EOIR Technologies wins two Army contracts
Officials at the U.S. Army's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) recently awarded Markland Technologies subsidiary EOIR Technologies in Ridgefield, Conn., contracts to provide support services for the development and testing of airborne sensors and data-collection platforms over a 24-month performance period. The support services to be provided by EOIR personnel include design and fabrication of sensors and data-collection equipment; airborne and laboratory experiments; collection, reduction, and analysis of data from various flight, field, or laboratory tests; and preparation of documentation to support management and technical aspects of sensor development and test programs. These contracts are part of an ongoing NVESD Omnibus Contract. For more information go online at www.marklandtech.com.
Texas Memory Systems and StarGen join hands on embedded applications
Officials at Texas Memory Systems (TMS) in Houston recently announced that they are teaming with semiconductor company StarGen in Marlborough, Mass., to integrate the TMS SAM-650 DSP (digital signal processor) supercomputer with a StarFabric switched interconnect. The integration, requested by a mutual government agency customer, is expected to benefit multiple, military-grade embedded applications requiring extremely high performance and reliability, TMS officials claim. "StarFabric is a well-established, proven interconnect technology," says Holly Frost, CEO of Texas Memory Systems. "TMS DSP systems have historically sought out a wide variety of high-performance interconnects, and we anticipate that the new StarFabric interface for the SAM-650 will be a welcome option for many of our customers." By providing 192 GFLOPS of processing power and 16 gigabits per second of shared storage bandwidth, the SAM-650 DSP Supercomputer eliminates most DSP performance bottlenecks associated with processing high bandwidth signals, company officials say. For more information on TMS check out the company's Web site at www.texmemsys.com. For more on StarGen go to www.stargen.com.
Alenia Aeronautica chooses Concurrent iHawk for UCAV Simulation
Officials at Concurrent Computer Corp.'s Integrated Solutions Division (ISD) in Atlanta recently announced that Alenia Aeronautica/Finmeccanica in Italy has purchased Concurrent's iHawk Intel-Xeon graphics systems powered by RedHawk Linux for Alenia's next generation Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) simulation platform. Alenia Aeronautica plans to use the iHawk multiprocessor systems as the real-time host and graphics system for the visual system for their next-generation UCAV simulator. To reduce engineering time and labor costs, Alenia will use Concurrent's Linux-based, NightStartool kit, a standards-based set of real-time software development tools designed to enable integrators to intelligently identify problems early in the project life cycle — and correct them faster. iHawk systems are powered by one to eight Intel Pentium Xeon processors, as much as 4 gigabytes of memory, and PCI I/O in rackmount and tower enclosures. iHawks are symmetric multiprocessors that run a single copy of Concurrent's RedHawk Linux real-time operating system. For more information go to www.ccur.com.
Air Force purchases test equipment from MTI Instruments
Officials at MTI Instruments in Albany, N.Y., recently received a purchase order from the U.S. Air Force for services and equipment related to its PBS-4100 portable aircraft engine balancing systems. MTI is a developer of high-performance, noncontact test and measurement products, and a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology. This latest purchase order provides further funding under a five-year contract issued in December 2002 that provides for as much as $8.8 million in purchases. Under the contract, MTI Instruments has been retrofitting Air Force PBS-4100 systems with the latest diagnostic and balancing technology and providing maintenance for those systems. MTI Instruments´ PBS-4100 automatically collects and records aircraft engine vibration data, identifies vibration or balance trouble and calculates a solution to the problem, resulting in reduced engine vibration, longer engine life, and lower fuel costs. "The growing government sector continues to be a key focus for our business development initiatives," says Dale Church, chairman and chief executive officer of MTI. The PBS-4100 system has become an Air Force standard for vibration diagnostics and balancing, and is currently being used in ten major aircraft platforms including surveillance aircraft, attack fighters, strategic bombers, stealth aircraft, and transport aircraft. In addition, the Air Force uses the company´s PBS-4100R test-cell system at each of its major air logistics test centers. For more information go online at www.mtiinstruments.com.
Northrop Grumman helps Air Force develop UAV collision-avoidance system
Engineers at Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Sector in El Segundo, Calif., are helping the U.S. Air Force develop collision-avoidance technology that will make it safer for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to share airspace with piloted air vehicles. Under a new Sensing for UAV Awareness contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector will verify the attributes of a "see-and-avoid" sensing architecture it designed under a previous contract, Northrop officials say. The architecture defines the way that data is collected from different kinds of UAV sensors (such as electro-optical, infrared, and radar) and then "fused" to create an integrated view of the airborne environment. The UAV's autonomous flight-control system uses this data to make appropriate adjustments in the air vehicle's speed, altitude etc., to avoid a mid-air collision. The collision-avoidance technology will benefit UAVs such as Northrop Grumman's RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance system produced for the Air Force. Global Hawk is currently the only UAV system permitted to fly routinely in national airspace.
L-3 Communications acquires AVISYS
L-3 Communications acquired AVISYS, Inc., in Austin, Texas, for $8 million in cash, subject to closing considerations. AVISYS develops products to counter the threat of a missile attack against civilian, commercial, military, and Head of State (HOS) aircraft. AVISYS's areas of expertise include electronic warfare/avionics systems engineering and integration, infrared countermeasures (IRCM), directed IRCM, laser warning and countermeasures, missile-warning-systems radio-frequency threat warning, and technical, engineering, and support programs. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, AVISYS has been developing modular, effective, and affordable aircraft-protection solutions against the threat of shoulder-launched Infrared heat-seeking missiles, commonly known as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS). "AVISYS is also synergistic with our other existing avionics and telemetry products for military and commercial markets, and will supplement and expand new aircraft self-protection capabilities to our Spar and Integrated Systems businesses, which specialize in aircraft-modernization services," says Frank C. Lanza, chairman and chief executive officer of L-3 Communications.
DRS to provide IR sensors for Army Apache Arrowhead system
Officials at the DRS Technologies Inc. Infrared Technologies unit in Dallas will design, manufacture, assemble, and test the pilotage and targeting-receiver assemblies for the Apache Arrowhead Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) System for U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. The contracts represent Lot 1 production of the Arrowhead, the Army's Modernized Target-Acquisition and -Designation Sight/Pilot Night-Vision Sensor (MTADS/PNVS) system. Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, Fla., which is part of Team Apache Systems, LLC, awarded the contracts to DRS. DRS will produce Standard Advanced Dewar Assemblies Type I (SADA I), which are IR-detector and cryogenic-cooler assemblies. For the other award, work for more than 80 shipsets, test equipment, and engineering services will be accomplished by the company's DRS Optronics unit in Palm Bay, Fla. "Arrowhead ushers in a new era of advanced target-acquisition, designation, and night-vision capabilities for Army aviation," adds Bob Gunning, Arrowhead program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. Arrowhead will improve performance and reliability, and reduce maintenance, which will save the Army nearly $1 billion in operation and support costs over the life of the system, when compared with the legacy system, Lockheed Martin officials say. For more information, contact DRS online at www.drs.com.
Northrop Grumman–led team wins Army Chemical Agent Detector contract
U.S. Army officials have chosen Northrop Grumman Corp. to provide a chemical-agent threat-warning system known as the Commercial Joint Service Lightweight Standoff Chemical Agent Detector. Under the contract, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector in Baltimore will produce six standoff detection units that will aid military and civilian first responders in locating, identifying, and warning of chemical-agent threats. The systems can be installed at fixed sites or adapted for vehicular use. Two detector units each will be delivered to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., for government-sponsored product-qualification testing and evaluation. This chemical-agent detector initiative builds on similar successful chemical and biological detection programs under way at the company on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of Defense. Northrop Grumman team members for the production phase include CRE in Alexandria, Va., which will provide systems engineering and test support; MESH in Oxford, Pa., which will assist with software and algorithm development; and Block Engineering in Marlborough, Mass., which will provide the sensor and hardware engineering needs.
Boeing receives contract from Marines for ScanEagle UAVs
Engineers at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in St. Louis will provide the U.S. Marine Corps with two ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) "mobile deployment units" for use with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq. ScanEagle is a low-cost, long-endurance, fully autonomous UAV developed and built by Boeing and The Insitu Group in Bingen, Wash. Each ScanEagle mobile deployment unit will consist of several UAVs as well as the computers, communication links, and ground equipment necessary to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support during operational missions, Boeing officials say. ScanEagle is 4 feet long and has a 10-foot wingspan. The ScanEagle "A-15" — the current model — can remain on station for more than 15 hours. Future planned variants will have endurance of more than 30 hours. Another key design feature of the UAV is its internal avionics bay. The avionics bay enables seamless integration of new payloads and sensors to meet emerging customer requirements, and ensures the vehicle will be able to incorporate the latest technology as it becomes available, Boeing officials claim. ScanEagle is launched autonomously via a pneumatic wedge-catapult launcher and flies preprogrammed or operator-initiated missions. It is retrieved using a "Skyhook" system in which the UAV catches a rope hanging from a 50-foot-high pole. The system enables ScanEagle to be runway independent with a small footprint for launch and recovery operations.