles encounter, said Don Kotchman, vice president and general manager of GDLS in the U.S.
GDLS is also working with GD Mission Systems, which has incorporated networks, radio gear and cyber capabilities into the concept, Kotchman added.
For now, he said, GDLS doesn’t want to get locked into too many partnerships because “you begin to artificially narrow the realm of your trade possibilities to support the Army’s requirement development for its performance spec.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
11 Oct 21. GDLS displayed second iteration of Tracked Robot 10-Ton. General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) displayed its next iteration of the Tracked Robot 10-Ton (TRX) and a next-generation electronic architecture at this year’s annual AUSA conference. Company officials provided Janes with an update on technologies and platforms it plans to showcase at this year’s show in Washington, DC, to include updates to the TRX, a platform it is touting as a potential contender for a future army Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium (RCV-M) competition, as well as an electronic architecture it dubs Katalyst.
Although the army currently has an RCV-M prototype, GDLS has continued to develop the TRX and has been testing it out the five-tonne unmanned platform with various payloads (weighing up to five-tonnes) at different army events ahead of the service’s 2022 RCV soldier experiment. Such events included one at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in September where the tracked, flattop robot donned ‘implements’ to clear rubble out of the way, as well as a mine-clearing line charge (MICLIC) for obstacle reduction and removal vignettes.
“What we learned, in general, is the concept is feasible. You can operate a vehicle at the point of a breach using remote controls, and it works,” the company’s US director of business development Tim Reese said on 4 October. “Everybody would like to do things faster, or lift a heavier load, or push a bigger pile of dirt, or knock over a thicker wall, but I think the good news is that the concept…is viable.” (Source: Jane’s)
11 Oct 21. Fischer Connectors Showcased New Soldier Connectivity as Key Design Enabler to Address the Revolution in Military Affairs. “The new revolution is driven by a confluence of three digital technologies: ubiquitous full-spectrum sensing, 5G networks, and artificial intelligence” – Fischer Connectors in ‘The Connectivity Challenge’ (Trend Paper). World-premiere preview image of Fischer Connectors’ next-generation hub “Army Transformation is facing a revolution in military affairs, and Fischer Connectors is transforming products and services to address the Army’s needs,” said Jonathan Brossard, CEO of the Switzerland-based Fischer Connectors Group at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C. “Soldier connectivity is the key enabler for improving command and control. Along with our Army partners, Fischer Connectors is focused on applying emerging technology to optimize soldier connectivity”.
Fischer Connectors’ latest soldier connectivity solutions include a next-generation wearable tactical hub, and the Fischer UltiMate™ and Fischer MiniMax™ connectors designed to meet the Army’s Nett Warrior
standards. The next-generation hub is the heart of the individual soldier’s wearable connectivity solution, integrating the power and data flows from multiple digital devices – sights, radios, displays and batteries – in a lightweight ergonomic component. To connect all the soldier’s wearable electronics, Fischer Connectors enhances its widely-used UltiMate and MiniMax connector designs to meet the technical requirements of integrated dismounted leader situational awareness (SA) systems such as the U.S. Army’s Nett Warrior.
