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Sandia Labs Takes Modern Approach to Evaluating Nuclear Weapons

Sandia National Laboratories is transforming how it assesses nuclear weapons in a stockpile made up of weapons at different stages in their lifecycles — some systems that have existed for decades alongside those that have undergone life extension programs. Back when the United States was developing new nuclear weapon systems, weapons typically were either in production or were retired before they aged much more than about 10 years. The U.S. today is no longer designing new systems, so scientists and engineers refurbish weapons to ensure the stockpile will function as intended and that weapons are safe, secure and reliable.

Posted in: INSIDER, Defense, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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Next-Generation Fire Support Systems Boost Lethality

Soldiers view live-stream full-motion video from unmanned aerial vehicles via a smartphone. They access 3-D digital maps to send precision target coordinates. Soldiers are now relying on these advanced technologies to improve lethality and maintain battlefield dominance. These are among the improvements that will be embedded in future fire-support capabilities because the Army has started testing four upgraded systems for its Field Artillery units to provide more accurate and timely fire support to maneuver formations.

Posted in: INSIDER, Communications, Wireless, Data Acquisition, Defense, Electronics & Computers
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Navy Chemists Develop Field-Repairable Transparent Armor

Research chemists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed and patented a transparent thermoplastic elastomer armor to reduce weight, inherent in most bullet-resistant glass, while maintaining superior ballistic properties. Thermoplastic elastomers are soft, rubbery polymers converted by physical means, rather than a chemical process, to a solid. Consequently, the solidification is reversible and enables damaged armor surfaces to be repaired ‘on-the-fly’ out in the field.

Posted in: INSIDER, Defense, Composites, Materials, Plastics
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The 3D Printing Landscape: Then and Now

Frequently used as a design validation and prototyping tool in its early days, the 3D printer now supports a much wider range of applications, from shape-conforming electronics to the creation of printed living tissue. Tech Briefs spoke with industry expert Terry Wohlers about 3D printing's emerging possibilities.

Posted in: News, News, News, Aerospace, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Implants & Prosthetics
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Commando Helicopter

Leonardo-Finmeccanica
Rome, Italy
+39 06 32473313
www.leonardocompany.com/

Leonardo-Finmeccanica announced recently that the first AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin Mk4 successfully completed its maiden flight at its Yeovil facility in southwest England. Leonardo is upgrading 25 Royal Navy Merlin Mk3/3A aircraft to Merlin Mk4/4A standard as part of the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP) contract. The MLSP contract is valued at £330 million and was awarded in January 2014 by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Deliveries of aircraft will start in 2017 and continue through to 2020 with the work being performed at Leonardo’s Yeovil facility.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Military aircraft, Rotary-wing aircraft
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Touchscreen Tablet Mission System

Inzpire
Lincolnshire, UK
+44 1522 688 231
www.inzpire.com

GECO, from UK-based Inzpire, is a military grade rugged touchscreen tablet mission system that is currently in frontline operational use with the British Armed Forces, and is also fielded internationally on 15 different aircraft types including fighter planes and attack and support helicopters.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Human machine interface (HMI), Displays, Military aircraft
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M1 Abrams Tank Engine Updates

Honeywell Aerospace
Phoenix, AZ
602-365-3099
https://aerospace.honeywell.com

The Honeywell-powered M1 Abrams tank has been a mainstay of the U.S. military’s heavy armored forces for more than 25 years. Over that time, global defense strategies and battlefield engagements have changed, meaning the M1 Abrams now requires more power, extended mission range, and greater dependability.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Engine control systems, Gas turbines, Military vehicles and equipment
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Aircraft Automation System

Aurora Flight Sciences
Manassas, VA
703-369-3633
www.aurora.aero

Aurora Flight Sciences is breaking ground in the world of automated flight through its work on the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program. Aurora recently demonstrated automated flight capabilities with ALIAS flying a Cessna Caravan through basic maneuvers under the supervision of a pilot.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Flight control actuators, Optics, Human machine interface (HMI), Flight tests, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Pulse Analysis Techniques for Radar and Electronic Warfare

Pulsed signals are widespread in radar and other electronic warfare (EW) applications, and they must be accurately measured for manufacturing, design of countermeasures, and threat assessment. Pulse measurements are an especially challenging area for signal analysis due to a combination of factors. Fortunately, many of the improving signal processing and analog-digital conversion technologies behind the generation of complex pulse environments also enable new techniques for effective pulse analysis.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Mathematical analysis, Measurements, Radar, Military vehicles and equipment
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Flat Cable Technology for Aerospace Applications

There are those who think all cables are created equal. Well, they're not.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Downsizing, Wiring, Product development
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Electric Rockets and the Future of Satellite Propulsion

