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  • What reduced size, weight and power mean on the battlefield

    22 août 2018 | International, C4ISR

    What reduced size, weight and power mean on the battlefield

    Computers on the battlefield take a beating. Beyond the everyday wear and tear, they also must endure extreme temperatures and often violent vibrations. To help ensure its systems give soldiers and commanders the information they need, the Army relies on its Mounted Family of Computer Systems program. Known as MfoCS, pronounced em-fox, the program covers detachable tablets to fully-loaded, vehicle-mounted workstations. C4ISRNET spoke recently with Bill Guyan, vice president of business development for Leonardo DRS, about advances in battlefield computing. C4ISRNET: We hear a lot about a new emphasis on the hardening of security of contractors. And not just contractors, but primes, and then their contractors. Obviously this has become a point of concern for DOD leadership. Bill Guyan: One of the big areas of emphasis for the Army in the procurement of the [Mounted Family of Computer Systems] (MFoCS) and particularly MFoC2 II, were areas related to security, both from a cyber security standpoint and the ability to assure that the system was free from malware or any external threat. So there's a very comprehensive supply chain risk management strategy put in place and for this program we believe that this is the most secure edge computing system that the Army's ever purchased. It's absolutely critical that it be so, since ultimately there will be somewhere between a 100,000 and 125,000 of these systems fielded across the Army and Marine Corps, at the edge of the battlefield with each one of these systems serving as potential on ramp to the network and in an area of situational awareness that is absolutely mission critical. There was a time when we derived quick benefit from having an advantage and a capability that our opponents didn't. And over time the capability has evolved from a nice to have capability to a mission critical capability that we'd be hard pressed to fight without. C4ISRNET: The Army has put a lot of emphasis on size, weight and power. Can you explain how that manifests itself on the battlefield? Guyan: We optimize size, weight and power in two ways. At the hardware level we optimize by staying at the leading edge of available technologies, available commercial technologies and rapidly adapting and adopting them for employment in this mission critical extreme environment. The computers and displays are the soldiers' path to the network. It has to work at -40 centigrade and it has to work at 80 degrees centigrade. It has to work in extreme vibration and it has to work in contested EMI environments. It has to work all the time. For example, we led the charge in the adoption and fielding of solid state hard drives versus rotating media, which allowed us to not only improve the resiliency of the system, but also to reduce size, because we no longer have to isolate the rotating hard drive from the shock and vibration. We also migrated from the old backlight technology to an LED backlight, which is much more reliable, particularly in shock vibration at temperature extremes. But it also requires far less power. The other thing that we've been able to do is rapidly adapt the latest processor technologies when they're available. Of course, processors continue to get faster, smaller, and use less power. We're able to make sure that every generation of system can deliver more computing capability for less power, and less power means less heat. Full article:

  • Thales to provide new minehunting system to U.K. Royal Navy

    22 août 2018 | International, Naval

    Thales to provide new minehunting system to U.K. Royal Navy

    By Stephen Carlson Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The U.K. Royal Navy has accepted Thales' newest 2093 mine countermeasures sonar after extensive sea trials. The 2093 variable depth sonar has been in Royal Navy and worldwide service since the 1980s. The current version being adopted by the U.K. is a wideband variant expected to be installed on the Sandown-class minesweeping vessels, Thales said in a news release. The system has undergone 3 months of trials over the summer onboard the HMS Grimsby minesweeper. It is expected to be installed as the standard countermine system aboard Royal Navy ships, according to Thales. 2093 Wideband is a multi-frequency variable depth sonar system designed to detect mines in all depths of water. The sonar receiver and transmitter are part of a towed array which is lowered below the ship by cable cable, which allows it to penetrate oceanic temperature layers. Thermal layers can block or interfere with sonar signals, making depth of the system important for some applications. The system is based off the 2193 hull-mounted system that is in use on the Hunt-class minesweeper and other ships. The system is expected to be widely exported to nations in Asia, the Middle East and Europe that already use similar legacy systems.

  • L3, Northrop Selected for Next Generation Jammer Work; Program Stalled After Raytheon Protest

    22 août 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    L3, Northrop Selected for Next Generation Jammer Work; Program Stalled After Raytheon Protest

