Archive: Market Sectors

A KC-46 refuels an A-10 during testing. Photo: Air Force.

Air Force, Boeing Grappling With Boom Glitches On KC-46A Tanker

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Engineers are trying to fix two refueling-boom glitches on the KC-46A Pegasus tanker that Boeing [BA] is developing for the U.S. Air Force, a service official said Sept. 19. One problem involves the boom making unintended contact with the receiving aircraft outside the boom receptacle, said Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, military […]

Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy. Photo: U.S. Navy.

Senate Takes Turn To Grill Navy Officials Over Ship Collisions

Senate Armed Services Committee members were at times frustrated as they questioned the top Navy leaders Tuesday over a series of ship collisions resulting in severe damage and deaths. This was the second hearing this month inquiring into recent naval collisions, with the first being on the House side (Defense Daily, Sept. 7). The USS […]

Senate Sends FY 2018 Defense Authorization Bill To Conference

The U.S. Senate approved its version of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill by an 89-8 vote late Sept. 18, sending the legislation to a conference committee with the House, which passed its bill in July. Conferees have a host of issues to resolve, including what to do about a House provision that would […]

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Senate Defense Bill Establishes Cyber Warfare Policy; Includes Federal IT Modernization Plan

The Senate Monday night passed its nearly $700 billion defense authorization bill, which will establish the first-ever cyber warfare policy, including the use of offensive digital weapons, and stipulates a $500 million federal information technology (IT) modernization plan. The Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018 passed with an 89-8 vote. The NDAA […]

Airmen load a 2,000 pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition onto a B-1B Lancer aircraft.

Air Force Trying To Add Production Capacity For Precision Munitions

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The U.S. Air Force, whose demand for precision-guided munitions (PGMs) is straining its supply, is trying to increase the production capacity of those weapons, but an uncertain budget climate is making its task difficult, service Secretary Heather Wilson said Sept. 19. With the Air Force depleting its PGM inventory to support […]

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A ‘Disturbance In The Force’: Army G-8 Braces For Day When Modernization Is Unavoidable

The Army’s uniformed acquisition chief senses a “disturbance in the Force,” regarding Army modernization that involves identifying an inflection point where the service can no longer effectively upgrade legacy combat systems and must transition to next-generation technologies. “New this year we will put together an ends, ways and means strategy for certain critical … combat […]

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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.--The Marine Corps has enshrined open architecture in its master technology investment plan as a means to rapidly upgrade communications technology as new equipment emerges.

Listed in the 2017 Advanced Technology Investment Plan, a 200-page guide to the Marine Corps’ technology development efforts and needs, is “open plug-and-play communication architecture” that will provide vehicles “the capability to add a new communication, sensor and data component to a system and have it integrate seamlessly without changing architecture or technical configuration of the vehicle.”

The full ATIP document can be accessed here.

“Adapting such architectures for the tactical vehicle fleet has great potential to improve tactical and operational flexibility for commanders,” the ATIP says. Program Executive Office-Land Systems distributed copies of the document at the Modern Day Marine expo in Quantico, Va.

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Michael Halloran, science and technology division chief at PEO-LS, lists open architecture as a fundamental element of future combat vehicles for the Marine Corps.

“We need lightweight, power efficient, fuel-efficient, survivable, mobile vehicles that are common plug-and-play architecture,” Halloran said Sept. 19 at MDM.

The program office already is writing open architecture into requirements documents, he said. Industry is falling in line, but their issues of intellectual property rights remain, he added.

“Yes, it is being written into the requirements documents,” he said. “Industry is responding extremely well and we are working through the proprietary data-rights issue. Oftentimes in the requirement process and in the acquisition process, you end up trading off requirements as the cost of a given systems tends to decrease over time. Often plug-and-play is one of those things that gets traded.”

The idea is to set standards for interfacing technologies to avoid the hodgepodge of proprietary systems that were bolted onto vehicles out of operational necessity over the past decade and half. Modular, scalable, open-systems architecture enable “plug-and-play mission flexibility across all tactical vehicles, will enable rapid vehicle modernization and shared resource allocation,” the ATIP document says.

One such architecture goes by the mouthful title, "Vehicular Integration for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR)/Electronic Warfare Interoperability." Under development by the Army, it is commonly shoehorned into the acronym VICTORY.

VICTORY is a solution to a problem that arose from “operating forces applying solutions to identified C4ISR capability shortfalls through short-term solutions quickly bolted onto ground vehicles,” which weighed them down and created complex systems of systems that couldn’t always talk to each other, the ATIP says.

The architecture seeks to remedy that problem in future vehicles by defining common terminology, systems, components and interfaces. It also will set government-defined standard technical specifications for new technologies while providing a set of reference designs for industry to work into the products they pitch to the military.

So far, VICTORY has gained only minor traction, though the joint light tactical vehicle that will replace portions of the Army and Marine Corps legacy Humvee fleets is being built with a compliant electronics backbone. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support is working to introduce it to legacy support fleets.

Lockheed Martin's family of solutions—all now featuring common components—include four series of satellites from nanosatellites to powerful geostationary platforms. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin Launches New Satellite Bus Family In Response To Customer Needs

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.–Responding to customer demands for more affordable, flexible and responsive products, Lockheed Martin [LMT] on Tuesday introduced a new family of satellite busses with hundreds of common features able to carry payloads weighing from 22 pounds to more than 5,000 pounds for commercial, civil and military missions. The company invested $300 million over […]

Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. Photo: Air Force

Readiness Of National Guard On Point, Chief Says

Amid overseas deployments and responding to natural disasters in the U.S. and its territories, the readiness of the National Guard is where it needs to be, Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel said on Tuesday. “We are right where we are supposed to be in terms of what we’re built to go do,” Lengyel, who is […]