Humans have been using rocket propulsion for almost a millennium, starting with Chinese rockets and “fire arrows” in the 13th century and continuing to the modern era's powerful Space Shuttle and Falcon rockets. For most of that history, rockets have been chemically fueled, but in the past century scientists and engineers have also experimented with electric rockets, also known as ion engines or ion propulsion systems.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electric power, Product development, Rocket engines, Satellites, Spacecraft
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Designing Electronic Warfare to Regain Airborne Military Dominance

For decades, military aircraft have relied on electronic warfare (EW) solutions to protect assets and dominate airspace. The ability of the United States to detect and track aircraft, or avoid detection has played a major role in its ability to project power globally and maintain freedom of operation in the air.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Avionics, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Certifying Composite Designs for Aerospace and Defense

Wherever you find newer and particularly larger aircraft these days, you're seeing the use of composite materials. The latest commercial planes, as well as innovative defense prototypes, demonstrate the awareness of aerospace OEMs regarding the value of composites for stiffness and structural strength exceeding metals, plus weight savings and decreased fuel consumption. The military may have taken an early lead in pushing the use of composites, but now both sectors are fully committed to advancing the technology.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Fuel economy, Composite materials, Certification, Commercial aircraft, Lightweighting, Military aircraft
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AuVSI™ XPONENTIAL: ALL THINGS UNMANNED

After a very successful trade show and conference in New Orleans last year, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is bringing this year's event, AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017 to the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, TX. The event, which runs from May 8 – May 11, will feature more than 200 presentations and panel discussions focused on all aspects of the unmanned vehicle and robotics market. Over 650 exhibitors representing more than 20 different industries will be showcasing their latest technology to an estimated 7,000 attendees from all over the world.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Artificial intelligence, Career and professional development, Collaboration and partnering, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Reconfigurable Radio Tracks Flights Worldwide

When Malaysia Air Flight 370 disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean in 2014, it had flown far beyond radar range. Under a new space-based air tracking system — starting with a reconfigurable radio developed by NASA — no plane would ever be off the grid that way.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Radio equipment, Satellite communications, Air traffic control
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Luminescence Materials as Nanoparticle Thermal Sensors

The purpose of this research program was to create and study novel luminescence particles (phosphors} capable of sensing and retaining the time-temperature information to which they were exposed, therefore acting as nano- and microsized thermosensors. The thermometric property is the latent thermoluminescence (TL) signal associated with electron/hole pairs trapped at defect energy levels, which are differently affected by the environmental temperature.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Defense, Nanotechnology, Photonics, Sensors, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Research and development, Nanomaterials, Thermal testing
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Using Dempster-Shafer Fusion for Personnel Intrusion Detection

The Dempster-Shafer (D-S) mass function is used in effect as a common representation of heterogeneous sensor data. In order to cast each data source in this form, first the raw data is reduced to points in a multi-dimensional feature space specific to each sensor. From there, an approach is outlined that uses a distance metric in the feature space to assign mass to each state in the class hierarchy. This hierarchy begins with the full frame of discernment which represents complete uncertainty. From there it proceeds as an n-array tree broken down into further subclasses until the finest granularity of classification for the specific sensor is reached.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Detectors, Sensors, Mathematical models, Sensors and actuators, Data management, Reliability
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Using Fisher Information Criteria for Chemical Sensor Selection via Convex Optimization Methods

The design of chemical sensor arrays from the standpoint of chemical sensor selection and error quantification has historically proceeded as an ad hoc process. Frequently, chemical sensors are developed not as general purpose sensing devices, but as analyte or chemical class specific detectors. When such single purpose devices are integrated together as a chemical sensor array, it is unclear a priori how well they will function in concert with each other to provide expanded capabilities, an observation that is true of the integration of analytical instruments as well.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Sensors, Optimization, Neural networks, Sensors and actuators, Identification, Chemicals
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Development of an Optically Modulated Scatterer Probe for a Near-Field Measurement System

Near-field radiation patterns are useful in diagnosing antenna array defects, measuring far-field antenna patterns where the far-field is prohibitively far, and locating field concentrations in high power microwave applications, which could lead to material breakdown. There are two categories of near-field measurements: direct and indirect. In a direct measurement, the field from the antenna-under-test (AUT) is directly measured by a probe whereas, in an indirect measurement, the field is inferred from the scattering off of a probe that is placed in the near-field.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Sensors, Finite element analysis, Measurements, Antennas, Radiation
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Angular Random Walk Estimation of a Time-Domain Switching Micromachined Gyroscope

