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November 2, 2022 | International, C4ISR

Singapore unveils new cyber-focused military service

Singapore has officially inaugurated its fourth military branch as it seeks to combat modern threats in the digital domain.

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  • Babcock announces Type 31 supply chain contract awards

    April 22, 2020 | International, Naval

    Babcock announces Type 31 supply chain contract awards

    April 17, 2020 - Babcock Team 31 is pleased to announce the second round of supply chain contract awards across the UK and Europe to support the Royal Navy's Type 31 general purpose frigate programme. Rolls-Royce is now a major supplier to the programme with its brand MTU, delivering the Main Engines and Diesel Generators for the Frigates, which will be manufactured in Germany. Renk, will provide the main reduction gearboxes, and MAN Energy Solutions will supply the propellers and propeller shaft lines. In addition, Blunox are contracted to supply the exhaust environmental equipment that significantly reduces emissions from the Main Engines and Diesel Generators. Combined with the subcontract placed with Darchem Engineering Ltd, will supply the intake and exhaust systems for the main engines and generators, rounding out the key propulsion system subcontracts. We are also pleased to announce award of the Chilled Water Plant subcontract with Novenco AS, providing critical system capability for the HVAC system. The Type 31 Programme will deliver prosperity into shipbuilding and the extended supply chain. The scale of this investment, principally in design, engineering, project management, procurement and advanced manufacturing skills, has an enduring positive impact on the UK. Sean Donaldson, Managing Director for Energy & Marine, said: “Team 31 have committed to a programme of investments to deliver prosperity in line with the National Shipbuilding Strategy. We are delighted to welcome these key suppliers to the supply chain for the Type 31 frigate programme, and we continue to engage with additional suppliers to support this exciting programme for Babcock and the Royal Navy.” View source version on Babcock:

  • La force aérienne allemande redonne du potentiel à ses avions Tornado pour les garder au moins jusqu’en 2030

    February 15, 2021 | International, Aerospace

    La force aérienne allemande redonne du potentiel à ses avions Tornado pour les garder au moins jusqu’en 2030

    PAR LAURENT LAGNEAU · 13 FÉVRIER 2021 Sur les 247 chasseurs-bombardiers PANAVIA Tornado qu'elle a reçus à la fin des années 1970, la Luftwaffe [force aérienne allemande] n'en aligne plus que 85. Ces appareils lui permettent de participer aux plans nucléaires de l'Otan [avec la capacité d'emporter la bombe tactique B61] ainsi que de mener des missions de frappes, de reconnaissance et de guerre électronique. Étant donné leur 'ge, les Tornado allemands arriveront au bout de leur potentiel en 2025. D'où le projet de Berlin de se procurer 30 F/A-18 Super Hornet et 15 E/A-18 Growler auprès de Boeing, afin que la Luftwaffe puisse continuer à mener ses missions nucléaires et de guerre électronique visant à supprimer les défenses aériennes ennemies [SEAD] pour le compte de l'Otan. Seulement, annoncé en 2020, ce choix mettra du temps à se concrétiser. En effet, la chambre basse du Parlement allemand [Bundestag] aura son mot à dire... mais pas avant 2022. Ce qui fait cet achat de F/A-18 et de E/A-18G dépendra des résultats des prochaines élections fédérales de septembre prochain et du gouvernement qui en sera issu. En un mot, il n'est pas encore acquis. Et quand bien même il le sera, il faudra du temps pour négocier le contrat, livrer les appareils et former les pilotes ainsi que les techniciens de la Luftwaffe. D'où la décision de cette dernière de redonner du potentiel à ses Tornado pour les maintenir en service jusqu'en 2030 au moins. Ce qui est loin d'être simple étant donné que les pièces détachées sont désormais rares, voire introuvables pour certaines étant donné qu'elles ne sont plus fabriquées. Quoi qu'il en soit, en partenariat avec Airbus Defence & Space [ADS], un premier Tornado du Luftwaffengeschwader 33 a vu son potentiel prolongé de 2.000 heures de vol supplémentaires après une lourde opération de maintenance effectué dans les installations d'Airbus à Manching. Pour cela, il a donc fallu démonter entièrement l'appareil et vérifier chacun de ses composants. Une t'che dont s'est acquittée la société d'ingénierie et d'analyse Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft [IABG] à Ottorbrunn. Au total, il a donc fallu de nouveau fabriquer 400 pièces structurelles qui n'étaient plus disponible sur le marché. « Afin de pouvoir assembler à nouveau les parties centrale et avant [du Tornado], tous les trous des anciennes pièces ont dû être reproduits sur les nouvelles avec une précision de 0,001 millimètre », explique la Bundeswehr. « Nous travaillons ici comme des horlogers », a commenté un sous-officier mécanicien de la Luftwaffe.

