MTU Develops New Turbine Blade Material in Record Time

MTU Aero Engines announced in March that its internal experts and industry partners have jointly developed a new class of intermetallic, high-temperature materials for highly stressed engine components. Named titanium aluminide (TiAl), this new lightweight material is designed for turbine blades and combines the advantages of metallic and ceramic materials.

Posted in: Technology Update, Defense, Lightweight materials, Engine components

Army Looks Toward Fully Autonomous Tactical Vehicle

The U.S. Army is working toward developing a fully autonomous tactical vehicle, a robotics expert said. "When you start looking at the mid-term, five to 10 years, we start talking about tapping into external systems," said Mark Mazzara, robotics interoperability lead for the Army's Program Executive Office - Combat Support and Combat Service Support at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan.

Posted in: News, Defense

Researcher Develops Autonomous UAV Refueling System

A University of Sydney researcher has designed and successfully tested a method for autonomously docking drones for refueling or recharging, in mid- air. Daniel Wilson, whose PhD research addressed the limited endurance levels of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) says, "At the moment, a UAV's range and endurance is constrained by the amount of fuel that can be stored on board. As you add more fuel, the weight of the aircraft increases, which means more fuel must be consumed to stay aloft."

Posted in: News, Defense

Laser-Based Aircraft Countermeasures Protect Against MANPADS

The Army expects to reach a Milestone B decision with its laser-based common infrared countermeasures, or CIRCM, defense system program later this year. The CIRCM system, under development now by both BAE and Northrup Grumman, provides a lightweight, laser-based countermeasure against man-portable air defense systems, which are missile-launched from the ground at their targets, including Army and Navy aircraft.

Posted in: News, Defense

Deploying Next-Generation UAS Platforms with 3U VPX

More powerful. Lighter. Cooler. These are the key criteria for the design of Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) in next-generation Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) platforms, which continue to grow in importance to military organizations worldwide. The ability of these platforms to provide persistent surveillance of targets while eliminating the need to put warfighters in harm’s way makes them indispensable assets to commanders. The effectiveness of these platforms in the field is governed by their sensor payload and their processing systems. Next-generation UAS designs, such as the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D), require high levels of processing power for multiple onboard sensors, and all that power must be delivered in a lighter, cooler configuration that minimizes the size, weight and power (SWaP) envelope of onboard electronics subsystems.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Military vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles

UGVs — On the Cutting Edge of Thermal Management

Thermal management of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is more complex than other electronic equipment because they have to operate in harsh environments such as humid tropical rainforests or sandy deserts where moisture as well as dust and sand can compromise the reliability of the control electronics. Regular open enclosures are certainly not an option; instead they need sealed and ruggedized enclosures to also withstand hard shocks and vibrations.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronic control systems, Thermal management, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Controlling the Seas: Introducing a New Concept in Autonomous Surface/Underwater Vehicles

The boundary between the sea and sky is an important place to be. It’s the critical connecting layer for commercial and military information exchange between the undersea world to aerial, space and shore. Being present at this boundary between sea and sky, with cost-effective endurance in challenging conditions, requires the use of autonomous surface vehicles.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment

Connectivity in Robotic Systems

While many think of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or space probes and planet rovers when they think of unmanned systems, the field of robotics covers every environment known to man: sea, ground, air, and space. Beyond UAVs, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned surface vessels (USVs) have begun to capture headlines, primarily in the role of security and defense. Likewise, terrestrial unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are now gaining their share of the limelight. The U.S. Navy is even experimenting with a humanoid robot (SAFFiR) to help fight shipboard fires as a first responder.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Robotics

Anti-Hacking Software for UAVs

Portland, OR

To address growing evidence that commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), automobiles and other vehicles are vulnerable to hacking and sophisticated cyber security attacks, Galois developed and successfully demonstrated what has been called “the world’s most secure UAV software.” Galois, a company that specializes in protecting information, devices, networks, and vehicles, recently conducted a successful demonstration for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program. Galois is part of a team that produced provably correct and secure software that runs on commercial UAVs.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Cyber security, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Unmanned Naval Helicopter

Northrop Grumman Corporation
Redondo Beach, CA

The U.S. Navy has been conducting ship-board flight testing of the first operational MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter delivered by the Northrop Grumman Corporation. After more than a year of land-based testing conducted at Point Mugu, California, the MQ-8C took its first flight off the deck of the guided-missile destroyer, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), off the coast of Virginia in mid-December last year. It marked the first time an unmanned helicopter had ever operated from the deck of a U.S. Navy destroyer. All told, the new Fire Scout made 22 takeoffs and precision landings during its first sea trials, all while being controlled from the ship’s ground control station. According to George Vardoulakis, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for medium range tactical systems, the test program will run throughout the summer of 2015 and if all goes well, the aircraft should be operational by the end of the year.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Military vehicles and equipment, Rotary-wing aircraft, Unmanned aerial vehicles