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  • Pence outlines plan to create U.S. Space Force by 2020

    August 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Pence outlines plan to create U.S. Space Force by 2020

    Proposal to create new military service requires approval from Congress Faced with growing competition and threats from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday said it will create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military service by 2020. Vice-President Mike Pence told a Pentagon audience that the plan fulfils President Donald Trump's vow to ensure America's dominance in space — a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested that has now become crowded and adversarial. "Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where America's best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation," said Pence. "The time has come to establish the United States Space Force." Trump marked Pence's announcement with a tweet. Trump has called for a "separate but equal" space force, a complicated and expensive move that requires congressional approval. On Thursday, Pence said the administration will work with Congress on the plan and outline a budget next year. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed steps to reorganize the military's space war-fighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching an expensive, new service. A new branch of the military would require layers of bureaucracy, military and civilian leaders, uniforms, equipment and an expansive support structure. Full article:

  • DoD Announces DESI Awards for University-Industry Collaborations

    August 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    DoD Announces DESI Awards for University-Industry Collaborations

    WASHINGTON -- Five university-industry teams have been selected for the Defense Enterprise Science Initiative, known as DESI, Defense Department officials announced today. DESI is a pilot program supporting university-industry research collaboration focused on accelerating the impact of basic research on defense capabilities. DESI’s goals are twofold, officials said. First, it seeks to foster sustainable university-industry partnerships to identify and apply new discoveries and knowledge on existing capabilities and address technological gaps. DESI also aims to charter a new pathway to accelerate the transfer of basic research to innovative technologies and complement the department’s other basic research programs such as the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative and the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. “Programs like DESI are vital to foster collaboration in the research ecosystem and accelerate the transition of ground-breaking basic science to transformative capabilities,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, deputy director for basic research. “I look forward to seeing how these teams can help us address our unique and challenging defense problem sets.” Each team will receive up to $1.5 million over two years to further fundamental knowledge and understanding in the context of end-use applications. Full Article:

  • Studies Seek to Industrialize Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace

    August 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Studies Seek to Industrialize Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace

    Lindsay Bjerregaard Oerlikon is partnering with Boeing and Lufthansa Technik to research standardization and qualification of additive manufacturing processes. Oerlikon is pairing up with major aerospace players to make additive manufacturing (AM) a more feasible option for industrialization. The Swiss technology and engineering group has signed agreements this year with Lufthansa Technik (LHT) and Boeing to collaborate on research into ways AM for aerospace can be more easily standardized and qualified.  The most recent of these agreements is the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with LHT, which aims to establish “robust and repeatable processes for AM in the aircraft MRO industry.” According to a spokesperson for Oerlikon, the collaboration’s research seeks to understand what process variability exists when the same component geometries are built on the same machine using the same powder batch, heat treatment, testing conditions and build parameters in different global locations. Oerlikon and LHT will print these components using an Oerlikon-produced IN718 powder alloy on identical printers at LHT Hamburg and Oerlikon’s locations in Charlotte, North Carolina and Barleben, Germany. Once the variables are identified, the study’s objective is to understand how they can be controlled to achieve repeatable processes—which will ensure that all parts meet quality requirements and reduce the cost of recurring quality validation, according to Oerlikon. The company says this repeatability could also provide potential savings in procurement, warehousing and supply chain management. For now, the partnership is set for a one-year period, but the companies say the scope and timeframe is likely to increase. Meeting the challenges of qualifying AM materials and processes for aerospace is also at the heart of Oerlikon’s collaboration agreement with Boeing. The five-year agreement, which was signed in February, seeks to develop standard materials and processes for metal-based AM. The collaboration’s research will initially focus on industrializing titanium powder bed fusion AM. The companies say that in addition to meeting qualification challenges, it will enable them to “provide a route for the adoption of AM with a qualified supply chain that achieves quality and cost targets.” Full Article:

  • MDA director provides rough sketch of possible space-based missile defense sensor layer

    August 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    MDA director provides rough sketch of possible space-based missile defense sensor layer

    By: Jen Judson  HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Missile defense leaders within the Pentagon as well as Congress are pushing for more missile defense capability in space and the Missile Defense Agency Director Gen. Samuel Greaves laid out a rough idea of what a space-based missile defense sensor layercould look like. The missile defense community has been talking “seriously” about a sensor layer in space “actively over the last year,” Greaves said in an August 8 speech at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium. While many decisions still have to be made regarding requirements definitions, development paths and the acquisition process, “the key thing,” Greaves said, “is that there is serious consideration and support being given to the need to deploy these space sensors because we must do so.” Greaves laid out a very rough sketch of what the agency is looking for to build a robust sensor layer. First, the MDA might use something like a current system from the U.S. Air Force — the Overhead Persistent Infrared OPIR Global Scanning system — to alert and characterize activity in space, essentially “to be the bell ringer if something is going on,” Greaves said. Full Article:

  • UK reports massive uptick in defense exports

    August 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    UK reports massive uptick in defense exports

    By: Andrew Chuter LONDON — Britain’s defense exports recorded a massive 53 percent uptick in 2017, figures released by the government show. The Defence Security Organisation posted the figures, without any fanfare, on their website at the end of last month, showing British defense companies secured exports valued at £9 billion ($11.59 billion) last year; it’s the second largest annual export success in the last decade. The defense sales figures bounced back from a poor performance in 2016 when associated exports totalled £5.9 billion. “The U.K.’s strong performance equates to a third-placed ranking globally, up from fourth in 2016, and is a considerable achievement,” said the DSO. The British success came against a background of a surge in defense exports globally. The DSO said total overseas sales by countries around the world reached a 10-year high at around $98 billion in 2017. Full Article:

