The NEXT program is designed to enable revolutionary advances in nitride electronic devices and integrated circuits resulting in their ability to operate at very high frequencies while maintaining extremely favorable voltage breakdown characteristics. DARPA is looking for ways to overcome the limitations of nitride-based electronics technologies, such as gallium nitride (GaN). “GaN: DARPA’s 3-Pronged R&D Strategy” has more on DARPA’s GaN research efforts.
The program aims to develop high-speed, high-power transistors for use in radar and electronic warfare systems…
Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) in North Charleston, SC received a $99 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to operate and manage the Shipbuilding Technology Center of Excellence (STCOE) to develop shipbuilding-related manufacturing technologies and to implement them in America’s shipyards. The STCOE will work closely with the US Navy’s acquisition community and the shipbuilding industry to identify manufacturing technology issues that have a negative impact on shipyard efficiency (cycle-time and cost). The STCOE will then solicit, select, and implement projects to improve these inefficiencies.
ATI will perform the work in North Charleston, SC and expects to complete it by August 2014. This contract was competitively procured under a Request For Proposals (N00014-09-R-0004), with 2 offers received by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, VA (N00014-09-D-0584).
Under the contract, ATI will carry out a number of STCOE tasks for the US Navy…
Wyle Laboratories in Huntsville, AL received a $38.6 million option on a previously awarded contract (HC1047-05-D-4005) to provide support to the U.S. Defense Technical Information Center’s Reliability Information Analysis Center (RIAC). The center is the technical focal point for information, data, analysis, training, and technical assistance in the engineering fields of reliability, maintainability, quality, supportability, and interoperability (RMQSI) for Department of Defense (DoD) military and support systems. The 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, manages the contract.
DID has more on Wyle contract and the work of the RIAC…
DID has reported extensively on research contracts related to Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductors, which offer significantly higher power and performance. Unfortunately, they present manufacturing and cost challenges that have stymied their use in commercial applications.
In May 2005, Compound Semiconductor Magazine offered an excellent overview of the GaN wide-bandgap semiconductors program and DARPA’s goals. Key program objectives include rapid transition of the technology developed into military systems. Other important goals include a “great” improvement in understanding the physical reasons behind device failures and the development of physical models to predict performance, reproducible device and MMIC fabrication processes, and improved thermal management and packaging. Reliability is expected to be a key challenge.
GaN represents an innovation in materials technology. DARPA’s approach adds innovative procurement strategies, via a 3-pronged approach that aims to speed the development of GaN-based microelectronics…
BAE Systems received orders worth $118 million for 63 more M777 howitzers, bringing the M777 order total to 800 guns. The U.S. Department of Defense is buying 38 guns for the Marine Corps and Army, and Canada is acquiring 25 more through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program to add to the 12 it already has in service. BAE Systems also received a $3 million contract to reset 33 U.S. howitzers returning from operations in Afghanistan. Both the U.S. and Canada operate M777s in Afghanistan, providing fire support to coalition forces.
Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the United States Air Force have signed an agreement to advance research into hypersonic (Mach 5 or higher) flight. The 8-year program has been established as a Project Arrangement under an existing research and development agreement between Australia and the USA, and the USD $54 million Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) project is one of the largest collaborative ventures to be undertaken between the two nations. It will have obvious implications for projects like DARPA’s FALCON, both as a boost to its ambitions for lower-cost satellite launches and an obvious feed-in to spaceplane projects (see our FALCON HTV Focus Article). Hypersonics also has potential implications for missile projects like the $120 million RATTLRS contract, not to mention the dual-combustion ramjet approach of HyFly et. al.
With the project underway, the latest news includes some related testing by Aerojet under HyFly/RATTLRS, and also of a combined cycle turbine-scramjet engine.
The US Department of Defense’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program works to support research that involves more than one traditional science and engineering discipline. Traditional research grants can be hard to come by in these cases, and few extend over multiple years but many complex problems require this approach. So, too, does talent development.
Hence MURI’s recent FY 2009 slate, involving $260 million awarded to 69 academic institutions, in order to fund 41 projects over the next 5 years. Exact amounts for each project will be negotiated between the winning institutions and the DoD research offices that will make the awards: the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).
ARO, ONR, and AFOSR solicited proposals in 32 topics important to the DoD, and received a total of 152 proposals. Some of the project topics and titles included:
On Feb 19/09, the Australian Government formally opened an A$ 85 million Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) in Bendigo, Victoria, aimed at researching futuristic materials for the Defence industry. The DMTC is the first center to be established under the Defence Future Capability Technology Centre Program, and the project was announced in December 2007. It’s funded under a partnership arrangement, with the Australian Government provided A$ 30 million. Collaborating partners contribute a further A$ 52-55 million.
AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radars offer a number of improvements over previous-generation technologies. They are more sensitive. They have better operational “uptime” because moving parts are eliminated, and the failure of one module doesn’t take the entire radar off line or leave it useless. They are also far better at handling large numbers of targets. AESA radars can do many things at once by just dedicating groups of transmit/receive (T/R) modules to each task, instead of switching rapidly between targets to simulate multi-tasking. Among other abilities.
The challenge for AESA radars has been cost, specifically the cost of the thousands of individual T/R modules that make up an AESA array. In July 2008, Raytheon produced a release regarding a variant technology called AESLA, an Active Electronically Scanned Lens Array radar. Their approach was aimed at improving the cost of an AESA radar’s T/R modules, a move that could have industry-wide significance if successful.
To find out more, DID talked to Joe Smolko, Raytheon’s program manager for the AESLA effort.
International Business Machines Corp., of Yorktown Heights, NY received a cost type contract for $2.4 million, under the “Wafer-Scale Graphene RF Nanoelectronics effort.” This effort is connected to DARPA’s CERA(Carbon Electronics for RF Applications) effort. The project’s goal is to investigate 2 challenges that are fundamental to development of high performance carbon electronics for military radio frequency applications in military systems. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contracts (FA8650-08-C-7838). At this time all funds have been obligated.
IBM fellow Phaedon Avouris, the manager of Nanoscale Science at the Research Center, explains: