DASA awards £2m to fast-track autonomous vehicles in harsh conditions

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has announced it has awarded 21 contracts worth a total £2.1 million to boost how autonomous vehicles and systems operate in challenging environments.

DASA, on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), launched the Autonomy in a Dynamic World competition last year seeking proposals for innovative solutions and novel techniques to improve the way autonomous systems work in conditions such as rugged landscapes, dense vegetation, varying wind speeds and sea states – and man-made conditions such as congested and contested electromagnetic spaces.

The call also sought solutions to the Human-Autonomy Teaming (HAT) problem – the effective integration of humans, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics into military systems.

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: DASA

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: DASA

All these factors affect the military effectiveness of current autonomous technologies.

Project manager Helen Mullender said: “The work being funded is to mature autonomous systems with the capability to operate on demand, under all conditions that may be encountered.

“Military operations are undertaken in all kinds of challenging environment. The inclusion of autonomous systems in these operations will demand their ability to operate effectively and efficiently regardless of the environment.”

DASA Delivery Manager, Laurence Bickerton, said: “DASA is pleased to be working with Dstl and some of the best and brightest minds in industry to provide a step change in the capability of unmanned autonomous military systems.

“In society, we are becoming increasingly dependent and trusting of unmanned, autonomous and semi-autonomous systems to operate our machinery, cars and even our home deliveries.

“Similarly, in defence, autonomous systems are driving a revolutionary change in military operations, transforming the battlespace with improved intelligence and mobility.”

The competition is funded through the MOD’s Chief Scientific Adviser’s Research Programme’s Autonomy Incubator project that aims to: Identify and develop underpinning research and technologies to support the development and fielding of unmanned systems across defence which may be matured through the Dstl Autonomy Programme and other Research and Development programmes.

The organisations that have been funded are:

  • Animal Dynamics (3 proposals funded)
  • Archangel
  • Autonomous Devices Ltd (2 proposals funded)
  • Beamagine SL
  • Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd
  • Createc
  • Deep Vision
  • Fleetonomy.ai
  • Frazer-Nash Consultancy
  • Horiba Mira
  • Imperial College London
  • Plextek Service Ltd (2 proposals funded)
  • QinetiQ Business Unit Farnborough
  • SeeByte Limited
  • Sonardyne International Limited
  • University of Dundee
  • Zenotech Ltd

DASA – the MOD’s innovation hub – finds and funds exploitable technology to give Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and UK security a strategic advantage over adversaries while supporting the nation’s prosperity.

DASA are Official Event Partners at DPRTE 2020. The event’s Technology and Innovation Knowledge Transfer Zone will bring together some of the leading technology organisations, such as DASA and Dstl, to deliver sessions designed to keep you up to date on defence technology innovations, how to access funding and how you can bring your product to the marketplace.

Book your place today and join over 1,500 key decision makers at this hugely important one-day event – https://www.dprte.co.uk/book-now/

Get 20% off any private sector ticket if they use the code APR20.  Only valid until Friday 10 April  

Defence Online is the official media partner of DPRTE 2020

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

The post DASA awards £2m to fast-track autonomous vehicles in harsh conditions appeared first on Defence Online.

Royal Navy helicopters join fight against coronavirus in south-west

Royal Navy helicopters are playing their part in the national struggle against the coronavirus, helping millions of Britons in the West Country.

As part of the Royal Navy support to the NHS throughout the UK during the pandemic, Merlin helicopters from Culdrose will act as flying ambulances and transporters, flying supplies and personnel.

The  Royal Navy helicopters – typically used for submarine-hunting – will provide round-the-clock assistance to the NHS and South West Ambulance Services, serving a population of more than 4,500,000 people across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bristol, Somerset, the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.

Three Merlin Mk2 helicopters and their crews from 820 Naval Air Squadron have been set aside for the task, aided not just by their own engineers and technicians, but the entire support network at the Helston airbase: medics, air traffic controllers, safety and logistic experts.

The submarine-hunting equipment which normally fills the helicopters’ cabins has been stripped out so the Merlins can carry several stretchers, passengers and stores quickly, smoothly and efficiently over long distances.

“This is very different from our ordinary role, but jobs like this are in our DNA. We are helping out the nation and the National Health Service during these testing times – it’s a real moment for everyone to pull together,” said Commander Chris ‘Grassy’ Knowles, 820’s Commanding Officer.

