Industry Recon

Carrier drone undergoes tests

Northrop Grumman has completed design and structural tests for the X-47B unmanned combat air system slated for aircraft carrier service.

The X-47B will proceed to engine integration and taxi tests this fall, company officials said. After that, the system will be ready for its first flight and carrier trials.

The structural tests that lasted two months were conducted to ensure that the design can withstand the rigors of carrier operations, including arrested landings, catapult launches, subsonic speeds and recoveries at sea.

The tests were overseen by the Naval Air Systems Command and involved progressive structural, functional proof and calibration tests to confirm the integrity of all flight control surfaces, major structural load paths, main landing gear structure and tailhook assembly.

To conduct the tests, more than 200 electro-hydraulic assemblies were attached to major components of the X-47B and pressure was used to simulate flight conditions.

The X-47B is being built to meet the Navy’s needs for a jet-powered, fighter-sized aircraft capable of autonomous launches and recoveries from aircraft carriers.

Geospatial tools aid intelligence

Lockheed Martin and Harris furnished a set of advanced video and geospatial intelligence technologies for the Empire Challenge 09 exercises conducted in the California desert this summer.

The annual exercises, sponsored by the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence and the Joint Forces Command, focus on ways to improve intelligence gathering, analysis and sharing processes and evaluate the capabilities of new intelligence tools.

For the exercises, Lockheed Martin integrated its Audacity video and analysis exploitation system into Harris’s Full-Motion Asset Management Engine. The technologies, which can work in tandem, are able to manage multiple video streams from a variety of battlefield sensors.

The system’s integrated archive stores and catalogs digital video clips, which enables users to search and organize video feeds. A filtering engine in the system allows analysts to tag incoming feeds with keywords, locations, names of people and other items of interest, such as vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers. Analysts can establish parameters in the system that will alert them when new video material is loaded into the system.

Lockheed Martin also provided its Spatial Awareness Fusion Environment geospatial system for the exercises. The system combines imagery and data from numerous sensors to create 3-D maps of the battlefield and is used to build a dynamic snapshot of the situation during battles and missions.

Secure phones get encryption certs

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has certified the Cisco Systems 7921G and 7925G wireless IP phones as having appropriately secured cryptographic modules for operating in sensitive government communications.

Specifically, the phones have earned Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 certification from the NIST Cryptographic Module Validation Program. FIPS is a set of requirements by NIST for establishing the baseline security of encryption modules. NIST also validates products as meeting the FIPS requirements.

Using the phones, two people can talk with each other, both using wireless Cisco phones, and their communications, which would take via an IP network, would be secure to the FIPS 140-2 standard.

The phones use the Secure Real Time Transport Protocol, which the Defense Department has mandated for the use of unified communications systems starting in July 2010.

The FIPS-approved algorithms that the phone’s cryptographic modules use include the Advanced Encryption Standard, the Hash Message Authentication Code, the Triple Digital Encryption Standard and others.

ITT to provide night-vision goggles

ITT has won $43 million in additional orders from the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command Acquisition Center to provide enhanced night-vision goggles and spare parts.

The goggles combine image intensification with thermal infrared technology to enhance target detection and recognition.

The night-vision technology is delivered in a single, helmet-mounted unit designed to improve warfighters’ vision under low-light or obscured conditions.

ITT’s night-vision business, which offers head- and helmet-mounted night vision solutions and image intensifiers, is based in Roanoke, Va.

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