    By: Sam LaGrone The next phase of the Navy's effort to replace its decades-old ALQ-99 jamming systems on its fleet of electronic warfare aircraft is in a holding pattern amid a protest from a company cut from the competition, USNI News has learned. As part of rapid acquisition push for the new jamming technology, the Navy is splitting up the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) ALQ-99 replacement work into three increments based on the frequencies the system must block – high-band, mid-band and low-band – to help shield U.S. aircraft from anti-air radar systems. In 2013, Raytheon won a $276 million award for the first portion of the NGJ project – the ALQ-249 mid-band jamming part of the new system – and was awarded an additional $1.2 billion for the work in 2016. In late 2017, Naval Air Systems Command announced a “demonstration of existing technology” contract to shape how it would pursue the low-band increment. The work would create “[a] demonstration that will lead to an assessment of the maturity level of the technologies that might be applied to a low band jammer pod,” a NAVAIR spokesperson told USNI News in a statement on Tuesday. “This will help inform the appropriate acquisition strategy of the program.” Last month, L3 and a team of Northrop Grumman and Harris were selected to move forward from a field of four competitors that also included Raytheon and a Lockheed Martin and Cobham team, USNI News has learned. Soon afterwards, Raytheon filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, arguing it should have been selected to move forward with the low-band jammer effort. Both L3 and the Northrop Grumman/Harris team confirmed that their low-band tech was selected for potential further study by NAVIAR but referred additional questions to the Navy due to the ongoing protest from Raytheon. “We have a mature and exceedingly capable offering for Next-Generation Jammer Low Band,” a Northrop spokesman told USNI News in a statement. “Northrop Grumman stands ready to demonstrate that technology.” USNI News understands a Lockheed Martin/Cobham team was not selected for further study. A Lockheed spokesperson referred questions to the Navy citing the protest. In a short statement, Raytheon implied the Navy did not fully take into account the benefits of the company's existing investment into the ALQ-249 mid-band jamming technology. “We believe there were errors in the government's evaluation,” Dana Carroll, a Raytheon spokeswoman, told USNI News in a statement. “Our low-risk, open architecture pod effectively and affordably counters modern threats while maximizing reuse of proven technology and taxpayer investment.” The GAO has until October to reach a decision on Raytheon protest. The Next Generation Jammer program has been a weak point the Navy's push to revitalize its aerial electronic warfare portfolio after the service shrugged off developing an improved capability for years in favor of other priorities. The program was placed on the backburner for years while the U.S. was mostly engaged in conflicts with largely uncontested airspace. Full article:

  • Aireon ALERT now open for pre-registration

    22 août 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Sécurité

    Aireon ALERT now open for pre-registration

    Aireon and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) announced Aug. 22, 2018, that air navigation service providers (ANSPs), aircraft operators, regulators and search and rescue organizations can now pre-register for their free, global Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking (ALERT) service. The Aireon ALERT service will provide the last known position of an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)-equipped aircraft that is in an apparent distress state or experiencing a loss in communication. The service is only available to aviation stakeholders and offers precise position reports, free of charge. The Aireon ALERT system is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2019 and will be operated out of the IAA North Atlantic Communications Centre in Ballygirreen, County Clare, Ireland. Enabled by Aireon's unique space-based ADS-B service, Aireon ALERT will fill a critical need within the aviation industry. For the first time, ANSPs, aircraft operators, regulators and search and rescue organizations will have access, on request, to exact position data for an aircraft in distress over the oceans, remote areas and anywhere else they may need aircraft position information in an emergency. “We are proud to host and operate the world's first truly global aircraft locating and emergency response tracking facility, based on the Aireon system's capabilities,” said Peter Kearney, chief executive officer of the IAA. “Our facility will be providing Aireon ALERT services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. As long as an aircraft is broadcasting on 1090 MHz ADS-B, we will be able to locate it anywhere worldwide. This is a unique and secure cloud-based service, designed to the highest data protection standards.” Full article:

  • NASA begins test flights to study physiological events on military pilots

    22 août 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    NASA begins test flights to study physiological events on military pilots

    BY: GARRETT REIM NASA started a several months-long series of flights on 3 August to identify the physiological impacts of flying in high-performance military aircraft on the human body. The flights are being conducted at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California and will take place over 160 flight hours. The tests are managed by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center at Langley Research Center in Virginia. During the tests researchers will measure the breathing of five NASA pilots flying in F-18A/B and F-15D aircraft, while they use different equipment types and experience different flight conditions. The flight conditions that will be tested include benign environments, typical in instrument proficiency training, to more strenuous environments, such as those found in high altitude, aerobatic manoeuvring and combat manoeuvring, according to NASA. In recent years, the US Navy and Air Force have been perplexed by an increase in the number of pilots experiencing physiological events during flight across a variety of aircraft. Symptoms from physiological events include cognitive impairment, numbness, tingling, lightheadedness, behavioral changes and fatigue. Data collected will just serve as a baseline for comparison because NASA's aircraft still use the legacy technology of a Liquid Oxygen System as opposed to newer military aircraft that utilise an Onboard Oxygen System.

