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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND AUTONOMOUS CAPABILITIES
Friday, February 16, 2018
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Source: DARPA


Source: DARPA


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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- BAE Systems recently announced development of semi-autonomous software in a category called Distributed Battle Management (DBM). DBM is the process of providing timely and relevant information to operators and pilots when communication is not assured, so they can better manage and control air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in contested environments.

The technology offers pilots to continue operations when satellite communications and tactical data links are shut down - a likely scenario in the modern battlefield, and a scenario which militaries are preparing for.

The new technology provides shared situational understanding, interchangeable roles, coordinated objectives for teams of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles in communications denied environments, and compressed, prioritized data transfer when communications are available. The automated technology delivers automated decision aids that help operators make better, faster combat decisions.

During an 11-day flight test, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in association with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), successfully demonstrated capabilities for its DBM program for the first time during seven live flights that included a mix of live and simulation runs and simulation-only runs.

The test included BAE's Anti-Access Real-time Mission Management System (ARMS) and the Contested Network Environment Situational Understanding System (CONSENSUS). ARMS, a distributed adaptive planning and control software, provides near real-time mission capabilities that allow warfighters to engage air-to-air and air-to-ground targets and search airspace. CONSENSUS is a distributed situational understanding software that provides pilots and operators with weapon targeting guidance and mission awareness through a common operational picture by fusing raw data from multiple platforms and sensors.

World leaders, such as Elon Musk and Steven Hawking, have warned against the possible repercussions of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous technologies. The U.S. military is investing in autonomously operated transport helicopters, although they will not likely transport humans any time soon.

Autonomous technologies and AI are also highly susceptible to cyber-attacks and electronic warfare, which poses questions regarding their reliability in a battlefield rife with such destructive capabilities. Despite any worries, AI and autonomous technology is currently, and will be very much so, integral assets of worldwide military operations. China has already declared that it will aggressively pursue these technologies, leaving other nations with no choice but to counter their advancements. Those with the best AI and autonomous technologies, will have more efficient and more deadly military capabilities. Along with AI and autonomous technology growth, complementary technologies such as offensive and defensive electronic warfare, and cyber warfare technology will see parallel growth.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: February 16, 2018
Author: M. Beres, Analyst 
Posted: 02/16/2018

 
 
BOEING AWARDED F/A-18 CONFORMAL FUEL TANK ORDER
Friday, February 16, 2018
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Source: Robertson Fuel Systems


Source: Robertson Fuel Systems


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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Boeing has recently been awarded $219,600,000 for cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order N0001918F1597 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001). This order procures non-recurring efforts associated with Engineering Change Proposal 6503 for the design, development, test and integration of the conformal fuel tank in support of the F/A-18. Work will be performed in El Segundo, California (41 percent); St. Louis, Missouri (40 percent); Patuxent River, Maryland (17 percent); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2 percent), and is expected to be completed in July 2022.

The F/A-18, along with other legacy fighter platforms, are undergoing multi-billion dollar international and U.S. upgrade programs.

Boeing offers the Advanced Super Hornet, an update of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. These upgrades will be offered as new-builds or for retrofit. Many of the features are already being retrofitted onto the U.S. naval fleet. One of the Advanced Super Hornet upgrades is the shoulder-mounted conformal fuel tank. The conformal fuel tank can hold up to 3,500 lbs of fuel, for a range increase of 125 nm.

Other Advanced Super Hornet upgrades include: infrared search and track; EW self-protection (not the full suite found on the Growler); a new display; more capable computers and networking; and AESA radar. Options include: an enclosed weapons pod - cuts radar signature by up to 50 percent; and an improved engine.

The Typhoon is undergoing a conformal fuel tank retrofit as part of its P4E upgrade program, and conformal fuel tanks are offered as part of Boeing's very attractive F-15 2040C offering. Robertson Fuel Systems offers a conformal fuel tank for BHI Squared Commercial Hawks, which are aftermarket commercial offerings of the UH-60 Blackhawk. The modification carries 100 gallons of additional fuel, and increases the range of the commercial S-70 by 124 nautical miles. Arista Aviation offers the Arista Hawk, which includes modifications such as auxiliary fuel tanks.

Source:  Forecat International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: February 16, 2018
Author: M. Beres, Analyst 
Posted: 02/16/2018

 
 
PALS TURNS TO MARINE ORGANISMS TO HELP MONITOR STRATEGIC WATERS
Friday, February 2, 2018
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Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS)

Source: U.S. DARPA


Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS)

Source: U.S. DARPA


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WASHINGTON -- The world’s vast oceans and seas offer seemingly endless spaces in which adversaries of the United States can maneuver undetected. The U.S. military deploys networks of manned and unmanned platforms and sensors to monitor adversary activity, but the scale of the task is daunting and hardware alone cannot meet every need in the dynamic marine environment. Sea life, however, offers a potential new advantage. Marine organisms are highly attuned to their surroundings-their survival depends on it-and a new program out of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office aims to tap into their natural sensing capabilities to detect and signal when activities of interest occur in strategic waters such as straits and littoral regions.

The Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) program, led by program manager Lori Adornato, will study natural and modified organisms to determine which ones could best support sensor systems that detect the movement of manned and unmanned underwater vehicles. PALS will investigate marine organisms’ responses to the presence of such vehicles, and characterize the resulting signals or behaviors so they can be captured, interpreted, and relayed by a network of hardware devices.

Beyond sheer ubiquity, sensor systems built around living organisms would offer a number of advantages over hardware alone. Sea life adapts and responds to its environment, and it self-replicates and self-sustains. Evolution has given marine organisms the ability to sense stimuli across domains-tactile, electrical, acoustic, magnetic, chemical, and optical. Even extreme low light is not an obstacle to organisms that have evolved to hunt and evade in the dark.

However, evaluating the sensing capabilities of sea life is only one of the challenges for PALS researchers. Performer teams supporting DARPA will also have to develop hardware, software, and algorithms to translate organism behavior into actionable information and then communicate it to end users. Deployed hardware systems operating at a standoff distance of up to 500 meters must collect signals of interest from relevant species, process and distill them, and then relay them to remote end users. The complete sensing systems must also discriminate between target vehicles and other sources of stimuli, such as debris and other marine organisms, to limit the number of false positives.

DARPA favors proposals that employ natural organisms, but proposers are able to suggest modifications. To the extent researchers do propose solutions that would tune organisms’ reporting mechanisms, the proposers will be responsible for developing appropriate environmental safeguards to support future deployment. However, at no point in the PALS program will DARPA test modified organisms outside of contained, biosecure facilities.

DARPA anticipates that PALS will be a four-year, fundamental research program requiring contributions in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, machine learning, analytics, oceanography, mechanical and electrical engineering, and weak signals detection.

DARPA will hold a Proposers Day on March 2, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia, to provide more information about PALS and to answer questions from potential proposers. For additional details visit: https://go.usa.gov/xnAZG. Registration is available at: http://events.sa-meetings.com/PALSProposersDay.

Source:  U.S. DARPA
Associated URL: https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2018-02-02
Source Date: February 2, 2018
Author: U.S. DARPA 
Posted: 02/16/2018

 

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