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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
A US Navy's MQ-8C UAV. Photo US Navy

A US Navy's MQ-8C UAV. Photo US Navy

24 July 2013 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy has received the first upgraded MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Northrop Grumman, in preparation for ground and flight testing.

 

The UAV will initially undergo ground testing to demonstrate its ability to communicate with the ground control station, followed by flight trials to validate its technology.

 

Northrop Grumman medium-range tactical systems vice-president George Vardoulakis said the upgraded Fire Scout UAV will undergo ground and flight testing to meet the US Navy's urgent requirement for maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

 

"Testing on the naval air systems command test range provides us with extended air space to conduct and demonstrate long endurance and systems testing in a maritime environment," Vardoulakis said.

 

"The endurance upgrade doubles the time on station of the MQ-8 system, and will help reduce the workload for the ship's crew by cutting the number of times the crew will need to be in flight quarters."

 

The upgraded MQ-8 system features a modified commercially available airframe to provide enhanced range, more than double the endurance and three times the payload capacity when compared to the MQ-8B variant.

 

Currently in service onboard the US Navy aircraft carriers, the MQ-8B is also used in Afghanistan to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to maritime and ground commanders.

 

The new MQ-8C Fire Scout is capable of vertical take off and landing, and provides the navy with extended range, payload and cargo hauling capabilities.

 

The MQ-8C UAV's first operational deployment with the US Navy is scheduled in 2014.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
Anomalies températures NCEP

Anomalies températures NCEP

MOSCOU, 25 juillet - RIA Novosti

 

La CIA cherche comment contrôler le climat de la planète. Et elle a déjà dépensé 630 000 dollars pour ça, écrit jeudi le quotidien Rossiïskaïa gazeta.

 

L’agence assure que le projet – intitulé "Géoingénierie du climat : évaluations techniques et discussions des impacts" – est inoffensif, mais les experts russes affirment que l'accès à l'arme offensive climatique est un rêve de longue date de Washington. L'étude des changements climatiques et des moyens de les contrôler prendra 21 mois aux chercheurs américains. C’est le délai imparti pour ce projet d'étude sur lequel travaillent, hormis la CIA, l'Académie nationale des sciences, l'agence responsable de l'étude de l'océan et de l'atmosphère NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) et la Nasa. Les technologies développées avec le soutien actif de la CIA, même sous forme "limitée", paraissent très menaçantes. Il est notamment question de limiter le rayonnement solaire sur Terre grâce à la dispersion de particules spécifiques dans la stratosphère, de contrôler les radiations solaires et de déplacer des nuages.

 

Le porte-parole de la CIA a refusé de commenter le rôle du renseignement américain dans cette recherche sensible. Il a tout de même déclaré aux journalistes qu’au sujet des changements climatiques "la CIA travaillerait évidemment avec les chercheurs afin de mieux comprendre les phénomènes qui se produisent, pour assurer la sécurité nationale".

 

Pourtant, les rapports annuels du National Intelligence Council reflètent la vision qu’ont les renseignements américains des "phénomènes naturels". L'un des rapports indique que les changements climatiques et la politique visant à modifier le climat pourraient influer sur la stabilité intérieure dans certains pays-clés et avoir des conséquences géopolitiques importantes. Les fuites sont de plus en plus fréquentes dans la presse, concernant un mystérieux centre américain qui chercherait à "apprivoiser la météo".

 

Quoi qu'il en soit, les réunions de mai et juin des membres du "projet géo-ingénierique", selon la presse américaine, étaient complètement fermées au public. On promet pourtant de déclassifier le rapport des chercheurs américains en automne 2014.

 

Les experts russes des technologies militaires ne doutent pas du "double usage" de ce genre de travaux scientifiques. Igor Korotchenko, rédacteur en chef de la revue Défense nationale, a déclaré que la CIA n'était pas la seule à effectuer les recherches sur l'arme climatique. Selon lui, le Pentagone financerait également ces recherches avec un budget confidentiel.

 

"A l'heure actuelle, il n'existe pas d'arme climatique opérationnelle. Cependant, les USA mènent des recherches pour identifier les problèmes d’une telle arme et analyser les méthodes qui permettraient de les résoudre. Les Américains cherchent un moyen de générer des phénomènes naturels et de les contrôler grâce aux nouvelles technologies. Bien que la création d'une arme climatique soit longue – cela prendra entre 20 et 40 ans – le travail des USA dans ce sens prouve que Washington voit un sens pratique à ces recherches", explique Igor Korotchenko.

 

D'après l'expert, en cas de succès des travaux fondamentaux et pratiques pour la création de l'arme climatique, sa principale mission pourrait être de "déstabiliser économiquement certains pays" en y provoquant la sécheresse, des pluies de mousson ou des tornades. Ces catastrophes pourraient provoquer des manifestations antigouvernementales, voire des renversements de régime.

 

Rappelons que conformément à la résolution de l'Onu de 1977, il est interdit d'utiliser des technologies de changement climatique à des fins hostiles. Un traité international a été ratifié à cet effet par les USA en 1978. Mais selon l'expert, les accords en vigueur n'arrêteront pas Washington.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
Photo Jason Reed

Photo Jason Reed

25/07/2013 Par LEXPRESS.fr

 

La Chambre des représentants américaine vient de rejetter l'amendement Amash qui visait à restreindre le budget et la portée du programme de surveillance de la NSA.

 

La Chambre des représentants américaine a rejeté d'une courte majorité mercredi un amendement qui visait à mettre un terme au financement du programme de surveillance de la NSA aboutissant à la collecte de données téléphoniques de millions d'Américains. 

 

217 voix contre, 205 pour

Cet amendement, déposé après la révélation par Edward Snowden de l'ampleur des programmes de surveillance de l'Agence de sécurité nationale, était soutenu par une coalition hétéroclite d'élus allant des très conservateurs membres du mouvement Tea Party aux démocrates les plus à gauche. Il a été rejeté par 217 voix contre et 205 pour. 

L'ex-consultant américain, toujours en transit dans la zone internationale de l'aéroport de Moscou, avait notamment révélé début juin que la NSA collectait au nom de la lutte antiterroriste les métadonnées (numéro appelé, durée de l'appel) de communications de millions d'Américains avec l'autorisation d'une cour secrète. 

 

Ne surveiller que les personnes visées par une enquête judiciaire

Le texte rejeté mercredi avait été déposé par un jeune élu républicain du Michigan (nord), Justin Amash. "Le gouvernement collecte des données téléphoniques, sans que personne ne s'en doute, de tous les Américains aux Etats-Unis", a-t-il lancé au cours de débats tendus, peu avant le vote. Son objectif, a-t-il argué, était de faire en sorte que cette surveillance ne s'applique qu'aux Américains visés par une enquête spécifique. 

Le démocrate Jim Moran, qui a voté en faveur de l'amendement Amash, a jugé sur Twitter qu'il "n'était pas parfait, mais qu'il montrait clairement que la NSA avait besoin d'être réformée pour protéger l'intimité des Américains". 

Cet amendement était inclus dans un vaste projet de loi sur le budget du département de la Défense, actuellement à l'étude à la Chambre.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
L’exercice «Precise Response» bat son plein au Canada

24/07/2013 Armée de l'air

 

Une délégation d’une vingtaine d’aviateurs participe à l’exercice international Precise Response qui se tient au Canada du 8 au 26 juillet 2013. Dans un contexte de lutte antiterroriste, il vise à entraîner les spécialistes face à des menaces de nature nucléaire, radiologique, bactériologique, chimique et explosive (NRBC-E) dans des conditions réelles.

