Aug 07, 2018 04:58 UTC
The Air Force is working on the next operational resiliency phase for one of its satellites. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is being awarded a $32.0 million contract modification
for work on the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Satellite Vehicle 4. The AEHF system is a series of four military communication satellites which will entirely replace the current in-orbit Milstar system. The main function of the AEHF
spacecraft in geostationary orbits will be to provide secure, survivable and near-worldwide satellite communications. Advanced EHF satellites will provide at least 10 times greater total capacity, and offer channel data rates 6 times higher, than current Milstar II communications satellites. They’ll offer 24-hour low, medium, and high data rate satellite connectivity from 65 N to 65 S latitude, worldwide. AEHF SV-4
was initially expected to launch in spring 2017. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $9,2 billion. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by end of January 2021.
The USA’s new Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites will support twice as many tactical networks as the current Milstar II satellites, while providing 10-12 times the bandwidth capacity and 6 times the data rate transfer speed. With the cancellation of the higher-capacity TSAT program, AEHF will form the secure, hardened backbone of the Pentagon’s future Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) architecture, with a mission set that includes nuclear command and control. Its companion Family of Advanced Beyond-line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) program will give the US military more modern, higher-bandwidth receiving capabilities, and add more flexibility on the front lines. The program has international components, and partners currently include Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands.
This article offers a look at the AEHF system’s rationale and capabilities, while offering insight into some of the program’s problems, and an updated timeline covering over $5 billion worth of contracts since the program’s inception.
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Jul 12, 2018 04:58 UTC
* The Navy is currently testing its MQ-8C Fire Scout UAS. A press release
confirms that the UAV finished its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation from the littoral combat ship USS Coronado
. The MQ-8C “Endurance Upgrade Fire Scout” is based on Bell Helicopter’s 3-ton 407 model, which serves as the base for the Iraqi Air Force’s manned IA-407-armed scout helicopters. MQ-8C
is effectively a full-sized light naval utility helicopter, with 8 hours endurance carrying a 1,250-pound payload, and a maximum underslung payload of more than 2,600 pounds. The crew of the Coronado and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, or VX-1, conducted combat simulations to evaluate the Fire Scout on target identification, intelligence and surface warfare, the results of which will help the Navy decide how best to use the rotorcraft. The unit also evaluated best practices concerning pairing the Fire Scout and MH-60S Seahawk
helicopters. The Fire Scout has a range of nearly 600 miles and can fly to up to 12,500 feet. The Fire Scout can be armed with Hellfire and Viper Strike missiles, alongside several other weapons systems.
MQ-8B Fire Scout
A helicopter UAV is very handy for naval ships, and for armies who can’t always depend on runways. The USA’s RQ/MQ-8 Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has blazed a trail of firsts in this area, but its history is best described as “colorful.” The program was begun by the US Navy, canceled, adopted by the US Army, revived by the Navy, then canceled by the Army. Leaving it back in the hands of the US Navy. Though the Army is thinking about joining again, and the base platform is changing.
The question is, can the MQ-8 leverage its size, first-mover contract opportunity, and “good enough” performance into a secure future with the US Navy – and beyond? DID describes these new VTUAV platforms, clarifies the program’s structure and colorful history, lists all related contracts and events, and offers related research materials.
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Jun 15, 2018 04:52 UTC
The British Army’s new Ajax armored fighting vehicle (AFV) is currently
undergoing field trials, before the first variants are delivered to operational units early in 2019. The Ajax is part of the multi-billion pound “Future Rapid Effects System” (FRES) program. FRES
aims to recapitalize the core of Britain’s armored vehicle fleet over the next decade or more. Ajax vehicles are developed upon a highly-adaptable and capable Common Base Platform, maximizing commonality in mobility, electronic architecture and survivability. Each Ajax platform variant has extensive capabilities, including acoustic detectors, a laser warning system, a local situational awareness system, an electronic countermeasure system, a route marking system, an advanced electronic architecture and a high-performance power pack. Ajax
will be the medium weight core of the British Army’s deployable Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability. It enables the soldier to be at the point of collection of accurate all-weather commander information within a network-enabled digitized platform. The current trials are the final phase of a series of evaluations to approve the vehicle for land warfare operations before it enters full service with the British Army.
Many of Britain’s army vehicles are old and worn, and the necessities of hard service on the battlefield are only accelerating that wear. The multi-billion pound “Future Rapid Effects System” (FRES) aims to recapitalize the core of Britain’s armored vehicle fleet over the next decade or more.
The best one can say is that FRES has gone far better than America’s comparable and canceled “Future Combat System.” That doesn’t mean the rise has been smooth. FRES was spawned by the UK’s withdrawal from the German-Dutch-UK Boxer MRAV modular wheeled APC program, in order to develop a more deployable vehicle that fit Britain’s exact requirements. Those initial requirements were challenging, however, and experience in Iraq and Afghanistan led to decisions that changed an already-late program. So, too, have subsequent budgetary crises…
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Oct 17, 2017 04:58 UTC
The US Navy has awarded
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) to the service's latest airborne mine detection system, the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA
). The system can be integrated on the MQ-8 Fire Scout
unmanned air system and can detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach zone area, keeping sailors and marines out of harms way on a potential landing zone. Part of the littoral combat ship’s (LCS
) suite of mine countermeasures (MCM) systems, COBRA's next test will involve at-sea trails onboard a LCS vessel equipped with a full MCM package, where it will fly various missions over beaches, while demonstrating system suitability for operating from the LCS.
