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Using Forensic Lasers in Modern Warfare

In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the enemy’s guerilla tactics have muddled the distinction between terrorism and warfare. To deal with the challenges of this new type of combat, the military has quietly built up impressive forensic capabilities, with technology more usually found in domestic crime labs than on the battlefield. Just as they have in numerous areas of weapons technology, lasers play a cutting-edge role in this work, which is performed on location, within mobile labs in Afghanistan, as well as in the US.

Posted in: Photonics, Aerospace, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Open Generic Avionics Architectures and Distributed Processing Using Ethernet and VPX

The backplane and hardware module standards help to increase part commonality and the reuse of components in different system architectures and applications, but this is only one part of the system design challenge. While the specified footprint, backplane format, and electrical signal characteristics help the design of modular hardware and open architectures, they still tell very little about how modular (and unambiguous) the interfacing among functions and their interactions are. This aspect is covered at the system integration (network) layer.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Aerospace, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Comparing Blade-Element Momentum Modeling to 3-D CFD

Many small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) are driven by small-scale fixed-blade propellers, and the flow produced by the propeller can have a significant impact on the aerodynamics of the SUAV itself. Small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) are becoming increasingly popular for surveillance and numerous other applications. These SUAVs come in various sizes, and the smallest are referred to as micro aerial vehicles (MAVs). For purposes here, SUAV will be used to refer to all UAVs that are portable by a man.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Aerospace, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Europe's Aerospace Industry Looking Confident

Apart from Airbus’s highly visible presence in defense and commercial aircraft, Europe also has successful capabilities in helicopters, business jets, and aero engines, and in all these areas their global market share is growing. by Richard Gardner Talk of further consolidation within Europe’s dynamic aerospace sector has been on the lips of industry watchers for several years, but although the major European-based global players have not progressed toward further mergers, the continent’s biggest aerospace company, the former EADS, has achieved a very significant business restructuring, sweeping all its diverse companies into one giant, three-division entity, and adopting the new corporate identity of the Airbus Group.

Posted in: Aerospace, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Advances and Challenges in Developing Radar Applications

Significant advances in digital and RF/microwave technologies are leading to more diverse radar applications as well as greater commercialization. This article discusses some of the fundamental research and development challenges in both the digital and RF/millimeter-wave domains, as well as current and future directions in design, system integration, and test. Radar is used to detect and/or track target objects and their attributes, such as range, speed, and other information obtained through signals at RF and microwave frequencies. The broad classes of radar systems are active and passive (Figure 1). Passive radar systems use non-cooperative source(s) of illumination, such as a target’s emitted signals, broadcast signals, or cellular communication signals, to obtain information about the target. Since radar performance relies on the sensing capabilities of the receiver, significant innovations have been made in areas such as phased array antennas, digital beam-forming, detection algorithms, and source separation algorithms. Active radar uses cooperative sources of illumination by generating its own signal(s) to illuminate the target. Within the class of active radar, there is monostatic radar, where the signal source is collocated with the receiver, and multistatic radar, where there are two or more receiver locations.

Posted in: Aerospace, RF & Microwave Electronics, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Simulation Tools Prevent Signal Interference on Spacecraft

Launching a satellite into space requires painstaking preparation, not only to make sure that a multitude of technologies are functioning, but also to ensure that critical components are working together in unison. One example is the communication systems onboard satellites and the rockets used to launch them.

Posted in: Aerospace, RF & Microwave Electronics, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Manufacturing Robotic Tools for Piping Inspection and Repair

A robotic inspection system enables preventative maintenance in space-constrained piping systems. Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia Fleet piping systems are complex, space-constrained systems that are difficult to inspect using standard external inspection techniques. Pipe lagging, as well as limited space, makes external access prohibitively expensive and difficult. A robotic tool was developed that will deliver a sensor package capable of real-time corrosion/erosion and pipe wall measurements. Implementation of this system will allow for fleet preventative maintenance (PM), ensuring that possible failures are detected and replaced before they occur.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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