RE2 Robotics, a leader in intelligent mobile manipulation systems, on September 14, 2021 announced that it has received a $9.5 million contract from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to create an underwater robotic system for the autonomous neutralization of underwater mines for the U.S. Navy. The program, called Maritime Mine Neutralization System (M2NS), will utilize the RE2 Sapien Sea Class system to precisely place and attach neutralization devices to underwater mines and Water-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (WBIEDs).
RE2 will serve as the systems integrator for this program. In addition to RE2 Sapien Sea Class, the M2NS will use components, including RE2’s advanced computer vision and autonomy software, RE2 Detect and RE2 Intellect, to enable the precise, autonomous, and clandestine neutralization of a target.
«The detection and neutralization of WBIEDs and other underwater explosives is a critically dangerous task for Navy divers. Consistent with our mission of improving worker safety, the M2NS will enable the Navy to find and autonomously neutralize targets in deep ocean waters, while experienced divers supervise from a safe distance», said Jorgen Pedersen, president and CEO of RE2 Robotics.
The M2NS comprises best-in-class technologies such as RE2’s Sapien Sea Class arms and VideoRay’s Defender Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), which both exhibit unprecedented power density. In particular, RE2 Sapien Sea Class arms, which were originally designed and developed for the ONR, feature a compact, strong, electromechanical design with human-like dexterity (7-function per arm) that is neutrally buoyant. The fusion of these key technologies provides superior strength and precision while manipulating neutralization devices.
«The M2NS will use RE2 Detect computer vision software to locate targets underwater, and RE2 Intellect to autonomously and precisely place devices on those targets», said Doctor Amanda Sgroi, director of computer vision and autonomy at RE2. «We also will integrate new sensors to provide situational awareness and aid autonomy, allowing the system to potentially navigate to extended depths in the ocean».
In addition to defense tasks, the human-like capability of the M2NS allows it to be used for complex offshore infrastructure and maintenance applications in the oil & gas and renewable wind industries. For example, M2NS can be used for weld inspection of rig piles, ships and Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) systems; mooring inspection and measurement; and valve inspection and manipulation.
Kaman Corporation on September 21, 2021 unveiled the KARGO Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the newest addition to its family of purpose-built, autonomous unmanned systems designed to be the new standard for expeditionary logistics. Built with the U.S. Armed Forces future operating concepts in mind, the KARGO UAV offers a rugged design for easy transport and deployment. The system’s compact form-factor fits in a standard shipping container and is designed to be unloaded and operated by as few as two people.
«The Kaman KARGO UAV is the only system of its class that is purpose-built to provide deployed Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers, and Coast Guard autonomous resupply in the lethal, fluid combat environment that future military operations will entail or for regular logistics missions. Our deployed service men and woman have persistent logistics challenges that we are answering with this reliable, maintainable and affordable solution», said Ian Walsh, CEO of Kaman Corporation.
Designed to provide cost-effective cargo hauling in its conformal pod or external sling load configuration, the KARGO UAV will self-deploy with no payload up to 523 nautical miles/602 miles/968.6 km with max lifting capacity of 800 lbs./363 kg. This size and class vehicle also has multiple commercial applications and is part of a growth strategy involving a family of purpose built KARGO vehicles for multiple and repeatable missions.
Over the past six months, flight development testing of a scaled KARGO UAV demonstrator has been completed to prove out the air vehicle design, and flight-testing of a full-scale autonomous vehicle is planned for 2022. The KARGO UAV leverages commercial off-the-shelf components as well as thousands of hours of automated and autonomous flight data from Kaman’s K-MAX TITAN program, to reduce schedule and technical risk.
Kaman selected Near Earth Autonomy as a partner on the pilot KARGO UAV program. Leveraging ongoing and concurrent collaboration between the two companies on the U.S. Marines Corps K-MAX TITAN UAS, Near Earth will provide obstacle avoidance and other technologies such as precision landing, sense and avoid, and navigation in a GPS-denied environment.
«We are extremely excited to provide this advanced, game-changing technology to the market and leverage Kaman’s 75 years as a pioneer in aerospace and defense. Our vision is to propel our customers forward by imagining and delivering highly engineered products that solve our customer’s toughest problems», stated Darlene Smith, President of Kaman Air Vehicles.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Blackjack program has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract for Phase 2 development of an advanced, software-defined Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) payload, with options to build units destined for space flight.
The PNT payload work is led by Northrop Grumman’s Future PNT Systems Operating Unit in Woodland Hills. The team supports the DARPA Tactical Technology Office’s goal of achieving capable, resilient and affordable national security space capabilities from Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
«Northrop Grumman’s software-defined Positioning, Navigation and Timing technology will offer military users an agile new signal from LEO that is not dependent on existing satellite navigation systems», said Doctor Nicholas Paraskevopoulos, chief technology officer and sector vice president, emerging capabilities development, Northrop Grumman. «Warfighters depend on assured PNT for traditional missions like force projection and joint operations, but also for emerging autonomous and distributed missions».
The PNT payload features Northrop Grumman’s Software Enabled Reconfigurable Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Embedded Architecture for Navigation and Timing (SERGEANT) capability. The Phase 2 development effort is valued at $13.3 million if all options are exercised through emulation, critical design and build.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.
BARAK MX is IAI’s flagship Air & Missile Defense System and is a part of the Naval Combat Suite IAI is integrating on the Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 6 premier defense warship. Chosen by the Israeli Navy to be Sa’ar 6 primary defense system. The system will provide a layer of defensive and offensive capabilities from air and sea.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is integrating offensive and defensive systems, to enhance the ‘Sa’ar 6′ corvette’s capabilities and usher the Israeli Navy into a new technological era, under the guidance of Israel’s Ministry of Defense (IMoD) and the IDF.
IAI’s BARAK MX interceptors along with IAI’s complete naval combat suite will provide advanced defense systems to the Israel Navy’s Sa’ar 6 corvettes. The systems will be used to protect Israel’s exclusive economic zone and strategic facilities that face diversified threats in the marine arena. The BARAK MX system was chosen after it was demonstrated to meet the operational requirements and future challenges faced by the Israeli Navy.
IAI’s naval solutions are battle-proven naval systems and technology, IAI sets new standards for Maritime Domain Awareness, Naval Combat Systems, Network Centric Operation, EEZ Protection, and Coastal Security. From sensors and weapon systems to integrated systems-of-systems, IAI offers a broad portfolio of solutions to the requirements and challenges of today’s naval forces. These combat systems are designed to maximize and optimize the individual systems’ performance and capabilities in a manner that will enable them to operate synergistically with efficiency and full effectiveness.
The BARAK MX Air & Missile Defense System developed by IAI’s is one of the world’s advanced operational air defense systems, used by IDF naval forces and the Indian Land, Navy and Air Force. The BARAK MX Air & Missile Defense System provides both wide-area and targeted defense capabilities to an array of threats, including: land, air and sea. The system aggregates several key cutting-edge systems: digital radar, weapon control system, launchers, and a range of interceptors for different ranges with advanced homing devices, data-link communication and system wide connectivity. Developed by IAI, the BARAK family includes various range interceptors: 35 km/21.75 miles, 70 km/43.5 miles, and 150 km/93.2 miles, and combines the capability to intercept various air defense threats from naval and land platforms.
Boaz Levy, President and CEO of IAI, said: «The combat and air defense systems installed on the Sa’ar corvettes represents the significant tier now being integrated on the rest of Israel’s air defense array, an integral aspect of IAI’s system wide naval solutions. With land and naval modules, the system provides a complete response to a wide range of threats and is developed to work with other systems. IAI’s air defense systems boast successful, combat proven operational experience and we are proud to be the home of the Israeli Navy’s systems».
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has successfully completed its 100th consecutive on-time delivery of the AH-1Z Viper aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, which began nearly four years ago. Bell accomplished this milestone through tight coordination with its manufacturing and assembly facilities, UAW 218, numerous suppliers, and government partners. The H-1 series consists of the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, which provide light attack and utility helicopter support to the Marines while maintaining a small logistical footprint through the 85% commonality between the airframes.
«Performance like this takes a lot of work, communication, and trust to ensure alignment between numerous partners, all working toward the same objective. I could not be more proud of our Bell employees», said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. «Our front line workers, engineers, and supply chain professionals all help support the Marines. Their work designing, manufacturing, and assembling critical components while ensuring quality parts reach the production line on time help the Marines ensure our nation’s security».
Bell and its Team Viper/Venom partners collaborate with the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276) to provide integrated solutions and increase combat lethality and readiness. In addition to delivering production aircraft on time, Bell directly supports scheduled maintenance. The company is also working on new capability upgrades to equip the Marines with the most advanced technology available.
