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Next-Generation Antenna Design

Materials and Processes Enable New Possibilities for Unmanned Systems Command & Control

Unmanned vehicles are finding increasing usage in military engagements, not only for aerial applications but also for ground and underwater missions. Modern antenna designs can increase unmanned vehicle fuel efficiency through reduced antenna size, increased antenna conformality, and reduced antenna weight. For airborne UAVs, time on station is a critical mission parameter directly influenced by payload weight and aerodynamics. For unmanned ground vehicles, increased antenna conformality reduces the likelihood of accidental damage that occurs with externally protruding antennas.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Antennas, Aerodynamics, Autonomous vehicles, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Photovoltaic Thermography From the Air

Micro-Epsilon
Raleigh, NC
919-787-9707
www.micro-epsilon.com

Defective solar cells can destroy an entire module. Therefore, conducting regular inspections using thermography is a great way to perform preventative maintenance on photovoltaics installations. Any noticeable differences in temperature that are encountered can be used to reliably detect electrical, mechanical, installation and processing-related defects, including short circuits, inactive cells, moisture, and poorly soldered joints. As part of scheduled maintenance operations, thermography can provide valuable information for resolving warranty claims.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Solar energy, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Inspections
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Unmanned Demonstrator Aircraft for Maritime Surveillance

Northrop Grumman
Falls Church, VA
703-280-2900
www.northropgrumman.com

The Northrop Grumman Corporation-built unmanned demonstrator aircraft used for maritime surveillance missions by the U.S. Navy recently surpassed 10,000 combat flying hours supporting intelligence-gathering missions in the Middle East. The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration (BAMS-D) aircraft are currently flying 15 missions a month and allow fleet commanders to identify and track potential targets of interest using a specialized suite of surveillance sensors.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Security systems, Marine vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Additive Manufacturing of Small Tactical Munitions

Raytheon
Fullerton, CA
714-446-2315
www.raytheon.com
Solid Concepts Inc.
Valencia, CA
661-295-4400
www.solidconcepts.com

Raytheon is addressing the need for smaller tactical weapons that still incorporate all fundamental features for small tactical manned or unmanned aerial platforms with some help from additive manufacturing (a.k.a. 3D printing). Their newest tactical munition, named Pyros, is light, precise, and a serious weapon.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing processes, Military vehicles and equipment
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Unmanned Ground Vehicle

RE2
Pittsburgh, PA
412-681-6382
www.resquared.com

RE2, Inc. recently announced that the company has been awarded additional funding by the Department of Defense to commercialize its high speed inspection robot called the Fore-Runner. The ForeRunner unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) was developed under an Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the additional funding was awarded through the Robotics Technology Consortium as a Phase III SBIR with the Army’s Tank and Automotive Research Engineering and Development Center (TARDEC).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Robotics, Inspections, Autonomous vehicles
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Supervisory Control State Diagrams to Depict Autonomous Activity

The military seeks to enable agile and adaptive mission management and control for a team comprised of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unattended ground sensors (UGS), dismounted war-fighters with mobile control stations, and an operator located in a central control station. With UAVs equipped and authorized to re-plan and act without human input, the challenge is developing methods for a human operator to sufficiently monitor, inspect, and manipulate the UAVs’ activities, which include goal-directed task selection, situation assessment, decision-making, planning, and actions.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Sensors and actuators, Human factors, Military vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Aerodynamic Modeling of a Flapping Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The phenomenon of flapping wing flight in nature has been studied for centuries. Recently, flapping flight for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications has become of interest. Flapping wing flight offers many potential advantages over traditional fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Fixed-wing UAVs have the advantages of long range and endurance, and high payload capabilities; however, they require high forward flight speeds and most configurations cannot hover, which makes them difficult to control in confined spaces.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Airframes, Wings, Computer simulation, Aerodynamics, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Queuing Model for Supervisory Control of Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles

One critical aspect in developing a quantitative model of unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) operator and system performance has been to adopt a task-centric approach to interface design that entails an explicit representation of actions or tasks that need to be performed by the operator. The representation of work in terms of a task serves as a trace in the system that enables designers to track workload in addition to the task progress and flow of tasks among team members. In supervisory control, the focus is the flow of tasks (work) through a system that is composed of human servers and automated servers (software agents).

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Computer simulation, Human machine interface (HMI), Autonomous vehicles, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Real-Time, High-Fidelity Simulation of Autonomous Ground Vehicle Dynamics

Integrated simulation capabilities that are high-fidelity, fast, and have scalable architecture are essential to support autonomous vehicle design and performance assessment for the Army’s growing use of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). A mobility simulation of an autonomous vehicle in an off-road scenario was developed using integrated sensor, controller, and multibody dynamics models.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Computer simulation, Architecture, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment, Off-highway vehicles and equipment
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Improved Howitzer Spindle Coating Will Improve Performance, Save Money

The efforts of U.S. Army engineers to implement an improved coating for howitzer breech spindles will provide several benefits, including easing the logistical burden on soldiers, reducing hazardous waste, and saving millions of dollars.

Rust, wear and corrosion problems currently force the Army to condemn breech spindles before their full service lives. A team at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is leading a project to identify, validate, test and evaluate a solution. Project officer Maira Senick and technical lead Dr. Christopher Mulligan, both with RDECOM's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, in partnership with Product Manager Towed Artillery Systems, are aiming for a production-ready coating within six months to a year.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials
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