“It demands a real team effort for us here at Culdrose in terms of getting the aircraft and the crews ready, getting all the logistical support in place – providing air traffic controllers, meteorological information, so that we can operate 24 hours a day.”

Commander Knowles said efforts had been made to protect crews – “and the whole Culdrose family” from the risk of infection, following medical guidelines for isolating patients and decontaminating the helicopters, equipment and uniforms. “We’ve had a run through and it was very successful.”

His air and ground crew will be working 12-hour shifts to be able to respond to the pandemic, carrying NHS paramedics with patients when required.

image © Crown Copyright

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

The post Royal Navy helicopters join fight against coronavirus in south-west appeared first on Defence Online.

Survey reveals critical infrastructure cyber attacks a greater concern than data breaches

Industrial cyber security company, Claroty, has released research into the state of industrial cybersecurity worldwide, which found that 74% of IT security professionals globally are more concerned about a cyber attack on critical infrastructure than an enterprise data breach.

An independent survey of 1,000 full-time IT security professionals was carried out in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Australia to determine the attitudes and concerns of IT security professionals related to OT security.

Looking at an overall picture of the security of industrial networks, the survey found that 62% of global respondents believe that industrial networks are properly safeguarded against cyber attacks and that 60% believe their country’s critical infrastructure is adequately protected.

However, some regions are more confident than others. Respondents from Australia (93%) and Germany (96%) are much more confident in the overall safety of industrial networks versus respondents from the U.K., U.S. and France. They are also more confident that their country’s critical infrastructure is properly secured against cyber attacks, with 90% of respondents from Australia and 99% from Germany saying that they are adequately protected.

Dave Weinstein, Chief Security Officer of Claroty, said: “While IT and OT convergence unlocks business value in terms of operations efficiency, performance, and quality of services, it can now be detrimental because threats, both targeted and non-targeted, now have the freedom to manoeuvre from IT to OT environments and vice versa.”

“Our mission is to help security practitioners to bridge the gap between IT and OT cybersecurity, ensuring that all bases are protected from cyber attack. This is even more critical in this new normal of largely remote workforces, which create additional burden on Chief Information Security Officers to remotely secure their production environments.”

In terms of industries and direct threats, the research found that globally, 45% of IT security professionals see electric power as the most vulnerable sector of critical infrastructure, followed by oil and gas (21%). Furthermore, 43% would put hacking at the top of the list of threats to industrial networks that they are most concerned about, followed by ransomware (33%).

The survey also explored whose responsibility it is to protect critical infrastructure from cyber attack, and the results weighed heavily in favour of government over the private sector. In fact, 100% of respondents from Germany believe it is the government’s responsibility, followed by Australia (98%), the U.K. (91%), France (89%), and the US (87%).

The full Global State of Industrial Cybersecurity report is available here.

To learn more about cyber security and how your business can stay protected from threats, visit the Cyber Essentials Online website.

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

 

The post Survey reveals critical infrastructure cyber attacks a greater concern than data breaches appeared first on Defence Online.

Up to the challenge: Defence firms play vital role in ventilator production

A consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, has come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK.

The VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium is led by Dick Elsy, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of manufacturing research centres in the UK.

The defence industry is well represented with Airbus, Thales, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems amongst the most recognisable names.

Over the past week the consortium has been working hard to investigate production of a range of ventilator design options to meet a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (“RMVS”) developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”).

The consortium has evaluated all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators.

Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the Government in excess of 10,000 units.

The consortium will now accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production. The device combines existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians’ first choice for the RMVS.

The regulator has been involved throughout and we anticipate a straightforward and very prompt regulatory sign off after the final audit.

The consortium is now working at full speed to take the necessary steps in order to increase production of this design. Production will begin this week.

The consortium also includes another producer of medical ventilators and it will provide them with additional manufacturing support and assembly facilities in order to scale up production of a second existing ventilator design which has full regulatory approval.

In response to the NHS’ requirements to treat coronavirus patients, there are a range of other projects aiming to increase ventilator production.

The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium is committed to playing its role in delivering both medical ventilator designs to the required specifications and, in conjunction with these other companies, organisations and groups, aid the delivery of additional ventilators to the NHS. The companies involved have taken many of their people from key company projects to do this and serve the national need.

Dick Elsy, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s chief executive, said: “This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world. Every day, their highly-skilled staff collaborate to create solutions that help millions of people, and this project is no different.