 

L’exercice otanien Precise Response qui se tient actuellement sur le camp de Suffield, au Canada, voit la participation française d’une vingtaine d'aviateurs aux côtés de leurs homologues de l’armée de terre. Parmi eux, on retrouve une équipe qualifiée Sampling Identifcation of Biological Chemical and Radiological Agent (SIBCRA) de la section d’intervention du centre de formation des techniciens de la sécurité de l’armée de l’air. Ils sont accompagnés de sous-officiers spécialistes en neutralisation, enlèvement et destruction d'explosifs (NEDEX), ainsi que d’un binôme d’officiers de police judiciaire de la gendarmerie de l’air.

 

Cet exercice mené conjointement avec de nombreux pays (Allemagne, Angleterre, Belgique, États-Unis, Canada…) s’inscrit dans la phase d’intégration et de certification au titre de la montée en puissance de la Task Force NRBC de la NRF 14 (Nato Response Force - force de réaction rapide de l’Otan). En effet, la France prendra l’astreinte NRF en 2014.

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22 juillet 2013 1 22 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
Exercice de défense contre une cyberattaque

19/07/2013 Par Sofiane Frendi

 

Aux Etats-Unis le nombre d'attaques contre les institutions bancaires a connu un bond de 42% en 2012. Pour faire face, les autorités américaines multiplient les efforts pour les mettre à l'abri.

 

Aujourd’hui, une cinquantaine de grandes institutions financières et bancaires américaines se livrent à un exercice de simulation de cyberattaques contre leurs réseaux informatiques.  Dénommé "Quantum Dawn 2", en français "l’aube du quantum 2", cet exercice a pour but de préparer les grandes institutions américaines à répondre efficacement à une cyberattaque. 

 

Les programmes de la deuxième édition sont conçus par Cyber stratégies, une société  duVermont spécialisée dans la cyber-sécurité. Les services secrets américains font partie de ces exercices. Notons la présence du FBI, le département de la sécurité du territoire sans oublier la participation de l’autorité fédérale des marchés financiers (SEC) et le Trésor.

 

La nouveauté cette année, c’est le nombre de participants à cette manifestation : 20 institutions bancaires de plus par rapport à Novembre 2011. Ajoutant à cela, le scénario d’attaque est différent de celui de la première édition. Cette année, les employés sont soumis à des exercices de réflexion, de coordination et de prise de décisions.Les employés seront amenés à travailler en commun si leurs communications sont perturbées, et si les informations qu’ils disposent sont difficiles à vérifier.

 

L’association américaine des marchés financiers (SIFMA) prévoit une cyberattaque contre le Wall Street sans donner plus de précisions sur le scénario d’intrusion.  Sur ce point, Karl Schimmeck, ancien officier du corps de marines et actuellement employé par la SFMA, déclare que « Nous allons tester notre capacité à réagir, voir là où nous partageons bien les informations et là où nous avons une bonne connaissance de la situation ».

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19 juillet 2013 5 19 /07 /juillet /2013 09:20
Le Pentagone prêt à recruter une cyber-section de 4 000 personnes

2013-07-19 xinhua

 

Le département américain de la Défense est prêt à mettre en place une cyber-section d'environ 4 000 personnes, chargée des opérations d'offense et de défense informatiques, a déclaré jeudi le secrétaire d'Etat américain adjoint à la Défense Ashton Carter.

 

M. Carter a annoncé cette nouvelle à l'occasion du Forum sur la sécurité d'Aspen (Colorado), en déclarant: "Je veux commencer rapidement." Malgré la contrainte budgétaire, il a indiqué que le Pentagone était prêt à dépenser tout l'argent tant qu'il est dépensé à bon escient pour développer les techniques liées à ce genre de missions.

 

Selon M. Carter, ce seront les premières unités de ce type dans l'armée américaine et les groupes seront sous le commandement de Keith Alexander, chef de l'Agence nationale de sécurité américaine (NSA) et du cyber-commandement américain.

 

"Les équipes sont nouvelles et elles s'ajouteront à la main-d'oeuvre de la NSA", a déclaré M. Carter, ajoutant que les équipes seront constituées de membres des services militaires, mais suivront le modèle des opérations spéciales.

 

Selon M. Alexander, l'armée a pour objectif de former 40 cyber-équipes, dont 27 pour la défense et 13 pour la création de cyber-armes.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 19:20
Canada : La Défense nationale n'utilise pas tout son budget

12 juillet 2013 La Presse Canadienne

 

On apprend donc que le ministère de la Défense nationale n'a pas utilisé, en fait, des milliards de dollars qui lui étaient alloués durant la dernière année budgétaire.

 

Ottawa, Ontario - Des chiffres récents du Directeur parlementaire du budget démontrent une tendance que des critiques décrivent comme une façon furtive de réduire le déficit.

 

On apprend donc que le ministère de la Défense nationale n'a pas utilisé, en fait, des milliards de dollars qui lui étaient alloués durant la dernière année budgétaire.

 

L'examen trimestriel des dépenses du gouvernement fédéral démontre qu'au terme de la dernière année fiscale, le ministère a dépensé 2,3 milliards de moins que ce qui lui était alloué. Cela représente plus de 10 pour cent du budget annuel de la défense, qui s'avère aussi le plus important poste «discrétionnaire».

 

Les chiffres révèlent un montant total de 9,6 milliards non dépensés depuis l'année budgétaire 2006-2007, un phénomène attribuable à une bureaucratie insuffisante et au retard des projets d'achat d'équipement, selon le ministère de la Défense.

 

Certaines de ces sommes, pour la plupart destinées à l'achat d'équipement, peuvent être déplacées sur d'autres budgets. Cependant, la longévité du phénomène fait douter des analystes et des critiques que cela soit délibéré de la part du gouvernement.

 

Dave Perry, de l'université de Carleton et de la Conférence des associations de la défense, affirme que c'est simplement une question de procédures et qu'un gouvernement désireux de mettre fin à l'inefficacité aurait déjà résolu le problème.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 19:20
US House Votes To Limit Obama's Ability to Shrink Nuclear Arsenal

Jul. 12, 2013 - By JOHN T. BENNETT – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — The US House has approved a plan that would limit President Barack Obama’s ability to shrink America’s nuclear arms arsenal without congressional approval, with its sponsor claiming the White House intends to ignore the Constitution.

 

The lower chamber late Wednesday night approved an amendment to an energy and water bill that would cut off funds for any atomic weapons reductions the White House might pursue without first seeking Senate approval.

 

The amendment was offered by House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, a hawkish Republican who claims the president plans to ignore the Constitution.

 

“On June 19, President Obama declared before an audience in Berlin that he was announcing significant changes to the nuclear force posture of the United States,” Turner wrote in a “dear colleagues” letter to other members drumming up support for the amendment.

 

“One of the most significant ambiguities to emerge from that announcement was whether the president would follow the bipartisan tradition that nuclear arms reduction agreements take place according to the Constitutional structures the framers intended,” Turner wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Defense News.

 

Turner and other congressional Republicans believe Obama is poised to order some US nuclear arms reductions, and has no plans to follow the precedent of first obtaining the upper chamber’s approval.

 

A White House spokeswoman had yet to respond to an inquiry about the president’s nuclear-reduction plans and Turner’s amendment.