  • Boeing Gets Contract to Upgrade Navy's Blue Angels to Super Hornets

    22 août 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Boeing Gets Contract to Upgrade Navy's Blue Angels to Super Hornets

    By Oriana Pawlyk The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are poised to receive new, retrofitted F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft in the next few years. The Navy on Monday awarded Boeing Co., the F/A-18's manufacturer, a $17 million firm-fixed price contract to configure nine F/A-18E and two F/A-18F aircraft to the standard Blue Angels' aircraft structure. The squadron, which typically maintains 11 aircraft, currently flies the F/A-18C/D models. While an upgrade, the new aircraft would not house the common nose cannon system used for strike operations. Like the Air Force Thunderbirds, the demonstration team uses "clean jets," aircraft without missiles or bombs. However, the Blue Angels' F/A-18s are "capable of being returned to combat duty aboard an aircraft carrier within 72 hours," if necessary, according to the team's fact sheet. Full article:

  • Le gouvernement du Canada fait des investissements à long terme afin de protéger les navires et marins canadiens avec de l’équipement moderne et efficace

    22 août 2018 | Local, Naval

    Le gouvernement du Canada fait des investissements à long terme afin de protéger les navires et marins canadiens avec de l’équipement moderne et efficace

    Communiqué de presse Le 17 août 2018 – Esquimalt (C.‑B.) – Défense nationale/Forces armées canadiennes Dans le cadre de la politique Protection, Sécurité, Engagement, le gouvernement du Canada a réitéré son engagement visant à faire en sorte que la Marine royale canadienne demeure une force navale agile, polyvalente et prête au combat. À l'appui de cet engagement, le ministre de la Défense Harjit S. Sajjan a souligné aujourd'hui l'attribution de deux contrats liés à l'équipement maritime. Ces contrats permettront l'acquisition, la modernisation et le maintien en puissance des systèmes de défense pour la Marine royale canadienne. Ces investissements à long terme permettront l'amélioration des capacités de la Marine royale canadienne et le maintien de près de 50 emplois par année au cours des années à venir. Les contrats sont les suivants : Un contrat de 94,2 millions de dollars a été attribué à Lockheed Martin Canada pour la maintenance du système RAMSES de contre-mesures électroniques (multimode, reprogrammable, embarqué à bord de navires). Un contrat de 21,1 millions de dollars a été attribué à Rheinmetall Canada pour l'achat et l'installation d'un troisième dispositif de lancement à bord des frégates, améliorant la configuration actuelle du MASS. Le système RAMSES de contre‑mesures électroniques (multimode, reprogramme, embarqué à bord de navires) est un système d'attaque électronique qui sert à protéger les frégates modernisées de la classe Halifax contre les missiles guidés par radiofréquence. Il emploie des signaux de brouillage afin de déjouer les missiles antinavires et les dérouter de leur trajectoire. Le MASS fait partie intégrante de l'équipement de défense contre les missiles antinavires à bord des frégates de la classe Halifax. Il s'agit d'un système de mise à feu utilisé pour lancer des leurres dans le but de protéger les navires contre les missiles antinavires guidés par radiofréquence, par laser et par auto‑directeurs à infrarouge. Ces deux contrats permettront aux opérateurs d'équipement de combat naval de continuer à protéger les navires canadiens, et leurs équipages, gr'ce à un équipement moderne et performant, tout en aidant à soutenir l'ensemble des flottes de la Marine royale canadienne. Citations « Ces investissements dans la Marine royale canadienne fournissent à nos femmes et nos hommes en uniforme ce dont ils ont besoin pour réussir leurs missions. Ils créent aussi des emplois en Colombie-Britannique, et à travers le Canada, pour plusieurs années à venir. Notre politique de la défense – Protection, Sécurité, Engagement – a promis une Marine agile et polyvalente, et nous tenons cette promesse aujourd'hui avec cet investissement de 115 millions de dollars. » Harjit S. Sajjan, ministre de la Défense « Notre gouvernement est déterminé à b'tir une force militaire plus souple et mieux équipée tout en faisant une utilisation optimale des fonds publics. Avec ces systèmes, les frégates de la Marine royale canadienne disposeront de l'équipement moderne dont elles ont besoin pour s'acquitter de leur travail en toute sécurité dans différents environnements, au pays et à l'étranger. » – Carla Qualtrough, ministre des Services publics et de l'Approvisionnement et de l'Accessibilité Faits en bref Le contrat relatif au système RAMSES sera valide jusqu'à la fin des années 2030, si toutes les options sont exercées, et permettra d'assurer le maintien de la capacité d'attaque électronique à bord des frégates de la classe Halifax. Le MASS a remplacé le système SHIELD devenu obsolète. L'installation d'un troisième lanceur permettra aux frégates de la classe Halifax d'assurer une couverture de défense contre les missiles antinavires sur 360 degrés.

