The inertial navigation system (INS) market size is estimated to be $2.75 billion in 2014 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.98 percent to reach $4.63 billion by 2019, according to Research and Markets, a Dublin-based market analysis firm. Though North America and Europe have the largest market for INS in terms of commercial and defense aviation, military and naval applications, a lot of INS development programs have been launched in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) has teamed with the U.S. Navy to use naval technology to better forecast ocean currents and possible dangers that now can be employed for commercial and public use, according to a press release.
Just as the U.S. Navy initially resisted the transition from sail to steam-powered ships and elements of the Army dismissed air power and fought against the shift from horses to tanks, some parts of the military continue to resist the expansion of uninhabited systems into traditional combat roles. As a result, the U.S. Defense Department is failing to invest in game-changing technology that could increase efficiencies and save lives, according to a just-released report from the Center for a New American Security.
The U.S. Navy has evaluated color-coded chemical detection technology known as colorimetric explosive detection kits, the service recently announced. Colorimetric detection technology is based upon a series of chemical reactions that produce a visual response, most often in the form of a color change dependent upon the molecular structure of the compounds being tested.
The U.S. Navy has successfully demonstrated the Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System (AACUS), which allows current, full-size helicopters to be remotely controlled by a tablet device. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, USN, chief of naval research, recently revealed that two young Marines at Quantico, Virginia, were able to land a full-size helicopter autonomously on an unprepared landing site with just one touch on a mini-tablet.
The U.S. Navy will depend heavily on technology innovation to meet increasing operational demands on a fleet that is aging and suffering from budget constraints, according to the vice chief of naval operations. Adm. Mark E. Ferguson, USN, told the audience at the Thursday luncheon town hall that the Navy needs to work cooperatively with industry to develop the innovative technologies and capabilities it needs.
“The best ideas come out of your laboratories,” he said, addressing industry representatives. “The edge we will need will come from innovation.”
Unmanned systems for reconnaissance, surveillance and warfighting have grown so quickly in popularity that they are spawning a familiar list of challenges that must be met sooner rather than later. Many of these issues have arisen with other military technologies that became popular quickly, and planners found that fixing these problems was significantly more difficult the deeper the technologies were embedded in everyday military operations.
The U.S. Navy of the future will strongly resemble the U.S. Navy of the present, according to a group of admirals. Budget cuts and changing missions are impelling the Navy to rely on its existing platforms and improve them by implementing new technologies.
Vice Adm. Thomas H. Copeman III, USN, commander, Naval Surface Forces, told a Wednesday panel audience at West 2014 in San Diego that the Navy will not see an increasing budget any time in the next 20 years, so it must “squeeze the best” out of what it has.
“The surface fleet we have sitting in the harbor now is the surface fleet we will have 15-20 years from now,” he predicted.
The U.S. Navy is developing a new fleet readiness plan that aims to enable more operations amid less funding. It is designed to avoid redundant activities or situations that might delay operations, and it will provide structure as well as flexibility in a coordinated effort across the fleet.
This endeavor was described by Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Speaking at the Wednesday keynote luncheon at West 2014 in San Diego, the admiral said the command faced some tough choices when confronted with substantial funding reductions.
“We can complain, or we can lead,” he offered. “We’re choosing to lead.”
The U.S. Navy’s focus on information dominance is increasing along with its reach. Having organized the force along its lines, the Navy now is applying new operational tasks to its menu.
Vice Adm. Ted Branch, USN, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance and director of naval intelligence, declared at a West 2014 keynote panel that information dominance is a warfighting domain just like air, sea, land and space. And, being successful in information dominance is as important as being successful in those four other warfighting domains. Cyber is just a component of information dominance, the admiral pointed out.
The U.S. Navy is counting on industry to provide the leading-edge information technologies that it will need to maintain superiority for the foreseeable future. Yet, if those technologies do not meet specific and broad-reaching criteria, they will not be serving the Navy, according to a Navy fleet commander.
The Tuesday luncheon speaker at West 2014, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute and being held February 11-13 in San Diego, demonstrated his view of the potential for innovative technologies by donning the latest in visual display systems.
Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, began his luncheon address wearing a Google Glass wearable computer, which was provided by the Space and Naval Warfare Command (SPAWAR) at his request and that he used as a teleprompter. During his address, he doffed the Google Glass and replaced it with a tablet for his speech. Near the end of his talk, he put down the tablet and resorted to paper notes, which he then tore up at the end.
Military and civilian pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II praise its performance and are optimistic about its superiority in the future battlespace. However, even with fixes that have been made, some issues need to be addressed and support crew will need to adopt new ways of maintaining the flight line, these pilots say.
Business as usual will weaken rather than strengthen the U.S. military in this time of budget cuts. The force must rely on technology development to ensure that it does not maintain current force sizes at the expense of enablers.
These points were outlined by Christine Fox, acting deputy secretary of defense, at the opening keynote address at West 2014, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute and being held February 11-13 in San Diego. Fox allowed that the military must become smaller over the next five years, and it must maintain capabilities that will enable it to meet any of a number of challenges.
Students interested in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM) need to mark their calendars to apply to attend the U.S. Naval Academy’s 2014 summer STEM program. Participants will learn what it takes to become an engineer through exploration, problem solving and discovery. The application process opens online on January 6 and closes on April 15. The session for students who will enter 8th and 9th grades in the 2014-2015 school year takes place June 2-7. Rising 10th graders will attend sessions June 9-14. The rising 11th graders session takes place June 16-20.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) demonstrated the launch of an all-electric, fuel cell-powered unmanned aerial system (UAS) from a submerged submarine. Operating under support of the USS Providence and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center-Newport Division, the NRL developed the eXperimental Fuel Cell (XFC) UAS, which was fired from the submarine’s torpedo tube using a Sea Robin launch vehicle system. The Sea Robin launch system was designed to fit within an empty Tomahawk launch canister (TLC). Once deployed from the TLC, the Sea Robin launch vehicle with an integrated XFC rose to the ocean surface.
Lt. Cmdr. Damon Loveless, USN, communicates with the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington to coordinate airlift operations from Tacloban airfield to nearby villages in support of operation Damayan. In coordination with Joint Task Force 505, the George Washington Strike Group is assisting the Philippine government in ongoing efforts in response to super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Republic of the Philippines.
The U.S. Navy is turning to crowdsourcing as a possible situational awareness aid during disasters and social unrest. Data from eyewitnesses or participants would be fused with information from other sources to provide timely understanding and appreciation of an environment or location to response teams.
The Office of Naval Research and the AUVSI Foundation are co-sponsoring an autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) competition, which supports interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education while increasing the pool of AUV ideas. The 16th International RoboSub Competition, titled “License to Dive,” will challenge university and high school student teams to bump buoys, park, fire foam torpedoes through a hexagonal cutout, deposit two markers into bins while submerged, and deliver two PVS mock pizza boxes to a specified location.
The Chief of Naval Operations' Reduce Administrative Distractions (RAD) team is collecting input about how to streamline or eliminate administrative processes. With an interface similar to social media platforms, the U.S. Navy website, created by IdeaScale, enables visitors to share their observations about training, administrative tasks, procedures and instruction, and then propose their ideas for efficiencies.