«This is a feat only possible through the determination of our production team and the program’s strong relationship with our industry partners and suppliers», said Colonel Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager.
Bell is currently working toward the U.S. Marine Corps program of record (POR) and anticipates production of Marine Corps H-1 through 2022. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 production contract is for 349 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper. Bell will continue manufacturing aircraft for foreign military customers including contracts for Bahrain AH-1Zs and a mixed Czech Republic fleet of both AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys.
BAE Systems is showcasing its latest CV90 with the new D-series turret at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) on September 14-17.
This is the first time the upgraded digital turret has been unveiled and represents a leap forward in design and functionality.
Recently selected by the Royal Netherlands Army as part of an extensive $500 million mid-life upgrade program for the CV9035NL, the new turret configuration is also included in the CV90 Mk-IV offer for the Czech Republic.
Developed by BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, the turret on display at DSEI is a 50-mm gun. The main weapon position is changed to provide even better vehicle balance and enable new ways to introduce a variety of weaponry for increased lethality. It also offers significant ergonomic improvements to benefit the vehicle’s crew. The enhanced turret design is built on years of combat-proven experience, continuous vehicle improvements, and data analysis from the CV90 User Club – the seven nations currently operating CV90 fleets.
«We are extremely proud to display the new D-series turret at DSEI to demonstrate the latest technology on the combat-proven CV90 platform», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. «The new turret configuration provides CV90 crews with improved protection and increased combat efficiency. It represents our continued commitment to delivering the most modern, advanced Infantry Fighting Vehicle that meets our customers’ requirements now and in the future».
The CV90 is also equipped with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist Active Protection System solution and an integrated, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ SPIKE-LR long-range anti-tank guided missile. Other significant improvements include the latest generation of sensors, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality software to increase the CV90s multi-domain capabilities on the battlefield.
BAE Systems’ DSEI exhibit also features the armoured, articulated, all-terrain BvS10, operated today by Austria, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The platform builds on BAE Systems’ legacy Bv206 vehicles, of which more than 10,000 have been sold to over 40 countries.
The BvS10 can traverse rock, mountain, snow, swamp, and operate in Arctic environments. Its amphibious capability allows it to seamlessly transition to swimming. The vehicle’s flexible and modular design accommodates changing mission requirements, including advanced battle management. Earlier this year, the Swedish Army ordered an additional 127 new BvS10s to add to its existing fleet for command and control as well as logistics vehicles.
Lockheed Martin introduces the LMXT as America’s next strategic tanker – built in America by Americans for Americans. Offered in response to the U.S. Air Force’s KC-Y Program, the LMXT represents the newest chapter in Lockheed Martin’s 60+ year history of producing and delivering tanker and cargo aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and multiple operators around the world.
The LMXT complements the U.S. Air Force’s tanker capabilities by providing the most advanced aerial refueler to meet America’s immediate and long-term mission requirements. The LMXT strengthens and expands the U.S. aerospace industrial base by working with existing and new American suppliers. The LMXT also cultivates and sustains high-tech, high-skill American manufacturing jobs.
«Lockheed Martin has a long and successful track record of producing aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, and we understand the critical role tankers play in ensuring America’s total mission success», said Greg Ulmer, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. «The LMXT combines proven performance and operator-specific capabilities to meet the Air Force’s refueling requirements in support of America’s National Defense Strategy».
The LMXT offers a proven airframe with distinct U.S. Air Force-only capabilities designed to meet operator requirements, with advantages that include:
Significantly improved range and fuel offload capacity;
A proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world;
The world’s first fully automatic boom/air-to-air refueling (A3R) system;
Operational and combat proven advanced camera and vision system;
Open system architecture JADC2 systems;
A multi-domain operations node that connects the LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing onboard situational awareness to provide resilient communications and datalink for assets across the force.
The Lockheed Martin strategic tanker builds on the combat-proven design of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin works directly to implement U.S. Air Force-specific requirements within the LMXT. As the strategic tanker of choice for 13 nations, the MRTT has logged more than 250,000 flight hours refueling U.S. and allied fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft in combat theater environments.
Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have agreed to the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership – AUKUS.
The security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region have grown significantly. Military modernisation is occurring at an unprecedented rate and capabilities are rapidly advancing and their reach expanding. The technological edge enjoyed by Australia and our partners is narrowing.
AUKUS will build on the three nations’ longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties, and will enable the partners to significantly deepen cooperation on a range of emerging security and defence capabilities, which will enhance joint capability and interoperability. Initial efforts under AUKUS will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.
