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TacJobs – 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is the primary rotary-wing support to Department of Defense Special Operations Forces and offers opportunities for Officer, Warrant Officer, and Enlisted Army personnel in a wide variety of Military Occupational Specialities, not just CMF 15.

There is an application process to become a Nightstalker, with assessment, selection and training requirements.

Visit the 160th SOAR Recruiting Team for more info.

Sec Esper Discusses New Technologies Designed to Give Warfighters the Advantage

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper spoke today about Army modernization efforts that harness new technologies that will benefit the warfighter. His remarks were given during the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting.

“Today, emerging technologies are expanding the geometry of the battlefield and transforming how we think about, prepare and plan for war,” he said.

The reason for this transformation, he said, is because near-peer rivals China and Russia are seeking to erode America’s long-standing military advantages through cutting edge military innovation such as precision long-range fires, anti-access area denial systems, or A2AD, and other asymmetric capabilities designed to counter U.S. strengths.

“In space, Moscow and Beijing have weaponized a once-peaceful domain with killer satellites, directed energy weapons and more in an effort to seize the high ground and chip away at our military edge,” he said.

They also exploit cyberspace as a means to undermine U.S. advantages without confronting the Defense Department’s conventional strengths, he added.

To remain ahead of these threats, the department must harness new technologies, Esper continued.

In the last several years, the Army has “ruthlessly redirected time, money and manpower to its highest priorities,” he said, noting hypersonic weapons are at the top of that list of priorities.

“As our competitors develop long-range fires to inhibit our freedom of maneuver, we’re increasing our investments in hypersonics over the next five years, so we can ramp up testing and develop these capabilities to the warfighter as quickly as possible,” he said.

In March, the Army and Navy reached an important milestone by jointly launching a successful test of a hypersonics glide body, he noted. The plan is to integrate this technology into an Army battery by 2023.

At the same time, the Army is investing in the interim maneuver, short-range air-defense platform to provide soldiers with 360-degree protection from unmanned aircraft systems and other low-altitude aerial threats, he said.

This system will most likely be integrated into four battalions in Europe in 2023, he added.

To bolster the department’s advantage in the land domain, the armored multi-purpose vehicle, the replacement for the Vietnam-era M113 armored personnel carrier, is currently rolling off the production line, he added, and it is being integrated into the armored brigade combat team.

These and other technologies and developments are building combat credible capabilities, allowing the DOD to target A2AD complexes and enable joint maneuvers across all domains, thanks in large part to industry partners who have persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic and kept supply chains open and delivery of systems on time, he mentioned.

Army Futures Command has been instrumental in helping to develop emerging technologies across all domains, Esper said.

The command recently conducted a live-fire simulation of unmanned to unmanned teaming with drones and satellites relaying target coordinates with ground artillery and artificial intelligence-enabled weapons systems, he said.

Another AFC initiative, Esper said, is Project Convergence 2021. As the name suggests, it is a multiplatform initiative being developed to merge joint force capabilities and keep pace with technological change in order to help the maneuver force operate more efficiently across the land, air, sea, space and cyberspace domains. He added that allies and partners will be included in this effort.

He also added that “Project Convergence will play an integral role in the department’s development of Joint All-Domain Command and Control, which will modernize how the military fights.”

The defense secretary then explained the importance of working with allies and partners by providing some examples.

In 2018, the Army stood up the Multi-Domain Task Force to synchronize modernization efforts of joint assets with partners in the Indo-Pacific region, he said. Next year, its efforts will be centered in Europe.

In Europe, Stryker units will increasingly deploy in continuous rotations in the easternmost edge of Europe, he said.

Plans are also underway to rotate the lead element of the Army’s new V Corps into Poland, once agreements are finalized, he noted.

The Army is strengthening alliances and partnerships, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, where it is also expanding training exercises that enhance interoperability, he said.

This year, the Army is stationing a company-sized Stryker vehicle training set in Thailand to support the Royal Thai Army as they build their own Stryker program, he said. The Army also plans to expand its International Military Education and Training Program and increase military school slots in support of their Stryker program.

Worldwide, the Army and the other services are employing a concept known as dynamic force employment, he said.

“The Army applied this to build rapid-power projection through dispersed, prepositioned equipment. This has enabled the department to become more nimble and less predictable and better capable of rapidly shifting to combat operations as needed,” he said.

All of these efforts prepare the department “for the high-end fight that we hope we must never have but must be prepared to win,” Esper concluded.

By David Vergun, Defense.gov

National Museum of the United States Army to Open Veterans Day 2020

Friday, October 16th, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army plans to open the National Museum of the United States Army on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020. Building construction and exhibit installations are now complete, and the museum is ready to open its doors to the public for the first time.

