Multi-Role Close Air Support Weapon

MBDA Arlington, VA

MBDA recently demonstrated its Dual Mode Brimstone (DMB) missile on an MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), scoring nine direct hits against a range of targets, including very-high-speed and maneuvering vehicles. Dual Mode Brimstone is a combat-proven weapon designed for the engagement of moving and maneuvering targets, and targets in high collateral risk / urban environments. Brimstone can now provide Reaper crews with a weapon that reduces collateral damage risk and demonstrates first-pass, single-shot lethality against high-speed maneuvering targets on land and at sea, and in complex environments.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Military aircraft, Missiles, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Navigating Regulatory Compliance for UAV Electronics Development

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) deliver sophisticated capabilities with tremendous cost advantage over traditional methods. While this technology has evolved from military missions, civil and commercial sectors are beginning to realize many of the same remote sensing benefits. However, one of the main barriers to rapid full-scale commercial growth is the concern for safety. As a myriad of certification agencies scramble to keep up with the unique demands of this fast-growing industry, one thing is clear – where applicable, pertinent certification standards for manned aircraft are starting to apply. For the complex electronics that provide the brains of these systems, this means a swift move towards compliance with DO-178C for software and DO-254 for hardware development.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronic equipment, Regulations, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Simulating Lightweight Vehicles Operating on Discrete Terrain

Engineers increasingly rely on simulation to augment and, in some cases, replace costly and time consuming experimental work. However, current simulation capabilities are sometimes inadequate to capture phenomena of interest.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Computer simulation, Lightweighting, Military vehicles and equipment

UUV Developments for Defense and Commercial Applications

Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUVs), also commonly referred to as Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs), have a history dating back to 1957 with the Special Purpose Underwater Research Vehicle (SPURV) developed by the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory. Academia and special government programs drove the early decades of research but advancements were slow. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, more explosive growth came for the Remotely Operated Undersea Vehicle (ROV) market which had two primary advantages: they were operated via a tether that provided power for the vehicle and man-in-the-loop control.

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

The Evolution of Tactical Robots

The lessons of yesterday and today are driving tomorrow’s robotic programs.

A revolution in Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) is taking place today that focuses on formalizing the permanent integration of ground robots into military organizations within the U.S. Department of Defense and other nations’ military forces as well. Similar activities are likewise cementing the relationship of UGVs to first responder organizations as ground robots continue to prove that they save lives.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Robotics, Emergency management, Robotics, Military vehicles and equipment

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

Photovoltaic Thermography From the Air

Raleigh, NC

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