This is an historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
AUKUS will complement Australia’s network of strategic partnerships, including with our ASEAN friends, our Pacific family, our Five Eyes partners, the Quad and other like-minded partners.
First initiative under AUKUS
The first initiative under AUKUS is for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarine technology, leveraging decades of experience from the US and UK.
Under AUKUS, the three nations will focus immediately on identifying the optimal pathway to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for Australia.
Over the next 18 months, Australia, the UK and US will intensely examine the full suite of requirements that underpin nuclear stewardship and demonstrate a clear pathway to becoming a responsible and reliable steward of this sensitive technology. Australia will establish a Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce in the Department of Defence to lead this work.
Nuclear-powered submarines do not have the same limitations that face conventional submarines on weapons storage, speed and endurance. They can stay completely submerged for many months, limiting the opportunities for detection by adversaries.
As a three-ocean nation, it is necessary for Australia to have access to the most capable submarine technology available. As a nation, we are ready to take the step to pursue the most advanced submarine technology available to defend Australia and its national interests.
Australia has no plans to acquire nuclear weapons and this proposal will remain consistent with Australia’s longstanding commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. All three nations are deeply committed to upholding leadership on global non-proliferation.
The Government’s intention is to build the nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia, maximising the use of Australian workers.
Building the submarines in Australia is the best way to develop a strong and effective sustainment industry, which will enable us to meet every requirement to safely operate and maintain nuclear-powered submarines.
Attack class submarine program
The pursuit of nuclear-powered submarine technology means that Australia will no longer proceed with the Attack class conventional submarine program with Naval Group.
The Government would like to thank the Attack class submarine workforce, Naval Group, the Government of France and Lockheed Martin Australia for their efforts to date. However, accelerating changes to regional security make conventional submarines unsuited to our operational needs in the decades ahead.
The Government will actively work with industry to ensure the people and skills developed under the existing program are not lost to the Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise as we establish a new program to support the delivery of nuclear-powered submarines to the Navy.
The existing submarine workforce are prime candidates for the unprecedented work that needs to be performed across the Enterprise over the coming decades, where we will rely on their expertise more than ever.
The Government will partner with our Australian-owned sovereign shipbuilder, ASC, to manage and implement a new Sovereign Shipbuilding Talent Pool.
The Government is committed to finding a role within the Sovereign Shipbuilding Talent Pool for each and every skilled shipbuilding worker impacted by this announcement.
The Sovereign Shipbuilding Talent Pool will re-deploy the existing shipbuilding workforce throughout current and new shipbuilding programs, while building the nuclear-powered submarine skills that will be crucial for the success of the nuclear-powered submarine program.
This decision was not taken lightly. Our partnership with the Government of France and Naval Group on the Attack class conventional submarine program would have resulted in the most capable and lethal conventional submarine ever built.
As likeminded liberal democracies, Australia and France share a common commitment to the rules-based global order that has delivered stability and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific.
We look forward to continuing to work closely and positively with our French counterparts. France is a key friend and partner to Australia and the Indo-Pacific.
The Government will also acquire additional long-range strike capabilities for the Australian Defence Force.
Throughout the decade, Australia will rapidly acquire long-range strike capabilities to enhance the ADF’s ability to deliver strike effects across our air, land and maritime domains.
Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, to be fielded on our Hobart class destroyers, enabling our maritime assets to strike land targets at greater distances, with better precision.
Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (Extended Range) will enable our F/A-18 A/B Hornets and in future, our F-35A Lightning II, to hit targets at a range of 559 miles/900 km.
Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (Extended Range) (LRASM) for the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
Continuing collaboration with the United States to develop hypersonic missiles for our air capabilities.
Precision strike guided missiles for our land forces, which are capable of destroying, neutralising and supressing diverse targets from over 248.5 miles/400 km.
Accelerating $1 billion for a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing enterprise – which will enable us to create our own weapons on Australian soil.
These capabilities, coupled with the planned Life-of-Type Extension of Australia’s Collins class submarine fleet, will enhance Australia’s ability to deter and respond to potential security challenges.
The management of this transition, and other capability acquisition options that will meet Australia’s strategic requirements, will be at the forefront of consultations through AUKUS over the next 18 months.
The U.S. Navy and Boeing have used the MQ-25TM T1 test asset to refuel a U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet for the first time, once again demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to achieve its primary aerial refueling mission.
