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February 21, 2024 | International, Aerospace

ST Engineering unveils wheeled ground robot equipped with aerial drone

The firm completed development of the four-wheel drive electric vehicle last year, but is only now showing it to the public.

On the same subject

  • Lockheed Martin making final push for Greek frigate construction, modernization work

    March 23, 2022 | International, Naval

    Lockheed Martin making final push for Greek frigate construction, modernization work

    Greece has already committed to buying three French frigates -- but there are still a lot of gaps in its surface modernization program that Lockheed Martin is trying to fill, now that talks with Greece have been extended for six more months.

  • How Army researchers are using software and analytics to maximize battlefield power

    July 27, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    How Army researchers are using software and analytics to maximize battlefield power

    By: Todd South ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — As soldiers at every level become more connected and devices proliferate, the strain on the field-level power grid increases. Staff at the Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command dove into the finer details of power management, auto tuning and analytics to drive how soldiers use power in the field. Most of that work is focused around the tactical microgrid, basically the network of power that runs tactical operations. Think thick cables, generators and all the power that lets the computers, radios and networks run to digest the vast amounts of information, communication and other electrical needs consumed by a modern military. In the not-too-distant past, generator operators and technicians played a sophisticated guessing game that involved a clock, multimeter, flashlight and notepad to measure and mark which power supplies were running, at what level, and where they were on fuel. But by adding digital capabilities and software-driven devices into the guts of what were simple analog generators and boxes full of copper wiring and switches, they have created a type of brain for what was formerly a mindless system. That's resulted in the new Advanced Medium Mobile Power Source, the first new generator for the service in years. The combination of that device, controllers within the system, and advanced software gives the soldier a centralized place to monitor and manipulate the different devices in the microgrid that will help the flow of power move to where its needed. “I can tell you if you're using too many lights or computers on one of those three phase lines and if you're out of balance,” said Bradley Stanley, an RDECOM computer scientist. By using software to make those readings, the end user can then shift the strain to other parts of the system, maximizing power output and fuel use for what can be 24-hour, days long operations. Another software improvement in “autotuning” is helping make what can be a multi-person with expert training four-hour job into an automated procedure handled by the computer.

  • If the money is there, new and improved F-15s could be coming soon to the Air Force

    January 28, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    If the money is there, new and improved F-15s could be coming soon to the Air Force

    By: Jeff Martin IN THE AIR OVER KENTUCKY — The U.S. Air Force could buy a new version of the F-15, known as the F-15X, as long as there is enough money in future defense budgets, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Defense News Saturday. And regardless of whether the service does buy the new jets this year, Goldfein said the new aircraft won't be taking money from the Lockheed Martin F-35. “I'm not backing an inch off of the F-35” Goldfein said. “The F-35 buy that we're on continues to remain on track. And I'm not interested in taking a nickel out of it when it comes to buying anything else in the fighter portfolio.” The FY2020 defense budget has been the focus of speculation for months, and the Pentagon has still not released a final topline figure. Original planning had called for a $733 billion topline, which dwindled down to $700 billion after calls from President Donald Trump to slash federal spending and then ballooned up to $750 billion after the intervention of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. In December 2018, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Defense News that “all options are on the table," and on Saturday Goldfein acknowledged that the service had built multiple budgets as different figures were proposed. “We built the [$]730[billion] budget, and we went in and did a drill said what if we only get [$]700[billion] and what do we subtract, and what if there was a [$]750[billion] budget?” he said. Goldfein would not directly confirm that the Air Force has the money in the budget for the new planes. But he hinted strongly that the service would pull the trigger on acquiring them. The F-15X is an improved model from Boeing, teaming a new airframe with an improved radar, cockpit, electronic warfare suite and the ability to carry more missiles, bringing in upgrades that have been developed for the F-15s sold to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Late last year, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force was planning to request $1.2 billion for 12 of the fourth-generation jets in the 2020 budget request. The report said the aircraft would go to the Air National Guard to replace the olders F-15Cs, which date to the 1980s. And that age is why the Air Force is looking at a new variant. The service currently has about 230 F-15C and D model aircraft in service. However, Goldfein acknowledged those aircraft don't have the lifespan to make it to 2030 like other current fourth-generation aircraft, such as the F-15E, the F-16 and A-10. “It [has] performed brilliantly, but the cost growth runs to a point to where you're spending too much money," Goldfein said. The Air Force's decision to buy new F-15s came as a surprise late last year, as Air Force leadership had previously pushed back on the Boeing sales pitch. As recently as September 2018, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that the Air Force needed to prioritize buying fifth-generation aircraft. "We are currently 80 percent fourth-gen aircraft and 20 percent fifth-generation aircraft,” she said at the time. "In any of the fights that we have been asked to plan for, more fifth-gen aircraft make a huge difference, and we think that getting to 50-50 means not buying new fourth-gen aircraft, it means continuing to increase the fifth generation.” But, Goldfein said Saturday that the decision to possibly refresh the F-15 fleet comes down to the need for more fighters in service, regardless of generation. “They complement each other,” he said. “They each make each other better.” When asked if that meant compromising for quantity over quality, he said that would not be the case. “We've got to refresh the F-15C fleet because I can't afford to not have that capacity to do the job and the missions.” Goldfein explained. “That's what this is all about. If we're refreshing the F-15C fleet, as we're building up the F-35 fleet, this is not about any kind of a trade.” He added that Air Force needs to buy 72 fighters a year to get to the amount they need in the future — and to drive average aircraft age down from 28 years to 15 years. And while Goldfein might want all 72 to be fifth generation F-35s, budgetary concerns likely won't let that happen. “If we had the money, those would be 72 F-35s. But we've gotta look at this from a cost/business case.” he explained. “An F-15 will never be an F-35. Never. But I need capacity.”

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