Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Mil Tech — Army Buys Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar System

Jan 06 2014

Published by under Technology

The U.S. Army has awarded a Syracuse, N.Y., company a $221.8 million contract for lightweight counter mortar radar (LCMR) systems, spare parts, and services. SRCTec Inc. received the contract to begin full production on its AN-TPQ-50 counterfire radar system, often referred to as the LCMR (V)3.

Tom Wilson of SCR, co-inventor of the LCMR system, says it was developed by SRC to satisfy a 75th Ranger Regiment requirement to provide continuous 360-degree surveillance and warning of incoming mortars and provide the mortar launch location or point of origin. The system also is capable of detecting, tracking, and locating rockets and artillery.

The current U.S. Army version of the AN/TPQ-50 is deployed in two ways. It can be transported in cases and assembled on a tripod and often is located on rooftops or other high points to provide coverage, or it can be delivered with a vehicle mount kit enabling it to be installed on a HMMWV, which provides enhanced mobility.

The system uses a non-rotating, electronically steered antenna that detects targets with flatter trajectories than its predecessor and calculates the point of origin more accurately and from a greater distance. Its full azimuth coverage allows it to simultaneously detect and track multiple rounds fired from separate locations within a 315 square kilometer surveillance area.

The radar also can be configured to scan less than 360 degrees to provide focused sector coverage with more frequent update rates.

Once rocket, artillery, mortars (RAM), or improvised munitions are detected, the radar sends an early warning message indicating a round is incoming. It then gathers enough data to accurately locate the point of origin within 50 meters from more than 10 kilometers away. The information is reported back to an integrated command and control station or short range air defense system for a counterfire response.

The AN/TPQ-50 uses the Army’s Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) to interface with other systems and also has a local rugged notebook computer that also can be used for operation.

Wilson points out the LCMR system can be teamed with a number of weapon systems to respond in counterfire mode.

Organic assets such as mortars and artillery may be used, he says, or a commander may choose to call in an air strike or send ground troops.

About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., freelance journalist who works in a variety of fields, writing for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s also the author of the historical mystery, Full Moon, several books on historical military small arms, and the nonfiction work, Ice Hockey in the Desert.

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Celebrating Rear Adm Grace Hopper, Computer Scientist

Dec 09 2013

Published by under Miscellaneous,Technology

GoogleHopperToday kicks off Computer Science Education Week, and is punctuated by a Google doodle honoring Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

Hopper was a computer scientist and eventually helped develop COBOL, one of the first 480px-Commodore_Grace_M._Hopper,_USN_(covered)modern computer programming languages. She is even credited with giving us that all-too familiar term “bug” when referring to a computer glitch after she found an actual bug (a two inch long moth) in a computer she was working on at the time. She even joined the team at UNIVAC and helped pioneer one of the first-ever working compilers.

She volunteered for Naval service during World War II and joined the WAVES, adding a long and successful Naval career to her already impressive educational and research resume.

Hopper retired several times from the Navy but always seemed to come back to serve the country that she loved, before finally retiring one last time in 1986. When she left the service she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the United States Navy!

Learn more about Read Adm Hopper’s storied career, including her work in the early computer sciences, in the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Image of RADM Hopper courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, taken by U.S. Navy staff.

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Mil Tech — Black Hornet Pocket UAV

Dec 02 2013

Published by under Technology

The U.S. Army has awarded a $2.5 million contract to a Norwegian company to develop the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS).

Prox Dynamics AS of Nesbru, Norway, will develop a helicopter drone that fits in a pocket and can be used as a personal reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The company will base the Black Hornet design on its existing PD-100 PRS that is made up of a base station and a PD-100 nanocopter UAV.

A NATO soldier launches a Prox Dynamics PD-100 nanocopter. (Photo courtesy of Prox Dynamics)A NATO soldier launches a Prox Dynamics PD-100 nanocopter. (Photo courtesy of Prox Dynamics)

 

 

Ole Aguirre, vice president of sales and marketing for Prox Dynamics, says the Army has a demand “for a pocket ISR solution that can be operated at the lowest echelon level, anytime, anywhere. We think the PD-100-PRS is the best solution for this requirement, but we are also willing to invest time and effort to achieve more if it comes to that.”

The PD100- PRS, which has been fielded with NATO forces since early 2012, weighs 45.85 ounces (1.3 kilograms) and consists of two nano helicopters, a base station, a single-handle controller, a display unit, and a pouch. The nano UAV itself is 8 x 3.5 x 2 inches in size, has a rotor span of 4.7 inches, and has a maximum speed of 32.8 feet per second and an endurance of up to 25 minutes.

The UAV carries a pan/tilt steerable EO camera, has a digital data link with a line of sight range of nearly 1,100 yards, and can navigate through either GPS or visual navigation through video. The unit also can operate on autopilot with autonomous and directed modes.