This was the third refueling mission for the Boeing-owned test asset in just over three months, advancing the test program for the U.S. Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. T1 refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August.
«Every test flight with another Type/Model/Series aircraft gets us one step closer to rapidly delivering a fully mission-capable MQ-25 Stingray to the fleet», said Captain Chad Reed, the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. «Stingray’s unmatched refueling capability is going to increase the U.S. Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to the Carrier Strike Group commanders».
During a test flight September 13, an F-35C Lightning II test pilot from the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) conducted a successful wake survey behind T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue and receiving fuel.
«This flight was yet another physical demonstration of the maturity and stability of the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft design», said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray program director. «Thanks to this latest mission in our accelerated test program, we are confident the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft we are building right now will meet the U.S. Navy’s primary requirement – delivering fuel safely to the carrier air wing».
The T1 flight test program began in September 2019 with the aircraft’s first flight. In the following two years, the test program completed more than 120 flight hours – gathering data on everything from aircraft performance to propulsion dynamics to structural loads and flutter testing for strength and stability.
MQ-25 Stingray is benefitting from the two years of early flight test data, which has been integrated back into its digital models to strengthen the digital thread connecting aircraft design to production to test to operations and sustainment. Boeing is currently manufacturing the first two MQ-25 Stingray test aircraft.
T1 will be used to conduct a deck handling demonstration aboard a U.S. Navy carrier in the coming months to help advance the carrier integration progress.
As the world’s most capable and flexible ground based multi-function long-range radar, Lockheed Martin’s TPY-4 has received its official U.S. Government nomenclature – AN/TPY-4(V)1 – officially marking the radar’s maturity and its ability to deliver fully-digital technology, and therefore setting a new standard for the future of radars.
«Our team has worked diligently to deliver this advanced radar supporting domestic and international air surveillance requirements», said Chandra Marshall, vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin. «This designation represents our commitment to furthering our radar capabilities to specifically overmatch emerging, complex, and advanced threats».
Lockheed Martin’s specialized team has spent more than 10 years and more than $100 million in research & development funds for the TPY-4 radar, including the construction, operation, and testing of prototype radar systems. TPY-4 offers multi-mission capabilities, such as early warning, situational awareness, tactical ballistic missile surveillance and air defense. It also integrates the latest mature commercial technologies to create a revolutionary radar architecture.
Recent Testing Achievements
The first TPY-4 is well ahead of any competition and already in production to be unveiled later this year. The radar’s production sub-assemblies are passing environmental and performance tests, attributed to the foundation built and validated under Lockheed Martin’s investment and the commonality with the U.S. Army’s Sentinel A4 radar. The radar’s test results continue to surpass model predictions, as validated by open air testing, furthering the qualification of this advanced radar.
The TPY-4 Radar: A Fully Digital Solution for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Threats
TPY-4 is an internationally available, transportable, multi-mission radar that can operate in contested RF environments and provide the warfighter an ability to detect and track threats better than any previous radar available today. It accomplishes this with a fully digital, software-defined sensor architecture, allowing users to maintain ongoing surveillance throughout the mission.
That’s because the TPY-4 radar users are not locked by the system’s hardware. Users have the ability to transmit and receive digitally, allowing for more enhanced target identification and classification. Earlier radars may have some level of digitization, but Lockheed Martin’s software-defined TPY-4 radar is digital at every element and across the entire architecture. Users don’t have to account for downtime for time-consuming actions, like hardware upgrades or manual data transfers.
«Our digital transmitter and receiver architecture provides flexibility to adjust performance for evolving missions, threats, and environments», said Rick Herodes, Lockheed Martin’s Radar and Sensor System’s Ground Based Air Surveillance program director. «TPY-4 provides unprecedented flexibility through software updates without invasive or time-consuming architectural redesigns, therefore making it the most effective risk management solution for national defense».
Lockheed Martin Radar Family History
TPY-4 was developed to include all the experience that Lockheed Martin’s radar product family offers. The technology investments include Gallium Nitride (GaN), which Lockheed Martin has been delivering worldwide since 2017, providing greater efficiency and improved reliability as compared to legacy systems.
Lockheed Martin’s long range and medium range surveillance radars have set the industry standard for ground-based air surveillance for decades. With more than 60 years of experience developing and delivering ground-based radar solutions to its customers around the world, Lockheed Martin has a long history of high-performing, high-reliability radar systems.