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  • National Defence to undertake urban training experiments in downtown Montreal

    September 5, 2018 | Local, Land

    National Defence to undertake urban training experiments in downtown Montreal

    September 4, 2018 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces From September 10 to 21, 2018, Canadian defence scientists and Canadian Armed Forces personnel will be conducting a series of technology research experiments in the city of Montreal alongside participants from partner nations including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Activities will include testing and assessing new technologies in various urban environments and landscapes. The Contested Urban Environment 2018 experiment (CUE 18) will take place around the Côte-des-Neiges Armoury, around Belvedere Kondiaronk on Mont Royal, along rue de la Montagne, and at Silo 5 in the Old Port area. Most of the activity will happen during the day, however, there will be also be periods of testing at night. All military personnel participating in the CUE 18 experiment will be unarmed. This activity is being conducted in support of advancing research around how to best conduct military operations in urban environments. Measures are being taken to ensure minimum inconvenience to those in the area, however the public is advised that certain areas may be inaccessible during CUE 18 experiment. Questions concerning local issues including traffic disturbances, road closures etc. should be directed to the City of Montreal. Questions from the public regarding the experiment can be directed to Department of National Defence’s science and technology organization, Defence Research Development Canada at CUE18_EUC18@forces.gc.ca. Questions from media can be directed to the Department of National Defence’s Media Relations Office at mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca.

  • Germany Radically Overhauling Military

    September 5, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Germany Radically Overhauling Military

    LONDON—The German defense ministry says it has begun a radical restructuring of the country’s armed forces to better prepare it for modernization and an uptick in defense ... Full article: http://aviationweek.com/awindefense/germany-radically-overhauling-military

  • Marines want electroshock rounds to fire from standard weapons

    September 5, 2018 | International, Land

    Marines want electroshock rounds to fire from standard weapons

    By: Todd South Marines have dazzling laser lights to wave off unwanted intruders at checkpoints and close-range police-style Tasers for crowd control. But what about when a Marine needs to reach out and shock someone? A new notice posted on the Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research website shows that the Marines are looking for a Taser round that can be fired from conventional weapons such as 9 mm pistols, 12-gauge shotguns or even 40 mm grenade launchers, first reported by The National Interest. This request for Small Arms Long-Range Human Electro-Muscular Incapacitation Munition, or HEMI, is one of a range of nonlethal weapons sought and being fielded by all the services. The Army announced in June it would acquire a paintball-type gun that fires a round that releases a “debilitating cloud” of irritant, much like hot sauce. Earlier this year at a Pentagon showcase, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program displayed concepts and prototypes of weapons, specifically lasers, that would do everything from heat a person’s skin from a distance to create a plasma ball at any location that can “talk” to a target to ward it away from a restricted area. Full article: https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2018/09/04/marines-want-electroshock-rounds-to-fire-from-standard-weapons