11 Oct 21. General Micro Systems (GMS) Plans Modular Open Standards Approach (MOSA) Architectures; Joins FACE and SOSA Consortia. A 40-year contributor to the VMEbus and VPX standards, GMS readies new MOSA architectures and joins Open Group Future Airborne Capability Environment™ and Sensor Open Standards Architecture™ consortia to contribute ideas, recommendations. General Micro Systems (GMS), planning new rugged, embedded computing architectures that further the Department of Defense’s joint service Modular Open Standards Approach (MOSA) mandate, has joined the Open Group Future Airborne Capability Environment™ (FACE) and Sensor Open Standards Architecture™ (SOSA) Consortia. GMS intends to actively participate in both consortium’s technical working groups and to contribute ideas for MOSA based upon new open-standard technologies being developed in GMS’s R&D labs. GMS, a 40-year proponent of open standards, was an original contributor to the VMEbus specification—now ANSI/VITA-1 and governed by VITA—as well as a participant in myriad VITA specifications, including VPX. The industry leader in rugged, deployed small form factor systems, GMS is also a leading supplier of interoperable VME and OpenVPX single-board computers to military and aerospace, civilian and medical industries. For example, to-date, the company has shipped thousands of single-board computers to the U.S. Navy for combat, weapons, and ship management systems on Aegis, destroyer, guided missile (DDG) and littoral combat ship (LCS) platforms. GMS VME boards also control wafer fabrication equipment at the heart of the semiconductor industry. By joining the two government/industry consortia, GMS intends to bring SOSA-aligned and FACE-conformant products to market over the next several months as promised to key customers. GMS design wins in Army ground vehicle programs and Air Force airborne artificial intelligence sensor platforms necessitate MOSA products per the DoD’s Tri-Service memo. Additionally, GMS is readying for market new MOSA architectures for scalable, distributed computing that are SOSA™-aligned and based upon common open standards. The GMS X9 SPIDER architecture is designed in alignment with the SOSA technical specification, with OpenVPX, and other DoD requirements. More importantly, GMS believes the system-level architecture perfectly embodies the goal of MOSA, and the mission of SOSA, per the Open Group’s stated goals:
- Reduce development cycle time and cost
- Reduce systems integration cost and risk
- Reduce sustainment and modernization cost
- Enable technology transition
- Facilitate interoperability
“GMS is proud to join SOSA™ and FACE™ to continue our commitment to the DoD’s quest for common standards,” said Ben Sharfi, founder and chief architect, GMS. “SOSA is a great start for vendor interoperability at the board interface, and the Open Group has successfully achieved what others could not.”
Despite the positive direction, GMS believes the current standards fall short of true interoperability on the system or sub-system level, which is where both prime contractors and industry vendors add the most value to the government.
“There’s a better way to do this. and we will be demonstrating what interoperability looks like one or more levels removed from just the board-level LRU,” Sharfi said. GMS believes interoperability, scalability and even tech insertion at the systems level is truly what the DoD is searching for. SOSA is a valuable first step and GMS looks forward to participating in the Consortium.
With the support of the three main branches of the U.S. military and over 90 industry manufacturers, the FACE and SOSA consortia develop standards that are consistent with the DoD’s MOSA directive for new system development as well as modification of existing systems.
Both consortia define open architecture for avionics and other platforms and promote modular design for greater interoperability. Any solution that adheres to this standard would be vendor-agnostic, thereby promoting vendor competition. To the developer, this standard presents opportunities for capability-reuse across multiple platforms, which reduces integration time and costs.
As an industry expert in rugged computing systems in demanding C5ISR applications, GMS welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the next phase of embedded computing for the defense and aerospace industries as an active member in the open standard community by providing technology solutions aligned with the SOSA and FACE design standards. Additionally, GMS plans to introduce complementary technology to the two consortia with the introduction of new, scalable and distributed SOSA-aligned architectures.
08 Oct 21. Under New Leadership, AM General Showcased Diversity Of Innovative Products At AUSA 2021. New AM General CEO, Jim Cannon sets new vision and bold strategy ahead of AUSA, including announcing the company’s participation in upcoming competitions. Global mobility solutions provider, AM General, will feature products and services that demonstrate continuous transformation for todays and tomorrow’s demands on the modern battlefield at the Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Oct. 11-13, 2021, Booth #7341, Hall D, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
“We are excited about attending this year’s AUSA, and especially grateful for all of the work done to make this in-person show a reality.” said Jim Cannon, President & CEO of AM General. “I’m extremely proud of the enduring HUMVEE platform and I’m looking forward to highlighting our investments and innovation with the NXT 360 and other breakthrough technologies that meet the army’s modernization needs.”