 

Turner and other congressional Republicans see Obama and his administration possessing “disregard for long-enshrined practice,” which Turner in the letter dubs “disappointing, dangerous, and injures the checks and balances that are needed.”

 

The HASC member says those checks are needed “when it comes to international agreements with states like Russia, especially when Russia is actively cheating on major arms control agreements.”

 

Turner said, “thus far, the president has not seen fit to aggressively confront” Moscow over those alleged violations.

 

The amendment passed by voice vote, meaning there is no public record of how individual members voted nor the final margin. Whether the provision will be included in the final version of the energy and water bill will ultimately be up to a House-Senate conference committee.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
F-35 instructor pilot

F-35 instructor pilot

July 11, 2013 Source: Lockheed Martin

 

F-35 Pilot Cadre Grows To 100 As Training Ramps Up At Eglin Air Force Base

 

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.--- Maj. Robert Miller became the 100th pilot to fly the Lockheed Martin (LMT) F-35 Lightning II when he took to the skies above Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for a training flight on July 9.

 

Miller's 90-minute familiarization flight included normal operations for aircraft handling and landings in an F-35A fighter. The flight followed academic and simulator instruction at Eglin Air Force Base's Integrated Training Center, which provides pilot and maintainer training for the three F-35 variants.

 

"It was great to get airborne today. The jet handles well and is very easy to fly. I'm looking forward to testing the combat capabilities of the F-35 over the next few years at Edwards," said Miller.

 

Miller, currently assigned to the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., has spent 11 years in the Air Force and has flown more than 1,300 hours in the F-16, including 369 combat hours. He joins an experienced cadre of F-35 pilots among the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, the United Kingdom and industry.

 

"Maj. Miller is representative of the highly-trained pilots populating the F-35 community," said Col. Todd Canterbury, commander of Eglin's 33d Fighter Wing. "This milestone is significant because it shows the program is maturing rapidly and highlights the successful implementation of a world-class training program and development of the F-35 Lightning II for the combat air forces. We are excited to have produced the 100th F-35 Lightning II pilot."

 

The joint service partners at Eglin Air Force Base have flown 2,292 F-35 hours and have 28 aircraft assigned, representing the largest fleet of F-35s in the world. Approximately 100 pilots and 2,200 maintainers will be qualified annually through the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Training System at the base to support initial operational capability targets. The Lockheed Martin training system is also operational at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

 

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries.

 

 

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 118,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
F-35 instructor pilot

F-35 instructor pilot

July 11, 2013 Source: Lockheed Martin

 

F-35 Pilot Cadre Grows To 100 As Training Ramps Up At Eglin Air Force Base

 

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.--- Maj. Robert Miller became the 100th pilot to fly the Lockheed Martin (LMT) F-35 Lightning II when he took to the skies above Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for a training flight on July 9.

 

Miller's 90-minute familiarization flight included normal operations for aircraft handling and landings in an F-35A fighter. The flight followed academic and simulator instruction at Eglin Air Force Base's Integrated Training Center, which provides pilot and maintainer training for the three F-35 variants.

 

"It was great to get airborne today. The jet handles well and is very easy to fly. I'm looking forward to testing the combat capabilities of the F-35 over the next few years at Edwards," said Miller.

 

Miller, currently assigned to the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., has spent 11 years in the Air Force and has flown more than 1,300 hours in the F-16, including 369 combat hours. He joins an experienced cadre of F-35 pilots among the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, the United Kingdom and industry.

 

"Maj. Miller is representative of the highly-trained pilots populating the F-35 community," said Col. Todd Canterbury, commander of Eglin's 33d Fighter Wing. "This milestone is significant because it shows the program is maturing rapidly and highlights the successful implementation of a world-class training program and development of the F-35 Lightning II for the combat air forces. We are excited to have produced the 100th F-35 Lightning II pilot."

 

The joint service partners at Eglin Air Force Base have flown 2,292 F-35 hours and have 28 aircraft assigned, representing the largest fleet of F-35s in the world. Approximately 100 pilots and 2,200 maintainers will be qualified annually through the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Training System at the base to support initial operational capability targets. The Lockheed Martin training system is also operational at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

 

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries.

 

 

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 118,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
The Future of US Cyber Command

July 11, 2013 Source: International Relations And Security Network

 

For months it has been an entertaining parlor game in the nation’s capital: guessing what will happen next with U.S. Cyber Command, the military organization designed to defend the country’s networks and attack its adversaries. The topic will increasingly be in the spotlight as the head of that command, General Keith Alexander, is also the director of the National Security Agency, which is beset by revelations of cyber snooping—possibly a damaging link if the crisis does not blow over.

 

Cyber Command is only a few years old, but the history of its predecessors helps give clues to what is to come. For fifteen years, the military has tried to integrate or “normalize” cyber, but the meaning of normal and how to achieve that has shifted several times.

 

The U.S. military began to organize around cyber and information warfare just after the first Gulf War of 1991. The Air Force Information Warfare Center was launched in 1993 and the other services followed soon after. Offense and defense operations were combined in the operational 609th Information Warfare Squadron in 1995. These units, however, were all single-service and generally could not direct cyber defenses, only making suggestions with little Pentagon control.

 

To “normalize” cyber, in 1998 the Pentagon created the real predecessor to U.S. Cyber Command, the twenty-four-person Joint Task Force–Computer Network Defense (JTF-CND) to be in charge. Two years after it was stood up, the unit was given responsibilities for offense as well as defense, as one of the perceived lessons of the past was that the same commander should handle both.

 

However, this lesson proved to be transient, as offense and defense were split apart in 2004, with the National Security Agency getting the offensive mission and the Defense Information Systems Agency getting defense, since it seemed more “normal” to have the main military IT organization also defend all the IT. But that solution itself only lasted a few years, when to be more “normal” the missions were recombined into the new U.S. Cyber Command, whose commander was also the director of the NSA. Since NSA had so much cyber capability, it seemed natural to have the same four-star officer run both cyber and signals intelligence; the revelations of cyber spying might just break that connection if it appears having cyber warfighting responsibilities distracted General Alexander from his NSA job.

 

This history helps inform the debate about what should happen next with U.S. Cyber Command. There are a few leading options:

 

Splitting NSA and Cyber Command: This had already been a leading option, even before the recent leaks. General Alexander had planned to retire in early 2014, but it is possible he won’t last that long, now that President Obama has had to publicly discuss programs that the General’s organization was supposed to keep secret. This option of splitting the command is probably the most likely, as the president would understandably want a director of NSA able to work it as a full-time job, rather than sharing time with the sexier offensive missions of Cyber Command.

 

This division of roles would return to the command relationship of 2004, with a three-star NSA director from intelligence reporting and a four-star general from a more traditional warfighting background.

 

Combatant Command: Cyberspace may be so different from the other domains of air, land, sea and space that it makes little sense for U.S. Cyber Command to be subordinate as a subunified command to U.S. Strategic Command. Cyberspace and operations there transcend geographic regions, domains and the normal spectrum of conflict. Thus, an elevation to its own unified command is justified. This option makes sense if cyber is indeed important but unlikely to be a truly new domain.

 

In one sense, this is just the next step of a natural progression since 1998 of ever-larger commands with higher-ranking generals in charge. But proponents of creating a new command should be wary of the precedent set by U.S. Space Command. Created in 1985 when space was the domain of the future, it only lasted until 2002, since it turns out that space isn’t all that different or critical. In the rush to claim that the domain was different, the space community potentially overreached and their command is mostly forgotten today. Yet this remains a likely path for cyber.