“They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries. I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.” 

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

The post Up to the challenge: Defence firms play vital role in ventilator production appeared first on Defence Online.

Airbus A400M transports masks to Spain in support of COVID-19 efforts

An Airbus A400M airlifter has performed an air-bridge between Toulouse and Madrid in order to deliver critically-needed mask supplies to the Spanish health system.

The aircraft, known as MSN56 and operated by an Airbus crew, took off on 23rd March 2020 from Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse at 18.07 local time (CET) landing at the Getafe Air Base (Madrid) at 19.05 to off-load and deliver the masks to the Spanish Ministry of Defence.

The cargo is part of the approximately 2 million masks transported over the weekend by a test Airbus A330-800 aircraft from Tianjin, China, to Europe.

This air-bridge will enable the delivery of a significant supply of masks to the Spanish public health network in support of current COVID-19 crisis efforts. This comes on top of donations by Airbus in recent days to provide thousands of masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

The Company said they will continue to support with additional flights planned to take place in the coming days in coordination with national authorities.

Airbus are official DPRTE 2020 Event Partners.

Book your place today and join over 1,500 key decision makers at this hugely important one-day event – https://www.dprte.co.uk/book-now/

Defence Online is the official media partner of DPRTE 2020

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

 

The post Airbus A400M transports masks to Spain in support of COVID-19 efforts appeared first on Defence Online.

COVID-19: DASA call for rapid sanitising technology for ambulances

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances to help in the national effort against Coronavirus and save lives.

DASA has today launched a new Innovation Focus Area as part of its Open Call for Innovation seeking industry’s help to identify rapid sanitising technology solutions that can be demonstrated in a live trial on an ambulance.

It can take up to 45 minutes to clean ambulances once they have transported a patient suspected of having COVID-19.

Some ambulance cleaning centres can also be some distance away from their base or hospitals – adding strain and delay on an already busy and pressurised service as the vehicles cannot be used until cleaning is completed.

The current Open Call cycle has been extended until 1 April 2020 for early bids to be considered.

Solutions must be suitable for rapid deployment to clean public sector vehicles following the transport of patients with the COVID-19 virus.

Ideally solutions will have wider applicability than just ambulances, which might include, buses, trains, and other blue light services or even in hospital wards/rooms.

Solutions which are mobile, allow ease of operation and maintenance, robust and reliable are of particular interest.

More details can be found here.

DASA is working in conjunction with the Welsh Government, The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Centre of Excellence, the Welsh Ambulance Service, Innovate UK, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

 

The post COVID-19: DASA call for rapid sanitising technology for ambulances appeared first on Defence Online.

Training begins for military oxygen tanker drivers

Military personnel have begun their training to drive oxygen tankers in support of the NHS as part of the Armed Forces’ contribution to the Government’s coronavirus outbreak response.

They will be able to deliver oxygen supplies to NHS facilities around the country if needed.

Training began on Monday 23 March at an Air Products facility in Carrington, near Manchester. Armed Forces personnel from all three services will work alongside the civilian experts who provide oxygen to the NHS on a daily basis.

By the end of this week, a number of military personnel will have completed their training to fill the oxygen tankers, drive them safely and deposit the oxygen at NHS facilities.

Colour Sergeant Nick Barber, from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, British Army, was asked to attend the training due to his driving experience.

He said: “Once our training is complete at the end of the week, we will be on standby to move forward and deliver the essential supplies should we need to.

 “We will be trained, confident and ready to go.”

The Armed Forces are preparing to provide oxygen tanker drivers to support the NHS as part of the Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA) process. The training is part of prudent planning to ensure the NHS has the number of drivers it needs.

Military personnel will be able to take control of the oxygen tankers and take the stock to where it’s required if asked.

On 18 March Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced new measures to enable Armed Forces personnel to support public services in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Around 20,000 members of Armed Forces personnel are stood at readiness to help support the Government’s effort to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

image © Crown Copyright

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

The post Training begins for military oxygen tanker drivers appeared first on Defence Online.

Coronavirus fight: How the MoD is playing a key role

As the coronavirus continues its grip on our everyday way of life and threatening the most vulnerable members of society, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is playing a crucial role in supporting public services in response to the pandemic.

On 18 March, the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, announced new measures to put service personnel and Reservists on standby to support public services in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

The MOD placed an additional 10,000 military personnel at a higher readiness and Reserves on stand by to support public services as part of a new ‘COVID Support Force’.

