Technology

January 27, 2020
By George I. Seffers
By connecting two quantum systems, Army and University of Maryland researchers opened the door to brand new tools in the field of quantum communication, useful for timing synchronization between quantum systems, the Army has announced. (Photo credit: U.S. Army photo)

U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientists and University of Maryland researchers recently published a study showing how they combined two different quantum technologies to produce a timing synchronization tool for future quantum networks, the Army has announced. The breakthrough could lead to a hybrid quantum network that combines the best features of different types of quantum systems.

January 16, 2020
 
The Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator manned vehicle can operate two unmanned platforms to make contact with the enemy before soldiers do, while achieving overmatch against future operating environment threats. The Army’s vision includes three robotic vehicle variants—light, medium and large, but service officials have decided for now to cancel the acquisition of a medium variant. U.S. Army photo by Jerome Aliotta/Released 

The U.S. Army announced today that it has canceled the solicitation for the Section 804 Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) Rapid Prototyping phase of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV). Based on feedback and proposals received from industry, the Army has determined it is necessary to revisit the requirements, acquisition strategy and schedule before moving forward. 

"We remain committed to the OMFV program as it is our second-highest modernization priority, and the need for this ground combat vehicle capability is real. It is imperative we get it right for our soldiers," Dr. Bruce Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, says in a written announcement. 

January 1, 2020
By Henry S. Kenyon

5G wireless technology is poised to take the world by storm, offering fast and effective network connectivity at data throughput speeds once reserved for dedicated fiberoptic landlines. This increased speed will also fuel new developments in wireless applications and connected devices to vastly increase the size, depth and interconnectivity of networks of all kinds.

January 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Research supported by the National Science Foundation could help the United States leapfrog past fifth-generation wireless networks, enabling an array of smart city technologies.  Krunja/Shutterstock

A National Science Foundation effort to ensure U.S. national leadership in wireless technologies will not stop at fifth-generation capabilities commonly referred to as 5G.

The extensive program, Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR—pronounced power), already has established testing grounds in three states—Salt Lake City, Utah; Raleigh, North Carolina, and New York City. Additionally, the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released a request for proposals for a rural broadband testing area. The goal is to establish four city-scale testbeds, which NSF officials refer to as platforms. Each platform will ultimately be connected virtually as a shared innovation lab for wireless research.

January 3, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
To improve resiliency, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Center is leveraging commercial satellite communications technology for its next series of Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites on the WGS11+ platform. Pictured is the Boeing-built WGS-9 satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in 2017. Photo Courtesy of the United Launch Alliance

The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is harnessing advanced satellite communication technology from the private sector through the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) 11+ platform and its Pathfinder effort. The WGS-11+ effort is centered on capabilities that will provide more coverage beams, beam-formed bandwidth and frequency re-use than existing legacy systems, according to a release from the center known as SMC, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

January 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
One of four phased array antennas is mounted on the top wall of Columbia University’s engineering building as part of the COSMOS wireless testbed, designed to test emerging wireless capabilities in an urban environment.

Across 15 blocks in New York City sit the beginnings of an extensive wireless testbed, which will help advance driverless car, smart city and other technologies for the modern urban environment. The outdoor laboratory, known as COSMOS, provides a platform for researchers to experiment with a low-latency, ultra-high bandwidth wireless network during everyday life in West Harlem.

January 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The artificial intelligence software provided by Stabilitas Intelligence Communications is designed to warn organizations of disruptive global or local events, including natural disasters, social unrest, political upheaval, or terrorist attacks, predict the results on the clients’ organization and operation, and help develop a response plan.  Vit-Mar/Shutterstock

A company founded by military veterans uses artificial intelligence to alert clients to major events, such as natural disasters, strikes or political unrest, around the world that will affect their organizations and operations. The company, Stabilitas Intelligence Communications, has traditionally worked with large, commercial businesses, including “one of the world’s largest retailers” and “several global logistics and consumer product companies,” Stabilitas officials say. But the company is now actively seeking government customers in the national security and defense arena.

January 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
This artist’s concept shows the cross-section of a carbon nanotube T-gate transistor, with densely aligned carbon nanotubes, that can reach speeds of 100 gigahertz. Breakthroughs in this research, originally funded by the Army Research Office, may lead to better and more advanced mobile communications throughout the military and commercial worlds.  Imagery courtesy of Carbonics Inc.

High-frequency radios may be more resilient, military sensors more sensitive and 5G communications more versatile because of a technological breakthrough initiated by the Army Research Laboratory. Carbon nanotubes, the exotic material that offers a broad scope of promises, now can be fabricated into transistors that would replace those of conventional metal oxide semiconductors used commonly in radio frequency systems. Ultimately, they would pave the way for less expensive chips that would eliminate many of the drawbacks that plague radio frequency systems.

January 1, 2020
By Jennifer Miller

Like me, you may have thought black is black and as dark as it gets. However, courtesy of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), individuals are creating blacker and blacker, even blackest versions of black. A quick Google or YouTube search yields all sorts of interesting results from BMWs painted in Vantablack, to the “blackest little black dress.”

In practice, CNTs are materials that can be vertically aligned to capture light in the 99.9XX percent range and produce blacker versions of the blackest black. CNTs are microscopic filaments of carbon that can be grown on surfaces for various uses.

