17 juin 2022 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

Salon Eurosatory : les armes israéliennes s’exportent en Europe

56 entreprises israéliennes étaient présentes au salon Eurosatory. Les exportations militaires israéliennes ont battu un record en 2021 : avec 11,2 Md$, elles « ont réalisé une augmentation de 55% en deux ans », affirme le brigadier général Yair Kulas, chef de la Sibat (International Defense Cooperation Directorate du ministère de la Défense). L'Europe est le premier client, avec 41% du total des exportations, contre 30% en 2020, suivie par la région Asie-Pacifique (34%), l'Amérique du Nord (12%) et les pays du Golfe (7%). A Eurosatory, la société Elbit, notamment, a présenté « Raketa », un nouveau système radar capable de suivre plusieurs objets dans l'espace, ce qui élimine la nécessité de hiérarchiser les cibles. Israel Aircraft Industries a dévoilé l'OTHELLO-P, un nouveau système de détection de tir passif haute performance (GDS), qui augmente la capacité de survie et la capacité des troupes à riposter. 

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  • The Pentagon has cut the number of serious F-35 technical flaws in half

    24 avril 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    The Pentagon has cut the number of serious F-35 technical flaws in half

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department is slowly but surely whittling down the number of F-35 technical problems, with the fighter jet program’s most serious issues decreasing from 13 to seven over the past year. In June 2019, Defense News published an investigation delving into the details of 13 previously unreported category 1 deficiencies — the designation given to major flaws that impact safety or mission effectiveness. Following the report, five of those 13 category 1 problems have been “closed,” meaning they were eliminated or sufficiently corrected. Five were downgraded to a lower level of deficiency after actions were taken to help mitigate negative effects, and three issues remain open and unsolved, according to the F-35 program executive office. Four additional CAT 1 problems have also since been added to the list, raising the total CAT 1 deficiencies to seven. The program office declined to provide additional details about those issues for classification reasons, but stated that software updates should allow all of them to be closed by the end of 2020. “The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office is keenly aware of these existing F-35-related category 1 deficiencies and is focused on developing and implementing solutions for these issues as quickly as possible,” the program office said in response to questions from Defense News. “F-35 operator safety is the F-35 JPO’s highest priority.” In a statement to Defense News, F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin confirmed the number of open category 1 deficiencies. However, the company declined to provide further information about the path to fix current issues or how earlier issues had been ameliorated. “We are actively addressing the deficiencies and expect all to be downgraded or closed this year,” the company said. While the overall reduction in deficiencies is a promising trend, it is also important to track how problems are solved and how quickly fixes are pushed to the rest of the fleet, said Dan Grazier, an analyst with the independent watchdog group Project on Government Oversight. “I’m not surprised that they are continuing to find issues. This is why we are supposed to be testing weapon systems before we buy a whole bunch of them. I am a little surprised that we are finding CAT 1 deficiencies at this point during operational testing,” Grazier said. “I think that speaks to the level of complexity with this program that it’s taken us this long to get to this point, and even after all the testing that has been done and the time and money that has gone into this that we’re still finding category 1 issues," he added. "It shows that the program wasn’t born in the right place. It was way too ambitious from the very beginning.” Aside from four classified problems, there remain three open category 1 deficiencies in need of a fix. There are myriad reasons for that, the program office stated. “Reasons for delayed issue closure vary according to the complexity of the solution and the availability of test assets needed to verify the solution,” the JPO said. “The U.S. services fund the F-35 program to address a prioritized set of DRs [deficiency reports], while at the same time, develop new capabilities. It is likely that some low-priority DRs will never be resolved because of their minor impact on F-35 fleet operations does not justify the cost of resolution." The F-35 program office provided some details on the path forward for resolving these technical flaws, but noted that many details regarding those plans remain classified: Spikes in the F-35 cockpit’s cabin pressure have been known to cause barotrauma, or extreme ear and sinus pain. This problem was documented when two Air Force pilots, flying older versions of the F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing model, experienced ear and