 

Special Operations: Another argument is that cyber is so special it can’t ever be normal. After all, the geeks who dominate cyber often don’t excel in (or necessarily even need) traditional soldiering discipline, fitness or skills. In this option, U.S. Cyber Command should not belong to U.S. Strategic Command but rather should be under U.S. Special Operations Command. This option makes sense if cyber conflicts in the future are predominantly shadowy irregular conflicts and the Pentagon wants to emphasize this aspect above all others.

 

Even though the covert actions and proxy/irregular cyber conflicts are indeed increasingly prevalent, the special-operations model ignores the bulk of what happens in cyberspace, the day-to-day grunt work of cyber defense and network management. This does not require any particularly special expertise, just patience and attention to detail over time, which is one reason why this is not a likely option.

 

New Cyber Service: If cyber truly is important and a new domain of warfighting, then perhaps the most normal option is not to elevate or reassign a command but create an entirely new service. After all, the land, sea and air domains each have a respective service. This new Department of Cyberspace would then parcel cyber forces to the combatant commands and provide common cyber services to all, especially for technologies like long-haul networks.

 

This is the least likely option as it is too bold and not necessarily warranted by the current circumstances. The space domain again provides the example: there are consistent and periodic calls for it to have a separate service, yet the military seems fine without a space command, much less a separate service. Moreover, with the problems faced by NSA, there may be retrenchment as the Washington takes a less aggressive posture.

 

Status Quo: It is entirely reasonable if the national military leadership decides to keep the present arrangements. But with NSA in such trouble, this is increasingly unlikely.

 

The final decision may depend on the personalities of the generals and admirals available for command, the legacy of General Alexander, and above all, cost. Regardless of which is the smarter option in the long term, the overwhelming pressure of operating during the sequester suggests that the cheapest options—the status quo or splitting NSA and Cyber Command—are the most likely.

 

Cheap has another advantage: cheap is simple. Each redrawing of command lines has meant more distraction from actually solving the underlying cyber problems, which have been remained similar for decades.

 

Regardless of the final decision on U.S. Cyber Command, it will only be one more step—and by no means the last—as the U.S. military seeks to keep pace with conflict in cyberspace.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
LCS: Latest Update

July 11, 2013 Source: US Navy

 

Littoral combat ships remain one of the top priorities for Navy leadership. The program has had stable requirements since the capabilities definition document was first approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council in 2004.

 

There is and continues to be discussion on changes to the ships and mission packages. This is by design; the program is fundamentally about the ability to deliver changes and improvements to fielded capability. However, the key performance parameters and the requirements have been fundamentally unchanged and stable for a decade.

 

LCS fills current capability gaps for the Joint Force in the littorals and is a balanced force, structured to defeat adversaries in times of war and maintain a sizeable, continuous naval presence across the globe. Upon reaching full operational capability, LCS will deliver more mission capability in mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare than our current mine countermeasure, coast patrol and frigates ships with the added advantage of being rapidly reconfigurable across the three mission areas at a reduced cost.

 

Procurement

 

The Navy plans to buy 52 LCS in accordance with our long-range shipbuilding plan – continuing the remainder of the block buy ships through FY 2015 (up to hull number 24) and then starting the next procurement contract in FY 2016. To date, the Navy has taken delivery of USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Independence (LCS 2) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3).

 

Both LCS shipyards have invested considerable resources into facility improvement and have rapidly incorporated lessons learned from construction of Freedom, Independence and Fort Worth. LCS 4 (Coronado) is scheduled to be delivered in September 2013. LCS 5 through 8 — Milwaukee, Jackson, Detroit, and Montgomery — will be delivered by the end of FY15.

 

Operations

 

Freedom continues to perform well on her deployment to Southeast Asia. Instead of working out the kinks near her homeport of San Diego, this first-of-class ship has been conducting purposeful, forward presence while her crew of 91 captures valuable lessons learned for incorporation in future LCS construction and deployments.

 

Despite initial maintenance issues, Freedom has met every deployment milestone including departing San Diego and arriving in Singapore on time, debuting at the International Maritime Defence and Exhibition conference, hosting visitors during the Shangri-La dialogues, and participating in the Malaysia phase of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise series.

 

During CARAT Malaysia, Freedom accomplished many firsts for the ship and the LCS program:

 

-- During the underway phase, Freedom operated alongside USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) to complete a series of maneuvers and exercises with the Royal Malaysian Navy’s guided missile frigate KD Jebat, as well as the offshore patrol vessel KD Kelantan.

-- A Malaysian navy helicopter became the first foreign aircraft to land on Freedom during deck qualifications.

-- The ship’s embarked visit, board, search and seizure team – part of the maritime security module – boarded KD Jebat during maritime security drills.

-- Freedom and her embarked MH-60R helicopter participated in a combined anti-submarine warfare exercise.

 

 

CARAT Malaysia marked Freedom’s first-ever operational experience with partner nations and the vessel’s performance at-sea drew praise from both participating navies. Capt. Abdul Halim Bin Hj Shaari, KD Jebat’s commanding officer, said, “The ship itself is fantastic. My boarding team went aboard and they learned a lot. The opportunity to command that type of ship would be great.”

 

LCS 2 and 3 Fleet Testing and Evaluation

 

LCS 2 conducted two iterations of calm water trials, which are high-speed maneuvers to test the ship’s stability. The crew also supported a human systems integration study, conducted to determine the ease of shipboard equipment and how Sailors respond in a combat environment to include crew rest/sleep time. They exercised detect-to-engage scenarios, and were certified in their proficiency to land helicopters and conduct crash and salvage operations. In May, the ship underwent a week-long planned maintenance availability. The ship also is preparing for INSURV special trials and had the ship’s engineering systems verified for proper alignment/operation and technical documentation.

 

 

USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) Photo Lockheed Martin

USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) Photo Lockheed Martin

Fort Worth is the next LCS slated to deploy, planned for mid-to-late 2014. After almost two months in drydock undergoing a planned shakedown availability, LCS 3 returned pierside July 2 and will complete the planned shakedown availability by the end of the month. Following sea trials, she will enter a regimen of underway periods for testing and proficiency. Prior to the planned shakedown availability, LCS 3 embarked Freedom’s Blue Crew for deployment training in preparation for this summer’s crew swap in Singapore with LCS 1 Gold Crew.

 

Mission Packages

 

Production of LCS mission packages continues to pace LCS ship construction and meet needs associated with mission package testing, crew training and operational deployments of LCS ships. Developmental testing is underway for the mine countermeasures and surface warfare mission packages. Testing performed to date on individual mission systems and the mission package has shown that the Increment I Surface Warfare – which will reach Initial Operating Capability aboard Forth Worth in spring 2014 – and the mine countermeasures mission package will meet their requirements. The Mine Countermeasures Mission Package Increment I already provides approximately twice the coverage rate of legacy systems.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
Navmar Wins $11M for Persistent Surveillance UAV

July 11, 2013 Source: U.S Department of Defense

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

Navmar Applied Sciences, Warminster, Pa., is being awarded an $11,207,449 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract (N68335-12-C-0353) to exercise an option for the procurement of hardware in support of the persistent surveillance unmanned aerial system (PSUAS) for the U.S. Army.

 

This effort includes the procurement of 15 additional Tiger Shark PSUAS air vehicles and 15 i200 turrets, which will be integrated into the PSUAS.

