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Archive for the ‘Disruptive Tech’ Category

82nd Airborne Division’s Airborne Innovation Lab

Monday, November 21st, 2022

The 82nd Airborne Division has established an Airborne Innovation Lab as a no-reservation-required makerspace to learn, research, innovate, build, and explore new ideas to solve tactical problems. However, the AIL also offers classes on how to use its various equipment.

Located in Bldg. 3-2102 on Long Street, the lab boasts the following capabilities:

Digital Fabrication: 3D printers, 3D scanner, and workstations with Fusion360

Woodshop: CNC milling, laser cutting/etching, and other woodshop machinery/tools

Workshop: Robotics kits, soldering stations, electronics workstations with tools and components

Textile Station: Sewing machines, plotter cutter, heat-transfer vinyl, ironing station

Design Thinking and Collaboration: Space for facilitating design thinking workshops and project collaboration

The lab supports all of Fort Bragg, not just the All American Division. In fact, a Communications Sergeant from 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) recently used the AIL to create new landing feet for a sUAS which interface with Weapon Holster adapters allowing Soldiers to easier access to the drone.

As projects are created by Soldiers in the AIL, the files are distributed to other Design, Innovation, Research, and Technology (DIRT) Labs across the Army and printed, providing the capability of these new prototypes to Soldiers across the country.

Other projects that have been shared across different DIRT Labs include breach-lane markers, chem light holsters, and Raven propellers.

In addition to visiting the lab you can submit your ideas here.

US, UK Explore Interoperable, Battlefield-Ready 3D Printing Capabilities

Saturday, November 12th, 2022

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Warfighters from all branches of service and allied nations will need to work together closely on future battlefields to outwit and outperform adversaries. As the U.S. military and its partners take strategic steps to expand interoperability in theater, they are also evaluating how to maximize operational dexterity — including through the clever use of advanced manufacturing.

Encompassing everything from 3D printing to robotics, advanced manufacturing harnesses innovative technologies to improve traditional processes. The military’s application of advanced manufacturing in operational environments offers warfighters the ability to fix issues and make repairs on location and on demand, without needing to wait hours or days for key parts to arrive.

At Project Convergence 22, a U.S.-hosted all-service and multinational experiment designed to improve future force interoperability and readiness, U.S. and U.K. forces are assessing how they can strengthen interforce support through collaborative advanced manufacturing activities.

“It’s enjoyable, the integration,” said British Army officer Maj. Alex Shand of the experience.

As part of PC22 experimentation, Shand and his colleagues were able to successfully print — for the first time ever — U.S. Army materiel replacement parts using a British Army 3D printer.

This functionality is important because it shows how a multinational partner could potentially assist the U.S. military in making rapid equipment repairs on the battlefield, Shand explained. The increased flexibility could prove beneficial if a nearby unit lacked a 3D printer, for example, or if supply chain disruptions were preventing the timely delivery of missing parts.

Aiding the ability of warfighters to execute on-the-ground repairs is the British Army’s development of extended reality goggles. The high-tech goggles can be worn by an individual tasked with making repairs and synchronized virtually with relevant subject matter experts. These experts can then view what the individual on the ground sees and offer detailed instructions on how to tackle complex repairs, including by sending files, drawing overlay pictures, or rendering 3D models.

While the technology is still in initial phases of development and has yet to be ruggedized for field use, its pairing with 3D printing capabilities and evaluation at PC22 shows promise for the future, offering what Shand described as “an understanding of the right mix of technologies and skills to conduct repair by repair on the battlefield as a joint force.”

By Maureena Thompson, Army Futures Command

MWW 22 – Turbine One Frontline Perception System

Thursday, November 10th, 2022

Turbine One’s tagline is “AI/ML for the Comms-Contested Battlefield” and after learning about what they are doing, that sums it up quite nicely. For those of you unfamiliar with the terms, AI/ML means Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Those both sound like ominous futuristic concepts but Turbine One’s Frontline Perception System (FPS) makes it not only real, but user friendly.

Unlike current systems fielded with vendor-locked software which cannot move between sensors or devices, FPS combines open system architecture across any network, even in in comms-contested environments, and sensor data fusion.

FPS can be deployed on entire enterprise, desktops, laptops and End User Devices whether connected to a network or not. In fact, it’s optimized for use at the operator level.

It deploys algorithms at the tactical edge to characterize sensor data and provide relevant information to the user. The user can also interact with the system, introducing new items of interest without having to code using their AutoML.

Here you can see an example of the AI identifying a gun. Just prior to taking this photo the system was programmed using AutoML to characterize the pistol after identifying it in several images. It was just that simple.

Finally, TurbineOne routinely partners with third parties to deliver ML to the frontlines.


Crye Associates Scorpion Concept Paper

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Found on the US Patent and Trademark Office website, these are the only two pages publicly available from a concept paper produced by Crye Associates, a revolutionary industrial design firm now known as Crye Precision and the creator of some of the most innovative individual clothing and equipment on the market.

Published in March 2001, this concept would eventually be funded by Natick Soldier Systems Center under the Objective Force Warrior program.