On display at the show will be a diverse lineup of products that highlight the company’s continuous innovative spirit and its commitment to future technologies. Making its US debut, the HUMVEE NXT 360 delivers MRAP levels of protection in a truly light tactical vehicle for increased survivability without sacrificing mobility or agility. Visitors to the booth will also see the HUMVEE 4-CT vehicle with the Expanded Capability Kit (XCK) – Troop Transport (9) with capacity for up to 9 warfighters. This vehicle represents the latest automotive technology that AM General offers customers, including enhanced occupant safety, upgraded powertrain options, and improved mobility and handling. Finally, AM General will present a new tactical security truck, the HUMVEE X-TSV (Extreme Tactical Security Vehicle), that has a proven chassis and armored cell designed with mission driven versatility, purpose-built reliability, and a low platform sustainment cost versus competitors in its class.
AM General continues to capitalize on its strategic partnerships to develop products and technology that meet the requirements to win in an ever-evolving world. Through a new agreement with global integrated defense company QinetiQ facilitated by Lincoln International, the company is exploring electrification technologies for military vehicles, including the integration of their militarized Hub Drives technology into the AM General platforms to deliver hybrid tactical vehicles for the future battlefield. Together, the companies are looking at innovative ways to meet the U.S. Army’s future requirements for extended-range hybrid, increased sustainability and performance through electrification.
AM General will also have representatives available to provide in-depth information on engineering and logistics services, their award-winning global supply chain management, field service support, as well as parts and equipment warranty support. (Source: PR Newswire)
10 Oct 21. Companies, US Army leaders converge on Washington with new kit and program updates. As Industry and US Army officials descend on Washington, DC, for the annual Association of the US Army conference (AUSA), running from 11-13 October, for the opportunity to mingle and show off new and improved defense technologies. Ashley Roque explores. Since last year’s event was virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, companies are racing to secure time with decision-makers to demo what they have been working on. A new administration has ushered in a sea of changes including the service’s first female civilian head, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. While Wormuth has only been at the army’s helm for several months, she has defended the six modernization priorities — long-range precision fires (LRPF), next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, the network, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality. While industry may have let out a collective sigh of relief due to her support of these development areas, she has hinted at looming cuts in a bid to trim fat and army belt-tightening measures are not expected to ease up in the coming years.
For example, the army’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget (not yet approved by Congress) cut USD3.6 bn over the FY 221 discretionary spending levels. This trend is expected to continue as the Pentagon looks for ways to fund navy modernization and increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
With these moving pieces and question marks, all eyes will be on Wormuth’s guidance during the show and hits from senior Pentagon leaders who will also be attending.
This year’s AUSA event will also be filled with in-depth discussions about the service’s role around the globe and a wide array of personnel challenges. As for equipment, here are a few programmatic topics and technologies sure to be in abundance:
- Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV): The army is now in its fourth attempt to field a M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) replacement, and in July awarded five companies — American Rheinmetall Vehicle, BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), a Hanwha Defense-Oshkosh Defense team, and Point Blank Enterprises— with 15-month concept design contracts. While there will be technology demonstrators at the show and chatter about potential proposals, nothing is solidified yet and these public concept photos are not representative of where teams may be headed.
- Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA): Sikorsky and Boeing are competing with their Defiant X design against Bell and its V-280 tiltrotor for a covered FLRAA requirement. Army leaders are anticipated to select a winner in the second half of FY 2022.
- Counter-small unmanned aerial systems (C-sUAS): The US Department of Defense (DoD) designated the army as the executive agent for C-UAS and the service’s Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) is now leading the charge to identify and prioritize solutions to down drones. Numerous vendors and technologies will be displayed at this year’s AUSA event.
- Common Tactical Truck: The service recently released a CTT request for information for a single line of trucks, in multiple variants, to replace its ageing fleet of Palletized Load System (PLS) vehicles, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTTs), and M915 tractors. Several vendors are attending the show with their potential offerings including Mack Defense with a modified version of its Granite truck (a tractor version based around the same chassis) and Rheinmetall with its next-generation HX3 tactical truck. Read more here
- Robotic combat vehicles: While the army has selected to RCV prototypes, several companies will be showing off their respective RCVs at the show with tentative plans to enter them into a future RCV-light (RCV-L) and RCV-medium (RCV-M) competitions.