December 13, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Students at the Naval War College are told that broad adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) will be the key to future operational success. (U.S. Navy photo)

Students and faculty at the Naval War College should begin “diving in” to artificial intelligence (AI), said the director of the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, USAF, declared, “We need far more national security professionals who understand what this technology can do or, equally important, what it cannot do,” according to Navy officials.

December 11, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Department has added to new 5G-related requests for prototype proposals to its efforts with the National Spectrum Consortium. Credit: Wit Olszewski/Shutterstock

The U.S. Defense Department has released two more draft requests for prototype proposals seeking fifth-generation (5G) wireless solutions. The newly announced projects are for smart warehousing and asset management for Naval Supply Systems Command and augmented reality and virtual reality at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

December 11, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force’s new Space Fence solution, installed in the Marshall Islands on the Kwajalein Atoll, will provide “unprecedented” situational awareness in space, the Space and Missile Systems Center reports. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

A new capability will give the U.S. military crucial situational awareness in a domain that is growing in importance—space. The so-called Space Fence will detect closely located objects, breakups, maneuvers, launches and conjunction assessments all the way from low Earth orbit through geosynchronous Earth orbit, reported an official from Los Angeles Air Force Base, California on December 10.

December 9, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter assigned to the 305th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, flies during an exercise above the waters of Tampa Bay, Florida, in November. The Air Force is pursuing innovative digital high frequency solutions as another communications tool for airmen and Joint warfighters. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan C. Grossklag

Advanced long-distance communication solutions are needed for the military of the future, especially for operations in contested environments. Innovative high frequency solutions offer communication over long distances in real time and provide an alternative to satellite communications. The U.S. military and industry are working to harness wideband high frequency technologies, which can offer higher data rates on a single high frequency communications channel.

 

Link 16 is a secure system protocol that allows different military users to share data over the same network.

But like any good thing, everybody wants a piece of the action. As the popularity of Link 16 grows to include more platforms (ships, aircraft, vehicles, drones, etc.) and individual users, it will be important to expand Link 16 capabilities to help U.S. and coalition military forces adjust to new mission needs, enhance situational awareness, adapt to new technologies and improve warfighter safety.

December 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Roboticists at the Army Research Lab are pulling together components for robots to be able to take verbal instruction from soldiers and then complete a series of complex tasks. Here, the robot acts as a forward observer, detects a possible enemy position and relays the information to the soldier, who plans their next move.  CCDC ARL

Scientists at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland, are preparing robots that can talk with soldiers, navigate in a “socially compliant” manner and learn from demonstration. The effort to enable robots to take verbal instruction, complete a series of complex tasks and maneuver in the same environments as soldiers is all part of the Army’s long-term endeavor to create fully skilled battlefield operators that work with warfighters, say Ethan Stump and John Rogers, roboticists at the Army Research Lab (ARL).

December 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL’s) robotic manipulator, or RoMan, autonomously moves debris as part of a field exercise at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, earlier this year. Advances emerging from the ARL’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance have come together to produce self-determining robots modeled after Army battlefield needs.  CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Years of experimentation by Army scientists and academic laboratories have led to a new generation of robots that feature advanced capabilities bordering on human reasoning. These mechanisms are able to autonomously perform complex tasks in part by learning how to ape human behavior. Scientists have generated algorithms that teach robots both to perform complex functions and also learn from humans as they evolve digitally.

December 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Members of Team Co-STAR from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and South Korea’s KAIST Lab prepare to send their autonomous systems into one of the coal mine tunnels during the Subterranean Challenge.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is experimenting with underground robotic capabilities through its three-year contest—the Subterranean Challenge, also called SubT. This competition aims to spur tactical communications, mapping and search-related robotic technologies for use in subterranean environments.

December 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Advances in sensor mechanics and the advent of artificial intelligence have cleared the way for robots to play an increasingly greater role in military operations. Their growing versatility allows them to serve multiple functions in the military, from basic assistance to assumption of full combat roles. They can inter alia, lighten a warfighter’s load, provide search and rescue capabilities, perform surveillance missions, engage in casual evacuation, provide resupply and conduct hazardous route reconnaissance. Within 10 years, we may see them driving supply vehicles in convoys.

December 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.)

Well, 2019 has flown right by, and so my monthly column for SIGNAL Magazine comes to a close. It has truly been a privilege to present these columns to the AFCEA community. I hope they sparked some fresh thinking about the many changes and innovations we see all around us. The U.S. military community is at an inflection point, and it is critical that we continue these important discussions into the future.

November 18, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
A Santa Monica-based company has developed an augmented reality platform to allow fighter pilots to train in aerial warfare against virtual opponents. Credit: Photo courtesy of Red6 Aerospace.

The ability to train top U.S. military aviators in air-to-air combat usually requires pilots acting as opposing aerial fighters. Representing the enemy in training dogfights is quite costly and dangerous, says Daniel Robinson, RAF (Ret.). Robinson, co-founder and CEO of Red6 Aerospace, developed an augmented reality platform, called Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, known as A-TARS, that creates virtual opponents, such as the Chinese J-20, for pilots to dogfight against.

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