News Briefs

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 14, 2020
 
The Navy awarded a new contract to field 130 new TH-73A Advanced Helicopter Training System aircraft for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to replace the 35-year old TH-57 aircraft, pictured. U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy selected AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation, a Leonardo company, to produce 32 TH-73A helicopters in support of the Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) program, according to a Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announcement. Under the $176,472,608 firm-fixed-price contract, the company will deliver the aircraft, initial spares, support equipment, flyaway kits, hoists, sling loads, data, and ancillary instructor pilot and maintenance personnel training. 

January 9, 2020
 
Textron describes its Ripsaw M5 Robotic Combat Vehicle as providing speed, mobility and unmanned capability. The company has been selected to provide four medium robotic vehicles to the U.S. Army. QinetiQ North America will be awarded a contract for four light ground robots. Photo courtesy of Textron

The U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center and the U.S. Army Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team intends to award an other transaction agreement to QinetiQ North America to build four light and to Textron to build four medium Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCVs).

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.

December 11, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel.com

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a report today by the independent science advisory group JASON titled “Fundamental Research Security.”

The NSF commissioned the report this past summer to better understand the threats to basic research posed by foreign governments who seek to violate the principles of scientific ethics and research integrity.

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.

October 21, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories search for ways to protect satellites from a variety of threats, including missiles, lasers and electronic warfare. Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey Armyagov

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories launched a seven-year mission campaign this month to develop the science, technology and architecture needed for autonomous satellite protection systems.

October 18, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: LuckyStep

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is launching its latest S&T Impact Series case study, one that highlights many of the precautions and actions the department is taking to strengthen the nation’s cyber capabilities.

October 10, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force has reactivated a flight test squadron to take on testing of the next-generation bomber. Credit: Graphic courtesy of the Air Force

Air Force leaders at Edwards Air Force Base in California held a reactivation ceremony on October 4 for the 420th Flight Test Squadron, which will fall under the Air Force Test Center's 412th Test Wing. Notably, the squadron will be conducting analysis of flight and ground testing of the service’s next-generation bomber, the B-21 Raider, a key future weapon system for multidomain operations.

October 7, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Lemberg Vector studio

A new study shows that robots could be taught to recognize human emotions from the way people move.

Researchers from Warwick Business School, University of Plymouth, Donders Centre for Cognition at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and the Bristol Robotics Lab at the University of the West of England, found humans could recognize excitement, sadness and aggression from the way people moved, even if they could not see their facial expressions or hear their voice.

October 7, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Sandia National Laboratories is pursuing a heartbeat-based technology for a security application. Credit: Shutterstock/LuckyStep

Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico is testing security applications that depend on a user’s heartbeat. Under a recently signed Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), Albuquerque-based Aquila Inc. will create and test a wearable prototype that issues a real-time identifying signature based on the electrical activity of the user’s heart, according to a report from Sandia.

The electrocardiogram signals are sent from the wearable technology—which could be a wristband or a chest strap—to identify a person and grant them access to facilities or other security applications. 

October 2, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
The NSA's new Cybersecurity Directorate will initially focus on securing weapon systems and the defense industrial base. Credit: Shutterstock/honglouwawa

The National Security Agency (NSA) has created a new Cybersecurity Directorate as a recognition that “the best defense against devastating cyber attacks is to unify as a nation against our threats,” the agency has announced.

October 4, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
A new policy approved by the secretary of the Army requires the use of advanced manufacturing techniques, which included 3D printing, for new and existing systems. Credit: Pixabay/mebner1

Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy has approved a new policy on advanced manufacturing designed to help the Army secure a competitive edge against near-peer adversaries.

September 26, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force is conducting a new program, called Air Force Explore, to find “remarkable” ideas to apply to persistent awareness, resilient information sharing and rapid, effective decision-making, among other areas. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Janweb B. Lagazo

Calling it a unique new call to action, the U.S. Air Force is searching for transformational solutions that advance the principles of its Science and Technology 2030 strategy. The service’s effort, called Air Force Explore, is soliciting solutions from interested parties nationwide, according to an Air Force statement.

September 27, 2019
 
Students from the Autonomy New Mexico program at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque developed drone platforms in order to test hypersonic system applications. Credit: Vince Gasparich

As part of Sandia National Laboratories' quest to develop hypersonic solutions, a group of university students working at the labs this summer developed autonomy and artificial intelligence capabilities for hypersonic flight systems. They tested the capabilities on unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

September 25, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Close-up of a "smarticle"—smart active particle—showing the two 3D-printed arms, light sensor and motor. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Researchers have taken a new approach to developing robots—using smaller robots known as “smarticles” to unlock the principles of a potentially new locomotion technique. The 3D-printed smarticles—short for smart active particles—can only do one thing: flap their two arms. But when five of these smarticles are narrowed in a circle, they begin to push one another, forming a robophysical system known as a “supersmarticle” that can move by itself. Adding a light or sound sensor allows the supersmarticle to move in response to the stimulus.

September 11, 2019
 
Computer scientists at the U.S. Army¹s Combat Capabilities Development Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground are working on biometric software systems to combat so-called "deepfake" or bogus media. Credit: Shutterstock/meyer_solutions

At the Combat Capabilities Development Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, researchers in the Science and Technology Directorate are working to meet a joint urgent operational needs statement regarding biometric dominance. The directorate’s Intelligence Systems and Processing Division is creating two biometric systems, called VICE and VIBES, to protect warfighters as well as discern media fakes, explained Keith Riser, computer scientist, Intelligence Systems and Processing Division, Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate. 

August 27, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The one-year old Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security is coordinating the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Credit: Shutterstock/Imfoto

The Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, is charged with coordinating the protection of America’s critical infrastructure from cyber as well as physical attacks. Director Christopher Krebs recently released the agency’s top operational priorities. CISA, which was created in November 2018, will initially tackle supply chain risks, election security and industrial control system security, among other measures, according to the document, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: Strategic Intent.

September 5, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Col. James “Hondo” Geurts (center in necktie), USAF (Ret.), assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, explains the Department of the Navy's creation of so-called NavalX Tech Bridges, designed to bring in more innovation to the Navy and Marine Corps. U.S. Navy photo by Bobby Cummings.

A new partnership between NavalX, the Navy's Systems Commands and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) will strive to bring innovation into the Navy from hubs around the country. At a media event yesterday, Col. James “Hondo” Geurts, USAF (Ret.), assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, announced the creation of so-called NavalX Tech Bridges, according to reports from the Navy’s Research, Development and Acquisition Public Affairs Office and the Office of Naval Research’s Warren Duffie.

August 27, 2019
Posted by Maryann Lawlor
Sensors like those the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and Intellisense Systems are developing can help give residents ample notice to evacuate before water levels such as those experienced on the Arkansas River in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, earlier this year. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Deployable flood inundation sensors based on the Internet of Things are being developed to monitor flood-prone areas in real time to rapidly detect them and alert officials, industry and citizens to potential threats. State and local government jurisdictions operationally field tested early versions of the technology over a nine-month period. During the next phase, the sensors will be enhanced for production and commercialization to both domestic and international partners to help densify their flood sensing networks for alerts, warnings and notifications.

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