  • Former NFL star leading the charge for the Army’s new helmet system

    August 9, 2018 | International, Land

    Former NFL star leading the charge for the Army’s new helmet system

    By: J.D. Simkins and Todd South A company founded by a former Washington Redskins all-pro has been tasked with designing next-level padding technology to protect troops from impacts and blasts that can cause brain trauma. The Army recently announced a $600,000 contract award for a new combat helmet padding system to Windpact, an impact technology company founded by former Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs. The contract falls under the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center program to improve soldier equipment. With the contract, Windpact aims to replace existing combat helmet impact systems with its patented Crash Cloud technology, an impact pad that uses a combination of foam and controlled air flow to provide enhanced protection at varying impact rates, according to a release. “I’m excited, because obviously when you’re talking about the military, you’re wanting to do something better for these soldiers who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries, concussions and any other forceful impacts ranging from bomb blasts to Humvee accidents,” Springs told Military Times. Full Article:

  • Missile defense info sharing with allies still a challenge as need to operate together grows

    August 9, 2018 | International, Land

    Missile defense info sharing with allies still a challenge as need to operate together grows

    By: Jen Judson  HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The U.S. is seeing the need more and more to become increasingly interoperable with allies when it comes to missile defense, but there are many challenges still to overcome, according to a panel of former and current missile defense stakeholders at the August 7 Defense News Missile Defense Networking Reception. “Probably the challenge that we struggle with the most with regards to our foreign partners is increasing and enhancing our cross-domain solution capability,” Col. Francisco Lozano, the Army’s project manager for the service’s Lower Tier Project office within the Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, said. “So not only just the ability to share information between our international partners in a given combat scenario but actually to do it at a high enough fast data rate so that the information is relevant and actionable.” The Army has worked toward this in exercises in Europe specifically, not just focusing on missile defense, but all levels of information sharing as it attempts to tie together systems and networks so, if the coalition had to respond in a crisis, information would flow more freely and in a more timely fashion for allies and partners to fight together. “So that becomes important for us to continue to improve, especially as just U.S. defense systems in general proliferate across multiple different countries” Lozano said. The colonel noted that the Army is finding ways to learn from its partners and allies that are involved in regular combat operations even if they are not directly connected system-to-system. “We stay tied in very closely with them and it has become a great partnership situation where we are continuing and able to work very closely in their country to understand the execution of engagements, what impacts are on certain systems and certain environments operated 24/7 for very long periods of time, understand the relevancy of certain threats and how those threats are employed and then improve those through [tactics, techniques and procedures] and [concepts of operations] not only for a given country but also for ourselves,” Lozano said.

  • Military researchers think spider silk may keep US troops lighter and cooler in combat

    August 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land

    Military researchers think spider silk may keep US troops lighter and cooler in combat

    Christopher Woody\ Researchers are looking at ways to lighten the load troops carry in the field and better regulate their temperatures. Synthetics like artificial spider silk are one material they're looking at for that purpose. Scientists have often found military applications in strange substances found in nature or made in labs. The silk spiders produce is tougher than Kevlar and more flexible than nylon, and Air Force researchers think it could it could be key to creating new materials that take the load and heat off troops in the field. Scientists at the Air Force Research Lab and Purdue University have been examining natural silk to get a sense of its ability to regulate temperature — silk can drop 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit through passive radiative cooling, which means radiating more heat than it absorbs, according to an Air Force news release. Those researchers want to apply that property to synthetics, like artificial spider silk, which is stronger than Kevlar, the polymer typically used in body armor, and more flexible than nylon. Enhancing body armor and adding comfort for troops is one of many improvements hoped for by a team led by Dr. Augustine Urbas, a researcher in the Functional Materials Division of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. "Understanding natural silk will enable us to engineer multifunctional fibers with exponential possibilities. The ultra-strong fibers outperform the mechanical characteristics of many synthetic materials as well as steel," Urbas said in the release. "These materials could be the future in comfort and strength in body armor and parachute material for the warfighter."

  • UK welcomes US participation in Tempest fighter jet concept

    August 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    UK welcomes US participation in Tempest fighter jet concept

    Pat Host   The United Kingdom plans to work closely with US industry as it develops its next-generation Tempest fighter jet concept, according to the UK defence secretary. “We have a great tradition at producing the best fighters in the world and we have a great tradition of having that national sovereign capability, and we are never going to be wanting to surrender that,” Gavin Williamson told an audience on 7 August at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington. “In terms of actually working with international partners, we’re very open to it.” Williamson announced the Tempest concept in mid-July at the UK Farnborough International Airshow. The Tempest team currently comprises BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA, and Rolls-Royce. The United Kingdom wants a Tempest business case by the end of the year, a final investment decision by 2025, and the aircraft flying by 2035. The United States is home to leading fighter jet companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Lockheed Martin is developing the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), developed the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor, and supports the F-16 Fighting Falcon while Boeing supports the F-15 Eagle. The United Kingdom is a partner on the F-35 programme. There is already international interest in Tempest. Japan has approached the United Kingdom about participating, having had an “exchange of opinions” about the possibility of a joint air combat project. Japan is looking to replace its Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) Mitsubishi F-2 fighters.

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