NATO Drone Security. A NATO agency has developed a low-cost prototype solution for rapidly detecting, identifying and localizing small unmanned aircraft systems that may pose a threat. The ARTEMIS system, developed by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency, uses electromagnetic waves to identify UAS and advanced techniques to detect and classify radio frequency signals. “The equipment has been successfully tested in open field, with very promising results for commercial drones,” Franco Fois, senior scientist at the NCI Agency and ARTEMIS lead engineer, told Defense Daily in an email response to questions. “Another trial is planned for later this year.” Edison Cristofani, radar and signal processing engineer at NCI, said that “ARTEMIS serves to prove that it is possible, with low-cost equipment, to counter the threat posed by commercial drone.”
EMP Resilience. Energy and communications infrastructure are the Department of Homeland Security’s top priorities for resiliency in the event of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack, the department said last Thursday. As such, DHS and the Department of Energy are working together to ensure unity of effort, including a partnership that includes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to validate the continued operation of key safety features of nuclear power pants in a post-EMP environment, according to an EMP Program Status Report released by DHS. The report said the DHS Science and Technology Directorate has catalogued a number of available EMP protection equipment and testing organizations and along with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency plans to conduct vulnerability testing of prioritized critical infrastructure components and do validation testing of potential mitigation options.
Executive Moves. ManTech President and CEO Kevin Phillips has been elected by the company’s board to also serve as chairman, succeeding George Pedersen, ManTech’s co-founder, who has decided to transition from his role as executive chairman and chairman and will serve as chairman emeritus. Phillips has been president and CEO since January 2018. Mercury Systems said it has tapped Ian Dunn to lead its new Advanced Technology Group, which will guide product development as part of integrated solutions, work with strategic partners and customers to coordinate investment and innovation, and explore the next-generation of processing technologies. Finally, Doug Wagoner in early August joined the federal consulting firm LMI as president and CEO after retiring as a sector president at Science Applications International Corp.
Longbow Radars FMS. The Army has awarded Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman’s Longbow Limited joint venture a $164.6 million deal covering foreign military sales for AH-64E Apache helicopter Longbow fire control radars. FMS customers under the deal include Morocco, the Netherlands, the UAE and India. “The LBL team is excited to bring Morocco, Netherlands and India Army into the Longbow FCR user community, and to update UAE with new capabilities, as the ever-evolving missions of our U.S. allies will benefit from our precision engagement capabilities. The Longbow radar remains a relevant and important system for the missions Apache aircrews fly,” Jim Messina, president of the joint venture, said in a statement. Lockheed Martin said the latest deal brings the total customer base for the Longbow weapon system to 16 foreign militaries and 14 nations.
Energetic Materials Research. The Army and Purdue University have signed a three-year agreement to research advanced energetic materials that could be utilized on the service’s future weapon systems. University officials said the research encompasses 18 projects ranging from improving performance of material used in gun launch and hypersonic flight, developing inkjet-printed conductive energetic materials and developing new manufacturing techniques to “encapsulate metal or composite materials with embedded sensors to develop health-monitoring smart armor.” The new agreement follows an earlier research effort in which the Army and Purdue’s Energetic Research Center jointly developed two new lead-free materials that could be used to ignite power inside a gun cartridge.
CVN-70. The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) arrived at Naval Air Station North Island on Sept. 2, finishing its shift in homeport from Washington to California. Before the move, CVN-70 concluded 17 months of maintenance and upgrades at the Puget Sounds Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash. This work included a complete restoration and system retrofit to accommodate the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.
CVN-77. The Navy said Norfolk Naval Shipyard undocked the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) aircraft carrier on time on Aug. 29, a milestone in the vessel’s Drydocking Planned Incremental Availability. CVN-77 has been on blocks for the last 18 months “undergoing the most extensive maintenance period in the carrier’s history and one of NNSY’s most complex CVN CNO availabilities ever,” the service said in a statement. This drydocking was the first time the Bush was not waterborne since 2006. Concurrently, this is the first time in the shipyard’s history that two carriers are sharing a pier as the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) is currently undergoing its own Extended Carrier Incremental Availability since July.
T-AO-206. The keel for the second John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler, the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206), was laid at General Dynamics’ National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego on Sept. 3. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the keel was authenticated without the standard ceremony, with remarks recorded for compilation. Keel laying is recognized as the official start of ship construction, joining together a ship’s modular components. NASSCO is also building the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO-205) and another four Fleet Replenishment Oilers are on contract. The Navy plans to eventually procure 20 John Lewis-class ships to replace the T-AO-187 class.
RIMPAC Ends. A curtailed Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020 international maritime exercise finished on Aug. 31 after two weeks of at-sea-only training events off the coast of Hawaii. The Navy said this year the exercise included 53 replenishment-at-sea events, 101 pallets of cargo distributed, over 16,000 rounds of small arms munitions shot, over 1,000 large caliber weapons fired, and 13 missiles expended. The exercise was hosted by the U.S. Pacific Fleet and led by 3rd Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Scott Conn.
Columbia Priority. The Navy’s top acquisition official James Geurts told reporters last week if there is a continuing resolution (CR) before the next budget is finalized…”we would need an anomaly to be able to execute Columbia on schedule.” He also said from a COVID-19 perspective if there are any pandemic impacts to the industrial base during Columbia construction in which they have to reduce resources, “we would prioritize the resources available on Columbia and work to mitigate any shortage on other programs.” Final assembly work involving construction in tight spaces is several years down the road, he added.
Quantum Entanglement. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famed astrophysicist and member of the Defense Innovation Board (DIB), said that the U.S. should not assume that quantum entanglement will lead to rapid advances in encrypted communications. “I think some of the promise there is overstated about it being a way of faster than light communicating,” he said Sept. 3 during the Innovare Advancement Center’s $1 million International Quantum U Tech Accelerator virtual event. “If you look at quantum entanglement, and where are all the records being set and who’s doing all the research, the United States does not show up. Maybe we’re doing all that research, and it’s all classified and not getting published, or we’re stuck at the table, and everybody else is in the lab. China has the record for the longest distance between two entangled particles, 1,200 kilometers, the width of China beamed by two coherent particles that came down from a satellite.” In 2017, China demonstrated the possibility of a future, secure quantum internet in the beaming of two entangled photons from the nation’s Micius experimental satellite.
…Promise of Quantum Sensing. deGrasse Tyson said that the U.S. has traditionally reacted, as when it created NASA a year after the Soviet Sputnik launch in 1957. “We’re really saying we have to catch up because we’re embarrassed,” he said. “Somewhere in there somebody has to turn that into things that are proactive. That’s how you truly lead the world.” Air Force Acquisition Chief Will Roper, who first met deGrasse Tyson because of the latter’s service on the DIB, agreed and said that what hurt U.S. quantum development initially was the U.S. fear that quantum computers would quickly be able to decrypt national security communications. But that fear may be unfounded, if quantum encryption comes around, he said. In addition, other applications of quantum mechanics, including quantum sensing, appear to be closer to fielding than quantum computing. “Quantum sensing gets very little hype in the military, and I think it’s just a fantastic area to encourage fundamental research,” Roper said. Quantum gravimeters could one day detect stealthy enemy submarines, while quantum metrology on a chip could possibly perform the functions of GPS, he said.