  • New military drone roadmap ambivalent on killer robots

    September 4, 2018 | International, Land, C4ISR

    New military drone roadmap ambivalent on killer robots

    By: Kelsey Atherton Drones are everywhere in the Pentagon today. While unpeopled vehicles are most closely associated with the Air Force and targeted killing campaigns, remotely controlled robots are in every branch of the military and used across all combatant commands. The fiscal year 2018 defense authorization contained the largest budget for drones and robots across the services ever, a sign of just how much of modern warfare involves these machines. Which is perhaps why, when the Department of Defense released its latest roadmap for unmanned systems, the map came in at a punchy 60 pages, far shy of the 160-page tome released in 2013. This is a document less about a military imagining a future of flying robots and more about managing a present that includes them. The normalization of battlefield robots Promised since at least spring 2017, the new roadmap focuses on interoperability, autonomy, network security and human-machine collaboration. The future of drones, and of unpeopled ground vehicles or water vehicles, is as tools that anyone can use, that can do most of what is asked of them on their own, that communicate without giving away the information they are sharing, and that will work to make the humans using the machines function as more-than-human. This is about a normalization of battlefield robots, the same way that mechanized warfare moved from a theoretical approach to the standard style of fighting by nations a few generations ago. Network security isn’t as flashy a highlight as “unprecedented battlefield surveillance by flying robot,” but it’s part of making sure that those flying cameras don’t, say, transmit easily intercepted data over an open channel. “Future warfare will hinge on critical and efficient interactions between war-fighting systems,” states the roadmap. “This interoperable foundation will transmit timely information between information gatherers, decision makers, planners and war fighters.” A network is nothing without its nodes, and the nodes that need to be interoperable here are a vast web of sensors and weapons, distributed among people and machines, that will have to work in concert in order to be worth the networking at all. The very nature of war trends toward pulling apart networks, toward isolation. Those nodes each become a point at which a network can be broken, unless they are redundant or autonomous. Where will the lethal decision lie? Nestled in the section on autonomy, the other signpost feature of the Pentagon’s roadmap, is a small chart about the way forward. In that chart is a little box labeled “weaponization,” and in that box it says the near-term goals are DoD strategy assessment and lethal autonomous weapon systems assessment. Lethal autonomous weapon systems are of such international concern that there is a meeting of state dignitaries and humanitarian officials in Geneva happening at the exact moment this roadmap was released. That intergovernmental body is hoping to decide whether or not militaries will develop robots that can kill of their own volition, according to however they’ve been programmed. The Pentagon, at least in the roadmap, seems content to wait for its own assessment and the verdict of the international community before developing thinking weapons. Hedging on this, the same chart lists “Armed Wingman/Teammate (Human decision to engage)” as the goal for somewhere between 2029 and 2042. “Unmanned systems with integrated AI, acting as a wingman or teammate with lethal armament could perform the vast majority of the actions associated with target identification,tracking, threat prioritization, and post-attack assessment," reads the report. "This level of automation will alleviate the human operator of task-level activities associated with the engagement of a target, allowing the operator to focus on the identified threat and the decision to engage.” The roadmap sketches out a vision of future war that hands off many decisions to autonomous machines, everything from detection to targeting, then loops the lethal decision back to a human responsible for making the call on whether or not the robot should use its weapons on the targets it selected. Humans as battlefield bot-shepards, guiding autonomous machines into combat and signing off on the exact attacks, is a possible future for robots in war, one that likely skirts within the boundaries of still-unsettled international law. Like its predecessor, this drone roadmap is plotting a rough path through newly charted territory. While it leans heavily on the lessons of the present, the roadmap doesn’t attempt to answer on its own the biggest questions of what robots will be doing on the battlefields of tomorrow. That is, fundamentally, a political question, and one that much of the American public itself doesn’t yet have strong feelings about. https://www.c4isrnet.com/unmanned/2018/08/31/new-military-drone-roadmap-ambivalent-on-killer-robots

  • Russia, U.S. Are In a Military Exoskeleton Race

    September 4, 2018 | International, Land, C4ISR

    Russia, U.S. Are In a Military Exoskeleton Race

    By Patrick Tucker A look at the Iron Man-like dreams and power-starved realities of dueling technology programs. The Russian suit, Ratnik-3, is an imposing web of hexagonal armor plates, black webbing, and small joint motors called actuators. Oleg Faustov, an engineer working with weapons maker TsNiiTochMash, told Russian media outlet TASS this week that the government had already tested a prototype. “It really enhances a serviceman’s physical abilities. For example, the tester was able to shoot from a machine-gun only with one hand and accurately hit targets,” he said at Russia’s recent Army-2018 weapons show. As part of the Army-2018 publicity push, the makers of the suit also made vague and unverifiable claims that it had seen actual combat, according to Sam Bendett, an associate research analyst at CNA and a fellow in Russia studies at the American Foreign Policy Council. “It was interesting that the Russian announcement during Army-2018 stated that the exoskeleton was ‘tested in combat,’ though without any specific details. It’s likely that it was tried in Syria, though the press and media did not cover that development,” he said. While the statement came from the suit’s maker, Bendett said he assumes the claim “had to be approved by the state given the combat claims.” The suit is supposed be officially released in 2025. In addition to an almost comically Black Manta-esque helmet, the Ratnik-3 features “40 life-saving elements,” Russian media says. In many ways, it  resembles some of the more recent concept images of the TALOS suit that U.S. Special Operations Forces Command, or SOCOM, is attempting to develop. In both, all those bells and whistles seem to be an obstacle to the suit reaching full utility. Both the Ratnik-3 and TALOS efforts seem constrained by available power. “There are issues with the battery and energy sources for this exoskeleton, as Russia—along with other nations working on this—are trying to create  a compact energy source that would allow the soldiers to act independent of any stationary or vehicle-borne sources of energy,” Bendett said. Even Russian media have noted the suit’s power constraints, noting that a battery life of less than four hours isn’t super practical for a day of marching. A forthcoming series of reports from the Center for New American Security, or CNA, takes a deep dive into the issue of soldier augmentation and reaches a similar conclusion. “The current state of technology still does not have sufficient power to manage the intense load-carrying capacity that the SOCOM TALOS suit concept requires…and development is needed before full-body exoskeletons will be feasible for infantry combat away from a reliable power source. Still, these advances represent a major step forward in the necessary technology for dismounted soldier exoskeletons,” notes the report. While size and power constraints are hindering the realization of militaries’ most ambitious Iron Man dreams, more modest exoskeleton suits are moving closer to real-world use. The U.S.Army is experimenting with two exoskeleton designs at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts. These won’t protect soldiers from enemy fire but they will help soldiers carry more stuff for longer. And they’ll likely be on the battlefield far sooner.   “Exoskeletons with more modest goals, such as lower-body exoskeletons that are designed simply to increase mobility, reduce energy expenditure, and reduce musculoskeletal injuries, may show more promise in the near-term,” according to the CNAS report. The larger of the two is the ONYX from Lockheed Martin. At a Pentagon event in May, Defense One caught up with Keith Maxwell, a product manager from Lockheed Martin, who described the results of initial tests in November, 2016. “We did an evaluation with some soldiers. They were doing 185-pound squats with the barbell. At the beginning of the day, fresh, Johnny comes in and does 26 reps at 185, puts it down. hat’s as many as he can do. We put this on; over the course of the day, he’s doing casualty evacuations, carrying people up five flights of stairs and down, going through subterranean tunnels. At the end of the day, we put him back in the gym, ask him, ‘How many squats can you do?’ He knocks out 72.” Full article: https://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2018/09/russia-us-are-military-exoskeleton-race/150956/