The National Museum of the U.S. Army, located on a publicly accessible area of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, will be the first and only museum to tell the entire history of the U.S. Army since its establishment in 1775.

“The U.S. Army and the American Soldier forged the birth of our nation,” said Secretary of the Army, Ryan D. McCarthy. “The National Army Museum will be a place for members of the total Army family to gather and share their stories, while also creating an opportunity for visitors to connect with our nation’s history through the eyes and voices of individual Soldiers.”

The museum’s Experiential Learning Center will provide visitors of all ages a unique opportunity to participate in hands-on, educational and team-building activities in the areas of geography, science, technology, engineering and math.

“The museum is stunning, and it is an honor to present this history in a way that shows the connection between the American Soldier, the U.S. Army and the nation,” said the museum’s director, Ms. Tammy E. Call.

The museum will open with enhanced health and safety measures for visitors. Free, timed-entry tickets are required to manage visitor capacity and provide an optimal experience to visitors.

“We have worked hard to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors, and we are excited to open the doors of this long-awaited national museum,” added Call.

The museum is a joint effort between the U.S. Army and the Army Historical Foundation, a non-profit organization. The AHF constructed the building through private funds, and the U.S. Army provided the infrastructure, roads, utilities and exhibit work that transformed the building into a museum. The Army owns and operates the museum, and the AHF manages retail, catering and special events.

“The Army is people. They are our greatest strength and our most important weapon system,” said the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C. McConville. “The National Museum of the United States Army is designed to tell the compelling and heroic stories of our people and take visitors on an exciting journey through the history of the U.S. Army as told through the American Soldiers’ point of view.”

The opening will be preceded by a small ceremony that will be livestreamed to encourage people around the world to participate in this historic moment. A link to the livestream will be posted on the museum’s website and social channels as soon as it’s available. For more information, please visit www.theNMUSA.org.

For inquiries on the National Army Museum, its holdings, site, tours and tickets, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Army Public Affairs, Ms. Susan Smullen, [email protected], (202) 246-1610.

Viasat, AeroVironment Team to Develop Enhanced Type 1 Encrypted Communications Capabilities for US Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

CARLSBAD, Calif. and SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 15, 2020 — Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, and AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced they will collaborate on a contract awarded under the U.S. Army Reconfigurable Communications for Small Unmanned Systems (RCSUS) initiative. The project will provide U.S. military customers flying small UAS platforms the ability to deploy a robust, on-demand, highly-secure communications network that will address the growing electronic warfare capabilities of peer and near-peer adversaries.

Viasat is the prime contractor on the award and will work with AeroVironment to develop and demonstrate advanced, encrypted communications suitable for AeroVironment’s portable, hand-launched Puma AE™ tactical UAS. The two companies will seek to strengthen the communications and transmission security of AeroVironment’s Digital Data Link™ (DDL) radios currently used by the U.S. Army by converting them into a Type 1 crypto communication system for video and data transmission.

In addition, Viasat and AeroVironment will develop critical interoperability standards for enabling UAS to generate a secure, digitally encrypted communications network—for protecting classified data and improving waveform performance in jamming environments—via the embedded DDL waveform. They will also create a standardized communications architecture that will allow UAS to access spectrum quickly and easily, especially when operating in contested environments.

“Viasat’s robust military-grade cryptography and electronic countermeasure tactical waveform design will enable quick expansion of secure communications to a variety of small unmanned systems operating at the tactical edge,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “By collaborating with AeroVironment, an established leader in the tactical UAS sector, we can help the U.S. Army set new waveform standards that maximize connectivity and minimize the risk of signal intercept.”

Currently, tens of thousands of AeroVironment tactical unmanned aircraft are deployed around the world and are capable of serving as secure, digital network communication nodes for on-demand, mesh network applications in various operating environments.

“As U.S. forces plan for the potential of operating against peer and near-peer military adversaries possessing advanced electronic warfare capabilities, the need for even more secure communication capabilities is rapidly increasing,” said Scott Newbern, AeroVironment chief technology officer. “We will work with Viasat to provide customers requiring enhanced, secure communication capabilities with a portable, practical solution for maintaining secret-level communications via tactical unmanned aircraft systems operating at the battlefield’s edge.”

SMASH 2000 Being Evaluated by the US Army Under Foreign Comparative Testing

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

SMASH 2000 underwent intensive live fire testing by U.S. Army at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG) to evaluate its Fire Control capabilities compared to standard rifle sights

[October 15, 2020]: Between the 14th and 24th of Sept, 2020, Product Manager Individual Weapons, under PM Soldier Lethality, supervised the live fire testing and evaluation of the SMASH 2000 fire control enabled rifle Sight.  The testing at APG was funded by OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) under a Foreign Comparative Test program designed to determine if international mature technologies can fill U.S. military operation gaps.  

