Air-Ground Communications System Aims to Make Flying Safer

Reliance on old-fashioned radio contact by pilots and vulnerable tracking systems is still high, but satellites are set to change sky safety, thanks to international collaboration. The European Space Agency’s Iris program is looking to satellites to make aviation safer through modern communications. Worldwide digital data links via satellite, offering much higher capacity, will become the standard for cockpit crews, with voice communications kept as backup.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Satellite communications

Flight Management System Software

Paris La Défense Cedex, France
+33 (0)1 57 77 86 26

Thales was recently selected by Northrop Grumman Corporation to have its state-of-the-art Flight Management System software, i-FMS200, embedded in the avionics mission equipment package that Northrop Grumman will provide to upgrade the US Army’s UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. The upgraded version of the Black Hawk helicopter will be known as UH-60V.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Flight management systems

COTS Rugged Systems

North Atlantic Industries
Bohemia, NY

North Atlantic Industries (NAI) recently received an initial contract from L-3 Maritime Systems for Custom-on-Standard Architecture™ (COSA™) COTS rugged systems for the Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) Data Acquisition Unit. The advanced, rugged intelligent I/O and communications subsystem delivers significant advantages for data acquisition and control solutions for the U.S. Navy’s new SSC program. The SSC is the successor to the Navy’s versatile Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicle, which is nearing its expected service life. Prime contractor for the detail design and construction of the Ship to Shore Connector, awarded under Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Contract N00024-12-C-2401, is Textron Systems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Data acquisition, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment

Embedded Computing Subsystems

GE Intelligent Platforms
Huntsville, AL

GE’s Intelligent Platforms division recently secured orders from General Dynamics UK valued at £64 million (~$100 million) to provide a range of embedded computing subsystems that will be deployed onboard the British Army’s SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms. The scalable, open architecture subsystems – which include Ethernet switches, gateway processors, data servers and video servers – will allow SCOUT SV platforms to be easily upgraded during their lifetime as new requirements and technologies emerge.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Embedded software

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Shipsets

McMurdo Group
Lanham, MD

McMurdo Group, a company that specializes in end-to-end search and rescue (SAR) and maritime domain awareness (MDA) solutions, was recently selected by Embraer to provide complete Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) shipsets for its E Jets second generation of aircraft, known as the E Jets E2. The contract will include McMurdo Group’s Kannad Integra ELTs with its new ARINC GPS Interface fitted on the aircraft, and Kannad 406 MHz Survival ELTs for use by crewmembers in the cabin.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Electronic equipment, Emergency management

Fabricating Transparent and Stretchable Supercapacitors Based on Wrinkled Graphene Electrodes

Stretchable electronic devices, including solar cells, light-emitting diodes, batteries, and textile supercapacitors, have been developed to retain their functions even when under large strains (up to 40%). Some transparent solar cells, batteries, and supercapacitors have also been developed. However, most of the currently developed electrodes and the associated supercapacitor cells cannot be both transparent and stretchable.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Batteries, Electronic equipment, Ultracapacitors and supercapacitors, Fabrication

Modular Exhaust Design and Manufacturing Techniques for Build-to-Order Muffler Systems

Managing the acoustic signature of military vehicles can play a critical role in the safety of soldiers. Low-frequency sounds propagate through the atmosphere, resulting in unacceptable acoustic vehicle detection ranges, requiring relatively large silencer structures to mitigate. Currently, these requirements are met by using a custom muffler that is hand-assembled using low-volume prototyping manufacturing techniques. This method results in significant engineering and manufacturing time.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Design processes, Manufacturing processes, Noise, Mufflers, Military vehicles and equipment

Silicon Microsphere Fabrication

The efficiency and methodology of coupling light into microcavities has improved exponentially in the last decade. One such advancement is coupling light onto silicon microspheres. The material, size, and shape of a silicon microsphere are ideal for optical devices. Silicon microspheres are not the primary material used to fabricate microspheres for optical coupling because current methods used for microsphere fabrication cannot produce single-crystal silicon in the 16-μm scale, which is best for current optical technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Optics, Fabrication

Designing and Fabricating a Multiple-Decade Battery

There is a great need for energy sources that can power unattended sensors for more than a decade. Unattended sensors can be located in harsh and remote locations that are often dangerous for personnel maintenance and power source replacement. The power source must last the lifetime of the sensor. Unlike chemical batteries, the higher energy densities of radioisotopes allow the sensors to operate for infrastructure lifetimes (~150 years). Isotope batteries (iBATs) have the potential to become reliable, robust, and maintenance-free power sources for remote, long-term, low-power sensors. iBATs are different from chemical batteries because they are self-contained energy sources using radioisotope decay.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Design processes, Batteries, Fabrication

Altair Optimizes 3D-Printed Structures for Complex, Lightweight Designs

Altair expects to better support the use of additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, by releasing new OptiStruct solver capabilities for topology optimization. The company claims this new technology is the first tool developed specifically for designers of lattice structures.

Posted in: Technology Update, Defense, Design processes, Manufacturing processes