  • No need to ensure purchased military equipment actually works, government officials argue in procurement dispute

    September 4, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    No need to ensure purchased military equipment actually works, government officials argue in procurement dispute

    David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen Officials admit they have never tested the latest search and rescue gear to be used by the military and coast guard Canada is under no obligation to ensure the military equipment it purchases can actually do the job, federal officials are arguing, as they admit they have never tested the latest search and rescue gear to be used by the military and coast guard. The admission by staff of Public Services and Procurement Canada is among the evidence in a complaint by two defence firms that argue the government’s decision to award a contract to a rival company was unfair. The complaint was filed on July 27 with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal by Kongsberg Geospatial of Ottawa on behalf of Critical Software, a Portuguese firm. The complaint centres on the government decision to name MDA Systems the winner of a $5.6 million contract to provide software to help in search and rescue missions. Critical Software, which teamed with Kongsberg to bid on the project, had originally raised concerns with the government about why the two companies’ proposal was thrown out on a technicality. The Critical Software system is used by more than 1,000 organizations, such as coast guards, police and military in more than 30 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. But because Critical Software and Kongsberg didn’t provide a percentage figure of how many systems were in use in each region, their bid was disqualified by the government. The two companies questioned that decision and were stunned when federal officials admitted they have never tested the winning system and didn’t actually know whether it meets the requirements of the Canadian Forces or the Canadian Coast Guard. Public Service and Procurement Canada officials stated “Canada may, but will have no obligation, to require that the top-ranked Bidder demonstrate any features, functionality and capabilities described in this bid solicitation or in its bid,” according to the federal response provided to Kongsberg/Critical Software and included in its complaint to the trade tribunal. The government noted in its response that such an evaluation would be conducted after the contract was awarded and insisted the acquisition process was fair and open. Full article: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/no-need-to-ensure-military-equipment-purchased-actually-works-government-officials-argue-in-procurement-dispute

  • LANCEMENT OFFICIEL DE L'AGENCE DE L'INNOVATION DE DÉFENSE

    August 31, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    LANCEMENT OFFICIEL DE L'AGENCE DE L'INNOVATION DE DÉFENSE