Thousands of rounds were fired by soldiers at APG outdoor range for the purpose of recording data that compared the target hitting capability of the SMASH 2000 against standard U.S. Army issued optics. Targets ranged from 25 meters to 400 meters in a variety of fixed, pop-up, and moving target scenarios.

“Testing the SMASH 2000 is another example of how OSD continues to evaluate foreign technologies that could fulfil specific DoD operational needs,” said William Everett, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, who is responsible for sponsoring many such comparative tests. “We also sponsored a VIP day to give U.S. uniformed officers and Foreign dignitaries the opportunity to fire the SMASH 2000. That opportunity was well received and the event went well,” he added.

Bob Phung, Project Officer, Product Manager Individual Weapons:  “Our job in the PM office is to look for and evaluate promising technologies to support our warfighters.  The SMASH 2000 is one of those promising systems that could significantly improve the soldier’s lethality, especially under duress. We will have to collect the data and determine next steps.”

SMASH is a combat-proven family of Fire Control Systems which are designed, developed, and manufactured by SMART SHOOTER to ensure each round finds its target, in both day and night conditions, as well as keeping friendly forces safe. SMART SHOOTER’s proprietary target acquisition and tracking algorithms are integrated with sophisticated image-processing software into a rugged hardware solution, providing an easy to use and cost-effective solution that creates the required overmatch. SMART SHOOTER’s fire control solutions are designed to give soldiers and law enforcement officers a decisive tactical edge in almost every operational scenario, maximizing force lethality and operational effectiveness throughout every engagement.

Michal Mor, Smart Shooter CEO, added: “It’s very exciting to know that the U.S. Army is interested in our SMASH products to meet their individual weapons needs. SMART SHOOTER’s solutions are already in operational use by the U.S. Army in various missions, and we look forward to continued cooperation”.

www.smart-shooter.com

Army Readies Charging Port for Autonomous Drone Swarms

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A swarm of hundreds of unmanned air vehicles will soon descend on unmanned ground vehicles to autonomously recharge, thanks to U.S. Army-funded research now underway at the University of Illinois Chicago.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory awarded the University of Illinois Chicago a four-year, $8 million cooperative agreement in August to develop foundational science in two critical propulsion and power technology areas for powering future families of unmanned aircraft systems, or UASs.

This collaborative program will help small battery-powered drones autonomously return from military missions to unmanned ground vehicles for recharging. The university is developing algorithms to enable route planning for multiple teams of small unmanned air and ground vehicles.

Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the laboratory’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program, said the research on route planning is critical to the Army, which needs intelligent, small UASs that can find optimal routes during a military mission to autonomously return to unmanned ground vehicles, known as UGVs, for recharging. This will optimize the operational range extension and time on mission.

“Imagine in the future, the Army deploying a swarm of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems,” Kweon said. “Each of these systems has only roughly 26 minutes with the current battery technologies to conduct a flight mission and return to their home before they lose battery power, which means all of them could conceivably return at the same time to have their batteries replaced.”

This future concept is based on the reality of today’s technology, Kweon said.

“Soldiers would need to carry a few thousand batteries on missions to facilitate this, which is logistically overwhelming and overall, not conducive to a leading expeditionary military operation,” he said. “With this research project, we’re operationalizing scientific endeavors to increase Soldier readiness on the battlefields of tomorrow.”

The use of fast, recharging batteries and wireless power transfer technologies will allow multiple small UASs to hover around unmanned ground vehicles for wireless charging, and this will not require Soldier involvement.

“I believe this is the only way to realize practical UAS swarming, and small UAS and UGV teaming. Without solving how to handle the energy demand, all other advanced technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning will be useless for the Army,” Kweon said. “On the battlefield, we do not have luxury to replace batteries for 100s of UAVs and recharging them for hours.”

For larger drones, Army-funded research will explore the fundamental science needed to develop miniaturized fuel sensors for future multi-fuel hybrid electric propulsion systems.

Fuel property sensors that university partners are developing will help Soldiers who operate fuel-based equipment measure fuel property in real time for the Army’s air and ground vehicles, Kweon said.

This knowledge will allow Army personnel to prevent catastrophic failures of the systems and to increase its performance and reliability.

“This research is critical not only for air vehicles but also ground vehicles, especially for the Army missions,” Kweon said. “The fuel sensor is telling the operator what type of fuel is being delivered from the fuel tank to the engine. This input signal can be used to intelligently tell the engine to adjust engine control parameters according to the fuel type to avoid any failures. This data can also be used to find root-cause failures if any engine component prematurely failed.”