 

Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va. (68 percent); Afghanistan (28 percent); and Raleigh, N.C. (4 percent), and is expected to be completed in January 2014. Fiscal 2012 Other Procurement, Army contract funds in the amount of $11,207,449 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

 

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
MQ-9 Reaper taxis in Afghanistan photo Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson US Air Force

MQ-9 Reaper taxis in Afghanistan photo Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson US Air Force

July 11, 2013 Source: U.S Department of Defense

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a $23,951,449 modification (004940) to a cost-plus-incentive and firm-fixed-price contract (FA8620-05-G-3028) for additional 904.6 systems release tasks for the MQ-9 Hunter and Killer System Development and Demonstration (SDD) bridge effort.

 

The total cumulative face value of the contract is $114,143,253. The modification includes additional capabilities added to the basic SDD bridge effort, one aircraft retrofit, and one Systems Integration Laboratory upgrade.

 

Work will be performed at Poway, Calif., and is expected to be completed twelve months from date of award. Fiscal 2012 Research and Development funds in the amount of $3,427,374 and Fiscal 2013 Research and Development funds in the amount of $8,548,349 are being obligated at time of award.

 

Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WIIK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 12:35
GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea skimming target

GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea skimming target

July 12, 2013: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. Navy has asked missile manufacturers to quickly design and build them a target drone that will simulate sub-sonic Chinese anti-ship missiles. Previously the U.S. Navy had spent a lot of effort developing and building similar drones to simulate super-sonic anti-ship missiles. Apparently someone did the math and realized that the most likely near-term opponents (China, North Korea or Iran) all had a lot of Chinese sub-sonic missiles.  China sells a lot of these C-801 and C-802 anti-ship missiles. The C-801 is 5.81 meters (18 feet) long, 360mm in diameter, has a max range of 42 kilometers and weighs 636 kg (1,400 pounds) each. The C-801 is similar to the French Exocet, and is believed to have been based on that missile. An improved C0801 is the C802A which is a 6.8m (21 foot) long, 360mm diameter, 682kg (1,500 pound) missile, with a 165kg (360 pound) warhead. The C802 has a max range of 120 kilometers, and moves along at about 250 meters a second.

 

Exocet MM40 Block 3 firing. MBDA Michel Hans

Exocet MM40 Block 3 firing. MBDA Michel Hans

The French Exocet missile is the same size and performance of the Chinese missiles, but costs twice as much (over a million dollars each, but the manufacturer is known to be flexible on pricing.) The new Exocet MM Block 3 has greater range (180 kilometers) because of their turbojet engine. Exocet is a 670 kg (1,500 pound) missile that has been around for over three decades, has been proven in combat and is known to be reliable. The C802 is known to be less capable than the Exocet, but it looks similar and the Chinese continue to improve their Exocet clones.

 

The U.S. Navy asked for someone to build a sub-sonic reusable target drone that has a top speed of about 900 kilometers an hour, comes in about a meter above the water, can maneuver (pull 8 Gs) and have a max range of 700 kilometers. The target drone must float, last about for about 20 flights and cost less than $200,000. This missile would carry electronics to enable it to be maneuvered by a remote operator and monitor jamming efforts and all sorts of flight information.

 

The navy hopes to repeat an earlier success Three years ago, after nearly a decade of development effort, the U.S. Navy put its high-speed anti-ship missile simulator into service. This was the GQM-163A Coyote SSST (Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target), which  is a 31 foot long, 800 kg (1700 pound) missile with a combination solid fuel rocket and ramjet propulsion. It has a range of 110 kilometers and, because of the ramjet, a top speed of over 2,600 kilometers an hour. The Coyote is meant to give U.S. warships a realistic simulation of an attack by similar Russian cruise missiles (like the Klub.) At least 39 GQM-163As are to be built, at a cost of $515,000 each. The GQM-163A is the first U.S. missile to successfully use ramjet engines, and this technology can be now used in other missiles.

 

Coyote came to be in response to more countries arming themselves with high speed anti-ship missiles. In particular, there is fear that the Russian 3M54 (also known as the SS-N-27, Sizzler or Klub) anti-ship missiles used on Chinese subs, are unstoppable. But maybe not. India, (another major customer for the Klub) has feuded with the Russians over repeated failures of the Klub during six test firings three years ago. The missiles were fired off the Russian coast, using an Indian Kilo class submarines, INS Sindhuvijay. That boat went to Russia in 2006 for upgrades. India refused to pay for the upgrades, or take back the sub, until Russia fixed the problems with the missiles (which it eventually did).

 

3M54 (SS-N-27, Sizzler or Klub) anti-ship missile

3M54 (SS-N-27, Sizzler or Klub) anti-ship missile

Weighing two tons, and fired from a 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tube on a Kilo class sub, the 3M54 has a 200 kg (440 pound) warhead. The anti-ship version has a range of 300 kilometers, but speeds up to 3,000 kilometers an hour during its last minute or so of flight. There is also an air launched and ship launched version. A land attack version does away with the high speed final approach feature, and has an 880 pound warhead. What makes the 3M54 particularly dangerous is its final approach, which begins when the missile is about 15 kilometers from its target. Up to that point, the missile travels at an altitude of about a hundred feet. This makes the missile more difficult to detect. The high speed approach means that it covers that last fifteen kilometers in less than twenty seconds. This makes it difficult for current anti-missile weapons to take it down.

 

The 3M54 is similar to earlier, Cold War era Russian anti-ship missiles, like the 3M80 ("Sunburn"), which has a larger warhead (300 kg/660 pounds) and shorter range (120 kilometers.) The 3M80 was still in development at the end of the Cold War, and was finally put into service about a decade ago. Even older is the P700 ("Shipwreck"), with a 550 kilometers range and 750 kg (1,650 pound) warhead. This missile entered service in the 1980s.

 

These missiles are considered "carrier killers," but it's not known how many of them would have to hit a carrier to knock it out of action, much less sink it. Moreover, Russian missiles have little combat experience, and a reputation for erratic performance. Quality control was never a Soviet strength, but the Russians are getting better, at least in the civilian sector. The military manufacturers appear to have been slower to adapt.

 

It is feared that the navy has no defense against missile like Klub. Or, it may have developed defenses, but does not want to let potential enemies know how those defenses work (lest the enemy develop ways to get around those defenses.)

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
Atlas Humanoid Robot Revealed Ahead of DARPA Robotics Challenge

July 12, 2013 By  J. T. Quigley - Tech Biz

 

Move over, ASIMO. The new humanoid robot from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) does away with the cutesy voice and toy-store design in favor of something much more Terminator-inspired. The hulking 6-foot 2-inch bipedal machine weighs 330 pounds and achieves unparalleled mobility thanks to 28 hydraulically actuated joints.

Atlas, built by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPS, is modeled after the ultra high-tech robotics firm’s Petman. Judging from Boston Dynamics’ earlier projects, including BigDog and Cheetah, it is highly unlikely that Atlas will suffer from an embarrassing loss of balance like its Honda-made predecessor. In fact, Atlas was designed to take a beating while remaining upright.

In a video released earlier this week, DARPA shows off the Atlas Proto robot jumping from a ledge, navigating over a gap in the ground, and quickly climbing stairs without falling. Then, the current Atlas is shown balancing on one foot and then being hit by a wrecking ball. It stabilizes itself while remaining on only one foot. Finally, researchers put wooden planks under a walking Atlas’ feet. The robot manages to take one step onto the plank, step off, and readjust its path to avoid the obstacle.