sinus pain that they described as “excruciating, causing loss of in-flight situational awareness, with effects lasting for months,” according to documents obtained by Defense News. The physiological event is known by the medical term barotrauma. The F-35 Joint Program Office believes barotrauma in the jet is caused when sensors on the outer mold line of the aircraft detect “rapidly changing static pressures” that, in turn, drive very quick changes of the cockpit pressure regulator valve. Lockheed Martin has tested a fix that proved to be successful in a laboratory setting, Lockheed program head Greg Ulmer said last year. But flight testing of that improvement has not occurred, slowing the pace of a solution. The F-35 program office now says flight testing of a new cockpit pressure regulation system is planned for mid-2020. If all goes well, the deficiency should be completely eliminated in 2021. On nights with little starlight, the night vision camera sometimes displays green striations that make it difficult for all F-35 variants to see the horizon or to land on ships. On nights where there is little ambient light, horizontal green lines sometimes appear on the night vision camera feed, obscuring the horizon and making landing on a ship more dangerous. The problem is different than the notorious “green glow” issue, caused when the F-35 helmet-mounted display’s LED lights produce a greenish luminescence that inhibits a pilot’s ability to land on an aircraft carrier on nights with very little light. At one point, both Lockheed and the government’s program office believed both problems could be solved by the F-35 Generation III helmet that the U.S. military began fielding last year. Although the program office no longer considers the “green glow” problem a deficiency, it appears that the new helmet did not completely solve the night vision camera issue. The program office told Defense News that it intends to develop software improvements and test them in flight later this year, but the deficiency will not be considered “closed” until at least 2021. The sea search mode of the F-35’s radar only illuminates a small slice of the sea’s surface. Unlike the other problems, which are the result of the contractor not meeting technical specifications or the jet not working as planned, this deficiency is on the books even though the jet’s Northrop Grumman-made AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array radar fulfills its requirements. Currently, the radar can only illuminate what is directly in front of it when in sea search mode. That performance is not good enough for the Navy, which wants to be able to search a wider area than is currently possible. Although this problem can be fixed with software modifications and an upgrade to the radar’s processing power, it will continue to be on the books for some time. According to the program office, “[the] U.S. services agreed to plan for an improved radar mode, which will require the Technology Refresh-1 avionics update, for software release in [calendar year] 2024.” ‘A line in the sand’ Although Defense Department and military leaders have criticized the F-35 program for high operations and sustainment costs, the operational community has rallied around the performance of the jet, praising its advanced computing capability that allows the aircraft to mesh together data from different sensors and provide a more complete picture of enemy threats. Brig. Gen. David Abba, who leads the Air Force’s F-35 integration office, said in March that he was comfortable with the path forward to correct open deficiencies, downplaying the impact of those issues on daily operations. “Is it important to hold folks’ feet to the fire and make sure that we’re delivering on the capabilities that we need? Yes,” he said. But, he added, it’s also difficult to balance the need to meet a stated technical requirement against the reality of a fielded technology that may already be performing well in daily operations. “That’s the crux of the acquisition and the delivery problem that we have,” Abba said. “When we say ‘I need this to work exactly like this,’ I’m drawing a line in the sand. If I’m a half degree on one side of that line versus the other, is it really that different? That’s where the art comes in.” “We’ve got to kind of get over ourselves a little bit and acknowledge that we never field perfect weapon systems,” he continued. “I don’t want to diminish the fact that it’s critical that we get after open DRs, but every weapon system in the United States Air Force — and frankly around the planet — has open deficiencies. What matters is the severity of those deficiencies and ensuring that we have a robust process between government and industry to triage those and deal with them appropriately.” Aaron Mehta and David B. Larter contributed to this report. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/hidden-troubles-f35/2020/04/24/the-pentagon-has-cut-the-number-of-serious-f-35-technical-flaws-in-half/

  • This company wants to launch satellites into space via drone

    4 décembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    This company wants to launch satellites into space via drone