MH-53E & Mk-105 sled
The US Navy currently uses large CH-53/MH-53 helicopters and towed sleds to help with mine clearance work, but they hope to replace those old systems with something smaller and newer. The MH-60S helicopter’s Airborne Mine Counter-Measures (AMCM) system adds an operator’s station to the helicopter cabin, additional internal fuel stores, and towing capability, accompanied by a suite of carried systems that can be mixed and matched. AMCM is actually 5 different air, surface and sub-surface mine countermeasures systems, all deployed and integrated together in the helicopter.
While the US Navy develops AMCM, and complementary ship-launched systems for use on the new Littoral Combat Ships, new minehunter ship classes like the Ospreys are being retired by the US Navy and sold. All in an era where the threat of mines is arguably rising, along with tensions around key chokepoints like the Suez Canal and Strait of Hormuz.
This article explains the components involved (AQS-20, ALMDS, AMNS, OASIS, RAMICS; COBRA, RMS, SMCM), chronicles their progress through reports and contracts, and provides additional links for research.
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Aug 04, 2017 04:57 UTC
Russia has announced that it is developing its own rail gun technology
as the first pictures of US efforts made their way to press
. The "battlefield meteorite" is capable of firing a projectile at an initial speed of 4,500 miles per hour, piercing seven steel plates, and leaving a 5-inch hole -- able to "blow holes in enemy ships, destroy tanks and level terrorist camps." For Russia, the new weapon will not replace traditional weapons "even in the mid-term perspective," as much time needs to pass from the first tests to the mass production, especially considering the high price of the production, according to Russian senator Franz Klintsevich.
Back in March 2006, BAE Systems received a contract for “design and production of the 32 MJ Laboratory Launcher for the U.S. Navy.” Some hint of what they are talking about can be gleaned from the name. BAE isn’t the only firm that’s working on this program, which the US Navy sees as its gateway to a game-changing technology. The project is an electro-magnetic rail gun, which accelerates a projectile to incredibly high speeds without using explosives.
The attraction of such systems is no mystery – they promise to fire their ammunition 10 or more times farther than conventional naval gun shells, while sharply reducing both the required size of each shell, and the amount of dangerous explosive material carried on board ship. Progress is being made, but there are still major technical challenges to overcome before a working rail gun becomes a serious naval option. This DID FOCUS article looks at the key technical challenges, the programs, and the history of key contracts and events.
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Sep 12, 2012 16:35 UTC
The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory serves as a U.S. Navy UARC (University Affiliated Research Center) in Defense science and technologies, with a focus in naval missions and related areas. In September 2012, they were awarded a 5-year, maximum $415 million cost-plus-fixed-fee indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity task order contract. in return, they’ll provide up to 2,060,076 staff hours for research, development, engineering, and test and evaluation. An option for an additional 5 years could bring the maximum value to $853.3 million, and the cumulative staff hours to 3,935,759.
PSU’s ARL will work on guidance, navigation and control of undersea systems; advanced thermal propulsion concepts and systems for undersea vehicles; advanced propulsors and other fluid machinery for marine systems; materials and manufacturing technology; atmosphere and defense communications systems; and other related technologies. Individual task orders will be issued as needs arise. Work is expected to be completed by September 2017, or September 2022 with all options exercised. This contract was not competitively procured by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-12-D-6404).
Jul 01, 2012 14:18 UTC
US ORNL laser test
Readers who follow the tech press may be familiar with the concept of quantum computing. Computers use binary bits: on/off, yes/no, represented by 0 or 1. A quantum bit, or qubit, can be 1, or 0… or both. Whereas 111 = 7 in binary, and each number is a single choice among all the possibilities in the number of binary digits, 3 qubits can hold all 8 possibilities (0-7), which means you can do calculations on all of them at once. The more qubits used, the more computation, so 32 qubits theoretically gets you 2 to the 32nd power computations (about 4.3 billion) at once – much more power than conventional computing, and it keeps on rising exponentially.
It’s worth noting that quantum computing has limits, and areas where it will not be suitable for computing tasks. They are not fully understood yet, but have been shown to exist at the theoretical level. So far, all we can say is that certain kinds of problems will be solved much, much more quickly. The uses of such a system for searching large domains of information, cracking codes, creating codes, or running simulations that include the quantum level (as a number of modern physical and medical science applications do) are clear. As an additional benefit, quantum cryptography methods benefit from quantum principles. Eavesdropping is not only incredibly difficult, it will create noticeable interference.
Various American agencies continue to be interested in the field, which has also begun finding commercial applications.
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