Buoy System Tracks Ships in Real Time

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the nation’s 360 ports and waterways remain especially vulnerable to attack from small vessels carrying improvised explosive devices, including radioactive dirty bombs. Intellicheck Mobilisa, a wireless-technology firm, will address the vulnerability with Aegeus, a buoy system that communicates in real time to the shore.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Architecture, Security systems, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Marine vehicles and equipment

New Technology Could Improve Inertial Guidance System Accuracy

NASA has tapped a team of aerospace, military and academic researchers for a three-year project that could dramatically improve in-flight navigation capabilities for space vehicles, military air and sea assets, and commercial vehicles. The project, “Fast Light Optical Gyroscopes for Precision Inertial Navigation,” is intended to enhance the performance of a vehicle’s inertial guidance system by refining the optical gyroscopes that drive it. These highly sensitive gyroscopes, paired with accelerometers, measure a vehicle’s attitude or orientation based on its angular or rotational momentum in flight, and track its velocity and acceleration to precisely determine its position, flight path and attitude.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Navigation and guidance systems, Optics, Research and development, Vehicle acceleration

Game-Based Training Applications Teach Soldiers Cultural Skills

Charles River Analytics released a case study of an effort for the US Army called CAATE (Culturally Aware Agents for Training Environments). Under this effort, Charles River developed tools to create game-based training applications for soldiers that teach them mission-critical social and cultural skills. Through computer games and by interacting with CAATE-based artificially intelligent agents, soldiers can safely train to effectively interact with residents of other countries and from different cultures.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Artificial intelligence, Computer software / hardware, Collaboration and partnering, Education, Globalization, Military vehicles and equipment

Smart Hoses Simplify Unmanned Aircraft Refueling

Icon Aerospace supplies refueling hoses to Tier-1 suppliers and air forces across the globe. The IconIC™ hose system secures power with telemetry cables and fiber-optics for data transfer. The technology provides a range of key control and communication functions to take place between a tanker and receiver aircraft while the receiver aircraft undergoes mid-air refueling.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Data exchange, Fiber optics, Telemetry, Hoses, Refueling

Solving the Power/Energy Paradox for High-Power Defense Applications

While often used interchangeably, power and energy are not the same. Energy is the capacity to perform and power is the rate at which that capacity is exercised — the rate at which energy is delivered. When measured, energy is an amount; power is a ratio. In relation to energy storage, a common misconception is that the larger the quantity of stored energy, the higher the potential rate of power. In fact, the opposite is true, rendering the following principles wholly counterintuitive to those unfamiliar with the nuanced mechanics of energy storage: when less energy is stored, a system is capable of producing high power and conversely, when more energy is stored, a system is capable only of producing low power. As a result, engineers are presented with a challenge in the manufacture of energy storage systems for highpower mobile applications with the highest energy density possible. In pursuit of this goal, modern research into lithium ion (Li-ion) electrochemistries is proving very promising.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Battery cell chemistry, Capacitors, Energy storage systems, Lithium-ion batteries, Electric power

The Role of Engineering Simulation in the Evolution of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Across all domains (land, sea, and air), the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) has shown explosive growth and, as their value continues to be demonstrated, this growth shows no sign of slowing. However, the UAS industry must address a number of key challenges if it is to satisfy the future roadmap for UAS development and deployment outlined by its major client, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). These challenges include:

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, CAD / CAM / CAE, Defense industry, Systems engineering, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Optimizing High Reliability Power Distribution System Designs

As the performance requirements of avionics, military, and space electronic systems increase, so do the demands on the power supplies for these systems. Successful system designs demand the power distribution architecture be optimized for maximum efficiency with a minimum size and weight. Power system cost and development schedule must also be taken into consideration. One possible solution is to develop a custom power supply that meets all of the system load requirements. The downsides of this approach include long development time, high non-recurring engineering costs, and system flexibility limitations. Additionally, should the load specifications change during system development, then the power supply will need to be redesigned to accommodate changes, incurring even more time and cost.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Architecture, Avionics, Electronic control systems, Systems engineering