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March 2007

Are You Angry Yet?

March 2007
By Cmdr. Gregory E. Glaros, USN (Ret.)

In a Naval Institute Press publication, Inside the Iron Works: How Grumman's Glory Days Faded, George Skurla, the former chief executive officer of Grumman Aerospace, and William H. Gregory describe the failures and downfall, 30 years ago, of one of our leading naval aviation manufacturers. After reading this obituary it is easy to draw parallels to the specter that has befallen many current defense companies and acquisition guardians. We all recognize that there are many other factors responsible—congressional political influence, policy dictums, service secretaries and chiefs of service. But doesn't anyone realize that the U.S. Defense Department is suffocating under unaffordable cost overruns, catastrophic failures in engineering design, poor manufacturing quality and incompetent technical government oversight?

Smart Fasteners Transform Assembly and Upkeep

March 2007
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new class of mechanical devices with embedded electronics will allow personnel to access maintenance panels and equipment in aircraft and other platforms rapidly and without the use of tools. The technology permits the remote closing, locking and unlocking of fasteners via wireless handheld devices. The fasteners also are equipped with sensors to report their status and that of the structures immediately surrounding them, offering the potential for smart logistics and vehicle diagnostic systems.

Underwater Travel Becomes Superfast

March 2007
By Rita Boland

People and materiel soon may be moving across the ocean much more quickly and outrunning torpedoes in the process. A developmental technology will use supercavitation to move underwater vessels at high speeds. In addition to the rapid rate, the project aims to sustain that pace over long periods of time and to maintain control and steering of the watercraft.

Soldiers' Tools Go Solar

March 2007
By Henry S. Kenyon

Warfighters soon may turn to the sun to recharge their battlefield electronics. The U.S government is developing highly efficient solar cells that will be built into batteries and tactical equipment such as night vision goggles, personal navigation devices and radios. The effort seeks to cut the number of spare batteries carried by soldiers to save weight and reduce logistics requirements.

Army Powers Up Individual Soldiers

March 2007
By Maryann Lawlor

Bringing the network to warfighters will be futile without a source of energy to feed the numerous devices they will rely on for survival and lethality. Today's fast-paced high-technology battlespace is screaming for long-lasting, lightweight batteries, and the U.S. Army is answering the call by exploring battery chemistries and smart batteries as well as working with equipment designers. In some areas, the service has made great advances; in others, it is still waiting for the technological improvements that industry promised years ago.

Longtime Technology Company Beefs Up Federal Business

March 2007
By Michael A. Robinson

Running a key sector in one of the world's largest information technology companies may not seem to have much in common with automobile repair. But one corporate leader draws from that discipline to drive a group that has undergone a complete overhaul since a serious breakdown little more than a decade ago.

Flying Eye in the Sky

March 2007
By Robert K. Ackerman

The next new aircraft to roll out of the U.S. Air Force hangar may be a powered sensor. Scientists at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, have developed radar arrays that can serve as aircraft skin and as structural components. Their research is opening up entirely new radar capabilities as well as materials advances.

Air Force Networkers Link Land, Air, Space

March 2007
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Air Force is taking a holistic approach to its information technology upgrades. In addition to networking information, the Air Force is networking its programs to improve interoperability and efficiency.

New Flight Plan for Air Force Intelligence

March 2007
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Air Force is reorganizing its intelligence community to connect the dots before moving information to the decision maker and the warfighter. The ongoing reorganization is eliminating bureaucratic layers and improving communication among diverse elements responsible for designing and delivering intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

Representing Humans Proves Problematic

March 2007
By Rita Boland

Advancements in human modeling soon could improve how military troops train and prepare for missions as well as enhance leaders' abilities to predict how foreign cultures will react to their actions. Scientists and researchers from the military, private industry and academia are examining how to depict accurately human reactions from a variety of cultures, how to store this information in a database to make it accessible for new developments and how to keep costs and time lines reasonable. Many experts in the human modeling field expect major enhancements and new uses in the next few years.

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