This was done as part of contingency planning to allow the MOD to respond to any request from other governments departments or civil authorities for support.

As of 23 March, there are 250 personnel deployed to assist civil authorities with the response. They are part of 20,000 armed forces personnel currently stood at readiness to take part.

The armed forces have contributed dozens of specialist military planners to Local Resilience Forums who are providing support to public services, local authorities and emergency services in preparing their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

As part of efforts to support the NHS, Monday 23 March saw armed forces personnel began training to drive oxygen tankers in support of the NHS. Around 150 members of personnel from all three services will be trained to drive supplies of oxygen to NHS facilities if required.

Another crucial aspect of this support will be delivering personal protective equipment (PPE). Fifty members of armed forces personnel have begun assisting the NHS with the distribution and delivery of PPE. The number of personnel is likely to be increased to 250 when the programme is running at full capacity.

A small team of military planners also visited the ExCeL centre with staff from NHS England to determine if the armed forces could support the NHS response to the outbreak. At the time of writing, no final decisions had been taken, but their work continues.

The MOD have also reacted by serving to protect communities. On Sunday 22 March, an RAF A400M transport aircraft responded to a request to transfer a critically-ill COVID-positive patient from hospital in the Shetland Islands to an intensive care unit in Aberdeen.

The male patient, in his 60s, was in a deteriorating condition and needed urgently to be evacuated. Before returning to its home base at RAF Brize Norton, the aircraft was cleaned to prevent any further potential spread of the virus.

Forces from Joint Helicopter Command are another facet of the military’s response to the COVID019 crisis and are on standby to provide aviation capability in support to civil authorities. This will enable access to isolated communities that may not be able to obtain urgent medical care during the coronavirus crisis.

The Support Helicopter Force, Army Air Corps and Commando Helicopter Force will provide helicopters and personnel from all three services to respond as required.

Given the global escalation of the coronavirus, repatriating British citizens has been another vital function in the MOD’s support efforts. So far, the military have assisted with repatriation flights from China and Japan. This included providing medically-trained members of service personnel and a military runway for aircraft to land in the United Kingdom. The repatriation flights allowed British citizens to return home safely and receive the medical treatment they needed.

image © Crown Copyright

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

All information provided in this article is given in good faith. However, to the extent that any actions taken in relation to matters concerning procurement, the above article does not constitute legal advice to you. The contents of these articles are not to be construed as legal advice or a substitute for such advice, which you should obtain from your own legal advisors if required. We are not and shall not be held responsible for anything done or not done by you as a result of the information provided.

The post Coronavirus fight: How the MoD is playing a key role appeared first on Defence Online.

DPRTE 2020: Cranfield University’s Innovation in defence education

Writing for Defence Online, Emma Sparks, Professor of Systems Engineering Education Centre for Systems and Technology Management at Cranfield University, looks at Cranfield’s new Defence and Security Programme.

Cranfield University are Official Event Partners at DPRTE 2020. They will take their place at the event’s Technology and Innovation Knowledge Transfer Zone, which brings together some of the leading technology organisations to deliver sessions designed to keep you up to date on defence technology innovations, how to access funding and how you can bring your product to the marketplace.

Innovation in defence education – developing skills for the future

Defence is a continually evolving arena that in turn requires people with diverse knowledge, skills and experience. Across the sector there is a question of how to attract, retain and manage talent particularly in niche areas.

With a drive for continued innovation in educational delivery for the defence and security sector, Cranfield has launched its new Defence and Security Programme, offering three streams (engineering, technology and leadership and management) and two routes to achieve an MSc.

Following extensive feedback from the defence and security sector, it has been recognised that employers and learners need greater flexibility in their learning pathways. It is not just about providing deep technical education, but also the wider skills and competencies for continued professional development and natural career progression over time.

The concept of the new Programme is to open up a large portion of the teaching portfolio so that learners can choose electives from a range of existing specialist courses. With a core set of overarching modules delivered at a distance to provide a grounding in leadership and management, defence capability and decision analysis and support alongside organisational and stakeholder modelling, learners can then take up to a further seven modules from the engineering, technology or leadership and management stream, with two of these seven potentially coming from across any of the three streams.