    RÉDIGÉ PAR  JACQUES MAROUANI L’Agence pour l’innovation de défense sera officiellement créée le 1er septembre.   L’Université d’été du Mouvement des Entreprises de France [MEDEF] a été une l'occasion pour la ministre des Armées, Florence Parly, a annoncé le lancement officiel de l'Agence de l'innovation de défense, sorte de « Darpa à la française ». La Darpa est l’agence américaine dédiée à l’innovation dans le secteur de la défense. « Rattachée à la DGA, elle sera chargée de fédérer tous les acteurs de l’innovation de défense, piloter la politique de recherche, technologie et innovation du ministère et l’ensemble des dispositifs d’innovation. Elle générera à terme le budget de la recherche et de l’innovation du ministère des armées, qui passera de 730 millions d’euros par an actuellement à un milliard d’euros d’ici à 2022 », avait expliqué Mme Parly, lors de l'annonce de sa création en mars dernier. Devant le Medef, la ministre a précisé la feuille de route de cette agence pour l’innovation de défense. Elle aura à « rassembler tous les acteurs du ministère et tous les programmes de soutien à l’innovation, tout en étant ouverte sur l’extérieur et « tournée vers l’Europe, a-t-elle dit. Emmanuel Chiva a été nommé à la tête de cette Agence pour l’innovation de défense. Normalien, docteur en bio-informatique, entrepreneur à succès (notamment dans la simulation numérique), ancien auditeur de l’Institut des hautes études de défense nationale (IHEDN) et capitaine de frégate de réserve, M. Chiva est un passionné des nouvelles technologies appliquées au monde militaire. En outre, il était jusqu’à présent le président de la commission chargée de la prospective et de la préparation de l’avenir au sein du Gicat et membre du conseil de surveillance de Def’Invest, un fonds d’investissement du ministère des Armées dédié aux PME stratégiques. Par ailleurs, le ministère des Armées va lancer, à l’automne, un « grand forum de l’innovation de défense » qui rassemblera « industriels PME, start-up, chercheurs, investisseurs, acteurs public. http://www.electronique.biz/component/k2/item/62831-lancement-officiel-de-l-agence-de-l-innovation-de-defense

  • No sandbags needed: Marines 3D print a barracks room in 40 hours

    August 31, 2018 | International, Land

    No sandbags needed: Marines 3D print a barracks room in 40 hours

    By: Neil Fotre The Additive Manufacturing Team at Marine Corps Systems Command and Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Force operated the world’s largest concrete 3D printer at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois, according to the Marine Corps. The combined force effort was used to 3D print a 500-square-foot barracks hut. “This exercise had never been done before," Additive Manufacturing’s project officer Capt. Matthew Friedell said in a news release. "People have printed buildings and large structures, but they haven’t done it onsite and all at once. This is the first-in-the-world, onsite continuous concrete print.” Full article: https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2018/08/30/no-sandbags-needed-marines-3d-print-a-barracks-room-in-40-hours

  • The Army is looking for a new all-around vehicle that can swim, climb and charge through snow

    August 31, 2018 | International, Land

    The Army is looking for a new all-around vehicle that can swim, climb and charge through snow

    By: Todd South After more than 40 years of service, the robust little all-terrain vehicle that can climb mountains, ford rivers and churn through snow needs replacing. And the Army, Marines and National Guard are asking industry to give them a new ride. Back in June, Army Contracting Command officials put out a Request for Information for industry to share what they think can replace the Small Unit Support Vehicle, a tracked vehicle that’s been in service since the mid-1970s. At one point, there were 1,100 of them in the U.S. military inventory. Now, only a few dozen remain, mostly in service in cold weather areas such as U.S. Army Alaska. The new program to replace the SUSV has been dubbed the “Joint All Weather All Terrain Support Vehicle," or JAASV. So far, Army officials have only asked for information, but they are expected to issue a proposal with more detailed requests for requirements and timelines from industry in the coming weeks or months. The upgrade and replacement are important for a variety of reasons, some of which are near-term, such as National Guard disaster response to blizzards, floods and fires, which can’t be navigated easily by the current Humvee fleet. Others are for mobility in the Arctic. Leaders are shifting training and resources back to the Arctic as Russia has beefed up its capabilities and manpower in the region in recent years, from new units and commands to upgraded equipment and weaponry. BAE Systems built the original SUSV, or Bv206, and has since built a modernized version called the BvS10 in both armored and unarmored types. The newer model has been fielded to military units in the United Kingdom, Norway, France and the Netherlands. It has seen real-world operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans on NATO missions, according to company officials. Last year, ST Kinetics unveiled its own version of a small, all-terrain tracked vehicle, called the Bronco 3, at DESI, a defense conference in London, England, according to Army Times sister publication Defense News. Full article: https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/08/30/the-army-is-looking-for-a-new-all-around-vehicle-that-can-swim-climb-and-charge-through-snow

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