“It's designed to not only walk and carry things, but can travel through rough terrain outdoors and climb using its hands and feet. Its head includes stereo cameras and a laser range finder,” said CNET.

While Boston Dynamics’ other robots are primarily designed for military applications, Atlas will be accessible to civilians. For DARPA’s international Robotics Challenge (DRC), seven lucky teams will have the opportunity to program Atlas with their own custom software. The DRC kicked off in October 2011, and will continue this December in Miami.

The DRC will pit teams of robot engineers against each other in a simulated industrial disaster setting, reminiscent of the March 11 2011 disaster in Japan.

“DARPA specifically mentions the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident as an example of a disaster that would have benefited from more capable robots. In fact, the scenario DARPA is planning for the final competition closely resembles the dramatic events that unfolded in the first 24 hours at Fukushima, when human workers attempted but ultimately failed to fix one of the crippled reactors,” said IEEE Spectrum.

Tasks that the challengers’ robots must be able to complete will be breaking down a wall, finding a leaky pipe, and fixing a cooling pump.

The winning team will be awarded a $2 million cash prize by DARPA.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
LM Completes Captive Carry Tests with LRASM, Future USAF and Navy Missile

Jul 12, 2013 ASDNews Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation

 

Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently completed a series of Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) captive carry flight tests at the Sea Range in Point Mugu, Calif., advancing the research program toward its first missile release and free flight test later this year.

 

The captive carry missions were flown aboard a U.S. Air Force B-1B from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The primary mission objectives were to collect telemetry for post-flight analysis, verify proper control room telemetry displays and simulate all the test activities that will occur in later air-launched flight tests. All test objectives were met.

 

“Collecting telemetry data while flying in the B-1B bomb bay significantly reduces risk ahead of the first launch,” said Mike Fleming, LRASM air launch program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Initial assessments indicate the missile performed as expected.”

 

The LRASM program is in development with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research. After a competition in 2009, Lockheed Martin’s LRASM was selected to demonstrate air- and surface-launched capability to defeat emerging sea-based threats at significant standoff ranges.

 

LRASM is an autonomous, precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile leveraging the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in a robust anti-access/area-denial threat environment.

 

Armed with a proven 1,000-lb. penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, LRASM employs a multi-mode sensor, weapon data link and an enhanced digital anti-jam Global Positioning System to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of ships.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
iRobot Awarded $30 M Army Contract

Jul 11, 2013 ASDNews Source : iRobot Corporation

 

    Initial order valued at $3 million

 

As previously announced by the Army, iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in delivering robotic technology-based solutions, has been awarded a $30 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract by the U.S. Army’s Robotic Systems Joint Program Office (RSJPO). The four-year contract, which replaces an expiring IDIQ, allows for the delivery of iRobot PackBot FasTac robotic systems and associated spares.

 

An initial $3 million order under the contract for spares has also been placed. Deliveries under this order will be completed by the end of Q4 2013.

 

“iRobot is proud to provide robotic capabilities that help our warfighters accomplish their mission,” said Frank Wilson, senior vice president and general manager of iRobot’s Defense & Security business unit. “The Army recognizes the value of the PackBot FasTac robotic system on the battlefield, and we look forward to continuing our work with RSJPO to ensure the Army is well equipped to maintain its fleet of PackBot FasTac robots in the years ahead.”

 

The iRobot PackBot allows military and public safety personnel to investigate dangerous objects and environments from a safe distance. The robot is used in a wide variety of operations, including neutralizing roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices, screening vehicles, and searching buildings, bunkers, caves and tunnels.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
DARPA Robotics Challenge

DARPA Robotics Challenge

July 10, 2013 Source: US Department of Defense

 

WASHINGTON --- Leaps forward in simulation technology and cloud computing are making it possible for challengers from around the world to compete for support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to create robots that can help people during natural and other kinds of disasters.

 

During a recent media roundtable, Dr. Gill Pratt, DARPA program manager, and Dr. Brian Gerkey, chief executive officer for the Open Source Robotics Foundation, told reporters about the ongoing DARPA Robotics Challenge, which launched in October 2012 and will end after the final event in December 2014.

 

The Open Source Robotics Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization in Mountain View, Calif., founded by members of the global robotics community to support open-source software development and distribution for robotics research, education and product development.

 

“DARPA is focused on the defense mission for DOD,” Pratt said. “Our primary reason for [creating the robotics challenge] is about the security of our citizens in situations of natural and manmade disasters. [But] the technology DARPA develops often finds its way into all sorts of other parts of life.”

 

The Internet is the best example, he observed, adding, “I expect that the robots we develop will be used very soon, at least in some form, … within people’s homes,” possibly as helpers for aging populations in nations like the United States and Japan.

 

The goal of DARPA’s Robotics Challenge, or DRC, is to generate groundbreaking research and development in hardware and software, according to the DRC website, helping future robots perform the most hazardous jobs in disaster-response operations, along with human supervisors, to reduce casualties and save lives.

 

Pratt calls this a way to make societies worldwide more resilient to natural and other disasters.

 

“We believe it’s important to develop robots that can go into areas that are too dangerous for people and that can be supervised by human beings despite the fact that communications might be quite difficult [during a disaster] both between human beings and between people and robots,” he added.

 

Through the DRC project, DARPA is helping create robots with three basic features. The first is that the robots should be compatible with environments engineered for people, Pratt said.

 

“That’s true even if those environments have been degraded. This gives the robots a certain size [and] it says exactly what their capabilities must be in order to interface for instance with doors and stairs and other things that human beings have engineered into the environment,” the DARPA program manager said.

 

The second feature is that the robots have to be able to use tools that were designed for people.

 

“This ranges all the way from a screwdriver to a fire truck,” he added, “so you’ll see in the different parts of the DARPA challenge that we are testing the ability of these machines to do that.”

 

Third is that the robots must be able to be supervised by people who aren’t necessarily trained to operate robots.

 

“Typically in a disaster there’s no time for training [and] there’s no time to acquire specialized tools. You have to use what you have on hand,” Pratt explained.

 

“If you want the robot to respond immediately,” he added, “the important thing is for the interface between that person and the robot to be intuitive to the people on the disaster response team who have the most expertise about what needs to be done … not the people who designed the machine.”

 

Overriding all the robot technology, though, is an assumption that communications between people -- and between people and the robot -- will be degraded by the effects of the disaster on infrastructure, Pratt said.

 

“So in the challenge itself,” he explained, “we will purposefully lower the bandwidth -- the number of bits per second -- that can go between the robot and the supervisors, and we will also increase the latency -- the amount of time delay -- in the communication between the people and the robots.”

 

The DRC has two kinds of events -- one for teams whose focus is software alone and that don’t have their own robots, and one for teams whose focus is both hardware and software and therefore have their own robots.

 

The first event, whose seven winners were announced June 27, was a software competition among 26 teams from eight countries.

 

The teams competed against each other using a virtual robot called Atlas inside the DARPA Robotics Challenge Simulator, an open-source tool created for DARPA by the Open Source Robotics Foundation.

 

A company called Boston Dynamics is using DARPA funding to build real Atlas robots that the winning teams have been awarded to use in upcoming DARPA challenges.

 

“Our reason for having this virtual challenge is that we wanted to open the contest to teams that were strong not just in building hardware for robots and programming them with software,” Pratt said, “but for a wider variety of teams, including those who had little expertise or experience with robot hardware.”

