Industry recon

Power generating buoys for sensors

The Navy has awarded a contract to Ocean Power Technologies to further develop buoys that generate electricity from the motion of ocean waves.

The service plans to use the PowerBuoys to power floating sensors that could be used to track traffic across wide areas of ocean.

Ocean Power has already tested its technology in a prototype device that floats 75 miles off the coast of New Jersey.

The $3 million contract provides funds for further testing, including refinements in mooring design and seaworthiness.

Optical network transmission devices

The Naval Research Laboratory has selected Obsidian Strategics’ Longbow devices for a next-generation network that will be part of the Defense Department’s Large Data Joint Capability Technology Demonstration.

In 2004, the laboratory hired Obsidian’s engineering team to develop a prototype capable of carrying InfiniBand fabric over long distances.

The agency supplied product specifications to Obsidian to ensure that the Longbows would meet the needs of its large data network.

Longbow XR devices connect some of the 10 gigabits/sec server and storage network links to the large data network by using military-grade encryptors. The devices allow an InfiniBand fabric — a short-range network typically used in high-performance computing — to be transparently extended through optical fiber.

The lab’s program seeks to prove that a distributed enterprise data network could handle large volumes of data and streaming files. One of the program’s primary goals is to demonstrate that it is possible to build a large-scale data center infrastructure capable of using open-source standards and software, where possible.

Low-light sensor system

Lockheed Martin has completed a series of test flights to demonstrate a new low-light-level sensor for AH-64D Apache helicopters equipped with the Army’s Arrowhead nightvision system.

The visible/near-infrared (V/NIR) sensor, which is integrated into the Arrowhead Modernized-Pilot Night Vision Sensor, offers warfighters additional tactical advantages, company officials said.

With the new sensor, pilots will have greater situational awareness.

For example, the sensor will allow aviators to see laser pointers used by ground troops to identify targets and enemy positions in low-light conditions.

The Army awarded a $9.4 million contract last year to Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control division to prove the V/NIR concept. Follow-on qualification and flight tests are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

The production contracts expected to follow will equip 10 battalions. The first deliveries are planned for 2009.

Unified wireless package

The Army added the Cisco Unified Wireless Network package to its Information Assurance Approved Products list. The Army Information Systems Engineering Command conducted the evaluation.

The device consists of a set of wireless local-area network controllers, access devices, and software for wide local-area network management and intrusion detection.

The system can manage thousands of Wi-Fi clients and can be used to set up a network in a theater of operations for an activity such as a field maneuver or conference.

The Army has mandated that its organizations buy information assurance products that only appear on the list.

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