Apparently, based on other IP filings we know that before MultiCam Crye Associates had a pattern named UniPat, as in Universal Pattern, which may have been an earlier version of MultiCam. The name UniPat is from 2002 and may offer a clue as to where the Army came up with the Universal Camouflage Pattern name or why Crye quickly abandoned it.

Growing Additive Manufacturing Maturity for Airbreathing Hypersonics (GAMMA-H) Prototype an Opportunity to Propel Manufacturing to Hypersonic Systems

Sunday, October 30th, 2022

The Department of Defense (DoD) is requesting prototype solutions for its Growing Additive Manufacturing Maturity for Airbreathing Hypersonics (GAMMA-H) challenge as part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to expand current manufacturing processes to intricate hypersonic weapons parts.

Currently, traditional manufacturing processes are unable to meet the intricate geometric specifications that advanced hypersonics require. GAMMA-H will contribute towards advancing additive manufacturing processes that can meet the propulsion and temperature requirements that modern hypersonic airbreathing systems demand. “We need to be pushing the envelope with materials produced using the additive manufacturing process” stated Keith DeVries, Deputy Director of the OSD Manufacturing Technology Program (ManTech). “The science has proven it’s possible, but the practice is not widespread enough. GAMMA-H will encourage further adoptions of this groundbreaking technology,” he said.

The objective of GAMMA-H is not only to decrease the number of individual parts that need inspection, shipment, and construction through additive manufacturing, but also to give small businesses and non-traditional defense contractors opportunities to engage in defense manufacturing. “GAMMA-H solutions will bring significant improvements to how we apply additive manufacturing to airbreathing hypersonics. This will only be achieved through the partnership of large companies, small businesses, and academia,” noted DeVries. He added, “We are very interested in expanding our roster of partners — of all sizes — that are contributing to the hypersonic mission.”

The GAMMA-H Request For Solutions (RFS) was released in October 2022, National Manufacturing Month. Supported by the Fabricators and Manufacturers’ Association (FMA) along with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Manufacturing Month is a national effort to promote manufacturing practices and processes, as well as to highlight efforts across the nation to train the workforce needed to support domestic manufacturing.

“National Manufacturing Month gives a voice to the national manufacturing base and encourages the small and medium manufacturing base to engage in all advanced manufacturing practices,” stated DeVries. “By tapping into the innovations of our advanced manufacturing base, the DoD will be better positioned to solve the hypersonics airbreathing maturation challenge.”

The GAMMA-H prototype opportunity is scheduled to be released through an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) vehicle from the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) with joint support from OSD Manufacturing Technology Program (ManTech) office.


Managed by the National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL), the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S²MARTS) is the premier rapid OT contracting vehicle for the Department of Defense (DoD) in trusted microelectronics, strategic & spectrum mission, and other critical mission areas.

Learn more about S²MARTS and explore open opportunities at s2marts.org. To be notified when new S²MARTS opportunities are posted, subscribe to NSTXL and they will be sent to your inbox, no membership required.

About OSD ManTech

The Office of the Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology (OSD ManTech) Program seeks to enhance the national security of the United States by furthering advanced manufacturing technologies and processes through joint, interagency, and public-private collaborations. Located within the Science and Technology Futures Program under the Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the OSD ManTech Program focuses heavily on satisfying the manufacturing technology needs for the DoD’s critical technology areas. These areas include Biotechnology, Quantum Science, Future Generation Wireless Technology (FutureG), Advanced Materials, Trusted AI and Autonomy, Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems, Microelectronics, Space Technology, Renewable Energy Generation and Storage, Advanced Computing and Software, Human-Machine Interfaces, Directed Energy, Hypersonics, and Integrated Sensing and Cyber.

About USD(R&E)

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre.


SPEE3D Introduces XSPEE3D: Fastest All-In-One Containerised Metal 3D Printer

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

XSPEE3D is Highly Mobile, Easy to Use, and Prints Metal 3D Parts from Anywhere in Minutes

Land Forces, Brisbane, Australia – October 4, 2022 – SPEE3D, makers of the world’s fastest metal 3D printers, today unveiled its XSPEE3D printer – a containerised, ruggedized, and deployable cold-spray metal 3D printer that provides all of the necessary functions to print metal parts from anywhere in just minutes. XSPEE3D was designed based on extensive field work and collaboration with the Australian Army.

XSPEE3D is fully transportable as a standard shipping container with the printer and all auxiliary equipment in one box. The printer is easy to use and deploy, requiring only a connection to electrical power. Once the printer is live, anyone can begin fabricating parts immediately. XSPEE3D is 1,000 times faster than other additive manufacturing options and can print one or multiple parts simultaneously. The printer can be deployed to remote locations and helps maximise productivity, strengthen inventory, and bring rigour to the world’s weakening supply chain.

