Feb 01, 2019 04:58 UTC
The Navy awarded
Northrop Grumman with a $55.1 million contract modification for the procurement of five Fire Scout MQ-8C unmanned air systems (UAS) and two lightweight fuel cells. The Fire Scout is a next-generation, unmanned air system designed to support land and sea-based military operations. It is meant to perform missions including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cargo resupply, and communications relay. It provides naval forces with extended over-the-horizon intelligence-gathering capability. The MQ-8C Fire Scout’s
airframe is based on the commercial Bell 407, a mature helicopter with more than 1,400 airframes produced and over 4 million flight hours. The MQ-8C Fire Scout is an upgrade to the existing “B” variant. With a larger airframe and its ability to autonomously take-off and land on any aviation-capable ship, the “C” can fly nearly twice as long and carry three times more payload than its predecessor. On the contract awarded to Northrop, the company will do the work in California, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, and various other US locations and should be finished by August 2021.
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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Dec 12, 2018 04:54 UTC
The Naval Surface Warfare Center is modifying a contract with Aretè Associates. An additional $17 million will allow the company to exercise an option of an IDIQ contract
that sees for the production of AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) subassemblies. The COBRA system
can be deployed on the US Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout
and is designed to help detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach or other coastal landing area. COBRA
uses a fast-scanning LIDAR laser, 3D imaging camera, and target recognition algorithms. Data collected by COBRA an be sent to an amphibious landing force through the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
Assault Breaching System (JABS), which could either direct a JDAM air assault on the beach to clear mines or could feed the location of mines to the precision navigation and lane marking systems on the amphibious vehicles coming ashore. Work will be performed at Aretè locations in Tucson, Arizona; Destin, Florida and Santa Rosa, California. The subassemblies are scheduled for completion by July 2021.
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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Dec 10, 2018 04:58 UTC
Raytheon is being tapped to support the US Air Force's Force Element Terminal Risk Reduction effort. Raytheon will provide
the service with risk reduction studies, analyses, and demonstrations of its Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Airborne Military Satellite Communication product line at a cost of $11 million. 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 system is to provide secure, survivable and near-worldwide satellite communications. Work is party funded through FY 2018 and FY 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $4 million. Work will be performed at Raytheon's Marlborough, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by August 30, 2019.
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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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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