 

Pratt said work done by the Open Source Robotics Foundation with DARPA funding had advanced the simulation technology enough that the simulator could run in real time and a person could interact with the simulation to supervise the virtual robots.

 

The Foundation’s approach to simulation is to do the best possible job of reproducing the way physics works in the world inside a computer, Gerkey said.

 

Thanks to the increase in performance that allows the simulation to run in real time and the increased computational power available through advances in cloud computing resources, the seven teams who won the DARPA virtual challenge should be able to take the software they designed for the DARPA simulation and run it on the real Atlas robots.

 

“Our goal,” Gerkey said, “is always to have the simulator behave as close as possible to the physical system … so it should be the case that teams who … are awarded an Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics should be able to take the software that they develop for simulation and run it almost unchanged on the physical robot.”

 

He added, “That will actually be the test of how well we’ve done here in terms of building a simulation as a stand-in for the physical robot.”

 

All of what DARPA and the Open Source Robotics Foundation are building is open source, Gerkey noted, “so anyone in the world can do anything they want with this software.”

 

The next DRC live competition will be held in December 2013.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
US Navy details X-47B navigation system malfunction on 3rd carrier landing attempt

July 11, 2013 by Zach Rosenberg – FG

 

Washington DC - The Northrop Grumman X-47B landed twice aboard the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, but a malfunction with one of its three navigation computers prevented a third landing. The aircraft subsequently diverted to Wallops Field, Virginia, as programmed, for a safe recovery.

 

"There are three redundant navigation computers on the X-47," says Capt Jaime Engdahl, the US Navy's programme manager for unmanned systems. "We saw an issue on one of those computers and decided we had done enough for the day, flew the aircraft back and landed it."

 

The aircraft makes its approaches autonomously, without human interference. The computers onboard the aircraft noted the anomaly affecting one of the three precision GPS computers, and though capable of landing using only one, the aircraft is coded to abort landing under those circumstances. After the automatic abort, the human controller elected to divert the aircraft instead of continuing.

 

"They're working through the data right now," says Carl Johnson, Northrop Grumman's programme manager. "In terms of a malfunction it's probably a minor issue, that when we reset the computers everything will be up and running and we'll have a fully functional aircraft."

 

Two X-47Bs are flying. The aircraft used for the test has the tail number 502. An identical aircraft, tail number 501, will likely be used for the next aircraft carrier test series on 15 July. If all goes well in the second series, the X-47B's tests will be completed and the aircraft retired. A manned Learjet using X-47B's software will conduct autonomous air-to-air refueling trials in 2014.

 

The lessons learned from the X-47B demonstrations will be used to address the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) programme, meant to essentially create an operational production UAV for aircraft carriers. Four companies - Northrop, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems - have been selected to perform design work.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
ITT Exelis, SAIC Team to Counter Future Radar Threats

July 10, 2013 Source: ITT Exelis

 

ITT Exelis Teams With SAIC To Counter Future Radar Threats

 

CLIFTON, N.J. --- ITT Exelis has been selected by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to provide engineering support for the Adaptive Radar Countermeasures (ARC) program. The five-year contract could be worth $15.6 million if all options are exercised.

 

Administered by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the ARC program will enable U.S. airborne electronic warfare (EW) systems to detect and counter digitally programmable radar systems whose waveforms and behaviors are new, unknown or ambiguous.

 

“With radio frequency threats evolving, we need a capability that will anticipate and meet these threats as they emerge,” said Joe Rambala, vice president and general manager of the Exelis integrated electronic warfare systems business. “SAIC and Exelis are teaming to ensure our warfighters can perform their missions safely and securely.”

 

The ARC program consists of two major elements: the SAIC-led development of new processing techniques and algorithms in a software environment and the Exelis-managed implementation of these techniques with a prototype module within a target system. This process may lead to a new, adaptive EW protection system for airborne platforms within the next five years.

 

“We look forward to producing a comprehensive ARC solution that will potentially mitigate future advanced radio frequency threats to airborne platforms,” said John Fratamico, SAIC senior vice president and group general manager. “This technology represents the future of electronic warfare systems.”

 

 

Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense, information and technical services company. Headquartered in McLean, Va., the company employs about 19,900 people and generated 2012 sales of $5.5 billion.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 19:20
Chuck Hagel secrétaire américain à la Défense (Photo Glenn Fawcett DoD)

Chuck Hagel secrétaire américain à la Défense (Photo Glenn Fawcett DoD)

July 10, 2013 Source: US Department of Defense

 

WASHINGTON --- If sequestration continues into fiscal year 2014, the Defense Department will be forced to consider involuntary reductions-in-force for the civilian workforce, draconian cuts to military personnel accounts and a virtual halt to military modernization, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a letter to Senate leaders today.

 

The senators had requested detailed information on how continued sequestration could affect the military.

 

In the letter, Hagel detailed the “Plan B” the department must confront if Congress does not pass legislation that averts sequestration in fiscal 2014. If the process continues, DOD will be forced to cut $52 billion more from the budget that year.

 

Hagel stressed in the letter that he fully supports President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget request and noted that if sequestration remains in effect, “the size, readiness and technological superiority of our military will be reduced, placing at much greater risk the country’s ability to meet our current national security commitments.”

 

Congress gave DOD some flexibility to handle the cuts need for fiscal 2013, but more than 650,000 DOD civilians must still be furloughed without pay for 11 days. However, the cuts in 2014 are too great even for flexibility within accounts to handle.

 

DOD hopes to avoid furloughs in 2014, the defense secretary said, but if sequestration remains in effect, “DOD will have to consider involuntary reductions-in-force to reduce civilian personnel costs.”

 

Readiness has already been diminished this year, Hagel said, and it will continue to decline if sequestration continues in 2014. Hiring freezes will also continue and facilities maintenance funds will further erode, he added.

 

If the sequestration mechanism is applied to military personnel funding, “DOD could accommodate the required reductions only by putting into place an extremely severe package of military personnel actions including halting all accessions, ending all permanent-change-of-station moves, stopping discretionary bonuses and freezing all promotions,” Hagel wrote.

 

He called on Congress to work with the department to avoid sequestration in fiscal 2014 and to approve the president’s defense budget request.

 

The president’s budget request slows military pay raises and raises fees for some military retiree’s health care. It also looks to retire older Air Force and Navy assets and calls for a new base realignment and closure program.

 

“If the cuts continue, the department will have to make sharp cuts with far-reaching consequences, including limiting combat power, reducing readiness and undermining the national security interests of the United States,” Hagel said.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 19:20
Illustration of US Navy's long range land attack projectile (LRAP). Photo BAE Systems.

Illustration of US Navy's long range land attack projectile (LRAP). Photo BAE Systems.

11 July 2013 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy's Lockheed Martin-built 155mm long-range, land-attack projectile (LRLAP) has successfully completed four engineering verification flight trials at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, US.

 

Conducted as part of the US Navy's system design and development programme, the testing involved four rocket-assisted guided projectiles being launched and successfully destroying various hard and soft targets located 45nm away.

 

Engineers collected data and assessed warhead performance, which also provided the opportunity for the US Navy to develop new employment scenarios.

 

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control LRLAP programme manager Richard Benton said the LRLAP would greatly enhance the US Navy's ability to respond to fire support requests by deployed troops onshore.

 

"These tests bring us closer to completing the 35 tests required by the US Navy to demonstrate the maturity and performance of the system," Benton said.