- Mobile Howitzers: Last year several companies announced plans to have their mobile howitzers participate in a shoot off at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. With this event over, several vendors including BAE Systems with the Archer howitzer, and Elbit Systems with its 8×8 Autonomous Truck Mounted Ordnance System (ATMOS), dubbed Iron Sabre, will be at the show. (Source: Jane’s)
13 Oct 21. Roke launches PERCEIVE Multi-Role®, a generational advance that provides decisive advantage in tactical Electronic Warfare. Roke, a leading UK innovator in science and engineering, is today launching PERCEIVE MR®, the next generation of multi-role Electronic Warfare (EW) sensor. Built on 50 years of EW solution heritage, including the award-winning RESOLVE tactical EW Support system together with the LOCATE Strategic and LOCATE-T (Tactical/Transportable) High Frequency Direction Finding (HF DF) products, PERCEIVE MR® delivers decisive military advantage for communications intelligence in the Land Electro-magnetic Environment (EME). Specifically designed to meet the threats of the modern congested, cluttered and contested digital battlespace, PERCEIVE MR® is the first tactical wideband integrated antenna head to utilise both Adaptive Digital Beamforming (ADBF) and Super Resolution Direction Finding (SRDF). These technologies deliver the most accurate wideband DF in both azimuth and elevation from 30MHz to 6Ghz and intercept from 2MHz to 30MHz, therefore covering all radio frequency bands from HF through to SHF. PERCEIVE MR® delivers unprecedented capability to target, classify and identify frequency hopping sources operating at over 10,000 hops/second. PERCEIVE MR also provides intercept capability against Digital Mobile Radio, even in privacy mode, with real time DF and supports up to 32 Direct Digital Drop Channels (DDC), with user configurable bandwidth, allowing up to 32 targets to be classified and streamed simultaneously. The system is driven by Roke’s latest software suite, PREFIX /VIPER, allowing full function mission planning, execution and exploitation with minimised operator burden by means of intuitive workflows driven by advanced algorithms designed to evolve with the threat. Interoperable through an open standards approach, PERCEIVE MR® can integrate with third party applications, radio heads and receivers, with specific focus on vehicle integration.
Paul MacGregor, Managing Director of Roke, commented, “Gaining advantage in the electromagnetic spectrum is critical in today’s data-driven, information-led battlespace and understanding the adversary’s electronic presence is essential to achieving situational awareness. The new Roke PERCEIVE MR® tactical sensor combines leading edge technology and small form factor to deliver the next generation in wide band multi-function EW Support capability. Developed by our world-class engineers through extensive consultation with our global user base, PERCEIVE MR® delivers superior tactical advantage, enabling commanders to make highly accurate and informed decisions that outpace the adversary. As the digital battlespace evolves, Roke is proud to be investing in technology-led solutions which provide our armed forces with the leading edge capabilities essential to mission success.”