“One of the most significant issues the military faces today is the ability to resolve critical spare part requirements in the field, a challenge that worsens in the face of global supply chain issues,” said Byron Kennedy, CEO of SPEE3D. With the introduction of the XSPEE3D, we’re solving this issue with the ability to make reliable and affordable metal parts from anywhere, including in harsh, remote military field conditions. We understand the operational, economic, and supply chain issues Defence faces and look forward to continuing to work with them to help solve these challenges.“

The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), an independent research and technology organisation that works with the military and the world’s top companies, is partnering with SPEE3D to be the first organisation to utilise the XSPEE3D printer.  

“Our goal at the MTC is to bridge the gap between industry and academia to showcase the world’s foremost technologies to our wide-ranging clients, including those in Defence, and metal 3D printing is crucial for us to understand and teach them,” said Dr. Ken Young, Director of Technology at the MTC. “We chose the XSPEE3D for its unique capability to be deployed in harsh environments, which makes it ideal for military use or for creation of spare parts in remote locations. This opens up a new area of application for additive manufacturing that until now has been unachievable.”

Unlike other printers, XSPEE3D can print quality 3D metal parts from over 12 metal alloys, including copper, stainless steel, titanium, high-strength aluminium, and nickel-based carbides, and can withstand extreme heat and rough terrain in the field. Uniquely, SPEE3D harnesses the power of kinetic energy rather than relying on high-power lasers and expensive gasses, allowing printing at affordable production costs.

SPEE3D is no stranger to partnering with the military.The company recently announced that its WarpSPEE3D printer was the first in the world to successfully print parts from a naval ship as part of the NCMS (National Center for Manufacturing Sciences) REPTX exercise. SPEE3D has been involved in field testing of their deployable technology with the Australian Army and Australian Navy since 2019.


Low-Cost Tech Shaping Modern Battlefield, SOCOM Commander Says?

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

ASPEN, Colo. — In his 38 years as a soldier, across theaters ranging from the Middle East to Europe, the commander of Special Operations Command says he never had to look up. But those days are ending.

“I never had to look up because the U.S. always maintained air superiority,” Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke said during a discussion Friday at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. “We won’t always have that luxury,” he added.

Low-cost quadcopters and larger unmanned aerial vehicles are disrupting the status quo as militaries and insurgents increasingly rely on them, the general said.

“When Russia is running out of them for Ukraine, and they’re going to Iran to go buy more, [that] should cause us all a bit of concern because you can see how valuable that they can be in the future fight,” he said.

U.S. and partner forces have largely focused on ways to defeat enemy drones after takeoff, but Clarke said there is also a need for interagency discussions on ways to disrupt supply chains to prevent them from taking off.

But first, there must be a discussion on norms and authorities for their use, he said. With a “very low” cost of entry for some of the small unmanned systems, the general said some countries may want to use drones to move patients or supplies. Medical transport vehicles are protected under the Geneva Conventions.

Chemical, Biological Weapons

Clarke said the Defense Department has charged Socom with looking at another threat that is inexpensive to produce and use — chemical and biological weapons.

ISIS used chlorine and mustard gases in Iraq and Syria, he said. Russia has used chemical weapons against its political allies — on its own soil and elsewhere, Clarke added.

“The fact that someone in the basement in Mosul [Iraq] with a few lab sets can do this,” proved that it’s a simple process to create these weapons, the general said. Chemical and biological weapons are a terrorist weapon system, he said, and ISIS and al-Qaida will continue to use them because they instill fear.

“As we go into the future, we have to be prepared for that eventuality … and look for methods to continue to combat it,” Clarke said.

Cyber Threats

Though U.S. officials have said government and other critical systems are receiving daily cyberattacks, the general said he’s equally concerned with the way adversaries are using cyber to exploit the information space.

Malign actors are spreading misinformation and disinformation online, and these have had an impact on elections, he said.

Misinformation is false or misleading information — a mistaken breaking news announcement, for example. Disinformation is meant to intentionally deceive the recipient.

Clarke said cyber gives adversaries a quick route to spread false information that can damage the U.S. cause.

“The message, if you look at the internet and what is happening from the African countries, its U.S. sanctions against Russia are causing food shortages in Africa,” the general said. “So we’re being blamed for people in Africa not getting to eat. … We have to look at what is on the internet and get the truth out about what is happening. And I think we have to be able to do that as a government a little bit faster than what we’re doing today.”

By Claudette Roulo, DOD News

North Shore Sports Club Coil Accelerator

Monday, July 11th, 2022

The future is here with the Coil Accelerator from North Shore Sports Club which like a rail gun uses an electrically produced magnetic charge to propel a metal disc toward the target rather than using traditional chemical propellants.

The disc is 275 grain and the magazine will hold 50. Projectile velocity is selectable at 80, 115, or 145 fps with an energy of between 3 and 16 joules. This gives you a maximum range of 40 feet but North Shore Sports Club says you’ll get between 20 and 30 feet of effective range. Since this is battery powered, you’ll get about 500 shots per charge and it takes about an hour to recharge the battery.

Interestingly, the coil accelerator offers semi-automatic fire as well as 5-disc burst and full-auto. Pretty impressive from something coming out of Illinois. Way to think outside the box. Plus, there’s no recoil or smoke or flash signature.

These have been around awhile but since there’s a big push to go electric, it’s worth a look if you’re interested in tinkering.