Aguirre points out the Black Hornet’s small size and electric motors make it virtually inaudible and invisible beyond short distances. He notes it will be up to the Army to determine the kind of display it wants to use in conjunction with the base station.

“We believe there are several very exciting possibilities within, say, the Net Warrior Program,” Aguirre says, “but at the same time the current size and set up on the existing display solution (about the size of a Smartphone) carried and configured with the ideal pouch system, will provide massive advantage over other small UAS configurations. Size really matters, but more importantly, size combined with the right sensor capability creates a whole new world of operational opportunities.”

The award to Prox Dynamics was made by Army Contracting Command in Natick, Mass. Aguirre says the contract runs for another year, “and we are confident we are able to succeed within the scope of the contract.” Prox Dynamics has opened two offices in the U.S. and plans to significantly expand its footprint in the U.S. in the years to come, Aguirre says.

About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., freelance journalist who works in a variety of fields, writing for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s also the author of the historical mystery, Full Moon, several books on historical military small arms, and the nonfiction work, Ice Hockey in the Desert.

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The WWII Memorial App

Nov 13 2013

WWIIappThe World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces and the countless individuals who helped ensure success through their efforts and sacrifices. The Greatest Generation led us through World War II, and changed the course of American history.

Download the free World War II Memorial App now to explore the history behind the memorial and the millions of Americans it honors. Whether visiting the memorial in person or exploring it from home, download the app to:

  • Take a self-guided tour
  • Go on a memorial scavenger hunt
  • Explore an interactive timeline of the war
  • Hear moving stories from those who served
  • Learn about the World War II Memorial

Download the app from iTunes or Google Play!

wwiimemorial

Photo by Flickr user andrewmalone. Some rights reserved.

The World War II Memorial App is part of the Trust for the National Mall’s 21st Century Learning Initiative, and was developed to enhance the visitor experience with details on the history and meaning of the National WWII Memorial and its significance to the American experience.

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Mil Tech—Detecting and Neutralizing Snipers Before They Shoot

Nov 04 2013

Published by under Technology

A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program is seeking to develop a sniper neutralization capability to protect troops in the field.

The C-Sniper program will develop the capability to detect and neutralize enemy snipers before they can engage U.S. forces. Its aim is to be able to track and target snipers before they shoot, meaning the system won’t rely on muzzle blast that could announce the sniper’s position.

Another project shepherded by DARPA is Crosshairs, a vehicle-mounted threat-detection and countermeasure system designed to detect, locate, and engage shooters, as well as defeat a variety of threats, but it isn’t set up to deal with shooters before they pull the trigger.

Deepak Varshneya, C-Sniper program manager at the DARPA Adaptive Execution Office, says the prototype of the C-Sniper system alreadyhas been tested against a variety of threats. The distinct difference between C-Sniper and other systems, he says, “is between identifying something that is ready to be shot versus something that has been shot.”

Varshneya notes  C-Sniper operates on “left of the boom technology,” meaning it detects the shooter before a shot is fired.

“For anybody ready to take a shot at us, we would be able to not only detect them, but provide identification and provide the system user with a photograph of the potential threat,” Varshneya says. “It allows the user to take a look at the situation and determine if it is a threat or not. If the C-Sniper system is on a certain type of vehicle where they have a remote weapons station, it can take the input from the C-Sniper system and be ready to be triggered in case the user decides to do so.”

While Varshneya says he’s not at liberty to discuss the time it takes to identify a sniper threat, he notes, “You don’t wait with the system; it is near real time.”

C-Sniper has the ability to remove sniper threats once commanded via a weapons station that will have the proper type of ammunition to remove the threat, Varshneya adds.

“Essentially the system has pinpoint accuracy,” he says, “so we don’t have to worry about collateral damage. Pinpoint accuracy and identification are very important because we want to be sure we hit the right target.”

The range of C-Sniper has not been released, but Varshneya points out the system can handle threats “from 100 meters to many hundred of meters away. It’s designed to cover all those ranges.”

In addition, C-Sniper has the ability to identify enemy threats “looking at us with or without optical aids,” he adds. “It covers 360 degree threats by 45 degrees in elevation, and can detect multiple integrated sensors use by an enemy. C-Sniper has a gods-eye view of all things in a 360 degree azimuth.”

Varshneya notes that while C-Sniper is currently designed as a piece of portable equipment for a roll-on roll-off system, it is totally automated once set up.

“This system also could be designed for a vehicle or as a shipboard type of system,” he says. “It even could be used on an aerial platform.”

About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., freelance journalist who works in a variety of fields, writing for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s also the author of the historical mystery, Full Moon, several books on historical military small arms, and the nonfiction work, Ice Hockey in the Desert.

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