11 Oct 21. Textron Systems, L3Harris bid for FTUAS. Textron Systems and L3Harris are bidding for both increments in the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) programme. Wayne Prender, senior vice-president of air systems at Textron Systems, told reporters on 6 October, ahead of the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA’s) annual convention, that the company is offering its standard Aerosonde Hybrid Quadrotor (HQ) small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for Increment 1, and a scaled-up version of the aircraft that will be on display at AUSA for Increment 2. The service is taking a two-pronged parallel approach to FTUAS, and is using Increment 1 for an accelerated fielding capability of mature technologies. Increment 1 will meet the present operational need and replace the Textron Systems Unmanned Systems RQ-7B Shadow tactical UAS within some of the US Army’s brigade combat teams (BCTs). US Army spokesman David Hylton said on 6 October that Increment 2 will satisfy the full FTUAS requirement and will replace Increment 1 fielded systems in fulfilling the BCT fleet requirement. L3Harris will offer its FVR-90 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) hybrid quadcopter UAS for both Increment 1 and Increment 2, company spokesperson Sandra Phanourath said on 7 October. She declined further comments. Prender said this scaled-up Aerosonde HQ will have a larger gross take-off weight, more payload capacity, and the ability to handle newer and more advanced payloads. The company was told from the FTUAS “buy, try, and inform” phase that the system needed to grow a bit, he added. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Oct 21. Shield AI leverages V-Bat improvements for US Army’s FTUAS programme. Shield AI is improving its Martin UAV V-Bat tail-sitting fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that it is offering for the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) programme’s two-pronged parallel approach. Brandon Tseng, Shield AI co-founder and chief growth officer, told Janes on 1 October, ahead of the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA’s) annual convention, that the company is offering the newest V-Bat variant – the 128 – for FTUAS Increment 1, with Northrop Grumman Technology Services (NGTS) serving as the prime contractor. Tseng said the company will leverage improvements to the platform, such as satellite communications capability and a laser designator that are being added to the aircraft for the US Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM)’s Multi-mission Tactical UAS (MTUAS) programme. SOCOM has selected the V-Bat 128 for MTUAS. Command spokesman Ken McGraw said on 8 October that Shield AI was awarded an other transaction authority (OTA) agreement for the V-Bat on 21 September. US Army spokesman David Hylton said on 6 October that Increment 1 is for an accelerated fielding capability of mature technologies. It will meet an operational need and replace the Textron Systems Unmanned Systems RQ-7B Shadow tactical UAS within some of the US Army’s brigade combat teams (BCTs). (Source: Jane’s)
11 Oct 21. Multiple Arnold Defense rocket launchers on display at AUSA 2021. Arnold Defense, the St. Louis based manufacturer of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, had a number of variants of their world-renowned rocket launchers on display at this year’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) exhibition, taking place 11-13 October 2021, in Washington DC. Arnold Defense will be showcasing three rocket launcher systems at the event. The LAND-LGR4 ‘FLETCHER’ land-based launcher will be displayed in the Kongsberg booth (2147) mounted on their Protector RWS. The 23-round MLHS will be displayed in the BAE Systems booth (1210/1220) mounted on a ‘common deck’ platform from MSI Defense Solutions. Being shown in public for the first time is a prototype concept demonstrator 3-round air launcher named the “Trident” which can be seen in the Moog booth (7601) mounted on their Lightweight Dual Rail Launcher (DRL). The new Trident launcher is in development, but following a planned future test program, it is expected to deliver the following capability benefits: utilizes existing missile launcher interface for mounting and system control of Laser Guided Rockets (LGRs); significant weight saving over other launcher variants; no software changes to existing Fire Control required; Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) adaptation for digital control of analog rockets (Moog Trident Interface Unit- TIU); common missile interface across multiple platforms for maximum LGR strike capability; each Trident carries up to three (3) LGRs, providing a lethal weapons load of guided rockets. Arnold Defense is the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles; they have manufactured more than 1.2 m 2.75-inch (70mm) rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Armed Forces and a number of NATO customers. They design and manufacture rocket launchers that can be customized for any size, weight, capacity, or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or at sea. Arnold’s core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by U.S. Army helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force. For land or sea-based operations, Arnold offers the FLETCHER, a 4-round laser target designated rocket launcher and the MLHS 23-round launcher. Arnold Defense first launched the revolutionary FLETCHER system at DSEi in 2017 and announced a new capability development program for FLETCHER at DSEi in September 2021.
Doug Wallace, President at Arnold Defense said: “We’re pleased to be displaying a number of variants of our air and land-based launchers at AUSA, working in collaboration with our partners BAE Systems, Kongsberg, Moog and MSI Defense Solutions.” He added: “being seen for the first time is our prototype ‘Trident’ 3-round air launcher that is currently in development, aiming to deliver significant capability enhancements to the warfighter”.