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: Cranfield University

DPRTE 2020 Official Event Partner: Cranfield University

There is also a capstone route where learners can take three modules at a distance and up to three residential modules before embarking on a portfolio that is linked directly to the individual’s work needs including a module on innovation and exploitation. This latter option is seen as particularly appealing to more senior individuals who can gain significant value from an applied portfolio relating directly to their work needs.

With an evolving defence domain there is also a need to evolve and innovate our approach to education. The new Defence and Security Programme shows exciting progress in supporting our learners and industry partners, reflecting Cranfield’s commitment to leading the way in educational practice linked to the needs of our industry.

Professor Emma Sparks is Head of the Centre for Systems and Technology Management at Cranfield University and Director of Programme Portfolio Delivery and Deputy Director of Education at the University’s school of Defence and Security.

The new Defence and Security Programme at Cranfield

The Defence and Security Programme (www.cranfield.ac.uk/defenceandsecurityprogramme) opens up our teaching portfolio and is designed to give students the flexibility to tailor their own learning pathways. The Programme offers three degree streams (Engineering, Leadership and Management and Technology – all containing extensive elective module choices) and two learning routes: a traditional MSc route and a Capstone MSc route. The Capstone route is mostly delivered at distance and, unlike the traditional MSc route that includes the completion of a thesis, contains a Capstone Development and Exploitation module followed by a Capstone Portfolio Project. The Project is made up of multiple pieces of work that can be applied to a business case, with direct impact and exploitation potential within the learner’s business context.

The Leadership and Management stream of the Defence and Security Programme meets the requirements of the Level 7 Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship. Eligible organisations will be able to use £18,000 of their Apprenticeship Levy towards the overall cost.

Book your place today and join over 1,500 key decision makers at this hugely important one-day event – https://www.dprte.co.uk/book-now/

Defence Online is the official media partner of DPRTE 2020

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

The post DPRTE 2020: Cranfield University’s Innovation in defence education appeared first on Defence Online.

US DoD to partner with defence supply chain to combat COVID-19

The US Department of Defence (US DoD) has released a statement outlining its plans to work with the defence industry supply chain to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The statement from Department of Defense spokesman, Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, said the US DoD continues to ‘aggressively’ partner with the defence industry to mitigate impacts from COVID-19, with ‘significant’ progress had been made through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the Defense Contracting Management Agency (DCMA) to tackle specific concerns outlined by defence industry leaders.

Lt. Col. Andrews said that following dialogue with the defence industry, a number of key concerns were identified. These included: critical defence contractor workforce ability to continue working; ensuring cash flow to the defence industrial base; and getting standardised guidance out to industry.

On Friday, the US DoD issued two memos to address these three concerns. This led to the release of a Defense Industrial Base Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce memo that defined essentiality in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) workforce, ensuring the defense industrial base’s critical employees can continue working. The memo also reiterated the commitment to the safety of the workforce and support of the national security mission.

Deviation on Progress Payments memo was also released, stating that once in contracts, the progress payment rate that contracts can get paid for will increase from 80% of cost to 90% for large businesses and from 90% to 95% for small businesses.

It is envisaged that this measure will improve industry cash flow.

THE DCMA will work on mass modifications to contracts where applicable (vs one by one) using DCMA authorities. In addition, the Department is accelerating payments through several means to prime contracts and directing prime contracts to expedite payments to subcontractors.

The Acquisition and Sustainment Small Business Office has been in contact with small  defence businesses and is working with the Small Business Administration and their small business emergency loan program to help protect these companies.

Closing the statement, Lt. Col. Andrews said: “The Department is fully engaged with the interagency to leverage the Defense Production Act to help reinforce critical elements of the DIB. It is especially important to understand that during this crisis the DIB is vulnerable to adversarial capital, we need to ensure companies stay in business without losing their technology.

“Under Secretary Lord remains grateful for the productive discussions with the defense industry associations, US Chamber of Commerce, Hill and State leaders. She’s especially proud of the incredible efforts of Department leaders and contracting officers across the nation who are helping ensure a secure, reliable and resilient Defense Industrial Base.”

If you would like to join our community and read more articles like this then please click here.

All information provided in this article is given in good faith. However, to the extent that any actions taken in relation to matters concerning procurement, the above article does not constitute legal advice to you. The contents of these articles are not to be construed as legal advice or a substitute for such advice, which you should obtain from your own legal advisors if required. We are not and shall not be held responsible for anything done or not done by you as a result of the information provided.

The post US DoD to partner with defence supply chain to combat COVID-19 appeared first on Defence Online.