  • PAL Aerospace seeks talent for SAR operating bases

    21 août 2018 | Local, Aérospatial

    PAL Aerospace seeks talent for SAR operating bases

    Chris Thatcher PAL Aerospace is on the hunt for maintenance, materiel, information technology and other support talent to staff the Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF's) four search and rescue main operating bases. Twenty months after the federal government selected 16 Airbus CC-295W fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft to replace six CC-115 Buffalos and 12 CC-130 H-model Hercules, St. John's, N.L.-based PAL is ready to hire the team that will deliver in-service support (ISS) for the new fleet. “PAL Aerospace will be providing a wide assortment of program management services as we prepare to undertake the maintenance and logistics support, heavy maintenance, including a mobile repair team, and centralize supply chain management activities for this aircraft,” Eva Martinez, vice-president of ISS, told the Abbotsford Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo (ADSE) in August. As a supplier to Airbus, PAL is responsible for maintenance and material support of the new fleet, providing an integrated team of aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs), warehouse and tool crib personnel, a technical library and a contractor field office at four main operating bases in Comox, B.C., Winnipeg, Man., Trenton, Ont., and Greenwood, N.S. Each base will require around 11 people. PAL will also establish and maintain a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Winnipeg for heavy maintenance work. The shop will be co-located with its central warehouse, and will be home base for the mobile repair team. In total, PAL expects to hire around 28 people to staff the facility. As for material, PAL will provide ground support equipment, a 30-day supply of aircraft consumables at each base, personal protective equipment, and shipping and handling of all aircraft spare parts, said Martinez, an aerospace engineer who served 13 years in the Air Force. Through a joint venture with Airbus called AirPro, PAL will collaborate on the integration of all ISS services. “Our hiring target as it stands right now is 73,” she said. “As we work with Canada and Airbus to fully define the maintenance tasks, we could see an increase in the level of effort required...for AMEs.” That workload is based in part on RCAF plans to locate three CC-295W at each base. Two more will reside with the operational training unit in Comox while a final two will serve as floaters. “They will be moved around depending on the induction into heavy maintenance as well as the operational tempo,” said Martinez. Comox, which will include the RCAF's new search and rescue training centre, will stand up in 2019 to coincide with the arrival of the first aircraft, expected by the end of next year. The front, mid and rear fuselage sections have been delivered to Airbus's pre-final assembly line in Tablada, Spain, and the final aircraft is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2019. Full article:

  • Army Takes Its Radio Network Commercial

    21 août 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Army Takes Its Radio Network Commercial

    By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. ARLINGTON: As the Army reboots its battlefield radio networks, it's jettisoning exquisitely custom-made military waveforms and moving to simpler — but more capable — commercial radio protocols. The move is underway on three fronts, Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the two-star Program Executive Officer for command, control & communications – Tactical (PEO C3T), says: The Army's already moving its backpack-mounted tactical radio, the Manpack, from the milspec Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) to the commercial TSM waveform, with both Harris and Rockwell Collins now integrating TSM in their radios. (Special operators already use TSM). They're currently selecting vendors to do the same for their handheld Leader Radio, mainly used by junior and non-commissioned officers on foot. Bassett's staff told me to expect an award sometime in September. They're exploring alternatives to the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) as the “backbone” of the Army's tactical network. TSM is one candidate but there are others, including some still in development, Bassett told me in an interview here. It's all part of a wider effort to rebuild the Army's command, control, and communications (C3) networks for war against a high-tech great power. Speaking at a cyber and networks conference held here Aug. 2 by the Association of the US Army, Bassett said the Army will conduct operational testing of new command systems — including two lower-complexity alternatives to complement the current mainstay, JBC-P — and start fielding them, he said, “this fall.” Why the rush? Army systems like WIN-T(Warfighter Information Network – Tactical) worked adequately as long as we had big bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, with plenty of time to set up extensive infrastructure and minimal enemy interference. China and Russia, however, have cutting-edge cyber and electronic warfare attackers to hack the network software, powerful electronic warfare units to jam its transmissions, and long-range precision guided missiles that can easily target large, stationary command posts. So last year Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley ordered a crash program of improvements, cancelling planned WIN-T upgrades in favor of new technologies, many from the thriving commercial IT sector. “It was kind of a shock to the system,” the Army's Chief Information Officer, Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, told the AUSA conference. “The Army came forward and said there were some programs it wanted to halt and some things it fundamentally wanted to do differently.” Appealing To Industry Gen. Milley's announcement met with initial resistance, including on Capitol Hill, but inspired intense interest from industry. Maj. Gen. Bassett himself had come to the AUSA conference from a meeting in Raleigh, one corner of North Carolina's thriving“research triangle,” where he had briefed 400 representatives from some 126 companies. “Down in Raleigh, the challenge that I gave them was learn how you fit into our network design. Propose solutions that will fit into our network,” Bassett said. “We want them to become part of that infrastructure rather than competing with it.”

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