The university’s current research in fuel sensor development examines the effects of fuel structure and chemistry on ignition in future multi-fuel drone engines so that real-time control can be implemented. This project further explores the underpinning science using advanced techniques including spectroscopic diagnostics and data science analysis to both enable and accelerate real-time control.

“It also enriches the understanding of the ignition of any unconventional fuel that may need to be burned in the drone engines,” said Prof. Patrick Lynch, a principal investigator at the University of Illinois Chicago on this project.

Army researchers said there is a lot of enthusiasm about partnering through the Open Campus model.

“This not only advances the state of the art, but also operationalizes science for transformational overmatch–the mission of the CCDC Army Research Laboratory,” said Dr. Mark Tschopp, ARL Central regional lead. “What is great is that we are expanding the team to include experts in academia, small businesses, and industry to push concepts and ideas into future capabilities for the Army. In a partnership with the Army, the University of Illinois Chicago brings subject matter expertise, unique facilities and a diverse student body in a collaborative partnership with Army scientists to advance these technologies and to provide future capabilities for the warfighter.”

This university-led research project is one of 11 funded this summer by the Army’s corporate research laboratory as a part of Center for UAS Propulsion efforts to develop technologies for multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric engines and fast efficient energy distribution. Each university partner is helping the Army address the energy demand required to power future unmanned vehicles. Universities also awarded for similar research are the University of Minnesota; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Iowa State University; University of Delaware; University of North Texas; Texas A&M University; University of Missouri and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The research, slated to begin this fall, is part of a larger research portfolio of multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric technologies led by the laboratory that supports the Army Modernization Priority for Future Vertical Lift. Most recently, the laboratory recently announced the development of a new, advanced scientific model that will allow vehicle maintenance specialists to turn to bio-derived fuels in austere locations, and efforts to convert a home-based generator into a power source for autonomous ground and air vehicles.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

What’s Old Is New

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

When paratrooper boots were brand new, they were made from smooth, brown leather. Once again, authorized for wear with the Army Green Uniform.

You can get yours at Ranger Joe’s.

Army, Air Force Form Partnership, Lay Foundation for CJADC2 Interoperability

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

WASHINGTON — Unity among military branches and a combined, all-domain effort could be the difference in winning large-scale, multi-domain battles the Army expects to fight in the future.

To help achieve that goal, the Army and Air Force signed a two-year collaboration agreement in the development of Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or CJADC2, which will impact units in both branches, leaders announced Tuesday.

During the daylong meeting at the Pentagon, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. discussed how to best combine each service’s assets to achieve greater synchronization. It also marked the first Army-Air Force talks since Brown took on his new role in August.

Both service chiefs agreed to establish CJADC2 at the most “basic levels” by defining mutual standards for data sharing and service interfacing in an agreement that will run until the end of fiscal year 2022.

Army Futures Command and the Air Force’s office of strategy, integration and requirements, A-5, will lead the effort, designed by the Defense Department to deliver CJADC2 capabilities to the warfighter quicker and to promote “shared’ understanding of concepts and capabilities.

In the CJADC2 concept, each of the military’s six branches would connect sensors, shooters, and command nodes in a “mesh network” that will allow commanders more options and the ability to act faster. Each branch, including the newly-formed Space Force, must learn to interface with each other and successfully access data, reconnaissance and intelligence collected from across joint networks.

“The core challenges of the future fight are speed and scale,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, Army deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7. “The future fight will be much faster, and the joint force will have more sensors and more shooters. [It will] be more widely distributed than ever before.”

The initiative will combine the Army’s Project Convergence with the Air Force and Space Force’s Advanced Battlefield Management System, or ABMS, and will impact the joint forces’ training as well as exercises and demonstrations.

Project Convergence is the Army’s plan to merge its joint force capabilities and keep pace with technological change. On Sept. 18, the Army completed its five-week Project Convergence 20 exercise at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, where it tested artificial intelligence capabilities along with its abilities to transmit information from sensors in the air, space and on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Air Force developed ABMS to enable the joint force to quickly collect, analyze and transmit data at machine speeds. Both projects are designed to help make informed battlefield decisions faster.

“ABMS is the Internet-of-Things for the military — it’s ‘IoT.mil.’ Imagine the level of situational awareness typically relegated to traditional brick-and-mortar centers being provided to those who need it most on the edge,” said Preston Dunlap, the Air and Space Force’s chief architect. “Imagine allowing operators to choose what data feeds are important to them and for others to be able to subscribe to get the information they need. The power of this architecture is unlocked by services, allies and partners working together to connect networks and share information at machine speed. That’s all-domain superiority. And today’s event took us one step closer to realizing that future.”

By Joe Lacdan, Army News Service