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sensors

Soldiers See Through Steel

August 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

Researchers are developing new ways of enabling troops inside personnel carriers to see their outside environment without increasing their vulnerability to hostile fire. The goal is to provide enhanced 360-degree situational awareness from sensors installed on a vehicle as well as from other off-board cameras in the area.

Service members sitting inside certain armor-protected military vehicles are often similar to sardines, encased in a metal box with no means for ascertaining their surroundings. These all-metal, no-window platforms put troops at a definite disadvantage, unable to eyeball threats or opportunities.

A rapid-development group is working to improve knowledge of the outside environment using a glass-pane alternative that fits onto the back door of such platforms. The team also has created a version that pulls in additional systems for even more data sharing.

The Virtual Window effort is an innovation project at the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research and Development Center (TARDEC). The premise behind such initiatives is to tackle problems through innovative means faster and at less expense than standard, high-dollar research programs. In the case of the Virtual Window, an industrial designer named James Scott drew an image on the back of an infantry carrier that would show occupants the environment on the other side of the ramp. Leadership quickly took to the idea, giving researchers the go-ahead to pursue it. “We looked at how to provide situational awareness visually without putting in actual glass,” explains Andrew Kerbrat, program manager for the effort.

Electric Boat to Develop Sea Sentry Mast and Sensor

June 24, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $7,562,531 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract for the continued procurement and development of a Sea Sentry mast and sensor. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair, Groton, Conn., is the contracting activity.

Joint Aerial Layer Network Vision Moves Toward Reality

June 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The concept connects disparate networks to provide greater information to warfighters.

U.S. military officials envision one day being able to network together virtually all airborne assets, providing data to warfighters in the air, on the ground and at sea, even under the most harsh conditions. Major milestones in the coming months and years will bring that concept closer to a fielded capability.

The Joint Aerial Layer Network (JALN) is not an actual program. “It is a conglomeration of a number of different programs. It is absolutely a vision of how we’re going to transport information across many domains—air, space, terrestrial and subsurface—and across many different environments—an environment that is totally permissive; an environment that is contested; and an environment that is anti-access and actively denied to us,” explains Col. Anthony Genatempo, USAF, senior material leader for the Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. “The Joint Aerial Layer Network is a vision for pulling together lots of different existing networks and being able to route and transport required information to a much wider array of users.” For example, it would disseminate data from Link 16, a network primarily for fighter aircraft, or information gathered by drones, which currently is largely restricted to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance networks.

Raytheon Receives Sensor-Sight Turret Funds

May 22, 2013
George I. Seffers

Raytheon Company, McKinney, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $14,606,048 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for sensor-sight turrets. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pa.

Unmanned Systems Soon May Offer Universal Remote

May 9, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Unmanned vehicles may become joint platforms as new software allows operators using a standard control system to use craft employed by different services. So, an Army squad deep in the battlefield may be able to use data accessed directly from a Navy unmanned aerial vehicle to bring an Air Force strike to bear against enemy forces.

Technology Service to Develop Survivability Sensors

April 19, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Technology Service Corp., Silver Spring, Md., was awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with a maximum value of $19 million for the development of a route optimization for survivability against sensors system. The Army Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity. 

Sage to Engineer Advanced Sensors

April 17, 2013
George I. Seffers

Sage Management Enterprise LLC, Columbia, Md., is being awarded a $7,955,374 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for advanced multi-integration sensor engineering reports.This contract provides advanced systems engineering, research, and analysis of sensors, networks, and ground stations spanning multiple disciplines to enable the future fielding of operational capabilities. The scope of this effort shall include requirements development and management for sensors, develop system specifications and interface standards, develop data standards and concepts of operation.The effort will also perform the necessary research and analysis to perform sensor capability comparisons, capability based planning, development of project scoring methodologies and prioritization of sensor initiatives that align to collection requirements.The contracting activity is Air Force Research Laboratory/RIKD, Rome, N.Y.

Raytheon Receives Additional Sensor Netting System Funding

April 17, 2013
George I. Seffers

Raytheon Co., Largo, Fla., is being awarded a $30,020,420 cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-only modification to previously awarded contract for design agent and engineering services in support of the Cooperative Engagement Capabilities (CEC) program. The CEC is a sensor netting system that significantly improves battle force anti-air warfare capability by extracting and distributing sensor-derived information such that the superset of this data is available to all participating CEC units. CEC improves battle force effectiveness by improving overall situational awareness and by enabling longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed to Provide Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures Sensors

April 5, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., is being awarded a $7,340,724 contract modification for incorporation of Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) NexGen Sensors onto HC/MC-130J aircraft. The contracting activity is the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. 

Advanced Capabilities Required for Future Navy Warfighting

April 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Future conflicts likely will be fought in degraded information technology environments, which will require the U.S. Navy to develop and exploit new capabilities to continue to operate in contested cyberspace. Technologies such as a flexible information grid, assured timing services and directed energy weapons must be part of the naval information system arsenal if the sea service is to maintain information dominance through the year 2028.

These were just a few of the findings presented in the Navy’s Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028, which was released in late March. Presented by Rear Adm. William E. Leigher, USN, the Navy’s director of warfighter integration, the report outlines the growing challenges facing the fleet and how the Navy must meet them.

The report divides information dominance challenges into three areas: assured command and control (C2), battlespace awareness and integrated fires. While the United States will continue to maintain supremacy in those areas, that supremacy is shrinking as more nations are closing the gap between U.S. capabilities and the ability to disrupt them.

Among the advanced capabilities the Navy will require toward the end of the next decade is assured electromagnetic spectrum access. Achieving this will entail fielding greater numbers of advanced line-of-sight communication systems; being able to monitor combat system operational status and adjust it using automated services; having a real-time spectrum operations capability that enables dynamic monitoring and control of spectrum emissions; and generating a common operational picture of the spectrum that is linked to electronic navigation charts and displays operational restrictions.

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