Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Mil Tech — Raytheon Building More TOW Missiles for U.S. Army, Marine Corps

Sep 02 2014

Published by under Technology,Uncategorized

Raytheon Co. Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $391.5 million contract to build TOW missiles for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.

Raytheon's TOW 2B is the principal anti-tank missile being supplied to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. (Photos courtesy of Raytheon Missile Systems.)

Raytheon’s TOW 2B is the principal anti-tank missile being supplied to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. (Photos courtesy of Raytheon Missile Systems.)

The tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) weapon system includes the multi-mission TOW 2A, the TOW 2B Aero, and the TOW Bunker Buster missiles, which will be built in varying quantities over the course of the multiyear contract.

The TOW 2A is an anti-tank and anti-light armor weapon, a direct-hit weapon designed to be a tank killer. The TOW 2A practice version has an inert warhead but with all the flight characteristics of an active missile.

Ed Dunlap, TOW business development manager for Raytheon Missile Systems, says the TOW 2B is Raytheon’s principal anti-tank, fly-over, shoot-down weapon.

“The missile flies over the tank and based on its sensors, fires two warheads down onto the top of the tank, which is the softest part of any tank,” Dunlap says. “The TOW 2B uses two warheads that are explosively-formed penetrators, where a molten slug comes out of the warhead and shoots down through the top of the tank.”

The TOW Bunker Buster was developed by Raytheon at the beginning of the current operations in Iraq in order to defeat structures, bunkers, and light vehicles, Dunlap points out. The Bunker Buster also is a direct hit weapon.

The missiles use a new propulsion system Raytheon developed with ATK Missile Products Group in 2001 that incorporates a rocket motor designed with Insensitive Munitions (IM) features to be less likely to react explosively to bullet and fragment impacts.

The new propulsion system, called the LBS motor for Launch, Boost, Sustain, “allows the missile to go father and get to the average missile range quicker,” Dunlap notes. He says a TOW equipped with the LBS motor, as all contract TOW missiles will be, “can get to four clicks (kilometers) in less time” than the previous design took.

Dunlap says the LBS system is designed to launch the missile out of its tube, followed by the boost stage that gets the TOW up to speed, and then the sustain phase where the motor keeps the missile traveling for a longer period of time while maintaining a longer optimum speed.

Dunlap adds that Raytheon is working with its overseas supplier, Talus UK, on an improved sensor for the TOW 2B version and for a new fusing system for all models.

“Both of these developments might cut some cost out of the missile, as well,” he observed. “We will take them to the Army, which is following what we are doing, and may try to add those improvements to missiles in later contracts.”

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


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Disabled Veterans Transition to STEM Fields

Aug 26 2014

CathedralofLearningReturning from the battlefield isn’t always easy – and trying to fill in the holes, referred to as “Swiss cheese” by one veteran, can make the transition even harder.

Now there’s a program at the University of Pittsburgh that gives veteran students living and housing stipends, and enrolls them in a program called ELeVATE (Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering). Veteran mentors help the students through rehabilitation research in STEM fields for academic credit.

Inside HigherEd describes the program this way:

But addressing other problems – such as an inability to relate to non-veteran peers, or cognitive and physical disabilities caused by injury – requires painstaking day-to-day work.

Such work is happening at the University of Pittsburgh, where a college transition program for disabled veterans interested in STEM disciplines has earned the admiration of national student veterans’ groups…

…The lab specializes in assistive technology – devices for people with disabilities — and receives funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Rory Cooper, the lab’s director, is an Army veteran who sustained a spinal cord injury while serving.

All the participants have cognitive or physical impairments – most commonly traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The program, called ELeVATE (Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering) began in summer 2011, with the help of a $470,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Five or six veterans participate each year. The fourth group of participants finished the program at the end of July…

qoltcThe program at the University of Pittsburgh has gained the backing of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the notice of the American Legion. Hopefully ELeVATE will successfully help integrate disabled veterans into STEM fields, and become a model for other universities in the future!

Cathedral of Learning (9279174346)” by Brandon SheaCathedral of Learning Uploaded by crazypaco. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Mil Tech — Stealthy Hybrid Electric Motorcycle Under Development

Aug 04 2014

Published by under Technology

The hybrid electric bike is being developed in partnership with BRD Motorcycles, an all-electric motorcycle manufacturer in San Francisco. The new platform will combine Logos Technologies’ quieted, multi-fuel hybrid-electric power system with a cutting-edge off-road electric motorcycle design being developed by BRD.

The RedShift MX motorcycle will form the basis for the design of the silent, stealthy all-electric motorcycle for the U.S. military.

The RedShift MX motorcycle will form the basis for the design of the silent, stealthy all-electric motorcycle for the U.S. military.

Logos Technologies of Fairfax, Va., has received a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) research grant to develop a hybrid-electric motorcycle with near-silent capability for the U.S. military. The motorcycle would allow small military teams to move long distances quickly and stealthily across harsh terrain.

Marc Fenigstein, chief executive officer of BRD, says his company’s consumer RedShift MX model is the vehicle on which the military bike will be based. “The RedShift MX is a professional level motorcycle platform designed for motocross racing,” he notes, “which is one of the most abusive environments possible for a motorcycle with dust, mud, massive ruts, and bumps and jumps of over 100 feet on some tracks.”

Wade Pulliam, manager of advanced concepts for Logos Technologies, points out Logos has a hybrid-electric propulsion system that’s already been proven on a prior aircraft program, and the fact that the RedShift MX already is in a low rate of production, will give the project a head start toward field deployment.

Pulliam says the hybrid bike easily can maintain a range of 100 miles between refuels and, while operating in near-silent, all-electric mode, is capable of traveling a “militarily significant” proportion of its full range (as requested by DARPA).

With regard to noise-level requirements, the hybrid bike must maintain a 75 decibel level at 7 meters during normal operation.

“To put that in perspective,” Pulliam notes, “that is roughly the same volume as a telephone’s dial tone in a listener’s ear. When the bike is running solely on electric power, the noise level will drop significantly to just the sound of the tires.”

Fenigstein points out a major advantage of the vehicle’s hybrid drive train is that range isn’t limited by battery capacity.

“Think ‘range-extended electric’ like a Chevy Volt,” he says, “except that on this bike, the operator is using the 100-percent-electric mode for tactical reasons rather than efficiency.”

Pulliam adds that another interesting feature of the bike is it can be a supply of auxiliary power for personnel in the field.

 “This was one of the critical insights made by DARPA,” he says. “More and more, we are seeing electronic technology on the battlefield, from tablets and sensor systems to night vision systems. We plan to make it possible for our bike to allow operators in the field to recharge their devices from the battery.”

Pulliam says the hybrid bike could serve as a mobility option for the U.S. Marine Corps as it implements its plan to move to small units covering larger areas, and the bike also could be tactically beneficial for Special Forces who can be inserted with their bikes via aircraft, like helicopters or V-22 Ospreys, and be able to close the distance to an objective rapidly, switching to silent mode for the final leg of the approach to maintain speed as well as an element of surprise.

“It also would allow for patrols and excursions outside of forward operating or fire bases more quickly and at greater range than on foot,” Pulliam says, “and much more quietly than in other vehicles.”

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


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Mil Tech — Hemostatic Sponge Seals Combat Wounds

Jul 07 2014

Published by under Technology

An Oregon company recently won approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for XStat, a hemostatic device for treating gunshot and shrapnel wounds on the battlefield.

RevMedX of Wilsonville, Ore., developed XStat to control bleeding in body areas like the groin, which are not amenable to the application of a tourniquet.

XStat works by injecting a group of small, rapidly expanding sponges into a wound cavity using a syringe-like applicator. In the wound, the sponges expand and swell to fill the cavity within 20 seconds of contact with blood, creating a temporary barrier to blood flow and providing hemostatic pressure.

John Steinbaugh, RevMedX’s vice president of strategic development, says XStat traces its beginnings to a combat dressing invented by Oregon Biomedical Engineering Institute (OBEI). U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) wanted the organization to develop a combat pressure dressing, so OBEI formed RevMedX to handle the final development and production of XStat, he says.

XStat comes in two versions — XStat-30 for large shrapnel or rifle round wounds and XStat-12 for pistol round or smaller shrapnel wounds, Steinbaugh says. Steinbaugh is a retired U.S. Army master sergeant with 25 years’ experience, 20 of them as a Special Forces medic with more than 50 months of combat experience during his career.

XStat-30 is 5-1/4-inches long and designed so the device’s handle stores inside the applicator. XStat-12 is a smaller device that uses the same sponge size but comes in a pack of three, which are equal to one XStat-30.

“The handle is a stainless-steel rod about 7/8-inch in diameter that slides inside the tube, but when you pull it back it locks onto open onto a disc,” Steinbaugh says. “The tip of the XStat opens like a valve, so there’s no prep needed on the part of the medic.”

Steinbaugh points out the XStat uses a proprietary type of sponge that’s compressed down to about 3 mm in size from its 50-mm original size.

“When it makes contact with fluid, such as blood in a groin wound, it expands to 15 times its size, jamming tightly into the bleeding wound,” Steinbaugh notes. “It applies very firm force to the walls of the wound, which applies constant pressure to the artery.”

Steinbaugh says the big difference between XStat and other combat gauze products is that with other gauzes, when the medic takes his hand away there’s no more pressure on the wound and bleeding resumes. The medic has to hold pressure on other gauze products until the wound clots.

Because XStat expands and puts its own pressure on the wound, he says, if the wound begins to re-bleed, the blood will hit sponges that haven’t already expanded, which will stop the re-bleed. Only about one-third of XStat’s sponges expand on initial contact with a bleeding wound.

Steinbaugh says RevMedX is in the process of ramping up manufacturing and “is working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Army so we can deliver enough product for them. USSOCOM will get the first order.”

RevMedX also has spun off the technology to develop X-Gauze, which uses the same sponge technology embedded into gauze. It can be used on any wound where it’s necessary to pack gauze to stem bleeding and has similar pressure qualities to XStat. Steinbaugh envisions X-Gauze versions being developed for the U.S. military, law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) use.

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


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Drone Crashes in the U.S.

Jul 03 2014

Published by under Technology

A new story in the Washington Post, “Crashes mount as military flies more drones in U.S.” brings up an interesting discussion surrounding what could be considered an experimental new policy- drone use in the U.S.

391px-QF-100_target_drones_at_Tyndall_AFB_1986The number of accidents has jumped as the military has brought back drones from overseas and operated them more frequently in airspace shared with civilian planes. The military has almost tripled the number of hours its drones have flown annually in shared U.S. airspace since 2011, according to federal data…

Accident investigation documents show that 47 military drones crashed in the United States between 2001 and 2013 in what the military categorized as Class A accidents — the most severe category. The Pentagon is planning to expand drone operations to at least 110 bases in 39 states by 2017.

Drones seem to be a safer way for the military to locate or destroy intended targets, though with the use at home only increasing, more and more civilians are starting to see the other side to this argument.

What do you think about drone use in the United States? Safe? Questionable but needed? Let us know in the comments!


18 U.S. Air Force QF-100D/F Super Sabre target drones at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida (USA), for the air-to-air weapons meet “William Tell ’86” on 10 October 1986. Photo via Wikimedia Commons, uploaded by U.S. DefenseImagery. Taken by TSgt. Lou Hernandez, USAF. Public domain.

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