The primary metrics that prohibit the use of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) gyroscopes for navigation-grade inertial navigation units (IMUs) are angle random walk (ARW), bias instability, and scale factor instability. The need for MEMS gyroscopes is due to their decreased cost, size, weight, and power (CSWaP) constraints compared to current navigation-grade solutions. Note that to avoid confusion, while in a statistical context a random walk describes a particular type of random process, ARW is used herein to quantify the effects of white, or Gaussian, noise processes on the rate estimate of a gyroscope.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Sensors, Mathematical analysis, Microelectricmechanical device, Navigation and guidance systems, Noise, Reliability
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New Products: April 2017 Aerospace & Defense Techonology

Rate Indicator/Totalizer

The Hoffer (Elizabeth City, NC) HIT-4U Rate Indicator/Totalizer is being offered with additional options providing the user with enhanced functionality and flexibility in a compact enclosure. The choice of a NEMA 4X enclosure joins the explosion-proof enclosure options and is now available flow meter mounted or remote mounted on a 2" or smaller pipe. The NEMA 4X enclosure offers options for local Modbus access ports via USB port or hardwired access through strain relief for data log retrieval and configuration of the unit.

Additional user friendly features of the unit include 12-point linearization, dual set point alarm output configurable for rate or total and a wide range of engineering unit display icons. The HIT-4U is offered in battery or loop-power with a lithium battery backup to ensure continuous, reliable performance.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Defense
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Submarine Radar Technology

Kelvin Hughes
Enfield, UK
+44 19 9280 5200
www.kelvinhughes.com

Kelvin Hughes recently announced that it has developed a way to bring all the benefits of its innovative SharpEye™ radar technology to submarines.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Radar, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Morphing Wings Make Jets More Efficient

University of Michigan engineers have developed improved wing designs capable of burning less fuel, as well as tools that help the aerospace industry build more efficient aircraft. In areas where new technologies are being applied – such as for wings made of composite materials or wings that morph during flight – improved design tools can provide insights when intuitive understanding is lacking.

Posted in: INSIDER, Aviation, Defense
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NASA Tests Engines That Reduce Drag and Fuel Burn

Boundary Layer Ingestion (BLI) is a promising idea NASA researchers are studying to reduce fuel burn in jet engines, thus reducing emissions and the cost of operating the aircraft. Thrust makes an airplane go forward, while drag tries to slow it down. Lift offsets the weight to keep an airplane in the sky. BLI deals specifically with the drag part of the equation by trying to reduce the total drag an airplane experiences in the sky.

Posted in: INSIDER, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense
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Technique Enables 3D Printing of Aerospace-Grade Carbon Fiber Composites

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have become the first to 3D print aerospace-grade carbon fiber composites, representing a significant advance in the development of micro-extrusion 3D printing techniques for carbon fiber.

Posted in: INSIDER, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
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NASA Test Flights Will Study Improved Efficiency of Supersonic Aircraft

NASA is set to begin a series of supersonic flights that will examine efforts to improve the efficiency of future supersonic aircraft. Future supersonic aircraft seeking to achieve a low boom will rely on a swept wing design in order to fly at supersonic speeds without producing a loud sonic boom. The swept wing design generally produces airflow disturbances that run along the span of the wing, resulting in turbulent flow, increased drag, and ultimately, higher fuel consumption.

Posted in: INSIDER, Aviation, Defense
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Language Learning Robot Could Advance Autonomous Vehicles

A Purdue University researcher and his team are developing technology to give robots the ability to learn language. A team led by Jeffrey Mark Siskind, associate professor in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has developed three algorithms that allow a wheeled robot to learn the meanings of words from example sentences that describe example paths taken by the robot, to use the words to generate a sentence to describe a path of movement, and to comprehend the sentence in order to produce a new path of movement.

Posted in: INSIDER, Defense, Robotics, Simulation Software, Software
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Researchers Study Ceramic Material as Possible Lightweight Vehicle Armor

The U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) and Australian Defence Science and Technology Group are collaborating to study ceramic materials for potential use in the design of military vehicle armor using neutrons at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor.

Posted in: INSIDER, Defense, Ceramics, Materials
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US, Japan Conduct First SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test

Engineers from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, in cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Japan Ministry of Defense, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), played a key role in the first live-fire intercept using the new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA guided missile during a recent flight test off the west coast of Hawaii. This test marks the first time an SM-3 Block IIA was launched from an Aegis ship and the first intercept engagement using the Aegis Baseline (B/L) 9.C2 (BMD 5.1) weapon system.

Posted in: INSIDER, Aeronautics, Defense
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Next-Generation Batteries Could Power Microsatellites

NASA's Kennedy Space Center and the University of Miami are developing a new solid-state battery prototype that could revolutionize the way NASA operates microsatellites such as CubeSats. Rather than placing a battery in the experiment, taking up 20 to 35 percent of the available volume, the battery now resides in the payload structure, thereby opening up additional free space for researchers to perform more science.

Posted in: INSIDER, Defense
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