  • The Army wants a self-directed combat vehicle to engage enemies

    December 7, 2018 | International, Land, C4ISR

    The Army wants a self-directed combat vehicle to engage enemies

    By: Adam Stone While the commercial world tiptoes toward the notion of a self-driving car, the military is charging forward with efforts to make autonomy a defining characteristic of the battlefield. Guided by artificial intelligence, the next-generation combat vehicle now in development will have a range of autonomous capabilities. Researchers at Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) foresee these capabilities as a driving force in future combat. “Because it is autonomous, it can be out in front to find and engage the enemy while the soldiers remain safely in the rear,” said Osie David, chief engineer for CERDEC's mission command capabilities division. “It can draw fire and shoot back while allowing soldiers to increase their standoff distance.” Slated to come online in 2026, the next-gen combat vehicle won't be entirely self-driving. Rather, it will likely include a combination of autonomous and human-operated systems. To realize this vision, though, researchers will have to overcome a number of technical hurdles. Getting to autonomy An autonomous system would need to have reliable access to an information network in order to receive commands and relay intel to human operators. CERDEC's present work includes an effort to ensure such connections. “We need resilient comms in really radical environments — urban, desert, trees and forests. All those require new and different types of signal technologies and communications protocols,” David said. Developers also are thinking about the navigation. How would autonomous vehicles find their way in a combat environment in which adversaries could deny or degrade GPS signals? “Our role in this is to provide assured localization,” said Dr. Adam Schofield, integration systems branch chief for the positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) division. In order for autonomous systems to navigate successfully, they've got to know where they are. If they rely solely on GPS, and that signal gets compromised, “that can severely degrade the mission and the operational effectiveness,” he said. CERDEC, therefore, is developing ways to ensure that autonomous systems can find their way, using LIDAR, visual cues and a range of other detection mechanisms to supplement GPS. “We want to use all the sensors that are on there to support PNT,” Schofield said. In one scenario, for example, the combat vehicle might turn to an unmanned air asset for ISR data in order to keep itself oriented. “As that UAV goes ahead, maybe it can get a better position fix in support of that autonomous vehicle,” he said. Even as researchers work out the details around comms and navigation, they also are looking to advances in artificial intelligence, or AI, to further empower autonomy. The AI edge AI will likely be a critical component in any self-directed combat vehicle. While such vehicles will ultimately be under human control, they will also have some capacity to make decisions on their own, with AI as the software engine driving those decisions. “AI is a critical enabler of autonomy,” said CERDEC AI expert Dr. Peter Schwartz. “If autonomy is the delegation of decision-making authority, in that case to a robotic system, you need some confidence that it is going to make the right decision, that it will behave in a way that you expect.” AI can help systems to reach that level of certainty, but there's still work to be done on this front. While the basics of machine learning are well-understood, the technology still requires further adaptation in order to fulfill a military-specific mission, the CERDEC experts said. “AI isn't always good at detecting military things,” David said. “It may be great at recognizing cats, because people post millions of pictures of cats on the internet, but there isn't an equally large data set of images of adversaries hiding in bushes.” As AI strategies evolve, military planners will be looking for techniques that enable the computer to differentiate objects and actions in a military-specific context. “We need special techniques and new data sets in order to train the AI to recognize these things in all different environments,” he said. “How do you identify an enemy tank and not confuse that with an ordinary tractor trailer? There has to be some refinement in that.” Despite such technical hurdles, the CERDEC team expressed confidence that autonomy will in fact be a central feature of tomorrow's ISR capability. They say the aim is create autonomous systems that can generate tactical information in support of war-fighter needs. “As we are creating new paradigms of autonomy, we want to keep it soldier-centric,” David said. “There is filtering and analyzing involved so you don't overwhelm the user with information, so you are just providing them with the critical information they need to make a decision.”

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