The US Army held its 5th annual “top 10 greatest inventions” ceremony recently in Arlington, VA, recognizing the Top 10 inventions of 2006. The top picks were chosen by Soldiers from active-Army divisions and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command according to three criteria: impact on Army capabilities, potential benefits outside the Army and inventiveness.
Three of this year’s top inventions are geared toward defeating IED land mines, and there’s even one tracked armored blast from the past. Most inventions have already been fielded to soldiers on the front lines.
Purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding. Now the number of aircraft involved in the December 2006 supplemental funds purchase has grown to 5, as part of the fallout from program restructuring…
Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) announced a federal investment of more than C$ 48.8 million (about $45 million) for 29 new projects under the Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI). These projects will address diverse requirements such as the development of more rapid, accurate and portable tools to detect chemical, biological and radiological agents, the fast-track development of an antiviral drug against Avian influenza, and the enhancement of decision-making support tools that assist the first responder and national security communities in coordinating a more efficient response to CBRNE incidents.
Canadian government departments and agencies working on this round of projects include DRDC, Department of National Defence, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Environment Canada, Health Canada, National Microbiology Laboratory, National Research Council of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Small business qualifier Aurora Flight Sciences in Manassas, VA received a $6.2 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Orion Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Prototype Development and Test Flight. Work is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2010, and will be performed at Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in Starkville, MS; Aurora just completed a new production facility nearby. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There were an unknown number of bids solicited via the World Wide Web on Dec. 21, 2005, and one bid was received by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, AL (W9113M-06-C-0186).
Orion HALL (High Altitude, Long Loiter) is a hydrogen powered UAV designed to fly at high altitudes for up to 4 days. Unlike other platforms Aurora is involved in like the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the Orion HALL will reportedly have a much smaller carrying capacity of about 180 kg/ 400 pounds. This would limit its surveillance capabilities but make it an outstanding communications relay. The project is a collaboration with Boeing’s cutting-edge Phantom Works division, who is working on a version with a 10-day endurance. The first Orion UAV is expected to fly in 2008.