News Briefs

February 8, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
Aurora Flight Sciences recently tested a full-scale SideArm technology demonstration system that repeatedly captured a Lockheed Martin Fury UAS accelerated to representative flight speeds via an external catapult. Photo courtesy of DARPA.

A full-scale technology demonstration system that repeatedly captured a 400-pound Lockheed Martin Fury unmanned aerial system (UAS) accelerated to representative flight speeds via an external catapult. The test was part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) SideArm research, which focuses on creating a self-contained, portable apparatus that can horizontally launch and retrieve UASs that weigh up to 900 pounds.

February 2, 2017
Lawrence Livermore’s High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System recently demonstrated continuous operation of an all-diode-pumped, high-energy femtosecond petawatt laser system.

The High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS) being developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently completed a significant milestone: demonstration of continuous operation of an all-diode-pumped, high-energy femtosecond petawatt laser system. The system now is ready for delivery and integration at the European Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines (ELI Beamlines) facility project in the Czech Republic, where it will be used for conducting experiments.  

January 17, 2017
By Julianne Simpson

The Army Cyber Center of Excellence is requesting research papers that address specific areas that answer learning demands or capability gaps that inhibit operational force effectiveness or efficiency. Among other things, the research papers will be used to evaluate emerging concepts against documented Army Signal, cyberspace and electronic warfare capability requirements.

Ideally, writers will have an interest in addressing signal, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum critical capability needs and may come from government solution providers, commercial vendors or academic institutions.

January 9, 2017
Perdix microdrones launched from F/A-18 Super Hornets demonstrate advanced swarming capabilities, including collective decision making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing.

The U.S. Defense Department announced today that in October 2016 it successfully demonstrated one of the world’s largest microdrone swarms at China Lake, California. The demonstration consisted of 103 Perdix drones launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets. The microdrones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing.  

The Naval Air Systems Command and the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) are partnering on the effort. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter created the SCO in 2012 to boost Defense Department innovation.

December 21, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Calling all codebreakers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, needs the public's help to head off what officials say is a looming threat to information security: quantum computers.

It is believed that futuristic quantum computers significantly will outperform the supercomputers of today, an advancement that potentially could break encryption codes used to protect privacy in digital systems. The agency needs methods and strategies from the world’s cryptographers.

December 21, 2016
By Julianne Simpson

Brigham Young University (BYU) is developing a web middleware tool that will improve the Internet website authentication process and online security. TrustBase, an open-source product, will support mobile and desktop operating systems using local and cloud-based services. Operating systems will enable the middleware to notify the user of untrustworthy sites independent of the application in use.

December 20, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
A U.S. Navy buoyancy glider, similar to one that was seized December 15, 2016, by the Chinese navy. The vessel was returned to the U.S. Navy December 20.

Chinese naval forces returned a U.S. Navy underwater, unmanned research vessel on Tuesday, near the location where it was unlawfully seized late last week, according to a U.S. Defense Department statement.

December 16, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
USNS Bowditch

A Chinese military ship seized a U.S. underwater, unmanned research vessel, prompting the U.S. Defense Department to launch “appropriate government-to-government channels” with the Chinese government to immediately return the vessel. On Thursday, China unlawfully seized the unclassified ocean glider while sailing in the South China Sea, according to a Defense Department news release. 

The USNS Bowditch and the unmanned underwater vessel (UUV) are used to gather military oceanographic data such as salinity, water temperature and sound speed, the release states. 

December 13, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency has announced that ZeroPoint, an exploit detection and analytics tool, has spun off as a startup company called ZeroPoint Dynamics.

December 13, 2016

Federal employees are frustrated by slow and unreliable applications, a quandary they say impedes them from getting their work done and diminishes confidence in information technology modernization efforts, according to survey results released today by Riverbed Technology, an application performance company.

Of the 335 federal employees surveyed, nearly a third said it takes more than 24 hours for agency IT managers to address application failures, despite clear processes in place to report problems.

December 12, 2016

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department of Commerce Digital Attaché Program will expand to six new markets: South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Germany and France.

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, has selected its winners from its crowd-sourced Multi-View Stereo 3-D Mapping Challenge—a contest to see who could best convert satellite photos into 3-D models to create more accurate maps.

The top challenge solvers demonstrated their solutions during an all-day workshop Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The open source solutions were released during the event and will be made available to the public on an IARPA website.

November 29, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
With support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a portable measurement system to monitor the amount of electricity used by individual household appliances, lighting fixtures and electronic devices.

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), have developed a portable measurement system to precisely and inexpensively monitor the amount the electricity used by individual household appliances, lighting fixtures and electronic devices.

The system was developed by MIT professor Dr. Steven Leeb and one of his graduate students, Dr. John Donnal, a former U.S. Army captain. Five postage stamp-sized sensors are placed above or near power lines coming into a house and are designed to be self-calibrating—enabling them to automatically pinpoint the strongest electrical signals.

November 29, 2016

The Kill Chain Integration Branch at Hanscom Air Force Base has begun an experimentation campaign, known as Data-to-Decisions, to look at ways to provide warfighters data in the fastest and most efficient way possible. The campaign is in its early stages but, according to officials, already showing the potential for favorable results.

November 29, 2016

Recent technological advances have brought the on-orbit robotic servicing of satellites closer to reality. Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has kicked off the Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS) to tackle the lack of clear, widely accepted technical and safety standards for responsible performance of on-orbit activities involving commercial satellites.

November 15, 2016

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems out of Manassas, Virginia, received a $125,185,446 cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost reimbursement modification to a previously awarded contract for Acoustic-Rapid commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Insertion (A-RCI) systems engineering and technical support. The company will perform engineering services to continue the development and production of COTS Insertion A-RCI sonar systems that integrate and improve towed array, hull array, sphere array and other ship sensor processing, through rapid insertion of hardware and software.

November 14, 2016

Technica Corporation has been awarded a $224 million Network Centric Solutions 2 (NETCENTS 2) Network Operations Small Business task order by the U.S. Air Force. Technica will manage communications networks and information technology services for the Air Force’s 844th Communications Group and National Military Command Center (NMCC), which serve senior leaders in the Washington, D.C., area and Defense Department sites worldwide. The contract has a base year value of nearly $41 million, plus four option years for a total contract value of $224 million.

November 9, 2016

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) announced the public release of the Accurate Events from Natural Text (ACCENT) technology. ACCENT is a state-of-the-art automated event coder capable of identifying nearly 300 types of sociopolitical events in text. IARPA hopes the software release will spur increased activity in the research community.

November 3, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
An Atlas V launch vehicle carrying the Navy's fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) communications satellite lifts off from Space Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of United Launch Alliance/Released)

The U.S. Navy's newest communications satellite has reached its operational orbit and successfully deployed its arrays and antennas, months after a post-launch difficulty delayed its voyage to geosynchronous orbit earlier this year, a Navy spokesperson says.

The fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite experienced problems this summer, the result of a failure of the orbit-raising propulsion system during a transfer maneuver, says Steven A. Davis, a spokeman with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

November 2, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
Sandia National Laboratories will oversee the brain-replication work of three teams who aim to map, understand and mathematically recreate visual processing in the brain.

Over the next five years, Sandia National Laboratories will oversee the brain replication work of three university-led teams who aim to close the computer-human gap in object recognition. An advanced computer may beat experts in chess, but a computer algorithm trained only on pictures of red apples cannot recognize that a green apple is still an apple.

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