DARPA Seeks Robotic Spacecraft for Orbital Relocations
- DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) is asking for information [FBO RFI] on who might help develop robotic servicers to be deployed in and near geostationary Earth orbit for spacecraft inspection and relocation jobs. They’d like to know whether a commercial on-orbit robotic service sector could eventually become self-sustaining so that the government doesn’t have to foot the whole bill. Volunteers to jumpstart UhaulX should send their thoughts to the agency before November 3rd.
- USNAVSEA released a draft RFP [FBO] for a full and open competition to procure Main Reduction Gear (MRG) shipsets and assemblies for DDG 51 Class destroyers, following an industry day in October last year.
- Germany announced [Der Spiegel] that they will send personal and anti-tank weapons to Kurd troops fighting the Islamic State in Iraq. One concern though is that they might be used by the Kurds to push for their own independent state, or fall into the hands of jihadists, among which hundreds of Germans can be found. And there are legal matters to resolve for the transaction to be able to go through.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ruling out [Deutsche Welle] the permanent presence of NATO troops in Eastern Europe in order to stick to the terms of treaty obligations with Russia, apparently regardless of that country’s observance of its own obligations under a number of treaties. The notion of keeping border states as neutral buffers only works if no one actually invades them.
- Declarations of truce [Reuters] between Ukraine and Russia are starting to look like “cease fires” between Israel and Hamas.
- The Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) within the UK’s Ministry of Defence published a document [PDF] trying to describe global strategic trends out to 2045. As most of these reports go, it projects more of what’s worrisome today, from demographics pressure to pervasive automation. The emergence of megacities of 20M-40M inhabitants is one trend that gets UK and US planners spinning their doctrinal wheels [Defense News].
- DGAP, a German think tank, published a report [PDF in German] describing the challenges facing the French defense industry. Also made available in French [PDF] by GRIP, a Brussels-based research nonprofit. The short version:
“The French Defence Industrial and Technological Base (DITB) faces a tricky political and budgetary situation, between an increasingly competitive international business environment, a European Defence project in the doldrums, and the persistence of significant pressures on the State’s finances.”
- Today’s video, from NATO, describes what they expect from the Alliance Ground Surveillance system: