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Posts Tagged research
By T’Jae Ellis, ARL Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A futuristic dashboard could change the way Army aviation operates, allowing for autonomous location tracking and updates on the health of an aircraft even at the material level.
U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientists are conceptualizing technologies to deliver a more accurate and real-time view into aircraft operations of the future.
Today’s black boxes capture basic flight operational information and are not for real-time monitoring. However, possibly three decades from now, Army researchers hope to provide automated real-time solutions for aviators to safely complete their missions, according to Dy Le, an ARL division chief who specializes in sciences for maneuver.
“It’s an integrated capability designed to automatically gauge changes in air, ground, and autonomous systems vehicles’ functional state at the material level; assess vehicles’ maneuvering capabilities taken into account of measured functional state in the context of upcoming or even ongoing missions; and enable operators or Soldiers to maneuver accordingly to achieve mission requirements,” Le said.
The system is called VRAMS, or the Virtual Risk-informed Agile Maneuver Sustainment Intelligent State Awareness System.
Total awareness of location and status of all air assets would provide Army commanders with enhanced situational awareness and the decisive edge. But researchers are also aware of the importance of protecting this information.
“This is one of the challenges that we will be working on as we progress through various stages of VRAMS maturation,” Le said. “Data/information assurance to protect aircraft position/identity is one of critical pieces to safeguarding the national aviation infrastructure from real cyber attacks.”
The dashboard framework would depend on technologies that currently do not exist but would help air traffic controllers, maintenance teams and commanders detect real and potential system and component damage of aircraft.
The concept was inspired by Dr. Bill Lewis, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center Aviation Development director, whose desire was to have fatigue-free aircraft to protect from aircraft catastrophic failures, as well as to reduce operation and sustainment costs.
The project hopes to achieve the Army sustainment goal, for example, zero-maintenance, by containing or eliminating aircraft structural fatigue using the VRAMS Intelligent State Awareness System.
By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The U.S. Army science and technology community is charting the future of military vertical lift aviation that will enable warfighters to accomplish missions not possible today.
The Army, supported by NASA and the Navy, is combining its areas of technical expertise to accomplish the aggressive scientific and engineering goals necessary to develop a new fleet of joint aircraft, said Ned Chase, deputy program director of S&T for the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator/Future Vertical Lift.
JMR TD has been established to address several of the capability gaps that cannot be satisfied by updating the current fleet.
“Let’s figure out what we want this new aircraft to do, and let’s go out and prove that we have the technologies available to meet those requirements. That’s what we’re doing with JMR TD,” said Chase, with the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
The Department of Defense is using JMR TD to design and integrate the technologies that will eventually feed into FVL and replace the military’s vertical lift fleet with a new family of aircraft.
Aviation is a foundational capability the Army brings to the joint force to prevent conflict, shape security environments and dominate the battlefield. As the Army rebalances toward the Pacific, faces unpredictable adversaries in the Middle East and supports aid to Ebola victims in Africa, we see that it would be difficult for the Army to realize its goal of a regionally aligned and globally responsive force without a robust aviation force. Aviation is key to our ability to accomplish a wide range of missions in these complex environments, as well as being a cornerstone of Army lethality.
The Army has an amazing history with aviation. Aviation platforms have remained in service for 40 to 60 years. The pace of change is accelerating, however, and technology formerly reserved to major powers is spreading.
Future challenges such as operating in megacities or against subterranean objectives makes the battlefield agility and lethality afforded by Army aviation all the more important.
By Mark Calafut, CERDEC
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The interconnected world of electronic systems provides an opportunity and a challenge for Army Aviation. As the Army develops its next-generation survivability systems, it has the opportunity to cost-effectively leverage advanced commercial electronics and integration technologies. However, it also faces the challenge of maintaining its technological edge, because many of those same commercial electronics are available to potential adversaries.
Today, Army aircraft are protected by a collection of survivability technologies, including onboard electronic survivability systems. Each onboard survivability system is designed to be independently effective at detecting or defeating a specific class of weapon systems, such as electro-optic and radio-frequency guided missiles or ballistic munitions. When adversaries employ these weapon systems against Army aircraft, the appropriate onboard survivability system automatically detects and defeats the threat, protecting the aircraft and crew.
Historically, onboard survivability systems were designed and developed independently. As technology matured and new weapon systems emerged, the Army upgraded existing survivability systems, or in some cases, added entirely new survivability systems to the aircraft. Instead of a truly integrated survivability suite, the result is a piecemeal approach whereby modern aircraft are protected by a collection of proprietary systems, often developed by different contractors and generally not built with open architectures that would much more readily enable their interoperability.
This presents disadvantages. Although many onboard systems require common components, the independent design and development of the systems prevents components from being centralized and shared. The independent designs came from systems not developed from a systems-of-systems approach with an open standard that established a technical vision for interoperable systems.
In many cases, this leads to duplication of components, such as processors or displays that would be unnecessary if the systems were integrated. However, the present lack of integration also prevents onboard systems from communicating with one another and operating cooperatively, which limits reliability and adaptability. For example, if a single protection system fails or is destroyed, the other onboard systems cannot intelligently compensate for that loss.
RDECOM Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Dr. Bill Lewis is the director of the Aviation Development Directorate for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research and Development Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
He manages and directs the execution of the Army Aviation Science and Technology portfolio, including basic and applied research, and advanced technology development. A career Army aviator and experimental test pilot, his duties also include serving as the Office of the Secretary of Defense lead for rotorcraft technology, and as director of the National Rotorcraft Technology Center.
By Eric Kowal, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Army engineers have developed an advanced system to train aircraft crews to protect aircraft and crewmembers against threats such as shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles.
Since the Vietnam War, such anti-aircraft missiles, especially those known as man portable anti aircraft missiles or MANPADS, have played a critical role in the shooting down military aircraft and their crews.
In order to enable aircraft and crews to survive these missile threats, the U.S. military has developed and deployed a continuously improving suite of aircraft survivability equipment , or ASE assets, that include electronic jammers, lasers and counter-measure flares.
These ASE assets have proven to be very effective at decoying or destroying these threat MANPADS, said James Wejsa, chief of the Pyrotechnic Technology and Prototyping Division of the U. S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.
However, there has been no significant development and deployment of any realistic improvements in aircraft MANPAD threat training. That is about to change, as Army researchers complete the new system called Man-Portable Aircraft Survivability Trainer. Picatinny engineers said the system is entering the production and fielding support phase.
“This is a realistic training system that we are very excited to be a part of developing and fielding for use in training our aviators,” Wejsa said. “These MANPAD threats are real and very deadly to combat and combat support aircraft if not properly protected.”
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Chemical-biological protective gear worn by Army pilots and aircrews has evolved to improve survivability in flight.
Engineers at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, are putting design at the forefront of new Mission-Oriented Protective Posture gear, known as MOPP, in order to carefully tailor a suit that addresses specific pilot needs during a given air mission.
Army engineers are working on a chemical-biological protective mask that mitigates thermal burden and hydration issues for flight crews that can also fully integrate with specific current and future aircraft.
“With more than 130 different platforms, five different helmets and a variety of aircrew equipment, focusing on one mask design became difficult,” said Don Kilduff, an ECBC engineer who has supported JSAM since its inception. “Over time, the program split into different systems to meet the specific needs across the DOD aviation community.”
The Joint Service Aircrew Mask, known as JSAM, was initiated in 1999 by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and the Joint Project Manager for Protection.
The goal of the program is to provide individual respiratory, ocular and percutaneous protection from chemical and biological warfare agents and radiological particulates for pilots and aircrew.
AMRDEC Public Affairs
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Army rotorcraft of the future will depend on the imaginations and engineering prowess of scientists, researchers and aviators at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Center.
AMRDEC’s Aviation Development Directorate maintains a deep portfolio of science and technology project looking at current and future rotorcraft, including survivability, performance and affordability.
Rusty Graves, the directorate’s acting chief engineer, hopes to use science and technology to enhance the legacy fleet while supporting Future Vertical Lift until it transitions to the Program Executive Office Aviation.
“We manage and conduct basic and applied research, and advanced technology development to provide one-stop life cycle engineering and scientific support for aviation systems and platforms,” Graves said.
AMRDEC divides the directorate’s S&T efforts into six focus areas.
By Jeff Sisto, NSRDEC Public Affairs
NATICK, Mass. — The U.S. Army is streamlining efforts to provide squad- and platoon-level ground Soldiers operating in austere environments with an organic aerial resupply capability that will empower and sustain them on the battlefield.
The Enhanced Speed Bag System, or ESBS, fills this capability gap by drastically increasing the survivability rate of critical resupply items such as water, ammunition, rations and medical supplies, which must be air-dropped from helicopters to small units on the ground. The system includes a hands-free linear brake, rope, and a padded cargo bag that can hold up to 200 pounds and be dropped from 100 feet.
ESBS was originally developed by engineers from the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Aerial Delivery Directorate and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Logistics Research and Engineering Directorate to standardize the improvised airdrop methods used in theater to resupply units in remote locations where traditional resupply methods, such as truck convoys, are too impractical or threat laden.
“The goal was to standardize ad-hoc techniques used with body bags and duffle bags by providing a material solution and giving units enough knowledge and training to utilize it,” said Dale Tabor, NSRDEC’s Aerial Delivery Design and Fabrication team leader.
RDECOM Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Army aviators depend on the Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, to ensure aviation readiness with seamless transition to combat operations.
Maj. Gen. Jim Richardson commands the organization of 8,000 civilian workers and 175 soldiers. His unit performs vital work on aviation and missile systems and the supporting equipment required to operate them.
The March/April issue of Army Technology Magazine focuses on aviation and interviewed Richardson on his vision of the future.
ECBC Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 12, 2015) — Army researchers are looking at novel ways to test the latest technologies, including a systems-approach to sensor installation and compatibility.
Advanced sensor technology is making its way into the hands of Soldiers through the Distance Detection Devices, or D3 program. Army scientists and engineers from the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, work with Soldiers and other end-users and provide the most effective handheld biological detectors needed for a given mission.
“Handheld biological detection is critical for warfighters today and in the future,” said Janet Betters, ECBC’s D3 lead. “These users are out in the field, and away from the laboratories. They need to be able to tell if they are in danger or not, and quickly.”
The D3 program is part of the broader Joint U.S. Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Reduction Advanced Technology Demonstration program, known as JUPITR ATD. The multi-year program provides the Republic of Korea and others in the Asia-Pacific region with improved biosurveillance capabilities.
By Edric Thompson, CERDEC Public Affairs
The Army envisions a future where sensors dynamically interact with each other while sharing information with Soldiers. Its researchers are now one step closer to enabling this common operating environment through the development of a foundational software architecture.
The Integrated Sensor Architecture establishes standards that bring together sensors within an area of operation so they can talk without requiring physical integration.
“You have this fundamental architecture enabling sensors to not only recognize the systems they want to interact with, but to also broker the information exchanges,” said Joe Durek, deputy director for the Modeling and Simulation Division of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate.
As Army researchers and engineers develop ISA, they hope to put together fundamental interoperability so future sensors can come online to a network, register and communicate its capabilities to the network and other assets and sensors on the network can subscribe to the types of information they need.
By Jeff Sisto, NSRDEC Public Affairs
To the modern dismounted warfighter, the saying “knowledge is power” is true, especially when making quick decisions based on limited information.
Scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, are working hard to make information assets a fundamental component of the Soldier’s kit.
“The ability to collect, process and share battlefield information can greatly improve the chances of mission success and troop survival,” said Dr. David Darkow, the Mission Information team leader with NSRDEC’s Warfighter Directorate.
Army researchers are developing a fully-integrated, mobile platform that provides dismounted Soldiers at the squad level with organic and shared sensor information to enhance situational awareness on the battlefield.
At the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, we understand how science and technology bring the power of American innovation to everything we do. I am proud that RDECOM researchers, engineers and support personnel provide our nation, both at home and abroad, the technology and capabilities to win anywhere, anytime.
The successful efforts of the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center workforce using their technical skills and knowledge to design and build the Field Hydrolysis Disposal System, and then deploying with it to destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile, is an example of American innovation.
In the January/February 2015 issue of Army Technology Magazine, we hope to highlight how sensors are integrating into military gear and vehicles in ways that will empower, unburden and protect our Soldiers.
Greater situational awareness leads to improved threat detection in most battlefield environments. Future smart sensors will give us a decisive edge.
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command feeds the technology pipeline from concept to prototypes with more than 11,000 scientists, researchers and engineers in its six centers and the Army Research Laboratory collaborating and coordinating across many disciplines.
In this virtual roundtable discussion, we sit down with three of the Army’s top minds who are the driving force behind advanced sensors research.
ARL is the Army’s corporate lab, which provides basic and applied research for materiel technology to support the Soldier.
The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, develops and engineers the technologies for mission command and intelligence, as well as applications and networks designed to connect and protect the Soldier.
The Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC, provides RD&E technology and services for aviation and missile. AMRDEC engineers focus on game-changing technologies to detect and destroy threats; enhance performance, lethality, survivability and reliability of aviation and missile systems.
By Amy Walker, PEO C3T
Inflatable ground satellite antennas are aiding in the expeditionary nature of U.S. and coalition forces, enabling them to achieve high-bandwidth network connectivity anywhere in the world from small deployable packages.
“Many of the conventional satellite terminals previously fielded aren’t suitable for some of the more agile transportation requirements of today’s deployed Joint Forces,” said Lt. Col. Leonard Newman, Army product manager for Satellite Communications, which is assigned to Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, known as WIN-T. “The inflatable satellite antenna is transforming how Special Operations forces and now airborne and other conventional forces deploy high-bandwidth SATCOM around the world.”
Future Joint contingencies and support operations are expected to require rapid deployment of smaller sized elements to a wide variety of austere environments, with Soldiers needing to fight on arrival. The lightweight, easily transportable Ground to Air Transmit and Receive, or GATR, inflatable antenna reduces size, weight and power requirements over current capability, enabling smaller units to quickly deploy anywhere in the world and achieve network connectivity. The antenna can connect Soldiers in remote locations to the Army’s tactical communication WIN-T network backbone, as well as support other services and first responders.
By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs
Sensors are everywhere in today’s technology-driven world. There are sensors in traffic lights, vehicles and smartphones.
Sensors in military applications gather data that U.S. Army researchers hope will give Soldiers the decisive edge.
This technology has broad application across the Army. Medical researchers are investigating how physiological sensors may help Soldiers achieve “superior performance on battlefields of the future,” according to Lt. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick. Caravalho led a panel discussion at the Association of the United States Army’s Medical Hot Topics Forum, Sept. 10, 2014.
Soldiers of 2025 and beyond may wear sensors to help detect and prevent threats such as dehydration, elevated blood pressure and cognitive delays from lack of sleep, Caravalho said. Sensors might also detect chemical exposure or extreme environments.
Karen O’Connor, Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence portfolio director for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, said sensor research exists in all of the portfolios.
By Matt December, TARDEC Public Affairs
Sensors are making the Army’s ground vehicle fleet more intelligent by providing a safer, more agile operating environment for American Soldiers.
Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, are seeking advancements in autonomy-enabled systems and intelligent mobility.
“Sensors, and the interactive connectivity they provide the user, are a crucial component to providing the most intelligent vehicles capable of performing under diverse environmental conditions anywhere in the world,” said Jeremy Gray, TARDEC Ground Vehicle Robotics research scientist. “To get to where the Army needs to be, sensors must provide performance input that can be calculated, analyzed and lead to vehicle actuation in fewer than 60 milliseconds.”
Army engineers are researching and designing unique high-speed sensors that can be embedded into vehicle platforms and/or vehicle tires and wheels.
By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs
Just as the human immune system deploys antibodies to destroy bacteria that have infiltrated the body to cause harm, Army scientists may deploy biosensors to detect harmful microorganisms.
Scientists who specialize in biosensing at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Adelphi, Maryland, want to mimic the behavior of antibodies by using alternative, artificial peptide material to detect harmful particles that could threaten Soldiers.
Peptides are the building blocks of the natural world, said Dr. Dimitra Stratis-Cullum, who started the program at the laboratory about 10 years ago.
Waves of antibodies are at work in the human body looking for tiny single-celled organisms called bacteria. These antibodies can also sense viruses, which are even smaller than bacteria.
PEO Soldier Public Affairs
New technology is spawning better sensors and helping the Army of today to dominate the battlefield of tomorrow.
“Our mission is to provide the best equipment for our Soldiers,” said Col. Michael E. Sloane, Project Manager for Soldier Sensors and Lasers, or PM SSL. “Success means enabling our Soldiers to maintain combat overmatch on any battlefield anywhere on the globe.”
PM SSL is part of the Program Executive Office Soldier, and has the responsibility for getting high-tech sensors and lasers into the hands of American troops. Enablers, such as the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle, known as the ENVG, Thermal Weapon Sight, known as TWS and Laser Target Locator, or LTL, make it possible for Soldiers to “own their environment” day or night, and through obscurants, Sloane said.
“With these tools, Soldiers can acquire and engage targets well before our adversaries can gain the advantage,” he said.
The ENVG I was the first helmet-mounted fused (image intensification and thermal image) goggle, overlaying thermal imagery over traditional night vision into a single display for the Soldier.