 

Designed to provide precision offshore fire support from a safe standoff distance to US Marine Corps, army and coalition forces, the LRLAP supports expeditionary assaults or urban operations in coastal cities with minimal collateral damage.

 

Expected to achieve initial operational capability in 2016, the LRLAP will also be deployed onboard the US Navy's DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class guided missile vessels.

 

Each of the DDG 1000's two advanced gun systems (AGS) can fire more than ten LRLAP rounds in a minute to support land-attack operations, while providing three times more effective than traditional 5in naval ballistic rounds at a lower cost.

 

The accurate and longest-range system features a GPS-based guidance system and a unitary warhead with an adjustable height-of-burst or point-detonation fuse and will serve as an affordable, ship-launched alternative to currently used missiles for expeditionary forces.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
M982 Excalibur round photo USMC

M982 Excalibur round photo USMC

July 11, 2013: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. Army has found that GPS guided shells were more successful, but less frequently used, than anticipated. So they reduced orders for these weapons, which entered service in 2007. The GPS guided 155mm Excalibur shells were used less frequently largely because other precision munitions often take out targets before Excalibur gets a chance to. There’s a growing number of other GPS (or laser) guided weapons available.  The GPS guided MLRS (GMLRS) rocket has been especially popular. And the army uses a lot of laser guided Hellfire missiles, fired from AH-64 helicopter gunships. In addition to the reduction in Excalibur production, the army cut orders for GPS guided 120mm mortar shells (introduced in 2011) after a year of use.

 

Excalibur had other problems, mainly in the form of PGK (Projectile Guidance Kit) shells. PGK is actually a large fuze, that screws into the front of a 155mm or 105mm shell. This longer fuze contains a GPS and small fins to guide the shell to a precision hit. It is less precise than Excalibur. That is, the PGK will ensure that the shell lands within 50 meters of the target. If it does not hit within 150 meters, PGK deactivates and the shell does not explode. An unguided shell will normally land within 250-300 meters of where it is aimed. An Excalibur shell lands within four meters of the target, but costs more than twice as much as PGK. The army recently sent the first PGKs to Afghanistan, after successful testing in the United States. The big question is how important will the troops find the accuracy differences of Excalibur and PGK.

 

Another factor that hurt the popularity of Excalibur, and the 120mm guided mortar shell, is cost. Excalibur was supposed to cost about $50,000 each. Eventually. After all the debugging, and after more of the shells were produced. But the cost is still about $100,000 per shell. The 120mm GPS (using the same tech as PGK) guided shell is also pricey, but not as much as Excalibur. GMLRS cost about $100,000 each, and have a much longer range, and a bigger bang.

 

Another edge GMLRS has is the HIMARS rocket launcher. Only costing about $3 million each, these smaller, truck mounted MLRS (HIMARS) rocket launcher systems have become very popular. HIMARS carries only one, six MLRS rocket, container (instead of two in the original MLRS vehicle). But the 12 ton truck can fit into a C-130 transport (unlike the 22 ton tracked MLRS) and is much cheaper to operate. The first HIMARS entered service in 2005, about a year after GPS guided rockets did.

 

The 309 kg (680 pound) GMLRS (guided multiple launch rocket system) missile is a GPS guided 227mm rocket. It was designed to have a range of 70 kilometers and the ability to land within meters of its intended target, at any range. This is possible because it uses GPS (plus a back-up inertial guidance system) to find its target. In 2008 the army tested GMLRS at max range (about 85 kilometers) and found that it worked fine. This enabled one HIMARS vehicle to provide support over a frontage of 170 kilometers, or, in places like Afghanistan, where the fighting can be anywhere, an area of over 20,000 square kilometers. This is a huge footprint for a single weapon (an individual HIMARS vehicle), and fundamentally changes the way you deploy artillery in combat. Excalibur has a max range of 37 kilometers, and 120mm mortars about 7.5 kilometers.

 

The U.S. Army is buying over 800 HIMARS vehicles along with 100,000 GMLRS rockets, most of them fitted with an 89 kg (196 pound) high explosive warhead. About half of that is actual explosives. These have been used with great success in Iraq and Afghanistan, where nearly two thousand have been fired so far. The guided rocket is much more effective than the older, unguided, version, and is replacing it in most cases. No more of the unguided rockets are being purchased by the U.S.. The accuracy of GMLRS means that one rocket does the job that previously required a dozen or more of the unguided ones. That's why HIMARS is so popular. While it only carries six rockets, that's often enough to last for days, even when there's a lot of combat.

 

The 120mm mortar round has about 2.2 kg (five pounds) of explosives, compared to 6.6 kg (15) pounds in a 155mm shell. The smaller explosive charges limits collateral damage to civilians. But in Afghanistan, it is more common to need a large bang (which GMLRS can deliver). Excalibur was more suited to Iraq, but the American troops have left there, and all the action is in Afghanistan. Moreover, there are a lot of precision weapons readily available to the infantry that have small warheads. The Javelin missile has a 4 kg (nine pound) warhead, and the larger TOW has a 5.9 kg (13 pound one.) The Hellfire missile has a 9 kg/20 pound warhead. The air force also has its SDB (114 kg/250 pound small diameter bomb, carrying 23 kg/51 pounds of explosives.).

 

Meanwhile, there is still demand for unguided 155mm and 120mm shells. There are times when you need firepower over a large area (several hundred meters by several hundred meters), and for this, unguided shells do the job best, and cheapest.

 

In response to this competition the Excalibur manufacturer has created a model that can be used in 127mm naval guns. These are found in hundreds of warships and enable these ships to use their 127mm guns to accurately hit targets over 40 kilometers inland.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 11:20
Glimpse Inside Air-Sea Battle - Nukes, Cyber At Its Heart

11 July 2013 By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR – Pacifi Sentinel

 

PENTAGON: In intellectual terms, Air-Sea Battle is the biggest of the military’s big ideas for its post-Afghanistan future. But what is it, really? It’s a constantly evolving concept for high-tech, high-intensity conflict that touches on everything from cyberwar to nuclear escalation to the rise of China. In practical terms, however, the beating heart of AirSea Battle is eleven overworked officers working in windowless Pentagon meeting rooms, and the issues they can’t get to are at least as important as the ones they can.
 
“It’s like being a start-up inside a great, big, rigid corporation,” one Air-Sea Battle representative told me in an exclusive briefing last month. The Air-Sea Battle Office (ASBO) has just 17 staff: those eleven uniformed officers, drawn from all four services, plus six civilian contractors. None of them ranks higher than colonel or Navy captain. Even these personnel are technically “on loan,” seconded from other organizations and paid for out of other budgets. But those 17 people sit at the hub of a sprawling network of formal liaisons and informal contacts across the four armed services and the joint combatant commands.
 
“Air-Sea Battle has left the building,” said a second officer at the briefing. “We’ve reached the grass roots, and we’re getting ideas from the grass roots.”
 
So the good news is that the Air-Sea Battle Office isn’t just another big Pentagon bureaucracy, let alone the anti-China cabal it’s sometimes of accused of being (PDF). Instead, in essence, it is an effort to develop compatible technologies and tactics across all four services for a new kind of conflict: not the Army and Marine-led land war against low-tech guerrillas we have seen since 9/11, but an Air Force and Navy-led campaign against “anti-access/area denial” forces that could fry our networks, jam GPS, and hit our planes, ships, bases, and even satellites with long-range missiles. China is the worst case scenario here, but not the only one. 
 
Read the full story at Breaking Defense
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