    Nathan Strout WASHINGTON — Could drones hold the answer to putting satellites on orbit faster? Space logistics company Aevum is betting on it with its new Ravn X drone, which it built in the hopes of launching rockets into orbit every three hours. “Aevum is completely reimagining access to space,” said Jay Skylus, Aevum’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement unveiling the new launch solution Dec. 3. “U.S. leadership has identified the critical need for extremely fast access to low Earth orbit. We’re faster than anybody. “Through our autonomous technologies, Aevum will shorten the lead time of launches from years to months, and when our customers demand it, minutes,” he added. Founded in 2016, the company has been developing its product in stealth mode for years. On Dec. 3, they officially unveiled the new Ravn X autonomous launch solution ― an 80-foot long drone designed to launch small payloads into low Earth orbit. The company has yet to conduct its first test flight but is working toward airworthiness certification. Leaders hope to launch a payload for the military before the end of 2021. “We have a small launch vehicle that’s more or less designed from scratch to be reusable and for responsive space access,” Skylus told C4ISRNET in an interview. “We do this by operating this sort of three stage launch vehicle stack. The first stage is an unmanned aircraft that is completely autonomous. The second and third stages are rocket systems.” Following take off, the drone rises to between 30,000 and 60,000 feet, where the rocket separates and ignites, launching the payload into orbit. Ravn X can take off and land horizontally on any airstrip at least one mile long. “The entire system is designed for a turnaround time and response time of about 180 minutes,” Skylus explained. The idea of launching satellites into space from the air isn’t a new concept. For example, Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus rocket ― designed to be launched into orbit from a carrier aircraft ― has been used for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Air Force and NASA missions since the 1990s, with the most recent mission taking place in October 2019. A more recent entrant into the air-launch-to-orbit arena is Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket. The company’s first test flight, which failed to reach orbit, was conducted in May 2020. Aevum thinks of itself as taking the concept one step further by adding autonomy to the launch process. “This entire process is more or less fully autonomous, and this allows us to basically reduce the cost of labor that’s required by about 90 percent,” said Skylus. Aevum’s approach also gets at one of the most frustrating issues with launch: weather. In 2018, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced the DARPA Launch Challenge, where small launch companies were asked to show that they could put a payload into space within just 30 days. While about 50 companies applied, by 2019 their were only three companies remaining in the competition. By 2020, there was just one: Astra Space. The company came close to achieving its goal, ultimately failing after inclement weather forced them to scrub multiple launch attempts. Ravn X is largely impervious to those issues. “Because of the architecture, we’re really not dependent on weather and those types of things. We expect to be available more than 96 percent of the year,” said Skylus. The company is already drawing attention from the Department of Defense. Ravn X’s first mission will be the ASLON-45 mission for the U.S. Space Force, a $5 million contract. With that mission, the focus is on showing how the company can get a payload into orbit in 24 hours or less, said Skylus. That launch is expected to be complete before the end of 2021. In addition, the company has received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award, a classified contract, and is one of eight company’s to receive a $986 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for Orbital Services Program-4. “I’m excited to see the bold innovation and responsiveness in development today by our small launch industry partners to support emerging war fighter needs” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, Chief of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Small Launch and Targets Division, in a statement coordinated with Aevum’s announcement. “The U.S. Space Force is proactively partnering with industry to support U.S. space superiority objectives. Having a robust U.S. industry providing responsive launch capability is key to ensuring the U.S. Space Force can respond to future threats.” The Pentagon has been pushing industry for responsive launch solutions, ensuring that they can place payloads into orbit with little notice. Aevum’s focus on software and automation gives them an edge in meeting those elusive responsive launch requirements, Skylus said. “The responsive space launch type of problem has been a problem for several decades now, and the government has been seeking a solution to this. While others, our peers, are trying to tackle this from a technology/engineering perspective, Aevum is really tackling the problem from a system level perspective,” said Skylus. That’s meant taking proven hardware solutions and applying autonomous software solutions to the ground processes and mission assurance elements. “If you look at our financials and things like that, we really do look more like a software company as opposed to a launch company,” said Skylus. “Which is great, because that means we’re profitable right out of the gate.” For Aevum, the focus is on being that dependable, responsive launch service, and that may come at a premium for prospective customers, including the Pentagon. “We’re not looking to be the lowest cost provider. That was never something that we claimed to be,” said Skylus. “Our focus has been: How do we make sure that we can go when our customers need to go? “Our niche market is going to be composed of customers like the Department of Defense who can’t afford to wait a week to gather intel … Or a customer like a commercial constellation customer who if they’re down for over a week, they’re going to lose more in revenue than they would be willing to pay for a launch,” he continued. “Those are the customers that we’re really targeting.” https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/space/2020/12/03/this-company-wants-to-launch-satellites-into-space-via-drone/

  • In the future, your uniform will track you | Military Times Reports

    13 juillet 2021 | International, C4ISR

    In the future, your uniform will track you | Military Times Reports

    In the future, commanders will be able to track the conditions of their soldiers using computers woven into their uniforms. Heart rate, body temperature, even exposure to chemical threats can be recorded and transmitted thousands of miles to back to command. Military Times enterprise reporter Todd South has more on this program being developed in a joint venture between MIT and the Army.

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